Illustration West 55 Judge Interview #3: Paolo Rivera
Steve Hughes: You got started in comics working in traditional media, can you describe your current process?
Paolo Rivera: I have 2 basic styles, painted and cartoon. Both start the same way with digital sketches in Photoshop to establish composition, gesture, and perspective. I then print out those sketches to finish traditionally. For painted work, I print on bristol or transfer to illustration board and paint with gouache. For cartoon work, I usually pencil, send to my dad, Joe Rivera, for inks, and finish with digital color.
Steve Hughes: Can you describe your creative relationship with your father?
Paolo Rivera: When I was offered Daredevil in 2011, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the deadlines. My dad stepped in to help and we’ve been working together ever since. His primary job is airbrushing custom motorcycles, but he’s done it all. He lives in Florida, where I grew up, so I just send him digital files to print out and ink over. The guy taught me how to use a brush (among many other things) and it’s a privilege to get to work with him on a regular basis.
Steve Hughes: Do you have a favorite book that you’ve worked on, or one that you’d still love to produce?
Paolo Rivera: It’s always a tough call, but Daredevil was kinda hard to beat. The character, the creative team, and the chance to relaunch the title all combined to be one of the greatest opportunities I’ve ever had. It really did change my career.
Steve Hughes: When you’re doing a portfolio review or looking at a young artist’s book, what is the most common mistake, or area that needs improvement?
Paolo Rivera: Most of the time, it’s just good old-fashioned drawing. In comics, editors usually tell you to work on your storytelling, but that advice really only applies to people who already know how to draw. If you don’t know the basics of anatomy and perspective, you’ll never even get the chance to explore the more sophisticated aspects of the profession.
All artwork Copyright 2016 Paolo Rivera. No reproductions allowed except by consent of artist.
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