Watchmen was an incredible experience working with two of the most talented creators in the comics world, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons on an innovative graphic novel that featured in Time Magazines top 100 of the 20th Century’s greatest novels, and this was not just Graphic novels, Watchmen rubs spines with such classic prose literature, as 1984 by George Orwell, Lord of the Flies by William Golding and the other 99 greatest novels.
What I love the most about comic art more than any other form of illustration, is obviously the storytelling aspect, but also the adventurous ways you can design a picture, to make the most mundane image interesting, close ups, unexpected cropping and extreme perspective, All to give a dramatic impetus to a panel illustration which then tells a better story. With the added dimension of colour you can dictate and guide how a reader responds to the scene.
This became even more of a ‘science’ when I coloured the Watchmen. The way Alan and Dave had told the story gave it such depth and complexity that I had to raise my game as the colourist. In many ways because of the almost archaic comic production process in 1986, such as the hand separation of the colour, it became more relevant to the storytelling than the traditional use of hand sep’ colour.
The use of colour to accentuate a scene came out of those limitations. If we had the colour palette we have at our finger tips now – with computers, the colour would not have had so much resonance. This was why when we digitalized the Absolute Watchmen in 2005, Dave made the editorial decision not to modernize it and we stuck to the purity of the colour we had in the original printing, I cleaned it up, added some modelling and caught continuity errors that had happened in the original run due to the monthly print schedule, we did not see the first issue printed and in the shops until I had completed issue 3, and seeing it in print showed how certain approaches we took in colouring such as using a grey tone or 75% colour tints did not work as we had planned.