Paul Renaud is a French comic book artist whose initial big acceptance came through U.S. publishers including Basement Comics (Cavewoman: The Movie, Cavewoman: Jungle Jam) Image (Fear Agent #8, Invincible), and most especially Dynamite Entertainment (predominantly on many Red Sonja titles, but also Athena). Paul’s longest sustained interior efforts are for Cavewoman: The Movie, Cavewoman: Jungle Jam #1 & #2, Fear Agent #8, and his magnum opus (to date) Red Sonja: Vacant Shell. Paul has been recognized as an extremely popular cover artist, and in addition to the projects mentioned above, Paul has done a plethora of covers for Dynamite (on titles as diverse as Warlord of Mars: Dejah Thoris, The Darkness Vs. Eva, Vampirella, Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness, The Green Hornet: Parallel Lives) and a handful of covers and even interior pages for Marvel Entertainment (War of Kings, Timestorm 2009-2099, All-New Savage She-Hulk, Astonishing X-Men, Thunderbolts, Ms.Marvel) and a couple of cover projects for other publishers such as IDW and Dark Horse.
In Europe, he has mainly been published by those who notice his impact on U.S. publishers, although he also had a couple of illustrations published in the tribute book to Alan Moore, “L’hypothese du lezard Alan Moore” [“The Hypothetical Lizard”] ED. LES MOUTONS ELECTRIQUES, JUILLET 2005, and a wonderful portfolio of artwork entitled Heroines. The latter came about when Stripbeurs Breda produced a portfolio with four pencil plates plus an inked cover illustration from Paul in 2010.
Born in 1975, when asked, “who are your artistic influences?” Paul Renaud says, “I’ve got quite a lot of heroes…” They began with childhood fascination to the usual fare available to French children, Tintin, Asterix, Spirou, and the Smurfs. When Paul was around 12 years old, a friend showed him product produced by Marvel Comics for the first time. Paul describes this period of his life as filled with an addiction to the work of John Byrne, Frank Miller, Neal Adams, Don Newton, Art Adams, but two artists in particular stood out: Paul Smith, and Michael Golden. What Paul loved about these two artists was their care for the characters they were drawing, the work on the body language, the expressiveness of the faces. Paul says, “they were also trying to bring some cartoony touches to their realistic style only to serve the story. Their layout were always reader-friendly, clear, and powerful. I have the feeling that part of my roots as a comic-book artist can be found there.”
Later still came Alan Davis, Steve Rude, Kevin Nowlan, Rick Leonardi, Mike Mignola that Paul describes that he loved “for the same reasons” and he still follows everything they do. Later as a teenager, Paul felt the need to search for different kinds of artists. Paul says, “I discovered Moebius then, and I fell deeply in love with his work, his way of living his career as a true artist. I think Moebius (through his books) made me realize that I wanted to do this (comic art) as a living.”
Paul also says that “At the same time I was into digging some old stuff…. I was very influenced by Frazetta… Who ever has interests in the sexiness of the human body has studied Frazetta!” Paul also learned of the work of the artists of “The Studio” Jeffrey Jones, Michael Kaluta, Barry Windsor-Smith and Berni Wrightson, and then the classic strip artists, particularly Alex Raymond, Hal Foster and other realists, of whom he says “Al Williamson was probably my favorite, even at this time.”
More recent influences include Adam Hughes, Bruce Timm, Bryan Hitch & Paul Neary, Kyle Baker, Frank Cho, Charles Vess and many more.
Another hero of Paul’s is Georges Bess. He’s a French artist, and in many ways, Paul’s artistic mentor and teacher. Georges is famous for his work with writer Alexandro Jodorowsky. Together, they did a very successful series called The White Lama, and later a four part story, Juan Solo (Son of the Gun is its American translation)… His books are released in the USA by Humanoids Publishing.
Georges Bess usually works in a very realistic style which could be compared with Joe Kubert in some works and with Moebius in other efforts. Bess also does more “cartoony” comics form time to time. He did a series called Annibal5 that are close to the mainstream North American art style, but quite different from American comics in terms of the story. Paul says of Bess, “He simply masters every style he chooses!”
Coming back to American artists, Paul says “Al Williamson is the one who made me love the whole family: Krenkel, Torres… the whole Fleagle gang. And Flash Gordon! … I love to chat about the “good lizard men” with Paul Neary who’s also a fan. Williamson is an artist I definitely admire. I’m really fan of his whole career, from the early EC jobs to the great inking jobs he did over some of the finest artists of modern comics such as Mignola, Leonardi, Romita Jr, and Weeks among others. The Flash Gordons that Al did for King Comics are some of the best Flash comics ever. He was really the heir to the master, Raymond. One can see he truly loved the character and his universe. He gave it all he had.”
David Mazzuchelli is another artist that Paul admires. Mazzuchelli did two of Paull’s all time favorite books, Daredevil: Born Again and Batman Year One, and at his peak he left the mainstream industry to work on HIS stories. Paul says, “His style may have changed a lot, but the storytelling is style awesome (better and better I should say). It took me some time to understand his current art, but now I can say I really love it.”
Paul’s goals do not include his remaining typecast as a cover artist. He said, “I don’t think I could be happy doing only covers. And honestly, I don’t think I could be a great cover artist like Adam Hughes. I’m always amazed by the quality and ingenuity of his covers. He is truly a master. I like to do covers, but I couldn’t make a career out of it. I find it very hard to produce covers for a book I didn’t draw…just from plots. Storytelling in comics is what I like best.”
Paul Renaud resides in Toulouse, France, with Marion and their cat, Mooki.
Paul Renaud’s ‘s biography is Ray Cuthbert © 2011 and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent from the author