First-pass color on page 1. Click to enlarge. More after the image.
Even more than with the original line art, it's taking me a long time to figure out whether something works or not. Right now, I'm mostly shooting from the hip. I know I don't want muddy color, and I'm avoiding using black for shadows. I'm trying to use new blend modes to modulate the color of the linework, itself (see leaves in background of panel 1). I'm also trying to keep all the panels on one page in the same color key (though I'm not sure I've pulled that off here).
That connects to a bigger lesson I've been learning over the past month: a comic page isn't a collection of smaller drawings -- it is one big drawing, and the panel borders and speech bubbles are all part of the composition. One thing that makes me wince a little bit when I look at the old Stareater stuff is how much of an afterthought the speech bubbles are. They're these perfect ovals (just running a stroke using the circular selection tool), and they don't relate to the surrounding art at all. Now that I'm actually drawing them, I see that ovals waste a lot of space. And the bubbles need to have their own visual rhythm, just like everything else on the page.
Looking at it now, it seems obvious.
Working with these color files is rough -- the .psd file for page 1 is brobdignagian. It takes me four or five minutes to save, and up to 30 seconds just to zoom. I think I need to figure out a way to do color without using 70 layers. I do quite a bit of slider-magic on every layer, though -- right up to the end. Maybe I just need a beefier computer? Donations are welcome.
Alrighty. Back to coloring page 2!