Unsung Hero: The Colourist

Often, most people forget that the creative teams behind their favourite comics are a collection of artists.  The writer, using pacing, poignant dialogue, and the page itself, brings a smattering of words into a (usually) coherent roller coaster ride.  The penciller gives life and depth to characters that, despite their literal 2-D trappings, become fully realized.

Generally, everyone reading comics will sing the praises of the writer and the artist and that’s it.  Readers often forget to mention the rest of the team – the colourist, the inker, the letterist, and the editors.  For now, LBoA has decided to give props to the colourist.

No, not that kind of colourist, although Jean-Paul's highlights are to die for.

Colourists are the unsung heroes of the comic book industry.  Well, unsung by readers, anyhow.  There is no shortage of writers willing to tell readers about how awesome the colourist they just worked with is.  Mainly because they know that colourists get recognized for their work about as often as the Deputy Prime Minister does – usually by his or her peers, but the generally public kind of ignores them unless there is a sexy scandal.

Stephen Harper and Chad Kroeger

This is the closest thing we have to a Deputy Prime Minister right now. Proof that Canada is on a slow descent into Hell.

Colourists are to comics what special effects people are to movies.  They give life to the book, making the unreal seem real, accenting the tone of the book.  They are artists in their own right, their careful choices can change the mood of a comic regardless of how subtle it may seem.  They work behind the scenes, burning out their retinas attempting to find just the right shade of red to splatter across the page.

Or just enough pink and purple to make the Viltrumites' sexuality questionable.

Colourists are often unappreciated for what they do.  So next time you crack open a comic, take some time to truly absorb the colours.  Gaze in awe at the amount of work that goes into finding the right tones to make a comic sing.  Then write a letter to Jamie Grant, Charlie Adlard, Bill Crabtree or  Cris Peter and tell them you think they are super.  Be sure to thank them.


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