First I must say you have my admiration and respect for having the courage to actually put thought/comment into action. I’ve tried to start a debate on the Forum about comic colouring in the past but failed to get any serious or intelligent reaction. The main obstacle to discussion about any aspect of illustration is, as the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words (at the very least). The best way, perhaps the ONLY way, to describe what you envisage is to do it.
Ian your colour job is undoubtedly far superior to the original and pretty close to how I imagined it when I drew the page. I usually have at least a rough idea of how I’d colour the page myself as part of the layout process. There are only three tiny areas where I’d disagree with your colour choices. Left of Nightcrawler’s face—which would be CB’s arm. In between Rachel’s breast and Nightcrawler’s arm—Which would be Kitty’s back/shoulder. Between the top of Kitty’s hair and Meggan’s cheek—which would be Meggan’s hair. The middle one is a perfect example of trying to position the figures so similar costume colours don’t touch/overlap.
This was a complex image that needed intelligent handling to avoid confusion. If I was drawing it today I’d most likely add a lot more shadow to better define the form and neutralise the possibility for error. Since I’ve said I usually have an idea of how the image should be coloured as I pencil it I’ve added a rough indication, over your corrected colour, to show how I’d light/model the image to focus on faces and hands (expression) and add form/recession to the figures. I tend to go with a foreground light-source unless there is a good dramatic reason to do otherwise. http://www.alandavis-comicart.com/Excalibur6.html
The sad truth is, despite how uninspired the colour was on the published version of this cover, I could list many others I consider as bad or worse (in a multitude of different ways)— but even this cover was made to look worse here... http://www.alandavis-comicart.com/images/ZMarvel3.jpg
... You can see why any comic illustrator needs to have a considerable degree of optimism (or stupidity) in order to continue hoping everything could be right next time.
On the positive side. I hope you enjoyed the process for its own end, Ian. I try to encourage anyone who will listen that everyone can learn to draw, ink, colour or paint and its tremendously rewarding. Patience and perseverance is all that’s required... and, just to prove my point, a contribution from my two and a half year old granddaughter. After spending half an hour at her desk with stickers and plasticine she moved onto drawing and entirely on her own initiative produced two small sketches she handed to me saying. ‘I drawed these for you granddad. Is Spiderman and Batman. Spiderman is jumping.’ http://www.alandavis-comicart.com/Spide ... atman.html
All the best