It’s only in recent years that I’ve felt comfortable doing color illustrations. Being able to make changes in Photoshop helps a lot with that. Back in 1994 I wasn’t very comfortable with my abilities so the publisher hired Julia Lacquement to color the cover of the first issue of Finnegan’s Brink. I think she did fine job. I don’t know anything about her process. The publisher got her a copy of my illustration and I only knew she colored it when he showed me the final painting.
Once areas of flat color have been laid down I can work on adjusting the details. If I don’t like a color I can adjust it. I use the colorization feature of Photoshop to change tones and shadows from their original grays to whatever hue fits best with main color of that area of the illustration.
I’m not quite finished with this illustration. I have a few small areas where I need to add or adjust colors but it felt done enough that when Nizzibet asked me to send her a copy I was happy to do so. Little did I realize that she ulterior motives. She used it for a present for a friend’s birthday.
I think it turned out pretty well. Any further adjustments I make will probably only be noticed by me. And any changes I make just make this cup more of a unique object.
Laying down flat colors is the least interesting part of creating an illustration. Sometimes it’s fun but mostly it’s a matter of making sure that you’ve filled in all the little spots where you want a certain color or made sure that all the large areas are outlined properly so that you can use the paint bucket tool to fill the middle. I put all the colors on a separate layer than the black and white art. You could do your coloring on the original art layer but making any changes if you make a mistake would be next to impossible.
And here’s the color version of yesterday’s Frankenstein monster. He’s got a little more green in him than I generally give my Frankensteins. I grew up with Herman Munster and the ubiquitous Universal Frankenstein and, however cool those characters are (or are not), I tend to react against them when I draw a Frankenstein.
As I understand it, the Universal Frankenstein wasn’t meant to be green. All of the original Universal Frankenstein movies were filmed in black and white. The makeup that Boris Karloff wore in the first films was green because it photographed as a sickly shade of grey. Color publicity photos and green shaded versions of the monster in later promotional material fixed his color as green in the public’s imagination.
The world is full of square headed green Frankies. I don’t need to add to the number. Mary Shelley’s version was a very different monster. There have been many different interpretations of the creature on stage and screen and comic book page in the last 180+ years. And I like different.
I went with green when I colorized this fellow more because it seemed like fun than for any other reason. Dick Briefer’s Frankenstein was “flesh colored” in the comics.