The Colorist-Proof Art of Emma Rios


A page from Pretty Deadly #2, pencils and inks by the incomparable Emma Ríos (@emmartian)

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The texture of Emma Ríos’ inks are on what I’m really into right now.  Like how she did the eye for the Pretty Deadly lady.  and then the chopped up grime of that dude’s pant leg and boot.

I’ve also been thinking that because of how powerful her inks are, and because of how she composes her pages, I think there’s less modulation of her art when someone else colors it than other artists.  Almost no matter what crazy thing a colorist does on her pages, her vision is going to come through.  I noticed this in that Diall 911 or whatever DC comic she did a page in, how moreso than most of the artists in that book, her art looked very her own.  Even in terms of color, even though she didn’t color that page.

I’m trying to think why this is.  I think that black line of bushes in the middle of the page is a part of the answer.  There’s very little undisturbed white space.  But unlike say a younger Paul Pope style, which also retains its point of view in color because of its inking, the way she modulates space with her inks—so like in the four panels of this page, notice how much cleaner they are than the rest of the page.  It sets up just with the inks a kind of distinction between layers of the page—which is half the job of good coloring.  So maybe some of it is as well that her work always has distinct depth to it, so even if a colorist runs up on it with muddied colors, the depth which also controls the composition remains in tact.

And I’m not saying that great color on her pages won’t look great, and bad coloring won’t look bad.  Just that I’ve seen a lot of artists, who because of their style are putting a lot of control in the hands of their colorists, who they may or may not even really know.  Just because of how they are both composing their pages and how they are inking them.

Talking out of my butt.  Just some things I’ve thought about.


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