What The Colourist Doesn’t Tell You.

So you want to colour comic books? Well, I’ve done that. There’s a load of great tutorials out there, but I’m going to give you the REAL skinny on the gritty world of comic book colouring. The dirt that others won’t tell you, the stuff that might get me blacklisted for sharing.

Breaking In

Getting that first paid colouring gig is tricky, but persistence pays off. You’ve got to be courteous, polite, enthusiastic, and you’ve got to be able to show a prospective editor a good portfolio. Sequentials too, not just bitchin’ covers or pin-ups. Pick your six best examples, constantly update your portfolio with newer and better stuff and every few months, drop a polite line to an editor and ask if you can submit some samples. And when he says “Sure!” don’t misread the situation like I did and send an actual urine sample. That caused a lot of confusion, and got me blacklisted for a long time. In fact, I think I still am.

Staying In

To keep getting work in the industry is tricky, but persistence pays off. You’ve got to be courteous, polite, enthusiastic, and you’ve got to be able to be able to work well with the writer, artist and letterer. I mean on sequentials too, not just bangin’ covers or pin-ups. Pick your six best colour palettes, constantly update your colouring style with newer and better stuff and every few months, drop a polite line to your editor and ask if you try out for work on other titles, and submit some samples. And when he says “Sure, but don’t send me a vial of piss this time” don’t misread the situation like I did and send a shoebox crammed to the brim with human feces. That caused a lot of confusion, and got me blacklisted from my local post office for a long time. In fact, I think I still am.

Branching Out

Expanding your workload beyond just colouring work is tricky, but persistence pays off. You’ve got to be courteous, polite, enthusiastic, and you’ve got to be able to be able to up your game in writing your own stories, or drawing your own artwork – and I mean on sequentials too, not just thumpin’ covers or pin-ups. Pick your six best story ideas or jazz-assed poses, constantly update your self-published small press comic with newer and better stuff and every few months, drop a polite line to an editor you know and trust and ask if he’ll publish your book, or let you try out for non-colour work on other titles, and submit some samples. And when he says “Gee, I really don’t know, my office still fair reeks of fecal matter” don’t misread the situation like I did and send a piñata packed full of bovine placenta. That caused a lot of confusion, and got me blacklisted from my local dairy farm for a long time. In fact, I think I still am.  

So there you have it. The down and dirty of colouring comic books from someone who’s been there, seen the film, bought the t-shirt, and lamented the poor quality colour repro on it. Now go get blacklisted mo-fo’s!

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