How Does a Comic Book Colorist Work?

Dean White talks about bringing vibrant hues to Batman’s world.

Photo illustration by Slate. Image courtesy of Dean White.
Dean White

Photo illustration by Slate. Image courtesy of Dean White.

This season on Working, we’re talking to the people who make Batman comics, leading you through the artistic production process.

For this episode, which you can listen to via the player above, we spoke to colorist Dean White. Starting from previously penciled (and usually inked) pages, White adds color and texture to the illustrations. Though he works digitally, he tells us that his comics career took off when he drew on his background as a trained painter—and that painterly approach is often evident in the subtle and sometimes surprising choices that he makes.

Though he has a distinct style of his own, White claims that that he adapts to his collaborators, changing his techniques to better suit the moods and styles of the tales they’re telling together. You can see a few examples of those shifts in the sample pages below.

Over the course of our conversation, White also talks about the tools he uses, lays out the structure of his days, and explores the ways that the business of coloring has changed throughout his 20-plus-year career.

Then, in a Slate Plus extra, White discusses influences from outside the world of comics, especially his interest in cinematography. If you’re a member, enjoy bonus segments and interview transcripts from Working, plus other great podcast exclusives. Start your two-week free trial at