Interview: Paul Renaud

 

 This interview was done through emails from february 2004 to march 2004

  ( All illustrations by Paul Renaud, except the one noted otherwise )

 

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

Paul Renaud: My influences came from the books I read, movies I watched as a kid. Most of the top american artists of the 80's had a huge influence on me. I was reading X-Men, Daredevil (like everybody else)...so I was a fan of John Byrne, Frank Miller, Paul Smith, Art Adams, Michael Golden.

Alan Davis is also a very important influence because his work showed a great mixing of various styles. From Neal Adams to Frazetta...and he had also this round, almost  cartoony approach that I love.

Oh, and I love space opera. I watched an animated Flash Gordon as a kid that lead me to love all the Alex Raymond heirs...artists like Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, and more recently Mark Schultz, Dave Stevens, Frank Cho.

I first got into french comics through Moebius, Georges Bess, Olivier Vatine, Regis Loisel.

 

 

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

P.R.: There's a lot of writers that I would love to work with. If I had to name one, I'd say Neil Gaiman. Well the thing is I don’t know if I would be the right guy to work with him...but I’m very fond of his writing.

Paul Neary is an artist I'd love to work with someday. I learned a lot about inking looking at his work over Davis pencils. He's doing great on Ultimates nowadays. His work is just awesome.

 

Neil Gaiman

 

 

 

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 )?

P.R.: I'd love to do Flash Gordon.

M-D: Could you describe your typical day ?
 
P.R.: Hardly. I don't have typical day. Right now, I work all night and morning and wake up at 6 pm. Then I check my mails and make some phone calls...sometime I go out for a movie or just meet some friends...then it's the drawing board again

 

 

by Loisel

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

P.R.: Pelisse's Fourreux, for obvious reasons. For those who don't know the character, check out The Roxana series (La Quęte de l'Oiseau du Temps in french) by LeTendre and Loisel.

 

M-D: What’s your favourite movie  ?

P.R. :Tough one. I really can't name just one. OK, maybe "Zero Effect", with Bill Pulman and Ben Stiller.

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

P.R.: Absolutely

 

M-D: In what ways ? in term of angles, lights ? and do you use Dvd’s to analyse some shots ?

P.R.: Most of the time, I try to focus on how the director did the editing part. I do not use dvds, but analysing angle shots, lights and everything is something I do of course…like everybody else who’s interested by sequential art. It’s just that you cannot help looking for the best ways to tell a story.

 

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 )

P.R.: It depends entirely of who will direct the movie, and if he/she decides to stay true to the original material. I think it’s better to do a great deal of changes but keep the right spirit (like X-Men) than just do the same stuff on wide screen taking the risk of being ridiculous. Especially with super-heroes. Sam Raimi managed to entirely translate the classic Spider-Man comics into a cool movie, but I don’t think Daredevil’s adaptation worked as well as a movie. Maybe it’s just that they wanted that kind of hype action movie… and they lost what made DD a unique character. I just prefer to re-read Born Again for the 30’s time!

Aside from the super-heroes, I loved Ghost world. I liked the Rocketeer movie (they took off Betty, but we have Jennifer Connely). I’m a big fan of the Akira animated movie and also Ghost in the Shell (even like it better than the comics version).  

 

M-D: What’s your favourite song ?

P.R.: I’m not sure I have a favorite song, really. Or it changes every ten days. Today it’s Eternal Life (Jeff Buckley).

 

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

P.R.: Yes, all the time.

 

 

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

P.R.: Not really, it's just a matter of how the story is handled.

 

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

P.R.: An old lady asked me to draw her dog once... painful experience.  

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

P.R.: .: I wish I had something to answer to that question

 

 
M-D: What material do you use for your art ? what type of pencils do you use ?
 
P.R..:Mostly brushes and good markers, water color inks... oh and also a computer now.

 

M-D: do you prefer to do illustrations and Pin-ups or sequential art ?

P.R.: Sequential art. Pin-ups are just fun. I’ve done just a few pieces you could call illustrations… I consider most of the commissions I’ve done to be just fun pin-ups.

I have a passion for illustrators. Sometime I’d like to take more time to work at my illustrations, but as I told you, I just prefer doing  comics…working for a story.

 

M-D: how do you look back at your past work ?  do you critizise your work a lot ?

 
P.R. : I do critizise a lot! Ask Rich DeDominicis who wrote the first story of the book.

 

M-D: let’s talk about “Cavewoman The Movie” ! First of all congrats !

P.R.: Thank you!

 

M-D: How did you get to do that one shot ?

P.R.: It’s just something that poped up in a conversation between my friend Rich DeDominicis and Budd Root (creator of Cavewoman). I think Budd was aware of my work through Frank Cho’s message board (very cool board by the way -hey guys!) where my pics were posted. He and Kevin Alsop (from Basement Comics) liked my stuff, so working on a Cavewoman project came naturally.

I really like the books, so I was glad to get in.

 

M-D: What were the hardest challenges in drawing “Cavewoman The Movie”?

P.R.: The size of the breasts didn’t came right at first…had to focus on that, a lot!

 

M-D : Where there challenges  that seemed hard to achieve at first sight but were finally easy to do ?

P.R.: The deadline. To be honest, I should have taken a few more days for the last 5 pages (Kevin would have let me), but I wanted to make the deadline. It was like a challenge. I was doing 2 pencilled and inked pages a day… too much for me.  No one has complained about that last pages, so I guess it’s ok (maybe because this second story in the book is more cartoony, so it doesn’t matter as much as a realistically drawn story like story one).

 

M-D: Can we expect more CaveWoman issues drawn by you in the future ?

P.R.: Yes, absolutely. We’ve talked about several Cavewoman projects I might do. And I’d love to work with Budd someday. I love his writing.

 

M-D: what are your next projects ?

P.R.: I’m working with my friend and writer Greg Makles on a new sci fi comics called Century01. It’s a very demanding project, but the story is worth the hard work.

We want to have the first book (46page) released in the end of 2004 in France and maybe later in the US. The first story arc is 92 page long, so we’d better wait for the story to be finished before releasing it in the states as a 4 comics mini series.

 

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

P.R.: How does it feel to be a genius? And the answer is : I wish I knew.

 

M-D:  And since my website is focused on Dr Doom How would you describe this character ?

P.R.: I would say he’s an armored evil scientist who has a passion for green, for dictatorship and world conquest. He’s secretly in love with Reed Richards but manage to focus his energy in creating the most outrageous designed deadly weapons in comics history.

 

M-D: LOL ! OK !  Who do you think wrote Dr Doom the best ?

P.R.: I’m VERY fond of the Byrne era of the FF. He did GREAT Doom stories. It’s by far my favorite version of the character.

M-D:  Who draw Dr DOOM the best in your opinion ?

P.R.: Mike Mignola in that Doom/Dr Strange graphic novel.

 

by Mike Mignola

 

M-D: Merci beaucoup Paul !

P.R. : Avec Plaisir 

 

 Check http://www.theartofcomics.com/renaud/renaud.htm to see more of Paul's Art.

 If you want to get in touch with Paul, go to his message board : http://theartofcomics.com/renaudbb/index.php

Very very special thanks to Paul for offering me his sketchbook and his Cavewoman issue that sold out everywhere I looked.