Sunday, April 22, 2007
The Ego has landed!
I had a post on April 15th that talked about computer coloring. I wondered if using a particular color palette could improve the black and white artwork and if a night scene would look better in reds and amber. I think I gave too much responsibility to the colorist and none to the black and white artists. I've gotten some responses from some professionals that I respect, and I think I should revisit the panel. This time, I'll focus on what's really wrong with it.
If you were to read the early posts on this blog, you would see some examples of me analyzing some poor stiffs comic art. I would also post my own art with comments. If I dish it, I should take it. I made a resolution to stop more than a year ago, but when I saw this page, I couldn't ignore what was wrong with it! Unfortunately, I thought it would look better with different color.
I took the time to sketch a version of the unnamed panel and suggest what could have been done differently.
In the original (top), the perspective is screwy and proportions are wrong. The car on the right is too small and is drawn badly. The white van in the BG looks like a toy. The inking over all is scratchy and scrawly. The page needed a lot more black ink and I tried to show that in my sketch below.
In my drawing, I added some dramatic lighting to the foreground figure on the left. Also, some solid black behind him and in the night sky. I decided on a perspective vanishing point and built the city around it. I did not leave the windows open for bright spots of light. It can distract from the focus of action and people usually close the drapes at night.
I guess I should have considered the uncolored art before questioning the colorist. My mistake!
I am adding a sepia photo that Steve refers to in a comment. Would this make a great night scene?
Posted by Don Hudson at 7:17 PM
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Your sketch is a billion times better than the original drawing, but the coloring in the original sucks too. The palette in the movie still isn't uniformly red, it uses hot and cool to create planes and depth, which the comic panel does not. It also has strong light and dark areas to direct your eye. In the comic panel the values are so similar that everything flattens out. The three featured characters sort of pop out, but everything else, buildings, street, even sky, read as the same plane. The glowy stuff on the lights and windows just looks clumsy. My trollish two cents.
PS what movie?
The movie that I took the screen cap from is a new Nicole Kidman horror flick called 'The Invasion'. It's out this summer!
I agree that your revisions are a HUGE improvement! But I also think you had a separate, valid point about color choices and the appeal of trying different palettes besides the usual stand-bys.
I wish you left up the old post, because it made for good discussion! Also--you reference it in this new post, so people might like to read what the original blog & comments, and see the cool sepia photo! :)
Steve, the original post is still up and open to comments!
Yes, I meant the mysterious missing SECOND post!
Don, I think both the original art and color had room for improvement. I like your revised panel much, much better.
Your city looks like a real place, your background figures are people with personality instead of department store mannequins, and the whole scene now has a mood to it.
Steve wrote earlier that using blues for a night scene is a comic book shorthand convention for "night scene." Otherwise known as a cliché. And using clichés clumsily as a substitute for actual thought is as bad in art as it is in writing.
Doesn't mean night scenes shouldn't be blue...just should be done on purpose for a reason, not as a knee-jerk "blue=night" response.
And I agree with Steve that your original post was very interesting and had a good point about using other color palates.
p.s. In fairness to the original artist, maybe (maybe?) the script called for brightly lit windows for some reason. Otherwise I agree, they do distract.
Sara's post reminded me of a colorist I had at Valiant, back when they were hand-painting all the books. He would color my night scenes as if they were day scenes, and just throw a blue wash over the page. Brrr.
In response to Sara, I hate falling into a rut and using a shorthand. I try to mix it up and keep it fresh.
As for using a blue wash over a day scene, that's like a film maker shooting a scene at high noon but using a blue filter to make it a night scene.
I think your drawing is a big improvement over the original, but I still think your drawing could be improved a bit. The two things I an buggin on are:
1) Your foreground figure and the guy pushing the wheelchair are aligned at the shoulders. By that I mean that it appears that the horizion line goes through those figures shoulders. That's fine, except that the shoulders of the OTHER background figures are a little low. It makes them look short. Their sizes are alright, but it looks like the horizion goes through their ears or near the top of their heads, amking them all look a little short.
2) I think the foreground guy could be hit with some deeper shadows, to set him more distinctly in the foreground plane.
These are pretty minor things, to be sure. Your drawing IS an improvement on the original.
As far as the sepia tones, I don't know. I liked the movie panel better, with the grey and red. I'm NOT a big fan of monochromatic panels. It tends to seem lazy to me.
Allen, you have a point with the perspective in my sketch. I wish I had spent more time on it, I could have caught that mistake.
As for making the foreground figure darker, That's according to taste. Since the FG Figure has dialogue, I would not want him to disappear in darkness. That's why I added the dramatic lighting. Depending on how you color the FG figure, It could look cool.
Wow! The revised drawing is much improved!
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