As I’ve discussed before, the use of the limited color palette––as well as the coloring process––for Long John has been a pretty exhausting learning curve for me.  By the time I finished today’s page, I felt a little fatigued and didn’t immediately know why.  In truth, I had fallen into the habit of which, today, I am fully aware and try to avoid. But it is a continuous struggle.

Despite its overt cartooniness, I colored Eben07 with a very “representative” palette (I don’t think this is an artistic term, but for the purpose of this blog, it is).  What I mean is that the colors used in the comic were meant to reflect the colors you’d see if Eben07 existed in everyday life.  Aside from a very few occasions, the colors were never very “expressive,” that is they rarely reflected the emotional goals of the page or book.  The panels acted as veritable windows into that world.

On Long John, the problem is that I have only three colors (if you don’t count black) to work with (though I do work with a small range of grays, I consider them all the color “gray”).  Because the palette is so limited, trying to color representatively ultimately creates a very stale, tepid look to the page, which is something I would prefer to avoid.  Perhaps it was my natural instincts after having colored Eben07 the way I did for six years, but I can’t color Long John that way, and the nadir of that realization was this page.

It’s not that the page is bad––I feel panels three and four are two of my favorite panels I’ve ever drawn––but I distinctly remember thinking, “Long John’s long johns, the horse’s fur and mane are beige; the coat and the mountains are grey, but different shades,” etc.  My mind instinctively catalogued these thoughts probably because it was ahead of me, waiting for me to catch up with what it already knew––with only three colors, I’m actually much freer than I was with Eben07.  This isn’t a black and white movie where tones need to have a 1:1 ratio––this is a comic and everything is in the service of visual expression as we follow Long John on his journey.


As with the previous page, this was a page that was covered in captions, giving the reader an insight into Long John’s psyche.  I decided to remove it because it was a bit of poetic pretension born out of self-doubt at having so many wordless pages at the beginning of the story.  I ultimately felt that the acting of this page is strong enough to convey what I actually want the reader to understand: Long John is confused, exhausted, and pissed off.

But for the sake of transparency (and a peek into the process) here is the page with all the pretentious captions.  It provides no insight nor anything interesting and should not be considered canon:


The captioned version of today's page, brought to you by self-doubt.

The captioned version, brought to you by self-doubt.