Colorist Commentary

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Commentary number one!

There doesn't seem to be a "cut" option in blogger like there is in LiveJournal, so I apologise but this is going to be rather long. (Best results if you first read the comic, and then come back and go through it page by page so my notes match up and make sense.)

PAGE ONE!! WOOO!! *bouncing around, etcetera* EXCITING. Okay, got that out of the way. MAN. Firstly, I must say that the Prologue (which ammounts to two single-side pages in print form) took me at least a week to complete. They're some of my best work on this thing so far, and actually it should be noted that I'd gotten through to about page 22, maybe 23-ish of the main comic before I did them, so there might be a noticable leap in the coloring technique- hopefully not too bad.

It looks so official with all the word-blocks and text and so-on! When I get the pages to work on they're giant (1800x2700 pixels, so on my screen at 100% it seems poster-sized), and just have the linework- early on I was getting some word bubbles, but they added too much to the file size for transfer and plus it wasn't needed. Anyway, long story short I just have the script and the lines, so I don't know where the speach bubbles will go. It's neat to see it all put together!

My original sky was rather bluer, and I think it looked better, but that's only because I don't think I pulled off the sunrise streaks quite well enough. The sunrise was a last-minute note and I was already bone weary of these two pages... it looks okay. I made a new shrub brush for this page- sort of a birds-eye view spidery looking thing. You can't really see the texture too much at this resolution/quality, but I've used it since in various things. Also my custom-adjusted grass brush. Yep, that's all scatter-brushed texture "painted" in by hand, not a pattern fill.

Page 2

Or, bottom-half of Page A. Shading whites! Military uniforms! :D I really loved the challenge of shading whites in this, most of which was done in the paint layer (rather than the shadow layer set to "linear burn"), and this is when I first really started messing around with using colors in the shadow layer, rather than just grayscale. Even though most of the sharp detail is lost, I'm pretty glad I went and did all the fiddly bits in his medals, because you can tell. Looks sharp. It'll look even better in print.

Yes, most of the colors in the right two panels were copy-pasted.

*fall*... that box blocked out the fantastically gorey blood-splatter coming out of Santa Ana's chest, which I did three stages of effect on. *head-desk*... lol. I'm learning!

Page 3 (top of page B)

Lookie-ookie! It's Davey Crocket!! And the other three people working on this besides me!! Apparantly as the colorist I don't deserve a cameo. Poo. (Actually I think that'd weird me out, just a little, lol, I don't really mind noot beeing there!) Brown hat gap-tooth is Neil, Grey-clad spyglass is Scott, and the flag-wavin' guy is Rex. It's some kind of oddly intimidating/weird thing to be sitting there coloring in your boss. ^_^ Looks good, though. Smoke puffs look good.

AND BLOOODY BATTLE... WOOOOO!! I'd never done anything like this before, ever. I tell you, this was some kind of logistical nightmare to work out, all those bodies. Some kind of horrible, that guy kneeling back there with his hands over his face (right under the dude with the red cumberbund). Blurdy. I'm proud of how absolutely filthy and gross and gritty it looks.

Page 4 (middle of page B)

Carting out the wounded. More filth and stains. I remember being pretty pissed at something at the time I got around to the blood, which really helped me get into it. All the blood is on a separate layer from the color and shadow, and I used a combination of different brushes- some spatter, some regular set to "wet edges", and a little bit of smudging.

In the right panel: Gorey, gorey death. I tried my damndest to make Crocket stand out a bit from the background, it looks okay but he still kinda blends in to me. I guess that makes sense, though. Escapin' and all.

Page 5 (bottom of page B)


"Treat the cannon blast like a really bright light source."


I like how dramatic this looks. I don't like how the sweat-drop on the right-side soldier's face got obliterated by the jpg fuzzyness. Woe. (Maybe it'll show up in print? Eh.)

Mmm! There were actually supposed to be shafts of light coming down from the corner in the last panel there. I seem to have forgot them, and Scott seems to have not minded their absence. Guess it's too late to fix that now, lol.

Page 6 Top of Page one!

WOOOO. The very first page I colored!! Holy crap. I spent way way too much time and effort on the first few pages. Hours and hours. Check out the bit of dead shrub over there. Yeah, I killed a digital shrub. Check out the shiny car! You totally can't tell, but there's actually a reflection/shadow of the big tree there on the hood in blue. FAR too much work put into details.

The best part? Check out the bush in the corner of the building, right above "Otherwise known as". See it? ... THE BUSH IS GROWING OUT OF SOLID CONCRETE. I mentioned it to Scott, and he said he'd fix it after I sent him the colors, but it's STILL LIKE THAT. *adolesent giggles*.. .. .. I like the magic bush, I really do.

Page 7 (bottom of page 1)

Man! Look at that crap-tastic grass! Oh! I should mention that this was before I got upgraded to CS- the first few pages I did using Photoshop 5.5. ... Holy crap look at that brick. Was I insane?? All those color variations are done by hand. Shoot.

And check out the insanely detailed texture on the trunk. CRAZY.

I love the President's outfit. Another thing I did too much detail on- I put a hint of purple in the gray, a dissolved fill, with a bit of motion blur. I think it shows, looks kinda good, but I seriously didn't have to do that. *laughs*

(damn that wallpaper's kinda ugly, too. By some accident I had that as my desktop wallpaper for a couple months. LAZY, ME? Yes.)

Page 8 (top of page 2)

FRUITY PANTS! I mean festive pants! I mean... hahahahaha. I love them.

This is clearly before I figured out how to properly shade a white shirt, because my pathetic little blue gradients got totally obliterated. Also, I wasn't using a shading layer- I was shading everything in the color layer. I'm still pretty pleased with the contours on Charlie's face in the first panel.

Page 9 (middle of page 2)

HEADS. ON THE WALLS. Ugh. (FYI, I'm a vegan, so all these animal trophies make me cringe. HEY, I never said I was a libertarian- I just color the darn thing.) Oh well. The texture on the pronghorn looks pretty good.

Mesquite paneling! Yes I made that texture/pattern. I made the hell out of it. Scott adjusted the color slightly, and brightened the highlights on Bubbas' face. (Again: Learning.)

I like the insane detail on the framed newspapers! Go me! Oh, oh. Watch that coin on the plaque between the deer head and the newspaper. Also the newspapers. The next time we see them, they change.

Page 10 (bottom of page 2)

"Holy burned-edged-parchment, Batman!"... The script said "Fire-damaged", I think. Also I think that coat in there had more insane detail on it that got lost. Hehe.

Page 11 (top of page 3)

STUPID CURTAINS. They were a pain. They look good, but MAN. Fiddly bits.

LOOK LOOK LOOK- The coin on the plaque has mysteriously turned into three framed certificates! And now there are way more wall portraits!

This whole set-up reminds me of something out of Johnny Quest.

(Bubba's dagger looks disturbingly phallic there. Disturbing. Hehehehe.)

Page 12 (bottom of page 3)

Wild Bill! And his hot-looking wife, Aunt Betty! Modeled after Betty Page, I believe. (eta: Apparantly she's a composite of three women.)

Wee! I made that flower pattern on his shorts (and his shirt, even though it doesn't really seem to fit- the Arm-a-Dillo logo was added in later, otherwise I would've probably just kept it solid grey or white). He looks good in orange. I need to dig that pattern back up and start using it again, it's snazzy. Also- that tile-inlayed table? YEP. Crazy Jen did that by hand.

More craptastic grass. Shiny, shiny car! And copter!

Page 13 (top of page 4)

Bill's study! Oooh. The whole of page 4, man. Page 4 was a beast. I actually worked on the other pages and came back to page 4 after finishing page 7, because it was giving me such a headache. I finally worked it out, and it looks grand. Lots of poor sad animals getting murdered again. I like the shadows here... the light from that table lamp really saved the scene and pulled it together. (more insane detail: all of those pictures on the wall I colored by hand. They were empty frames. Gosh I hate empty frames. Later I got over it and started doing random fills and patterns, lol.)

More frilly curtains. Feh.


Page 14 (middle of page 4)




(hehe, I forgot the loopy detail on Charlie's sleeve in the first panel. Shhh, don't tell anyone.)

Page 15 (bottom of page 4)

Ranger headquarters! Wooo!

I had to re-color 90% of this page when I came back to it after working on the next few. GOSH that burned me up something fierce. Glad I did, though, because it turned out splendid after I'd worked out the kinks.

I like Bill's outfit, even though I liked my original colors too- I had him wearing bluejeans, I think a grey jacket (eta: No, I remember, it was a brown jacket- a different brown, though) and a neat maroon-and-grey shirt. Browns look good, though. If I can remember his original outfit design I might have to use it somewhere else, if the chance comes up.

Page 16 (top of page 5)

Cap'n Murphey!! Aww! This guy's based off of a real guy, and boy is he adorable, aw. He's actually supposed to have blue eyes, I later found out, but nobody noticed. Don't tell anyone. Shh.

Dang, those cabin thingies look flat. I've gotten much better at this.

Page 17 (middle of page 5)

The darkening on Murphey's face was done by Scott.

Oh-ho-ho, aww, poor Murphey being corrupted by his men. Adorable.

Page 18 (bottom of page 5)

LOOK! A poster of a naked lady on the wall!! It's supposed to be Josephine Baker, and she's supposed to be wearing a live ferret (the thing doesn't look live to me, though- as much as ferrets stretch, it looked a bit TOO elongated), and I haven't been able to find the reference pic for it. I dunno if one exists, so I just guessed on the colors for the background.

Danget, I can't believe I detailed that lady on the bike in the calendar, just to have it covered up by those words. Foo.

Whining aside, I think this looks pretty good. :3


I'll get to pages 19-31 sometime before Friday, probably. (But I doubt I'll keep being this long-winded in the future.)


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