This man needs no introduction. (1) because he's one of Marvel's best artists, pushing the use of watercolors into the 21st century. And (2) because his name plate is right there in the foreground.
I had a very short sketch list in hand. Paolo was the only artist besides Adam Hughes for whom I was prepared to do some reconnaissance before the show and make sure I got on his sketch list.
So much so that during my cab ride to Javits on Saturday morning, I actually thought to myself "I should just bag the Stan Lee interview to make sure I can be at Rivera's table the moment the show opens."
Mind you, there was zero chance of that happening. But like the thought "Wouldn't it be fun to dress in a costume for just one day of the Con?" it was the sort of bad idea that was so awful that it needed to be exposed to the light just to underscore what a bad move that would have been.
The bad news: I didn't make the list on any of those three days. The good news: on Sunday he was kind enough to offer to take some sketch requests home with him.
I enjoyed NYCC a lot more than other largish cons I've attended. I think it's because in recent years, my drive to get sketches has gone from an 8 down to a 2.
I still love getting sketches. I love having something lovely and unique and I'm pleased to say "I think your work is terrific" to an artist via the universal language of love: cash money.
But I started collecting in 1999 and by the mid-2000's it was becoming like a military operation. I'd research nearly every name I was unfamiliar with, weeks before the show. I'd practically draw up a battle plan, with a list of table numbers, prices, which artists I'd need to hit early in the show, how many sheets of character reference to bring. And the days of a Con would center around the artists I wanted to see and the progress of sketches I'd set up. Why was I hanging around for two hours after I wanted to leave? Because I couldn't pick up a finished sketch until the end of the day.
Occasionally, life hands you an OCD test. When you realize that a hobby has become a source of stress instead of a solution for it, will you make some changes or will you continue doing something just because you've always done it?
No OCD here. Now, I'm happy to come home with just one or two pieces of art. Or none. And I'm very happy to spend my time at a comix con as the idle boulevardier who wants to meet people and see new things, not as a man on a stressed-out mission.