FERGUSON’S 7 QUESTIONS WITH… DEE CUNNIFFE
Up this time is a colourist whose recent work (with artist Barry Keegan and writer Darrin O’Toole) has hit the headlines. It’s 7 questions with Dee Cunniffe.
What was the first comic work you did that was published?
The first comic pages I got paid for flatting were for The Secret History # 20 published by Archaia. They were colored by all-round top man Len O’Grady. My first credited work was as co-colorist with Len, again, on Colin MacNeill’s Strange and Darke for 2000AD.
What is the biggest thing you have learned since that book?
When I first started flatting it was as a hobby – a page or two a day. That number started a dramatic rise to today’s 100+ pages a week. In order to meet these demands I’ve discovered all sorts of techniques for dealing with different types of inking styles. In the beginning it could take hours to flat a page – I can now knock out a page an hour. I’ve also learned that a well-timed, polite email to anyone can lead to great things – I’ve never been afraid to ask the right people the right questions. Also, don’t be a dick – be nice to people – on FaceBook, Twitter or IRL – you never know what’s going on their lives and a nice word from someone could make their day.
What’s your process for coloring a comic book?
When the inked pages come in I run my various PS scripts to set up my files correctly – most of my clients have different needs – RGB, CMYK, channel set-up etc. I work from large areas down to small details. I’ll select panels first, and work from background to foreground. I mostly use wand and lasso for my selections and small brush for any organic shapes. As a flatter it’s not that important for me to match colors, but as someone who wants to become a colorist I spend time finding refs and planning palettes.
What is the biggest influence on your work?
I watch a lot of movies and read a too many comics. When watching movies or the TV I spend a lot of time looking out for color cues, and how lighting is used to build mood. I think the series Utopia has an amazing sense of color – and I’ve been poring through it taking notes. When I read comics I’m looking out for the same things – studying how the colorist uses color to add to the story-telling process.
What are you working on right now?
Because I flat for so many colorists I can be working on up to twenty projects at any one time. I have my monthly books; All-New X-Factor, Fables, Fairest, Dead Boy Detectives, Deadly Class, Bodies and Captain Marvel for Lee Loughridge; Wonder Woman, Secret Avengers, Swamp Thing, Terminator and The Wicked + The Divine for Matt Wilson; Sandman Overture, Hellboy, BPRD, Abe Sapien and Lobster Johnston for Dave Stewart. I also do a bunch of monthlies for Pete Pantazis, Brad Simpson, Wil Quintana and Len O’Grady too. And then there’s always covers, pin-ups and pick-up books coming through too. I’ve recently started trying to ft more personal work into my schedule, and I’m working with some very talented creators on various indie books and KickStarter projects.
What do you out now or coming out next?
Well, pick up any book in your local comic shop and I’ve probably flatted a page or two in it.
What is your favourite Irish comic?
I’m too sure about individual comics, but there is so much great work coming from Irish creators these days.