Welcome to this week’s instalment of Creating Your Own Comics 101. This week there is one simple way to summarize: To color, or not to color? That is the question. Without a doubt the biggest factor that will affect the way your comic book looks is your choice to add color or to use black and white. It is a widely debated subject in the comic book world and like all things, it is subjective. There is no wrong or right choice. However, make sure that you make your final choice for the right reason.
While some people will tell you that a comic needs to be in color to be a success, there are many great and hugely successful comics out there that are black and white. Whether you choose color or not is up to you as the creator and what kind of look or style you want the comic to have. Here is an example of how color enhanced this character pinup design.
Any final decision made should be based on whether or not your book or artwork would benefit from having color. Unfortunately, the decision is normally based on cost. Funding your own comic can be a costly process and one of the ways people cut corners is on color. This is understandable seeing as the color process adds cost in many ways. First you need to find a colorist and pay them. Secondly, the cost of any printing that you have to pay for will be increased. Although you may feel the need to compromise in the early stages, you may end up regretting it later on. Even if you decide that you want your book to be black and white, you should still consider getting a colorist to greyscale or shade the book. This will make a big difference and add some depth to the artwork. If you do use color in your book, this process will take place between the inking and lettering stage. Most colorists now work in a fully digital capacity. This speeds things up, makes changes easier and even makes the whole process more cost effective. There are still some artists out there hand coloring and painting, but its not very common and is more of a labour of love. Below is a hand colored piece of comic art from Stefano Cardoselli and one from Scott Wells beneath it. The styles are something you would not get from digital coloring but leaves little room for error.
The vast majority of indie books used to be black and white, but with more and more indie comics self publishing in a digital download format, the use of color is also on the increase. This factor is really starting to bridge the gap between the quality of indie books and those on offer from mainstream publishers. As a creator, the final decision is up to you. Think of your project first and don’t compromise. Thank you for reading this week’s column. In next week’s “Creating Your Own Comics 101” I will be covering lettering.