Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 119

Amazing Spider-Man #640, Page 14. 2010.
Ink on Marvel board with digital color, 11 x 17.25".

This series of photos was taken to help find a suitable pose for Spidey's left arm. I had a fairly clear idea of what I wanted for the complete gesture, but that particular aspect eluded me. When in doubt, I find it easiest to try everything and select the least annoying option. I also enjoy flexing in the mirror, so "everybody" wins.

Page Layout. Pencil on bristol board, 4 x 6".

Digital Composite. This was printed on copy paper
and traced via light box.

For the subtle 3-point perspective shot, I utilized Photoshop CS4's "extended" capabilities, which allow the importation of 3D models (including those from Sketchup) into stand-alone layers. Once there, they can be adjusted using standard camera and orbit tools into the desired position. The diagonals were an unintended artifact of the gridded cube, but they didn't hinder my primary goal. In fact, they offered guidance for the few planes that were at 45 degree angles.



Thank You, Toronto!

Stan "The Man" Lee and Paolo "The Happiest Boy on Earth" Rivera

Even if Fan Expo hadn't been a wonderful convention... even if Toronto hadn't been a fabulous city... even if all the people I met hadn't gone out of their way to make me feel welcomed... the whole trip would have been worth it for this one moment. Whenever I meet someone new and they find out I work for Marvel, the first question out of their mouth is, "Have you met Stan Lee?" I can finally answer in the affirmative.

Stan was full of energy, despite his jam-packed appearance schedule, and he even asked me to sign his copy of Amazing Spider-Man #638, which was reprinted as a con exclusive. He signed my copy as well and I spent the rest of the day showing everyone this photo.

I've got to thank Tim Dillon for letting me know when I should show up to be so lucky, C.B. Cebulski for introducing us, and Stephen Wacker for taking this (and several other) photos of the event. It was the highlight of the con/my life, and it was totally unexpected.

I also have to thank Tiz, Aman, Ty, Walter, Kevin, Olivia, and Matt for making my con run so smoothly (I know I'm forgetting some names here). I can't imagine organizing an event of that magnitude, but you guys handled it like true pros. I will most definitely be back!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spidey and MJ

Spidey and MJ. 2010. Gouache and watercolor, 7 x 10.5".

Just wanted to get out one more post before I leave today for Fan Expo. I'll be spending an extra day in Toronto after the con, so you may not hear from me again until next Wednesday. In the meantime, have a great weekend and I'll try to do the same. And if you're in going to the show, be sure to stop by my table in Artist Alley and say "hi!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

California Science Center — Infrared

"Oh $#¡+, you got 3 red dots on your head too..."

Did I just make pop-culture references to Biggie Smalls and Predator in the same sentence? I think so. My dad, pictured at left, would probably only get half of that reference. We took these pics while standing under the heat lamps at the California Science Center.

Also, in case there was any doubt, this photo provides irrefutable evidence that my dad's beard is cool (and that I wear a cod piece at all times).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 118

Amazing Spider-Man #639, Page 3. 2010.
Ink on Marvel board with digital color, 11 x 17.25".

"Can you hear me now?" This page features a variety of backgrounds and gestures, but the real challenge — at least in terms of time — was all those windows. As I've mentioned many (many) times before, I often use Google Earth to facilitate in composition and perspective, but it was particularly helpful in this instance. The 3D buildings had clearly defined facades that were easily transferred via light box.

The building in the foreground is Tweed Courthouse, just north of City Hall.
The guy in the FF shirt is, at least for me, the man in the mirror.

I've been meaning to do a series on perspective for some time now, but I might as well show one of the quick tricks that's been very helpful. I usually begin with 4 x 6" pencil layouts, but starting with this project, I began dissecting them digitally, then incorporating borders, reference, and perspective grids into a perfectly formatted composite (every page begins with a template based on a scanned Marvel board).

This image was printed on copy paper, then traced by hand onto Marvel board.

For the cover I'm working on currently, I've taken the process a step further by printing out the digital composite onto the final art board. I'll be sure to show an example once the cover has been solicited. It's gonna be a money shot... can't go wrong with Spidey swinging through the city.

Monday, August 23, 2010

California Science Center — Jellyfish

After tearing it up in San Diego, my Dad and I drove up the coast of California to San Francisco. It was an awesome trip, so I thought I'd share some photos over the coming weeks. First up: our trip to the California Science Center in LA — the same place that hosted Body Worlds back in 2004.

Also, if you didn't catch my tweet yesterday, I was recently interviewed by Comic Geek Speak about OMIT and the upcoming Fan Expo. They even went so far as to give in-depth reviews for Amazin' Spidey issues 638 and 639. And in case you missed my first conversation with them in 2007, you can find the full podcast here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fan Expo Canada

Silver Surfer. 2010. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12".

Fan Expo Canada is this coming weekend and I plan on being there. I'll be in Artist Alley for most of the time, but I have several other obligations throughout the weekend, which are detailed below. If you'd like to commission a head sketch, please check out my commissions policy. I've recently updated it and will not be taking on any new commissions via e-mail. The waiting list is over 40 names at this point and the next person in line has been waiting 2 years (I'm gonna get to that Hellboy this year, Shannon — I promise).


7:30 PM - ROOM 206C — Sketching Duel: Me vs. Alex Maleev vs. Khoi Pham (Should I start talking trash now?)


12 PM - BOOTH #1027 — Marvel Signing

2 PM - ROOM #104D — Spider-Man Panel


12 PM - ROOM #203D — Bold Strokes: Painting Powerful Interiors and Covers with Paolo Rivera - An industry professional since 2002, Paolo Rivera continues to build breathtaking acrylic images for the covers and interiors of top Marvel books. Watch Paolo discuss his virtuoso technique for designing and composing an eye catching colour page. Attendees will learn how to successfully incorporate both imagination and photo reference to full effect.

2:30 PM - BOOTH #1027 — Marvel Signing

Friday, August 20, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Commissions

Gray Hulk. 2010. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12".

Here's another commission from San Diego. I love drawing the Hulk, but I always forget how to draw his face. Luckily, I had my trusty iPad next to me with all the artwork from Mythos: Hulk. My art dealer said that was cheating. So be it!

Fan Expo is almost here, so I'll have a detailed schedule of my appearances next week. There are some cool things planned, including a lecture and a sketching duel. If I can get my act together, I hope to tape the lecture and present a version of it in a future post.

In other news, the world has ended. The Mayans said 2012, but they were off by 2 years — I have joined twitter: @PaoloMRivera. I don't plan to use it on a regular basis, but I wanted to secure my name before someone else did (PaoloRivera was already taken). Aside from that, I just want to use it as another promotional tool for the blog, which will remain my primary focus.

Speaking of this here blog, I've recently given it a face lift. The previous template felt a little claustrophobic, and this one had more custom options. For those of you using an RSS feed, you shouldn't notice any difference, but I hope it's more welcoming to new readers.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 117

Amazing Spider-Man #639, Page 7, Panel 1. 2010.
Ink on Marvel board with digital color, 11 x 17.25".

I've been wanting to show this one since November of last year, if for no other reason than to show my Oscar™-level acting talent. Those are real tears, folks... as real as they get.

Those are also real feet, which I ended up taking out during the inking stage. Since Mary Jane storms out of the apartment at the end of the scene, presumably with her shoes on, I figured I better just keep them on to begin with (I just can't seem to help ending sentences with prepositions all about).

You may also notice that the penciled page below lists the issue as #634. In addition to being pushed back to give me more time (thank goodness), more issues were added to the publishing schedule.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #640

Amazing Spider-Man #640, Page 20. 2010. Ink on Marvel board, 11 x 17.25".

The third issue of One Moment in Time comes out tomorrow, so be sure to buy enough copies for you and everyone you know. If these 4 issues were my children, this would be my favorite. Not to say the others aren't great... they just... you know... tried to vie for my attention in ways that I didn't find becoming of my own offspring.

Anywho, you can see a short preview for yourself here.

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Commissions

Thor. 2010. Watercolor on paper, ~5 x 7".

Here's another commission from San Diego, this time featuring the star of Marvel's next epic movie. I happened to be hanging around the Marvel booth when they revealed the Destroyer, previously hidden behind Odin's throne. This was in addition to the steady stream of props on display, including Captain America's Shield, a variety of helmets from Thor, and the Infinity Guantlet, which seemed to get the most people talking. By the way, if you haven't seen the leaked footage yet, it's definitely worth a quick search.

After my signing at the booth, I couldn't help but geek out and get a shot of myself on Odin's throne. Nothing makes you feel small like sitting in a giant chair. Of course, I was wearing my Punisher t-shirt, which I'm sure started rumors of a crossover.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Mad Man

To the mad (and obviously face-blind) man I met in a Marriott elevator in San Diego: thank you — you made my day.

As I was leaving the hotel, a man with a large television camera entered the elevator. While we descended in silence, I could tell he was staring at me. He finally broke the silence and asked, "Are you Jon Hamm?"

Now I can't remember if I replied "Who?!" or "What?!", but either way, he replied as if it were a question, rather than utter disbelief. I knew full well who Jon Hamm was, as Mad Men is the only TV drama I watch (although I am woefully behind, having just finished season 2). I spoke to him for a little longer before basking in the glow of women's stares for the rest of the con. Perhaps now I won't feel so bad when my girlfriend has dreams about Don Draper. She can't help but talk in her sleep...

And while we're on the subject of Mad Men, let's talk about perspective (second best transition ever). As I was saying before, this is my favorite show. Their attention to detail and subtext in every shot is a joy to behold... which is why I was surprised to see this ad for season 4 in the subway station. It makes the common mistake of most Photoshop collages in that the horizon lines of the two photos do not match. The interior shot's eye level (the red line) is just below the window frame, whereas the exterior's (blue line) is just above. Furthermore, the building in which Don is standing is built at a pretty strange angle to the rest of the buildings. While there are some buildings that spurn the grid in Manhattan, there are not many, especially in relationship to surrounding structures. But that's not as serious an offense as the dual horizons, which could only exist if the building were leani... wait a minute... perhaps this is just subtext with a dash of foreshadowing.

Speaking of shadows (best transition ever), the light source for the interior should be a glowing orb, floating miraculously between the two buildings. Again, not a serious problem, just something that you pay attention to when constructing one image, but is easily missed when combining two.

Now, to be clear, I am insanely nit-picky and this ad is just fine (and beautiful), but it points to a common mistake in this post-production world we live in. That being said, Sal from the art department would never have let this slip.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surfin' in San Diego

I never knew that Silver Surfer needed an iPhone. I wonder if he gets good reception in space. Maybe he's using his board as an antenna? Maybe his whole body? And whose butt is that in the foreground? Anyway, thanks for posing, Norrin!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wacky Reference Wednesdays, No. 116

Amazing Spider-Man #638, Page 24. 2010. Ink with digital color on Marvel board, 11 x 17.25".

In this scene following Peter's low-key bachelor party, Flash Thompson and Harry Osborn discuss their friend's seemingly cold feet. Because I am often Battle-Ravaged™ Spider-Man for Halloween, I happen to own an arm sling, the tensions and gesture of which would be difficult to invent.

In a completely unrelated note, if you ever try internet dating, wearing an arm sling in at least one picture will increase your profile views. Curiosity and sympathy clicks still count. Just sayin'.

Quick Turnaround

Amazing Spider-Man #641, Page 19. 2010. Ink with digital color on Marvel board, 11 x 17.25".
I just handed this in yesterday... already made a teaser out of it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

OMIT Is Done!

Steve Ditko. Amazing Spider-Man #33, Page 5 Splash. 1966.

I did it! I'm free! After months of monastic dedication, I have finished... 4 books. Whenever I think of the amount of effort required (by me) to produce a single comic book (let alone 4), I am filled with admiration for the creators, past and present, who do it on a monthly basis.

The image above comes from Amazing Spider-Man #33, 1 of 2 Spider-Man comics that happened to be in my household while growing up (thanks, Dad). Of course, it happened to be one of the greatest Spidey stories ever told, but how was I supposed to know? I couldn't drive, and I spent what allowance I had on toys.

Looking back on the issue now, it's hard not to draw parallels between Spidey's dedication and my own work ethic. My adolescent mind was in awe of Spidey's resolve: he "rested" while being pummeled by Doc Ock's henchmen in order to gather strength for the final fight. What? Mind: blown.

People ask me how I can sit in my room for months on end (the "Bat Cave" and "Fortress of Solitude" comments are incessant). The answer is very simple: I love my job. It's extremely challenging, but that's the point. It makes finishing a project feel just like lifting tons of steel machinery off your back to reach the serum that will save your dying Aunt May. Love can give you power you didn't know you had.

Sorry, folks, I get mushy and delirious (and nearly euphoric) when I finish these things. But what I do need to say is thank you to my "pit crew." As the driver, I get all the glory, but I would never have crossed the finish line without my friends.

First and foremost, Orpheus Collar, who alone logged over 140 hours of flatting and coloring to ensure that we hit the deadlines. I was reluctant to accept him as an intern back in the summer of 2007, but I'm glad I took Jose Villarubia's advice.

As things got down to the wire, I called in my emergency crew, Allison Maletz, David Pettibone, and R. Kikuo Johnson, who ruled panel borders, filled in blacks, erased pencils, scanned, cropped, uploaded, and even inked webbing and windows. All dear friends from RISD, they were a joy to work with (and next to) in my Brooklyn home. And although he didn't log any official hours, Stephen Oh, my longtime roommate, has been a source of constant support, levity, and home-cooked meals throughout this and many other projects. Did I mention Kikuo and his girlfriend, Danielle, are gourmet cooks as well?

A huge thanks goes out to my editors and collaborators, Steve Wacker, Tom Brennan, Joe Caramagna, and Joe Quesada. These guys make me feel like Michelangelo every time I turn in work (even layouts) and their enthusiasm continues to spur me on. I couldn't ask for better teammates (but I always ask for more time).

I gotta thank my 'rents, who have made many a Halloween costume to support the characters that live in my mind. It was a pleasure seeing them over the last couple weeks... some of you may have even met my Dad out in California. Both artists in their own right, it's easy to see where my sense of craftsmanship comes from.

And finally, thank you to April for bearing with me for the duration of this (unusually long) Moment in Time. I may work for Marvel, but dating me is like dating Batman... only without the house, or the money, or the car, plane, boat, or butler. Basically, all you get are missed dates. Actually, that sounds like another superhero I know of...

Amazing Spider-Man #639, Page 9, Panel 3. 2010.
Ink with digital color on Marvel board, 11 x 17.25".

Sunday, August 8, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Commissions

Spider-Man. 2010. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12".

Almost-done-with-OMIT-sense tingling...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Commissions

The Thing as Blackbeard. 2010. Watercolor on paper, 9 x 12".

This has got to be one of my favorite requests (thanks, Thomas!). For those of you who don't know, in an early issue of Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm went back in time and inadvertently created the legend of Blackbeard the Pirate. How cool is that?

OMIT is close to being done. Everything must be turned in by Monday! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I'm Back!

Amazing Spider-Man #639, Page 3, Panel 5. 2010.
Ink with digital color on Marvel board, 11 x 17.25".

What an awesome trip! I'm back in one piece and I have amazing stories to tell, but I've got work to do. The last issue of OMIT is due on Monday, so please bear with me as I get back on track. I should be blogging regularly by next Wednesday. In the meantime, please check out the following video. For readers of this blog, the 2:10 mark may be of interest.

Happy birthday, Mr. President. Perhaps someday I'll share my Spidey/Obama cover sketch that never saw the light of day.