It’s true. David Lasky did an amazing job coloring El Deafo. Yesterday, I received a couple of final copies of the book, in full color, and they are gorgeous. The book would not have been gorgeous (at all) had I attempted this myself. And it’s important to note that not only did David do all the coloring, he also did all the shadow work as well. Shadows and me? We do not hold hands. I’m pretty sure that any time the word “chiaroscuro” was mentioned in any art class I ever took, I must’ve fallen into a trance and entered a shadow-free world of rainbows and flatly colored unicorns.
David and Tom and I all went to college together (Willam & Mary in Virginia). David was a couple of years ahead of us. He was our graphics editor at the Flat Hat, W & M’s college newspaper (now on the Internets, holy moly times have changed). David was—and still is—one of the most talented artists I had ever met—but he never acted like it. At all. He downplayed his own awesomeness and encouraged our weirdness and our even weirder art every Thursday night in the basement of whatever that hall was called. He also encouraged us to eat a lot of Doritos.
Flash forward a thousand years or more. When the first colorist hired to do this book realized that he was overcommitted and had to drop out of the project, I was bummed. And a little bit terrified. So, I wrote to David and asked him for advice. Did he know any colorists? Could he spread the word that I was looking? Because I was exhausted and overwhelmed and I knew that if I tried to color the book, my ridiculous notions of what is acceptable would have taken over and the book would never ever ever get done. And guess what David said?
“I’ll color it.”
Holy moly, I just about wept. I probably did weep. Because this is the guy who JUST WON AN EISNER for his book with Frank M. Young, THE CARTER FAMILY: DON’T FORGET THIS SONG. It is a masterpiece. And David’s other stuff is, too.
I figured out what I wanted the final cover of El Deafo to look like after David signed on to color it:
Thank goodness for David Lasky! David, thanks for making the book so beautiful. And for making me look good, too. You can barely even see the gray!