I’m not, I should mention, being deeply harsh on myself with this title, I’m talking about colouring for Hopeless Maine – a graphic novel and illustrated prose series that brought Tom and I together many years ago, and that we continue to work on. The first two books will be re-released from Sloth in the very foreseeable future, and they’ve agreed to pick up the two attendant prose novels that have been languishing for years. The prose novels will have black and white illustrations, but we’re doing colour versions for posters and eye candy and whatnot.
This means that I’m colouring. We invested in some posh artist pencils, and I have to say it makes a huge difference. The colour is smoother than you get with cheap pencils, and far less bearing down is needed to get the more intense colours – which makes things easier on my hands.
Anyone who says that a poor workman blames their tools is going to get stared at. Good quality tools make it possible to create a higher standard of work. There are things cheap pencils do, and don’t do, and while I can try to work with that, better pencils are in fact better and allow me to do better work.
There are interesting challenges in colouring. It’s my job to keep in the spirit, mood, style etc of the original drawing. Colour can have a huge effect on mood, and it also can do a lot more around shape and texture than black and white does. The images I’ve shared created a sudden learning curve on that subject. In black and white pencils, flat tentacles are fine. I colured, and then re-coloured them because I had to totally rethink the 3d-ness to make them make sense.
The image shows Annamarie Nightshade, and her familiar. Annamarie is the central character in New England Gothic, and a significant support character in the Hopeless Maine graphic novel series. You can read the first books for free here – www.hopelessmaine.com