comic book color art


Comics as we know them have been a staple form of entertainment for nearly a century. Although I have written many articles here about them and what they are worth, we have never discussed how they are actually made.

The process of creating comics is teamwork and much more complicated than most people imagine. It involves a writer, a penciler, an inker, a colorist, and a letterer. Before creating an artwork, the story should be developed and formatted to fit the number of pages in the book. Once the story has been refined, the writer then creates a script for the cartoonist to follow and begin creating each page. The pencil work represents only one third of the artistic process. Once the pencil work is completed and reviewed by the editor, the pages are then handed over to inking. The inker is the artist in the process that gives depth and texture to the artwork, making the designs much more detailed compared to the designer’s original work. Finally, when all the black and white illustrations are complete, the letterer will then add the dialogue throughout the story. It may sound simple, but it’s actually a high-pressure gig! The letterer must select the appropriate font, size, and effect to convey the words and sounds the reader hears in their head. It is after this that the original pages are scanned and printed for the colorist to go in and paint each page and cover for the final print.

What the colorist creates is known as a color guide, an original work of art but also a tool to guide the printer in which colors to use. The coloring is so specific that the paints are calculated at a final percentage and given a code. For example, a shade of red used for the Spider-Man suit in a dark alley scene might be M78Y22, which means 78% magenta and 22% yellow. To be a colorist, you have to be an extremely picky person and stay focused on the smallest details. That’s why Andy Yanchus was able to have a successful 17-year career with Marvel Comics. Being a colorist and layout artist requires attention to detail, and this was the perfect fit for Andy.

This coming New Year’s Day at Bruneau & Co., we’ll be offering Part II of the Andy Yanchus Collection focusing on his comics and color guides from his time with Marvel. In the world of original art collecting, color guides are unusual, in that they do not frequently appear on the market. Andy’s archive includes covers for x-men, avengers, daredeviland even a new cover for the black panther #16. It will be a fantastic auction and an exciting way to celebrate the New Year. If you would like to learn more about the comic book and original art market, please do not hesitate to contact us at the gallery. You never know what you might have.

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