WIP! Part 1: Colour tests

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts already, I’m working on a new comic project called Last Chance: Dead or Alive. Now my intent is to really do mainly black & white artwork, but I do want to colour things like the covers. So that really means that I need to figure out just what that looks like.

Now the interesting thing about starting something new is that I really don’t have too much to go on and I can explore. This is actually super cool considering that I’ve really done mainly On the Verge stuff for about six years at this point. So something new is kind of exciting to try and figure out.

The main thing that I’ve been focused on is what do I want to do differently. Back when I was first starting On the Verge, my main goal was to try to find a way to marry my ink drawing with my painted illustration work – and my solution worked for the most part. But my artwork has changed over the years and I’ve really started to (A) draw more and more detail, and (B) draw more backgrounds and other stuff into pages. So the textured paints that were used for On the Verge really need to be chucked out and I’ve got to find something new.

To begin with I did a piece of concept art with Chance sitting on her cycle in the desert…

And I was pretty happy with this. I conceived of this from the start as a good way to draw:

  • Chance (always good to get more time drawing the main character)
  • The cycle (again, I’m probably going to be drawing this quite a bit, so more is better at this point)
  • Scenery, specifically the desert
  • And I wanted lots of space to try out some colour ideas.

Colour ideas
I did have some very specific colour ideas to try out. I’ve spent a couple of years developing this comic and I’ve got a bunch of folders filled with reference imagery that I’ve been sorting through. So at this point, I want to really see if what I’m thinking and things that I’ve stashed away for reference actually work in practice.

With that in mind, I’d narrowed down my colour ideas to two particular images that I thought worked well with the type of environment that I was aiming for: barren desert on an alien planet. I’d settled on a red sky and these two image seemed to fit the bill…


So with those as a starting point, I proceeded to add colour…

And it just didn’t work.

Why not?
Well objectively, I feel like the colours (A) overpower the drawing, which isn’t a good thing, and (B) Chance just doesn’t stand out. As well, I kind of feel like this ends up being all about the crazy red/pink sky and you lose any of the subtler textures. So at this point I decided to stop and do a bit of a re-think.

Next up, we’ll take a look at how I refocused and figured out what to do with this.

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