Hi everyone, it’s Steve! I posted some coloring stuff on my blog recently, so I thought it would be cool to show a little more here! Here is a quick run through on how I go about coloring a page of BONE!
Step 1: Obviously, I start with the black and white scanned art that we have on file. Each page is dissected into several layers, leaving the line-art as black and transparent (previously white that was deleted) as the topmost layer. Much like traditional animation cels, where the color was applied behind the line drawings.
Step 3: The word balloons are next. I usually put all of the sound effects lettering and stars from characters on this layer as well. Some balloons are inked with closed lines, so I am able to select them using the line-art layer and then fill with white on the ‘balloons’ layer beneath. Otherwise I airbrush the shapes by hand, making sure to stay within the lines.
Step 4: Working from back to front I add the ground elements like rocks and dust. Sometimes I paint the details as I go, but mostly I make the shapes flat colors until the end. It can be easier to see what details to paint once the basic colors are all in place.
Step 5: The rat creatures are next. I like to make them almost all different colors to make the page that more colorful. Making them all brown would just seem boring to me. The rats in the lower left panel you can see are very washed out. This really adds to the idea that there is great distance between the action on the ground and the baby possums near us.
Step 8: To help our eyes flow through the panels the same way they do when reading the black & white original, we add some shapes to the ground and also make the possums’ tree blue. Doing those things separates the foreground and background and also directs your eye easier.
My process of coloring is pretty basic. I like to keep the colors simple for the characters and not over-render anything. This makes things go faster, allowing Jeff and I to really spend time at the end making the pages all fit together as a story. I hope that all makes sense! Enjoy the books, as I work to finish the rest of the series!