In comics, a colorist is responsible for adding color to black-and-white line art. For most of the 20th century this was done using brushes and dyes which were then used as guides to produce the printing plates. Since the late 20th century it is most often done using digital media, with printing separations produced electronically.

Although most American colorists work directly for comics publishers (either as employees or freelancers), there are a few coloring studios which offer their services to publishers. American Color, Olyoptics, Digital Chameleon were the companies notable in this field.


Originally, comics were colored by cutting out films of various densities in the appropriate shapes to be used in producing color-separated printing plates. The typical colorist worked from photocopies of the inked pages, which they colored with special dyes. Dr. Martin's Dyes was a brand notable in this field within the comic strip industry.[1] CMYK codes were written on the page to indicate the final printed colors, and these hand-colored pages were used as guides by the engraver.[2] Tatjana Wood was the main colorist for DC Comics' covers from 1973 through the mid-1980s.[3]

More recently, colorists have worked in transparent media such as watercolors or airbrush, which is then photographed, allowing more subtle and painterly effects.

Digital color

Colorist Steve Oliff and his company Olyoptics were one of the first to use computers to do color separations. Although other companies at the time were experimenting with computers, Oliff and his crew were the first to blend the color guide artist with the separator.[4] In 1987, the Japanese manga Akira was in preparation to be translated and published by Marvel Comics's Epic Comics line. Oliff was chosen as the colorist, and he convinced Marvel that it was time to try computer color.[5] After the publication of Akira in 1988, computer coloring became increasingly prevalent in the comics industry.[4]

By the early 1990s, even though the larger comics publishers were using computers, there were variations within the field. DC Comics allowed only a 64-color palette, while Marvel had expanded it to 125 colors. Dark Horse Comics allowed even more variations.[1] The dominant programs in use during that time were Color Prep and Tint Prep, both originally implemented by Olyoptics. This software was invented and written by "Pixel Craft", the first company to create software that used a personal computer that could output files for a digital image setter to make negatives for color printing. Pixel craft was a small company in Long Island, NY, created by Kenneth Giordano, and Khouri Giordano. The Father and son team went on to accomplish many first in the computerization of color print..[1] In 1993, Image Comics' use of computer color and more advanced color separation technology propelled DC and Marvel to further upgrade their coloring techniques. Finally, in the mid-1990s, Digital Chameleon's facility with Adobe Photoshop helped make that program the industry standard.[1]

The improvements in the technology used for coloring have had a great impact on the way comics are drawn. Before the use of computers, artists would often use the pen or brush to put in detailed shading effects; now the artist is more likely to leave the drawing open and leave it to the colorist to insert shading through variation in color tones or through adding a layer of translucent black. Most contemporary colorists work in digital media using tools.[6]

Notable colorists

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Hollingsworth, Matt. "Color Guides," Archived 2008-10-08 at the Wayback Machine Accessed Apr. 6, 2009.
  2. ^ "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel Two-in-One #52 (Marvel Comics, June 1979).
  3. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 524. ISBN 978-3-8365-1981-6. Virtually all DC covers from 1973 through the end of the Bronze Age were colored by Tatjana Wood.
  4. ^ a b Khoury, George. Image Comics: The Road To Independence (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2007).
  5. ^ Gravett, Paul. Manga: Sixty Years of Japanese Comics (Laurence King Publishing, 2004).
  6. ^ Sierra, Jerry A. "Digital Chameleon Colors The Vertigo Universe - Part Two," Archived 2008-11-14 at the Wayback Machine Publish (July 1994). Accessed Apr. 6, 2009.

Avatar Aang (Chinese: 安昂; pinyin: Ān Áng) is a fictional character and the protagonist of Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender (created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen.

Aang is the last surviving Airbender, a monk of the Air Nomads' Southern Air Temple. He is an incarnation of the "Avatar", the spirit of light and peace manifested in human form. As the Avatar, Aang controls all four elements (fire, water, earth and air) and is tasked with keeping the Four Nations at peace. At 12 years old, Aang is the series' reluctant hero, spending a century in suspended animation before joining new friends Katara and Sokka on a quest to master the elements and save their world from the imperialist Fire Nation.

Aang's character has appeared in other media, such as trading cards, video games, T-shirts, and web comics. Aang has also been portrayed by Noah Ringer in the feature film The Last Airbender, and voiced by D.B. Sweeney in the sequel animated series The Legend of Korra.

Action Comics 1000

Action Comics #1000 (cover dated Early June 2018) is the thousandth issue of the original run of the comic book/magazine series Action Comics. It features several Superman stories from a variety of creators, including previously unpublished artwork by Curt Swan, who drew Superman for decades. It was a commercial and critical success, being the most-ordered comic of the month.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics

Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics refer to comic books based on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. While many of these comics were published when the television show was on air they are not all considered canonical and often deal with characters who do not appear in the television series, most notably in the Tales of the Slayers and Tales of the Vampires mini-series.

The first series of books were published by Dark Horse Comics between 1998 and 2004, originally in comic format but then gathered into volumes of trade paperbacks. A small number of Buffy comics have not been included in trade paperbacks, such as the books entitled "Giles", "Jonathan", and "Reunion".

Following the television series finale, Dark Horse began releasing new books titled Season Eight, Nine, and Ten, and various spin-offs, which are written and/or supervised by creator Joss Whedon and officially recognized as canon to the show. In 2007, Dark Horse allowed the rights to produce the comics for Buffy's companion show Angel to lapse, and they were picked up for a short time by IDW Publishing, who released the canon series Angel: After the Fall among other non-canon titles. Dark Horse reacquired the rights in 2010 and went on to release the official Angel: Season Six and the spin-off series Angel & Faith.

In 2018 it was announced after 20 years at Dark Horse Comics, the license for Buffy and all related material will transfer to BOOM! Studios. The first issue from the new publisher will be released in January 2019.

Dave Stewart (artist)

Dave Stewart is a colorist working in the comics industry.

Emilíana Torrini

Emilíana Torrini (born 16 May 1977) is an Icelandic singer and songwriter. She is best known for her 2009 single "Jungle Drum", her 1999 album Love in the Time of Science, and her performance of "Gollum's Song" for the 2002 film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Gary Leach

Gary Leach (born 1957 in Columbia, Missouri) is an American comics writer, translator, art director, production manager, letterer and colorist who has worked for several Disney-licensee publishers since the 1980s, namely Gladstone Publishing, Gemstone Publishing and IDW Publishing.His first three Disney comics were illustrated by Don Rosa and published in 1988: they are the Scrooge McDuck story The Paper Chase, the Donald Duck story Rocket Reverie and the Scrooge McDuck story Fiscal Fitness. Subsequent stories written by Leach featured artwork by various artists, including William Van Horn who drew three of them. All of Leach's comics take place in the Donald Duck universe. Leach wrote several articles about Disney comics, and is credited for the ideas of several covers.He has edited several manga titles for VIZ Media. Partial list: Red River, Arata: The Legend, D.Gray-man, Istuwaribito, O-Parts Hunter, Cheeky Angel, Uzumaki.

He is married to Susan Daigle-Leach, who has also worked for Disney-licensed comics as colorist and letterist.

Gerard Way

Gerard Arthur Way (born April 9, 1977) is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and comic book writer who was the lead vocalist and co-founder of the rock band My Chemical Romance from its formation in September 2001 until its split in March 2013. His debut solo album Hesitant Alien was released on September 30, 2014. Way is also the co-founder of DC Comics' Young Animal imprint. He wrote the comic mini-series The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys and the Eisner Award-winning comic book series The Umbrella Academy.


The inker (sometimes credited as the finisher or embellisher) is one of the two line artists in traditional comic book production.

The penciller creates a drawing, the inker outlines, interprets, finalizes, retraces this drawing by using a pencil, pen or a brush. Inking was necessary in the traditional printing process as presses could not reproduce pencilled drawings. "Inking" of text is usually handled by another specialist, the letterer,

the application of colors by the colorist.As the last hand in the production chain before the colorist, the inker has the final word on the look of the page, and can help control a story's mood, pace, and readability. A good inker can salvage shaky pencils, while a bad one can obliterate great draftsmanship and/or muddy good storytelling.

Josette Baujot

Josette Baujot (17 August 1920 – 13 August 2009) was a Belgian artist and colorist. She is most commonly associated with fellow Belgian comics writer Hergé (Georges Remi) and his Adventures of Tintin series.

José Villarrubia

José Antonio Villarrubia Jiménez-Momediano (born 17 November 1961) – known professionally as José Villarrubia – is a Spanish-American artist and art teacher who has done considerable work in the American comic book industry, particularly as a colorist.

Laura Martin

Laura DePuy (credited later in her career as Laura Martin, having married Randy Martin in 2001) is a colorist who has produced work for several of the major comics companies, including DC Comics, Marvel Comics and CrossGen.

List of Angel comics

Angel comic book refers to one of two series published by Dark Horse Comics during 2000–2002. Both of these series are based on the television series Angel, and were published while the television series was on air. The first volume was an ongoing series halted after seventeen issues. The second volume was a mini-series, spanning four issues. Various related works have come out coinciding with these volumes.

In 2005, IDW Publishing picked up the rights and began publishing various Angel related mini-series and one-shots set during and after the show's final season (these series are considered non-canonical). In 2007, IDW began publishing Angel: After the Fall, which is considered the canonical Angel season 6 (following the success of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight from Dark Horse) and is overseen by the show's creator Joss Whedon. IDW continued to publish an Angel ongoing title until Whedon transferred the rights to the character back to Dark Horse, where he will feature as part of the Buffy Season Nine franchise, starring most prominently in the ongoing series Angel and Faith.

Marie Severin

Marie Severin (; August 21, 1929 – August 29, 2018) was an American comics artist and colorist best known for her work for Marvel Comics and the 1950s' EC Comics. She was inducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2001.

Optimus Prime (comics)

Optimus Prime is an American science fiction comic book series written by John Barber, with art by penciller Kei Zama and colorist Josh Burcham. It is published by IDW Publishing in collaboration with Hasbro.

The series is a direct continuation to The Transformers: Robots in Disguise, featuring Optimus Prime as the main protagonist, and is set in the Hasbro Comic Book Universe.

The first issue was released on December 14, 2016 alongside Transformers: Lost Light as part of the Hasbro Reconstruction comic book line. The final issue was released on November 21, 2018, in the announcement of a reboot for 2019.

Steve Oliff

Steve Oliff (born February 20, 1954) is an American comic book artist who has worked as a colorist in the comics industry since 1978.

Susan Daigle-Leach

Susan Daigle-Leach (born 1960), also known as Susan F. Daigle and Sue Daigle, is an American comic book and cover colorist, letterist, production manager, illustrator, and fine artist, known mostly for her work during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s with Disney licensees Gladstone Publishing (1987-1998) and Gemstone Publishing (2003-2008) where she was the main colorist next to her husband Gary A. Leach and Scott Rockwell.

In 1983, Daigle-Leach graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and in 1987 began working for Another Rainbow and Gladstone Publishing.

While at Gladstone and Gemstone, Daigle-Leach colored 17,000 pages of the entire Disney comics by Carl Barks for the 141-volume Carl Barks Library in Color (1991-1996) alone (not to be confused with Another Rainbow's earlier, 30-volume Carl Barks Library published 1983-1990 in b/w), as well as the North-American editions of most of the Disney comics by Don Rosa. In 1995, Daigle-Leach was nominated for the prestigious Will Eisner Award - Best Colorist for her work at Gladstone. In 2007 and 2008 respectively, she was nominated for a Harvey Award in the same category for her work at Gemstone.She is married to Gary Leach, who has also worked for Disney-licensed comics.

Tatjana Wood

Tatjana Wood (née Tatjana Weintraub, in Darmstadt, Germany) is an American artist and comic book colorist.

The Colourist

The Colourist is an American rock band from Orange County, California formed in 2009 by Adam Castilla, Maya Tuttle, Justin Wagner, and Kollin Johannsen.

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