Venetian by birth, Paolo Serpieri soon moved to Rome where he attended the Liceo Artistico (artistic high school). He then turned to painting, becoming a student of Renato Guttuso from whom he tried to distance himself and find his own personal style.
The first part of his career as a comic artist was related to the Western, his great passion: From 1975 to 1980, he collaborated with the weekly magazine Lanciostory (Eura Editoriale), and together with other artists, illustrated the historical comic book encyclopedia The Story of the West (a collected series of stories set in the American wild west) for the French publisher Larousse. These stories were then also published in Italy by various publishers under the title Stories of the Far-West or similar titles.
Already in these works emerges the documentary precision and the careful attention paid to the wild charm of native American women, which is confirmed in later works such as The White Indian (Orient Express), and is even more explicit in the sensual aspects of Druuna, his most celebrated character and protagonist of the comic book Morbus Gravis (1985). Considered by critics to be a radical shift in his work, Morbus Gravis is a story of science fiction and eroticism created for the French monthly magazine Charlie and published in Italy in the magazine L'Eternauta in instalments. Thanks to the success of the character, which was also appreciated at an international level, the Druuna stories seem to have occupied most of the activities of Serpieri who thus constructed a whole saga around them. The omnibus edition of Druuna, containing both comic strips and illustrations, was published in fine quality hardback by the Alessandro Editore.
Serpieri alternated his activities as a comic book artist with those of painter and professor. In the early eighties, he worked on The Comic Book Bible project, and for this reason his work was noticed by the newly born magazine Orient Express which took him on as an illustrator. It was in the Orient Express that the story in which he first began to explore the erotic science fiction that would become his trademark was published. His sensual drawing style is unique and inspires the construction of apocalyptic worlds in which science fiction and fantasy blend in with the dream.
Serpieri appears as a character in some of his comic strips both in his westerns and in the Druuna stories, in which he plays the character of Doc, a doctor tasked with monitoring the state of health of the characters on a spaceship. In 2015, he authored a Tex comic book for Sergio Bonelli entitled L’Eroe e la Leggenda (The Hero and the Legend) for which he took care of the character, the script and the drawings.
He is Artistic Director of the International School of Comics in Rome.