Drawing a Graphic Novel – Colour? No Colour?

As I’ve been focusing lately on longer story projects, here’s the draft first page from Dark Horse Rising.  I won’t be putting the whole project on line (at least at this point) but have been playing around with colour with mixed results. The page below is a variation on grayscale with a fairly limited palette (black, white, gray, and a blueish gray).  As the overall mood is a bit sombre, I’m not sure I’ll stick with this exact palette just yet.DHpg1 - GREY file Below is the same page with some colour added (the peach colour is possibly hideous).

DHpg1 - yellowMy preference right now is for the grayscale version, however they both invoke such different moods.. what to do, what to do.

And don’t get me started on my tribulations with word balloon placement… 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Drawing a Graphic Novel – Colour? No Colour?

  1. Prefer the gray scale – it’s a little more serious which fits the story + images highlighted more – well done!

  2. Pink…oops peach is definitely not something. But I like the colour version as it creates a tension between the paleness/lightness of the background and your usual subtleties, with the story. It has an atmosphere of Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Watson adventures. I hope to see more…

    • Ha ha, I see you are a fan of pink… I mean pinch, wait peach. Thanks for your feedback John! Your viewpoints on the colour and the tension taht creates are insightful, and that’s cool about the Conan Doyle’s comparison re: atmosphere. I love his work.

  3. Good idea to get some input from your readers about where to take the design! 🙂 Personally, I am not a fan of colours, and pastels less still. However, for a comic such as Simon + Finn, I find the colour version may have more appeal for a wider audience, while the simplicity of just a few colours (so far, I see 7 in the coloured version) may appease the minimalists. I find it hard to tell the mood of the story from this one page, as the snippet seems to me light-hearted enough while the title hints of foreboding. Looking forward to seeing more!

    I am also curious how you are drawing this storybook? Is it all done now on Gimp, or do you still draw the black & white outlines by hand and add in the colour on Gimp? Perhaps this is top secret information?…

    • Thanks for the detailed feedback Maggie! Definitely appreciated. It’s nice to come up for air and get some feedback, and I was on the fence re: the colour thing so wanted to see what a few people thought. I usually like grayscale colour schemes but have concluded that the colour is more appealing for the reasons you state, and further because the nature of the story is pretty light. They eventually end up in this fantasy sort of tale and it is going to be geared for a younger audience. Now, I’m excited to use grayscale for the Hollow Men project however as that is a definite fit re: mood.

      Re: how it’s being drawn, I basically start the process by roughing out the story which are sketchy thumbnails of the plot and a general sense of the panels/action/writing. Next I measure out the panels, figures and text and pencil it in. Then I ‘ink’ it (I use that word loosely.. as I’m just using a basic micron pin but inking has a lot of subtlety and craft to it that I’m avoiding). Then it’s scanned, opened in Gimp, cleaned up, darkened and coloured. Definitely a bit of a time-consuming process…but not top secret! Your question has made me think I might put a post in on the process.

  4. Pingback: Graphic Novels: The Secret Sauce | simonandfinn

  5. Pingback: Moving things forward – I think | simonandfinn

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