Establishing Location with Color

Books Tips tutorial

The basic colors of a location or scene help keep the reader grounded. If the visuals make the audience lose their bearings, your storytelling has failed. Establishing location with color is a good way to keep this from happening.

Getting too fancy with panel layouts is risky, in my opinion. Use the fancy stuff sparingly. No one likes to read books where the writer is showing off their wordplay with every paragraph.

In this series of pages from my upcoming book, Gunship Thunderpunch 2 (still available on Indiegogo), there are three separate locations at play. 1) Inside the alien base, 2) Inside the cockpit of Thunderpunch, and 3) The out-of-doors planet setting that Thunderpunch is in.

The base is all red. The cockpit of Thunderpunch is all blue. The outdoors is the full range of color. It’s help keep things straight for the reader, even if only on a subconscious level.

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3 thoughts on “Establishing Location with Color

  1. Do you have a related technique concerning the amount of background/middleground/foreground detail? As you are well aware, current day comics are often too baroque in detail, in EVERY single panel!

  2. Yes! The further in the distance, the less detail. The center of attention should have the most detailed rendering. And even then the form should have spots for the eye to rest. You should be able to immediately read what’s going on in the panel without having to stare at it like one of those stereograph puzzles from 1997.

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