Friday, July 22, 2016

Watercolor Test, Paradise Square

Working on sample pages for this graphic novel that I'm pitching.  Considering doing the colors with watercolor.  A few obstacles to that:
1. Scanning and preparing files.  I have difficulty getting both crisp inks and the nuances of the watercolor.  Bringing out one almost invariably muddies the other.
2. Time.  Though textures (mud, thoroughfares, streets, etc would be easier and look better) go quicker with watercolor than digital, the page as a whole easily doubles the amount of time spent coloring it.  Maybe more.  Comics have a fairly tight financial margin to begin with, and I don't know that I could commit the time without a substantially larger advance, and I doubt that using paint would increase sales enough to justify the difference.
3. Production.  I can't get the inks that I like on watercolor paper, and so I need to ink it and laser print the line art.  The trouble is that the type of WC paper that I most want to use doesn't pick up toner very well, even when the printer adjusts the pressure on his machine.  The background in this instance was done with a dark brown color hold, for instance, and it printed very spotty, as are the dust clouds.  I've tried a handful of production techniques that allow for the degree of control I want/need in order to tackle the art, and haven't yet found one that works.
Anyway, I'll still fiddle with it, but I probably won't pitch with the condition that it'll be hand-painted, because I don't know if I can pull it off.  I may try instead the flat-color-with-crayon/black-pencil approach that Matthieu Bonhomme used in Esteban, or some variation of it.  The old 6th ward is a dirty, dirty place, and so I feel like there needs to be a textural element to convey that effectively.  If paint can't do it, something else will have to.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Chris, I've been doing production work on graphic novels and children's books for a few decades, and I've had to put together a few variations on this type of workflow.

    One suggestion that I would make to perhaps make your production go a little smoother is to do your inks and colours from the pencils on two different boards, and merge them in production.

    There are several ways you could do this, including: print on two different boards, colour directly on your pencils, or even do the inks and colours on a lightbox.

    One thing I see a lot of with children's books, is the inks done on a transparent overlay, and the colour painted directly on the board the original pencils were done on. We often then are asked to do the colour holds of the inks during production.