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Staying Inside the Lines with Colorist Jeff Balke

Best known for his work on Grimm Fairy Tales, comic colorist Jeff Balke took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us. Other notable books he has worked on include: Charmed, Zombies vs Cheerleaders, and Hack/Slash.

PA: So I'll start at the beginning - what led you to become a comic colorist?

JB: Well, years ago when Myspace only had 99 million people [laughs], I started putting up some of my black & white art. Then people wanted me to show some colored stuff which I didn’t have at the time. But then I put some colors to my own work and people loved that much more than my regular artwork and I've been doing it ever since. Thats also where I got my first coloring gig.

PA: And what gig was that?

Grimm Fairy Tales Neverland CoverJB: A comic called Foxwood Falcons with After Hours Press which was released back in 2007. I worked on the Wizard World Exclusive cover and the all the interiors. I was pretty stoked.

PA: I bet - that's a pretty big first job. How do you usually prepare for gigs like that?

JB: [laughs] Honestly, I just do it!

PA: Well, that's certainly one way!

JB: I get my music ready, have an almost unlimited supply of coffee and just go to town.

PA: Who's your favorite character to color while listening to music and downing incredible amounts of coffee?

JB: My favorite character? As of recently, I love coloring Thor and, of course...Green Lantern

PA: Hal Jordan is definitely the man. Have you ever dabbled in writing comics?

JB: No, no. [laughs] No, but I thought about it.

PA: Stick to what you know, right?

JB: Exactly. I just love coloring - Okay, I just sounded like a little kid there.

PA: This is comics, the majority of us sound like kids. What methods of coloring do you work best with?

JB: For working on the comics I’m all digital. I use Adobe Photoshop CS3 for everything. I have CS5, but for some reason I'm afraid to use it! [laughs] I think it’s because I've got an okay handle on CS3, but so many people said that CS5 is amazing! So I'm going to start dabbling in it soon.

PA: So if it ain't broke you can wait on fixing it.

JB: Right [laughs] but it would be nice to "update" some techniques.

Zombies vs CheerleadersPA: What current or future projects of yours will we be seeing?

JB: We just released Grimm Fairy Tales presents: Tales from Neverland #1. It came out last week and other issues are coming out soon from that series. I also have a few covers coming out from Zombies vs Cheerleaders, and issue #3 actually hit stands June 1st. The cover I worked on is with Mike Debalfo, where the cheerleader is sitting on a bench in a locker room with a bunch of zombie heads around her - HOT cover. I've got a trade of Zombies vs Cheerleaders coming out this summer as well as a few other projects. Thankfully, I’m keeping busy.

PA: Apparently you are, and with some good titles. So what would Jeff Balke's super power be?

JB: Let me think here. How about drinking coffee and never getting tired?

PA: That's definitely a practical super power. Maybe you have the beginnings of a new comic?

JB: Published by Starbucks maybe? Also, killing people with kindness and being real.

PA: Well, it was definitely kind of you to take time out of your busy day. Finally, any advice for artists trying to make it in comics?

JB: Don't give up. If this is something you really want to do, then keep at it. No matter how many doubts you have in your head, don't give up or get too frustrated.

***If you like Jeff Balke’s work and want to know more about the colorist, you can check out his web site at www.jbalkesart.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Jbalke08 as well as “like” his Facebook fan page at JBalkesCOLORS. And don't forget to pick up Zombies vs Cheerleaders #3, hitting shelves today!***


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