Coloring Between the Lines: Brittany Peer

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

 

  • Hello Brittany, Thanks for agreeing to this interview!

 

Hey no problem, thank you for reaching out!

 

  • How long have you been a colorist?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

  • Do you prefer superhero comics or other genres?

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

 

  • Who is your favorite superhero?

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

 

  • Who is your favorite non superhero character?

Leonardo or Michelangelo from TMNT hands down.

 

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

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

 

  • What is your process like for coloring?

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

 

  • How do you choose a color palette?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

  • Is there anyone you draw inspiration from?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

Hit it!

  • Star Wars or Star Trek

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

 

  • Coffee or Tea

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

 

  • Batman or Superman

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

 

  • Wolverine of spider-man?

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

 

  • Noir or Horror comics?

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

 

  • Burritos or coneys?

Burritos

 

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

 

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

 

  • What’s your favorite convention?

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

 

  • What would be your dream collaboration?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

  • Who’s your favorite character to color?

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

 

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

Probably a Teen Titans series or Bestboy solo.

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Thank you!

 

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

You can also connect with Brittany on her Twitter

 

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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.