Microvisions 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

This is a cross-post with Muddy Colors — An Illustration Collective

Microvisions (The Sink). 2013. 
Gouache, watercolor, and acrylic on bristol board, 5 × 7″.

Above is my contribution to Microvisions 2013, an auction of pint-sized art that benefits the Society of Illustrators Scholarship Fund (you can see a few of last year's pieces here, and my 2009 offering here). I used the opportunity to do a bit of concept work for my personal project, which has languished for the last couple months as I've battled deadlines. This is the first finished painting I've done of my main character, the Sink. It probably won't be the final look, but I hope it will one day look like an early McQuarrie Star Wars painting — familiar, but not quite what made the final cut. (I fully realize how high I'm setting the bar by saying that).

Character Studies. 2012.
Watercolor and acrylic on bristol board, 11 × 17″.

The remaining sketches are studies for Sink and 2 other main characters. Despite my experience with drawing comics, it's always been with established characters, so coming up with something original has been a real challenge. I'm excited to do more concept work for the story, but for now I'm concentrating on writing — something I'm picking up as I go along.

My eventual goal is a 200-page graphic novel, but I've already missed all the deadlines I've set for myself (been busy with other people's cool projects). Part of me hopes that by sharing it here, I'll have even more incentive to get the ball rolling. I've worked out the plot, scene by scene, which means I can move on to dialogue. The good news is I'm in love with the story and the characters, so I won't be happy until I'm able to extract it from my mind.

Character Studies. 2012.
Ink on bristol board, 11 × 17″


  1. Hi from Spain Paolo!!
    Here is a future buyer for this project, it likes so cool and I love your designs for the characters ( Sink design is especially brilliant, with these 'samurai style', I love the colours you had choice ).
    I hope you can publish this project as soon as possible ( Im writing plot and work in concept art to my own graphic nobel project too and I know that you want to say ) and I wish you a great success (in fact I'm sure that will be a 'bestseller').
    Have a great week!!

  2. I can see some Moebius in there? ;))) GREAT work, btw. The third bluelined sketch is BEAUTIFUL ;)

  3. I´d love to see a fully hand-painted project of yours...but with 200 pages, it´s more practical (at least if you wanna finish this in a year or so) to do a standard pencil-ink-digitally painted comic book.

    About deadlines...I know what you mean. For hired stuff, it´s one thing. For personal stuff, it falls in a limbo sometimes.

    If I may suggest, you could be more realistic while setting deadlines for yourself. It´s what I´m doing right now. That means calculating the amount of time necessary to produce a set of pages, considering that:

    1) You have other projects to do;
    2) You have a social life;
    3) Sometimes, you need time to do nothing (while your brain secretly improves your idea).

    That said, I wish you good luck! It´s good to see talented people producing new stuff of their own.

  4. Miguel: Greetings! Thanks so much! It's still going to be quite some time before I get to actually drawing this thing, but I'll probably chronicle the whole process on the blog as I go.

    LuCa: Most definitely. He's always been a minor influence on me, but I've been going through a "phase" lately. Can't get enough of his work. Glad you like that sketch. (She's the villain.)

    Rafael: Yeah, it's gonna have to be done in ink, although I hope to have some supplementary material that's fully-painted. And I hear you on the deadlines. The year hasn't gone exactly how I'd planned, so I'm just sort of going with the flow right now. No social life, though!

    1. Well, we can enjoy a fully hand-painted illustration in cover ( I guess ),extra-materials and if I can suggest you one idea, you could introduce some fully page 'cliffhanger scene' (at the end of one chapter, for instance) realized with inks and watercolours ( like some of your Daredevil head-shot commissions ).
      Right now I can not afford to hire you, but maybe someday we can work together and make the cover of one of my graphic novels! ; )
      You Know, dreams are free, jeje.

    2. Dreams are free, indeed. I've thought about some painted scenes. Akira featured some painted intros that were beautiful. Same for Ghost in the Shell.

    3. Plans usually don´t go EXACTLY how we plan. That´s why we have to deal with all the rest of the alphabet, so we can have a little bit of control.

      Painted scenes (\o/ \0/ yeahhh)! You´ve mentioned Akira and Ghost in the Shell...there´s a tradition of some manga starting the first pages fully painted. You could use this pattern to your project, or rather proposing something new.

      About deadlines, I forgot to mention other thing, and this one has to do with who you are. If you´re like me - an illustrator (by nature) that had to learn about writing to develop his own projects - you´ll have to spend some time learning the nuances of writing, but from a writer´s point of view.

      Preferably, studying text composition through other media than only comics (books, movies, tv series, etc). I started to do that after I got a review on an old project of mine by a French writer.

      It broadened my perspective on writing and, after 8 ideas partially developed, I finally got an idea that I love and I´m confortable enought to develop it entirely.

    4. You have the main ingredient - you´re in love with the story. So, things are working in your favor.

  5. Yeah, I completely agree with Rafael said and I love the idea of Paolo for introduce painted scenes at first pages of chapters, like it's usually in manga.
    Sorry Paolo, is probably you want to kill us for require you handly painted illustrations, but this is the prize you must pay for your talent, jejeje!! ;) .
    I decided to do my graphic novel in black and white ;) :P.
    Well, in any case, as I said upper, I´m sure that when this project had been published, will be one of more desired graphic novels for the fandom ( I incluyed, off course!! ).Paolo is not only a enormous artist, he's one of the best storytellers I've never seen (you can enjoy re-view his pages hundred and hundred times) so I think this is a surety of quality in all Rivera's works.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Miguel! I'll do my best to live up to that assessment.

  6. So, Paolo... you have the talent and the fanbase.

    It's time to suit up!

    1. Indeed, Rafael! All great points. I've been studying the craft quite a bit. Right now, I'd say the one thing that makes me the most confident is that I'm bouncing things off my writer friends... and I've gotten review offers from many of the writers and editors I've worked with in the past, all of the them the best in the business. Basically, I trust them to tell me if I'm way off the mark.

  7. Wow! This is so great and exciting! Very gorgeous work, sir. And thinking of McQuarrie's work is a great place to start. :) I always loved how his paintings had that familiar quality and yet were so (pardon the pun) alien from the final world Lucas created. That is a great way to think of early concept art and design. And, like his work, yours promises a very intriguing and fascinating world is waiting for us. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks, Philip! (And puns are always welcome here.)


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