Thursday, December 31, 2009

So Long, "Noughties"

Amazing Spider-Man: Extra! #2 (page 8, panel 4)
2009
ink on Marvel board (original art)
11 x 17.25"

As we celebrate the end of the decade, I'd like to thank everyone for reading this blog (and supporting my work in general). Despite the pervasive, media-promoted consensus that this decade "sucked," it was, in fact, excessively kind to me. I started the decade with a high school diploma and a ticket to art school... and ended it with my dream job, in every sense of the term. Next year promises to bring even greater opportunities as Marvel has given me a fantastic project, due in late July, coupled with the pledge of intense promotion. They've treated me very well for nearly eight years and, even with their new "mousy" identity, seem to be more accommodating than ever.

So with the utmost gratitude for your continued support, I wish everyone the best in 2010 and beyond. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 87

Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1 (page 19)
2009
ink on Marvel board/Photoshop
11 x 17"

I'm back in Brooklyn! I had a great time visiting my 'rents in Florida, but it's time to get back to work. 2010's not even here yet, but I feel like I'm already behind. Wacky reference should help get me back in the groove, though. Pictured above is a scene from Young Allies in which Cap tells his fellow veterans what he had to go through to get that fancy arm — not a happy story. Below, you'll see me posing for most of the characters, followed by the preliminary stages of the page.




pencils

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Big Apple Con 2009 Commissions

Poison Ivy
2009
watercolor on paper
9 x 12"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Big Apple Con 2009 Commissions

Green Lantern
2009
watercolor on paper
9 x 12"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #616

Amazing Spider-Man #616 Cover
2009
ink and watercolor on bristol board
11 x 17"

This is out tomorrow, just in time for Christmas! Here's a little preview.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Big Apple Con 2009 Commissions

Golden Age Wonder Woman
2009
watercolor on paper
9 x 12"

Just Plain Smrt


A couple friends of mine from school just came out with a brilliant little product for the iPhone, so I thought I'd give it a plug. I don't have an iPhone myself, but I'm a fan of the design, nonetheless. You can find out more about SmrtCase at their web site.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Questions: Approaching Color


The Iliad #5 Cover (process photo)
2008
acrylic and gouache on bristol board
11 x 17"
original art


Here's another round of student questions, this time from Narciso Espiritu Jr. on the subject of color. I'm heading home for Florida next week, so I'll still be posting, but the blog will be on auto-pilot. I hope everybody has a great weekend and some happy holidays!

Narciso: What's your color palette like? What colors are ones you turn to most often? (That's a silly one).

Paolo: I tend to use the full spectrum of colors... pretty much anything that works for me, so the combinations are always changing. Very broadly speaking, however, I can do just about any color scheme with white, black, warm and cool red, reddish and greenish blue, yellow ochre, sepia and burnt sienna. I keep them arranged in a rainbow with white and black at opposing corners. Of course, this is always changing, depending on the task at hand.

Narciso: Um, I specifically have a problem knowing when a color is just right if I'm studying something or creating something new. How would you respond to this kind of situation? I understand you use a lot of reference, (there's evidence of that every Wednesday, thankfully), do you think its possible to paint something without reference?

Paolo: It's all about trial and error. Most of the great artists in history did many preparatory studies, so any painting you see was probably painted somewhere else first, then transferred. This is especially true for subjects that can't be painted directly from life (or at least all at once — multi-figure tableaus, for instance). Almost every painting I do starts with a color study. I can paint without reference at this point, but that's only because I have painted so much from reference already. Also, most of the reference that I post on the blog is mainly for anatomy and value; color, on the other hand, is tackled primarily in Photoshop with a digital color study.

Narciso: I read through your blog on Color Theory (I wish I attended your lecture at the BPL). I'm assuming you took a Color Theory class at RISD. Were there any profound things learned about color that have stuck to your mind and how you create art?

Paolo: I never took a Color Theory class, per se, but I tended to pick up bits of information here and there. I'd say my two painting classes were pretty helpful, but spending a year in Rome and looking at great paintings close up did just as much good for me. The main thing is practice.

Narciso: (Running out of ideas to stretch the question) This may be arbitrary to the class, but how do you paint? How do you approach a painting (charging with a battlecry, maybe)?

Paolo: Since I am always on a deadline, I have a fairly measured method for beginning a painting. Basically, I don't have time to mess up, so each stage refines the one before it. I begin with a color study, render a detailed pencil drawing, paint over that monochromatically (usually with sepia), then paint according to the dictates of the particular painting.

Narciso: Since you work in comics, there a lot of made-up elements, at least in painting covers or interiors. How do you figure out color when you have no direct reference? Is it easier making up the color or copying the color? (I think it's harder copying).

Paolo: I find it easier to copy color (in other words, paint from life) because most of the work is already done for me. Once you've practiced this enough times, however, you get a better sense of how light works and can start to predict how it will behave in similar situations. The real secret for painting imaginary elements is to find reference of analogous subjects, i.e. swan or heron wings for angel wings.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cover Switch


Amazing Spider-Man #615 Cover
2009
ink on bristol board/Photoshop
11 x 17"

I stopped by the comic shop today and was happy to see that I had something on the stands (it's been a while). Although this cover was originally intended to be the second of the two-part series, it makes sense as the first (you can see the step-by-step here , original art here, and the other cover here). Also, I'd like to note that this counts as somewhat of a jam-piece with Joe Quinones, whose art is used as the variant cover, as well as The Gauntlet insignia. It's a great story (Fred Van Lente) with great art (Javier Pulido) so I highly recommend it!



Iron Man
Iron Man (personal commission)
2009
acrylic and gouache on paper
6 x 10"


In other news, the Iron Man 2 trailer has hit and, I must say, I'm pretty dern'd excited. You can check it out at Comic Book Resources.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 85


Mythos: Spider-Man (page 17, panel 4)
2007
acrylic and gouache on bristol board
10.5 x 6.8"


After a flurry (read: one) of requests for more shirtless pics, I had to oblige. Here I am posing during "crazy time," a nearly inevitable period toward the end of most projects in which my deadline is so tight, I have no time to shave.




preliminary layout
pencil on paper
4 x 6"



digital color study
Photoshop



under-drawing
pencil on bristol board
11 x 17"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Guest Artists


I was the weekend guest artist on my mom's blog, Color Informal (something tells me I had an unfair advantage). Most of the featured artwork has been posted here on my own blog, but there's some new photography as well. The image above is part of a series of photos from my trip to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

I was there to visit my good friends (and fellow RISD alumni), Mike Sherman and David Pettibone during their open studio event this fall. I had always wanted to get a peek inside the vast complex, so I jumped at the opportunity, taking tons of photos along the way. Perhaps I'll post some more later in the week. In the meantime, Mike and David are going to be my guest artists.


David Pettibone. Coup D'Etat (detail)
2009
oil on linen



Michael Sherman. Mill
48 x 60"
oil on canvas

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Questions: Sculpting Heads and Hands


Red Sonja (process photo)
2004
Super Sculpey
10" tall

The following question is from Cathy Stephens, a student who recently asked me for some sculpting tips. The image above is a work-in-progress pic from my 2004 Red Sonja sculpture. I've been gathering all the photos I took during the process, but it will be some time before I post all of them. In the meantime, this will have to do.

Cathy: Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to ask you some questions about sculpting. I'm sculpting a 10" female figure out of super sculpey, and I just have a couple questions specifically about sculpting the hands and head. When sculpting the hands, do you have wiring going into each finger, or do you use just clay? As for the head, I've seen sculpture artists sculpt the head directly on the
body as well as sculpting it separately and attaching it after. Do you know if one way is easier then the other or is it just purely preference? I would greatly appreciate any other tips you might have for sculpting hands and head as well.

Paolo: 10" is pretty small, which has major consequences for things like hands. I've only sculpted one full figure at that size and I made sure that her hands were clenched into fists. At that scale, fingers are essentially the same diameter of my thinnest armature wire, so there isn't much "sculpting" that could go on around it. There are, of course, tricks to get around this, such as resting the hand on another part of the body — both hands of Michaelanglo's David come to mind. Try and think of the form abstractly, as if you were building an architectural structure. How much risk are willing to take on the most delicate forms? Can they support themselves, let alone an exterior force?

I don't know exactly what you're going for, but I'm imagining the most extreme case: a hand extended away from the body with fingers spread. If you're challenging yourself this much, you obviously like pain, so I would try a study of just the hand. Nothing is keeping you from testing the limits of your abilities (and the forces of nature) on a smaller scale. You might just save yourself time in the long run.

When it comes to the head, I think you'd be better off keeping it attached. Sculpture is hard enough as it is, so complicating the technical process further would only detract from your ability to evaluate gesture and anatomy, which is really about the form as a whole. That approach (I'm guessing here) is most likely taken by professionals in the field who have mastered the fundamentals (hopefully) and must bow to other concerns, such as mold-making, casting, shipping — the multitude of reproduction challenges. Keep your head on!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Planet of the Apes


Gorilla Soldier (Big Apple Con Commission)
2009
watercolor on paper
9 x 12"

I don't get to draw apes very often, so this was a nice change of pace from the usual comic convention requests. Only three more head sketches to go, which I may drag out until the end of the month. I have tons of new artwork, but I don't think I'll be able to show any of it until the middle of next year!

Tomorrow, I'll answer some student questions about sculpting heads and hands.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 84


Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1 (page 4, panel 1)
2009
ink on Marvel board/Photoshop
11 x 9"

Since I posted the pencils from this panel on Monday, I thought it might be nice to show my photo reference as well. As far as I can remember, this was the only pic I took for the entire composition. The rest of the figures were probably drawn from my imagination, my mirror, and/or Captain Catastrophe. Of course, I always have my trusty Colt 1911 on hand for the occasional firearm.

As you can see in the picture, I was posing in front of the mirror to get exactly what I wanted. With the camera right next to me, what I see is pretty much what I get.




inks


pencils

Monday, December 7, 2009

Facial Recognition

Amazing Spider-Man #577 cover (detail)
2008
ink on bristol board
11 x 17"

Well, despite my best efforts to avoid Facebook and, therefore, having friends, an entrepreneurial spirit has decided to take matters into his own hands and create a Fans of Paolo Rivera Facebook page. It looks as though I have to stop wearing my favorite t-shirt.

Thanks for the support! Would it be weird if I joined?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Parallel Bars


Otherwise known as a parallel ruler, this contraption is a quick and accurate way of drafting a series of parallel lines, a very helpful addition to any architectural drawing. I had previously purchased a parallel glider, but found that the accuracy was not sufficient for me, especially over long distances (I actually still use the glider, but only for interpolation between the lines set out by its more accurate counterpart).

When setting up a composition in 2-point perspective, one of the dimensions, most often the vertical, can be represented by a series of parallel lines. I've found that my freehand drawing improves in accuracy when I am drawing over and around a predetermined guide. In other words, I can draw a straight line without a ruler, which is not only faster, but livens up the line without losing too much precision.

In the panel below, you can see where I've indicated verticals across the entire composition (This isn't the best example I have, but it's the only one I'm allowed to show for now). I've gotten in the habit of using an H pencil to rule my guidelines, which is light, but withstands constant erasures. You may also notice small numbers in the margins of the page; these help to organize the converging lines in an otherwise complicated tableau. This topic warrants its own post, but in the meantime, James Gurney tackles it on his blog.



Young Allies 70th Anniversary Special #1 (page 4, panel 1)
2009
pencil on Marvel board
11 x 9"

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Rocketeer


The Rocketeer (Big Apple Con Commission)
2009
watercolor on paper
9 x 12"

We're still going through the head shots from the last Big Apple Con. Here we have The Rocketeer, the most famous creation of the late, great Dave Stevens. Looks like ol' Rocky here just spotted some Nazis. In barely related news, Jennifer Connelly still looks good.

I should finish the Daredevil 506 cover today, but I'm not sure when I can show it — hopefully soon. On Monday, I'll have show and tell with a new toy/tool that I bought. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Empty Bowls


If you happen to live in my hometown, Daytona Beach, FL, then I hope you can make it to this Friday's Empty Bowls Event, a silent auction held at my alma mater, Mainland High School. The project, started in 1990, raises awareness for world hunger by serving a simple meal of soup and bread in handmade bowls. The auction component raises money for organizations that fight hunger — in this case, Halifax Urban Ministries.

I have donated several signed works, including prints, a Young Allies issue, and an original page from Amazing Spider-Man #577, pictured above.

The event will be held this Friday, December 4th, from 6-8PM. Further information can be found here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 83


Mythos: Captain America (page 11, panel 8)
2008
acrylic and gouache on bristol board
3.5 x 4.4"

In this panel, Steve Rogers looks up from his bunk to see his fellow soldiers engaged in the type of revelry in which he can't partake (he must keep a low profile so as not to compromise his secret identity... you know, superhero stuff). As usual, I play all the cast members. The page itself was pretty complex, so I've included the planning stages below.






preliminary layout
pencil on paper
4 x 6"




digital color study
Photoshop




under-drawing
pencil and charcoal
(a media experiment that lasted but 1 page)
11 x 17"

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