To celebrate Artemis Fowl Confidential’s 10th Birthday, Giovanni Rigano (the artist behind the Artemis Fowl Graphic Novels) was kind enough to answer some questions from the fans at AFC! You can read the full interview below.
As you know, AFC is celebrating its’ 10th Birthday this week! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions from the fans, and it’s a shame it has taken us so long to finally talk about all things Fowl! We put the question process to AFC’s users – here’s what they came up with!
What lured you into the world of graphic novel illustration?
My passion for comics and literature, basically, and for movies, animation and art too. Which other media can combine the best qualities of these all in one?
Who are some of your favourite graphic novel artists? What do you think most influences your art style?
In the last few years I was very impressed by many of the works of Cyril Pedrosa and Frederik Peeters, two European authors. I would recommend anyone to read at least “Three Shadows” by the first author and “Blue Pills: a positive love” story by the second one: they’re absolutely stunning. About my influences, there are so many that I cannot really count them all. Usually I like to adapt my art style to the story I’m going to draw, so it’s hard to tell. With the AF graphic novels I tried a very light ink to let room for Paolo Lamanna’s fantastic colours. The result I had in mind was like a young adult cartoon movie with a European appeal, a little anime style, and with the same attention to detail of some of them. Did I get it?
How was it, as an experience, to work on the Artemis Fowl series? What sort of obstacles did you face? Which of your ideas didn’t make the final cut (assuming this happened)?
Working on the Artemis Fowl Graphic Novels was amazing – how could it possibly be different?
As far as I remember I didn’t have any huge problems while working on these graphic novels, but a couple of challenges, yes. The first one was trying to do any new book better than the previous ones, and I hope I succeeded! The second was facing the readers’ reaction: since the very beginning I knew that each reader had in mind his own idea of how Artemis, Holly and Butler could look like, and I knew that imposing my own vision of them might be tough. That’s why I’m happy each time I get good reviews but I do also understand the ones who say that Artemis is not how was in their own mind. Just want to say that I love those characters as much as they do, and each page I draw is meant to deserve a small place next to the characters just how they imagined. That’s a real challenge.
An idea I had that didn’t go through was about the narration: at first I wanted to try a more free compositing of the page – something between manga and US comics – but Andrew and Eoin always had different thoughts about it and I didn’t manage to change their mind – except in one single panel in the first book, I won’t tell you which one! – and finally I can say their idea suited the story much better than mine.
How long did it take to create the initial character sketches? Was there a lot of back and forth with Eoin?
At the beginning I received some input from Eoin and Disney/Hyperion and took some time – one week or so – to develop my sketches. Just then we started discussing in detail and refining each character. I cannot say exactly how long it took, but I can say for sure and it’s a process that still goes on each time I show another small piece of Artemis’ world we haven’t seen before. It’s funny because some characters were developed at the moment, while some others – like Holly and Butler – were strongly influenced by some rough sketches I did when I read the first book three years before I even knew I would be working on these graphic novels. That’s how much I love them.
Was it difficult imagining all of the characters, and what they would look like?
Not really. They were so vivid in my mind, not exactly the shape but the idea of them, as if I already met them before.
Were the characters you drew a clear representation of the characters you had in your head?
They could never be, but I try my best to draw them at least as a nice imitation.
What was the most fun part about working on the AF books? On the other side of the coin, what was the most difficult part?
Spending most of my day, nearly everyday for a whole year working hard on an incredible story with amazing characters I’m getting to know better and better everyday: that’s the funny, and the difficult part too.
Demons will be showing up in the 5th Artemis Fowl graphic novel. Is there any particular aspect of demons which sets them apart from other types of fairies that you paid special attention to when you drew them?
We haven’t started work on the fifth graphic novel yet. I’d love to do it. If fans want to see more Artemis graphic novels then they should ask Hyperion – very nicely, of course. I’d love to draw the Lost Colony.
What future/upcoming project excites you the most?
With the French writer Frederic Bremaud and Boris Czerny, a professor specialized in Russian literature, I’ve just finished to illustrating a book of Russian traditional Jewish tales, which was pretty exciting because it gave me the opportunity to experiment a very different art style and telling old tales nearly unknown and previously unpublished. Beside that, there’s an original project Eoin, Andrew and myself are developing that we really care about, but I cannot say much yet, just… fingers crossed.
And maybe one day there will be demons.
It has been an absolute pleasure, Giovanni – thanks for your time.
Pleasure is all mine.
Cheers to all the Artemis’ fans and AFC!