As you all know I've been shining a spotlight on many indie comic book creators I feel deserve more recognition than they currently get and whose body of work merits our attention. Some of these creators are writers, pencillers and today we're going to get to know a master colorist; one of my best friends, colleague and Truthful Comics brother Francisco J. Rivera!
TC: When did you discovered comic books? Was it love at first read?
As with anyone who is curious about this wonderful medium one would find magazines and books at local shops like supermarkets and pharmacies. In my early teenage years, Manuel and I discovered that a boutique happened to be selling comics and trading cards. And yes it was love at first sight.
TC: When you first started collecting, which books did you collect?
X-men comics were a big hit in the 90’s so X-men #1 had come out and was really exciting to start with the second series with Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. The industry was expanding quickly, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, Jim Valentino really got my interest. Image comics had released their lineup of series made to appeal to all kinds of comic fans: Youngblood, The Savage Dragon, Spawn, and WildC.A.T.s offered science fiction, fantasy, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor.
TC: Do you consider yourself a comic book reader, collector or both?
I became both since once you’ve dipped your toes you are hooked up to a whole new world of stories, ideas, and art that you never knew existed!
TC: Which is/are your favorite comic book character(s)?
Hands down, my favorite mutant is X-men’s Beast.
How did you get into computer coloring and/or coloring in general?
I had started to develop a passion at a very young age. Growing up as a kid that watched cartoons every chance I had, either with family or friends. I got the idea that someday I could be the one who would be drawing those same cartoons that I was watching. The Sunday comic strip would have been a fair start to spark the interest of any reader. Then as I started reading comic books I was captivated by colors and effects that artists gave characters making them come alive. As other people have tried painting their own drawings with crayons, colored pencils, watercolor, and other media. I got my first computer when I turned 18. It was 1997 Windows XP was a thing. my father just had got me a computer for college. Working around computers one will find that Windows Paint was the most accessible program to start testing your artistic aspirations.
TC: How would you weigh the importance of technical knowledge vs. aesthetic feel and experience for a colorist?
For my part, it requires patience, practice, and some level of artistic skill. Nowadays mostly coloring is done on computers. It is amazing what can be achieved. It is secondary but its as important to pencils and stories.
TC: Can a colorist have a unique style?
Yes. Although it’s difficult to stand out as today there are so many talented artists in comics. You can be doing your own style can’t help but be influenced by other colorists.
What are your artistic inspirations?
I would say many artists have influenced me but one more than others. Marte Gracia, Carlos Pacheco, Marc Silvestri, Jae Lee, Christian Lichtner, Alex Ross, Mark Texeira, Todd Mcfarlane.
TC: Which comic book colorist(s) do you follow, if any?
Marte Gracia definitely is a master. Yeah!
TC: How and when did you and Manuel A. Carmona decided to work on a project together?
As around the late 90s, Manuel came with the idea of a group of young superpowered kids who were used for their powers to bring good to this world. I wanted to see how that went cause it sounded to me a lot like what I was interested in since reading comics so New Wave was a perfect fit.
TC: What’s your approach when coloring Project: New Wave?
I try to set the colors as cinematography film would. I set the tone and mood.
Describe to the readers your coloring process.
I don’t even actually touch the art physically, but it is all done with a scanned piece of artwork. After the penciler sends scans of the inked comic page. That’s when the magic happens. Layers its the trick. It’s a wonderful thing. Highly recommended its a non-destructive approach in working your pages. Currently, I’m using Krita for colors but I’ve worked on Sai, Corel Photo-Paint (not recommended kids) and like most other colorists Photoshop.
TC: Do you see yourself coloring comic books for a long time?
Well, not really; I plan to travel to the Milky Way's Galactic Center. The center of our galaxy that is located around 26,500 light-years away from Earth. Not enough time. Need to build my spaceship.