Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Daredevil #7 — On Shelves!

Daredevil #7 Cover. 2011. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera)
on Marvel board (with digital color), 11 × 17.25″.

Daredevil #7 is out today... and I'm off to Florida for a week at home with my girlfriend, my mom, and my inker. Happy holidays to all! I'll be back to blogging in the new year.

P.S. I've also got a variant cover out this week for Avengers #20.

Fantastic Four 50th Anniversary: Cosmic. 2010.
Gouache and acrylic on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Daredevil #10 Time Lapse

Did I say I was taking a blogging break? Sorry, but I just had to share this video, courtesy of Mike Furth's The Comic Archive.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Megacon 2011 Commissions — Cap and Bucky

Captain America and Bucky. 2011. Watercolor on paper, 12 × 9″.

All right. I am officially taking a blog break for the rest of the year... for the most part. I'll be back on the 21st to remind everyone about Daredevil #7. I'm currently in my "method acting" phase, shying away from sunlight in order to identify with the Mole Man. In the meantime, I'll leave you with a commission from Megacon (that I finished at home). Enjoy the last vestiges of 2011!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Megacon 2011 Cosplay — Mortal Kombat

I may be taking a blog break here fairly soon. Deadlines are starting to get the best of me. In the meantime, here's a lovely couple from Megacon, and here's an interview with me at NYCC, courtesy of the Secret Identity Podcast.

Moooooooortaal Kooooombat! (breaks into dance music).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 159

Amazing Spider-Man # 640, Page 19. 2010. 
Ink on Marvel board (with digital color), 11 × 17.25″.

Sometimes reference can actually impede the process, as in this page from One Moment in Time. I liked the bottom panel Spidey in my layout much better than what I ended up penciling and inking. In the end, it works just fine, I just prefer the former. I also took a photo for Spidey's left hand in the top panel. I always have trouble with that angle, mainly because that's the side I can't see.

In addition to my own photo reference, I used my trusty Google Street View to find a suitable setting in Forest Hills. Don't be shocked if you find yourself driving through Queens and see that exact neighborhood.

1: Layout, 4 × 6″ 2: Digital Composite with 3D meshes

3: Pencils.  4: Inks.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Daredevil #10 Cover

Daredevil #10 Cover. 2011. Ink on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 158

Spectacular Spider-Man #14, Page 2, Panel 4. 2004. Oil on masonite, 16 × 24″.

Here's an old panel from one of my very first projects. I had just moved to Brooklyn, and I went around the neighborhood looking for cops (thanks, officers!). If you're ever in trouble in Williamsburg, chances are you can find a cop at Sal's Pizzeria. The background is from the Lorimer stop on the L. I detailed another panel from this page back in WRW No. 26.

This was the first project for which I used detailed, digital color studies. Much of my work prior to this was pretty ham-handed. Part of being a professional comic book artist is finding the right balance between predictability and innovation. Your editor (and your audience) are depending on you to repeat yourself (in terms of a cohesive style), but without becoming trite. Planning my color schemes in Photoshop created a fertile testing ground for new ideas, leaving the painting process a little more measured and methodical.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Captain America Poster Available (Sorta)

Captain America: The First Avenger. 2011.
Gouache and acrylic on illustration board, 16 × 24″.

If you weren't a member of the cast and crew who received this limited edition poster, you still have a chance, albeit in a different form. It's reprinted in The Art of Captain America, along with the cover I did "on spec" to get the gig. The book is available via my Amazon store... just in time for holiday shopping.

And while I'm on the subject, I'd like to recommend the Smudge Guard, a partial glove that makes working on a Wacom tablet (or Cintiq) a dream. I even got one for my Paw. I like the single-finger model, since my track pad needs 3 free.

And if you're looking for art-related gifts in general, I've got a fairly comprehensive list of everything I use in Art Supplies. I've covered many of my favorites under the blog's Tools of the Trade and Reviews labels.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Blackest Friday

Army of Darkness. 2004. Ink on board (digital color by Jim C.), 11 × 17″.

Be careful shopping out there, folks. You can see the process for the above cover at this post from 2008. As for me, I'm finishing up the cover to Daredevil #10, one of the more time-consuming covers I've done. Then it's off to pencil #9. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 157

Daredevil #1, Page 1 (detail). 2011. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

Last March, as we were just getting Daredevil under way, I spent a month at my parents' home in Florida. Below is a pic of me trying to get the right pose from behind. I often have trouble with backs (backs pain?), especially when the arm begins to overlap the latissimus dorsi. I also took reference for the right hand, but it was more critical for a close-up on a subsequent page.

Rivera Secrets: My father uses Brut. The gene was not passed on. I'm pretty
sure my mom is vacuuming in the background. I was also spared that gene.

Below, you can see the various initial stages, from design, to perspective grid, to rendering. At this point, I was still tracing my digital composites via light box, a step I now skip thanks to my printer. You can also see my original intention to draw the stained glass window. Deadlines divested me of that notion.

The Cloisters set the scene for our hero's first adventure, and I used Google Earth to find a suitable vantage point. The action takes place inside the main courtyard, but I used the southwest corner for the first shot of Daredevil. Additional details were found by scouring people's pics of the Cloisters on-line. I still haven't been there myself.

Last but not least, my dad inked over the original pencils. Since I was home, it was easy enough to hand it over, assembly line style. I ended up creating the borders digitally and doing minor edits. I quickly learned that my pencils needed to be tighter, since he couldn't always tell what I was thinking. For instance, in the bottom, right-hand corner, I had intended the tree to be in the foreground, not touching the wall. Like I said, minor edits.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Daredevil #9 Cover

Daredevil #9 Cover. 2011. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera)
on Marvel board with digital color, 11 × 17.25″.

My girlfriend has taken off to a faraway land this week, leaving me to my own devices. It always fascinates me how, without an anchor to civilization, I quickly devolve into a man-cave mode. It verges on being anthropologically noteworthy.

In other news, I'm working on the cover to Daredevil #10. To facilitate that process, as well as to prepare for drawing the next 2 issues, I've sculpted a couple digital maquettes in Sculptris. Each one took about an hour, using my Matt Murdock maquette as a starting point. While that may save some time, I end up having to "un-sculpt" a lot, so the basic sphere may still be the best bet.

A moloid and his master, the Mole Man.

I'm also excited today because I'm supposed to receive my Cintiq 12WX. I had ordered the larger version earlier this year, but supplies were short. I opted to get the smaller because I think it will be a better fit for my workstation. I can't wait to try some digital sketching.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ho Ho Ho

Daredevil Character Study. 2011.
Ink and blue pencil on Marvel board, 17.25 × 11″.

Marvel has an early Christmas present for Daredevil readers in the form a 3-page preview (plus cover) of issue #7, due out in December. Pictured above is my "battle-ravaged" study for our eponymous crusader. This type of sketch is indispensable for keeping clothes torn in just the right place—it's tough enough trying to remember on which side Matt Murdock parts his hair. Can you remember without looking?

Daredevil #7, Page 9, Panel 7. 2011.
Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

The featured pages are inked by Joe Rivera (my Paw) and colored by Javier Rodriguez (not my Paw). The entire issue takes place during a blizzard, so I opted to add wind and snow digitally. To facilitate that process, I darkened the pages slightly, and exported the layer as a separate file.

We wrapped up the issue this week, so I'm off to do more covers, Daredevil #10 and The Twelve #12. They're both pretty time-intensive, so I'll be working on them for all of next week, if not more. After that, it's on to DD #9, the cover for which I'll post on Monday. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 156

Daredevil #1, Page 18. 2011. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

Most of the reference for this page comes from my digital archive of New York City rooftops, amassed over years of internet scouring. None of the images are mine, but were all found via Google Images and Flickr. You won't find a similar composition in the lot, but you will find buildings and architectural elements peppered throughout. The only reference photo I took myself is shown below, a hand poised to catch a returning billy club.

Here's a quick breakdown of the process from a Marvel Spotlight feature:

1. Layout: This is a 4 × 6″ comprehensive sketch that I show to my editors and collaborators for approval. Captions are included to ensure the page reads fluidly.
2. Digital Composite: Here I copy and paste the layout into my digital template and rearrange elements as needed. I then superimpose perspective guidelines to help with backgrounds and architecture. Borders are drawn in digitally to streamline the process.
3. Pencils: All the elements are fully rendered, Xs indicating solid black to the inker.

4. Blue-Line Print: My Dad prints this out and inks directly over it. Borders and any finalized elements are printed in black.
5. Finished Inks: He scans it and sends it back to me
6. Final Product: I make any final edits, including post-production transformations like the negative image in the last panel. This is turned in to my editor who passes it on to the colorist [Javier Rodriguez].

Monday, November 14, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011


Artist Paolo Rivera Gives a Tour of His Studio (PART 1) from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

I've got a new interview at David Wasting Paper, #248 in a long-running series of great quick-fire interviews with artists of all genres. Sorry, no "gotcha questions."  I was, however, reminded that I may not have posted this video interview by Michael Furth of The Comic Archive, who put together the Daredevil #1 time-lapse video. If all goes well, he'll be recording my progress on the last cover for The Twelve.

As for the Man w/o Fear, my Dad and I will be finishing up issue #7 this weekend. And the cover to #10 next week. And starting #9 after that. Have a great weekend!

Artist Paolo Rivera Gives a Tour of His Studio (PART 2) from The Comic Archive on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 155

The Twelve #10, Cover. 2011. Gouache and acrylic on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

The Twelve is finally nearing completion! That means a return to painting the pulpiest covers of my career. This particular piece replaces the original #10 cover, which was repurposed for The Twelve: Spearhead. It features Electro, the Allied engine of destruction, propelled by the thoughts of Professor Zog—from the comfort of his own lab.


When taking reference piecemeal, it often helps to alter the background according to the amount of light behind the object in your composition. In the case of the hands above, those in front of fire (or the blue light of a screen) require a white background, while the hand in front of Electro's chest requires black. Aside from the camera automatically metering the available light, the resulant photo will be more legible to your own eyes.

Hand detail. I paint more opaquely than I used to, at least for the salient strokes.

Marvel are reprinting the earlier issues as a trade (1-6) and a double feature (7 and 8), in case anyone else wants to get up to speed. The individual issues also available via their subscription service. You can see my other covers for the series below:

#5#6#7#8#9#10 (Original), #11

The Twelve: Marvel Must Have #1, a composite of my covers for #7 and 8.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NYCC 2010 Commissions — MJ

MJ. 2010. Watercolor on paper, 9 × 12″.

I'm officially on "crazy-time" as I finish up the last 6 pages of Daredevil #7. In the meantime, here's a commission from last year's New York Comic Con.

In somewhat related news, I'm headed back to the Javitz Center, though for a completely different kind of convention. I'll be giving portfolio reviews for RISD, my alma mater, at National Portfolio Day this coming Sunday, November 13th. The focus will be on college-bound students who are seriously considering a fine arts education and have questions about the experience. This is the very same event that put me on (what I consider to be) the right track when I was just a senior in high school. If art school is on your horizon, be there.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 154

Mythos: Captain America, Page 2, Panel 6. 2008.
Acrylic and gouache on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

I based the childhood home of Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) on the Lower East Side's Tenement Museum, a series of apartments that have been restored to depict the life of immigrants at various eras of our nation's history. I took the tour while working on Mythos in order to give these scenes a more authentic feel. While I wasn't allowed to take photos during the tour, I found enough supplementary images on-line, including a virtual tour on their web site.

None of these images are mine, but all contributed vital information to the final compositions.

My tour guide turned out to be a comic book fan, and had even considered creating a walking tour of the New York's rich comics history. He even pointed out a building where Jack Kirby used to live and work. I don't know if he ever got around to it. I think his name was Paul.

Mythos: Captain America, Page 17 detail. 2008.
Acrylic and gouache on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

Quite a bit of reference went into each of these panels, some of which I've documented on past Wednesdays, but the apartment was what brought everything together. It's much easier to envision a space after you've walked through it.

Mythos: Captain America, Page 3.  2008.
Acrylic and gouache on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Daredevil #8 Cover

Daredevil #8 Cover. 2011. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

I don't think I posted this one yet. It was released into the wild in the midst of the New York Comic Con, which was, to say the least, a busy week. If you haven't heard yet, issue 8 will be part of a two-issue crossover with Amazing Spider-Man. I'm providing the cover, with Kano on interior duties. I'll be back for issues 9 and 10. By then, it'll already be 2012.

1: Digital color study  2: Digital composite  3: Pencils  4: Inks over cyan print

The second image is the digital composite, a stage in which everything is refined, from perspective to composition to anatomy. It's color-coded to help make sense of all the overlapping elements. This image is then printed onto board, providing a faint foundation for the subsequent stage (you can barely see the grid underneath the pencil scan). The other advantage of color-coding is that no erasing is required; Photoshop can easily remove everything but the graphite.

Friday, October 28, 2011

NYCC 2011 Interview

Thanks to Christine and Josh for stopping by the table. And if you get a chance, check out Reilly's new creator-owned comic, Power Play.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 153

Daredevil #2, Page 5, Panel 6. Ink(ed by Joe Rivera) on Marvel board, 11 × 17.25″.

Cap shows off his DD skills in Daredevil #2. And I show off my camera phone. Whenever I'm unsure of a pose, I always do it myself to see how it feels. Sometimes, however, I have to break it up into separate shots to make the process faster.

And yes, that's how I always stare at myself in the mirror.

Another time-saver is the addition of digital elements, such as Daredevil's chest emblem or Cap's shield, which can be seen below. It saves me from drawing repetitive, intricate things—and my Dad from inking them.

1: Layout, 4 × 6″  2: Pencils  3: Cyan print with digital elements  4: Final inks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daredevil Original Art

Daredevil #1, Page 9. Ink on Marvel Board, 11 × 17.25″.

The original pages from Daredevil are finally posted on Splashpage Comic Art. If you are interested, please contact my representative, Mark Hay, and he'll be happy to assist you. And if you're not interested in purchasing, you're more than welcome to peruse the pages, though you may notice some are already missing!

Most of the pages consist of separate pages—my pencils/my Dad's inks—and the price includes both. Scans of the pencils are available upon request.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

NYCC 2010 Commissions — Dazzler

Dazzler. 2011. Watercolor and acrylic on paper, 9 × 12″.

Although I already posted this on Twitter, I'm sure there are some blog readers who haven't seen it yet. I think this is one of my favorite commissions. It pretty much encompasses all of my interests. I'm a big fan of disco balls and hoop earrings.

Those dazzling eyes...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wacky Reference Wednesday, No. 152

Daredevil (Yellow). 2011. Acrylic and gouache on paper, 9 × 12″.

The New York Comic Con has come and gone. It was absolutely exhausting, but I was able to paint a decent amount of commissions, all the while hosting my 'rents, who were visiting for the weekend. Aside from seeing a treasure trove of old friends, my weekend was filled with Daredevil fans who were not shy about showering the new series with praise. I can't thank you all enough for the kind words and continued support. The first 4 issues are all getting second printings, and that's all thanks to you!

I managed to get the above head shot finished just before the con. The patient commissioner had been on my list for nearly 3 years, so I was more than happy to  put a check next to his name. When he mentioned the yellow costume, I jumped at the chance, never having painted (or drawn) it before.

I tend to be pretty conservative with my convention portraits, but since I did this at home, I chose to paint ol' horn-head lit from below. To assist me in that pursuit, I enlisted my new digital Matt Murdock maquette, which I sculpted in a wonderful (and free) program called Sculptris. I've been promoting it on Twitter for some time now, but this is the first time I've mentioned it here. Download it. Please. This is the greatest sculpture tool I've come across since Super Sculpey.

These are just some of the lighting options available through the program.

The app — a lil' sister to Pixologic's ZBrush — is worthy of its own post, but I hope this quick intro is enough to convince some of you to experiment with it. It's already making my constant quest for reference a little easier.