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Topic: To color the original, or not to color? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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John Popa
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 3:03pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I keep trying longer answers but I keep coming back to 'no, there's no reason to do that.'
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 4:08pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

That's it in a nutshell. John P.! There is no reason to do that. A colored copy of the artwork, on good paper, would actually look better. No smudging, smearing, or other issues like painting over whiteout, Zip-A-Tone, etc., or anything that might create complications when painting over original penciled and inked pages.

And BOTH the original and the painted version would exist still! Once painted over, that original artwork has been forever transformed and can never be returned to its original state again.

When someone put forth that a person can do whatever they want with something they owned, I agreed but said it doesn't mean they should do it.

Oddly enough, concerning his stance, Rubinstein disagreed with that:

Rubinstein: "...nope, Art isn’t owned So much as put in the care of the person who bought it. It is a crime against humanity to take a Rembrandt and cut it up or take the original handwritten musical score by Mozart and fold it into paper airplanes. You have it for as long as you have it but it truly belongs to humanity..."

I responded: "Actually, though it's a shame, I agree with Thomas about ownership. If I owned Leonardo Da Vinci's sketches, are you saying I can't burn it, but I can add color to it, by the way? Why the distinction? I don't agree with what people have done to the artwork we have discussed, but I do agree if they own it, they can do with it whatever they want."

For some odd reason used having a dog as an example, when we clearly were not discussing living creatures.

Rubinstein: "...No you can’t burn it as you can’t burn the dog you own or the antique furniture you want to break up for kindling today. As far as color in the da Vinci it was never meant to be colored it was a work of art onto itself. The comic book art was always meant to be colored as a final product..."

My response: "The original art was, as a rule, never meant to be colored. That's why it was standard to color photocopies. You are a professional, Joe, you know this. By the way, I certainly can't burn the dog I own, that's animal abuse. We aren't discussing livestock, so that was a bizarre comparison. I can, however smash any antique I own if I want. It's stupid and shameful, but I can do it...."


Rubinstein: "The artwork was always meant to be colored in the finished product. That’s like saying the guy who drew the animation sketch, it should not be touched when it was always intended to be inked over and then added color to for the finished product . Do those drawings exist today ,yes but they weren’t meant to be left alone and the black and white comic book page was never meant to be left alone but a step in the process to be finished in color...."


Another person chimed in saying that he doesn't agree with coloring original comic book pages, BUT...


Other person: "...comic books are a mass market product and for the most part underpaid work-for-hire. It's not Rembrandt, DaVinci or Mozart.
I don't see museums standing in line to get a piece of original Byrne art for their exhibitions."

I responded: "Well, it isn't still the 1960s' where museums only display comic book art if it was swiped by a pop artist, but there are exhibits of comic book art occasionally at some museums now and again, yes."

The person reluctantly acknowledged I was right about the museums, but argued that wasn't the point he was making, so I asked:

"...And your point, come to think of it, is 'comics are mass market trash, so who really cares?' Is that correct?"

The person responded: "Don't embarrass yourself now. I've never said trash. In fact, I own 14.000 comic books, but couldn't afford an original Rembrandt. Historically, comic books were produced for a mass market targeted at kids and looked upon as trash...by pretty much everybody. Not that I agree. Nobody cared about the original art for decades, not even the artists themselves. Stan Lee didn't tell people he worked in comics. And how are the dollar bin comics from the 90s onward selling these days?"

So, he seems to say that compared to "real" art, comics are simply mass market product produced by mostly underpaid artists to justify marring the original works, but then takes affront when I point that out as being his point, then he ends his rebuttal by again suggesting that comics are mass market crap. Okay.

I followed that by asking, "...Why is being underpaid as an artist something that would devalue it in terms of merit?...."


The person bowed out, never answering that question.



Edited by Matt Hawes on 14 October 2020 at 4:16pm
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Mark Waldman
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 4:13pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Why??????
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Eric Ladd
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 4:38pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Animation sketches were NOT inked over. Paper is used for key frames, in between images, etc. Once a full set of “pencils” are done for an animation sequence the images are inked on clear film. The pencils are NOT touched. Mr. Rubenstein’s own example invalidates his argument!

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Marc Baptiste
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 5:47pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Morally, art cannot be "owned" - I agree.  However, legally is a very different story.  Unlike children and nowadays, pets, art CAN be owned and if you own it you can do with your Picasso or Rembrandt whatever you please.  

The difference between art and pets, for example, is that there are laws specifically designed to protect pets from abuse, molestation, overall cruelty, etc.  Until there are laws to protect artwork in the same way... it CAN be owned.

Marc
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John Byrne
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 5:54pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Art cannot be owned?

Sorry, I call bullsh*t. If it cannot be owned, why do we put a monetary value on it?

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Tom Perkowitz
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 6:24pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Monetary value is a good measure here. I would imagine have the original piece in the example colored, it probably killed the value. Am I wrong?

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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 14 October 2020 at 7:10pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I am willing to bet it definitely hurt the value, particularly since it's not even a good job. Even with a skilled professional doing the coloring,  I am turned off personally,  knowing that the original black and white artwork is now forever lost. 

I go back, yet again,  to coloring a copy. That way,  the original is still preserved,  abd if the coloring job is well done and beautiful,  well there are now two separate pieces to enjoy.

Why this is such a difficult concept for a few people is mystifying. 
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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 15 October 2020 at 6:07am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

No.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 October 2020 at 6:22am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Why this is such a difficult concept for a few people is mystifying.

••

This is exactly the kind of "cause" that unleashes Crusaders. It would be perfectly fine to leave things as we find them--ie, uncolored black & white artwork--but the moment anyone says that is what should be done, out come the high horses.

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Lee Troxell
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Posted: 17 October 2020 at 6:29am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

After reading this thread, I am truly stunned that there are people in the world who fail to grasp the importance of the original pencilled or inked artwork.  The very idea of physically coloring over original art that has, somehow miraculously, survived the production process is just unthinkable to me.  


The argument that the art was intended to be presented in color in the final product is irrelevant...and the argument that the final product was for "popular" consumption by "kids" is especially spurious!


Imagine finding the equivalent of a bedpan in the ruins of Pompeii...it's intended purpose was to hold bodily excrement.  Surely in it's time it was not a treasured item.  However, today, two millennia later, it is an object to be treasured in a museum due to its rarity and cultural significance.  It reminds me of Belloq's quote from Raiders where he says: 


"Look at this [holds up a silver pocket watch] it's worthless. Ten dollars from a vendor in the street. But I take it, I bury it in the sand for a thousand years, it becomes priceless! Like the Ark. Men will kill for it; men like you and me." 


How can we hold comic art to a lesser standard?  Heck, there are people who would treasure a bakelite radio from the 30's, a leather jacket from the 50's or Nike sneakers from the 90's. Popular consumption in an item's time period does not negate it's value to history.


I watched an interview with Todd McFarlane the other day where he talked about being hired to ink a Jack Kirby cover, (while Kirby was still alive,) and he was horrified as he realized that he would have to ERASE Kirby's pencil art after inking.  He was so disturbed by the erasing that he actually saved the eraser shavings and bits in a ziplock bag.  He was crestfallen.  When he inked his next Kirby, he inked it on a vellum overlay and returned both the original art as well as the inked page to Kirby...thereby saving the original art.  In a nice ending to the story, Kirby actually gifted the pencil art right back to Todd. (Believe me, I thought, as I'm sure many of you are thinking...why didn't Todd use vellum in the first place...but I digress)


My point is, there is no excuse to color original inked pages, or ink over original pencils, ever.  With today's technology and materials, we can preserve the art at the different stages of the production process, while saving the originals for posterity.


So many of us have had fun "inking" over JB's Elsewhen pencils...I shudder to think that anyone who buys an original Byrne pencilled page would have the audacity to actually ink over them.  Our host, tho, is of course, free to do as he wishes with his artwork :)


(edited for duplicate wording)



Edited by Lee Troxell on 17 October 2020 at 6:33am
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John Byrne
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Posted: 17 October 2020 at 7:15am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

In my early days I inked a few convention sketches by other artists, but it didn't take long for me to come to appreciate just how RARE pencil art is.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of collectors who do not consider the work "finished" until it has been inked. And, it would seem, in some cases, colored.

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