Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Coloring Books

Alright, fellow denizens of the art world, break out your Crayolas! Because my computer was down for maintenance recently, I haven't been able to do any art, so I thought I would showcase some new art books I've recently read instead of going into hiding while I reinstall all of my programs. These are no ordinary art books, though. No, these are books about COLOR! Whether you love it or you hate it, color will always be there, so here are some books that might help you understand color enough that it doesn't make you run screaming in the other direction:

Titles: Light for Visual Artists (Richard Yot) and The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics (by Chiarello and Klein)

Who should read them: Every visual artist. Seriously, I think that anyone that works with light and color would greatly benefit from either of these books. Richard Yot's book is a very good general resource on color, while the DC Guide is especially helpful with digital color.

Why are they awesome?:

First, Light for Visual Artists: Anyone with a career that requires an intimate knowledge of light or color really should have this book within reading distance. This is without a doubt one of the most comprehensive and in depth look at light that I have ever seen in any art book (and I've read quite a few). Every light concept (like shadows, reflections, diffusion, translucence, etc.) is explained scientifically (the "how" of light), usually followed by a more practical "artist" definition. And, of course, each concept is provided diagrams, photography, and artwork to illustrate what the author is explaining, which is immensely helpful for visually-inclined learners. And at the end of each chapter is an example or assignment that allows the reader to see each chapter's given topics in action. There is so much information that I really do feel the need to reread this book at least a couple more times for all of the information to start sinking in.

If you have not yet read this book, I highly recommend you find a copy.

As for the DC Guide to Coloring, first let me admit (somewhat shamefully) that I only glanced through the section about lettering. From what I saw, the section on lettering is very comprehensive and would be a wonderful resource for anyone interested in that aspect of comics. As I am not one of those people, I mostly focused on the color chapters. This book, like Light for Visual Artists, goes over some of the topics relating to color, although on a more general level (hue, saturation, etc.). Where this book shines, though, is in the explanation of how color on the computer works. Because artists (myself included) tend to be overwhelmed or confused by the literal thousands of colors and options that computer art programs give them, color on the computer can be incredibly tedious. The DC Guide to Coloring and Lettering breaks everything down, explaining the difference between things like color profiles (RGB vs. CYMK), aliasing vs. anti-aliasing, and other topics that computer colorists run into. For the comic artists out there, there are also great step-by-step instructions on the DC Comics coloring workflow that breaks down coloring even further, explanations of how color usage can affect story, different styles of comic coloring, etc. And best of all, while you learn how to be competent with computer color you get to look at oodles of superhero artwork! I'd call that a win-win scenario.

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