That’s a doozy of a couple of a questions and such kind words, thank you for both! The answer is “yes” to both, unfortunately!
I would ramble all day about comics (and their color choices) if you let me, so instead I’ll try to keep it to a low psychotic babbling interspersed with equally intense imagery. Here’s a gif to get things started:
We usually character build quite a bit, which definitely impacts the colors certain characters will be wearing at any given time. However, I don’t want to get too much into that — character colors can always be skewed a little to match pages and explanatory character palettes might be revealing too much.
One of the things we both like is human psychology. So, we try to use it to our advantage. Humans are programmed to find certain colors more appealing than others. For instance*, blue denotes “popularity, openness” when worn.
*And these colors aren’t Universal. Everyone can have different reactions to them, I’m not saying they can’t. Just in the psychiatry field and the majority of case studies, these colors tend to be viewed as X, Y or Z in semblance and human reactions. It’s okay to have a different opinion.
For the above image, three different scenes are conveying three different color schemes, which we chose for specific reasons. The 1st, C.E.’s office — “masculine” desaturated browns, serious green-greys and yellow-greens and unassuming tans and light golds. The 2nd, Riley & Abby’s mansion — seemingly frivolous touches of saturated purples, opulent whites and off-whites, and a cold feeling overall. The 3rd, Fragile’s flat — warm yellows and pinks, inviting oranges (even in the gumbo!) and grounded earth tones.
We also sometimes use colors to draw attention to a specific person, place or object on the page — essentially giving them a “pop” of color whereas the rest of the panel is more desaturated or darker.
Above, Ms. Scarlet’s funeral wreath with her picture in it — perhaps too bright for such a dreary occasion/weather, but it helps readers to know who we’re mourning. The same with Arthur and Mary outside of Fragile’s warehouse — we know they’re going for the doors because they’re highlighted, whereas the rest of the page is dark. The remaining panels are brighter than the above characters to draw attention to the way they’re meant to be read, so it’s a double-use.
Speaking of page transitions, sometimes we want to squeeze in drastic changes into one page. Color can be an excellent way to do that.
The above image is just one page of FindChaos (with a color bar added for effect) that highlights the different moods we tried to play with on the page. From wandering the streets freezing to thinking back to the past to entering into a “villain’s” home — it’s easy to see why Arthur’s having a bad day.
Finally, we never underestimate good, old-fashioned inspiration! Mostly from movies, which are a lot like comics (probably why the two cross over so often).
Teal and orange is always an action go-to for any movie, like the epic fight scene in Oldboy, while a noir moment (yes, noir movies come in colors, too, guys!) such as Le Samouraï is doused in blues with pops of creams, blacks and reds. Sci-Fi can be all over the place, but 2001: A Space Odyssey is a major inspiration for G’s labs — and even Rose.
Otherwise, we tend to color the “sets” first and then match the characters skin/hair/clothing to them dependent on the colors/lighting. If you play with some different colors of construction paper, your own skin and a bright lightbulb, it becomes apparent how much color can effect your appearance! We also add some colors in just to hint at important plot details, but that’s for another day…