Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spooner Color Guides

I thought it might be interesting to post the color guides that I would send to American Color when I was doing Spooner. I sent instructions and they would do the actual coloring.
They charged a fair rate to do the coloring, but the fees they charge for "handling" Sunday comics files are just plain unethical. Those fees, which go into the thousands, were definitely part of my consideration when deciding whether to retire Spooner.


  1. These are just beautiful, Ted. When I did "Fibbs" I just colored in photoshop and FTP'ed digital files that way. A 600 dpi bitmap tif file and then a 300 dpi color tif file. Did they require you to color this way? I know your way is the way Breathed and Watterson did theirs.

  2. For me, it was worth the twenty bucks to let them color it. My style is loose and has lots of open spaces, so the bucket fill is usually not an option. I was also either working at home and being a stay-at-home Papa, or teaching and doing the strip during lunch and on weekends.

    They were cool as to however I wanted to do it. The people at American Color were great. I just didn't understand why the cartoonists have to pay the printer instead of the clients.

    Apparently Breathed and Watterson are as lazy as I am.

  3. Looks neat.

    I have a Sunday original of "At the Zu" (a short lived comic from the mid 1990s) and it came with a color guide kinda-like the one you posted.

    How many cartoonists still colors the Sundays like this? I know Patrick McDonnell still uses color guide for "Mutts."

  4. I've been out of things for a while so I don't really know. My guess is that most cartoonists color their own Sundays. And unfortunately, more and more are coloring their dailies, with no extra pay for the work. Reed-Brennan, a division of King Features, does charge newspapers an extra fee for providing colored dailies, though.