MINUTES WITH: CAESAR RODRIGUEZ AND RICHARD ISANOVE
we're taking a brief detour in our regular interview feature
to spotlight two of comics unsung heroes: color artists Caesar
Rodriguez and Richard Isanove.
men have provided color work for a variety of companies over
the last several years, but have now turned their attention
to Dynamite Entertainment and the relaunch of Red Sonja.
a few minutes with both colorists, and will also be presenting
a piece featuring the cover artists for this brand-new comic
CAESAR, TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
CAESAR RODRIGUEZ: I started collecting comics since
I was 4 years old, and my comic book collection was so big
that I couldn't store them anymore, so [in] 1990, I opened
a comic shop. There, I met several artists doing many things
such as painting for galleries, graphics for media, sculpture
for effects, etc. I began collaborating with some of these
people and did several different freelance jobs for them.
One of them was J.D. Smith who had just moved out from Maryland.
He was looking for freelance work and landed a Dracula job
with Dark Horse. Because I was at school studying photoshop
and was doing illustration, we talked a lot about the comic
book medium and some time later, he started working for Top
Cow. I sold the store sometime after, so that I could continue
on my freelance work which was doing really well.
My first published
comic work was as a penciller for Click comics, with the now
famous Joe Casey, on the Chosen. Later, J.D. Smith was getting
so busy that he needed an assistant, and I just happened to
be around to help out with some color separations. My first
color work was on Tao for Top Cow, but the first one under
my own name was on a comic called Athena, with Wayne Cash
who did Harry The Cop for Slave Labor Comics. Quickly after
that I did color work on Gazillion for Image, 2 projects for
Topps comics and the production work and background color
assists for J.D Smith on Witchblade, Tao, and Fathom. Through
J.D., I met Richard Isanove, Steve Firchow and many other
people along the way. I ended up doing all of their color
sep work while still drawing and coloring for various toy,
apparel, and ad companies.
In San Diego,
I ran into Brandon Peterson of whom I was a big fan. I showed
him my portfolio and later he hired me at Crossgen. Brandon
was a great person to work with as an Art Director. He was
willing to let us be ourselves and not follow a "look". At
Crossgen, I worked on Scion and Sojourn for a while and later
moved back to L. A. Since returning, I did some more coloring
for them on R.A. Salvatore's Demon Wars, and did part of a
one shot over Steve McNiven for Ruse. A bit after that; and
before Crossgen's dissolve I did a lot of ghost work with
several other colorists; doing backgrounds or figures for
them on various mainstream and independent titles, as well
as doing all kinds of other illustrations for CD covers, animation
designs, spot illustrations, maquettes, web design, and photography
for studios out here in L.A.
DID YOU COME TO WORK ON THE RED SONJA PROJECT?
CAESAR RODRIGUEZ: Well, I talk pretty often with Richard
Isanove. He thought of me when the project was starting out
and suggested I give Dynamite a call.
RICHARD ISANOVE: I am a huge R.E. Howard Fan, I wrote
my thesis in College about him and his work. So I jumped on
the occasion when they offered me the project. My schedule
didn't allow me to do it but I wanted to help out.
I talk regularly
with Caesar and I really like his coloring work. Since Crossgen's
demise, I felt his potential was going to waste so I got him
in contact with Dynamite. We wanted to do something in the
vain of Origin, so I showed Caesar a few tricks and now we
go back and forth. The goal is to do a few issues like that
and then let Caesar take it on his own. I'm mostly helping
him get started with the whole digital painting thing so he
can go on and do his own stuff.
SONJA'S WORLD AS YOU SEE IT. HOW DOES YOUR WORK HELP BRING
THAT WORLD TO LIFE?
CAESAR RODRIGUEZ:I see a lot of fluidity in [Red Sonja
interior artist] Mel Rubi's work and I just try to do something
that will hopefully add to what is on the page.
RICHARD ISANOVE: As I said I love Heroic Fantasy. Red
Sonja has the right mixture of sexuality and violence. It's
fun to play with that within the boundaries of a PG-13 universe.
I'm not interested in doing porn or gore. I find sex fun to
do but kinda boring to read. I also find appropriate, in the
wake of the FCC crackdown on indecency, to explore the boundaries
of fantasies and titillate our minds with something else than
daily prayers and pledges of allegiance.
YOU, WHAT DOES MEL RUBI'S ARTWORK BRING TO THE PROJECT?
CAESAR RODRIGUEZ: Mel Rubi's art is organic and open
which allows for a flexible canvas. I really like the energy
he conveys. As the book moves along I hope to add some other
color techniques that I touched upon toward the end of my
run on Sojourn.
RICHARD ISANOVE: He's a strong storyteller and he does
great monsters. So it's efficient and fun. what more could
RICHARD, WE UNDERSTAND YOU'RE WORKING ON A SONJA COVER OF
YOUR OWN, HOW'S THAT COMING ALONG?
RICHARD ISANOVE: I'm working on the drawing right now,
which for me is the longest part then the painting goes pretty
fast. The technique will be probably similar to what I did
on the Origin piece, maybe a little looser. I've recently
done a couple of covers for Army of Darkness that I'm technically
pretty happy with. My main influence is Frazetta, but I'm
also looking at John Buscema for this project. Buscema (on
Savage Sword of Conan) was the first penciller to make me
realize that Comics could be Art
ANY OTHER PROJECTS TO PLUG?
CAESAR RODRIGUEZ: I'm working on conceptual work for
animations, but I really have a nicely illustrated children's
book called Eddie Kingfisher that I hope to finish this year
in an animated style.
RICHARD ISANOVE: I started on Shindo last year and
I'll be done this summer. There was a lot of growing pains
as it is my first endeavor into penciling on that scale but
things are starting to flow. We're looking at a September
release in France and we're setting things up for a US release
Be sure to
Check out DF's complete selection of Red
Sonja Comics and Collectibles!