Coloring Between the Lines: Brittany Peer

Hello Revuers, and welcome to another edittion of Coloring Between The Lines. The segment where we feature a Color Artist who is making an impact on the industry today. This time we welcome the fantastic Brittany Peer! We are honored that se took the time to answer some questions for us! Let’s get right to it.

 

  • Hello Brittany, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

 

Hey no problem, thank you for reaching out!

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

Officially, I’ve been coloring since early 2015 when I briefly responded to an add looking for a fill-in on a webcomic. However my first published project was Casey&April from IDW also in 2015, but later during the summer. It’s been my main source of income since!

 

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

I wanted to be a lot of things as a kid, but never considered comics as a possible career. Especially on the color side of things. When I did think about comics, it was usually as a writer or editor. When I found out I had a knack for coloring comics, I was ecstatic and I haven’t looked back since!

 

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

Oof that’s a hard one. I’m from the generation of girls who grew up watching Sailor Moon and DBZ and spent hours Barnes&Nobles in the manga section because hey these comics looked like the shows I really enjoyed! My first all consuming comic was Tokyo Mew Mew, but at the same time I was getting Blacksad from my sister’s college library. Honestly it’s a toss up between the two.

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I don’t really have a preference. Different genres have their own unique advantages and pit falls. At the moment I’m following more superheroes but I’m looking forward to diving into the stack of non-cape comics I have waiting for me.

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Oh gosh. Another tough one! My faves change depending on what’s caught my interest at any given moment. Right now I’m really enjoying reading about Midnighter! Honorable mentions (because I ALWAYS come back to them) include Power Girl, Starfire, Jason Todd, and Dick Grayson.

 

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Leonardo or Michelangelo from TMNT hands down.

 

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

IDW’s run of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is quite literally all I talk about when it comes to favorites. Seriously I was known as that TMNT girl at C2E2 my first year going because it’s all I talked about with anyone who would listen. I’m not THAT enthusiastic now, I’ve learned to chill out, but it’s still my long running favorite.

 

  • What is your process like for coloring?

I usually read the script while looking through the inks when waiting for flats to come back from my flatter to start off. When they come in I’ll make a mask of the lineart for easy colorholds and separate the colors into panels, then planes on separate layers. After that I figure out what the atmosphere for this scene should be depending on the project, location, time of day, and feeling that needs to be conveyed and set that up. On projects with a distinct feeling and style ,like TMNT Universe: Karai’s Path, I’ll discuss with artist what they were thinking for a certain scene or action and go off of their sugestions, working with them to make sure everything is cohesive and fun. Then it’s rendering time with either youtube or spotify in the background. Or netflix if there’s anything new out.

 

  • How do you choose a color palette?

Lots of experimenting to figure out what works and conveys the tone of the scene properly.

 

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

I really enjoyed TMNT Universe with Sophie Campbell and Erikburnham. Dream team! Sophie and I have been friends for a few years now so it was awesome to finally get to work together and the project was just so fun it ended up being possibly the best experience I’ve had!

 

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

That list is long and I will definitely forget people because I am awful with names. Tamra Bonvillain, Elizabeth Breitweiser and Matt Wilson are at the top of the list though.

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Tamra constantly. She was my mentor for a long while and still offers to help me out when things are rough. She’s a great person on top of being an amazing colorist.

 

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on Slam!, from Boom! Box comics, Color plays an important role in that book. How did you build the aesthetic for that book?

I knew going in I wanted to do more rendering than I had with Jonesy and previous projects, closer to what I enjoy doing in my personal work, so right away I had to decide what style would work with Veronica’s lines. Her lines are so fluid with really nice bold blacks which lent itself to some really fun color popping pallets! And at the time I was super into colors that brought a sense of LA, Miami, any kind of Bay area to the viewer with pinks, cyans, turquoise, and purples. My memories of attending Roller Derby bouts in Savannah, nights on the pier at Pensacola Beach and, even earlier,  Long Beach really informed my decisions. It was kind of a nostalgia trip combined with my love of candy color pallets.

 

  • In Jonesy, also from Boom! Box comics, you took over color art duties in issue #6. how did you balance bringing your own style to the title while keeping the world consistent?

Honestly Sam Humphries and Caitlen Rose Boyle were a huge help here! Caitlin and I were in contact regularly in the beginning, making sure colors and style remained consistant. It was an adjustment for sure as I was far more used to “realistic” pallets and Jonesy was ALL about atmosphere and emotion! They really made me feel welcome and open to working together and because of that I adjusted quickly. Jonesy is definitly one of the more influential projects I’ve worked on and I’ve grown so much from it!

 

  • You have a very distinctive visual style, how did you cultivate that aesthetic?

A lot of experimenting. I’ve always been really into bold colors and heavy atmospheric rendering in order to evoke a certain feeling in a piece and working in comics has challenged me to further my own style and understanding of color theory. I’m still experimenting and growing!

 

  • Next I’m going to ask you a series of Either Or questions. Ready? Ok, go!

Hit it!

  • Star Wars or Star Trek

I honestly don’t have a preference. I know I’m terrible but I’ve never really been a fan of either?

 

  • Coffee or Tea

Tea, although I won’t turn down a Caramel Macchiato.

 

  • Batman or Superman

Batman all the way if just for the Bat-family.

 

  • Wolverine of spider-man?

Spider-man, but only because I’ve been reading Spider-man/Deadpool series recently it’s pretty fun.

 

  • Noir or Horror comics?

Noir. I’m a huge weenie when it comes to horror.

 

  • Burritos or coneys?

Burritos

 

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

 

I actually bring snacks to conventions! I would avoid either of those options though. I prefer sandwiches or other lighter meals while traveling.

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Heroescon is my favorite to table at! C2E2 is my favorite to attend though. Lots of fun things to do and people to see when I’m not tied to a booth.

 

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

Oh geeze. I have no idea to be honest haha. I just wrapped up TMNT Universe: Karai’s Path with Sophie Campbell and I think that was career goal of mine.

 

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

I’d probably be going after a position as editor with a company. Or have gone to school to be a music teacher/vocal coach.

 

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

I loved working with Caitlin Rose Boyle and Sophie Campbell! Naomi Franquiz on Misfit City is also really fun to work with.

 

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

Again have to mention Sam Humphries. He was so welcoming and supportive while I was on Jonesy! Erik Burnham on TMNT is also a fun and enthusiastic guy to work with.

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Bludgeon from IDW’s TMNT has got to be the most fun to color. He’s so sleek and his proportions are so fun to work with! Jonesy was also really fun. Her expressions and style were so repelatable and different from anything I’ve worked on, it really pushed me in a good way.

 

  • What would be a dream series for you to work on?

Probably a Teen Titans series or Bestboy solo.

 

  • As the comic book industry moves more digital do you feel like there’s been a shift in the industry to recognize the importance of Color Artists?

In the last few years there’s definitely been a push to recognize Colorists in the community. At the moment it still feels like shouting into a void, but I’ve had to pleasant experience of working with editors, writers, and artists who have made an effort to include and credit myself and others for the roles we play.

 

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

Misfit Infinite issue 4 is coming out in September and be sure to keep an eye out for issue 14 of TMNT Universe! The teams really put their all in to these projects and I’m excited for everyone to see them.

 

  • Thank you for your time Brittany, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to your great work in the future.

 

Thank you!

 

If you are interested in seeing more of Brittany’s work you can check out her website here

You can also connect with Brittany on her Twitter

 

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New Comic Book Day Top 5

Hello Revuers, time for a new segment.  In this segment we will be looking at the top 5 comic books I’m excited about that are coming out on New Comic Book Day. If you aren’t reading these books then do you even comic? Let’s get started:

 

5: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #9

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I love this series from Marvel. Kate Leth was a perfect choice to write this series, and Brittany Williams is on art. Color art is provided by Megan Wilson. I have had this series on my pull list since the beginning. Leth, Williams and Wilson provide a cut backdrop for a seriously kick butt character. It’s this juxtaposition between cute and kick butt-ness (is that a word?) that I really love about this series.

 

4: Titans #2

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In issue #1 we learned a little bit about the events directly following DC Rebirth. This makes sense as Wally West is the cog that made DC Rebirth’s machine run. Hopefully in the second issue we get a better picture of where DC is taking Rebirth. The new costume design for several of the characters is spot on. Especially Wally West.Since in Rebirth they are keeping the new New 52 Wally West, old Wally West needed a costume upgrade, and boy did he get one.

 

3: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Annual #1

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The new Power Rangers series from Boom! comics has been a joy. As a fan of the original series (and Space, and Turbo, and…..well you get the idea) this comic really captures the way that the TV show made me feel. The writing and art for this annual looks amazing from what I’ve seen. The issue itself features several short story’s, in typical annual form. If the cover art is any indication we should be getting hyped for it.

 

2: Flash #5

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‘Lightning Strikes Twice’ part five! Joshua Williamson’s Flash series has been fantastic so far, running circles (sorry) around it’s competition every two weeks it’s released. I have really enjoyed Barry in a mentor/teaching role. It seems to really suit him, and it makes sense that he would transition to that role as the have a young Wally West and an older Wally West. Because of that Barry’s role needs to change out of necessity of his character and out of necessity for older Wally West’s character. The new villain Godspeed is genuinely menacing and his character design is breath taking. I was worried that the fast pace (sorry again) of the releases of this series would cause quality to drop, but it has remained high.

 

1: Batgirl #2

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Batgirl #1 was a fun start to the soft reboot. Hope Larsen brought her own take on Batgirl and took her away from Burnside. This was a smart move on Larsen’s part, a it allows here to put her own stamp in the character. Issue 1 also introduced some exciting new individuals into Batgirl’s life. The art was fantastic, especially the color art by Dave McCaig. I consider myself a color art enthusiast and that issue did not disappoint. If you don’t have this series on your pull list you need to rectify that situation immediately.

 

What comics are on your Pull List? Tell us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear what our followers are reading!

 

-Andrew

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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Coloring Between the Lines: Megan Wilson

Hello Revuers! We are back with anther segment of Coloring Between the Lines. This time with the uber talented (and apparently uber intelligent since she’s also a mechanical engineer) Megan Wilson. You have seen her color work on covers for such titles as The Life After. You’ve seen her fantastic work on interiors in such titles as Gwenpool Holiday special and of course Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat! We here at Deja.Revue are thrilled she was willing to sacrifice her very valuable time to answer such burning questions as: Where do you buy burritos at. If you find these sorts of questions to be riveting then this interview is for you!

 

Hello Megan, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

How long have you been a colorist?

I started learning to color sometime mid-2012 and my first published work came out about ~6 months later, so about 3 years? The volume of work I’ve done over that time is super low though because up until recently it was really just sporadic covers, one mini-series, and a few short anthology pieces. So yeah, from that perspective, I’m still very new!

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

As a small kid? An astronaut! Sometime in high school I wanted to be a mechanical engineer so I went to undergrad & grad school for that and now work full time at GE doing aerodynamics. I suppose in some sense that still leaves the door open to being an astronaut someday!

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

Early 2012 was the first time I went to a comic shop. Manhattan Projects came out shortly thereafter and I have to credit that book as the one that got me hooked.

Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

Oh wow, I’m all over the place. I don’t really stick to specific genres and will read pretty much anything. I follow books more so on line/color art style & story quality.

Who is your favorite superhero?

Oh yay, an easy question! Hellcat! There are a bunch of other superhero runs that I really love, but I have to admit I don’t commit to characters for the long haul / beyond specific runs.

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

Off the top of my head… CHEW, since I was just thinking about how much I’m going to miss that book when it ends!

What is your process like for coloring?

Hah, it’s not very exciting. Read script. Wait for pages to come in. Panic as the schedule start to compress, ha! Because the time I have limited time available to color due to my engineering work (and I’m still working on my speed!), I have to work ahead on pages as become available. So I send groups of however many pages I get to my flatter as soon as I get them and start working on them as soon as they come back. It’s not ideal and I’d much prefer to have the full issue available so I could see all of the line art and have to make fewer blind guesses and have less rework, but unfortunately for me thats not a reality right now!

Ok, but back to flatters. It takes me an embarrassingly long time to flat a page myself… I won’t tell you how long. Flatters are wizards. Once I get flats back, I hide that layer, meaning I can’t see his/her colors but can still make selections off of it. I get too confused about what I’m doing if that layer is visible. I drop my own colors in on a new layer, then just render and add any needed color holds. I don’t really use any fancy effects; the overwhelming majority of my work is cel shading.

How do you choose a color palette?

I should probably say something that sounds smart here, but uh, the truth is that I kind of go more by gut and less by plan. I suspect this is might be frowned upon. I guess in general there are a few things I tend to do regarding palettes. I really like clean, crisp colors. I use browns and grays very rarely. And I try to keep black out of my colors (I color in CMYK).

I don’t currently make pre-planned palettes for a book so it’s a little bit of a free for all in general. I’ll go scene by scene, starting with a high-level concept or thing I want to emphasize and then just work backwards from there. Again, since I’m usually working on pages without having all of the art available, I make a best guess and do a first pass through everything as I get pages, and then I’ll go back through everything and tweak the palettes scene by scene until I’m I think they make sense, are distinct and transition ok.

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

The safest guess: whatever I’m currently working on. I think (hope) I’m still on a pretty steep learning curve, so I usually dislike my prior work pretty quickly! So right now the answer is PATSY WALKER AKA HELLCAT. Plus of course, Kate Leth’s writing & Brittney Williams’ line art are really fun to play off of and the reaction to the book has been pretty exciting, so all of that definitely helps too!

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

Yeah! In addition to HELLCAT, I have a secret small project that I think will be out this summer? It should be announced in a week or so, meaning I can’t say very much about it yet. What I can say is that it’s a reunion of the team from AND THEN EMILY WAS GONE (John Lees, Iain Laurie, and Colin Bell) with an all new story and the colors are entirely finished!

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

Oh gosh, this question is super hard because there are so many good colorists that I regularly follow. Too many! A few great examples are Matt Wilson, Rico Renzi, and Felipe Sobreiro.

I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on Patsy Walker a.k.a. Hellcat. How did you pick out the palette for that book?

Ahh, thank you! And oops, I already somewhat spoiled my answer here when I exposed my lack of detailed planning on an earlier question, ha! For Patsy, I knew I wanted it to be really energetic and fun to fit with the vibe of the book. I had trouble deciding whether to lean more toward pastels or something a bit more bold, so I suppose it kind of ended up being a mix of both? Regarding my earlier comments about tending to avoid grays and keeping K out of my colors, this actually resulted in a few back in forth revisions for Ian because he is supposed to be goth and I kept just barely inching his clothes darker each time, ha! He’s probably still not super goth (sorry Kate, I tried!).

I also really enjoy your Cover art work on titles like The Life After. What are some of the unique challenges between coloring Covers and whole Issues?

Ha, I sort of have a love/hate relationship with covers. Sometimes I know pretty quickly what I want to do with one and in that case they’re really fun to work on. Other times they will take me a really long time to figure out. One challenge with covers is that they don’t always have established context/characters since they’re done pretty far in advance and can end up being totally wide open in terms of what you can do, which can be a bit daunting. Plus I’m way worse about nitpicking on covers!

The challenge with interiors really lies in making sure the storytelling is clear, appealing and contributes to the narrative. Interiors are kind of like a puzzle: you have to consider things both in the context of the present mood/scene in addition to how it fits into the bigger story. You have to be willing to let go of things that look ok as a standalone idea but perhaps don’t work as well when you consider the issue or book as a whole.

Did the older comics influence your choices? Or were you able to branch out a bit?

Hmm if so, none of it was really intentional. I don’t think the really old comics had any direct influence but there was probably some from the work Dave McCaig & John Rauch did on PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT (those guys are both great too!). I can see how my style in general may come off as a bit of a nod to the really old stuff though!

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

A place with a bar?

What’s your favorite convention?

Heroes in Charlotte, NC! I try to go every year. I just wander around incognito & catch up with friends.

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

Should I assume leisurely wandering the world is not a realistic answer to this? If engineering is off limits too since that’s too easy of an answer, I suspect I’d probably still end up in a STEM field.

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

I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer this! Its hard to generalize off of the handful of things I’ve done, plus every indy company that I’ve worked with is very different. I guess one notable difference is the presence of editors since on some indy projects there may not be one at all, but that’s definitely not true across the board.

What would be a dream series for you to work on?

Oh gosh, I don’t know! Probably something a little bit off the norm and not super restrictive, which I think HELLCAT and EMILY both fit!

Thank you for your time Megan, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to your great work in the future.

Thanks Andrew! Let’s do this again when I’m a little bit wiser! Ha!

 

If you would like to check out more of Megans work check out her Facebook, or her Twitter!

If you are interested in checking out some more of her work you can look it up here on comixology.

 

Don’t forget to ask your LCS about pre-ordernng Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat!

 

 

Coloring Between the Lines: Marissa Louise

Hello Revuers! Its time for another segment of Coloring Between the Lines where we interview a Color Artist that’s making an impact in the industry. This month we have the uber talented Marissa Louise. You may recognize her style from her works on such titles as Semiautomagic, Escape From New York, Robocop, Headspace, and many more. Marissa was gracious enough to spend some of her valuable time answering questions for us! For that we are very appreciative. Now without further delay:

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

It can be a kind of funny number to quantify, but I started working towards in when I was 30. I was a flatter for some great people for the first year and a half. That’s how I learned photoshop. Prior to that I was doing art with gold & hand made oil paints. Lemme tell you, photoshop is a lot faster.

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

If I had known it was an option I would have been all over it! But I didn’t, so I wanted to be a mortician, the work is steady but the paycheck is stiff, or a biologist. I have dyscalcula, you know Dracula’s more irritating sibling, so I thought I could do all the maths for those jobs.

I spent a lot of time copying the drawings out of comics. Some where in the cracks of my old house there are loads of drawings of Ghost Rider and Wolverine.

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

Hmm. That’s tough because I have a terrible memory and remembering things from 1988 is really hard! But I think it was probably Malibu’s Ferret. I think I liked how mean the women were to him. But it was also just goofy stuff with cool coloring. Other than that I really like Ranma ½ I would get it at the Japanese market. Or I’d get Hellboy or Oh My Goddess! and a lot of other Dark Horse books from the library. I loved Mike Mignola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

When I was in college I got quite a few of the old EC books. Those are all really wonderful. I got a little more into rah rah woman stuff then too. Like Tits & Clits or Twisted Sisters. Along with wild zines kids were making at Pratt to really screw around with the physicality of a book.

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I like them all! For me the pieces need to make sense with the whole. I tend not to prefer comics that are trying to be movies, since they are fundamentally different forms. But I love Squirrel Girl as much as I love Roman Muradov’s Yellow Zine. I love early Spider-Woman as much as I love Pete Tom’s books! Georgia Webber does really great things with the form and Justin Ponsor/David Marquez draw the human form stunningly. Sunny is a really amazing comic.

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

I really liked early Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman). She really tried to help everyone out at her day job and her night job. I think the costume is just stunning. Catwoman is classic, though she may not count as a superhero. I really like what the Squirrel Girl team is doing. Does Zodiac Starforce count as superheros? They are really great characters. I feel like I have a piece of each of them in me.

I really love Empowered. The drawing is genius and I really love the way Adam gracefully pulls the viewer’s eyes to Emp’s face. Cankor is really amazing if you haven’t found that. It’s printed by Matthew G Allison, you have to find him at a con to get it.

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Urd. She’s from Oh My Goddess!, she is all about chaos and playing with cute mice!

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

I listed quite a few, but I can list more: Nutmeg, Hopeless Savage, Tekkonkinkreet, American Born Chinese, Lady Killer, Shutter, The Big Book of series, my friend Jon Rivera did some really cool comics while we were in college called Heartbreak.

  • What is your process like for coloring?

I’ll either flat it myself or send it to a flatter. I prefer to print out my scripts. I just have a hard time marking them up or testing ideas in the margin if they are digital. So I highlight those with different markers for time of day/color notes/environmental notes. Annote ideas in the margins if I have time. Then hopefully I have all the pages. I like to do the hardest parts first then I build everything off of that.

So right now I’m working on a battle scene. After that is colored I will color the preceding & following pages to amp up & release the tension.

Different books require different rendering styles. So I have a really hard time switching between books. It’s like if you’re speaking Spanish then someone asks you a question in German. Who knows what will come out of your mouth!

Once I turn in pages I do edits.

If you follow my twitter you’ll know I’m trying the Pomodoro technique now! I track all my time and take quick breaks. It has been really wonderful!

  • How do you choose a color palette?

Same as any other problem. Identify the parameters first. Identify the locations, clothes & emotion’s you’ll need. From those parameters make sure the palette has enough contrasting colors. You want 0%-75% grey value in a variety of warms & cools. I’m still playing with different techniques like creating color wheels based off two colors or just mixing out colors like I would on a paint palette. And of course there is always good old fashioned borrowing. I like to borrow from John Watkiss, Leonor Fini, Peter Hailey, Delacroix, Gericault, Ingres, and basically whatever I can get my eyeballs on.

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

Ooh. That’s a toughie! I’ve really enjoyed a lot of the projects I’ve worked on. But I think Broken World was extra great because I got to do a lot of story telling in the color. The team worked really closely to enable that. Semiautomagic was great because Alex really let me go wild and of course, Jerry is a great artist. I’m still really proud of a lot of Escape From New York. The licensor wanted the coloring to be very desaturated to match the look of the film. I think I was able to do a lot with restricted palettes.

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

Yes! But some of it I can’t tell you about yet. If you haven’t picked up Mystery Girl, I really insist you do. All of you out there! Paul Tobin was able to take some amazing and strange writing risks with it. Alberto’s drawing is great. I’m getting to do cool things with color. The series I have over at Stela is pretty cool. Hopefully the penciller, Tony Talbert, and I will get to work together more in the future. We really feed off each other. We’re trying to get Deadhorse going again and Miranda Mercury! Those are super cool indie books. I love them both.

I also have a Kickstarter for Semiautomagic that will be coming up next month so keep a look out for that!

I am also writing essays for Women Write About Comics. Those are slow going though, since coloring deadlines come first.

And of course my non profit, Joon, is always doing cool things! We’re holding a fundraiser in February and lots of cool events at Emerald City and other conventions throughout the year.

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

Talk about your loaded questions! I’ll list some, it won’t be everyone because I have a terrible memory: My mentors Nolan Woodard & Bill Crabtree are both stunning. Justin Ponsor, Tamra Bonvillain, Kelly Fitzpatrick’s work on Bombshells with Sandy Jarrell was really exceptional! Bettie Brietweiser on Velvet, Sloane Leong, Shari Chankhamma, Paulina Ganucheau, SainaSix is mostly an illustrator but she does comics & has a great color sense. I’ve been trying to convince Jen Bartel to color, but I think she’s mostly going to stick to only coloring herself. Paul Reinwand is another person who colors themself & has a great color sense. I sort of veered away from coloring only people here, but I’m trying to list people that your audience may not have seen much of yet.

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Oh yeah. Everything. I keep my window open while I work so I can watch the light change across the building. When I was in NYC there was this green factory outside my window. I loved all the different greens it would become throughout the year. And the strange reflected light it would create. I love animals and fashion. Of course painting! Since that’s what I went to school for.

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on Escape From New York. How did you pick out the palette for that book?

Thanks! I really like that book. When I was testing out they wanted the book to be very desaturated. So I made a full range of greys without black in them. So a warm set of greys, cool set of greys, tan set of greys, more blue set of greys. Then a set of semi desaturated blues and reds. Then a lot of the color on that book is what is called induced color. Tricking the eye into seeing yellows and blues when it is mostly grey.

The exception to that is Florida. The way the script was written it was very clear that Chris wanted Florida to look opulent & have tropical colors. So I look at Floridian murals & animals to develop that over the top palette.

  • I also really enjoy your Cover art work as well on Titles such as D4ve. What are some of the unique challenges between coloring Covers and whole Issues?

Covers have got to scream at you from the shelf. And they have to scream in more charming ways than the other covers. So I try to create palettes that are high contrast, but also interesting. I want something that gives the viewer an immediate emotional kick.

  • Burritos or coneys?

Always coneys.

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

My shameful confession is that I haven’t had a burrito in since I was 27. Yikes! I am hoping this year is the one where I get to change that.

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Heroes and Emerald CIty are both amazing! I haven’t been to many around the country. So I don’t have the most refined opinion on this.

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I mentioned before I’d love to work with Tony Talbert again on something. It’d be really stellar to get Alex de Campi writing a Barbarella sort of thing for us. That would get really weird really fast and I think it would be really fun! I would absolutely cherish working with Trungles on something. Doing mermaid story with Anna Sahrling-Hamm or Jessi Sheron. Working with Vanessa Del Ray on a Vampirella comic would be cool. I’d really love to do anything at all with Wilfredo Torres or Tradd Moore. If I could get James F Wright to write a licensed Elvira comic that would be amazing!

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

I think I’d probably have to go back to fabrication.

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

They have inverse relationships of time and money. I really enjoy the freedom of indie titles, but big two have much larger marketing reach. On a lot of indie stuff in my experience you get more time & less oversight, but also less money. The unfortunate side of that is you need to take on more projects to make ends meet, so you don’t always get to use the extra time effectively.

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Oh gee. I guess I don’t really have one. Every character and artist has special things about them. It’s very easy for me to find things I love. I’m very thankful to be a colorist.

  • What would be a dream series for you to work on?

It’s kind of weird, but really, I would freak out if I worked on a licensed Elvira comic. Especially if I got to work with Cassandra Peterson. She is a huge idol for me. And she is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met! This would be ideal for me because it would be campy, sexy, scary, psychedelic and funny. That dagger isn’t just for show, you know.

  • Thank you for your time Marissa, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to your great work in the future.

Thanks for having me!

If you would like to check out more of her work you can visit her website, Twitter, or her Facebook

And if you would like to purchase some of her work ask your LCS about any of the titles mentioned above, or check out Comixology

Coloring Between The Lines: Jason Lewis

Hello Revuers! When I came up with the idea for this segment I had no idea how big of a success it would be. I am truly excited to see that others care about great color in their comics!Being a Color Artist can be an overlooked profession, however in recent times a lot of progress for the recognizing of Color Artist has been made. This feature will continue to add another voice to the clamor and appreciation for excellent color in our comics.

This month we have the very talented Jason Lewis. You might recognize him from Morning Glories, Drive, or Hell Yeah. He has a very distinctive and strong palette. We here at Deja.Revue are grateful to Jason for sacrificing his time to answer our questions.

If you want to check out some of his work check out his Tumblr: lewisjasonr.tumblr.com

Or his twitter: @lewisjasonr

 

  • Hello Jason, thanks for agreeing to this interview! How long have you been a colorist?

About seven years.

 

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

Being a freelance comic colorist really didn’t exist when I was a kid. Up until the mid 90’s coloring a comic was a job of the publisher’s production department. Back in the really early days the printer would sometimes choose the colors.

When all the independent publishers rose to prominence and computer coloring became a thing in the 90’s, each company had their own in-house coloring department. From there people broke off and formed their own coloring houses like Liquid and Digital Chameleon. When Crossgen and few other indies imploded in the early 00’s the market became flooded with untethered colorists and for the most part the coloring houses went away. So in the long history of comics the freelance colorist has only come into being in the last 15 years or so.

I wanted to be a comic artist as a kid, but when I got to college I realized I wasn’t quick enough and was too dependent on reference to make it as a penciller. Instead, I trained to be an illustrator. I also studied desktop publishing and after graduation I found work as a graphic designer.

When the economy crashed and ate my graphic design career I suddenly had a bunch of time on my hands. I decided to get back into painting and revamp my illustration portfolio (I never really cared for graphic design, honestly), but all my old painting supplies where in storage at my parents place and I didn’t have enough cash to re-buy them. I did, however, have my computer and all the programs i used for graphic design. Rationing that whatever I painted I’d have to scan into the computer anyway I decided to investigate how to cut out the middle man and learn how to paint with Photoshop. I used an Amazon gift card I got for my birthday to buy the cheapest Wacom tablet I could find and a couple of basic books on computer coloring and got to it.

I got hooked instantly and began spending my days practicing and researching online how to color comics. Finally, I had found my place in the comic industry. I began networking with professional colorists and about four months after I bought that first Wacom tablet I found myself re-mastering old comics for Marvel full-time.

 

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

The first comic I ever bought was an issue of Iron Man as a small child because I’d just seen Star Wars and I thought he looked like C-3PO. Shitty as it may be to some, the first Secret Wars from the 80’s will always be my favorite series.

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I like all comics, but Superheroes are where the real money is so I like Superheroes a lot.

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Whoever they’re paying me to color currently.

 

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

I dipped out of comics while I was in art school. They didn’t vibe with the arty, emo punk identity I was crafting for myself. I got a subscription to Wizard as a gift so I was always up on what was happening, but if it wasn’t for Sandman and then Preacher I wouldn’t have made the trip to the comic shop every month for years. So those two.

 

  • Whats your process like for coloring?

Wake up after taking a a three hour, unintentional nap. Check my email and social media to see what fresh, new hell the day has in store for me. Gab some coffee and stress about how i’m going to fit in basic life responsibilities with all my deadlines. Turn on music/podcasts/Netflix then work for the next 20 or so hours stopping briefly to attend to unavoidable biological necessities. Take a break to pet my cat and accidentally fall asleep for the next three hours. Repeat.

  • How do you choose a color palette?

First I find what ‘s there. What’s the environment? What time of day is it? What are the costume colors? Then I look at the script to figure out what the emotional core of a scene is. Is it a fight scene? If it’s a conversation what is at stake?

I don’t know if you’ve seen the Youtube video where they strip the music out of the end scene of ET, but it’s astounding how flat and boring it is without John Williams score. Comic coloring is like adding sound to a movie. We color in the emotion.

 

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

The first issue of Hell Yeah. It’s a horrible abomination of embarrassing coloring by anyone’s standards, but at the time it was a younger me super stoked to have a gig coloring my first superhero book, just throwing it all out there like a hyperactive toddler who doesn’t know any better. All inspirations and whims where pursued to their upmost extreme, art and logic be damned! As an artist I’m super excited about whatever I’m currently coloring and suicidally embarrassed by stuff i did mere months ago, but Hell Yeah #1 always makes me smile. It’s like discovering a picture of yourself from 9th grade. You’re immortalized as 15 years of baddass attitude wrapped in awful haircuts and awkward clothes and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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

Drive. Mars Attacks. Brigands. Drive part 2. Other things I can’t mention yet. Stay tuned!

 

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

My former mentor Dean White as my all-time favorite. He’s the the Jimi Hendrix of colorists. The shit he did on Uncanny X-Force is so next level that he made the rest of the industry look like they were coloring in black and white.

Outside of Dean my go too’s are Dave McCaig on Nextwave, Daniel Acuna on Uncanny Avengers, Justin Ponsor on the Miles Morales Spiderman, Laura Martin on the Joss Whedon X-Men and Val Staples on Incognito. Lately I’ve really dug Tomer Hanuka’s work on The Divine. Kristian Donaldson’s work on a book called Supermarket is a big influence on how I color Drive.

 

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Painters mostly. Ron English, Jerome Witkin, JC Leynedecker, Drew Struzen, Malcolm T Liepke, Robert McGinnis and Phil Hale to name a few. Really I’m looking everywhere for inspiration. Mondo prints. Old movies. 80’s Skateboard Graphics, Heavy Metal album Covers, Video games. Advertising from the 60’s. Japanese toys. Fetish photography. Nature. Everywhere. The first season of that terrible show Hemlock Groove on Netflix has amazing color schemes. I’ve watched that season three times on mute. Amazing!

 

 

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

My editor Justin told my when I signed on to approach the book like I was adapting the soundtrack instead of the movie. I’ve tried to go super impressionistic with the book and describe the emotion of the panels rather than how everything would look in nature.

 

Although out there by mainstream standards, Drive’s colors are pretty tame compared to what a lot of under, underground comic artists are doing. I think I assimilated a lot of that by osmosis when I lived in Portland and funneled it into Drive.

 

  • Did the movie heavily influence your choices? Or were you able to branch out a bit?

Enter The Void by Gasper Noe and Vertigo by Hitchcock were bigger influences on coloring Drive than it’s movie. There’s a few things here and there that I took from the movie, but for the most part I tried to go my own way with the book. The comic is based on the novel not the movie so a lot of that wouldn’t fit anyway.

 

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

I always opt for cheapness and convenience when choosing my burrito, which is difficult because you’re always bleeding money in the ass-end of a strange town at cons. Chipotle and it’s bastard offspring Qdoba and Baja Fresh work the best. My favorite burrito however is the Talapia Supreme from La Bonita in Portland, OR.

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

When I go to one of the big cons about 70% of the reason I’m there is to network. Emerald City and Heroes Con are the best for meeting other industry folks that I’ve found. Hanging out in the right hotel bar almost becomes as important as the con floor when you’re trying to meet the right people.

As far as enjoying a con recreationally I like the small, one day cons that have been popping up in tiny towns all over the place. There’s no celebrities, or creators you’ve heard of, just people in homemade costumes buying old toys and musty comics from mom and pop vendors that look to be one bad life decision removed from carnie folk. They remind me of the kind of ragtag cons I went to growing up in West Virginia. Just nerds hanging out with other nerds rejoicing in their nerditude , except now there are entire families of nerds in attendance.

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

Redoing the entire first Secret Wars from the 80’s with Frank Quitely on pencils. Realistically, Joe Eisma and I on a Spider-book or Marcio Takara on an X-book. Doing a Bat-book or revamping Strikeforce: Moritori with Brian Level would be fun. Reviving Nextwave: Agents of HATE with Juan Gedeon would be heavenly. I could keep going on like this forever…

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

Punk musician or homeless man.

 

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

Things run smoother at the bigger companies. They give me the pages, tell me when they want them back and for the most part leave me alone to do what I do. After I hand the pages in I can expect my money within about 30 days. My editors are usually super busy so as long as everything looks good and is on time everyone is happy.

90% of self-publishing guys are nothing but headaches. They mean well, but spending money they don’t have for me to color their life long passion project which they unrealistically believe will launch them into comic stardom turns them into annoying stress monsters.

They’ll have arbitrary, unrealistic deadlines and demand a bunch of nitpicky corrections and send constant, nagging requests for updates, only  to realize they don’t have the money to pay me when I’m halfway through coloring their book.

Some times they’ll push for me to ape Dave Stewart (I love you, Dave!) rather than use my own coloring style. Often times they’ll add me on Facebook and send me 50 urgent update requests when I happen to post that I went outside that day, like some kind of unholy hybrid of needy, jealous girlfriend and overbearing truant officer.

The problem is that the little guys think that because they’re paying me what for them is a lot of money that, that makes them my boss. In reality I have many bosses. When deadlines loom and I have to prioritize I’m going to choose the entity which can provide me with more income in the future, which is always the bigger companies. No one likes to hear they’re number two. Even when things do go well with the self-publishing guys its rare that they ever get to a second issue, even if they had originally pitched me a 50 part mega-epic. It’s like they evaporate after that first issue.

  • What unique challenges does remastering have compared to coloring new titles?

None. That was what was great about them. I’d wake up at noon, pour a glass of Vanilla Coke, turn on some Slayer and color comics  I had as a child until the wee hours of the morning. If I could somehow incorporate playing Sega with Tony Hawk while getting a back rub from Debbie Gibson I would have been living out my ultimate 14-year-old fantasy life.

There were only 64 colors I could choose from, and out of those about a third were never used. My whole job was matching the colors to the scanned comic pages they sent me. It was sublime. If only it payed a little better and there was an inexhaustible supply of old comics to re-color I would have done that forever.

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

I prefer artists with more of an open style and minimal use of blacks. Too many heavy shadows, or hatching, or use of greyscale just gets in my way and often hampers my ability to color a page. It’s hard to find an artist with an unclutterd, clean style who also has a strong sense of structure without becoming cartoony. Mike Allred, Chris Samnee and my collaborator on Brigands, Nick Barber, are pretty close to ideal.

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Again, whoever I’m currently paid to color is my favorite. While doing warm ups I prefer to color female superheroes.

 

  • Thank you for your time Jason, I’ve enjoyed talking to you. Looking forward to your great work in the future.

No problem. Check out my Twitter: @lewisjasonr and my Tumblr lewisjasonr.tumblr.com. Now I’ve got to get back to work.

 

If you’d like to purchase some of Jason’s work you can check out his page on Comixology: https://www.comixology.com/Jason-Lewis/comics-creator/5533?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC9jcmVhdG9yU2xpZGVy

Don’t forget to ask your local retailer about Drive.