Saturday 1 March 2008

The Doctor is IN (CMYK)

Aah... Just sent a major print job off to press yesterday, which may help to explain why I've been a little lax on the posting front.

While my mind is still on the printing process, and to follow up on a post I did a while back, I'm going to show some example of what I think is a true four-colour hero.

Doctor Fate is one of my favourite DC heroes, and I like him because technically, Doctor Fate is the printing process. Observe:

The four colour printing process consists of Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Here you can see that Fate's costume is pure Cyan and Yellow, he's outlined in Black, and his magic is pure Magenta. Fate is made up of the stuff of comic books, the component colours of each and every one of them in their pure, unadulterated forms.

Tatjana Wood is the colourist for these pages, and I think she's one of the best. Her work on 'Swamp Thing' is incredible and she has a true mastery over mixing inks and knowing when to let them stand on their own for impact. Check this panel out:

Aside from the green (consisting of, at a guess, a mix of full Yellow and 50% Cyan) the piece is mostly percentages of Cyan and Magenta with black for little background details and text. I love how the creature is a line drawing done purely in Cyan. These panels could almost have been produced in a 3 colour spot-printing job using custom ink colours.

And just to bring it home, this incredible panel which, as above could almost be a spot-job.
The four-colour process is essentially four spot inks screened together to give the illusion of colour, but I love in these examples how they are used as the colours they are unmixed, and either at 100% or screened back a little.

[Art by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahstedt, 1985]