A retro Hell­boy

Paolo Rivera’s comic book cover.

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

This was the first of three cov­ers for the se­ries Hell­boy and the B.P.R.D: 1953, writ­ten by Mike Mig­nola and Chris Rober­son. I did the in­te­rior art as well (with help from my dad, Joe Rivera, on inks and Dave Ste­wart on colours), but the cov­ers are al­ways done well in ad­vance for so­lic­i­ta­tions and pro­mo­tion. I sub­mit­ted sev­eral thumb­nail sketches, plan­ning to do them all in ink with dig­i­tal colour — the same style as the in­te­rior art. But my ed­i­tor, Scott Al­lie, thought one sketch in par­tic­u­lar would look good in the style of Nor­man Rock­well, es­pe­cially since the book takes place in 1953.

I’m glad he con­vinced me, as it be­came one of my most pop­u­lar pieces. In­deed, the orig­i­nal was pur­chased by Guillermo del Toro, direc­tor of the Hell­boy films.

I was re­luc­tant to paint be­cause I knew it would take a while: about 70 hours, sketch to scan. My daugh­ter had just been born, so I was short on time (and sleep) and those 70 hours of­ten came in 30-minute snip­pets. She’s al­most one now, al­most old enough to start draw­ing.

Paolo grew up on car­toons and comics, es­pe­cially Ninja Tur­tles, Bat­man, and The Tick. In 2002 he got his big break from Marvel Comics. Visit www.paolorivera.com to see more of his comic and cover work.

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