Comic Art Terms – Colorist
In comics, a colorist is responsible for adding color to black-and-white line art. For most of the 20th century this was done using brushes and dyes which were then used as guides to produce the printing plates. Since the late 20th century it is most often done using digital media, with printing separations produced electronically. Colorists may work directly for comics publishers (either as employees or freelancers), or they may work for coloring studios which offer their services to publishers. American Color, Olyoptics, and Digital Chameleon are companies notable in this field within the comic strip industry. Historically, the colorist (and the inker) would work directly on the original artwork, but modern advances mean that the coloring (and sometimes inking) is now done digitally on a computer, and hence can be refined and changed with comparative ease. The colorist will often make the ultimate decision over palette (color scheme), adding to the tone of the book. “Muted”, “Pastel” and “Technicolor” color schemes can change the whole tone and feel of a comic, and is a key part in comics production, despite being arguably the most overlooked artistic role.