Page 2 first pass color. Click to enlarge. More below.
I'm kinda slow.
Getting to go slowly is the reason I got into drawing in the first place. I've never been very good at activities that demanded real-time proficiency. Dancing, sports, party conversation -- even sketching in front of someone else makes me jumpy. I mean, what if someone saw me make a mistake? They'd judge me! They'd stop liking me and tell all their friends that they know a guy who is a below-average dancer! Improvisational comedy is so beyond my comprehension as to seem supernatural.
The nice thing about drawing, though, is that you can start out with something really clunky and then chip away the things that don't work little by little. You can make as many mistakes as you want, and nobody will ever know about any of them! In the end, some of your mistakes will even turn out not to have been mistakes at all. Biological evolution works the same way -- start out with goop in a puddle and after a few billion years you get Velociraptors and sea otters. I never get anything right on the first try, ever. That's part of the reason why I use so many layers while coloring (145 in this case) -- I end up trying just about every color and every possible blend mode on every element of the scene, and then trying every possible combination of multiple blend modes... you see how things can get bogged down. Hopefully I'll come across some rules of thumb that help me to avoid wasting time on the most hopeless of these experiments. But for now, this is how it works for me.
That said, I've been getting some really helpful feedback. A colorist named Marc Letzmann introduced me the to the concept of "flatting." Flatting is the process of setting up shape selection sets that conform to the original linework so that areas of the drawing can be easily selected and colored. Often, comic artists hire colorists to do flatting for them, so that they can go in later with the magic wand and quickly add final color. The "duh" moment for me was when Marc pointed out that you have to turn off anti-aliasing to get crisp selection edges. That's definitely going to speed me up and reduce my layer count (I had been using the magic wand and then expanding the selection by one pixel to move it under the line art). There is also apparently a flatting plugin for Photoshop that I have not tried yet. As to whether I'll try hiring somebody else to do my flatting... I dunno. What have your experiences been with flatters?
I've picked up a few new viewers over the last few days, and everybody seems so kind and knowledgable! Thanks to Brandon Graham (an incredible artist who writes my favorite blog ever) for outing me and Warren Ellis for mentioning me, as well. When I found out Ellis had gotten involved on Thursday morning, I shouted so loud that my wife thought I had injured myself.
I think I'm going to take a break from coloring and get back to page 6. I'll try to pick up a little speed on this one. If' I can nail down the line art in three days, I'll be stoked.