Selecting Colors Is for the Birds

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

The page for today’s comic is the one that I used when I was trying to figure out the colors for the two birds, Cisco and Frank. I choose this page because it had a nice variety of sizes in which the birds are drawn, and a good selection of background colors that they were in front of. That way I could get a good idea, whichever colors I choose, of how they would look throughout the story.

When I was writing this, I had pictured the two birds as canaries. So my first version of this page was this one:

Sample Image

I put it together and was all right with it (I guess), but not bowled over by it. The yellows felt very dull, and they were very close the to the same color as the balloon for the kayak, and in value very close to Zip’s big woolies (see how Cisco doesn’t stand out well in front of Zip in the second panel).

Between the yellow of the balloon for the kayak and the different pictures of the birds, the whole page felt kind of dull and washed out to me. So, it was time to try out a bunch of different colors and see if I couldn’t find something that might work better.

I rely on my wife a lot for input when I’m choosing colors for things. I generally have a good idea about what I want things to look like. My wife, however, is very literal about the colors she chooses, so a lot of times, I’ll ask her to select the colors for something and then see if that isn’t what I was looking for. She and I came up with a bunch of different colors for the birds. We tried them yellow, pink, red, green, different shades of dark grey, and of course, the blue colors that we settled on.

Here is a version of them in green. My wife really liked this version but the only green birds I could think of were parakeets, which didn’t seem right to me.

Sample Image

The funny thing about this is that now that I’ve gotten used to the colors, I really like Cisco and Frank as bluebirds, but because I’d originally written the story thinking of them as yellow, it took me quite awhile to get my head around the idea of seeing them colored blue. Despite how crummy the yellow version of this page was, I was prepared to go with it, but my wife kept hassling me about how much better the blue was and I guess she won — this time. Thank God for that, right?