It turns out that Italian-born All-New Young Gun artist Sara Pichelli’s 2008 interest in exploring new media indirectly led her to the start of a new career and vast success at Marvel. Like many of her fellow peers, she credits C.B. Cebulski with making her Marvel work possible.
In this interview, learn how Sara got her start and what she continues to strive for!
Marvel.com: When and how did you first break into comics? Also please recount how you started working for Marvel.
Sara Pichelli: In 2008 I lost my job at an animation studio where I was working as a character designer. And since I was starting to feel the urge to explore a new media—in order to have more control of my artwork—I took advantage of this transition to take a stab at becoming a comic book artist. I started to be interested in comics thanks to my amazing partner—and also a comic book artist—David Messina a couple of years before, and it was love at first sight.
In the beginning I started working in the comics industry as David's assistant on a Star Trek book and on Ghost Whisperer for Elena Casagrande [at IDW].
At the end of the same year I participated in a contest called Chesterquest, Marvel's worldwide talent search created by C.B. Cebulski--and unexpectedly I was among the winners. That's how everything began.
I owe C.B. a lot, because he chose and supported me since the very first day of my career at Marvel. Sometimes I wonder what he saw in those first few pages I sent him for the contest; every time I look at them I think they're terrible! So I can never thank him enough for the trust he put in me.
Marvel.com: In what ways are you most pleased with your creative evolution while working in the Marvel Universe?
Sara Pichelli: Working for Marvel means a chance to have fun as well as an opportunity to explore [the boundaries] of my artistic skills. I have had the chance so far to work on brilliant titles with professionals that make me push harder and find new ways to involve and surprise the readers through characters and stories that never get old.
Marvel.com: What have been some of the high points or stand out issues in terms of your work? For instance, not everyone can say they helped introduce as popular a character as Miles Morales!
Sara Pichelli: So far, being part of the creation of Miles Morales is the highest point in my career. It was an ideal condition for an artist like me who loves telling stories and designing characters: I was able to merge my two passions [telling stories and designing characters] and at the same time work on one of the most beloved icons, Spider-Man.
Marvel.com: For most of us, who have never had the pleasure of collaborating with Brian Michael Bendis, could you give us a glimpse what it's like to work with him and to hone your storytelling skills while creating with such a respected industry veteran?
Sara Pichelli: The first time I got one of Brian's script—it was ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN before Miles—I almost cried; half of my reaction was emotions and the other half was anxiety! But I immediately calmed down as I read the first line of the script, he was speaking directly to me, saying hello and explaining why he wanted me on the book. And that made me feel at home right away. I think that's part of the magic of Brian. He's honest, makes his points clear, and at the same time he involves you completely in the creative process, fostering a unique synergy.
Marvel.com: Your art strongly resonates with Marvel readers; what do you think it is about your art or your storytelling approach that connects with fans so completely?
Sara Pichelli: Oh boy! That is a tough question. I'm not used to thinking so much in terms of what's good about my art; usually I'm focused on what sucks! I can only echo what usually my fans write or tell me. Often they say they can easily relate to my characters, feeling that they are "real." I care a lot about the body language, facial expression and the small details that create a look, in this way I always try to give my characters a specific personality, of course respecting their own story, and what the writer's intention is.
Marvel.com: How much is your work influenced and informed by participating in the Truckers studio, an Italian-based art collective with six other artists?
Sara Pichelli: Being part of Truckers—yeah, it sounds weird in English for a group of seven girls, doesn't it—is a source of constant inspiration to me. It's always a moment of sharing, we have artistically grown up together, meshing our different experiences together. Often I experiment on new things with them, before using them in my work for Marvel—it's a lot of fun.
Marvel.com: Creatively what is on the horizon for you at Marvel? Do you have some Marvel characters that are on your wish list to hopefully draw in the near to long term?
Sara Pichelli: I love telling stories, and so far I have had the chance to work on some great ones.
I think every character has a huge potential, and I want to work on that potential as much as possible. I'm ready and willing for any challenge!
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