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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Marvel Strange Tales II #3

The final issue of Marvel's Strange Tales Vol. II is out tomorrow, and once again, I have colored not one but two exciting Nick Bertozzi pages!  Continuing with our Steranko themed artwork, the real watcher Uatu sinks deeper into the perverse world of Philip the fake watcher, culminating in a trip to the never-before-seen Watcher Mating Grounds.

My favorite page from Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD #1
My direction from Bertozzi was to "go crazy".  In fact, I came back with something that "wasn't crazy enough" and thus, I too sunk deeper into Bertozzi's perverse coloring world.  Once again, I turned to Steranko's Nick Fury comic for inspiration and was drawn to the audacious use of magentas and yellows on one of my favorite pages.  Here's the end result:

Fortunately for the outro page, I was able to tone down the colors a bit.  In a call back to issue 2, I used a similar color scheme of greens and yellows.  Here's the coloring process I used for all four pages of Vol. 2 to invoke the feeling of an older comic.  (Since it is the last page of the volume, I will refrain from posting the whole page and ruining the story!)

We start with Bertozzi's line art:

The first step is to flat fill the colors.  This is where I make the general palette choices but since this is the final in a series, I just pick up the colors from previous issues.  Still, there are some new choices to be made such as the background color scheme and the color Philip's hair and stubble.  Yes, I consciously chose to make him look like Dan Clowes's Wilson.
Since I know that Philip will be emerging from a depression, I've decided to give the lower half of the page (the last tier shown here plus the one I've omitted from this post) more texture.  To accomplish this, I add a temporary layer of noise.
Then I select the background color and fill it with a slightly different hue.  In this case, I use the adjacent panel's shade of green. Then I remove the temporary layer which leaves flecks of the hue underneath.
Here is the page thus far:
To further highlight the gradual brightening of tone, I desaturated the first few panels.  I wanted to contrast the first panel with the last panel in Issue 2 so I made it almost devoid of color.
Next, I added a layer of various types of white zip-a-tone gradient.  This adds a muted texture to the first two tiers which is subtle (and hard to see on screen) but will enhance the feel on the printed version.
To complete the old-school feel, I then added an off-white color for paper and an overall texture by scanning in a piece of cardboard.
The lettering goes on last and that's the end product!  Who knows if there will be a Strange Tales Vol. 3 so this might be your last chance to pick up the Strange Tales of the Fake Watcher!

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