Coffee Cup Stains would like to introduce another fantastic artist from the Philippines. If you guys remember, I featured Ms. Abi Dayacap, with her light and fluffy artworks. This time we’ll look at a different flavor of artwork. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce to you Mr. Jay David Ramos, one of my friends in the University of the Philippines and now, a successful colorist for Marvel comics.
Hi Jay! Thanks so much for your time. Can you share with us what made you become a comic book colorist?
I was really into comics since I was in elementary. I was into Archie comic books and the occasional superhero titles like the X-men, Superman, etc. And these were the old issues since in our province since there was no comic shop, and all we got were the 80’s floppies which were mainly in flat colors. In 1995, I was introduced to Image Books when a friend of mine who frequented Manila showed me a copy of The Savage Dragon, and what caught my eye was the coloring. The colors were bright, and there was proper modeling of light and shadows, and the like. When I entered high school, a friend of mine, Louie Francisco, introduced me to computer coloring. He was a self-taught colorist, using mainly Corel Paint. I was very impressed and amused as to how it can be used to digital paint artwork, and I resolved to learn coloring myself just for fun. My friend helped me and it became my hobby throughout high school. In college, a talent scout from the US held a comics creation seminar, and I showed him my drawings, which he was not really impressed with. He saw my coloring samples on the side, and I think he saw more potential in those samples because he referred me Rain Beredo to who I believe is the best colorist in the country. We had a mentorship kind of thing going on where I would send him my samples, and he would tell me what to improve on. Several months later, I colored a Wonder Woman pin-up sample and sent it to the American agent, and he was so impressed that he forwarded it to many editors he was in contact with. Next thing I knew, I got job offers to color comic books for different publishers like Harris, Dark Horse, and eventually Marvel, and it’s been a blast ever since.
Interesting. Maybe there are readers out there who want to be a comic book colorist. Can you share to us what is your favorite and least favorite thing about your job?
The best thing about this job, I think, is the opportunity to work with my favorite comic book artists. It feels surreal sometimes when I talk to them by phone or email, since I only got to read their names before in cover credits. Of course, there’s holding the final printed comic when it comes out, which gives me a different kind of “high”, if you know what I mean. The least favorite thing about this job is the oftentimes tight deadlines, and the solitary nature of the profession. I’ve been coloring for five years, and all I get to see everyday is the four walls of my studio.
Could you describe to us your typical workflow as an artist?
For every new project, the first thing I need to do is read the script and download the pages from their server, and then examine the style of the artwork so I can determine the best approach on how to render the pages. Next, I do the flatting stage, which basically is just laying out the basic flat colors of the figures in the page to separate the different elements. And after that, the fun part begins where I begin coloring the characters, add light and shadows, set up moods through color, etc. Finally, I set it ready for print, and upload the final pages to the publisher’s server again. After each page, I usually take a 30-minute break before going to the next page to color. It’s either I watch TV, grab some snacks, or take a walk outside the house.
I believe every artist needs an inspiration. Can you share to us who or what are your favorite sources of inspiration?
For the coloring stuff, I usually take inspiration from my favorite colorists like Laura Martin, Alex Sinclair, Rain Beredo, Morry Hollowell, Dave McCaig, and Richard Isanove, among others. Sometimes, I get color inspiration from movies, and rarely, from the works of the classical masters like Rembrandt, Caravaggio, La Tour, and Vermeer. That’s why I’m not really a colorful colorist, using mostly very muted hues.
Lastly, if you’re a Photoshop or Illustrator tool, what would you be and why?
Definitely the Eraser tool, so I can always go back to fix mistakes. 🙂
Hahaha! Don’t we all? :p
Thanks so much for your time, Jay, considering how busy you are. Congrats on your job, we can see that you are really enjoying what you’re doing.
If you want to see more of Jay Ramos’s artworks, you can visit his Deviant Art account here.
ALL ARTWORK ARE COPYRIGHT MARVEL COMICS