One of the years when I was incarcerated at Crossgen, a printing rep. from the company in Canada who printed our books, came in and talked to all of us digital colorists. We wanted to figure out a way to “fine tune” the coloring process on OUR end so that every book we did, after they printed it, had the same consistent quality. Month after month.
See, one of the things I’ve learned over the 2 + decades doing this for a living, is that after the file leaves my computer, the chances of it printing well, is a total crap shoot. Some books have printed like total crap. I’ve had other books (a very RARE few) print perfectly. Exactly what I saw on my screen. There’s even distinct differences, month after month, with ZERO changes on my end. I’ve fine tuned my monitors, poured over new techniques for color correction and calibration for years. All of it for nothing.
So this rep. from Canada comes in and listens to all of our ideas and gripes, etc… Then he pulls out a stack of paper and passes them out to all of us. What you see here is what they gave us.
All of those “variables” can and do influence how a book prints. There’s even some stuff that didn’t make the list. Like if the monkey running the presses went out drinking last night/had a fight with his GF/has a bad day, etc… All of that will influence how all my hard work will look in the final printed product.
So, in other words, the two + weeks (or less) of total sleepless nights where I busted my ass to make a book look amazing and STILL make a deadline, can be totally blown to hell if Jacques is having a bad hangover day.
As soon as I heard that, I said screw it. I decided that I’m just gonna continue to color the stuff to look the best that I possibly can, and if some press chimp screws things up, at least it isn’t on MY head. I’m going to quit losing sleep over worrying about it.
Unfortunately, 97% of the general public, editors and comic book readers don’t know that. I just look like a lousy colorist. Hence this post.