How long does it take you to color a page?
I probably average between 1.5 - 2 hours per page. There are always a few outliers that go faster or even way slower, but that's probably pretty close to my average.
Many people usually respond to this and get discouraged at how they don't think they'll ever get that fast. The speed comes with time. It's not something that you can rush. I've been coloring comics with Photoshop for over ten years now, and I'm still finding shortcuts all the time.
Many beginner colorists also feel the need to render everything on a page with an equal amount of detail. This will slow you down dramatically and is rarely necessary. Focus your rendering where it's important! Faces, hands, focal points. Keep everything else relatively simple. That's not saying to not render at all, but if you think I'm going to spend as much time rendering the flower pot in the window in the background as I do on the face of a character, you'd be wrong. :)
I might do a video on this soon, but I hope this helps someone!
I'd like to invite you to attend a live Q&A that I'll be streaming Thursday, January 28, 2016, at 8pm Central US in celebration of reaching 10,000 YouTube subscribers! That's 6pm Pacific, 7pm Mountain, 9pm Eastern for the time-zone challenged! :)
Thanks to all of you that subscribe there or have supported me in my courses. It's cliche, but I literally couldn't do it without you!
Feel free to come ask me about whatever you like--coloring, comic book industry or business stuff, or just ask me about my cats or something. It should last about an hour or so, give or take, but I'll stay later to answer to as many questions as I can if necessary!
You can watch the live stream and chat at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el4x9kVeRiA
I hope to see you there!
After posting about Xia's YouTube channel, I thought it would be a good idea to provide some other useful resources for people interested in coloring or painting in general. Of course, I'm partial to my coloring course, but there's so many great resources out there. So here's a few that I've enjoyed over the years (and in most cases, still enjoy!)--things that have helped me on my journey or things I believe would help you.
In no particular order...
Lummage's YouTube Channel - Nathan Lumm is a fellow colorist with a ton of great videos. He'll provide a slightly different angle on coloring techniques than you'll see in my channel, since there's about a million ways to do everything in Photoshop! His Comic Book Coloring Tips & Tricks series is a great resource. He hasn't posted in a while, but he's probably busy coloring! :)
Sycra's Foundations of Light and Shadow - I love this series! It's a fantastic set of lessons for those of you that might have trouble with rendering. If you need help figuring out where the light and shadow should go, this is for you! I still go back and watch some of these videos every few months. This won't be the only appearance of Sycra on this list.
Also from Sycra... How To Choose Colors That Work This video was very eye openings for me, and I can't recommend it enough for those of you that might wonder why your colors "don't seem to fit" or clash or that sort of thing. Check it out!
For those of you that still remember what books are, James Gurney's book Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter is incredibly good. Even though the book is focused on painting, all of the color theory stuff applies regardless. I keep this book very close to my desk all the time!
His gamut masking tool was recreated as a PSD file here, by the way: (You may don't know what that is yet, so read the book!)
There are also some resources in that link that explain more. I used this tool when generating palette ideas for a new Image project coming later this year. It's a great way to come up with interesting palettes.
This is a book you'll probably have to soak up for a while. There's a ton of content, and I still don't understand the majority of it well enough, but I'm working at it!
Comics Experience's Introduction to Comic Book Coloring. Coloring veteran Chris Sotomayor (AVENGERS, BATMAN, X-MEN, about a billion other books) teaches this course. Soto's been coloring since 1996. This is a paid option, and it's not cheap, but the difference here is that each class is live with the instructor online. I took this course is 2014--even after I was getting pro work, and I found it to be extremely helpful. Soto is pretty active on Twitter too, and he's good about answering questions about his course there.
This YouTube video is another excellent lesson in storytelling with color:
One more for you! Hi-Fi Color for Comics.
The original version was one of the first books I picked up on coloring, and I found out that figuring things out on my own had me doing some weird stuff before I read this.
They recently updated it, so be sure to check it out. It's a great book for beginners.
So that's it! I hope you enjoyed this list. Let me know what you guys think! I'm sure I'll add to this to keep it updated in the future. Send me your ideas as well!
K. Michael Russell
The first video was so popular; I'm gonna make a series! Here's the 2nd.
In this video, I use a few sample pages to show some tips and tricks for coloring comics with Photoshop. If you are interested in getting a critique on YouTube, email me here: email@example.com I usually just do this for my coloring course students, but I'll pick a handful of good examples for future coloring tutorial videos on the YouTube channel.
I'm actually a bit ahead on videos for the first time in ages... subscribe to the channel to get them all. There are three more scheduled over the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
I also found out today both my new Image and IDW projects will likely be announced in March 2016. Fingers crossed. Big news coming soon! :)
Hey! In the midst of all this coloring education craziness, I'm still coloring comics! :)
Here's a few pages from a short I recently completed for the FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE Kickstarter. You can see the campaign here https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/819405516/first-law-of-mad-science-vol-1-work-until-your-fam
Here's a new tutorial on how to avoid muddy colors in Photoshop! Monitors can show millions of colors--many that you can't print that only work on a computer screen. Here's how I deal with it:
The 2nd annual summer tour is back! :)
June 19-21 HeroesCon, Charlotte NC
June 27-28 Mississippi Comic-Con, Jackson MS
August 1 Creative Con, Panama City, FL
There's not much I can show yet, but I'll be coloring Fabian Rangel and Logan Faerber's 'NAMWOLF! More to come soon!
I'll be doing a new intro video for it soon, but I figured I'd go ahead and share. The all-new & improved version of my Photoshop comic coloring course is online!
I took in all the feedback from my original course over the last year, and I've completely overhauled everything to create (what I think) is the ultimate guide to coloring comics in Photoshop.
Now, it's 50+ comic book coloring video tutorials, all brand-new--over 9 hours of tips, tricks, and shortcuts! By popular demand, there's also a version that you can download and take offline if you like. All the videos are also in full-HD 1080p with professionally recorded audio.
Check it out here! http://learn.comiccolor.com/collections
Hey people! I was invited to join an all-colorist podcast by Samantha on The Girl with the Curls. Check it out here: http://maniacalgeek.com/2015/05/08/that-girl-with-the-curls-episode-35-a-palette-of-colorists/
Hey folks, IN THE DARK was nominated for an Eisner! Check out the other nominations here: http://www.comic-con.org/awards/2015-eisner-award-nominations
I think this means I can call myself an Eisner nominated colorist? RIGHT?! :)
Written by Amit Chauhan. Drawn by Eli Powell. Colored by K Michael Russell. (Me)