Comic Book Coloring Basics
4.8 (200 ratings)
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Comic Book Coloring Basics

Learn coloring from a professional colorist!
4.8 (200 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,563 students enrolled
Created by K Michael Russell
Last updated 6/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
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  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Set up line art for coloring
  • Pick colors that work well
  • Flat pages quickly and easily
  • Render light and shadow with several different techniques.
  • Change the color of line art
  • Add special effects and textures
  • Build a solid portfolio
View Curriculum
  • Some familiarity with Photoshop (not much required)
  • Photoshop
  • A digital drawing tablet is highly recommended.

Are you looking to master the art of comic book coloring and learn the secrets, tips, and tricks that can make coloring comics a fun hobby, a part­-time job, or maybe even a career? This beginner course is great place to start!

This course will teach you the basics of comic book coloring with Photoshop - setting up your tools, flatting, rendering, & special effects. 

What is a colorist? After the penciller completes the line­art (and many times an inker finishes the pencils with ink), the art is passed to the colorist (or "color artist" as it's sometimes called). Colorists, like all comic book creators, can work from anywhere in the world. I've worked with artists and writers the world over right from my home office. The Internet makes it easy to connect with collaborators worldwide.

Colorists are the cinematographers of the comic book world. The pencillers are the directors ­­setting up shots, creating the camera angles, shooting the action. Colorists are lighting the scenes, setting the final look of the page, and helping to move the story along with color.

Course materials will include:

  • Black and white line art from professional comic book penciller Max Dunbar to color along with the lecture videos.
  • Downloadable Photoshop presets
    • Color profiles to ensure proper color reproduction for web and print use.
    • Photoshop Actions to automate certain aspects of the coloring process.
    • Color swatches: A palette of preset colors ­­exactly as the instructor uses them for his published work.
  • 3.5 hours of instructional videos featuring real-time coloring by professional comic book colorist K Michael Russell

By the end of this course, you’ll have learned the skills required to use Photoshop as a tool to create stunning colored comic book pages, manga, web-comics, or comic strips.

The instructor, K. Michael Russell, is a colorist currently working for Image Comics & Top Cow. 

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is designed for anyone interested in learning how to color comic art with Photoshop
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Curriculum For This Course
16 Lectures
The Basics
4 Lectures 56:45

A quick introduction with sample of the type of content you will see later in the course.

Preview 01:40

Let's get the technical stuff out of the way! In this lecture, we'll optimize Photoshop for coloring and set up your menus. (Feel free to use your own setup if you are comfortable! There's no "right" way.Check the supplemental material for downloadable presets for brushes, tools, color profiles, swatches, etc.

Setting Up Your Photoshop Workspace & KMR's Presets Installation

In this lecture, I'll show you how to set up pencilled or inked pages for coloring in Photoshop--an important first step! Make sure any art you decide to import and color is at least 300 dpi if you ever want to print it.

Setting Up Your Line Art For Coloring

This lecture covers how to pick base colors to avoid "muddy" pages in print, flatting and the tools involved, and a bit of color theory terminology.

Picking Colors, Flatting, and a bit of color theory

Pop Quiz!
3 questions
Coloring Like A Pro!
4 Lectures 50:15

Cel-shading style... for all you anime and cartoon colorists! Check the Supplemental files for the pre-flatted PSD file used in this lecture, some extra line-art from artist Max Dunbar, and a great resource for learning about color theory and lighting.

Rendering Techniques & Styles Part 1: Cel-shading

In this lecture, we'll talk about how to render using the "cut and grad" style--one of the most popular coloring styles. Check the Supplemental Files for a real-time video featuring me coloring a page from Hack/Slash #1 using this style.

Rendering Techniques & Styles Part 2: Cut and grad

"Painterly" style! And some tips on multiple light sources. Check the supplemental section for links to some of my favorite digital painters--lots of education there!

Rendering Techniques & Styles Part 3: Painterly + using multiple light sources

We take a look at a few of my pages from actual projects that feature techniques we've covered, and we also look ahead at some examples of what you'll be learning in the next section: Advanced Coloring Techniques!

Recap! Rendering examples & samples of what's coming next!

Pop Quiz!
3 questions
Advanced Coloring Techniques
5 Lectures 01:07:59

Here I'll show you how to change the color of the line art for use with SFX or atmospheric perspective. The industry term is "color holds".

Color Holds (coloring the ink lines)

Special effects! It's one of the most fun parts of coloring comics... making fires glow, lightning strike, and explosions explode off the page.

Preview 13:16

In this lecture, we'll be discussing how to add interest and hint at detail with textures.


In this lecture, we'll cover several concepts that help with storytelling as a colorist using several of the techniques we've already discussed plus a few new ones.

Creating atmosphere & mood

In this lecture, we'll discuss a few common errors that I often see from new colorists--some of the same mistakes I made when I first started!

Common Errors & How To Avoid Them

Pop Quiz!
3 questions
Putting Your Colors To Work!
3 Lectures 21:46

In this lecture, I'll cover how to export the hi-res CMYK tiff files required (generally) for print use and how to create web-ready versions as well.

Preparing Your Colored Pages For Print & Web Use

In this lecture, I'll discuss several aspects of the business of being a colorist -- building a portfolio, using social media and Internet forums to find your first gig, and what you can expect from your first coloring job.

The Business of Being A Colorist

if you enjoyed this course, I have a more in-depth course availabe with 10 hours of total content. See this lecture for details and discount information.

Bonus lecture - more content
About the Instructor
K Michael Russell
4.6 Average rating
234 Reviews
3,263 Students
2 Courses
Professional Colorist (HACK/SLASH, JUDGE DREDD)

K Michael Russell has been working professionally as a comic book colorist since 2011. Recent work includes Judge Dredd for IDW Publishing and the mini-series Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain for Image Comics.

KMR is most well known for his work on GLITTERBOMB with Jim Zub (WAYWARD, THUNDERBOLTS) and Djibril Morisette-Phan (WOLVERINE). 

He launched his first coloring course in May of 2014. He now maintains his original course on Udemy and version 2.0 on his website.