Pros on Process: Chris Sotomayor on Cover Coloring

soto-bioIn this guest post, color artist and Comics Experience instructor Chris “Soto” Sotomayor explains his process for coloring a cover. The images and step-by-step descriptions originally appeared in a series on Soto’s Twitter feed.

There’s a fair amount of mystique to the process of computer coloring.

Quite often, people get lost in the technology and bells & whistles. They forget that there is a basis in art. You need that foundation in order to produce something that is artistically sound.

I like to try to bridge the gaps between art and technology. Whenever I explain coloring, or teach my class, I make sure that there’s an understanding that the art comes first. Being able to paint is essential. Being able to understand a drawing is essential. You don’t have to be the best penciller, or the best painter, but there should be a basic understanding of the process and the general rules. And yes, some rules can be broken if you know what you’re doing. But you can’t forget the artistic foundation that all of this is built upon.

Much like my class, I structure my personal workflow in a very specific and deliberate way. I like to ensure that I take the environment of any piece – the context – into account because it’s such an important aspect of the beginning of any project. I find that if I’m struggling for the result, tackling the environment and the setting will usually lead me down the right path. Almost as if the page or cover works itself out. Of course there are some times where I have a very specific end result in mind, and if I hold onto that, I can sometimes jump around a bit with little derailment to what I had in mind. But I have to keep in mind that there can be an ebb and flow between what I envision and what I wind up with.

Every once in a while I like to do these process posts. Many people seem interested in the steps it takes to get from the start to the end of the page or cover.

I was always fascinated with process work at an early age. Having a peek into the way an artist tackles something can be an amazing thing. You never know when something new will click or inspire your to take your work to the next level.

My process posts are almost like DVD commentary that no one’s asking for. But maybe it’ll be interesting to someone, and can spark some inspiration.

Click on the images below for Soto’s step-by-step screen shots and commentary.

Soto’s Introduction to Comic Book Coloring course starts February 1, 2016. Enrollment is now open! Visit our course page for info and registration.

If you want to make comics, write, draw, letter, and color comics, or improve as a comics creator, you’ll find like-minded friends and colleagues in our online workshops and courses. We hope to see you there!

Posted by Nicole Boose