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Old 06-10-2008, 01:04 PM   #1
Chris Wallace
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Default My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

They're functional. They're stylish. They've been And for a while they seemed to be all the rage in Hollywood. They're also at times a pain in the @$$ to draw. I'm talking about black costumes. Sure they're cool. And they're ideal for the character who's going for a stealthy/menacing look. And even some of our better known heroes, whose trademarks have always been bright, primary colors

havve on occasion swapped them out for ebon duds.
The problem is, I'm seeing entirely too many black suits that don't LOOK black. It's annoying & detracts from the authenticity of the image. I think it started with lazy inkers who didn't fill in enough black, & with blue being the standard highlight to fill in the gaps, we wound up with entirely too much blue, to the point where an uninitiated viewer couldn't tell the difference. Now we have a conflict between wanting the shadows to stand out & trying to fill in a generally black area.
Me, personally, I almost NEVER use blue for highlighting or breaking up black suits. I recommend experimenting with varying shades of grey in your work, & filling in as much of the black as practically possible, so we don't keep ending up w/images like this.

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Old 06-10-2008, 01:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

I er... uhm... yeah, ok. I guess... I agree?

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Old 06-10-2008, 01:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

it all depends on the actual surface of the suit.

i don't mind the symbiote being slightly blue because it gives it that liquid effect of a living material.

ink so to speak, the eye regards it as ink.

this point is validated when you watch some batman beyond where batman and inque are fighting each other.

batman's black costume and inque's black costumes are shaded differently to gain an idea of the differences in their textures...



notice also here how terry's dark hair is highlighted with blue to give it a smoother looking shiny texture



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Old 06-10-2008, 01:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

That's a great point, Rain. Different surfaces have to be highlighted different ways. Something that's more shiny would have stronger sharper highlights, while something that's matte would have a more subtle gradual highlight.

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Old 06-10-2008, 03:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

I have no problem w/blue highlights on a supposedly shiny surface, as long as it doesn't go overboard.

But even on those, the right mixture of grey & white can achieve the desired effect.
I guess my real problem is when no distinction is made between highlighting a black surface & shading a blue one. For example:



Pretty much the same amount of blue is used in both images. This is where I would recommend going w/a little grey.


I think it looks much better. Too much blue ruins the contrast of the character's dark appearance.

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Old 06-10-2008, 03:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Chris you have far too much blue in your avatar for my liking

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Old 06-10-2008, 04:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

I feel like its the artists choice. I really dont think it matters either way. The blue in particular has never bothered me. I feel like I have adjusted to it being a long time reader that i barely even notice it unless brought up.

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Old 06-10-2008, 10:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

so far from the images you've shown only the one of spiderman and venom in your second post were odd together. If you want all-black or only shaded with grey as a rule, go to deviantart and look up fanart done by thirteen-year-olds.

To me it would be extremely boring to shade black costumes with only grey, and only minimally. Light and color change with each situation, and artists also take into account composition, context, and style. While grey might work sometimes, it's silly to limit it to that (or to blue, for that matter).

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Old 06-10-2008, 11:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

for me it depends... the symbiote to me is alien... and it's color should be "black/blue" it's black but reflects blue light... there's hair dye and paint that does the same....

but for me it depends on the lightsource, and the texture. Some characters who are normally shaded blue look odd shaded with grey... for me if the black is a cloth, then grey is the way to shade it... if its leather, then blue is alright since it gives off a liquid like shine.

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Old 06-11-2008, 12:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

The main reason that there is blue used on a lot of these images is because of reflective light. The shiny black material is reflecting the environmental light (in most of the cases the sky). It's all about creating a mood and a feeling from your colouring.


Does spiderman here feel like he is swinging around on a summers day as much as the blue does? Not really- it feels cooler.
(If we ignore that spideys suit is blue and red)

The main way for your black leather have grey as a highlight would be to have a white light as the light source. It's quite rare to have white light in nature, normally it give off a shade of something.

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Old 06-11-2008, 02:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

what can i say. that monkey knows his stuff.

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Old 06-11-2008, 04:03 PM   #12
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phig View Post
Chris you have far too much blue in your avatar for my liking
I actually agree.

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Old 06-11-2008, 04:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Leather w/blue highlights.

Perfectly fine, b/c it's not overdone. Here you can clearly tell that the outfit is black & not blue. Here the untrained eye can't.

But still looks reasonably black rather than blue. But leather w/grey highlights is just as good if it's done right.

Not dull or boring at all. Using blue sometimes can work, if the black-to-blue ratio is balanced right.

I don't think this is a good balance. At first glance it looks like the Adam West days all over again.

I think this is better. But grey still works best.

This is just my personal belief & it isn't law or anything. But I think it looks best when black is CLEARLY black & blue is CLEARLY blue. Besides, if you over-brighten somebody like Batman or Punisher it nullifies the dark image that's supposed to define them.

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Old 06-12-2008, 01:05 PM   #14
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Quote:
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But still looks reasonably black rather than blue. But leather w/grey highlights is just as good if it's done right.

Not dull or boring at all. Using blue sometimes can work, if the black-to-blue ratio is balanced right.
That's not gray highlights. That's yellows and reds, with varying levels of saturation. Which makes sense. Because the surrounding light is red and yellow.

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Old 06-13-2008, 02:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberMonkeytron View Post
The main reason that there is blue used on a lot of these images is because of reflective light. The shiny black material is reflecting the environmental light (in most of the cases the sky). It's all about creating a mood and a feeling from your colouring.


Does spiderman here feel like he is swinging around on a summers day as much as the blue does? Not really- it feels cooler.
(If we ignore that spideys suit is blue and red)

The main way for your black leather have grey as a highlight would be to have a white light as the light source. It's quite rare to have white light in nature, normally it give off a shade of something.
um, shouldn't you be recoloring venom's suit, since spiderman's suit is supposed to be blue and red? I think you just validated wallace's point...

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Old 06-13-2008, 03:02 PM   #16
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

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um, shouldn't you be recoloring venom's suit, since spiderman's suit is supposed to be blue and red? I think you just validated wallace's point...
actually.... spideys original look was red and black... one could argue for a while it indeed was red and black, with alot of blue highlights, and just eventually became blue

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Old 06-13-2008, 03:09 PM   #17
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spideyboy_1111 View Post
actually.... spideys original look was red and black... one could argue for a while it indeed was red and black, with alot of blue highlights, and just eventually became blue
so maybe this is an issue to take seriously...

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Old 06-13-2008, 03:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

not really.... persay.. we know spidey is blue (now) and we know venom is black/blue (essentially black but reflects blue light) and we know that batman has many different costumes, black, black and grey, blue and grey, etc... so taking seriously? meh. not really. least its too late now.

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Old 06-15-2008, 12:42 AM   #19
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

I just don't want any newcomers adding to the existing bad trend & justifying it by "It's too late". Just b/c it's commonly done doesn't mean you have to do it. And pointing out that Spidey's suit was originaly red & black does support my point, IMO. It happened to him, it happened to Batman. It shouldn't happen again but it likely will. I have a character in development whose color scheme is primarily black & navy, so I feel like I have to make the distinction when coloring his suit, lest he just be seen as totally blue or totally black.

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Old 06-15-2008, 12:44 AM   #20
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberMonkeytron View Post
The main reason that there is blue used on a lot of these images is because of reflective light. The shiny black material is reflecting the environmental light (in most of the cases the sky). It's all about creating a mood and a feeling from your colouring.


Does spiderman here feel like he is swinging around on a summers day as much as the blue does? Not really- it feels cooler.
(If we ignore that spideys suit is blue and red)

The main way for your black leather have grey as a highlight would be to have a white light as the light source. It's quite rare to have white light in nature, normally it give off a shade of something.
This actually would be fine if he were wearing red & black. But this validates my previous argument that we're highlighting black surfaces & shading blue ones the same way. Perhaps you should have done this w/his black suit.

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Old 06-16-2008, 10:49 PM   #21
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

but his black suit looks best with blue highlights... like i said before it's black, but reflects blue... many paints and hair dyes can do this. plus the thing is alien so can defy all earth logic. venom has been given gray highlights before, but always looks horrible. i dont believe i've ever seen the black suit with gray on spidey

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Old 06-17-2008, 10:33 AM   #22
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Again, I'd have no problem w/blue highlights if they weren't so constantly & consistently being overdone. And just b/c it hasn't been done a certain way up 'til now doesn't mean it can't. I, for one, have never seen a grey highlighted Venom. I'm not sure I buy the argument about defying Earth logic, in terms of a black surface looking blue.

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Old 06-17-2008, 04:40 PM   #23
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

black surface CAN reflect blue light though. most don't but there are some that can. I don't see why it's farfetched for the symbiote to.

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Old 06-18-2008, 10:23 AM   #24
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Ok. Now I understand you. and again it's fine if not overdone. I just feel that an untrained, uninitiated viewer should be able to tell at a glance whether the character is wearing black or blue, & it's not always that distinguishable. But "don't be offended. This is all my opinion-ain't nothin' that I'm sayin' law".

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Old 06-18-2008, 10:52 AM   #25
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Default Re: My thoughts on a topic that affects ALL aspiring comic artists.

Well, I understand what you are saying. Alot of times, artists tend to rely too much on a colorist to bail them out when it comes to black costumes. Personally, I think the inks should really convey the black parts, with highlighted areas there to give the suit a little more contrast.

If it's inked black:



Then it can be colored and still feel black, jut by showing the reflections of the bright light around it:


That's just how I try to do it, though.

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