Interview: Leandro Fernandez

Leandro Fernandez

 This interview was done through emails in december  2003

Matthieu-David: Which artists influenced you the most ? And what are your influences in general ?

Leandro Fernandez: This is a difficult question for me because many times you see things on some artist and later you don’t realize it makes an influence on your art. I could say the guy who made me want to become a comic artist is definitely Hugo Pratt. Not only his drawings but his stories are amazing and I grew up reading him.

  When I was a kid there were many comics made in Argentina I used to read a lot. We could say they were very similar at the ones you can see in the European industry, most than anything in the Italian and French publications. In fact, many of those artists ended working for any companies in Europe. I also was a big fan of Asterix when I was very young. I was lucky my father used to buy those books I love so much and I read that much too.

  I also used to look Marvel and DC comics books too, so I could say I grew up watching both kind of comic art (I’m talking about European and American comics, whose I think are very different one from another).

  That’s happened when I was a kid. Then I started to learn and pay more attention on the artist and writer’s names when I began to get involved with the comic job. From those times I can say I watched a lot Frank Miller’s job. I also studied a lot at Mike Mignola. I can say I love the art of Kent Williams, Dave McKean, Bill Sienkiewicz, Frank Frazetta, Travis Charest, Simon Bisley, John Romita Jr, Carlos Pacheco, Jim Lee, Moebius, Alberto and Enrique Breccia, Manara, Jordi Bernet, José Muñoz, Carlos Zaffino, Tardi, Katsuhiro Otomo, Hermann, and I could keep saying a lot of them. 

  Another obvious influence in my job is Eduardo Risso (100 Bullets, DC Comics). As I was his assistant along three years, there are many things I caught from him even I didn’t realize it. I’m very grateful about the chance to work with him and all the things I learned from him. 


Hugo Pratt


Frank Miller

Mike Mignola


Eduardo Risso


M-D: Is there an artist you would you love to work with ? (writer, inker or colourist )

L.F.: I’d love to draw an Alan Moore script. I mean it, I’d love to. To have that chance would mean an incredible thing for me, it would be a dream come true.



Alan Moore


M-D: On which comic book would you like to work or is there a specific character that you would like to work on ( can even be a dream project )?

L.F.: Well, I’d like to make a self created characters story any time. I’d like to sit and write something of my own sometime. With my own characters, I mean. But this is a thing I’d like to do more ahead, not right now. Now I want to focus on drawing.

  From the characters I like to draw, well, right now I’m drawing my favourite, Wolverine, so I’m very very happy. I’d like to draw Batman sometime, or the Punisher. I love dark characters


M-D: If you hadn’t worked in comics, what would you have done for a living ?

L.F.: That’s a difficult question in this moment. I’m a graphic designer too, and I also worked doing that before. But after getting involved that much in the comics job as I am right now I don’t want to see myself doing anything else. It’s a matter of identity. I’m a comic artist. I want to go on doing this because I love it.


M-D: Could you describe your typical day ?
L.F.: I wake up at 7:00. After a good breakfast I sit on my drawying board, where I spend the most of the day. When I work, I use to listen radio (unless I'm making the first layouts, I can't listen a fly when I'm doing that), and I also use to drink a lot of mate (it's a south american infussion, some kind of tea).
At noon I make a break and I go to the pool, and swim for an hour or so.
After that, I have lunch (I cook it first). THen I go back to work. Sometimes I sleep a 15 minutes little nap.
I stay drawying until 21:00 more or less, when I stop to cook again. I enjoy it, and I use to have some drinks when I'm doing that, to start getting relaxed and take my mind outta the work. I eat with my girlfriend, and then we go for a walk or see TV. Of course, when I'm not out. I go to bed with a book at 24:00, more or less.


M-D: If you were a comic book character, who would you be ? and why ?

L.F.: I think I’d love to be Corto Maltese. I love his stories, I like the time in History he had to live in, and the universe around him Hugo Pratt created. He’s a sailor, travels around the world… it’s awesome.


M-D: What’s your favourite movie ( by the way I really like the “apocalypse now” look on your Wolverine cover ) ?

L.F.: Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

Respecting your question is a little difficult for me to choose one favourite movie. I think I don’t have one. There are so many, and so goods… and many times you like some things from one but you don’t like another… It has to be with the moment you’re living, too. For example, in the 90’s, I felt very impressed when I saw Pulp Fiction and discovered Tarantino. But in the 80’s I was a little boy who loved Mad Max (the first and the second). I like Apocalypse Now, of course, who doesn’t??? I could say about the Godfather, Coppola’s Dracula, Blade Runner, Taxi Driver, Snatch, the Fight Club, Sexy Beast, I don’t know… these kind of questions make me think on thousands of items and I’d never say which is the best.


M-D: Since you like Tarantino : did you see “Reservoir Dogs” ?

L.F.: I did, of course. I loved it. But to be honest, I think the key movie of Tarantino was Pulp Fiction, not Reservoir dogs. I think if he wouldn't make Pulp Fiction, he wouldn't have become so successful. It was the point who made him rise the top, for me. 


M-D: Speaking of movies do they inspire you in your work ?

L.F.: Not exactly, right now. They use to do it when I was a kid and I used to draw for fun. Now this is my job, even if I enjoy it a lot, I have my mind in a special state when I work... I have to be very focused. The case of Apocalypse now cover was an obvious reference, but not an inspiration.

What inspires me to work is a good mate (an infusion of south America, a kind of tea) on my drawing board, next to a sunny window, early in the morning.


M-D: you spoke about reading Corto Maltese  and Asterix adventures, Have you seen their adaptation on film ( Corto maltese as an animated film and Asterix as feature films ) . If so what did you think about those ?

L.F.: I haven't seen them. I will.



M-D: More generally what do you think about the translation from comics to films ? ( which do you think succeeded in terms of visual ideas and story telling )

L.F.: Well, in general you can say there's a lot of different things. Some times there's a good job done, some times it's not so good. The main thing is that they are two different medias, with different timing, different resources and limitations. I've readen a lot of movie adaptation to comics (it would be in the inverse sense) when I was a kid on an Argentinean editorial they used to publish a lot of that kindda things. And I used to enjoy them a lot. I want to see Corto Maltese, the animated films, because I really have the curiosity. I've seen a trailer and it caught my attention. But the case of Asterix is not the same. I think the comic is such a well done thing that a movie of this would be unnecessary and the quality of the product would never be at the high of the original. I'm talking suppositions, because as I told you, I didn't see the movie. BY the way, I say it again, the comic Asterix is amazing. They should recommend it at schools.


M-D: What’s your favourite song ?

L.F.: The same, it’s difficult to choose one, but I could say about the record I know I heard the most in my life: U2, “Achtung Baby”. From that Album I’d choose “Even better than the real thing” or “Until the end of the world”. But I like so many kinds of different music that it would be unfair to another musicians… “Trenchtown Rock” of Bob Marley, “Crosstown traffic” of Jimmy Hendrix, “L.A. Woman” of the Doors, “The great gig in the sky” of Pink Floyd, “Wild Horses” of the Rolling Stones, Saint Germain, Manu Chao, and I could keep on and on… and I didn’t said anything about Argentinean musicians I like a lot. Or the classical ones (I love the Albinoni adaggio, in example). Or movies music, like the ones Ennio Morricone did.


M-D: do you listen to music when you draw ?

L.F.: Yeah, and I could say it inspires me, too. I use to listen a lot radio, I like to listen the news and good radio shows. And in matter of music I have a wide taste. I like from Rock and Roll to classic. Disco and ethnic, blues or tango... very different things. But I prefer calmed down music when I work. Saint Germain, Morcheeba, Chicane, Nitin Sawhney, Caetano Veloso, Manu Chao, Air, argentine music... it depends on the moment.


Jorge Luis Borges

M-D: What’s your favourite book ?

L.F.: “The Aleph” of Jorge Luis Borges (or “The book of sand”, too). I also liked a lot “For whom the bells toll” of Ernest Hemingway, and “A farewell to arms”.


Ernest Hemingway

M-D: No south american writers ? 

L.F.: One of my favourite writers is Osvaldo Soriano (I didn't name him because I don't think people from outside of Argentina know him). He  was exiled in Paris ( Paris always had that kind of sad relationship with southamerican countries, above all Argentina. The men who missed the tango, who had to live the boheme... without any cent in the cold streets of Paris...) . 


M-D: Is there a comic book character that you really can’t stand ? which one and why ?

L.F.: I don’t know… I’d have to search a lot… but I don’t have anything personal against anyone in particular, I think… I’d have to search for it.


M-D: Did you have some hard times in your career ? which ones and how did you deal with those ?

L.F.: Of course. THe worse was when I remained without a job and I've been working for Marvel. I had to go back and work as a graphic designer employeed by a company. It took me a couple of years to get a comic job again.


M-D: What is your best achievement so far ?

L.F.: I don’t know… ask me when I grow older, right now I’m doing the things!!! It’s not a time to make a balance still.


M-D: How do you work on the covers ? Do the editor  give you a specific  direction or are you free ? does it depends on the project ? 

L.F.: Yes it does. Most of the times I read the script first and I try to use or the image I think it’s the best to describe the interiors, or one which could be a resume of it. And when I don’t have the scripts, I ask for a description of what happens on the comic, then I work with the ideas talking with the editor, searching for the most adequate.


M-D: Do you prefer to do cover illustration or the art inside ?

L.F.: It’s good to make both works alternating, so you rest from each one in the meantime you do something else. But I can say I prefer to do comics itself, I mean the art inside. I love to tell stories.


M-D: What's your favourite type of scripts ? very detailled or not ?
L.F.: The good ones. If I'd have to choose, I think I'd prefer not so detailed. But it's OK with both.

M-D: What material do you use for your art ? what type of pencils do you use ?
L.F.: I use B2 pencils. I do the firsts sketches with a 2mm point, then I do the details and the finished stuff with a 0.5 mm. To ink, I use a brush for some lines a then waterproof markers. And to fill, ordinary ink.

M-D: how do you look back at your past work ? Are you still happy with your past pages ? Or do you critizise your work a lot ?

L.F.: I'm never happy with the pages. I'm very exigent and it's like I'm denaying it all of the time. In fact, I'm not looking at them too much. I take my time when I receive the trades paperbacks to read it and see them well, but some times it makes me depressed. 

M-D: What’s the weirdest drawing a fan asked you ?

L.F.: I’ve been told to draw all kind of weird things by many guys, sometimes they ask for funny things. I can remember a guy in San Diego asked me a very exaggerated gay version of Wolverine.


M-D: What surprised you the most when you arrived in Paris ? 

L.F.: Paris is magic. I mean, there are a lot of things that catch the attention of people who doesn’t live there (maybe to the ones who live there too). Everything is a dream: I could spend a lifetime sitting on a café in Saint Germain des Pres just watching people passing by. Or just get lost walking by anywhere, the Latin Quarter or Montmartre. I could stay one year on the Pont Des Arts hypnotized looking at the river. I love to take taxis going by the Seine’s bank. I love to eat a crepe, a well cooked duck with a glass of good wine and to listen the people of Paris talking that nice way of talking they have. I don’t know, I love that city. I’d love to live there for a long time. There’s no place like Paris.


M-D: I'm glad you liked Paris, and if you want to come back I’ll make sure the convention organisers in Paris know this :)  ( by the way my movie school is in Montmartre J )

  L.F.: Lucky of you... if I were you I wouldn't be able to go to classes... I'd spend all day going around and around the place. Very nice hill. Lovely cafes. Awesome breads.


M-D: Is there a question no one ever asked you in interview  and what would be the answer ?

L.F.: I don’t think so. I use to be asked about many curious things in some interviews, above all of the place I’m coming from and that stuff…


M-D: And since My website is on Dr Doom mainly, I have some specific questions about of Dr Doom…

L.F.: I’m a little embarrassed about these last questions because I didn’t read that much Dr. Doom to have a concrete opinion… in fact, it’s a character I don’t know that much. I’m sorry if I disappoint you.

M-D : Don’t worry it takes way more than that to disappoint me J ! And for someone who doesn’t know  Dr Doom you draw me a hell of a sketch ! 

Thanks a lot Leandro  !


 Check Leandro Fernandez website at :