Brazilian artist Rafael Albuquerque has had an amazing few years, working on American Vampire with Scott Snyder and even Stephen King. He is currently dropping some amazing pencils on Batman, again with Snyder. Renaldo got the scoop on what it's like to win awards, work with scott Snyder and generally kick ass.
CBNAH: Was it easy becoming a comic artist growing up and plying your trade in Brazil?
RA: I think my generation didn’t suffer that much by trying to work for USA. Many artists did it before us, and with the internet those boundaries were almost none. Maybe the only complication is the fact that we can’t attend as many conventions and meet the editors like artists based in US or Europe, I guess.
CBNAH: How did you get into art and how did you get your big break?
RA: Both my father and mother were initiated in drawing. My mom used to study architecture and my dad used to have a small advertising company, so I were surrounded by art books and were influenced all the time. They always supported my will do comics too, so, I guess it was a natural path.
CBNAH: You've won an Eisner as well as many comic-internet pundit awards from IGN and such for American Vampire...how did you land that job?
RA: I've met briefly the 100 Bullets editor, Will Dennis and mentioned that I really like the books they put out, and I’d love to draw something for Vertigo. He mentioned that he liked my work too and would look for the right book for me in there. After about, 6, 7 months, Mark Doyle, who used to be his assistant at the time, and is now the main editor of AV called me and invited me for the project.
CBNAH: What's it like working with Scott Snyder?
RA: Flows really well since the beginning. I have worked with many writers before, and I can say its hard to find a partner that basically have the same ideas, or, same way to think as you. Scott (and Mark, our editor) is like that. He leaves me space to do the storytelling the way I want, is always opened for suggestions. I feel good working in a team that encourages brainstorming.
CBNAH: Can you describe your process a bit of going from what you see in script to your pencils/inks?
RA: Sure. I draw really, really rough sketches of the scenes, setting up the storytelling, basic composition and send over to Mark and Scott.
They send me notes, when they have any, than I tighten a little bit the pencils. More on the faces to do the expressions. Than I come up with the inking, still defining a lot of background or clothes. May seem complicated but might be really fast.
CBNAH: You also do your own creator-owned material so what's the future plans with your own material?
RA: Yeah. I've just published a webcomic in Brazil called TUNE 8. I've created, written, drawn, colored....did it all. Now I’m teaming up with my former Superman/batman writer Mike Johnson on adapting that for a bigger story, and publish in USA. It should happen late this year or early 2013.
CBNAH: So do you think the digital era/internet age has made your artistic job easier or efficient or better?
RA: Definitely. I probably would never have break in into comics in the same way I did, if I didn’t had this contact channel with editors, other artists....anyway. It's essential.
CBNAH: Do you think moving to digital comics is a step forward or backward?
RA: Forward. See, its a new thing, but have a huge potential, and, I know that DC is really planning something amazing for digital. I think its going to expand the market in a very different direction.
CBNAH: If you could do one thing to change or revolutionize the comic industry, what would it be?
RA: Maybe set up better creator laws since the beginning, so conflicts like Superman, Ghost RIder and others wouldn’t happen and their creators would have what they deserve. No more, no less.
CBNAH: Lastly, who are some of your comic heroes (writers, artists) etc and what advice would you offer up and coming artists?
RA: There are tons of artists that are my heroes, and huge influences. I can totally say that Ivo Milazzo and Eduardo Risso are artists that made me see art in a different way, and changed a lot the way i used to draw. Always loved John Buscema, Frank Frazetta, Chris Bachalo....Miller, of course.
My advice would be look for different comics, definitely there are something out there that you might like and will present you to a big and amazing new media. If its not easy to find in books stores, look for digital. Its all available online, at this point.