Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fireside Chat with Colorist Marcelo Maiolo

Hello dear TWC readers! Aside from bringing you news on the latest and greatest comics to buy, we here at The Weekly Crisis like to take some time and get to know the creators behind the comics we love.

Today we have Marcelo Henrique Maiolo from DC's Demon Knights, I, Vampire and IDW's True Blood. Marcelo was kind enough to put up with my inane questions while we talk about his coloring process and love of comics. More after the jump!

Hansel Moreno: I discovered your work through the new 52 so for my sake, and those not familiar, how long have you been working in comics?

Marcelo Henrique Maiolo: Well, I broke into comics in 2005. I colored lots of things during these years, lots of advertising stuff, storyboards, comics, etc. etc. I worked for Dynamite, coloring Red Sonja, Athena and many covers. In 2009 I did my first book for DC, it was a Halloween issue, and it was a Kid Flash story. One month later I got my first regular book in DC, Teen Titans, where I worked for 7 months. After this, I did some issues of Superman, Wondergirl, and JLA. When the New 52 started I was invited to Demon Knights and then, I, Vampire!

HM: What first interested you in coloring?

I have been a RPG master since I was a kid (12 years old) and I had two friends that were creating a comic book story in a fantasy scenario. They invited me to create with them. Well, I had stopped drawing when I was 15 so I just was invited on as a writer at the time. When things were getting big, they would draw and ink but the book would be in Black and White. So I learned to color only for that book. Since then I liked coloring and never stopped.

HM: Is coloring your main occupation?

MM: Yes. Thanks to Crom, this is my full-time job :D

HMRight now I am reading two books you are on I, Vampire and Demon Knights. Both which are really, really good. How were you approached to start on these books and what was your reaction?

MM: When my agent (and friend) Joe Prado told me that I’d work in a book with Brazilian artists I was very happy with the news. I already loved the work from Diogenes Neves and Oclair Albert (one of the best inkers alive!). but when Joe told me that Demon Knights was a Middle Age Fantasy book, man, it makes me crazy with happiness!

Marcel's colors on Exoristos from Demon Knights #16

I, Vampire was very different. They tried some colorists, but none of them got the approach they wanted. So, a big convention was coming (I don’t remember which one) and Matt Idelson called me for a rush job. We had worked together in Superman and in Demon Knights and he knew that I’m fast at coloring. So  I talked to (the AWESOME) Andrea Sorrentino and he sent me some references of things he likes when he imagined his style colored. I got all these and mixed it in to the I, Vamp style. The result was that in this convention our bosses and the public loved the previews and then Matt came with the great news, calling me to go on board of I, Vamp!

HMBoth of these books are in the DC Dark family but Demon Knights often has beautiful light and airy colors. How do you approach each book as far as color pallet?  Do you chose the color scheme or is it something the team decides?

MM: Well, for Demon Knights what I imagined is, we have a fantasy book, but the characters are not only heroes, they are super heroes, so this was the approach in colors.

I, Vampire is different. It is a book of horror, so the mood is more important than the renders. And my mark in all my works are the lights. I like to use the lights to create drama. In every book. In True Blood for IDW, I do the colors more simple than in I, Vampire but the lights are there.

Sample Palette from I,Vamp #13 and Demon Knights #13
HMWhat influences the colors in these books? Do you draw inspiration from horror movies, music, day to day life?

MM: I use to say that I’m directed by music. I’m always listening something. And yes, I try to use the music mood I need for any books. For Demon Knights, I listen to epic music, like Basil’s Conan, LOTR, etc. For I, Vampire and True Blood, The Exorcist, The 69 Eyes, Gothic music in general. And for the coloring I hardly use other colorists for direct reference, when I need something I use colors from reality, from photos. That’s why my palette is less saturated for comics.

HMWhen working on these pages do you talk more with the writers, the artist or both about the same?

MM:  In Demon Knights I used to talk less with my partners. Now with Bernard Chang and Robert Venditti the dialogue is more intense.

With I, Vampire Andrea and I  became friends. We are always taking to each other. We talk about everything and also about the book. Andrea has a great artistic sense, and I send the pages to him and we always discuss about them! A great partner!

HMDo you have a studio/computer space at home or a separate place to work?

MM:  I work in my home. And this is the part of the job I really love. I don’t think about paying for other spaces, well, maybe in case to join with other artists, that would be nice.

HMWhile coloring how do you pass the time? Music? Movies? Podcast?

MM: Music. I used to listen a lot of audio books and podcasts, but I never understand what’s happening, my brain turns off from other information. So, just music now.

HMHow do you color?  What software do you use? Can you walk us through the process? Do you first read the script or just jump right in?

MM: First of all I read the script. In some pages, I do a quick sketch of the palette (Shown above -H). Many writers have the ability to show what mood he wants for the pages, even if they don't know it. Sometimes I change it a little to fit to the art.

After reading the script, I send the pages to my flatters. When I get the pages back already flatted, I always read the script again  for that page and start to fix the colors using the palette. Then I start the rendering, then the FX, then send the preview to my editors!
Andrea Sorrentino I, Vampire B&W Art 

Marcelo's Colors

After Flats have been added.
Finished Page with special FX
HMHow fast can you color a page?

MM: It’s hard to say. It depends a lot, in my case, how much effects I feel the page needs. And depends the art, the mood etc. What I can say is, I take 4 hours for Demon Knights, 3 hours for I, Vampire and 2 hours for True Blood.

HMDo you finish an issue at a time or jump between projects?

MM: It depends on the deadline. Last week I was doing I, Vampire, Demon Knights and a eight pages issues for a DC Valentine book. I did one page of Valentine book in the morning, two pages of I, Vampire after lunch and one more page of Demon Knights at night! It was tough.

HMNow most people who know my disgusting addiction to comics will tell you I am an Image Man. I have even starting turning others to smaller, but just as exciting comic books. What can you tell us about the future of your career? How do you pick and choose your next project?

Fade Out GN Cover
MM: The first of all for me is financial security. When I have it, the others works I get are those I like. It doesn't care if it doesn't pay too much, but if I have creative freedom I’ll jump in. I did it in my owner-creator graphic novel called Fade Out: Painless Suicide (we will release it at US in a few months). We did just for fun, for the pleasure of telling a story. My partners Rafael de Latorre and Beto Skubs and I sell them very well here in Brazil.

HMWill we see you expand in to writing or drawing any time soon? If it is not something we see now will it be some time soon? Will we see you follow in the steps of Jill Thompson and her Scary Grandmother Books?

MM: I hope so. I don’t know to tell you the truth. I’m back to drawing this year, and I’m studying as a writer. I use to say that I have created stories for 17 years, but I never wrote a script. Maybe soon.

HMAnd a question not related to any specific team you are working with: When do you run wild? What comic do you just choose the color of the clothing, the color of the skies, the color of the world to your hearts content?

MM: To tell you the truth, Demon Knights, I, Vampire and True Blood! This is the advantage of being in a book of characters that aren't so famous. You have more freedom when creating.

HMThanks for your time Marcelo! 

Marcelo is 30 years young and lives in Piracicaba, a small  city from Sao Paulo, Brazil. You can find more of him through the following links.

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