They Wasted A Perfectly Good Line Art
Some artists are great at drawing but not so expert at colouring; in Japan, this is largely due to manga being mostly in black and white. The most extreme cases make you facepalm and think "This gorgeous lineart deserves sooo much better!". This isn't a trope about bad artists—it's about the ones who can
draw but can't colour properly, or at least whose linearts are much better than their colouring. Alternatively, the coloring work can be done by a separate person, who is either totally incompetent or has different ideas to the line artist. This often gives an "off balance" impression.
Please keep your Complaining About X
and justifying edits
out of this trope. Part of this trope is subjective and some examples are bound to be controversial. If you think an example really doesn't belong here, please bring it to the discussion page. Also keep in mind that you can genuinely appreciate and respect an author and still think their colouring isn't as good as their drawing style.
Of course, the trope title is an allusion
to They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot
- V for Vendetta was originally released in black and white, and then recolored by a different person. With watercolors. In quasi-impressionistic colors. Without paying attention to the lines.
- The classic Batman story The Killing Joke is an interesting case in that there are two separate colorations that, depending on the person you talk to, may or may not fall under this trope. Upon its original release, Dave Gibbons gave the story a garishly bright, almost psychadelic coloration. Some people, including line artist Brian Bolland, were not pleased with how brightly the colors turned out and felt they robbed the book of its darkness, but others praised the demented energy and atmosphere that the coloration gave the book. The 20th-anniversary edition was recolored by Bolland in an attempt to fix what he saw as a problem. The results were controversial. The flashback scenes, which had a coloration in line with the rest of the book in the original, are colored black and white with a few colors popping out instead. The book as a whole features a lot more shading, much more toned down colors, and a generally gloomy, dark feel as opposed to the more manic feel of the original. The recolored version also features some disturbing new details, like how when the Joker emerges from the chemical-laced waters, his eyes were supposed to be bleeding. The original version colored the blood white, making it look like tears. Some people praised this and how chilling it looked, but others found it to be a Narmy attempt to make the book needlessly Darker and Edgier, and that the tears worked far better within the context of the scene.
- John Ridgway's black and white art in the Transformers Marvel UK comic is very detailed and realistic. About half the pages had colour added in the original release, and they were all completely recoloured for the American re-release; in both cases, the colour took out a lot of what made it impressive.
- And on the Marvel US side, the colorist for the entire run, Nel Yomtov, is often given flak from Transformers fans who feel he degraded everyone's art, for reasons ranging from frequent and large-scale use of monochrome block coloring to numerous outright errors.
- More up to date (The Transformers IDW Run), in Escalation and part of Devastation EJ Su's lineart is colored by a fairly unimpressive colorist. Later, a much better colorist takes over and the difference is like night and day.
- While Frank Miller's art for The Dark Knight Strikes Again wasn't exactly gorgeous, the colors were often garish, which is a stark contrast to the muted coloring of the original (which was done by the same colorist).
- Colourist JD Smith's brief stint on Ultimate Spider-Man. He basically ruined Bagley's line art by giving absolutely everything this weird orange tint and by making everything look rather muted and uninteresting. Fortunately he was replaced.
- This trope applies to much of the art from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, but most especially the amazing artwork from "The Season of Mists"; Ty Bender's non-fiction "Sandman Companion" featured excepts of the same artwork without the hideous colouring, and the difference is astonishing. Similarly, The Annotated Sandman reprints the entire series in black and white. While the publisher apparently did so for reasons of cost, some readers consider the lack of colour an improvement.
- Leah Moore's The Trial of Sherlock Holmes has horrendously garish colours over line artwork that is clearly noirish and evocative. The result is a resounding mess.
- ElfQuest — twice. The colourised Marvel Comics reprints were patchy at best, and the new computer-coloured versions are incredibly garish and obscure a lot of the original black and white linework.
- On the other hand, if you can find copies of the long out-of-print pastel editions of the first four ElfQuest volumes, they're gorgeous.
- Edwin Biukovic is known for having great detail and just all in all being very good at rendering faces and crowds. But compare this page◊ from the comics version of The Last Command to this page◊ from The Phantom Affair. The latter's not terrible, but it's more heavyhanded, and faces are often weirdly dark.
- Quite a bit of Dark Empire is drawn in a rather unusual, stylized way. However, the colorist made some very odd choices, most notably deciding to tint nearly every page in some specific color and being overwhelmingly dark. Sure, a comic where Luke goes to the Dark Side might be expected to have dark colors, but there should be enough light to make things stand out.
- The vast majority of the Disney Mouse And Duck Comics, at least in the United States. Characters will change the color of their shirts between panels, entire characters will be rendered in one color, gradients are used like they're going out of style, and very little background art is colored with detail. This is especially prevalent in Don Rosa comics, where the intricately detailed artwork is half the appeal.
- Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog contains a variety of examples, the comic not being exactly known for tight quality control, but a few do stand out. Any issue where Frank Gagliardo colored Steven Butler's art brings this to the front - especially at the start of the Chaos Knuckles saga, around issue 90. Between just plain not knowing what color the characters were (the infamous green-clad red Gala-Na, giving Amy purple eyes instead of a shade of green, etc.) and painting the whole landscape of the echidna city of Albion in a dull gray, it just didn't do justice to Butler's tight, flowing art style. A more recent, though *slightly* less jarring example would be the whole "Enerjak Reborn" arc - while Jason Jensen is not usually a bad colorist by any means, the bright, vibrant, nigh shadow-less style he was using at the time felt a tad inappropriate for the darker turns of the story, making them feel overly light and cheerful.
- Recent Dark Horse Comics reprints of old Conan comics have drawn criticisms for obscuring Barry Windsor-Smith's line art with obtrusive digital coloring.
- With the release of Marvel's Essential Line a lot of old school artists got to shine in a black and white glory. People got to see artists from Jack Kirby to Dikto to the Buscemas to even artists of the 80's really shine due to not being inhibited by gaudy colors or technology not being up to to date to give proper colors (the mid 80s) and so on.
- Grandville has lovely lineart, the flats are done by a professional... and then Bryan Talbot uses mostly dodge and burn and eye-searing photoshop brushes to finish them into the looks of a beginner's webcomic.
- Katsu Aki (Psychic Academy, the Vision of Escaflowne manga, Futari Ecchi, etc). His drawings are made of awesome, but his colour covers tend to look like he just used the very basic functions of Paint Shop Pro and never finished. He got better in recent years, but the contrast used to be very striking. Examples from Psychic Academy.
- Some works by (ack!) Osamu Tezuka, such as Swallowing the Earth.
- Koji Inada's artworks for Dragon Quest: Dai No Dai Bouken. The colouring isn't bad, but it isn't as good as the drawings.
- Ryu Fujisaki from the Shiki manga.
- These days, looking at Monkey Punch's (creator of Lupin III) experiments with Photoshop made his usually excellent lineart look soft and dated.
- In Masami Kurumada's original Saint Seiya manga, the characters were all colored with bland colors - the suits of armor always got light coloring, and the characters always wore white clothing beneath (notably, Seiya and Hyoga could pass for wearing all-white outfits, since the Bronze suits didn't give off shine); only Gold Cloths escaped this treatment due to them being, well, golden. This is probably the reason why pretty much 90% of the palettes were reworked for the anime.
- This tends to happen a lot with modern black-and-white strips. Since newspapers generally seem to prefer all their comic strips to be in color, syndicates will often just slap a color gradient onto each panel of the strip without paying the least bit of attention to the lineart, which often has the effect of making it near-impossible to tell what's actually going on.
- Dick Tracy started running color editions of the weekday strip in early 2011. Unfortunately it was obvious that whoever was doing the weekday coloring didn't know anything about the strip's history. Consequently, Sam Catchem's suit spent about a week being sky blue instead of green, while Gravel Gertie, despite her white hair being one of her defining characteristics, temporarily got turned into a redhead.
- A similar point might be made about the doujin game Hana Ki Sou.
- The unlockable sketches of assorted Mooks and townspeople in Sonic Unleashed look a lot more impressive in sketch form.