This is an article on color I did for ComicsComics#2 from 2007(!) which is often used as a teaching tool. I’m posting it here because my friends keep telling me they haven’t read it. Check out the old archived site HERE. Maybe they’ll read it now. Thanks.–FS (images by Kevin Nowlan)
Make It Loud: Comics Color, Kevin Nowlan, and Cosmic Depth
by Frank Santoro
Until the early 1990s, most color comics were produced in the same way they’ve been made for nearly one hundred years. The artist drew the comic in black-and-white and then, for the most part, provided the printer with a guide of some sort to color the comic by. These guides would have been anything from simple color sketches to hand-colored photostats or Xeroxes of the black-and-white line art. Engraving plates would be created by the printer for four different colors: red, blue, yellow, and black. In combination, and with the help of screens, these would produce a limited but comprehensive palette. There was no guarantee, however, that the vision of the artist and the reality of what came off the press would match. Photoshop did not yet exist. There was no way to preview the results.