Colorist Tamra Bonvillain is a friend of mine, and she has a VERY different method of coloring than I do. I thought it was pretty interesting, so I thought I'd do a video to explain the basic concepts anyway.
Tamra paints on masked "Solid Color" adjustment layers with a different layer for each color. She also does some things grouping layers and combining them with Levels adjustments layers that I do get into yet. I'm still figuring it out too.
This method does have some advantages, and I learned a lot trying to figure it out! I won't be changing to this method or or anything, but I do think I'll be using parts of this method for certain things. It's always good to learn new tricks.
Anyway, enjoy the video!
Hey! To celebrate 12,000 YouTube subscribers, I’m doing a coloring contest! The winner will be enrolled in my coloring course and receive a full portfolio review. Second place also gets enrolled. Third place… steak knives… just kidding, there’s no steak knives and no third place.
If you aren’t familiar with my course, you can read about it here: http://learn.comiccolor.com/courses/coloring-comics-dl
It’s very thorough--10 hours of tutorials, and it includes all of my Photoshop presets, settings, brushes, etc. It also has a syllabus, so you know it’s legit!
I don’t want you working too long on this, so it’s just one panel for fun. You can download the image here (kindly donated by pro penciller and colleague Max Dunbar (LEGENDS OF BALDUR’S GATE, RED SONJA, SLASH & BURN): https://www.dropbox.com/…/ColoringComics-coloring_contest_M… Click the three dots on the top right to download it.
I’ll be looking for clarity and focus more than fancy lights and shadows. Storytelling is what coloring comics is all about. Highlight what’s important; minimize what isn’t. No script here, so just assume the girl coming through the door is the focus of the panel. Hair/skin colors don’t matter. I won’t judge on things like that.
Post your entry by uploading a link to the image in a comment on this post. Do not email them. (I’ll also be seeing if you can follow instructions!) :)
The contest ends on June 20, and I’ll decide a winner shortly after that. Best of luck!
In this video, I'll walk you through my thought process in real-time as I start working on the first two pages of a new project - POSTAL for Top Cow. There are a ton of tips in here!
If you'll looking to learn more, check out my complete Photoshop digital coloring course--50+ real-time video tutorials--10 hours of lessons (with downloadable presets for my brushes, tools, actions, and color swatches). Sign up at ColoringComics.com to get two free lessons to try first!
I'm starting a new tutorial series on YouTube called How NOT to Color Comics!
I'll be talking about a lot of common mistakes--most things I used to do at some point.... haha...
Check out this week's video here on AIRBRUSH EVERYTHING MODE! :)
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!
In this video, I'll discuss a question I get a lot-- How do I choose good skin tones in Photoshop?
The answer is probably not what you expect!
A common problem explained... :) Enjoy!
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
I was asked about this by a few people, so I thought I throw together a quick video to show you how to clean up your line art with Levels in Photoshop. This is not something I've really had to do very much professionally since usually the artist does it, but it's good to know!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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! :)
This was a big departure from my usual style. I actually painted it first (and only used the flats to clean it up). I learned a lot along the way. Enjoy!
If you are wondering what I'm doing with Photoshop in the video around 1:15, I'm using a gradient map. I made a video about them once here. I use them to shift the colors around in interesting ways on an adjustment layer, then set the layer mode to COLOR, then adjust the opacity. I then use that as a base to start adjusting my base colors.
Anyway, this project sort of fell in my lap suddenly, but I do have three new projects coming in 2016 that I can't say anything about yet, but one will be at Image, and the other two, IDW. All are creator-owned projects, and I'm very excited about them! I expect they'll start getting announced sometime in January 2016. UGH. :)
By popular request, a flatting tutorial video! Flatters, sometimes called coloring assistants, break up all of the elements on the page into separate colors. It's sometimes called color separations. The colors themselves are irrelevant, but they make the colorist's job easier by allowing them to just select the areas with a magic wand, as opposed to re-lassoing everything when coloring.
There are many, many wrong ways for a flatter to flat pages. I'm constantly hearing from fellow colorists that have a hard time finding new flatters that know how to do it properly.
So I made this video to try to rectify that! I'm sure there's more than one correct way to do it, but this is my way, and I know it works!
In this video, I'll show you an example of how I plan my pages out ahead of time. It's important for storytelling and often overlooked in coloring tutorials. Story by Amy Chu (POISON IVY, WONDER WOMAN, GIRLS NIGHT OUT). Line art by Isaac Goodhart (POSTAL) For the FIRST LAW OF MAD SCIENCE MIX TAPE anthology.