Paris Alleyne thought he might eventually get an award in his career as a comic book artist, he just didn’t anticipate it happening so soon. In the summer of 2020, Paris received an Eisner Award for Best Colourist on a Comic Book Series for his work on Afterlift, written by Chip Zdarsky and Jason Loo.
Colouring takes thought and attention
When asked how he makes his choices for how he colours his projects, he says it varies greatly each time. “Every project is different…that’ll change what you’re trying to get across.” It depends what the mood and style is that you’re trying to get across working with the illustrator.
Veering away from comics, Paris was a colourist for a book called Deal with it, a graphic novel dealing with real issues experienced by teens, published by James Lorimer & Co. He speaks about how the work that you do for comics – like meeting deadlines, working with writers/illustrators, working independently and fulfilling creative requirements – is not just limited to the comic book world. “Comics really prepare you for other types of illustration.” If anything, working on a book project was easier as the deadlines weren’t as tight as they normally are for comics. It is a profession that has many applications – from freelancing for comics and graphic novels, to graphic design for advertising and film – all of which are covered in the curriculum in the four year diploma Illustration & Storytelling for Sequential Arts program at MTM.
MTM teaches more than art skills
Paris credits MTM with teaching him more than art skills. “It’s where I learned self-reliance.” He continues, “Working as a freelancer now, if I don’t respond to this email or I don’t get this work done today, it doesn’t get done.” Paris remembers overhearing an instructor during his first year in one of his classes say: “The point of this is to learn to see”. Paris admits that his youthful defiant self resisted that instruction at the time, but later it clicked with him, and it’s been pivotal term that he has found has made a difference in his career ever since. He admits these principles taught at MTM saved him a lot of time and agony, which otherwise would have come from trial and error over many years. “The fundamentals that were taught there (at MTM) have carried on with me.”
Contributing to Black Comix Returns is particularly meaningful to Paris
Black Comix Return is a project which holds particular significance to Paris. He remembers seeing the first book, Black Comix (published in 2010), and thought “I want to work on this!”, even though he knew he didn’t have the body of work to contribute anything at that time. Years later, he actively sought out to be part of the next publishing, which worked out well since the author was seeking Paris out to be part of the next book too. “I knew I wanted to be part of a book like this so that I could properly feel like I was part of this community.” Being part of this book is his way of both contributing to the legacy of Black comic book artists, and to his own identity as a Black artist making his mark in this industry, which has traditionally been a white dominated field.
Teaching is a way to give back… and to constantly learn
Congratulations again, Paris!
We look forward to see what other super interesting projects you will be involved with next.
Learn more about Paris on Instagram
Learn more about our Illustration and Storytelling for Sequential Arts Program