What kind of paper to use for the Transformers/Joe comic? I like the softer line and blending of colors that occurs on a course uncoated stock, like American Barbarian was printed on. Glossy bright white paper is the default setting for comic books. For years I bristled against it, but now I know how to use it to my advantage. Glossy stock, because of the way the ink sits on top of the page, allows for a fuller range of colors.
Here’s a test page I drew. This is not an actual story moment from TF/Joe. It was a test page, to work out the scale, the way these characters might move and interact, and get some practice drawing the characters and working out the kinks before I settle on a final approach to the art. It was also a chance to test out some possible ways of coloring the book. Most importantly, I’ve been spending so much time in the writing phase, I needed to take a break and draw something, even if it isn’t part of the actual book itself.
Here’s a closer look showing some of the detail:
With American Barbarian, in terms of color, I went for a nostalgic approach, but with a few flourishes. I chose a palette for the line and color that was different from the actual palette in an old comic, but hit notes that I felt captured the spirit, but in a more aesthetically pleasing way. With Satan’s Soldier I went for a more intense, saturated, eye-melting approach to color.
This image printed on glossy paper would have the visual noise that makes old comics so pleasing, but also the full range of intense colors that buzz in the eye.
With this test page, I feel like I brought lessons learned from each approach. I’d like to push this line of inquiry further in subsequent tests.