Now, it’s the colorists’ turn. It’s time they got their due! After all, the coloring is a major part of comics art, especially these days, now that it’s all done by geniuses with computers. Their art is meant to go unnoticed as well, but it completely defines the mood of a comic. They light the stage, and they work the color. I’m glad colorists are starting to get credited on the covers, now. After all, they’re artists, just like the pencillers and inkers.
So, up first: probably my favorite colorist working today. (Archive, as always, at the link.)
235. Jose Villarrubia
Here’s where I face the difficulty of talking about coloring. I wasn’t an art major, I never took color theory. Words are my business. How much could I say besides “nice pallet” or “effective enhancement of the mood and emotion in a particular scene”? Well, I’ll do my best, as ever. Hah.
Jose Villarrubia is my favorite colorist in comics these days. It helps, I suppose, that he’s working with the best writers and artists in the business, guys like Alan Moore, Warren Ellis, Jae Lee, Danijel Zezelj, Paul Pope, and J.H. Williams. These are precise, intricate writers and inky, moody (there’s that word again) artists.
Everything Jose colors has the feel of a painting, which makes sense, ’cause he’s got a great painting background. The best colorists are always great artists themselves who find themselves in a comics specialty. Jose is no different. He’s a painter, and a digital artist, both of which are extremely great professions to have if you’re adding color to comic books.
I adore his work on Desolation Jones with J.H. Williams. The caustic, biohazard orange; entire issues dropping into gray tones with splashes of red; the colors becoming defined by the setting and mood. It’s gorgeous work. My lousy scans can’t do it justice, but here goes:
I’m afraid I’m keeping the column short tonight. So, to conclude: Jose Villarrubia is a terrific colorist who produces rich, expressive work that brings the art on the page fully alive. Comics are worth buying for his colors alone. He really deserves to win an Eisner.
Luckily, he’s done tons of interviews. Even luckier, a pile of them can be accessed from his Wiki page.