Affecting the Mind one Color at a Time

To have color or not to have color, that is the question. Most comic writers choose the former in this day and age and there are even more companies that think it is their job to color the once uncolored. Is this really an improvement? What does color add?

Some readers believe that having color distracts from the artistry and takes away from the detailed work. Because of this, they refuse to read anything but black and white comics. Of course there is also the other side who refuses to read black and white because they feel it isn’t as individualistic/entertaining and that it’s harder to distinguish certain details because the colors just blend together. Both sides have solid points to back up their opinions.

According to scientists Mariam Dzulkifli and Muhammad Mustafar in the article found at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3743993/ colors can do everything from increasing attention levels to effecting your emotions. Our bodies react to the stimulus which is color.

A Contract with God p.157 colored interpretation
A Contract with God p.157 colored interpretation

Having color can not only increase our intention span on the particular object but also help us remember it better. With all the technology we have today, such as HD TV’s and computers, we are used to things in color. However using the wrong color, or shade of color, is an easy mistake to make. The effect can be making a serious scene look childlike or could cause an unimportant detail to take up more attention than intended. Also, as noted above, color can take away some very nicely done line work. Done correctly, however, it can create images that stick longer in your memory and can really make a picture come to life. It adds more insight into the creator’s mind with how they see the character or the surroundings and shuffles away some confusion on background fill in’s. That isn’t to mean black and white does not hold its own qualities.

Black is the heaviest color to use. The absence of wave lengths causes an absorption of energy that can create a serious air. That is why dark emotional or strong scenes hold the darker colors and are never without some form of black.

A Contract with God p. 157
A Contract with God p. 157

Black and white is a good way to keep the heavy air about the story but also give the audience some breathing room so it’s not too much to handle. However the choice to use only black and white does not necessarily mean the story is going to be dark and brooding. Lack of color is also a good choice to show off your line work and can really allow the reader to explore the page without having different colors continually distracting them.

So does color add something special or does it distract from the real art work? It is clear from an in depth analysis of a graphic novel that there is rarely a detail that is not deliberately placed by the author. From the shape of the panels to the sign in a seemingly unimportant window. With the technology we have today in computer graphics, it’s easier for author’s to play, fix, and complete their work the way they want it to be seen. Color can be as important as the content and line work but only if the author, and no one else, chooses to make it that way.

css.php