X-Men #51 (Marvel/Devir)
Nucomix 14-20 (Swan Graphics)
Miranda 5 (Comeuppance Comics)
Spookshow International 4 (MVCreations)
Tri-Klops: Icons of Evil (up-coming) (MVCreations)
Miranda 3 (Comeuppance Comics)
Several short stories for contests catalogues, commercial magazines, small press publishers and fanzines;
A Tale with Santa Klaus (writer and artist) for Trisan Publishers;
A collection of nine classic tales for children, including: Pinnochio, Peter Pan, Tom Sawyer, The Treasure Island, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, Five Weeks In a Balloon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and King Solomon (writer and artist) for Trisan Publishers.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. I have always lived here, with the exception of one year I spent in the States.
What was the first comic you read?
Something from Disney but I can’t remember what. Their comics were always around. My first super-hero reading was Captain America #253-254 (a compilation of both issues), where Cap fights Baron Blood, by Roger Stern and John Byrne. That’s the one that got me hooked.
How is your day generally?
Lately, I wake up around 11:00 am. I spend about one hour in bed reading and then I go to the drawing board where I work until about 2:00 pm, when I take a break for lunch. Around 3:00, 3:30 pm, I go back and work through until eight o'clock or until that day's assignment is done, whichever comes first.
Then I take some time for leisure or if I have ran out of food, go groceries shopping. Around 9:30 pm I go out for dinner, usually with a friend. If I'm lucky, it will be on a date. The rest is history. I turn to bed around 3:00 am, after I read for one more hour.
Who where the first artists to influence you?
The first ones were definitely John Byrne, John Buscema, John Romita and George Perez. Jim Lee and Scott Campbell where also important influences but they came a little later. Overall, I get influences from everywhere and everyone. That’s why my style is always developing.
Who influences you now?
Alan Davis, Adam Hughes, Neal Adams, Frank Cho, Albert Uderzo (Asterix) and Regis Loisel (Peter Pan).
What comics do you currently read?
I follow artists and writers rather than characters or books. I read Jim Lee, Bryan Hitch, Alan Davis, John Romita Jr, Eduardo Risso, David Lapham, Frank Cho, Carlos Pacheco, Mike Mignola, John Byrne, Will Eisner, Frank Miller, and Mark Millar. I buy the comics they happen to be working on.
What things -- both in art and otherwise -- have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time?
I have always been a commercial illustrator and a free-lance artist. Between illustrations for the advertising industry and storyboards I was trying to do comics. Over the past two years, comics have become my priority. That’s pretty much all I do now.
How long have you been working professionally in comics?
I got my first job at the age of 17, drawing a poster of the X-Men for a comic bookshop. When I was 20 years old my first professional work was published. That was eight years ago.
Talk about how you broke into the business --was it easy? Hard? Ups? Downs?
In my country, it was kind of easy. I answered an ad that my granny saw in the newspaper looking for an illustrator and I got the job.
I did nine prestige books for that company in six months and then I decided to move on.
Over the following years, I got trapped doing storyboards and commercial illustrations, which didn't leave me much time for comics. Then one day I sent samples of my portfolio to Glasshouse Graphics. Dave Campiti liked them and took me in. That was a huge thing for me! We have been working together ever since.
Tell about your working habits. How fast do you work? How long does it take you to pencil a page, on average?
It takes me about three hours to pencil a regular page, so I can draw 2 pages per day if I have to. The fewer panels, the faster. Close-ups are also faster to draw. I never missed a deadline in 7 years working as a free-lance illustrator.
How would you describe your workspace? Is it part of your home or do you go “to the studio”?
I work at what used to be the living room. It’s the largest room in the house and I turned it into my studio because that’s where I spend most of my time.
I have got everything I need there. Besides the working tools you would expect to find – drawing board, computer, scanner, printer, light table, etc –, there’s also a TV, a sound system and my library of comics.
Which work are you most proud of?
If I have to single out one piece work, "A Tale with Santa Klaus" is on the top of the list, mostly because of the way it was done - 22 pages in 10 days, from plot to printing job, all done by me and a couple of assistants. It was also my first professional comic book to be published.
How was it like to work on a cover of The X-Men?
It’s a great feeling to be able to draw characters I grew up loving. This is what I have always wanted to do since I was eleven years old.
It was my first work done for a major publisher and the reception of it was really good, which made me very happy. I have since done one more cover for Spider-Man and another for the New X-Men.
What are you currently drawing? Comments on that project?
I’m lining up two prestige books that will be published in 2005 in Europe. Besides that, I’m working on a watercolor style I’m developing. Several things are talked about, but I rather not discuss projects until I know they will go forward.
How do you feel about the digital age of comics? Do you think innovations such as computer lettering and coloring, and digital inking in particular, has enhanced the comic industry?
A computer is just another tool. The greatest advantage it brings is that now we can press Ctrl+Z or Apple+Z and undo mistakes in a much cleaner and faster way.
I still try to do as much as I can manually.
If you could pick one writer to work with, who would it be?
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories?
Yes, I consider myself more of a storyteller than an artist. I have got a few projects fully developed.
I would also like to write stories for established characters, the ones I grew up with and that I feel to have a good knowledge of.
If you could pick one comic character to work on, which would it be and why?
I want to work on many characters. It’s hard to single one out.
Who is your favorite hero?
Who is your favorite villain?
It’s a tie between Dr. Doom and Lex Luthor.
Do you have any great, unsold projects in your files that nobody's gotten to see published?
I’m not sure if they are great, but I do have several projects never published before. Some never will, because the time for them doesn’t seem right anymore, some might still see the light of the day.
Can you ink?
Sure, although at the moment I'm trying to focus on my pencils. When required, I can do tight pencils and digitally ink them.
Tell about your family. Are you married?
Nope, I’m one of those incurable bachelors. It’s just me and my cat. All my family is scattered around the world. My father is in Belgium and my mother in Angola. My friends are my family, really.
Do friends and neighbors know you draw comics for a living? How do they react?
The first thing I’m asked is “can you make a living out of it?” People over here still find it hard to believe that you can make money as an artist.
When I tell them about it, they regret not having taken more art courses in their teen years.
How did your parents face the idea about you wanting to be a comic artist?
My mother was very supportive about it, like with all my initiatives. My father, on the other hand, was not too thrilled.
He felt that I couldn't make a living by drawing funny pictures.
That was until I began making more money as a professional illustrator than he does! Now he is proud that I stuck to my guns and kind of did it "my way".
Ever been in a gang?
Not really, but I was a hell raiser when I was a kid. I was always getting in trouble.
I remember a particular episode, when I and friend got a fake revolver that looked very real.
We had the brilliant idea to go out and play pranks on people with it.
The plan was to stand next to a bus stop and every time a car passed by, we would simulate that one of us was being mugged.
Unfortunately, or maybe not, the first time we tried to pull this stunt, the car stopped and four undercover cops came out of it!
They were on their way to work. Just our luck. We were able to show them it was just a joke. They took the gun away and let us go like that. We were very lucky. When they were coming out of the car they where pulling out their guns….
What do you like to do?
Go to the movies, read comics and novels, play video games, listen to music, play squash, hang out with friends and date girls.
I also used to play drums but stopped for lack of time. I might do it again, since the itch is coming back.
How is the interest on comics where you live?
Low, but still higher than in the states percentage wise.
There's a growing interest on comics, especially by publishers that are investing strongly in new publications and artists.
The European comics are still regarded with more respect, but the super-hero gender is getting more attention these days.
What do you always have in your refrigerator?
Cheese. I love cheese.
What is your preferred food?
"Bacalhau à Brás", a Portuguese dish. It's Codfish with fries and eggs all mixed together. Really, it’s good.
Have you taught comic-book art or had any assistants? If so, talk about that.
I’m going to give a workshop in comic-book art and illustration in general in 2005, hopefully.
It’s something I have been looking forward to, getting back to my old art school and teach kids there.
I have had several assistants thru the years, when I was doing advertising work. During a handful of years, I had so much work I had to hire help to colorize and finish up my work.
If you weren't a comic-book artist today, what would you be?Some kind of yuppie. I love money and I’m good at making it.
How do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
As the new araut of Galactus.
For which achievement do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a great storyteller.
If you're working from another country, do you need a translator?No, my English is good enough. I lived in the U.S. for one year as a foreign exchange student so I guess I'm all set.