Sketchbook: Paolo Rivera

I’ve never been a big fan of super-hero based comics. But sometimes I am strolling through a comic store and a painted cover of a comic strikes me. I am so impressed by some of the artists in the industry. It requires a very extensive knowledge of the human body and it’s muscle structure to draw in that way- plus composing those scenes from action-filled angles while keeping everything in perspective… Also some of these artists can really paint! I mean realistically render beautifully, creating dramatic scenes using interesting lighting to tell the story. Paolo Rivera is one of those artists.

Here’s a little about Paolo: Paolo Rivera was born in 1981 to creative parents who encouraged his every artistic inclination (even when it involved Ninja Turtles). A native of Daytona Beach, FL, he left the sunshine state in 1999 to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, eventually spending his junior year in Rome. In his senior year, he studied with David Mazzucchelli, who quickly became a major influence. Paolo broke into comics thanks to writer Jim Krueger, who introduced him to Marvel Comics, where he has been working since 2002. Paolo works underneath his bed in a loft in Brooklyn and currently divides his time between The Amazing Spider-Man and various covers. His best known project is Mythos, a series of 6 origin stories featuring Marvel’s major characters.

There’s a great interview I watched where Paolo talks about his work which you can watch here. And on his blog he shows the process of creating his work. He takes many many photos for reference and I love that he shares those along with the finished product every Wednesday on his blog. Some of the self portrait images he takes are hilarious because he is trying to grimace like a bad guy or pose like a super-hero.

Here’s what Paolo had to say about keeping a sketchbook: I love my job, so it is often difficult for me to separate business from pleasure. I draw every day, but most of it is for the superhero business, drawn on scripts and pre-printed Marvel art boards. As a result, it takes me a long time to fill a sketchbook. When I do find the time for personal work, however, it’s usually while traveling or visiting museums.

The majority of my sketches are to record something, be it a sculpture or a passerby. This has slowly given way to my point-and-shoot camera, which has become somewhat of a crutch.

Thanks so much to Paolo for sharing his work! Keep up with him on his blog here.


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