A former Marvel and DC Comics artist, Brazilian-born Sergio Cariello is the illustrator of The Action Bible, an updating of the David C. Cook’s successful Picture Bible, releasing this month.
How does your faith inform your art?
Because my parents brought me up taking me to church and Sunday school, I learned about the Bible at a very young age. Even as I kept drawing and getting published, I had a strong desire to know God better, so I went to a Bible school to study God’s Word full time at age 16. But I never stopped drawing and I dreamed of one day combining the truths of the Word with my ability to draw.
How did your career develop?
After I finished further Bible training in New York, I applied to an art school there and was accepted. I became a janitor in a church 40 miles away in order to attend (art school). Later I entered the business as a letterer for Marvel. Soon I was fulfilling my dream of drawing comics for a living, working at home.
What was your greatest professional achievement prior to this Bible?
I was fortunate to be able to draw Spider-Man, Avengers, Batman, Wonder Woman and many iconic characters in comics, but one character who got me an Eisner (Award) nomination for best new series in 2007 was The Lone Ranger.
How do your illustrations differ from the original in The Picture Bible?
I have a great respect for the original work done by (André) Le Blanc. Mine differ in style, just by being a different artist with (my) own personal tastes. Maybe also in the dynamics introduced, where I tried to jazz it up and modernize it, adding more impact and action to it, hopefully implementing what I’ve learned in my career as an artist for so many different genres.
What is it like to draw Jesus?
It’s a great thrill combined with a great weight of responsibility. I imagine Jesus not as portrayed in most history books, with very delicate, angelic gestures, but someone strong, well built, ready to walk a few miles on foot and work hard as a carpenter, always ready for the task ahead of Him—even the one that took his life for three days.
Which was the hardest Bible story to illustrate and why?
The battle scenes were the hardest ones because of all those people I had to draw (laugh).
Don’t cartoons trivialize the Word of God?
Only if the ones behind the production don’t have the respect and the seriousness of the content. No matter if the style is cartoony or different from one someone might be used to seeing, the key is the motivation behind it.