You might say André Lima Araújo is the new kid on the block in the world of professional artists, especially at Marvel. But in a short time he’s established himself as one hell of a talent and he’s certainly pumping out work that ensures he’ll be around for a long, long time. From Hickman’s FF to his current run on Avengers A.I., André has done a lot in a short amount of time. The sky is the limit and we’re proud to present the interview below. Read on, true believer!
All-Comic.com: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with us, André!
André Lima Araújo: Thank you for having me, it’s my pleasure.
Let’s start at the top. What made you decide to become a comic artist?
André Lima Araújo: I’ve been drawing for as long as I could hold a pencil, and I’ve been reading comics long before I could actually read words. My mother used to read the text for me and whenever she was busy I’d make it up. I don’t remember a specific moment where it sparked my interest, it just grew with me. But if I have to pinpoint a specific type of comics, it was definitely Disney comics, in particular Donald Duck books. Soon I started reading other things too, like Lucky Luke, Astérix, and Portuguese editions of Spider-Man, Batman, etc.
Who were/are some of your biggest artistic influences?
André Lima Araújo: The books mentioned above had some early influence, but as I grew older my attention started shifting into other things, like European and Japanese science fiction. I discovered Moebius through Blueberry and later on his solo work (Arzach, Airtight Garage, etc) which had an immediate and very powerful impact on me. Same thing happened with Katsuhiro Otomo through Akira and Masamune Shirow with Ghost in the Shell and the rest of the works of these creators. There are many more of course, like Don Lawrence, Akira Toriyama or Naoki Urasawa, but I’d say those are the most impactful creators on my development as an artist.
What was your first professional gig?
André Lima Araújo: My first professional gig was a Marvel book, FF#22, published in 2012, written by Jonathan Hickman.
What was it like seeing your art sitting on the shelf of a comic shop for the very first time?
André Lima Araújo: It was a lot of fun. It was a kind of validation; of something you really want becoming real. It also was (and is) strange to see something you’ve drawn being sold, but in a good way. A bit like when you yourself in a home video, but less embarrassing.
How did you find yourself at Marvel’s door?
André Lima Araújo: C.B. Cebulski is the man that opened Marvel’s door for me. He was in Portugal in a comics festival and I showed him my portfolio. It was not good enough (far from it) but he gave me his e-mail address. Once I had that opening I started sending samples (from both Marvel scripts and my creator owned work) until at some point he said he wanted to get me Marvel work.
Who approached you about working on Avengers A.I.? Did you know writer Sam Humphries before or did Marvel bring you two together?
André Lima Araújo: Once again it was C.B. Cebulski (who has been involved in all the gigs I’ve done at Marvel), with the book editors Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Breevort (with whom I had worked before in FF #22 and Fantastic Four #5AU). After working on the issues mentioned above and some X-Treme X-Men issues as well, I was looking for a lengthier assignment, so they were kind enough to offer me a chance to draw a monthly series, something I’m extremely thankful for.
I didn’t know Sam before that, but getting to know him and work daily with such a nice and talented person is just another perk on an already great gig.
What’s it like working on an Avengers book for, arguably, the biggest comic company in the world?
André Lima Araújo: The fact that my professional career began at Marvel, working with Jonathan Hickman, was already mind blowing for me. Drawing the Fantastic Four with Matt Fraction soon after that, working with Greg Pak and jumping to the Avengers franchise through Mark Waid to Sam, in less than a year, was terrific for me and better than I could imagine it would ever be. I’m very thankful to C.B. Cebulski for all the opportunities he keeps giving me and for his trust, as well as to the other editors I’ve worked with, mainly Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Breevort, with whom I’ve worked the most so far.
André Lima Araújo: Probably in the first category, even though I usually resist labeling. I think it mostly depends on what type of story you’re creating. In Marvel’s case, we’re working with well established characters that exist in a shared universe with a ton of other characters and stories happening at the same time. With that in mind we need to keep things under control so a full script is a good starting point.
When I write for me I also write full script, mostly because the writing I apply is quite visual, in the sense I establish camera angles, zooming, composition, mapping the whole sequence before drawing layouts; and also because the stories I’m writing are somewhat complex, so I need to plan everything accordingly.
I can see moments where a few guide lines and a direct jump to the page could be applied, but it would require a good collaboration and a looser story I think. At least for me.
When it comes to creating your art, do you prefer traditional methods, are you a digital convert or a mixture of both? Can you walk us through a bit of your process?
André Lima Araújo: I work mostly in the traditional methods of pencil and ink on paper for the drawings, which is what I do most of the time. I employ digital tools for coloring, halftones, lettering or things like character designs, where there is a lot of repletion and trial and error involved. I also draw my layouts digitally to save time
As for my usual process, it goes like this for A.I.: I get a script from Sam, read it once quickly to get a good sense of the flow, then read it again and draw quickly the layout grid for each page next to the text. After that I move to the layouts itself, establishing all camera angles, composition and all the elements needed to tell the story properly.
After sending those to Lauren Sankovitch and Sam I go for the pencils and inks, producing usually five pages a week.
Aside from the necessary fill-in issues to maintain the grueling Big Two schedules, are you and Sam indefinitely committed to A.I.? No plans to sneak off and move to another book are there?
André Lima Araújo: Right now we both [put] our hearts and souls into Avengers A.I., making sure we keep bringing the same passion right to the conclusion of this story arch. After that, I’ll steal Tom Breevort’s words: wait and see.
If you could work with any character (Marvel or DC) who would it be and why?
André Lima Araújo: My favorite superheroes have always been Spider-Man and Batman. I enjoy Batman because he is a regular human being, but completely obsessive about what he does and his stories in many occasions are more about police/detective stories grounded in Gotham than about [a] superior being saving the world, which I prefer. I also like his backstory and his mythology, far more than any other DC character.
As for Spider-Man, he has always been the most relatable hero for me. He has problems with girls, rent to pay, jobs that he doesn’t like, unemployment, family dramas and seems to be usually in something way over his head. He is an underdog, but one that overcomes the circumstances with the help of friends, creativity and by using his brains more than relying in his strength and power alone. Also his main principle of with great power comes great responsibility is a good one and a constant reminder that his lesson was learned the hard way, making him a very well grounded and motivated character.
What does the future hold for André Lima Araújo? More Marvel work? Any creator-owned projects in the works? Seems like Image sure is a popular place these days.
André Lima Araújo: I’m currently producing my creator owned book, called Man Plus. It’s a cyberpunk thriller and something I’m very passionate about. Hopefully it will be out next year and you’ll have more news soon. It’s something that I’ve been planning for a while now, but working for Marvel at the same time makes the progress of any side project slow.
And yes, certainly more Marvel work. I’d like to keep the relationship with Marvel as well as keep developing my own books. I’m sure a balance of that will be my immediate future.
Any little hints for A.I. you can share with us? C’mon, we won’t tell anybody!
André Lima Araújo: You wouldn’t believe the crazy stuff I’ve been drawing lately. Remember, we’ll be in 12.000 AD soon. Those who are reading the series will be rewarded big time, because we are making promises we can keep. The scope of the story is spectacular.
Okay, well, thanks André. Really appreciate your time here and look forward to a helluva lot more from you.
André Lima Araújo: Thank you guys, this was fun. See you soon on the pages of Avengers A.I.
If you want to check out more of André’s work check out all the awesome links at the bottom. Make sure to follow him on Twitter and, of course, go check out Avengers A.I.! Volume one is in the finer comic shops around the world and more than worth the cover price.