PopCultHQ is kicking off 2018 in a new way. Each month, we’ll be selecting Comic Book Creators of the Month and interview them for a spotlight article. For February 2018’s Colorist of the Month, we selected Kelly Fitzpatrick.
Let’s face it. In the past few years, Fitzpatrick’s name seems to be just about everywhere. Having been the colorist for publishers like DC Comics, Image Comics, AfterShock Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Oni Press, Dark Horse Comics, and Archie Comics, there’s no wonder Kelly has a bit of omnipotence to her. Running off a list of titles she has worked on, any comic fan/reader (indie or otherwise) is sure to recognize a fair share of them: Archie, Bitch Planet, Captain Kid, DC Comics: Bombshells, Redline, Batman ’66, Peter Panzerfaust, Rockstars, Josie and the Pussycats, Gotham City Garage, The Black Hood, and Shade, the Changing Girl. This is only a portion of the credits to her name and this coming from an artist a mere five years in the business. And that doesn’t even count the work she’s done on covers! Hot titles are the product of extremely talented creators and Kelly has shown she is most certainly that.
We at PopCultHQ are beyond honored to feature colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick as our Colorist of the Month. So sit back, relax, and hear our interview with Kelly as she explains what pushes her to be better, how Jordie Bellaire played a role early in her career, and why she feels safer nowadays at conventions.
PopCultHQ Spotlight Interview
Colorist of the Month – February 2018:
PopCultHQ: How did comic books influence your childhood? What was the defining moment in your life that you knew, from then on, that you wanted to color comic books for a living?
Kelly Fitzpatrick: Oddly comics didn’t come into play in my life until I was around 11 or 12. Manga was what I was interested in and I didn’t know much about western comics (aside from Batman the Animated Series and X-men) until I found Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. I started really getting into indie comics and going into my LCS around that time, but it closed about 2 years later. Most of high school I grabbed comics here and there and that’s when I decided I wanted to make comics. Because I primarily read indie b/w titles and manga (which is also published in b/w) coloring comics never even crossed my mind as a job. By the time I graduated college I knew I was more proficient at painting than drawing and I still had no idea coloring was a job. A couple of years after I graduated from college, I had moved to Japan and realized I was unhappy, had student loans and undergone so much work and time to be a professional artist, but was doing nothing with it and I quit my job. This was a couple of months after Jordie Bellaire put out a test for an assistant/ flatter. I learned about color in comics because I followed Jordie on Twitter and saw what she was doing. I had no idea it was even a career until she pursued it. I quit my job and moved back to America determined to get into comics (knowing I had almost a year before NYCC to get my portfolio together) and when I arrived back in the US, Jordie had sent me an email welcoming me back to America and asking me if I wanted the job.
PopCultHQ: Your work has been published by Image Comics, AfterShock Comics, DC Comics, and Archie Comics (among others). You’ve had the opportunity to work with writers Marguerite Bennett, Kurtis J Wiebe, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Mark Waid (on more than one project), and a lengthy list of artists with which you’ve teamed. What do you enjoy most about collaborating with other creators? Which creator would you love the opportunity to work with on a project?
Kelly: I love the collaboration because it brings out the best in me and pushes me to be bold, try new things, and have a different perspective and viewpoint on my art to further my development that I otherwise couldn’t do on my own. I’m pretty new in the industry (just put 5 years under my belt) and having experienced creators and especially experienced editors give me notes really pushes me to be a better artist. I can pinpoint times in my career where I’ve really grown because of specific notes given to me for revisions.
There’s so many people I’d love to work with. Off the top of my head for writers: Jody Houser, Brian Bendis, Kelly Thompson, Faith Erin Hicks, Matt Rosenberg, Joe Keatinge, Ed Brisson, G. Willow Wilson, Corinna Bechko, Gail Simone, Ryan Ferrier, and Brian K. Vaughan amongst many more! Artist I’d love to work with: Ibrahim Moustafa, Michael Walsh, Adam Gorham, Nick Barber, Gabriel Hardman, Jen Vaughn, Erica Henderson, Vanesa Del Ray, Fiona Staples, Corin Howell, Ema Rios, Elsa Charretier, amongst others I know I am going to kick myself for not listing…
Kelly: I’ve been told I use purple and yellow a lot when coloring, but my personal favorite color to wear is black. I really do like purple though.
PopCultHQ: Your résumé over the last five years is nothing short of impressive. When taking on a number of different projects as you are currently, do you approach each title differently as to, say, the color palette you employ? Or even a specific tone or feel which you’re trying to convey from the artist’s illustrations?
Kelly: Thanks so much for saying! Yes to all of the above. Certain stories lend themselves to different palettes and that’s the same for line art! Thin fluid line art (think Emma Rios) you aren’t going to color the same way as you would thick chunky line art (think Mignola) just like you aren’t going to color a children’s adventure book the same way as an adult horror book.
PopCultHQ: What has been the most important and/or valuable piece of advice you’ve received as an artist in the comic book industry?
Kelly: Always keep communication open and meet your deadlines!
PopCultHQ: On top of the Archie, Shade, The Changing Woman and Gotham City Garage, what’s on tap in 2018 for Kelly Fitzpatrick? Any conventions and signing appearances lined up? Projects you can discuss?
Kelly: As far as conventions go, I only know that I will be loosely attending ECCC. I’m bringing my dog with me so I won’t be in the convention hall much. I’m currently working on moving and upgrading a bunch of my equipment and that is all very expensive and time consuming. That’s why I’ve chosen to have a slower convention year. I might do another con at the end of the year, but it’s up in the air right now.
In regards to books I’m working on, I still have some DC: Bombshells chapters coming out with Sandy Jarrell, which I’m very excited to show you. There’s also more Rockstars from Image comics coming your way and I’ve got a book with Dark Horse coming out too that I can’t quite talk about yet. I’m also still working on Bitch Planet and some other stuff in the pipeline that hopefully will be green lit soon. It’s an exciting year with a lot of change happening.
PopCultHQ: If you had the power or ability to make one change in the comic book community or industry, what would it be?
Kelly: There’s a lot that I would like to see changed! More POC, women, LGBTQIA+ folks working at the big 2 would be a big one! Especially in leadership positions at the companies. I’d also love for more people to be giving back end to colorists and letterers and including them in PR announcements. Including more names only increases the opportunity for your books to sell.
With that being said, I am extremely happy to see that companies are now holding more people accountable for their actions and bad behavior these days. It’s the only way progress can happen and ultimately, it makes me feel safer at conventions and being able to be myself on emails and phone calls. I know if I’m having problems I can reach out to my editors and they have my back and will help me in anyway possible and that’s pretty darn awesome. You guys know who you are and you are awesome.
Special thanks to Kelly for making time to speak with PopCultHQ
and for being our Colorist of the Month for February 2018.
Be sure to follow Kelly online for
all the latest from the talented creator!
Colorist – Kelly Fitzpatrick