Imagine a world in black and white. It’d be like living in a television program from the 40s and I can probably guess that it wouldn’t be too exciting. Had life been exactly the way it looked on a monochrome TV, we’d all be living a pretty bleak existence but we wouldn’t really know any better. Thank the lords there’s such thing as colour in this universe because without it, well…do I really need to go on? The Manga medium is quite an interesting one; it’s entirely in black and white but is somehow still engaging enough to keep our attention and have us flicking to the next page.
Western Comic Books sometimes take it a step above that and colour is added to the pages of a series. This colour, when done well, brings about a level of enjoyment from a still image not thought possible until the moment of eye contact. Both illustrated mediums do what they do very well but it is always the pages that explode with vibrance and colour that tend to grab my attention, this I feel is the same with many people that I know. Though, of course, not all. Colour is a powerful tool, especially within visual mediums like Manga and Comic Books, and it was at Cai Tse’s ‘Digital Colouring’ workshop that my level of interest in working solely with colours rose to unimaginable heights.
The ‘Digital Colouring’ workship started of, let’s say…a little awkward, as the MC for the scheduled event could barely bring herself to give the audience the name of the young lady who was actually running the workshop. It was only once I returned home and search the official SMASH! website that I discovered the woman who added fuel to my burning love for colour was Miss Cai Tse; a very talented artist who works in both a freelance and commercial capacity. Whipping out her Cintiq Companion tablet, a high-end graphics tablet by Wacom, Miss Tse began the workshop.
There was not a great deal of interactivity between her and the audience at the start of the workshop as she outlined that the next forty minutes will be mostly filled with her illustrating with colour. Eventually the audience was encouraged to ask her questions about her process and about illustration/art in general to which she was more than happy to oblige. Showing that she’s quite the multitasker, she gave examples as answers through continuing with her illustration implementing certain techniques at certain times to drive home a point.
I found that the workshop was actually quite interesting as well as fairly engaging. Though, as mentioned, there was no where near as much interaction between panel-runner and audience member, I still got the overall vibe that people sitting in on the workshop were enjoying themselves and I’d honestly like to think that they took something away from it. What I took away from it? I need to replace my broken graphics tablet and, once again, dive back into the world of digital illustration. What I hope everyone else took away from it? That colour is key and should never be underestimated as a fantastic way to design, illustrate and create…not that I think anyone is genuinely doubting the majesty of colour.
Cai Tse is currently earning a living in Sydney as a visual artist in the architecture industry, Cai moonlights as a freelance illustrator for an international clientele. Cai has accumulated years of experience in drawing, digital painting and illustration and is now applying them to developing a host of personal projects.