Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception Graphic Novel Artist On Sketch Tour

“The figures are painted so beautifully they seem to sparkle.” – Artemis Fowl II on ‘The Fairy Thief’

Continuing our series on the new Artemis Fowl The Opal Deception graphic novel out this month, Artemis artist, Giovanni Rigano, has been hitting the road on a sketching tour of comic festivals and libraries in Italy, France, and Germany.  I spoke to him about the joys of drawing in a really really big hurry…

Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception – the Graphic Novel

Gio sketching for Artemis Fowl Opal Deception Sketch tourAdapted by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Art by Giovanni Rigano
Colours by Paolo Lamanna
Lettering by Chris Dickey

Giovanni Rigano is the Italian artist responsible for bringing Artemis Fowl and his assorted supporting cast to glorious life in all four of the Artemis graphic novels, co-written by Eoin and myself.  Altogether Giovanni has drawn close to five hundred pages of comics chronicalling Artemis’s adventures.  He also drew and designed a whole world of the future in the graphic novel adaptation of Eoin’s THE SUPERNATURALIST portraying Cosmo Hill’s quest to end the reign of the energy sucking parasites.

Giovanni lives in the town of Como in Italy on the shores of the very beautiful Lake Como.  If my numerous visits to his home are anything to go by, then he spends most of his time laying on a comfortable sofa near the shores of the lake eating Italian ice cream and drinking Italian beer.

sketches from Opal Deception sketch tourOccasionally though he has to leave his beautiful lake and actually do some work.  This month was one of those tragic times and Gio attended several comics festivals in France and Italy and completed a sketching tour around Germany.

I caught up with Giovanni as he was back guzzling ice cream and beer in Como.  I asked him what it felt like drawing sketches with so many people watching.  Was it very different than doing it in the privacy of his drawing studio?   “It’s like drawing in front of the sea.  You are focused on the empty page, but you hear murmurs.  You hear its gentle lapping, slowly slowly approaching you as you work scribbling line after line on the blank page.  Eventually, the waves reach the desk and engulf you and the sea surrounds you.”  He really said that.  Those are his exact words.  That’s how artists are.  I know.

sketches from Opal Deception sketch tourGio went on: “Each sketch can take anything between 5 to 15 minutes depending on how many people are waiting.”

Do the people in the crowd ever get impatient?  “Usually people who appreciate my artwork are very patient and I always try to do sketches that are worth the wait.”

sketches from Opal Deception sketch tourThe Artemis Fowl books have some of the most dedicated fans in the world.  I wondered, what was the strangest thing he’s ever been asked to draw?  “Once at a festival in the south of France, someone asked me to draw Artemis being quite badly menaced by a really creepy sheep.  That was quite weird.”

Lastly, I asked Giovanni which character among Artemis Fowl’s gang was his favourite to draw?  “My favorite character in the Artemis Fowl series is without a shadow of a doubt… Mulch Diggums.  I love him forever.  The other characters are all great, Artemis, Butler, and Holly, but – look at Mulch?  His smile is the most contagious and charming of the whole crew.  The joy he gets from life is totally infectious.  When he’s happy, he’s like a small, smiling, fat shark swimming in a sea of mud.  He’s absolutely cool!  I love him.”


click to enlarge

opal-deception-paintingGiovanni went on to describe one of his favourite pages in Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception: “It’s the page where Mulch Diggums is caught by Butler eating everything edible in Fowl Manor, his pose is inspired by the Rabelais’ Pantagruel illustrated by French artist Gustave Doré. I think this parallel really matches with the character, and each time I see that page I smile.”

I’m sure readers will too.  Thanks for the chat, Gio.

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See more of Giovanni’s artwork on his website here:

Read more about Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception Graphic Novel

Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception the Graphic Novel is published this month by Hyperion in the USA and Puffin in the UK.

Buy on Amazon US Buy on Amazon UK

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