16th Dec 2018

From Hell – now in colour!

You may or may not be aware – there doesn’t seem to have been much publicity, especially compared to Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old – but Eddie Campbell is colourising From Hell, the monstrous graphic novel he did between 1989 and 1998 with Alan Moore, for the Kindle. Two installements of the From Hell “Master Edition” are currently available from Amazon, containing the prologue and first four chapters.

Chapter 4, page 9. Not much has changed, but suddenly this panel is awash with sunlight.

This doesn’t sound like something that would work – Campbell’s art on From Hell is very black-and-white, and evokes a very sooty and grimy Victorian London. But it does.

Chapter 4 page 12: colour creates both sunlight and depth.

Campbell’s colouring, like his art, is rough and ready in places, but that’s always been part of the charm of his work. It’s subtle and fairly simple – he lays down flat areas of colour, and rarely does any kind of modelling with it. But, combined with tweaks to the line art and occasional outright redrawing, it’s remarkably effective in creating a sense of place. Where black-and-white Victorian London was a distant, alien setting observed from afar, coloured-in Victorian London is a place you can imagine yourself into.

Chapter 4 page 14: simple, flat colour creates more space.

And in chapter four, the tour of London chapter, Campbell pays particular attention to time of day. The chapter starts before dawn with washed-out colours. As the sun rised, the colours become brighter and more contrasting. A shower of rain, and things become oppressive and grey, and as the rain stops, the colours become cold and washed-out again, before darkening as evening draws in.

Chapter 4 page 15: same again.

I wasn’t expecting it to work, but it really does. Highly recommended – and gives me a few ideas…

2 Responses to “From Hell – now in colour!”

  1. John Robbins Says:

    Good grief, Paddy Brown, I had no interest in this colourisation–until now! It even looks as if it makes the read that bit easier.

  2. paddybrown Says:

    Yeah, I was very surprised how well it works.

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