Creating a comic book is a multifaceted art form that requires a deep understanding of various elements, one of the most crucial being colour. I’ve struggled with this in the past but as the sole creator of my books, it’s one of the skills I’ve been trying to improve on. Good colour skills can significantly enhance a comic book’s storytelling and emotional impact, making it a vital aspect for any comic book creator. This post delves into why having excellent colour skills is essential, the challenges faced in achieving this, and how specific tools can help overcome these challenges.

Why Good Color Skills Matter

Emotional Resonance: Colors can evoke emotions and set the mood of a scene. For instance, a dark, desaturated palette can create a sense of foreboding or sadness, while bright, vibrant colours can convey joy and excitement. Effective use of colour can deepen the reader’s emotional connection to the story.

Visual Clarity: In comics, where visual storytelling is paramount, colours help to differentiate characters, settings, and actions. Good colour contrast ensures that the elements stand out clearly, guiding the reader’s eye and making the narrative easy to follow. Colour intensity or saturation can also separate foreground, midground and background elements.

Symbolism and Theme: Colors often carry symbolic meanings and can reinforce the themes of the story. For example, the use of green might symbolize growth or envy, while red can signify danger or passion. Thoughtful colour choices can add layers of meaning to the story.

Aesthetic Appeal: A well-coloured comic is visually appealing and can attract and retain readers. The use of harmonious colour schemes can make the artwork more engaging and professional-looking.

Challenges in Achieving Good Color Skills

Understanding Color Theory: Mastering color theory can be complex. Understanding how colours interact, the impact of colour temperature, and how to use colour harmony effectively can be daunting for beginners. I found this particularly difficult. When I attempted colouring comic pages, my results would often be garish.

Consistent Application: Maintaining colour consistency across multiple panels and pages is challenging. Variations in lighting, settings, and character appearances must be handled deftly to maintain visual coherence. In addition to colour, texture is important and can mean the difference between overly smooth flat colour and layered, visually interesting colour (check out Matt Hollingsworth as an example).

Balancing Creativity and Practicality: While creative colour choices can make a comic stand out, they must also be practical and serve the narrative. Striking this balance can be difficult.

Useful Tools for Overcoming Color Challenges

Pocket Color Wheel (Android App)

Pocket Color Wheel is an invaluable tool for comic book creators. This app simplifies colour theory, offering an interactive colour wheel that helps you understand colour relationships and harmonies. It’s perfect for quickly finding complementary, analogous, or triadic colour schemes, ensuring your colour choices are both aesthetically pleasing and effective.

Color Gear (Android App)

Color Gear is another excellent app that aids in creating stunning colour palettes. With features like colour scheme generation and palette creation based on colour theory principles, it helps maintain consistency and harmony in your comic’s colour design. The app also allows you to save and manage multiple palettes, making it easier to keep track of your colour schemes across different projects.

Power in the Grays Video by Lighting Mentor (YouTube Channel)

Lighting Mentor is a YouTube channel that offers tutorials on lighting and colour. Understanding how lighting affects colour perception is crucial for comic book art. This channel provides insights into how different lighting setups can change the mood and appearance of colours, helping you to render scenes with more depth and realism.

In particular, the YouTube video below completely transformed my view of applying colour. I followed along with the example used in the video which helped me understand how to pick appropriate colours for a scene. In just one video, my colouring skills leveled up significantly.


Good colour skills are indispensable for comic book creators. They enhance the artwork’s emotional impact, clarity, and overall appeal. Despite the challenges, tools like Pocket Color Wheel, Color Gear, and resources from Lighting Mentor can significantly aid in developing and refining these skills. If you are a sole creator like me, then adding to your skills makes you more versatile in telling stories.  Step-by-step, you can overcome the complexities of colour theory and application, ultimately creating visually stunning and emotionally compelling comics.