Sarah Glidden talks about the process of creating HTUI Part 2
After finally getting to page 195, it was time to go all the way back to page one again and start coloring and inking. Like I said before, I hadn’t known how I was going to color the book when I first started out. Making the book full-color hadn’t even been my idea, rather, Vertigo had asked me if I wanted to make it in color. I told them that I wasn’t sure I could color a whole book, as I had never even attempted to make a comic in color. But they had liked the covers of my minicomics, for which I had colored a panel in Photoshop and made it into a sticker:
So they told me that if I could make those stickers, surely I could just color the book too. I just said “OK sure” and decided I would figure out how to do it later. Now later had finally arrived. I had just assumed I would color the whole thing with Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. But then I realized something: I hated computer coloring! It just didn’t really work for me or my loose style. Case in point:
Mostly, I just wasn’t familiar with interacting with color in this way, using swatches and fils and selections. Another cartoonist I know suggested I try watercolors. It was only then that I realized this solution had been right in front of my nose the whole time. I had been a painting major in art school! I had almost forgotten that since it had been about 8 years since I had picked up a brush. I had never really tried to work with watercolors, having painted almost exclusively in oil, and the two kinds of paints are very different. But at least you can mix colors from the tube the same way:
For this book I used pretty much the same 7 colors that I had used back when I painted abstract landscapes in college. Maybe once you get used to thinking about color this way, it will never make sense to use digital coloring. It seems to use some other part of the brain that I just haven’t developed. But going back to painting was like getting back on a bicycle, and after a few rocky false starts I really started having fun with it and was ready to go.
I traced the blue-penciled pages onto watercolor paper using a lightbox and a 6H graphite pencil, then painted the page, then inked on top of that with a thin Rapidograph.
Finally, the pages were sent to Vertigo where they were scanned and sent to Clem, our letterer for this project. Clem made a font out of my handwriting by having me write out the alphabet 5 times. That way, he was able to randomize the letters so you would never see two of same “A” in one balloon. I think he did a great job. He also drew the balloons, pretty accurately replicating my loose, sloppy style.
And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two and a half years. I really hope you like reading it, because I certainly loved working on it!