Colouring Style

Why Colour?

Picking my colouring style for my comic was pretty hard since my drawing style is a bit unique. My people look a bit like western style manga with fairly simple features. In fact, the features are so simple that it might be hard to tell certain faces apart. This is why I want to do my comic in colour. Nothing gives identity like colour does. I believe it is probably one of the simplest ways to differ characters and help the reader remember who is who.

My sister, who is somewhat of a manga fan, had me read a series called “Fruits Basket” which is a black and white manga series for teens. As much as I enjoyed the story, the one downfall was that I kept getting confused about who was who in the story because they all looked so much alike, and you had to notice small details like a wisp of hair going in a certain direction to detect a certain character.

Now think of the power rangers. When I was a kid, and my siblings and I played power rangers, how did we know who we were? Colours. “I am the yellow one!” One could say this is a pretty cheap way of differentiating characters, but hey, it works! I of course wont be making it as simple as “pink power ranger”, but I do think that giving my comic color will help bring life to my characters and my world.

My husband and I will sometimes go to a comic books store here in York called “The Traveling Man” and flip through different comic books to get inspiration for how to color mine. I usually get frustrated because my comic is most like manga in style, but almost all manga is black and white. And when I look at the different books, it is hard for me to enjoy the world and characters. I want my comic book to be different in this way. I would like characters to pop out and be memorable.

So what Style?

This was the hardest question for us. I say “us” because while I do the line art, my husband is the one with more experience in digital coloring and he has been coloring them so far. I do hope to get better at it myself, but we want to find what we like first. Like I mentioned before, there really isn’t much out there in my style that is colored, and so it’s been hard finding things we liked.

Black and White:


This was the first thing I tried with my comic. Since I saw most manga-styled art was black and white I thought I would give it a try. It looks clean and simple, and I liked that. But as I said before, it is hard to tell characters apart, and I just didn’t like doing all the extra texture I would have to do if it were black and white.

Not only that, but look at this picture: wouldn’t it have so much more life in colour?

Every once in a while, we toy with the idea of going back to black and white, as colouring takes so much more time, but then we remember that there is still a lot of work involved to do black and white well.

So we decided against it.

Air Brush:

My husband will hate that I used this picture as an example, but it is the only airbrushed picture we did! (It’s also the first picture of mine that he ever coloured). We quickly decided we didn’t like it.

Though most manga is black and white, a lot of anime is coloured. So we started checking out different anime in colour to see how they did it. Most of the time, the colouring was really smooth with airbrushing or gradients. We really didn’t like this look because it looked so obviously “photoshop”. I just don’t want it to look to cheap or easy, because I want it to have a bit of style. This just looked like deviant fan art or something.


Cel Shading:

Isa-ColourThis was the last style that we tried. Just a simple, one-shade look seemed to fit my style. It’s basically flat colour with simple shading. We also tried a three-tone approach (flat colour, shadow, and highlight), but it seemed a bit much for a style as simple as mine.

This is what we are going with for now. I hopefully will post some finished pages soon, but I would love feedback if anyone has any more suggestions.

My next challenge is background. They seem to be the bane of my graphic novel. Either I am terrible at drawing them, or terrible at colouring them. This might be my next blog post topic.