This is a selection of facts and information about how and why the comic is coloured the way that it is.
Natural and dirty.
As much as possible I try to make the colours of clothing, skin, hair, pots, pans, animals etc. look natural. It is in line with the comic's principle of being as historically accurate as possible. So coloured clothes are still quite drab by today's standards. But in contrast to this there are things that throughout time have been bright and colourful like jewels and gold and certain dyes. We will see the allure of these things against the natural back drop and why they were so prized. For example, the royal purple from murex shells that kings and emperors have worn for centuries was even more striking a purple then against such a natural hued backdrop than it is to us now. The Canaanites were, in fact, known as the “Purple People” due to their trade in purple cloth.
Also to add to the realistic feel of the pictures, things will often be worn and grubby, again to show the contrast of the rich and the poor and what life was like in ancient times.
The ethnicity, including skin, hair and eye colour will try to be as accurate as possible. Generally speaking, most of the people in the Bible are middle eastern, especially in the Old Testament. The Philistines are one of the exceptions to this rule. They originate from Crete and during this time period therefore have Greek/European complexions with a range of hair and eye colours. Egyptians are the other main exception, and will be of darker skin than the Israelites and may include black Africans in their number (Nubian, Ethiopians, Cushites etc) as they were a part of every echelon of Egyptian society at one time or another.
People who are poor and therefore generally spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun will be of darker complexion than the nobles and ladies whose lifestyles preserve their pale skin.
Clans Colours of Israel and their Enemies
Conveniently, the 13 tribes of Israel are each associated with a different colour. This is based on the gem stones that represents them on the Breastplate of the High Priest. In the table below I've collected together information on the tribes, the order they were born in, their gem stone, their Emblem and the colour I have therefore chosen to use to represent each one in the comic. I believe my colour selections are as true to history as they can possibly be.
These clan colours and emblems make us a basic heraldry for Israel, which is not only very useful in the comic but also really interesting as the Biblical narrative goes on. While reading the comic the clan associations are very interesting. For example, in the book of Judges the clan of Ephraim repeatedly throw their weight around and act arrogantly towards the other clans. The roots of this makes sense when we realise that Joshua, who obviously headed up the whole conquest of Canaan, was an Ephraimite. The use of clan colours helps you link things like the disgraceful acts of the Benjamites in the Book of Judges and then the choice of a Benjamite King in Saul. It also helps break down wrong stereotypes of clans. For example, people might think of the tribe of Levi as “the priestly ones”, but the visual consistency helps link events like Phinehas with his spear or their patriarch's actions in Genesis 34 after the rape of his sister.
I have tried to also remain consistent with the enemies of Israel. For example, I have given each of the five lords of the Philistines a colour that is associated with them and their city. This colour features alongside the general Philistine colours, (terracotta, red and aqua).
This helps to link the events to the geography. For example, the Philistines at Samson's wedding and subsequent retribution at Timnah are wearing orange plumes in their helms as Timnah is on the doorstep of Ekron which has orange as its colour; but the commander of the thousand or more Philistines that come to arrest Samson at Lehi have blue plumes as they are from Ashkelon where he slew the thirty Philistines for their garments.
Walking with God or walking away
With regards to the Israelites, I have also earmarked times when God's people are falling away from him by their acceptance of another culture's dress. When they are walking with God they wear natural colours (browns, tans, greys, blacks, whites, some pale colours) that have simple or no patterns. When they are embracing other gods and customs, they dress in patterns and colours and wear jewellery and the men cut their beards etc. There is an example of this in the sample story, where we see the head man in Lehi of the tribe of Judah. His beard is cut at the corners, and he wears a lion's mane and claws, which are 'unclean' for Jews. His dress is a mixture of Philistine and Hebrew, in bright colours and patterns, and he even speaks their language. This is based on a tile picture from Egypt which some people think shows a Philistine, while others think it depicts an Israelite.
Supernatural and Spirit
One of the most important colour elements is the use of the Spirit colour. This is a bright Cyan/ turquoise and it means there is something of the Spirit or something of God in the story. The idea is to show things that are very real in the spiritual realm but not necessarily the physical. The best example of this is with Balaam's Donkey. When I draw that story the angel that stands invisible to Balaam but that the donkey can sense will be shown in the Cyan colour. When it manifests in a way that Balaam can see it will be in the standard black lines. This colour is also used when Samson is empowered by the Spirit, with a power acting in the spiritual realm depicted as Cyan lightning. Lastly, it is used when God speaks, and for the speech of angels.
There is a corrupted version of this colour that is a pure putrid yellower green. This demarcates possible demonic activity.
There are times that the pictures in the comic will show things that happened before the events being described in the story. These may be a memory of one of the characters or just events that proceed the current narrative. These are shown in a brown “greyscale” with a hazy red border.
Parables and Prophecy
When there is a parable or a prophecy a unique colour scheme is used. This has not been finalised but it is currently planned to be a dreamy blend of pinks and the spiritual cyan.
Dreams will likely have a unifying colour scheme but this has yet to be decided.
So there you have it...
So there you have it, the many aspects that make up the colour choices for the comic - and you thought it was all just slapped in there! :-) I hope this blog has highlighted not just the comic's colours but also their specific use to deepen scriptural understanding in an easy way.