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The Color Problem

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

Color really is its own beast. Independent of any other aspects of a creator's chosen medium, technique, etc., color must be grappled with on its own and "solved" as its own problem.

Much of the art I enjoy making skews toward darker and more aggressive themes, and if other creators' dark arts are used as the reference point, it seems logical that I should use muted, nearly monochromatic colors to express that imagery. The only problem is, I find I don't particularly love muted colors, even as much as I've tried to convince myself I do in order to "solve" my color problem.

The other challenging factor is that I'm rusty as hell with color in physical media, having done virtually none of it since graduating art school almost a decade ago.

Growing up loving the vibrant, silky smooth digital color of Image Comics releases of the early '90s, my interest in coloring my pen and ink drawings has always skewed toward digital, and the color pieces I've done since art school have all been digital.

But I believe there's value in embracing and executing color directly on the drawing itself, and the results always have a significantly different vibe than when I approach color in Photoshop.

So here is an early effort combining watercolor with pen and ink, leaning into a color palette that is satisfying to me without worrying too much about whether it feels suitably grim. I suspect in time these colors may become even more saturated, perhaps in a deliberately hard contrast with whatever dark fantasy worlds the lines depict.

I'm also currently working on coloring a new drawing in Photoshop -- I'll share that soon -- and my goal is to develop both approaches simultaneously, allow them to each have their own flavor, and find which one works best for each completed drawing.


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