Next week I'll be starting to serialize a very short story (four pages) which will mark my first foray into my very own computer colored comics. Most of the stuff I've shown here has been either straight black and white or colored with regular inks before scanning. Cruel Hope will inaugurate a new - for me - approach.
This story began life after reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road, an excellent book that introduced me to the writer responsible for the book behind this year's Academy Award winner No Country for Old Men directed by the Coen Brothers.
Now, before everyone starts saying I'm full of crap, let me assure you that this little comic of mine has no intention of comparing to such gentleman's excellent work, even though I did the best I could - as with everything else I do, for that matter.
This is just a short experiment playing on one of the many horrific elements that permeates Mr. McCarthy's novel. All similarities end there. The only reason I'm mentioning this stuff at all is really just to tell you to go read The Road - trust me, you won't be disapointed.
Now, back to my little comic, the whole raison d'être for this post's title was the graphic approach I brought to it. While I do actually prefer black and white comics both as a reader and as a cartoonist, the presence of colour in comics does bring along an extra storytelling resource that is unavailable in its absence.
To use a comparison, it's like having a soundtrack to your film. Also, most persons just prefer color to black and white - so color usually means a larger audience.
So why have I neglected using this tool for so long? Well, besides my personal preferences, coloring my own comics means time taken away from drawing the actual things. As a result, I've been searching for a coloring partner for as long as I've been drawing, someone who would be willing to colour my stuff under my instructions. Cruel Hope ended up as a comic precisely because of that. I drew it as a sort of try-out for a group of fellow friend artists to colour it. Unfortunately, the experiment didn't go far and the results weren't exactly what either of us wanted. I prefered to go for flat, solid colors in a more traditional sense while my friends leaned toward the modelled effects so prevalent in most of today's comics. Add to this, the simple fact that none of them ever went beyond the first page and... well, I was left with four black and white pages waiting to go somewhere. As I had done them precisely with colour in mind, they just didn't seem finished enough for me to post them here as they were. The solution? "Do It Yourself", hence the title for this post. Will the result be any good? Is D.I.Y. really the correct approach? Well, this is just the start for me, so there is a lot of trial and error involved, so I'm sure it'll take awhile for me to really develop. Still, it is from mistakes that one learns and improves. So, please, be gentle, it's my first time :-)
Before finishing, for now, I would like to take the time to thank a few people in chronological order: my friend António Alves, for giving me "The Road" on my last birthday; my dear wife for suggesting the title for this little tale; and my friends Ivo and Nelson Teixeira, João Tavares, Luís Santos, Carlos Félix, Andreas Rochas and Carina, all of whom, perhaps inadvertently, set me on the path to start colouring my own comics.
So, next week : Cruel Hope Page 1.
See you then!