Caleb Orecchio here with thoughts on practicing color, and other news.


I’ve been thinking and working with color a lot. In this day and age, where color is an option for cartoonists looking to print their work (color was not always an option for ye olde comics makers, true believer), the quantity of choice of what the colors should be and how to apply them can be intimidating. Fear not. In my opinion, the best way to start in color is the classic CMYK–which is essentially, as you probably know, blue, red, yellow, and black. One reason this is a good choice is that most riso printers carry these four colors (riso being probably the best option in self-publishing in color if you can swing it) AND they are easily acquired in forms of marker or colored pencils, AND because these are the colors comics used in the past and traditions are important to me.

The Classics Illustrated series is a great gateway into classic coloring. They all have a minimal, crude feel to the coloring. It does not seem that their printer offered a large pallet, or maybe they couldn’t afford it. Anyway, I read about the 152nd installment of the Classics Illustrated line, “Wild Animals I have Known”(adapted from the book by Ernest Thompson Seton; drawn by LB Cole) from Kevin Huizenga’s blog years ago and subsequently bought it. I’m going to run through an example of how I play and practice with this book.

Here’s a good panel that demonstrates a nice, simple combination of CMYK. First, I isolate the colors by tracing over them with markers on tracing paper. I don’t worry about being exact because that isn’t the point. I’m not trying to recreate the image, I just want to see how colors interact.

Then I put them together–then yellow, then red and so on. Please forgive how the lightbox makes the photos look.

But the idea is to keep going. Okay so how would it look like if we took one color out? Or just used one color?

I could go on and on. You just have to keep trying things. Try it if you want–and feel free to mix it up. Make a new blackline drawing and put it up against the color. Flip the color layers or stagger them. This is just something to think about while you work on your comic. Follow your bliss.


if you don’t know now you know

  • I meant to post about this a month ago when it came out. I sincerely love this youtube documentary about comic shop owner Glenn O’Leary and his store, Comic Book Palace. My taste literally never overlaps with his and I think he is wrong about almost every aspect of comics–accept the way he retails–but I can’t help but love it.
  • Sticking with the retail theme; TCJ.com blog made me aware of this–Dan Gearino on Jim Hanley.
  • LOL they are making the New Mutants movie a horror movie (or seemingly so)–nothing wrong with that I guess do what you gotta do whatever.
  • Aaaaand a shoplifter jumped out of a Midtown Comics second story window–doesn’t he know comics are worthless?


Suzy and Cecil – 10-16-2017 – by Sally Ingraham


Cozytown – 10-16-2017 – by Juan Fernandez


Joanie and Jordie – 10-16-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

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2 thoughts on “10/16/2017


    This was a really great look into your recent studies and the process that makes J+J’s colors hum and sing so well.

    REQUEST: Can you share with us the digital assembly process to make TIFF/PSD and JPEG files? Do you use registration lines marks for your color separations to line them back up/ do you just eyeball it? Have you run into any trouble scanning the vellum/transparency paper that you use? What kind of color correction do you find yourself doing in the levels and color adjustment to achieve the colors you want?

    What a thrilling end to PT 1 of Joanie and Jordie…

    1. Thanks Juan–come back next week for a more in-depth look at how I personally use and assemble my colors for Joanie and Jordie. Real inside baseball stuff:)

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