Coloring Between the Lines: Ian Herring

Hello Revuers! It’s time for another exciting segment of Coloring Between the Lines. Where we interview a Color Artist who is making an impact in the industry today. This time we have the fantastic Ian Herring with us. Ian was gracious enough to answer some of the burning questions we here at Deja.Revue had for him. Ian is among the elite in the game today working on such titles as Silk, Ms Marvel, Hawkeye (in fact I did an issue review of Hawkeye where I raved on Herring’s color work, you can check it out here), Hacktivist and many more. So without further ado here we go!

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

I went full time in the fall of 2009

  • Was it what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

I wanted to draw dinosaurs or look for dinosaurs

  • What’s the first comic book series you really got into?

I think it was Dragonball, fan translated off some websites.

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I don’t really have a preference but I prefer mini-series and one shot issues.

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

The Tick

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

J Jonah Jameson

  • What’s your favorite series that’s not a superhero series?

Akira

  • What is your process like for coloring?

The inks are sent to me by the artist or the editors and from there I have them flatted. These days I have assistants and professional flatters that take care of that aspect. Flatting is adding simple colours to the art so things are separated. Sometimes they are just random colours thrown in. From there I change them to fit the characters and story, build a palette for the scene or match them to one I’ve already used. I start to add depth and just work away until we’re set. I take care of adjustments throughout the process but make sure everything matches up with the book before finalizing it and sending it to the bosses for notes, revisions, approvals.

  • How do you choose a color palette?

Sometimes it depends on what the script is asking for, a lot of superhero comics are built around the palette of the main character which can’t deviate too much. Time of day is important, but after that it’s looking to create focus and push the artist’s ideas using colour.

  • What’s your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand because not only was it challenging but it led to many other great projects and somewhat started my career.

  • Do you have anything coming out soon that we should keep an eye out for?

Ms Marvel and Silk are ongoing and usually coming out once a month. I started working on A-Force as of issue #5 so that will be released soon with art by Ben Caldwell. Hacktivist Vol 2 has been collected into a hardcover edition and is coming in May. I have a few copies sitting at my desk now!

  • Who are some of your favorite colorists in the industry today?

I look up to Dave Stewart and Laura Martin, I hope to meet them one day.

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

I tend to look at things on tumblr and pull images from concept art, posters, old French advertisements and Soviet art. Anything that’s bold looking.

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on Ms. Marvel. How did you pick out the palette for that book?

I checked out Adrian’s concept work and fashion designs he had done before working on Ms Marvel. They tend to be more muted and some of the most fun in Ms Marvel is the day-to-day scenes before Kamala bursts onto the screen as Ms Marvel, bringing all her brightness to a page.

  • Another series I’ve really enjoyed is Silk. What was it like bringing her world to life?

     

     

     

     

Stacey Lee contacted me before we started and we chatted about what kind of palettes we could use. Silk has a somewhat monochromatic colour scheme so we talked about having lots of reflected lights and staying away from using straight white/grey/black. Page 1 of issue 1 is where we tested it and built out from there.

 

  • Speaking of Silk, is it hard to keep the color art consistent when artists change a few times?

Ms Marvel has also had a few artist changes so I’m used to it. I try to keep the palettes similar so the change is less of an impact to the reader.

  • Burritos or Coneys?

Burritos!

  • Where’s your favorite place to pick up a burrito when you’re at cons

I’ve never found one.

  • Where’s your favorite place to get a coney when you’re at cons?

Same answer.

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Emerald City

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I would want to work with one of the artists I’ve already worked with on a Nintendo property of some kind.

  • If you weren’t a comic book artist what would be your career?

Historian

  • What’s the biggest difference between working for the big two and indie titles?

Mostly budget and the inter connected storylines.

  • What unique challenges does working for a big publisher or and indie publisher provide?

It’s usually monthly schedules vs a more long term one and the challenges they provide.

  • Who are some of your favorite artists to work with?

     

Every artist brings something different book and it’s always fun to see how we’ll mesh together.

  • Who are some of your favorite writers to work with?

I’d have to go with Willow Wilson and Robbie Thompson since I’ve worked with them on the same books for a few years now. Always looking forward to see where they take these characters.

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

The Cyborg 009 crew, simple fun uniforms with a lot of impact.

 

Thank Ian!

 

If you are interested in seeing more of Ian’s work you can check out his Twitter, or his Tumblr.

If you are interested in buying some of his work you can check out his comixology page here

As always don’t forget to go to your local comic shop and pre-order some of his fantastic titles!

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Tales From the Pull List (Aug. 12th): We are living in a (Im)material world

Pick of the Week:

Phonogram: The Immaterial girl #1: So full disclosure: I own the first two volumes of Phonogam, and I have read them both numerous times. When I found out that they were making another volume of it I freaked out. I marked the day on my calender, and stared longingly at it. With this hype I had built, a worrisome thought crept into my mind: what if it didn’t live up to the hype I had created in my own head? What if the beauty of what it had been overshadowed what it will be. I am happy to report that it lived up to the hype I had created for it, and then some. The issue is a nostalgia filled roller coaster of emotion. Gillen’s script is so good that at times it hurts. The art by McKelvie and Wilson holds up to its standard of excellence and more.  Wilson has cemented (in my mind at least) his status of the best color artist in the game. Seriously, is there a better creative team than Gillen, McKelvie, and Wilson? I dare you try, I know you’ll fail. Go buy this issue.If you haven’t read the previous volumes of Phonogram you will still enjoy it. If you have you’ll enjoy it even more. Rating: 10/10

Buy

Injection #4: More of the back story is explored in this issue, but the answers are coupled with more questions. Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire craft an excellent issue with lots of character development. With more of the background being revealed you finally get a sense of what’s going on, and that in and of it’s self is exciting. Not as much action this issue as the bulk of it was dedicated to back story. An almost antithesis of issue three really. I’m excited to continue this series and see which bends first: Science, or magic. Rating: 7/10

Gotham Academy #9: Another strong showing for my favorite series from DC. Could there be a wolf at Gotham Academy? Or something more sinister? This issue builds on the mystery that surrounds Olive’s mother while providing plenty of action in the for of a man bat and a wolf man(?). We discover that certain people are excellent at science, and that they may or may not have a secret layer. The creative team of Cloonan, Fletcher, Kerschl, Lapointe, and Msassyk continue to deliver month after month. At this point if you aren’t reading Gotham Academy you might want to re-evaluate your life. Rating: 8/10

A-Force #3: She-hulk finds herself in the midst of trouble after jumping threw the portal from the end of issue two. Will she be able to make it back to her team? Whats the meaning of the portals? What’s causing them? All these questions are, more or less, answered in this issue. I’ll keep this mini review spoiler free though. A-Force continues to be a fresh air in what is starting to feel like an aimost-stale mega event. The only titles I read from Secret Wars is Secret Wars and this title. I am glad it’s continuing after Battleworld is no more. Rating: 7/10

Secret Wars #5: Speaking of Secret Wars, the main title continues to surprise me. I know I’ve said it before but Jonathan Hickman is a genius, or a mad scientist. One of the two. In this issues we see the repercussions of the shocking end to Issue 4 (no spoilers, just know that it was indeed shocking). We learn more of how God Doom was able to save what fragments of the muti-verse that he did save (with the helm\p of a very special someone). Truly the exploration of how battleworld came to be is fascinating to me. It’s clear that this event was months, no, years in the making. The art by Ribic continues to astound. All in all a great addition to a great series. Rating: 8/10

Skip

Starfire #3: Honestly the only reason I got this issue is because I pre-ordered it months ago. I can see why other people like it, it’s just not for me. Rating: 3/10

Descender #6: This issue really fell flat for me. Which is a pity because I’ve really enjoyed the overall series. I hope that Jeff Lemire can turn it around for the next issue. Rating: 5/10

Ms. Marvel #17

Ms. Marvel #17

Writer: G. Willow Wilson

Artist: Adrian Alphona

Publisher: Marvel

I like to take chances on new books – I’m a sucker for a new #1 that introduces a new character. And, being as how I’m a DC born and bred reader, I’m also a sucker for legacy. So, when the new Ms. Marvel series debuted last year, I was excited to see what G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona had in store for Kamala Khan. I didn’t know quite what to expect – I figured that there would be heavy ties to Carol Danvers, and that her powers might reflect those ties. I hoped that it would be a fun title, but not one I held out a ton of hope for – I fully anticipated I’d read the first arc, and that would be it.

So, imagine my surprise that 17 issues later, I’m still excited about a title that I expected to be done with. Never once did I falter at the fact that Kamala Khan’s powers were different than Carol Danvers, quite the opposite, in fact. See, what Wilson and Alphona created was that rare breed of legacy that was equal parts reverent and unique – and while tonally different, Ms. Marvel is as close to DC’s incredible Starman series by James Robinson as we’re likely to get. Legacy heroes, thrust into the spotlight, and expected to be exemplary. And both are – in their own unique way.

Issue 17 continues the ridiculous hot streak that the series has been on since its debut. We finally get the interaction with Captain Marvel that people have been so desperate for (despite the book never once feeling like it was necessary to validate Kamala’s claim to the name). And with that interaction, we get one of the most feel good, buddy-cop stories that I’ve read in a long time – Kamala basks in the compliments and advice provided to her by Carol, and Carol truly admires Kamala’s enthusiasm and heroic drive. It’s an influential symbiosis that is going to serve Kamala well as the title relaunches with a new #1 following the Secret Wars event.

The story itself is driven by Kamala’s need to find her missing brother, who is seemingly being forced to undergo the Terrigenesis process to trigger his latent Inhuman abilities. This story is truly Kamala’s show – Carol is there to assist, never there to overstep and dominate the story, and Kamala in turn learns some valuable lessons as a hero. There’s some truly great moments in the issue as Kamala bargains with some masked hoodlums to have them help the sheltered citizens in the school gym, as well as a touching moment between Carol and Kamala that teaches a valuable lesson about being a hero: you can’t save everyone all the time.

There are some (very) minor pacing problems in the closing act of the story, and an unfortunate necessity to tie into the Secret Wars / Incursion event, but the book doesn’t suffer greatly from those factors. Overall, Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan continues to be the best everyman character of the Marvel Universe – and characters like that are a rare discovery.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

-Jay

Pick of the Week (May 20th): A-Force 1

A-Force 1

Writers: Marguerite Bennet, G. Willow Wilson

Art: Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Laura Martin, Matt Milla

Publisher: Marvel

“Sharknado tried to murder me and my friends” – Ms. America

Hello Revuers! Sorry about the recent absence from writing. The last three weeks or so have been crazy! I had finals, graduated from college, and had an interview for a new job. Anyways, enough about me. My pick this week is A-Force 1. Despite a strong showing n comics this week A-force #1 takes home the top prize.A-force takes place in BattleWorld (which if you aren’t following secret wars, may be confusing), or more accurately an island floating above battle world know as Arcadia. This island is under the jurisdiction of God Doom, but like all the other realms of battle world Doom has left the governing to a baron. In this case it’s left in the capable hands of She-Hulk. In order to maintain peace and order in Arcadia She-Hullk assembles a group of female heroes (and heroes who have been gender swapped to be female) to patrol and protect the island. When assembled it resembles various forms of the Avengers. Throughout the course of the issue we see many superheros, but it appears the heroes that are being focused on are: She-hulk, Captain Marvel, Sister Grimm, Dazzler, Loki (a female version), Ms. America, and a mysterious new character that falls out of the sky at the end of the issue. The story line involves, God Doom (of course), Sheriff Strange, ideas of law and order, religious undertones, and a megladon (not necessarily in that order). The art for the issue is done by collaboration between Molina (penciler, inker), Yeung (inker), Martin (colorist), and Milla (colorist). With so many people working on art it could be easy to lose consistency with tone and feel but A-Force stays on track. There is a beautiful splash on the second and third page that really gives life to Arcadia and the heroes themselves. Overall A-Force is a great start to a story line and a group of heroes that I hope carries over after Secret Wars is finished.

Rating: 8/10

-Andrew Horton