Week 42: Matt Wilson
Amaterasu’s concert (The Wicked + The Divine #2) (2014)
Matt Wilson is a cartoon colorist that you might know from The Wicked + The Divine, Y the Last Man, Wonder Woman, Young Avengers, Wolverine, or many others. He’s a SCAD graduate who realized he wasn’t particularly interested in drawing comics and moved into coloring some time after.
It should be no secret that colorists are among the least appreciated in the comics industry, as it’s a victory just to get an artist mentioned on covers anymore. Wilson’s colors on WicDiv (alongside Jamie McKelvie, whom I featured previously) are what caught my attention specifically, but all of his works are beautiful and worth mentioning. In a CBR interview, he discusses how closely he tries to work with the rest of the creative team to match visions to reality, as well as his steps to be consistent and emotionally appropriate. His work properly showcases both.
Wilson’s colors in WicDiv continue to be my favorites by him, and it isn’t just the lush, bright neons. Something about the way he captures emotion in sometimes surprising color palettes continues to enthrall me. I can’t think of a comic where the colors were as entracing and important to the story for me as WicDiv, and I think that’s indicative of an incredible artist: something that normally fades into the background adds volumes to the story.
It’s about more than just bright colors, though. Wilson’s got a stunning eye for gradients, atmospheric perspective, and the subtleties that make a moment feel a certain way. A proper sense of color can create a mood, a flashback, a surreal shift in reality itself. For something so integral to a piece of art–be it a photo, comic, or drawing–people so often forget to appreciate color.
Honestly, I think Matt Wilson could take a decent project and make it good, a good one and make it great. There’s such a nuance to his work that makes me ashamed I hadn’t paid more attention to colorists before. I guess now’s as good as any to start.