Posted - 01/19/2017 : 07:25:35 AM
Colorist for Imprinted
Published by: Trunk Space
Interviewed by: Richard Vasseur/Jazma VP
Rich: What does a Colorist do besides just color a page?
Dustin: I’ve always related a colorist to the bass player in a band. They really set the beat and the tone of the book. What the colorist does can truly change the pace and look of the line art. In this instance, Jason and I worked together to find a very vivid and unique look for the different realms that our heroine, Lilian, travels through. We wanted a look that appeared familiar but also other worldly and haunting. I wasn’t just dropping in colors and shading people and objects based on where the light source was positioned. I attempted to create a totally unique and immersive world that has yet to be seen in comics when Lilian travels to different plains: purgatory, hell, etc… Even in the “real world” of Imprinted, there are spirits and powers at work that give me a chance to really swing for the fences in terms of creative coloring license. Your mind begins contemplating things like, what color and light would a spirit give off in this realm and how does it affect the objects and people around it?
Rich: In "Imprinted" who is that woman who has been to Hell and why was she there?
Dustin: That lovely woman is Lilian. Lilian has been involved in tragedy from a young age, and I feel it really matured her early. She learned about spirits, life, death and the hereafter when she was just a child. After being possessed by a spirit, and a chance encounter with a mysterious individual, she finds herself in possession of powers that become “Imprinted” on her with each spirit that she comes in contact with. Tasked with being the protector of both our world and the space that exists following death, Lilian is a reverse-reaper, or, someone who can bring people back from the dead. With her great power comes great responsibility…and the occasional trip to hell and back.
Rich: On the cover of "Imprinted" you do a beautiful job coloring the fire, how do you achieve such a look?
Dustin: Thank you for noticing! I was very proud of the fire effect I was able to achieve on the cover. It’s all about multiple layers and building depth and dimension. I start with simple flats. In this case, I chose darker orange and red hues. After all the flats were in place, I used the color doge and color burn setting on the airbrush in Photoshop to hand paint the flames. The color dodge will give you the bright, firey look, while the color burn will give you deep, rich color and shadow. I also applied a few gradients and motion blurs. When you look at fire, it’s anything but stagnant, so I really wanted to capture not only the heat of the flame but the locomotion of the flames. Lastly, I used a custom texture brush to paint in bits of ash floating about, and again, applied some motion blurs.
Rich: Would you like to try doing the art on this comic?
Dustin: To be honest, no. Reason being, Fernando just crushes it on the line art for this book. I can’t picture it being drawn any other way right now. Plus, my artistic style usually is more animated and whimsical. If there was a spin-off of Imprinted featuring maybe some mischievous spirits, I could see myself drawing that. Right now, I’m just enjoying giving the colors all my creative heart has to offer to help the story and line art sing.
Rich: What did you find most challenging about working on "Imprinted"?
Dustin: Ah, this is an easy one. There is this amazing scene in the book that takes place at a carnival. Fernando delivered this gorgeous line art filled to the gills with details. It had all the booths, carts, toys, rides, people, and a massive ferris wheel lined with lights and passengers. At first your brain is just like, where to start? The best way is to just get started and little by little, it all comes together, and you figure out where you want to draw the reader’s eye with the color. It’s a challenge, but when you’re done and sit back and look at the page, it’s very rewarding.
Rich: Which color do you find you use the most in coloring comics and why do you think it is used more?
Dustin: I find myself using a rich, dark burgundy to apply shadow and a pastel orange to add highlights and brightness. I will use these two custom colors in every one of my coloring pieces at some point. I might end up applying other layers to manipulate the overall tone, but those two are my go to colors.
Rich: What is Trunk Space?
Dustin: Trunk Space is a new, cutting edge website. It’s like a digital magazine of all of your favorite things in life! It has something for everyone: exclusive music interviews, original digital comics, interviews with icons that will tug at your nostalgic heart strings, beer reviews, and so much more. I have been very fortunate to work with Jason Burns on the website, designing different custom elements, logos, etc…and I feel like it’s going to blow people away. One of my favorite things I’m getting to work on for the website is custom concert style posters for the bands that are featured on the website. The website will give viewers a chance to earn prizes as well just for sharing stories, pic, etc..via social media, so we will be getting the audience involved.
Rich: What do you think of Batman, would you like to write, draw, color a comic book of him?
Dustin: Batman is and forever will be my favorite comic icon for so many reasons. I remember watching the Tim Burton Batman as a kid. It captured my imagination so much, I began devouring every Batman comic I could get my hands on, and it really gave birth to my love of comics. Then came Bruce Timm’s animated series which only fueled my love of animation and all things Bat. Without Batman, I don’t think I would have ever worked in comics. I would love a chance to be a part of a Batman book in any way possible. I feel like I know the character and supporting cast so well, I could literally write, draw and color a Batman series all on my own. So…DC, give me a call anytime. I’m ready!
Rich: You worked as the artist on "Hooligan" what look did you give to this character?
Dustin: Hooligan was a really interesting and unique situation. I came up with this crazy character design that was like Casey Jones meets Batman. I actually joked with Mike Hall, the Co-Creator and Writer of Hooligan, that the mid-west needed a Batman...and Hooligan was it! My style is usually more animated, but for this book, I knew it needed to be dark and gritty. I’m very proud of the dark inks, silhouette work in the book and the digital colors/fx as well. It was something totally different for me, and I hope that Hooligan will rise again to get his day in the sun that he deserves.
Rich: You have worked coloring a number of different comics such as Black Dynamite, Richie Rich, Sonic, Sesame Street do you have any favorites?
Dustin: Yes! I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of many different books in the past 10 years. Sesame Street would definitely be one of my faves. I grew up watching things like Sesame Street, Dark Crystal, and the Muppets. To get a chance to work on Sesame Street and come full circle from loving the show as a child, it was a pretty special moment. I also have a special place in my heart for the Gargoyles comic books I worked on. It was at an early phase in my career, but I loved the Gargoyles animated series, so working on the book was one of those surreal things you wish you could have told your younger self you would be doing one day.
Rich: Would you want to do more work as an artist over that of coloring?
Dustin: Yes, I would definitely like a chance to get back to drawing some more books soon. Penciling was my first true love in comics, and it was what I set out to do initially. It just so happened my coloring and work ethic makes me a front runner for being a colorist on books. I feel like I color so much, people forget that I can draw…but really, a lot of what I do with coloring would require a great bit of drawing ability.
Rich: Who inspires your work?
Dustin: I have been inspired in the past by artist like Humbert Ramos, Carlos Meglia, Greg Capullo, Joe Mad! Currently, though, I find more inspiration coming from film. I enjoy great cinematography and framing of shots. I think it has changed for me, because as a young artist, I searched for my “style”. Now I just notice and get inspired by everything around me, which is usually a move but it could come from a great piece of design work in an ad as well.
Rich: What did you think of the "Doctor Strange" movie?
Dustin: You know, I went into Doctor Strange not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly delighted and surprised! I really enjoyed the film. I loved the character journey that we saw from Doctor Strange take in this film. Also, Tilda Swinton is one of my favorite actresses since her performance in Constantine, so seeing her back again in such a powerful role was exciting. And the FX, are you kidding me? It was mind blowing the stuff that they pulled off, visually. I get dizzy just trying to contemplate how one would try and film some of those scenes. I also enjoyed the personification they gave Strange’s cape. It provided some great comedy relief!
Rich: Anything you want to say to those who enjoy your work?
Dustin: Yes, I would first like to say a heartfelt thank you! It means so much to me to hear other people who enjoy seeing my work and what I do. The only reason I create, as an artist, is for other people to enjoy my work. If I had nobody to share my art with or no joy to spread…I wouldn’t create anything at all. There would be no joy or soul in the creation. So thank you to all who enjoy my work. I hope I can keep creating and inspiring others for many more years to come!