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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Color is an element of comics I have very little handle on. I can spot broad patterns, like the contrasting worlds of brownish-red and blue-green in the Artemis Fowle adaptations. But more subtle color schemes need to be spelled out for me. (Spider-Man’s early villains were often green and purple because those contrast with his own red and blue—ohhh!)

I therefore latched onto this passage from Graphic Novel Reporter’s interview with Raina Telgemeier about Drama:
You worked with design studio Gurihiru to create a color scheme for this book that perfectly complements the tone of the story. Tell us a little bit about how you went about that.

Gurihiru (a two-women team, Kawano and Sasaki) is responsible for some of my favorite art and comics of the past half-decade or so. They illustrated the rebooted Marvel Power Pack series, and they’re working on the Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Lost Adventures with Gene Yang right now. They have a really soft, pleasing color palette, so I looked to them to help create the jewel-toned world of Callie’s universe, which I love.

In some cases, I had really clear ideas—the story is set in a specific part of California, where the weather and atmosphere are very distinctive. And because Gurihiru are Japanese and work through a translator, there were a few instances where they needed solid American references. Soda cans, the bookstore scene, things like that.
In the New York Times Book Review, Ada Calhoun praised that element of the art: “Telgemeier’s use of color, created with the design team Gurihiru, is eloquent; Callie’s amethyst-colored hair complements her suburb’s sky-blue skies and pistachio-green grass.”

Frankly I don’t see coloring the skies “sky-blue” to be that much of a stretch. But once the interview called it to my attention I could see how Telgemeier and Gurihiru had found a rich, luminous palette even as they stayed away from the stark primaries.

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