Process #3

If I was having a good week, I managed to draw 4 pages a day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving me to scan, colour and add the text on Thursday and Friday (and usually Saturday and often Sunday). Throughout the process I referred to what I did in the latter half of my weeks as ‘colouring’, though in the finished work there is very little discernible colour to be seen.

Technical stuff. After scanning the images, I adjusted them in Photoshop to remove the yellow of my chosen paper and leave me with a crisp black line. This I laid over my textured paper background, and manipulated the creases to form my panel borders. I then coloured the image – perhaps shaded is a more suitable term – using a very limited range of black and white in varying opacities (so the texture of the paper would show through).

Scanned Panels

Black Line

Line and Textured Paper

Figures in White

I shaded figures in white, with the opacity turned down to 40%. I kept this very simple, not using any other colours for clothes or hair for any characters. Furniture or any other scenery I shaded black, with opacity of 20 or 10%.

Black Colouring

At first this process was verrrrrrry slow, and I worried about my ability to keep up with my schedule. By the middle of things I had a good routine and usually felt confident of getting things done on time. By the end of my 14-month drawing extravaganza I was a whizz at my particular and peculiar Photoshop colouring formula.

Shaded Background

Another thing relating to colour. I left all the backgrounds the same shade of grey until I’d finished a whole chapter. At that point I would make a decision about the tone of the story, emotionally and therefore colour-wise, and would adjust the backgrounds of the chapter accordingly. The result is subtle shifts in colour that I think you will barely notice as you turn from page to page. But dipping in and out of sections the change is more pronounced and – what came as a nice surprise – the finished book has an ombr√© effect in profile that I find very pleasing indeed.

Ombre Pages