Coloring Between the Lines: Matthew Wilson

Hello Revuers! Sorry for the absences a of late, but we are officially back. What better way to return than with an interview with one of the top colorists in the game today: Matthew Wilson! We appreciate Matthew for his time and are grateful to him for answering our questions. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we do!

 

Hello Matt, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

I started coloring for Lee Loughridge’s coloring studio, Zylonol Studios in 2003. I first colored books under my own name, and colored less for Zylonol between 2007-2009.

 

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

No, not really. I liked to draw, paint, and sculpt as a kid and wanted to do any of those things when I grew up. I read comics as a kid, but never thought of coloring as a career I might have one day. I took a class on digital coloring for comics in college, and enjoyed it. I only began coloring comics as a job because Zylonol was located in the same town as my college and I applied to work there after I graduated. It was one of the only places locally that I thought I might like to work. One thing led to another and now it’s 13 years later and I’ve colored a lot of comic books.

 

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

Hm. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collections they put out in the early 90’s. The colored collections, not the original black and white comics. I wasn’t aware of them until I saw the collections in a bookstore. Then, around the same time was the death of Superman, and then the creation of Image comics by a bunch of creators that I already liked from reading their previous work. Another early influence was Marvel and DC trading cards, because there was a card shop near my house that I could ride my bike to after school, and buy cards. Also, Batman The Animated Series was something else I was really in to as a kid.

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

If I had to pick, I guess I’d pick other genres, but I like reading both superhero books and non-superhero books.

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Hm, that’s a tough one. Probably Batman if I’m picking just one. Or maybe Spider-Man.

 

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Hellboy, maybe? Or maybe John Constantine. Again, that’s tough.

 

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

Hellboy or Hellblazer in terms of all-time favorite. More recently I’ve really enjoyed East of West, Lazarus, The Autumnlands, and Southern Bastards.

 

  • What is your process like for coloring?

Black and white pages come from the publisher, I give them to my flatter. He puts in flat colors so it’s easier for me to select areas to color. I then read the script and look over the pages to get an idea of how I want to color the issue. I tend to work on an entire scene at one time, if I can. I’ll set the palette for the scene. Then, I’ll color the backgrounds in all the pages, then go back and color all the characters in the pages.. Lastly I’ll do any of the glows or coloring of the lines for things like powers or explosions. I tend to spend about 1 to 2 hours on a page on average.

 

  • How do you choose a color palette?

I usually look for a story reason first. For example, is there an emotion I can help bring out in the color that will help better tell the story? Or do I need to indicate a particular time of day or a specific kind of lighting? I want to make sure the colors are servicing the story. Then I look at what the artist has given me to work with. Have they set up an interesting light source? Is there a clear indication of the time of day, or something in the environment that might suggest a certain color? Then I’ll also take other scenes in to consideration when picking the palette for the scene I’m working on. Like, what came before? What’s happening in the next scene? I like to have an obvious change in palette when the story changes scenes. So, for example, if we’re inside a laboratory in one scene, then we exit the lab to find it’s in the middle of a desert I want to make sure the lab and the desert don’t use similar palettes. And my choice for the lab palette will be very different if the story shows the next scene to be in the middle of the arctic or something, rather than a desert. So I like to know the context around each scene before deciding on a palette.

 

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

That’s a tough question to answer because I work on so many that I’m probably forgetting an older one that I really enjoyed. And also, as I try to get better at coloring all the time, I tend to like my current projects more because I feel like I’m doing better work now than I did in the past. For example, I worked with Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman for 3 years, and after that we moved to working on Paper Girls for the last 2 years. I like our work on Paper Girls much more than what I did on Wonder Woman, but that’s because it’s more current, and I believe I’ve gotten better at coloring. But yeah, some of my favorite projects recently are certainly Wonder Woman and Swamp Thing at DC. Daredevil and Black Widow, both with Chris Samnee at Marvel. The last few years of Thor with Russell Dauterman at Marvel. And many of my collaborations with Jamie McKelvie, including Phonogram, The Wicked + The Divine, and Young Avengers.

 

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

There’s a series coming out at Image called Black Cloud that I think will be interesting. It’s written by Jason Latour and Ivan Brandon, with art by Greg Hinkle and colors by me. The premise of the story is allowing for some wildly varying visuals, and really pushing me in different directions depending on the scene.

 

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

Probably my all time favorite is Dave Stewart. His work is what inspired me to keep getting better when I was first starting out. Currently, I’m always amazed when I see something colored by Bettie Breitweiser, Jordie Bellaire, Tamra Bonvillain, Nathan Fairbairn, Jordan Boyd, Nolan Woodard, Frank Martin, Dave McCaig, Nick Filardi, Kelly Fitzpatrick…. And probably just as many names that I’m forgetting. Honestly, there’s SO many good colorists doing interesting work now. Not to mention artists that are fantastic at coloring themselves like Jen Bartel and Kris Anka and Ryan Browne.

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Just about everyone I mentioned in the last answer, for sure. In terms of art history, or more historical influences, I’ve always been partial to impressionist painters. My earliest influence on how powerful of a tool that color palettes could be was the Rouen Cathedral series of paintings by Claude Monet. Another artist I like to cite in these kinds of answers is Japanese artist Hiroshi Yoshida. He was a 20th century painter and printmaker. His prints were amazing.

 

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on The Wicked and the Divine, especially how your color art is an intricate part of the story telling. How did you build the aesthetic for that book?

A lot of discussion with the rest of the creative team, building on work we had done together as a team on previous works, and trial and error with different ideas for depicting the god’s abilities and performances. We set out knowing we wanted it to look like something “more” than a typical depiction of superhero powers. So pushing things further than I might go on a superhero book was important. We passed a lot of inspiration images back and forth from things like fashion photography and music videos. The fact that the gods are pop stars meant we took a lot of influence from pop culture. Overall, I’m still using the same framework of how I approach coloring a book, but for this book the pieces I bolt on to that framework just happen to be a bit more neon and glow-y.

 

  • In issue 8 of the wicked and the divine your color work is used as a visual aide for the reader, how did you come up with that idea?

That was one of the hardest issues of coloring I’ve ever done. Not because the technical aspects of coloring took me any longer than other books. But the conceptual part was very time consuming. I came up with new palettes on every page, and sometimes in every panel of the page. Trying to figure out how to convey the experience Laura was going through while being influenced by Dio’s powers was a big challenge. One of the biggest ways we could help the reader “feel” what Laura was feeling was how the pages are colored. Things like the tempo of the party and her experience were noted in the script, and I had to try and make sure the colors matched that tempo. Higher contrast, more saturated when the tempo sped up. And then less saturated and intense when the tempo slowed down. This was another instance of using contrasting palettes to really sell each scene. The pages before and after the party are intentionally less saturated and a bit duller in terms of color. That way, when the party scene starts and I use a bunch of saturated colors, they seem even more saturated and brighter because the previous scenes were so dull.

 

 

  • You have worked with the team of Gillen and McKelvie and with Waid and Samnee on a couple of series’ now, what’s it like to have that level of understanding built with the other members of a creative team?

Long term collaborations are great, because we’re able to really understand each other. Kieron can write to Jamie or my strengths and know we’ll pull off the idea he’s trying to convey. For my part, it means the artist and I can work out exactly how to set up the files to get the best result. Like, any time Jamie draws a god’s crazy power it’s usually on a separate layer so I can easily experiment with it in color. The same goes for Russell’s art on Thor. Each issue we learn something, and as you do dozens of issues together all that accumulated knowledge builds up and makes the process easier and gives us great opportunities to experiment. Working with the same artists for so long also lets us grow and evolve as artists, because we can try different things based on what we liked or didn’t like in our past work. How Jamie or Russell or Samnee are drawing the current issues of our projects has evolved from how they drew earlier issues. And I’ve subtly changed how I color them too. From issue to issue it may be hard to spot, but over time we’re always changing our approach in little ways.

 

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

I have no idea, honestly! I did not set out to cultivate this style. And I’m not even sure I could telly what my “style” is. I kind of feel like I don’t have one, but I hear people say they recognize my colors, so I must have something people identify. But, like most artists, the style is probably a result of the influences I consume and how those influences get pieced together in to the art that I make.

 

  • Burritos or coneys?

I probably like burritos more but I definitely eat more hotdogs.

 

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

JJ’s Red Hots in Charlotte, North Carolina is my favorite hotdog place.

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Heroes Con in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I don’t really have one, I don’t think. I get to work on so many different projects every year, with so many different collaborators that I’m kept busy and fulfilled, which doesn’t leave me much time to dream about future collaborations.

 

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

A park ranger!

 

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

Some small technical things on certain books, but creatively I’m given a lot of freedom regardless of if the book is work for hire for the big 2 or a creator owned book.

 

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

All of my regular collaborators like Jamie McKelvie, Cliff Chiang, Chris Samnee, Russell Dauterman, and Kris Anka. I did a bunch of Secret Avengers issues with Michael Walsh and they were a ton of fun to do. Greg Hinkle, who I’m coloring on the upcoming Black Cloud is an amazing artist that’s incredibly fun to color.

 

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

Again, my regulars are great: Kieron Gillen, Jason Aaron, Brian K Vaughan, Mark Waid. Coloring Star-Lord is the first time I’ve worked with Chip Zdarsky, and he’s been really enjoyable to work with. I only worked with Matt Fraction once, on a Mandarin annual, but he put a lot of thought in to the color when writing that story and that was an enjoyable assignment.

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Hard to say, as I’m more in to storytelling with palettes than I am in to coloring a specific character. Thor has been fun because it’s been pretty much a straight up fantasy book with some sci-fi visuals. So that’s allowed me to do some really fun and wildly varied palettes. I can say for sure that I often hate coloring red costumes, and I usually don’t like coloring shiny metal. So, I guess it’s good I don’t work on Iron Man!

 

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

Black Widow, and I already did it! I enjoy spy stories, so that was a lot of fun to help create the look of one in the latest run of Black Widow. I’ve never worked on a Batman book, and would like to do that one day. But I’d probably want to do some kind of stand alone Elseworlds type story where it’s Batman in the 1920’s or something. And another answer I could give would be anything Hellboy. But I’d never want to try and fill Dave Stewart’s shoes.

 

  • 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 Artist?

Yes, but not really because of the trends toward digital. I think the art of coloring is becoming more appreciated as it matures. Digital coloring isn’t that old, it’s only been around a few decades at this point. And the tools we’re using to color have really only become widely accessible even more recently than that. So you’ve got the tools getting better together with the colorists, and artist that color themselves, getting better at using those tools and the result is coloring is getting better and better. A lot of the traditional inking techniques were developed to convey information that older coloring methods could not. Hatching for shading and showing volume in a shape, things like that. Now, there isn’t anything that color can’t convey, and artists have responded to that by sometimes making less marks in black and white and leaving it up to the color to convey those elements of the art. So the role of the colorist has grown more important as their ability to bring substantive additions to the page and the story has grown.

 

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

 

 

New Comic Book Day top 5: Oct. 12th

Hello Revuers! Tomorrow marks a fantastic New Comic Book Day. It’s the best day of the week in my opinion. I’m looking forward to many titles but for this segment, as always, I have narrowed it down to my top 5. Two titles are from DC, two are from Image and one title is from Marvel. If you agree or don’t agree wit my picks let me know in the comment section below. I love hearing each week what our readers are picking up! Without further delay let’s jump right in.

 

5: Supergirl #2

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Supergirl #2 comes to us from the creative team of writer Steve Orlando and artist Brian Ching. This issues sees Supergirl clash with Cyborg Superman who was revealed at the end of issue 1 of Supergirl. Supergirl #2 was a vast improvement on the Rebirth special issue of Supergirl, and I look for issue 2 to continue this trend. The reveal of Cyborg Superman at the end of issue one was a surprise and sets up an interesting antagonist for Supergirl to face off against. The art by Brian Ching was superb, building a world that’s aesthetically pleasing and unique. The variant covers by Bengal have been some of my favorite variant cover work to date. I can’t wait to pick up issue 2 tomorrow.

 

4: Southern Cross #8

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Southern Cross #8 is written by Becky Cloonan with art from Andy Belanger. This series from Image comics has been consistently one of the best series’ they put out. I love the genre bending the story explores. Is this series Sci-Fi? Is it horror? A little of both? The driving mystery of the series keeps the reader coming back for more and more. This issue sees the continuation of the story arc ‘ROMULUS’ The second story arc of the series. I don’t want to go into too much detail and spoil the first arc for you so I’ll just say this. Spaceship. Paranormal activity. Government conspiracy. All of the covers are by the spectacular Becky Cloonan, who is just as talented of an artist as she is a writer. If you haven’t read this series yet, so yourself a favor and pick up the first trade (it’s only $9.99!). Read it, and then go buy the new issues.

 

3: Great Lakes Avengers

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I was a pretty big fan of the origianl volume of the Great Lakes Avengers, so when Marvel announced that a new series featuring the GLA would be part of their (newest) NOW! initiative I was excited. The series comes from writer Zac Gorman and artist Will Robinson. The story shows that the GLA have been reinstated as members of the Avengers and have been moved to a new headquarters in Detroit. Detroit is about 3 hours away from where I live so that’s kind of exciting for me (I know, I’m a huge nerd).  IT looks like all of the original members are back except maybe Squirrel Girl (who is seen in cut out form in the cover). I’m sure that this new series will follow in the humorous tradition of the previous volume.

 

2: All-Star Batman #3

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All-Star Batman is written by Batman scribe Scott Snyder, with art by John Romita Jr and features some of the best color work in any comic book series on the shelves today, from Dean White. At the close of the last issue we see that even those that Batman trusts the most have turned on him. It’s one thing when it’s Two Face and some bounty hunters you have to worry about, but what will Batman do now that even the police are after him? This road trip with one of his most deadly enemies has turned out to be quite the handful. I dare say that this series is one of the top series’ in the stellar Rebirth initiative by Dc Comics. I think it benefits a lot from being on the traditional once a month schedule as opposed to the twice monthly pace of most of DC’s big titles. This once a month schedule allows Snyder to take his time developing the story. The art by Romita JR. doesn’t feel rushed at all, but rather sweeping and grandiose. As I mentioned before the color work by Dean White is next level work. Truly an All-Star creative team for All-Star Batman.

 

1: Reborn

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The big guns are out for Reborn, a new series from Image comics written by Mark Millar with art by Greg Capullo. The general plot deals with the idea: Where do I go after I die? In this series you go to a place that’s not heaven or hell, but rather a place where you have to fight to survive. A place where you have to make a reckoning with everyone you ever wronged or treated nicely. The story sounds interesting and I trust Mark Millar will do a magnificent job. What really intrigues me is the art by Greg Capullo. This is the first comic book project for Capullo since his legendary run on the New 52 Batman with Scott Snyder. I am excited to see the world that he create for the readers. One of his strongest area is in character design (he designed the current Batman look), so I am curious what he will do having free reign over an environment. Not having any limitations should produce some incredible work from the comic book veteran. All in all this series has me intrigued.

 

So there you have it! Did your most anticipated books make the cut? Tell us in the comments below. We would also love to see your list of most anticipated comics!

 

-Andrew

 

 

Covers of the Week: Oct. 5th

Hello Revuers! It’s time for another installment on Covers of the Week. This segment is where I pick my favorite regular cover and variant cover of the week. This week there were many covers I could have picked but in the end I settled on just two. My favorite regular cover and my favorite variant cover. Now, when I choose my favorite covers it doesn’t have to be from a series I’m reading, but rather just my favorite cover in general. Let’s get to it:

 

My favorite regular cover this week is:

Godzilla Rage Across Time #2

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Since the Godzilla franchise moved to IDW, the series has featured a plethora of amazing covers. This new series Godzilla Rage Against Time by writers Chris Mowry and Kahlil Schweitze and artist Tadd Galusha is no exception. This cover by Bob Eggleton features Godzilla eating pillars from mount Olympias. The almost painted quality of the cover is beautiful. It’s really his attention to detail on Godzilla’s skin that makes this cover stand out. The muted color palette adds to the cover. All in all a solid cover by a fantastic artist.

 

My favorite variant cover is:

Jessica Jones #1

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This variant cover by David Aja is for the newest volume of Jessica Jones (was called Alias, but was changed so it wouldn’t be confused with the TV show from the early 2000’s. Also to line up with the Netflix show Jessica Jones). I really love the story this cover tells. You can get a sense of who Jessica Jones is just by studying the cover. The tri-color palette is perfect for the series as it has more of a noir feel to it than most of the other series’ that MArvel is producing. The light splattering of red looks like blood splatters and adds a nice effect.The series its’ self brings back the original creators with writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos. The first volume was published on Marvel’s MAX imprint. The MAX imprint featured more mature content than Marvel’s main line. While this newest volume of Jessica Jones was more mature than most of Marvel’s current lineup it still was quite toned down from the first volume. I would still recommend picking it up though.

 

Was your favorite cover on the list? If not tell me what your favorite of the week was in the comment section below!

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson

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Welcome to October here at Deja.Revue. If you have not noticed already, I tend to be a fan of the creepy, the weird, and the left-field in comics. So I though October would be a perfect time to indulge those predilections even more than I already have. Horror, as a genre in comics, has always been just off to the side. Less flashy than superheroes, and something of a mutant child of crime comics, the genre has a breadth and depth which is, in my opinion, almost unmatched. I do not hope to cover the whole diverse range of the genre in the coming month, but I do hope to give you a survey of some of my favorite works on page and screen. If you would like to read further, Paste has an excellent list of horror comics you should read. For further reading on the history of horror comics, check out Mike Howlett’s essay in the back of this excellent horror anthology that I will not have the time or space to write about this month. If all goes according to plan, I will have a column each Monday for you, culminating, fittingly, with Halloween at the end of the month. Don’t forget to turn off the lights.

It is important that you know that this book is all about neighborhood pets roaming the neighborhood and running into paranormal phenomenon and, eventually, become guardians of the neighborhood from such phenomenon. It is important that I get this out up front because despite a premise that in lesser hands could easily result in nothing more than inconsequential cartoonishness, Beats of Burden is a dark, moving, and melancholic comic. Danger is real. People Animals die. Burden Hill, where the action is set, is not normal or safe, and our intrepid heroes become all too familiar with the darkness creeping in from the outside.

Evan Dorkin centers the book around a group of canine (and one feline) friends whose bonds of loyalty are tested and strengthened as the events in Burden Hill become weirder, more frequent, and more dangerous. Most of the stories in the book are shorter than the average comic. As a result, Dorkin uses some narrative shorthand to make the characters recognizable and memorable. Their personalities are archetypal and fixed. They grow into their heroism by pushing their best qualities to the fore, and by sticking together. This is not really a criticism of the book, as the characters are endearing and the narrative is mythic, employing moments of graphic realism sparsely, and to great effect.

Jill Thompson’s art is a great compliment to the story partly because of how well it switches modes between the quotidian, the gruesome, and the fantastic. Once again I must display my slavish devotion to the use of watercolors, for it is their diverse range of light and texture that allows Thompson to seamlessly enter these different modes – moving from sunlit suburban streets, to foggy graveyards, to murky woods. Most comics are the result of a partnership between writer and artist, but oftentimes the latter serves a subordinate role. Not so here. It is Thompson who renders so delightfully the world of Burden Hill, filled with beasts both noble and ignoble. She gives vital shape and form to Dorkin’s mythic heroes (who just so happen to resemble the menagerie at the local pet shop).

Humor is an essential counterpart to horror. Beasts of Burden can be quite funny, offsetting the pressing darkness and lending the book a sense of adventure amidst the looming peril. It leans toward the lighter side of horror, but this only makes the moments of violence and gloom more effective. Beasts of Burden is a classic yarn, a tale of good against evil, which is not meant to send you to bed hiding under the covers, but to send you out into the world with the hope that good can still be done, and the the unrelenting darkness can be beaten back.

 

-Ian

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: Rico Renzi

Hello Revuers. It’s time for another Coloring Between the Lines segment. This months guest is the one and only Rico Renzi. You probably recognize his work from such titles as Spider-Gwen, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and Howard the Duck. Rico is a world class talent and we are grateful for his time. Now without further ado:

  • How long have you been a colorist?

My first comics work was published in 2003. A Batman cover drawn by Chris Brunner
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  • Was it what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

I don’t think I knew coloring comics was a real job when I was a kid.

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

Iron Man

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I like anything with appealing art and a good story.

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Batgirl

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Maggie Chascarillo

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

Love and Rockets

  • How do you choose a color palette?

I try to keep it simple and trust my instincts.

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

Whatever I’m working on right now (Radioactive Spider-Gwen & Unbeatable Squirrel Girl)

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

Doing some covers with Chris Brunner and finishing the 4th issue of Loose Ends.

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

Too many to list but here’s a few off the top of my head: Bettie Breitweiser, Matt Wilson, Jordie Bellaire, Megan Wilson, Tamra Bonvilllain, Kelly Fitzpatrick, Dave Stewart, Matt Madden, Laura Martin, Lauren Affe, Matt Hollingsworth, Brian Reber, Joseph Bergin III, Dave McCaig, Trish Mulvihill.

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Yeah, Brian Stelfreeze, Tomer Hanuka, Mark Chiarello, Mary Blair, Rian Hughes, pretty much everything I see.

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on FBP. How did you pick out the palette for that book?
    Hard to remember, I made a lot of stuff pink and tried not to use many earth tones.

 

  • On that series you teamed up with artist Robbi Rodriguez, who you would later work with creating Spider-Gwen. What’s it like having a relationship built with an artist?

    I don’t work on many projects where I don’t know the artist. It’s just too hard. It’s so mercenary and difficult to make the work look like it comes from one pair of hands which is usually my goal.

 

  • Speaking of Spider-gwen, one of the most iconic things for her is her costume and the color choices it makes. What was it like working on those?

    Those choices weren’t mine but I would have made similar ones. The superhero in primary colors things has been done a lot and done well. Gwen’s colors can be shown to someone familiar with the character without the costume and people will recognize them as her. I think that’s something people like about her suit.

 

  • The bright color choices associated with Spider-gwen is really what ties her universe together, a constant if you will, what was the process like creating her world?

We drew inspiration for the Neo Tokyo of Akira for sure. Also, neons are just a personal preference of mine and probably the reason Robbi wanted me around for this.

  • Burritos or coneys?

Sophie’s choice.

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

    Sabor in Charlotte, NC

 

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

JJ’s Red Hots in Charlotte, NC

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I’d like to color Jaime Hernandez and Cory Walker sometime

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

Designer of t-shirts probably. http://nolongermint.tictail.com/

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

I get paid more and faster at the big two.

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

Working for an indie publisher can present the unique challenge of eating.

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

    Chris Brunner, Jason Latour, Erica Henderson, Robbi Rodriguez, Tradd Moore

 

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

Jason Latour, Ryan North, Chip Zdarsky

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Earth-65 Captain America

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

Thanks!

If you would like to check out some of Rico’s work you can check out his Facebook, Twitter, and his website

If you are interested in buying his work you can check out his comixology page here, or ask you LCS about ordering one of his many titles.

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!