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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Recommended Reading: Richard McGuire’s Here

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Richard McGuire’s Here imagines, in the pages of a comic, the same thing that I often have: what happened here, in this spot – our house, our town, the grocery store, the lake, the highway – one hundred years ago, one thousand years ago, one hundred thousand years ago? What did it look like? Who, or what, stood in the same spot as I do now, in the year 2016, on the brink of the year 2017? What did it look like before Europeans set foot on these shores? What did it look like before any humans lived here at all? Who lived here? Fell in love here? Died here?

Looking out from my own window, I often imagine what people have stood in the same spot as I do, looking up into the sky, or down onto the yard which stretches out to a small lake. And it is not only at home that I think this, but at work, or when I travel as well.

I do not believe this to be a terribly common type of thinking – or at least, it does not border on obsession for most people – but regardless, McGuire’s beautiful book, as all one’s favorite books do, feels as if it were written directly for me, personally.

The book takes place viewed from one angle. Often, this view shows us a living room. Sometimes it is painted different colors. A year – 1957, for instance – is set in the top left corner. But then other windows open in the living room. Some of these boxes show us other times, with other people – or maybe the same people, only aged – in the living room. Other boxes show us a forest. Or a view of another house, up to the right, in the distance. Some show Native Americans trading with European colonizers. Some show dinosaurs. Or dancing. Or melting ice cream. Or family disputes.

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McGuire orchestrates these scenes in a way that sometimes seems random, only to have the various random instances begin to line up, to harmonize, in a kind of symphony of time. He has taken brief moments from the years and years of time that have passed here, in this spot, and given them meaning through their mosaic juxtaposition with other, disconnected moments. Divorced from the context of their time, these moments gain force and sublimity when placed alongside other, disconnected images because they establish a kind of fraternity between all these people, and all these slices of time, which are separated by degrees on the linear spectrum of space-time. Looping back and forth between past, present, and future, McGuire demonstrates the connectedness of everything not through some corny anecdote about all these people being related, or all of them remembering everything that has happened in this spot (they surely don’t, as they are attached, like all of, primarily to their own existence) but through the simplicity of shared, finite space which stands in contrast to the infinite march of time.

McGuire illustrates the book to reflect this. The living room is solid, blocks of color and definite lines. But the people who move through it are often fuzzy, not quite defined. And the further into the past we go, the more the people, and the space itself, begin to blur. The space itself (sans living room) becomes a lawn with a scribbled house in the distance. Then, further back, a forest, which becomes murkier and murkier as we are transported further into the past, until it becomes primordial ooze, ill-defined space, but still our space, the space we see when we look into the living room. In the future, the house is gone. Overtaken by the ocean. Then dried out, but unlivable. Then slowly but surely, life emerges again.

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A late foray into the future: where a group of tourists enter the frame, led by a guide who begins to explain some customs of the 21st century – the carrying of wallets and keys, etc. – and then uses a device which gives the onlookers a view of the past, a view not dissimilar from the one McGuire has given us in the pages of his comic. This breaks, somewhat, the spell of the book – as if McGuire is trying to explain the magic of these windows into the past and future. For a moment, the imaginative and metaphysical experience of watching the pages of time flip, seemingly at random, is understood as merely a function of some future device, meant to intrigue bored tourists. But then that window collapses, and the chorus of voices, the painting of rooms, the noise of television and radios, the waves of future seas all come crashing in again overwhelming the tourists (of which we are now one) with the weight of time and the countless lives lived in these brief windows into the past and future.

McGuire’s book is a kind of miracle in that I cannot imagine it taking any other form. He uses the medium of comics to do something only comics can do – utilizing the boxy frames so often associated with comics to stunning effect. It is an elegy and a celebration of time and space and the moments we find together in the madness of the here and now, and the moments that led up to this one, and the infinite moments that will follow our forgetting.

 

Recommended Reading: From Hell

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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 has been three or four weeks since I put down the heavy copy of Alan Moore’s From Hell that I borrowed from the library. It was nearing 2 AM, and while the tome sits silently on a shelf in my house currently, the real weight of the book has pressed on my mind almost constantly since I finished reading it.

Moore is a giant of comics who also has no trouble voicing his skepticism and impatience with the direction of the medium. He has essentially disowned his two best-known works, V for Vendetta and Watchmen, over the cash-grab way in which the film adaptions of each were brought to theaters (it is also important to note that Moore sees his work as fundamentally unadaptable, that is, he made them comics for a reason and comics they should stay – but that is a topic for another time). Lately, he has moved away from comics altogether. In a recent interview with Vulture promoting his new novel Jerusalem – a nearly 1200-page post-post modern novel that seems to share more than a little DNA with From Hell – he said, when asked about the influence of his superhero work:

I am really in a bad mood about superheroes. I’m not the best person to ask about this. What are these movies doing other than entertaining us with stories and characters that were meant to entertain the 12-year-old boys of 50 years ago? Are we supposed to somehow embody these characters? That’s ridiculous. They are not characters that can possibly exist in the real world. Yes, I did Watchmen. Yes, I did Marvelman. These are two big seminal superhero works, I guess. But remember: Both of them are critical of the idea of superheroes. They weren’t meant to be a reinvigoration of the genre.

The irony of much the current superhero-saturated climate is that it ostensibly owes a great debt to the aesthetics and moral weight of Moore’s work, yet it misunderstands and misinterprets that work – much as if one had taken the wallpaper from a house, pasted it on a billboard, and claimed to have reproduced the house.

One need only to read Moore’s other work to recognize that his interests and fascinations lie almost entirely outside of the (to him) childish realm of caped heroes. From Hell is the ur-text for understanding where Moore is coming from. The book mixes deeply researched history with conspiracy, the occult, penny-dreadfuls, architecture, Nietzsche’s theory of eternal return, melodrama, freemasonry, and the poetry of William Blake (to name only a few touchstones from which the book takes its flight). One of the great pleasures of reading the work is pouring over the dense endnotes after finishing each chapter to discover what Moore made up, what he speculated on, and what is cold fact. In the endnotes we find Moore the scholar as well as Moore the author. These notes are casual, even conversational, in tone and they are bunched at the back of the volume that I read. However, they served as a much needed breather after the densely packed pages of each of the 16 chapters.

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Not only is each chapter dense with detail, but most are terrifying in an apocalyptic sense. The book, on its surface, is about the Jack the Ripper murders which plagued London toward the end of the Victorian era. To this day, the murders remain unsolved and, as a result, an entire culture of amateur investigation and conspiracy has grown concurrently with the Ripper legend. While Moore cobbles some of these theories together in order to form the central plot of the book, this is the opposite of a whodunit. Moore does not hide the murderer or his work from the eyes of the reader. The killings are depicted in harrowing detail as the work of William Gull – royal physician to Queen Victoria – who, on the one hand, carries out the murders to cover up an embarrassing royal family secret while, on the other, turning this bit of dirty work into a grand pagan sacrificial ceremony with the city of London serving as the altar. The book explores Gull’s life, showing the events that lead to his rise in social standing and seeing him through to the murders and on to his ultimate fate. Moore also follows the victims, investigators, and various accomplices (both witting and unwitting) who are all tied intricately and disastrously with the bloody business. Gull (through Moore) sees himself as a prophet of the century to come – the chosen one tasked with the business of birthing the 20th century with all of its wars, its famines, its depressions, its industries, and its revolutions.

This is where Moore expands the scope of the whole enterprise. The book is grotesque, yes (and though Moore is notoriously heavy-handed when it comes to working with artists, Eddie Campbell draws the book with the kind of ugly beauty it requires, making every panel seem as if it were illustrated using soot from a cobbled London street), but this is not what makes the book terrifying – and it is terrifying, being among the very few books I have read which left me wary of the dark corners and late-night creakings of my own home – what makes the book utterly terrifying is the universe-size canvas on which Moore projects his story. The sense that this is all happening now – that it all has happened – that it all will happen again – turns the book into a deeply personal, though still cosmic, kind of horror. It is a book with a bleak view of humanity. Its dark energy saps the hope from your body – the horror is bone deep.

From Hell is not a story of good vs. evil. The book never even whiffs at the illusion that good has any chance of prevailing. We watch, helplessly, as mundane, political evil opens the door for darker, more sinister kinds of evil. We watch as the “good” characters, compromised as they are, grasp at straws in order to stop the murders only to find that, once the crimes have been solved, the few people who care are helpless to do anything to stop Gull. And we watch as Gull’s obsessions grow and, eventually, utterly consume him. This consuming obsession spirals out from the book (there is something of “The Tell-Tale Heart” in this) to engulf Moore’s obsession, as documented in the copious endnotes, and the macabre obsession of Ripper enthusiasts, salivating over a string of murders that terrorized a city and took the real lives of real people and turning them into a hobby. Perhaps this is why the book is so horrifying, because, by the end of From Hell, haven’t we, the readers, become one of them?

Bedtime Stories That Keep You Awake: On Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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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.

At one point or another in your life it is likely that you have crawled into your bed, or crawled out of it, and thought you heard something. Maybe it was down the hall. Maybe it was on the roof. Or maybe, just maybe, it was under your bed. Your ears begin to ring. Your pupils dilate. You concentrate on the darkness and the silence. Your feet stiffen on the cold floor or your body tightens under the warm covers. You recede into the blankets, blocking out the world – a cotton fortress of your own making. It is absurd. Whatever that something is, it can get through. It will not be fooled by your disguise. It knows you are awake. In fact, it prefers you to be awake. It prefers that you wait in the silence, in the stillness, contemplating your immanent fate.

But there is not anything there. Not really. This absence is the source of terror, for it creates a gaping vacuum which our minds set quickly to populating with all sorts of morbid, grotesque, and devilish boogeymen. For some, this wild speculation, this endless suspension in the realm of horror, can create a kind of high – one you keep chasing. This helps explains the popularity of horror films, but more elementally it explains the enduring tradition of the campfire story, the legend, the myth, of which film is merely one of the most recent modes of delivery.

Enter Emily Carroll’s beguiling graphic novel Through the Woods. Each of its brief, gothic-inflected tales is meant to put you right back in bed, under the covers, afraid to peak over the edge and see the hand reaching out from underneath. It begins much the same way I have begun this article. By remembering the bed, the darkness, and the hand creeping out, Carroll prepares the reader for what is to come and also reminds us why we get into this stuff in the first place: we are all just chasing after that same, perfect moment of childhood fear over and over.

Carroll’s tales are, I think purposefully, transitional ones. They float in that space between childhood and adulthood (the library from which I checked out the book had it filed in the Teen section): evoking nursery rhymes even as they delve into more sinister territory. Because of this, she introduces some twists and turns which, for more seasoned readers, will feel less surprising. However, the collection also drifts towards a more uncertain, unsteady version of horror. The best of the stories (“Our Neighbor’s House,” “His Face All Red”) provide no answers, and in fact, no conclusions at all. The resulting effect runs much closer to one’s core than stories that end on dramatic revelations or twists (I can almost hear the violins exploding at the end of “My Friend Janna”). None of these stories overstays their welcome. They are gothic folktales, moving at a quick clip, lingering just long enough to send a chill down your spine, or to make the hairs on your neck stand at attention.

Though these nightmares are brief, that does not mean they are unmemorable. Carroll’s art is mostly to thank for that. It is bright and blocky. It channels folk art even as it disintegrates its own borders, dripping over the edges of the loosely defined frames. It is much less a traditional comic book than it is a series of narrative paintings whose accompanying text is incorporated as completely and artfully as the characters and settings. Reds and blues are cut through with inky black and shocks of white. Everything is angled like the set of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Imagine that film bursting in mad Technicolor and you will have an idea of what Carroll’s book looks like.

Like that film, Through the Woods suggests that monsters are real, but that they are often found just behind the eyes of the person sitting across from you, or just beneath the surface of the mirror you are staring into. This is how the monsters hide. And this is why we must, in the dark, when we are alone and we hear that sound again, fill the world with ugly daemons waiting just around the corner: because it keeps us from seeing the real and mundane ones.