Art of Color: Javier Rodriguez, Color Chameleon
Javier Rodriguez's coloring work first came to my attention during his work on Daredevil, alongside Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera. It's interesting that a comic starring a blind superhero should have such vibrant, noticeable colors, but Rodriguez's work refuses to be ignored. Look at this splash page from issue #2:
The cascading strips --- chaff fired from a bazooka by Captain America to throw off Daredevil's radar sense --- draw the focus of the scene, but Rodriguez doesn't allow them to overpower the rest of the page. They become impossible to ignore as the reader surveys the scene, a nice trick that immediately connects the reader to what Daredevil is experiencing.
That's not the only standout element on the page, however.
Cap is back-lit by a red-pink light coming from off-panel behind the water tower. As such, the panels focusing in on his face are colored in a hot pink, which not only stays consistent with the aforementioned light source, but keys the reader in to focus on these panels more. There are a few colors of focus in the page, remember: yellowish-green for the chaff, yellow for the open window DD leaps into, scarlet for DD's costume, blue and white for Cap, and the pink panels. The panels stand out against all of the other colors, drawing the reader's eye, while contrasting nicely with Cap's reaction shots.
More impressive, however, is how adept Rodriguez is at adapting his coloring to suit whichever artist he works with. Once Chris Samnee joined the book, Rodriguez changed his style to suit the former's heavy line-work and strong figures by adapting a flatter color style with more primary colors.
Comparing the two images, it's hard to believe that the same colorist worked on both issues. The appearance of Ikari, a Daredevil villain with similar powers, training, and background, is contrasted in appearance with Daredevil's costumes. (Notice some similarities to his original yellow costume?)
But just compare Rodriguez's work here to the earlier splash; extraneous details and color flashes are completely excised in favor of strong, bold colors that enhance Samnee's linework. Red and yellow anchor the page, while other details, colored or shaded in a soft blue, exist to quietly showcase Ikari's presence. The thrown-off jacket, details on the boots, and even the rest of the factory are all subsumed by the bold colors signifying the danger Daredevil's about to face.
Javier Rodriguez is one of the most versatile colorists working in comics today, and his recent forays into coloring his own work have only made him more of an artist to watch out for. Whether he's coloring in a flashy style, as in Breach #8:
Reinventing the skies of Gotham in Batgirl Year One:
Or synthesizing his incredible color work with his own impressive figure drawing, Rodriguez is a veritable color chameleon with the playfulness to try new techniques and strategies and the skill to pull them off perfectly: