Jeff Balke – Sketch Colouring or Sketch Photocopying?

Jeff Balke is a comics artist who works the convention circuit, creating instore comics events and working the internet well.

Principally operating as a colourist, he’s pioneered a service he calls “sketch colouring”, taking the “sketch variant” covers now so common from publishers, and colouring them for their owners. It’s a neat trick, it’s a fun service and it has won him attention and praise. He does the same for convention sketches from artists and black and white prints. No problem there, it’s a fun service and he’s clever to have spottedĀ  a gap in the market.

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However, he seems to have taken this service a little far. His tables at shows also feature a number of oversized black and white prints which he has coloured and is now selling. He has created these prints using company original art such as the DC’s Blackest Night cover, or simply sketches from creators on websites, including a Rogue sketch from Ed Benes’ Deviantart gallery, printed, coloured by Balke, Ed’s signature removed and sold by Balke at conventions. The original creators and publishers don’t receive a penny. There have also been reports that Balke has represented the finished art as all his own work to people looking for artists. When these points have been brought up, Balke has dismissed them and seems to regard this as all part of the game.

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Jeff did not reply to email inquiries. But his own photos at conventions speak volumes. See more of his work, and those of other people’s, at his website, his Myspace account and his DeviantArt page.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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