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.

Coloring Between the Lines: Megan Wilson

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

 

Hello Megan, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

How long have you been a colorist?

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

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

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

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

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

Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

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

Who is your favorite superhero?

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

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

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

What is your process like for coloring?

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

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

How do you choose a color palette?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A place with a bar?

What’s your favorite convention?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Coloring Between the Lines: Marissa Louise

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

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

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

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

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

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

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

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

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

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

  • What is your process like for coloring?

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

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

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

Once I turn in pages I do edits.

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

  • How do you choose a color palette?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Burritos or coneys?

Always coneys.

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

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

  • What’s your favorite convention?

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

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

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

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

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

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

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

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

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

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

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

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

Thanks for having me!

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

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