Painting/Coloring Process in European Comics
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    Painting/Coloring Process in European Comics

    I'm checking out a lot of European-style Sci-Fi comics: Metabarons, old Heavy Metals, etc. I'm wondering about the process they use for the coloring stage.

    My guess, in terms of emulating this approach, would be watercolor and markers over inked line art on heavy 500-series plate bristol board or similar surface.

    Some examples by Jaun Gimenez and Jose Ladronn (who I believe might be using PS/Painter as well as traditional):

    Name:  dinnerwithladronn.jpg
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    Name:  The Metabarons #01 - The Stonecutters 10.jpg
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    Thanks for any insight into this.

    Last edited by klortho; May 11th, 2011 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Attachments not showing
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    Hmm, I don't see the attachments...


    But as far as I understand how European comics are made: "as long as it looks good in the end anything is OK" (of course you have to keep formats etc.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by klortho View Post
    My guess, in terms of emulating this approach, would be watercolor and markers over inked line art on heavy 500-series plate bristol board or similar surface.
    I think I've pretty much seen anything used in European comics (though it's not like same colouring methods aren't used in American comics too, they're just less common in the mainstream comics, especially the modern ones), watercolours, acrylics, markers, wooden pencils, digital.... Though many times older traditionally coloured comics get a digital recolouring if they're re-published again or in a different country.

    But for the colouring process, I would advice you to keep the lineart and colours on separate papers by using a light table, and overlaying them in Photoshop. That way you can use the different papers you prefer for both (like a good watercolour paper doesn't necessarily work as well on ink) and you don't have to fear accidentally destroying or messing your inks (or have them warped by the paper) and you can do as many recolours as you want (unless you have printer/copymachine that can print on watercolour paper with waterproof ink). Unless you're going totally Enki Bilal and don't need the lineart separate.

    Last edited by TinyBird; May 12th, 2011 at 02:36 AM.
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    Second one is definitely marker. First is probably a combo marker and watercolor. You really need to test your intended inks before you do a water-base media over the top. You have to saturate the paper quite a bit, so a lot of inks bleed. Some artists do the color first and then the inks, even.

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    At least one illustrator I know xeroxes inked lines onto watercolor paper and then does the watercolor on that... I've tried it, it seems to work okay depending on the paper (obviously it can't be a really rough watercolor paper or the lines won't xerox well.) (If you try this it has to be xerox or laser printer or something similar with ink that won't run, not your typical inkjet printer inks...)

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    Here's an interview with legendary comics colorist Steve Oliff, where he talks about the different techniques that were used in the pre-digital days for doing fully painted comics (double print, blue line, gray line). All of them were ways to deal with the fact that it was hard to reproduce full color gradations and crisp linework from the same artwork, so various methods were developed so that the colors could be done separately and still be kept in register with the inking. Steve also has a multi-part article about the history of comics coloring on his site here.

    Last edited by Elwell; May 12th, 2011 at 07:24 AM.

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    For the danish comic Valhalla the artists, at least ten years ago, printed the lineart on a transparent film as well as on watercolour paper (but then in faint grey).

    Then they painted over the grey with ecoline and gouache having the transparent film as a reference to put on top. In that way they kept the ink layer clean.

    The process is described more in detail in English on this old website:

    http://www.valhalla-comics.dk/index.html

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    Art

    I would like to say in one word about European comics painting/coloring process... "superb"

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