As a writer of comic books the first question people like to ask (after “so you draw the comics”) are – how in the world does that actually work? So many times those same people are completely taken aback by how many hands and fingers touch a comic book page before it becomes something they can see. Even then, it is a bit of magic.
I, personally, think one of the unsung heroes of the industry are the colorists. I’ve been fortunate to work with a couple of good ones in regards to The Gilded Age. So I reached out the colorist on the 3rd issue, Nimesh Morarji, to see if I could get a better handle on just what made him tick.
How long have you been creating art/working in comics?
I would say I’ve created art as long as I remember. As a toddler we all do art I guess :P. But professionally I’ve been working in comic since 2013.
At what point did you sit down and decide to become a colorist? Have you had any formal training?
I’ve been wanting to develop my own comic book since around 2005. It’s a western themed book where Women take the lead in a shared universe. My ability to draw at that time was very limited as I gave up drawing a long time ago. So around 2005 I was trying to develop my comic using 3D software like Poser, and I learned a bit of modeling on Maya and 3DS Max, but the results never satisfied me. It always looked very stiff from what I wanted to do. Then after some frustrating years of learning Max and Maya, I started to look other options.
Digital Painting was starting to be a thing and lots of artist were posting stuff about it. I fell in love with what they were doing, so I started to learn that. Comics started doing digital coloring as a norm and comics were my true passion. I believed that with what I learned with digital painting could help me focus on digital coloring, I could always get some gigs and with that money I could hire artists do draw my comic, and I could color it.
It sounded like a perfect plan in 2010, After this amazing *cof* cof* cof plan set up, I saw a DC comic book colorist making some online course available with opportunity to One on One while we were doing the classes, so I decided to invest on that.
What’s the first thing you colored?
The first thing I colored professionally? I think it was The Almighties from Actuality Press.
What things inspire you to create art? Favorite artists/creators? Influences?
I think Movies, TV Shows and books inspire me, I like to be entertained so I love to entertain as well. Favorite Artists in coloring are Marte Gracia and Justin Ponsor. I love the way they use bright saturated colors and make them look “real” with great use of lighting and the ability to tell the stories with colors. I will never forget how Gracia did a shock scene in ALL NEW X-MEN by showing the characters in black and white. I loved it.
I think it’s safe to say that Alex Sollazzo, Gracia, and Ponsor are my influences.
How do you manage your daily life with the art? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2? If you have the old day job, what do you do?
My daily life is extremely busy to be honest. I gave up a lot of things in my life to work on this. Since I was a kid (we are talking on the 80´s here, and yeah I’m old)I dreamed working in the comic book industry, but here in Portugal there isn’t such industry. So, at one point I shifted to the movie industry but my family never believed that the entertainment industry would fit me as they wanted me to carry on the family business (being a commercial person or economist and stuff like that) so they pressured me to not pursue what I wanted.
I caved in and did what they wanted.
After living unhappy all my life doing things I didn’t care for or liked, I turned my back to everything to start over and do stuff that I wanted, so now with 3 years of professional career I’m betting all my chips on this and so far I can’t complain.
I do have a day job while I’m moving up on my career as a Comic Book colorist and coloring/working in this industry is what I want to do.
Do you do anything to market/promote yourself?
To Market/Promote myself I usually post my stuff (as projects allows) on social media, DevianArt and such.
What’s your process like when you are preparing to color a comic? How do you make sure that you are enhancing the artwork?
I don’t believe that the colorist job is to enhance the artwork, I do believe that the colorist job is to help tell the story with colors. Creating a mood in a panel, making the reader feel the shock that the characters are feeling or making the reader feel the fear of the scene happening. This is what I believe the colorist is there for: to help tell the story.
My process usually is, read the script and take some notes of important dramatic things happening on the story then I do research. I go online and try to see some still images of movies or tv shows that tried to convey that drama, what they did, how they did, and I analyze all that. I like to color when I have all pages ready cause this way I can lay down colors on those important moments to help me set the mood of the book and create a guide line for the rest.
How do you work? Music? TV shows? Movies? No distractions?
I prefer watching streams. I know, it’s odd. watching people work while working, lol. But yeah, I love to hear other artists talk about their experiences in life of art and that motivates me to work instead of wasting my time going on Facebook and such.
(to be honest, you will find me more on social media when I’m at my regular day job rather than when I’m working on comics :P)
What have you worked on previously?
On comics? I started on a webcomic dedicated to Marvel’s character called NOVA, and then I worked on the Almighties. After that I met Chuck Amadori online and it led me to work with Isle Squared Comics on a couple of titles and later they helped me develop my Western comics. Wayward Raven Media got me for 3 of their titles (currently finishing on one of it) and Terminus Media. Along all this I worked on 2 or 3 titles for Portuguese comics. I’m currently coloring the First Portuguese super Hero title (I believe it’s issue 5) and did some work for Arcana Anthology as well.
It’s been 3 crazy years going from my regular job to sitting on the computer and coloring comics in my free time.
Are there themes and/or subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?
I try to avoid doing the same over and over again and on coloring its hard because even though there are millions of colors not all of them work well together. But I guess there are Blue/Orange colors that I keep doing most of the time, but I try to do more.
This is only the first part of my conversation with Nimesh. Check out Part 2 next week.
Nimesh also provided a little Bio:
My name is Nimesh.
I’m from Portugal and I’m a self-taught ComicBook Colorist. Currently I’m working in a freelance basis.
In my 3rd year coloring professionally, I’ve worked with publishers, such as Terminus Media, WayWard Raven, and Arcana. Titles that I’ve worked on includes: Carlton Harvey’s Soul of Suw, James B. Emmett’s The Committee, and Chuck Amadori’s Pale Dark.
With a background in illustration, I’m aware of how color can impact a story and my vision is to help creators bring dimension to their worlds.
I want to thank Nimesh for taking the time to answer my questions. And I definitely appreciate his contributions to helping bring The Gilded Age to life.
And make sure to check out his Western Comic at nimprod.com.
John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.
He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!
And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!
He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.