Coloring Between The Lines: Mat Lopes

We-Are-Robin-7-Cover

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 Mat Lopes with us. Mat was gracious enough to answer some of the burning questions we here at Deja.Revue had for him. Mat is among the elite in the game today working on such titles as Star-Lord annual and Batgirl. So without further ado.

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

Well, if you mean as a professional, the first time I published was in December of 2011, but my first paid, regular job was only in July of 2012, so I guess that makes a five years old career now. However, I think I’m coloring on my own since 2009.

 

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

No, I wanted to be soccer player, hahaha! As a Brazilian guy, I can say we’re not all soccer fanatics around here, but I most definitely am. Art came a little later in my life and for a long time I just thought of it as a hobby. I didn’t even know my job existed until I was 17 or so!

 

 

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

You know, I started reading comic books later than usual for a comic professional. I’m a 90’s kid and, in my childhood, mangá was so much popular and easier to find here that I only discovered comics as a teenager. I can’t remember exactly which series I got into, I just remember being blown away by a whole new universe and all those colors, so I just started read everything I could. But if I have to name some titles, definitely Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman and such.

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

Hard to say. I think right now I’m reading more other genres than superhero, but I love them both!

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Batman.

 

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

That’s a tough one! I actually don’t think I have one.

 

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

Hahah, that’s a little lame, but I gotta go with a comedy mangá called Love Hina. So funny!

 

  • What is your process like for coloring?

First I get everything I have available and take a really good look at it. And by that I mean script, notes, concepts, references, pages etc.

After that, it depends. If we are starting something new, I really like to talk to the writer and artist and discuss about the book itself and everything that goes in it. It’s great to chat about the story, the genre, the rhythm, the approach of the art. I really try to understand what the artists and writers will be trying to say and find out how can I help to make it even clearer. That way I start to build my palette , my style of render and my whole approach in my head.

Once everything is clear to the whole team and me, I’ll send the pages to my flatters and after they’re done I start to work on the pages.

Of course many times we can’t have this whole process because of the deadline, or because it’s a fill in or just a one shot. In that case I’ll just see some references and go with my feeling.

 

  • How do you choose a color palette?

Complementing last answer, I’ll have to consider the specificities of the scene: If it’s day or night, if it’s natural or artificial light, what’s the mood of the whole scene, what’s important to emphasize, the planes I have to separate. After figuring this all out, I have my palette!

 

 

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

Hahaha, I can’t choose that! One of the great things about being a colorist is to work with so many artists with different styles on different projects! So for me often is apples and oranges, and I love all of them.

 

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

Wow, there are so many great people out there, but I think some of my favorites today would be Dave Stewart, Justin Ponsor, Matt Wilson, Nathan Fairbarn and Elizabeth Breitweiser, not in any particular order!

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

Of course! But not just one person or even one medium. I get inspired by a lot of things, such films, paintings and illustrations of any kind or style. And of course, comics as well.

 

  • I’ve personally really enjoyed your work on Batgirl. Color plays an important role in that book. How did you build the aesthetic for that book?

Thank you!

I tried to match Chris Wildgoose’s style for the render, so nothing too detailed. And since it’s a light, teen kinda of book, I keep a light and colorful palette for the most part of the story.

 

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

I don’t see much difference, to be honest. I mean, the editors who contact me know what kind of styles I usually do, and after we sort which directions we’re going, I have a lot of freedom on the book. Of course sometimes they ask for changes on certain things here and there, but I’d say that in 90% of the times their suggestions works very well and make my work look better!

 

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

I don’t know. I never tried to cultivate one style specifically; I always trained and studied very hard to match my colors with as many different art styles as possible. First because of the necessity: since I was trying to be a professional, in my head my chances would be better if I could color “everyone” in the industry. So while I practiced over artists like Ivan Reis and Eddy Barrows, I also tried to be a good match for guys like Rafael Albuquerque, Matteo Scalera and others. I think I learned a lot from never repeating the same style over the same artists. “My style” definitely came after I started to work regularly. With the experience I was acquiring I started to discover more about me as an artist, which things I was better at, what I liked doing the most, and that kind of thing. After that I think I just focused more on my “interest area”.

But you know, I still love coloring a lot of different styles! It’s like ice cream: my favorite may be chocolate, but that’s no reason not to taste all the other flavors! Hahah.

 

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

 

  • Star Wars or Star Trek

Star Wars.

 

  • Coffee or Tea

Coffee every day.

 

  • Batman or Superman

Bats!

 

  • Wolverine of spider-man?

Our Friendly Neighborhood Spidey.

 

  • Noir or Horror comics?

Horror

 

  • Burritos or coneys?

Burritos

 

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

I’ve never been on a US convention, so I can’t really tell! Hahah. In here they don’t usually have them.

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

Comic Con Experience, which happens in Brazil and it’s amazing!

 

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I have some artist’s I’d love to work with, like Sean Murphy, Chris Samnee, Rafael Albuquerque, Olivier Coipel and Bilquis Evely. These last two I already worked with, but only on small stuff! I want to color so much more of them, hahaha.

 

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

I would probably work with technology, since that was what I was studying before my career on comics started to get on tracks. Programming, most likely.

 

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

Luckly I already worked with a lot of great guys like Bilquis Evely, Felipe Watanabe, Martín Morazzo, Chris Wildgoose, Olivier Coipel, Leonardo Romero, Niko Walter, Vic Malhotra…

 

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

William Prince , Hope Larson, Sean Mackiewicz, Matthew Rosenberg, …

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Probably Robin (Damian) or Batgirl (Barbara Gordon), they have such cool costumes!

 

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

I think the creative team speaks louder to me than the series itself, but it would be really cool to work on Batman.

 

  • 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?

I think that more than tools for coloring, our digital age has given voice to the professionals behind a comic book. Suddenly  it’s a lot easier to hear from creators so it’s easier to follow them and their work, especially if they are united for a cause, like cover credits and royalties . I think it’s only natural to recognize and respect someone once they are not in the shadows anymore. But yeah, I’m not doing this for that long, but I can already tell the difference from when I started coloring, from fans to editors and even reviewers. Things are not perfect, but there is definitely an improvement regarding color artists (look, we are artists too, now!).

 

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

Yes! In fact, the only thing I’m working regularly that you can read right now is Batgirl, from DC. But a new series for Skybound just got announced, it’s called Gasolina and it’s written by Sean Mackiewicz with Niko Walter on the art duty and it will be coming out in Setember ! Also, I’m working on new project with the creators of The Electric Sublime, William Prince and Martín Morazzo. Finally, I’m also coloring a book for Marval that I cannot talk about it, but keep your eyes open, you’ll hear all about it very soon.

 

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

Thank you very much!

 

 

Writers Block: David M. Booher

Hello Revuers! Welcome to a new segment called Writers Block. In this segment or, block dare we say, we will be interviewing comic book writers that are making an impact on the industry. Today we have the great pleasure of welcoming David M Booher as our inaugural guest. David has writer such great comics as Powerless and Alien Bounty Hunter. Both of which as published by the fantastic Vault Comics. David was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about everything from his process to weather or not he likes Star Trek more than Star Wars. Without any further delay let’s dive right in.

  • Hello David! Thank you for agreeing to this interview.

My pleasure! Thanks for letting me ramble on!

  • Tell us a bit about your background?

By day, I’m a mild-mannered lawyer…by night, I write comic books and fight crime (well, just the first one). I grew up in a small town in Ohio and ended up in Los Angeles by way of Miami. In between I learned I loved writing and comics. I also met and married my husband, who has found a way to put up with me for 16 years. He’s the real hero.

  • How long have you been writing?

I started writing in college but didn’t really get serious until about ten years ago. I realized lawyering wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, so I started creating worlds much more exotic and exciting than mine. It took me a long time to even begin to wonder if others might think those worlds were just as awesome as I did.

  • When did you become interested in writing comic books?

I actually didn’t know I wanted to write comics until I started writing them. I wasn’t even really that into them as a kid. I know, I know. I’m still trying to catch up and make amends for that. But once I discovered that unique blend of art and words, I couldn’t look back. And when I hooked up with the guys at Vault Comics—my publisher—they showed me what the comics medium could really do. It’s exhilarating to look at the blank page and imagine the thousand different forms it can take.

  • What’s the first comic book you remember buying as a kid?

Like I said, I’m late-comer to comics, so I didn’t read many as a kid. But I read the hell out of Mad Magazine. They’d come straight to my house in a brown paper cover over the newsstand cover. I’d spread out on the floor in my bedroom and read that thing from cover to cover. Then read it again. Then flip through to make sure I didn’t miss any of the margin cartoons. And I’d never crease the back cover fold-in (if you don’t know what that is, Google it because it’s awesome!).

  • What from your life influences your writing the most?

Probably growing up in a small town. It was the 80’s, and I know life wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns in rural America back then, especially for gay kids like me. But I was eight years old and I didn’t know any of that yet. To me, my hometown was magic. Riding my bike to outrun the streetlamps. Hiding from the summer heat in a cool, dark corner of the library. Listening to the sounds of the Cleveland Indians games my dad watched on TV as I fell asleep. And exploring our urban legends: Gravity Hill, where a car actually rolls uphill in neutral (not really); a church with an upside down cross over its door (almost certainly an accident); and the creepy deformed Melonheads that prowled the surrounding woods (hmm…maybe?). Thirty years later and I still remember every detail. I was also an inappropriately young Stephen King fan, so I was always on the look out for the clown that was definitely living in our sewers.

  • What’s your process like for writing?

I’ll sit down for 6-8 hour stretches and just grind away. It takes time to get into the groove, and once I’m there, I hate to get out of it. Even my husband keeps his distance during those marathons (love you, honey!).

  • How do you develop your stories?

I have the worst—WORST—habit of starting a new story based on its title alone. I wish I could enter a story through a cool character or a unique setting. Nope. I’ll hear a great title word or phrase and my mind will race with story possibilities. It’s a double-edged sword—a good title can inspire a great story, but if the title is taken, there’s a good chance I’ll abandon the idea and move on. That said, I haven’t yet turned away an awesome character if she came knocking, even if she didn’t bring a title with her.

  • How has being a gay creator impacted your comics?

For better or worse, for me being a gay creator is about being different…having people perceive you differently…perceiving yourself differently…and sometimes choosing how you present yourself to the world. I force my characters to grapple with those same insecurities and secrets all the time. My comic Powerless is a great example—a world filled with people who are literally all super-powered and a handful who are not. How the powerless choose to present themselves and how other people perceive them become life-or-death propositions.

  • Do you have a secret skill?

Does crippling self-doubt count as a skill?

  • You have a series out from Vault comics called Alien Bounty Hunter #1, tell me a little more about that.

ABH was created by Stephen Levinson and FJ Desanto, and when they approached my co-writer Adrian Wassel and me to write it, we jumped at the chance. It’s a fun twist on the familiar sci-fi and adventure stories we all love—everything from vintage pulps to Star Wars and Indiana Jones. It follows bounty hunter Ben Madsen (from Arcadia, California, believe it or not) as he chases down a vicious fugitive, only to discover his newest mark isn’t at all as advertised. Madsen finds himself forced to navigate an alien prison hidden under the Alaskan tundra, where at every turn nothing is as it seems. Part Men in Black, part Blade Runner, and all fun. I should mention artist Nick Robles has been face-meltingly spectacular on the series. And maybe the coolest part is that the series is being produced by Mark Wahlberg.

  • On Alien Bounty Hunter #1 you work with a co-writer, what’s that like?

Adrian Wassel is the editor-in-chief for Vault Comics, my publisher, so we spent lots of time on Powerless together, my other series from Vault. We hit it off from day one, so when he asked me to jump on board to ABH, I didn’t hesitate. Working together, he and I have created something I’m not sure either one of us could have created alone.

  • How did you come up with the premise of Alien Bounty Hunter?

As I mentioned, Stephen Levinson and FJ Desanto created the story and concept. When they brought me and Adrian on board, they gave us a huge amount of freedom to help develop the world and the characters. Then our artist Nick really took all of our ideas and ran with them. It’s become a love letter to the adventure and sci-fi stories that have so heavily influenced the entire team.

  • The main character, Ben Madsen, seems like a bad ass with a heart of gold. What was the inspiration behind his character?

Our inspiration came from lots of different places, but right out of the gate we wanted to create more than just an action hero. We didn’t want readers to root for him because we told them to; we wanted readers to root for him because they like him and want him to succeed. That meant giving him depth beyond being a motorcycle-riding badass bounty hunter. That said, he’s also a motorcycle-riding badass bounty hunter.

  • From the introduction we get in Alien Bounty Hunter #1 it looks like Ben is a somewhat complex character. You do such a good job of developing him and giving us part of his background in just the first issue, it really makes us want to root for him.

Hooray! Exactly how we wanted you to feel.

  • Your other series, also published on Vault comics, is called Powerless, can you give us an elevator pitch for what that story is about?

Powerless is a gritty sci-fi take on superpowers, set in a world where all 7 billion people have some superhuman ability. But when a contagious virus starts to take those powers away, the government institutes a brutal quarantine to stop the spread while the infected begin to fight back, violently if necessary. A big shout out to the entire team that made Powerless spectacular: Nathan Gooden (art), Mike Spicer (colors), Deron Bennett (letters), and Tim Daniel (design). And a huge thank you to Oliver Ridge and Blood Moon Creative, who are producing Powerless alongside Vault and have supported the series from the start.

  • Powerless kind of flips the script from what we would think of when it comes to super powers, when did you first think of the idea?

I’ve been developing the story for Powerless for years. I love the idea that having a superpower could make you an outcast, but really, if you’re the only person who can shoot laser beams from your eyeballs, how much of an outcast can you really be? Now imagine if everyone else could shoot laser beams from their eyeballs, but you couldn’t? You’re still the outcast, but you’re also less powerful than everyone around you. That’s the question that fascinated me. So yeah, Powerless is about outcasts, but it’s also about how and where you find power when you seem powerless next to everyone else.

  • The powers of the main characters are interesting and so unique. For example, Billy Bannister has the ability to travel back in time 37 seconds. Was there a special reason behind 37 seconds?

Yes, there is. But you’ll have to stick around to find out. 😉

  • Do you have a favorite comic con?

I love going to Geek Christmas at San Diego Comic Con every July. I’m also really looking forward to going to Baltimore Comic Con in September. I’ve never been, and I hear it’s awesome.

Next I”l ask you some either or questions. Ready? Go?

  • Star Trek or Star Wars?

Star Wars although I do love me some ST:TNG

  • Coffee or Tea?

Coffee. ALL the coffee.

  • Superheroes or Noir

Can I say noir superhero?

  • Coney Dogs or Burrito

Burrito.

  • Movies or Books

Don’t…make…me…choose…

  • Floppies or digital copies

Floppies. Nothing like that new comics smell.

  • Trades or single issues

For series I love, both!

  • If you could work on anything, what would be a dream series for you to work on?

Firefly. Anything related to Firefly. I’d also love to write an X-book. Something subtle and quiet that brings a new dimension to a character we think we already know. I have some ideas…

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

Writing comics is already my second career, but I had to choose a third one…hmm…probably musical theater. When I wasn’t poking around urban legends as a child, I was singing and dancing.

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I’ve already gotten to collaborate with so many unbelievable talents. But if I have to choose, writer: Tom King. Artist: Too many to list!

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

This fall I have a Twilight Zone-esque short story in an anthology called The Strip from Red Stylo Media. Powerless will start its second arc in 2018. And I’m developing a couple of very cool series with some great creators I’ve met along the way that will hopefully see the light in 2018. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, readers can check out Powerless and Alien Bounty Hunter at www.vaultcomics.com and at comic shops everywhere.

You can find David on Twitter

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Deja.Revue Review Interview!

Hello Revuers! Today we have a very special episode of Deja.Revue Review. An interview with the ever wonderful Bob Frantz of Monty the Dinosaur fame. In this episode we discuss Comics, Star Trek, Life and of course Monty the Dinosaur. Give it a listen and be sure to tell us what you think!

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/deja.revue-review/id1146317175?mt=2

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!

AFORCE2015B005004_col

Coloring Between the Lines: Brian Reber

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 were fortunate enough to interview the amazing Brian Reber. Brian had some very interesting insights on coloring and life and was gracious enough to share them with us here at Deja.Revue. Brian is a consummate professional with over 15 years of experience in the comic book industry. You might recognize him from Ivar, Timewalker, Unity, Batwing and Bloodshot. So hold on to your hats and here we go:

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

I’ve been coloring comics since late 2001, so roughly 15 years.

 

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

Growing up I wanted to be an artist that did everything on a book. I wanted write, draw, ink, and color. Coloring was actually the last thing I wanted to do.

 

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

I want to say Uncanny X-men, but it was actually the reprinted Classic X-men that drew me in.

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

I’ve always been a huge superhero fan.

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

Batman.

 

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Kris from the Harbinger.

 

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

My current favorite would have to be Velvet. Brubaker is such a fantastic writer. Then you have Epting and Breitweiser just doing amazing work.

 

  • What is your process like for coloring?

My process is pretty straight forward. When I first get the pages I send them off to a flatter. The flatter just breaks down all the shapes to make it easier for me to select and just start coloring. They use all kinds of crazy colors, so nothing they send me is actually carried over into the creative process. I’ll usually look over the pages to see if I can just tell what’s happening from the art. After that I’ll read the script to make sure I don’t miss any color notes. Following that I just start working and if needed I’ll google reference to play off of.

 

  • How do you choose a color palette?

I’m very grounded in the color choices. I usually visualize everything in true color. Once I finish “rendering” a scene I will then go back and adjust the colors using adjustment layers. I compare it to film. I’ll shoot the scene with whatever lighting I have then go back in and color correct it for mood.

 

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

It’s really hard for me to pick and choose. The one project that I felt I grew and learned the most from is the “Madrox” mini-series. Most of what I consider my default style today was developed while working over Pablo Raimondi’s artwork on that book.

 

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

Archer & Armstrong just started, so everyone pick that up if you haven’t already. I’ll also be working on a couple of the 4001 event titles from Valiant such as XO Manowar, and Bloodshot.

 

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

There are so many currently that are doing great work. Dave McCaig, Matt Wilson, Rico Renzi, Dean White, but the colorist that knocks my socks off is Bettie Breitweiser. She should be winning all the awards.

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

I look to video game concept artists for most of my inspiration. Craig Mullins, for example, has a way of making anything look real. Like you could just walk right into one of his paintings or reach out and touch a helmet he’s painted.

 

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

As I mentioned I have a realistic approach to my color selection and it pairs really well with Clayton Henry’s art. I think when we visualize things we have a very similar approach, so it all flows pretty naturally. The one thing I did have to take into consideration though was all of the different time lines. I tried to keep them distinct, but not so much that each scene was monochromatic.

 

  • What’s like working on several books at once for the same publisher in a shared universe?

     

     

It’s great at Valiant because we only produce about 9 books a month. Coloring 2-3 of them I feel like I get to influence a big chunk of the universe.

  • Does it present any unique challenges to create a semi-cohesive aesthetic between all the titles?

     

     

There isn’t that many challenges cause basically all of the aesthetic consistency is just from me being me. Now when are doing a large event it can get tricky with the books being split up with other colorists. Then it becomes a matter of who gets to color a scene or character first and the other colorists have to follow suit.

  • Burritos or coneys?

I’ve never had a real Coney Island hotdog, so I’ll have to go with burritos.

 

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

I love burritos, but it’s one of the foods I avoid at cons. Can never tell how it might go.

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

I would have to say SC ComicCon has become my favorite. Robert Young has just done a tremendous job with that show and the Valiant fans there are off the chart. It’s really fun for me to go to and it’s not too far from home.

 

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

I really want to color Jim Lee or Joe Quesada.

 

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

I’d probably be doing something with video games. I was actually offered a job as a texture artist the same week I was offered my first comic book gig.

 

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

I feel way more invested in how well the books come out as opposed to the big two. I worked on almost every X-men title for 7 or so years at Marvel and it didn’t really seem to matter who they put on the books. The numbers were pretty much going to be the same cause it’s X-men. At Valiant the characters are lesser known, so I feel like the other creators and myself are trying to put our best foot forward to make sure our books stand out.

 

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

With the big publishers there was always just so much going on that I always felt like I could get a little lost in the shuffle. At Valiant I have a chance to influence the look of a large portion the line. Even books I don’t do the interior colors on I might have done color designs for the characters. So the contribution level is drastically different.

 

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

I love working with all of my Valiant guys. Lewis Larosa, Clayton Henry, David Lafuente, Doug Braithwaite.. the list just goes on and on over there. I’m a really lucky colorist when it comes to artists I get to work with.

  • Who are some of your favorite writers to work with

Joshua Dysart, Matt Kindt, and Robert Venditti to name a few from Valiant. Ed Brubaker, Judd Winnick, and Brian K Vaughn were fun to work with in the past.

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

Ninjak

 

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

If I were to concoct a project to check off everything on my want list it would be Daredevil by Ed Brubaker, Jim Lee, Dexter Vines, and me.

 

If you are interested in checking out more of Brian’s work you can find him on:

Facebook,

Twitter

 

Also you can find more of his work to purchase at Comixology.

Also, be sure to order Archer and Armstrong at your local comic shop!

 

 

 

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
http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Batman:_Legends_of_the_Dark_Knight_Vol_1_172

  • 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.