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King Features

Coloring the Sunday Comics

From 1989-98 I was on staff at King as the head (and only) colorist for the King Features Comic Art Department. From 1999 on I did coloring for them freelance.

Jim Keefe - Portrait of a young colorist.
Jim Keefe – Portrait of a young colorist.

Pic from http://clublaptop.co.uk/online-seo-directory/wpbdp_category/games/ Funny Papers – Behind the Scenes of the Comics.


For my entire run coloring for King I worked “old school.”
Here’s the process…

King Features down in Florida does the color separations, so my job was to provide them with a color guide.

Here’s the color palette I used.

Using watercolor, I colored the black and white art and then put in the color indications using the numbers from the color palette. The actual watercolors didn’t have to be exact, that’s what the numbering was for.

Color guide for Blondie 7/1/2012.

And here’s what the finished version looked like.

Blondie 7/1/2012

It’s a very conscious decision to keep the coloring simple and not over render so the color is not competing with the clean line of the artwork. Here’s some more examples of my work…

Beetle 6/10/2012
Popeye 7/22/2012
Hagar 7/1/2012

And as of November of 2021, a little over 30 years total, I’m calling it a day. It’s been a good run, but time commitments with my current work schedule just made it impossible to continue.

Wrapping up with a pic the great Dick Hodgins Jr. (1931-2016) sent me awhile back. Something I’ll always treasure.

By Jim Keefe

Jim Keefe is the current artist of the Sally Forth comic strip. From 1996-2003 he was the writer and artist of the Flash Gordon comic strip. A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Keefe likewise teaches Comic Art. Teaching and speaking engagements include SVA in Manhattan, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs, and most recently the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.