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Coloring from the pit

From the inner back cover of From the Pit #1 (1994)

Coloring from the pit

Sources: From the Pit #1 (1994), Solo #2 (2004), Children of Fire #3 (1988).

Mr. Corben has tried all possible variations of drawing/painting styles for his comic stories and illustrations what you can imagine. He has got both B&W and color works; B&W with and without zipatone, and both hand and digital color separation.

In From the Pit opening issue he explains how he is doing his most recent (color) works (thus AD 1994, but prob. most of it is still in use):

Everything starts with an idea, which is written down as a story, which will be broken into pages and a drawn thumbnails.

Mr. Corben draws his pen and markers line work on 10″x14-1/4″ size paper, and xeroxed it down to the final size.

The beginning is always on paper, as well as about half of the coloring. We do not know if the ratio of the coloring (50-50) is still in use, but according a photo in DC’s Solo the basic of the comic story art (even the computer color ones) is drawn with pen and markers as B&W line art!

In From the Pit he says that more and more opeartions are being taken over by the computer. Solo looks like containing several different coloring techniques, but all of them look like more or less done by computer (from the full rendered Photoshop colors with a help of possible 3-D programs to plainer ones, maybe by Freehand kind of vector graphic drawing programs).

When Beth is coloring, she is using both color inks and pencils, and Photoshop for scanned files. Mr. Corben himself will add modeling effects. During From the Pit period Mr. Corben does all texts on paper, which Dona will type into computer. Texts and graphical elements will be added by Mr. Corben in Freehand. Mr. Corben mentioned in one of his Fantagor comic books, that he is using Macintosh computer for his books. The completed files will be taken to a service bureau, where they were printed on film, proofed and stripped into position for the printer.

Gone are times, when Mr. Corben did all his color art in B&W and added colors with his overlay technique. That meant that he painted all color separation (cyan, magenta, yellow) by hand keeping the final color image in his head. Those times he did see the final art in full color not until it was printed on paper.

In Children of Fire final issue Mr. Corben stated the end of the tedious (cheap) coloring technique. That means Children of Fire was the last color comic book series made by this technique. He said in 1988 that he has been used his overlays for the last fifteen years (starting from Warren’s color inserts, “Lycanklutz” in Creepy #56 (1973), Spirit coloring in Eerie #54 (1974), and reprints in Comix International #1-#5 (1974-1977)).

Technique consists of a four layered overlay for each ink color that is photographed over a continuous tone original artwork with a regular copy camera (see Maxwell Parish!).

Copyright © 2005 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: February 9, 2005. Last updated: January 31, 2021 at 17:01 pm

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