Sunday, February 24, 2008

Post 92

Went back and colored this one. I'm getting a handle on some brushes that I got from a post that John Rauch (eraserx) put on the Gaijin Board. If you want them, they're on his Deviantart page. I love them all, but there are a few in particular that really play to my sensibilities as a watercolor artist, as well as a colorist. The one that kind of looks like a rounded triangle is what I used on this, when you don't use too much pressure, it gives the effect of chalk at the ends.

I used Painter IX almost the whole summer, and as with most programs I was determined to teach it to myself. But I had trouble with the oil paints, they were a little too sketchy in terms of pressure and everything. However, the way that these brushes were set up, once you get the hang of them, are really fun!

I started off in comics as a flatter, but in college, when I was doing the flatting, I was doing watercolor and printmaking. It was very expressionistic, and doing color flatting is extremely rigid. Granted, I've gotten more offers for flatting, and colors than doing interiors, but flatting is soul draining work. There are people who have systems for it, and can do it for a living. I'm not one of those people. I was working on a really slow computer at the time that would get bogged down in the middle of flatting a complex area and freeze. It drove me to the brink of insanity. So, I was putting together my portfolio to take to this convention next week in Austin that I'm going with my Space-Gun buddies and I noticed how crazy my colors were. At the time I was doing flatting, when I had any time to color my own stuff, I would go all out. I think it was because I had to hold back so much, and I had very little time to do my own work, that I wanted to make the most of it. Here's a couple examples, and another. Honestly, I blame it on the Printmaking. The building we were in was newly moved into, and there was not proper ventilation. We had to use a huge bath of acetone to clean the plates off since we were using oil based inks. After four hours of working in there it was hard to remember much. I had a class after that and there are evenings I can't remember. I just have papers to show for it, thankfully I got A's. I'm kind of worried those months of printmaking will come back to haunt me in my later years...

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that I've kind of reeled it back. The coloring I do, I try to use the color choices more than the application. The two people that helped me learn the most over the years...WAAAAAAAY more than all my years of college (except my watercolor class) were Brian Stelfreeze and Kelsey Shannon. Years ago I used to post non-stop on the Gaijin Boards, Kelsey always had helpful words for me that would slap some sense into me. Kelsey's always busy now, but when I do hear from him, I usually get a nice little slap...otherwise I'll just check out what he's doing, and that's a slap in itself. Kelsey is brilliant in his art and colors...there's nothing that can be said that would make that statement false.

Then there's Brian, sensei. I bring him my sketchbook every time I see him. I've done that since my first year of college, went down to Texas A&M and stood there, listening to him for 6 hours. He tore into me in his own, passive way. The remarks he made are still popping up in my head when I'm working on things. They're time released nuggets of information that he sneaks in and leaves in your brain. He said I needed to get my own style. At the time I was still trying to draw like Adam Hughes and Tony Harris. I just kept working, and about once a year since then, I've seen's like a pilgrimage, and it's helped me immensely. I've seen people half-dismiss what he says, and it makes me sad, because if you embrace his words, they change you.

Either way, I started off college only having attempted computer colors a handful of times, hating it. I left college with a lot of experience coloring and loving it. It's just nice to be able to do almost everything for yourself (I still can't do lettering...yet). When you can't afford to hire or hook up with an inker or colorist willing to work with you, it's best to just learn everything yourself. It all helps you grow, helps you figure out your style, and having colored your own work, it helps you understand what doesn't work. Then other colorists appreciate that.


Craig Zablo said...

Kelsey and Brian are two of the best.

Be sure and give us a con report!

John Rauch said...

That's awesome! It was a difficult decision for me to put all my brushes online like I did, but seeing really talented artists use them in their own ways like you're doing really makes it feel worth it.