Interview With Andrea Sorrentino “The Artist Behind Green Arrow”

2877438-green_arrow_promo•    Let’s start out simple. What is your name and what do you do?

My name is Andrea Sorrentino, I’m Italian, I’m 31 and I’m the comic artist of the Green Arrow series for DC Comics. I’ve also been working on the first 15 issues of I,Vampire last year and on the God of War graphic novel in last years.

•    How did you get started illustrating comic books? And what was your first published work?

4 years ago I’ve started my professional career working as horror artist for a line of American horror relegates. After 6-7 months, and about 4-5 books after, I was noticed by Shannon Eric Denton that was, at that time, an Editor at Wildstorm. He proposed me to make some samples for a series of cover for an upcoming X-Files/30Days of Night. I did a couple of covers when Ben Abernathy (always at Wildstorm) proposed me to work on a graphic novel based on the Sony hit video game God of War. I’ve worked on the whole art process (art and colors) and I’ve to admit It was a pretty experimental style cos we were trying to match the style of the video game, adding a little darker spin to it. I don’t think it was my best work, but it gave me A LOT in terms of professional and artistic experience and it made me grow as artist and as person After those projects anyways, I’ve had the chance to go back to my beloved b\w style and to jump on the DCU wagon with I,Vampire, in the New52 launch event.

GoW#5pag6LowRes-tirdh•    Do you have any formal training?

I’ve studied at a comics school here in my city, Napoli (at the National School of Comix) and I’ve took grade at the Academy of Fine Art. I’ve studied art but also theater and cinema.

•    Was this what you always wanted to do?

Yes! I’ve always had the dream to work as comic artist! I’ve had some experience as illustrator, as I said, but my biggest dream has always been to draw comics. And I’ve to say I couldn’t be happier to work for one of the two biggest comic editor of the western world.

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•    Was there a comic book artist that inspired you to become one?

I’m not sure I could point out one only artist. I’ve been grown reading Disney’s comics when I was a kid and it’s with one of them that I’ve learned to read, so I’d say it was something in me from the very beginning. With age, my taste changed, of course, and I passed from loving manga when I was a teen, to love American comics when I was about 16-17. I’m just realizing that I’ve really read comics all my life 🙂

•    How if at all possible would you define your artistic style?

Well, I’m a dark artist. In some way I’m a moody person, even if I don’t show it too much on Twitter or in conventions, so I think my style, made of a moody approach and heavy shadows, reflects in some way the kind of person I am. Of course, I also think that different kind of scenes needs different approaches, so I try sometimes to change and surprise the reader with something new. It also makes my work more creative and funny, and gives me the energies and excitement I need to keep the deadlines of a monthly book. I’ve also the feeling that in the modern industry a comic artist should never just read and plain draw the things he sees in the script, panel by panel, but should try to better interpreter what the writer really wants from a specific scene, and give all him\herself to better give some feelings to the readers by the way he draws it.

ZszasSmall•    What piece work are you most proud of?

I’m pretty happy of everything I’ve done since the start of I,Vampire, but if I should pick just one book, I’d give the prize to I,Vampire#0. I think the kind of atmospheres of the book, together with the slow, timed pace of the script and the Victorian style, made it perfect for my approach. Also, Maiolo (my colorist both on I,V than on GA) made a spectacular work with the palette, mixing the grays of the rain scenes with the reds of some strong scenes.

•    You’ve been working on Green Arrow as of late. How would you describe your take on the series?

I’m having a lot of fun with Green Arrow! We needed a couple of issues to understand the direction we wanted to take art wise, but after them it really has been a fun ride. A lot of this, i owe to Jeff (Lemire) and Wil Moss, the Editor of the book. The freedom they’re giving me is really impressive and it’s giving me the chance to try a lot of crazy things. There’re a couple of spread where Jeff simply wrote me ‘Andrea, go nuts here!’. He gives me his idea, but he also gives me full freedom to try a totally different approach and this is an amazing thing for an artist, especially when you’ve to work with the pressure of a monthly deadline. Also, the script is simply greatly written. Few comic writers can write human emotions as good as Jeff Lemire.

tumblr_mmbpwmmh7x1rcp7bmo1_1280•    Are there any projects you are currently working on that you’re excited for?

I’m finishing CountVertigo#1 right now, and it’s a bit like being back to the moody atmospheric things I did in I,Vampire and this gave me a pulse of excitement. Also, the way Jeff wrote it is so character driven, sad and creepy at the same time. It’s great and I really hope it will link peoples with the amazing character that the New Count Vertigo is.

040.DCC_.CntVrtFC.1.02• If you could work on one comic that you have yet to illustrate for what would it be? Why?

I really illustrated few series, so there are plenty of series I’d like to work for! I’d really like to try some psychological take on Batman, even just for one arc, because it would give me the chance to mix the moody and dark approach I had on I,Vampire, with something more creative and thrilling as I did on Green Arrow. But I’d also love, for instance, to try something moody and slow-paced for Aquaman, full of great landscapes and huge marine monsters. Or, I don’t know.. a Sinestro-solo book? I love Sinestro! 🙂

•    Who is your favorite character to draw?

In Green Arrow I lately like to work on Count Vertigo. His new design had a lot of controversial comments when we showed it for the first time but, with #22 out many agreed that his wicked, almost punk, look merges very well with the story Jeff and I are developing and with the new take on the character. The way it’s written, unhinged and a bit disturbed, is a lot of fun to draw. Also, Mary Queen of Blood was great. Such a deep and multi-faced character!

GA_18_13_1000tall_1nj9vdoi6u_•    Have you illustrated for anything other than comic?

Yep, as I said, I’ve done some artworks for White Wolf on the books of their role games line World of Darkness. Horror stuff, of course 🙂

•    Do you still draw for fun?

I’ve not much time to draw for myself. I don’t even have time for commissions! 😛 Luckily, I’ve made my fun my work, and I’ve to say this is also thanks to the colleagues I’m working with. Really, I’m a happy man 🙂

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•    What was your first comic book you bought?

As I said, I’ve read Disney comics since when I was a kid, then I’ve read a lot of manga and Italian comics growing older, but if you’re talking about American Comics.. My first contact was about 10-11 years ago when my older bro opened a comic shop here in my city. In that moment I had tons of comics just thrown at my hands (all new and free!) and I had the chance to expand my culture with some American series. Of all of them, the first one I could remember putting my eyes on, was Choi\Lee’s Fantastic Four: Heroes Reborn and it really rocked my world!

• Do you still read comics? If so what is your favorite?

Yes I do! Well, I’m lately reading more from DC than from Marvel, for obvious professional reasons but also because, of course, I’m feeling more linked to the DCU than to the Marvel one. From the New52 line I’m lately especially enjoying Animal Man, Batman, Batman&Robin & Wonder Woman.

•    Who is your personal favorite superhero?

Of course, the goddamn Batman! I’m a great fan of dark\moody books like Miller’s Dark Knight Returns or Loeb\Sale Long Halloween, so it’s pretty obvious that Batman is one of my favorite superhero. Apart of him, I’m lately enjoying some ‘minor’ characters. Lemire’s Animal Man’s cast has been great, and I’m loving John’s take on Aquaman. On the Marvel’s side I’ve always been a great fan of Ennis Punisher books (but also what Jason Aaron did was great)

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•    If you could have any super power what would it be?

Batman’s superpowers: the super-moneys! 🙂 also, some time-control maybe, to stretch the day over the 24 hours and have a bit more of free time 🙂

•    When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?

A comic artist! I’ve never had any doubt about it 🙂

AndreaSorrentino-Joker•    What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to become a comic book artist?

To put all yourself in what you do. Study art in some school, be passionate and to never think you’ve nothing more to learn. It will sound hard to believe, but I don’t know how many aspiring-artists I’ve known that think they’re ready to work and they’re just unlucky that no-one notices them. You have to keep in your mind that if you’re not working AT ALL, it’s probably because your work is not good enough yet. This means that instead of blaming your bad luck, you should work your ass off and doing better and better and better. Go to some Comic conventions your artworks and try to show them to any pro you can find in it. Artists, Writers, Editors… listen to their words carefully, they know what it means to work with a monthly schedule, to try to match the reader’s tastes and in general, how to make a comic to work. Do your best always, be professional and be opened to listening peoples with more experience than you.

Take a Moment and thank Andrea for taking the time to do the Interview. Comment and Discus Below and Follow him on Twitter @and_sorrentino and me @pzenns. And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Green Arrow.

2 thoughts on “Interview With Andrea Sorrentino “The Artist Behind Green Arrow”

  1. WOW!!!! What a great interview! You can really tell that Andrea really poured out his heart and soul into this interview. His artwork is amazing and so dark! Andrea if you have anything to sell i’d be more than willing to take you up on some of your work!! 🙂 I have to say that this interview was great! You were open and honest and I love your statement to those who want to break in to the comic book industry. Amazing! A special thanks to you Andrea for taking the time to do this interview! I know that you are probably busy, but after reading this it really allowed people who read comics to get an in-depth look into the life of an artist! Your amazing!!!

  2. It was such an honor to conduct this interview with an Artist I hold in such high esteem. Thank you so much for your time and transparency

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