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Nicola Scott


The Real Wonder Woman: Nicola Scott Talks Shop

By Adam White
Published: 2006-06-18


Upon discovering Nicola Scott’s work in Angel Spotlight: Illyria, I knew I needed to find out all I could about this wonderful artist who had somehow managed to slip into the industry beneath my radar. So I started with an obligatory Google search and dug up what I could on Scott, then started a list of her work that I had somehow missed. After diligently scouring message boards and the like I came up with a way to contact her and decided to get the real 4-1-1 straight from the source. Thankfully, Ms. Scott’s personality is as outstanding as her artwork, so she sat down for an e-interview to graciously give us the scoop on what she’s done, what she’s up to, and where she’s headed.

ADAM WHITE: What first interested you in drawing? Were you inherently predisposed towards art or was it something you discovered and worked towards?

NICOLA SCOTT: My mother and my grandmother were/are artists, so my sisters and I were tutored in art from the very beginning. My eldest sister is a graphic designer and I’ve been in and out of various visual arts for most of my adult life, so it held us in good stead.

AW: How would you describe your method of drawing? What instruments (for lack of a better term) do you prefer?

NS: I work on a lightbox. I do the roughest of roughs, just the basic composition really, on the right side of the paper. I then flip it to the wrong side (a trick I do to give myself an instant “fresh eye”) and work in as much detail as I need to do the finished piece. I then flip back to the right side and start the finished art. I try to do the finished art as quickly as possible so as to not lose any vitality from the stages. I work with a mechanical pencil usually, or a collection of markers if I’m doing the inks.

AW: When you sit down to do a page, what influences your choices for panel layouts and where the focus lies over the course of the page?

NS: On my second reading of the script I do thumbnails in the margins. I look for sequences in panels, like a conversation

I pick the moment, if any, on a page and make sure I give it the largest of panels.

or a steady beat or the progress of an action, and try to keep those panels together in size and shape. Then I pick the moment, if any, on the page and make sure I give it the largest of panels. As long as I’m not repeating myself from page to page and the layouts work next to each other then I’m happy. The details of each panel then just have to fit.

AW: When thinking compositionally, how do you weight each element in a particular issue? Do you map it all out thoroughly beforehand or just start and see where it takes you?

NS: I try to give the layout or idea behind the presentation of each scene its own look. It helps to break up the issue into distinguishable parts.

AW: As your art style progresses over time, do you find yourself mastering a particular preferred technique or do you find yourself experimenting with other styles and/or methods of drawing?

NS: I’m still experimenting a little. I know I like clean lines, I know I like detail, and I know I like design. With that, I just play around whenever an opportunity comes up.

AW: When drawing an issue, how closely do you rely on the script for the direction of the art? Do you prefer comprehensive scripts or like to experiment more with your interpretations of the scenes and explore different possibilities?

NS: I’ve worked on all manner of scripts, both heavily detailed and very bare, and I like them all for different reasons. The details I like the most are the descriptions of people’s delivery of lines. Capturing the expression that goes along with it is my favourite thing to do.

AW: What writers and artists inspire you as a creator? Are they mainly comicbook creators, or are there people from other fields such as literature, film, television, etc., that influence your desire to create?

NS: I think most creators take inspiration from everything that appeals to them. For me it’s everything from fine art to Olympic

Capturing the expressions that go along with people’s delivery of lines is my favourite thing to do.

gymnasts. I love artists with a great sense of design and colour, like Klimpt or Modigliani. I love watching actors achieve a very distinct mix of emotions with a subtleness that’s often missing in comics; I do my best to render those subtleties. I love seeing bodies in peak condition on the go — what they can and can’t do always inspires me to draw.

AW: What, if anything, do you think is currently great work in comicbooks? What creators and/or specific books do you think use the medium to its fullest extent and make you excited to be a part of the industry?

NS: One of my favourite and most inspiring artists is cover/pin-up artist Adam Hughes. He achieves such a distinct reality while never losing his amazing knack for design. I don’t really get to read comics that often, and most of the time when I do it’s trades that people have suggested are a must. Currently I’m getting into Ex Machina, Sandman, and The Authority. Loving them all.

AW: I was introduced to your work in the Illyria one-shot from IDW and, needless to say, I was impressed. What are the differences (if any) of working on a licensed property that has previously existed in another medium? How do you translate the performances of an actor onto the page and maintain the characters’ quirks and personality (which you did so wonderfully in Illyria)?

NS: Thanks! The major difference that I’ve found while working on a few licenced properties is maily the audience. Generally comic readers don’t read, say, Star Wars comics, but Star Wars fans do while not really getting into other comic titles. I find that a similar thing happens with the Angel series.

The biggest hurdle creating them, however, comes from achieving a sufficient likeness to the actors I’m drawing for six panels a page

For licensed comics, it’s more important that the character looks the same from panel to panel rather than exactly the same as the actor in every panel.

for twenty-two pages. I find the best way to do so is to become familiar with the character’s body language and design a way to draw the actor’s face in your own art style. For me it’s more important that the character looks the same from panel to panel rather than exactly the same as the actor in every panel. A photo likeness is completely unrealistic when it needs to be achieved over and over and you have a deadline chomping at your heels.

AW: I have read that you are not only a talented artist but are active in numerous creative fields — what various professional pursuits have you explored over the years?

NS: My only serious training was as an actor. I pursued that one for ages without really getting too far. I’ve also worked as a Production Designer for numerous plays and films. Costume design and construction, commercial art, modeling, blah blah blah. All of these had great moments but I’ve kinda let them all slip as the comic work grows. The great thing is that I can apply all this experience to what I do now!

AW: I have also read that you were almost cast as Wonder Woman — how was that experience for you and are there any other superhero roles you could see yourself playing?

NS: Hmm, that was about seven years ago now. It was a huge moment but the beginning of the end of my acting career. Anyone who’s met working actors would know that generally they’re quite petite. I’m nearly 6’ and that proved to be one of the main reasons I had trouble getting cast in anything. When Wonder Woman came along it was the one time that my height would play in my favour. I got down to the final two before the show was put on hold and then dumped. I lost my energy for acting after that. As for other heroes, anyone tall with cheekbones would do ;)

AW: So that’s why I was unemployable in Hollywood: I’m a little over 6’4” myself. And here I was afraid it was related to talent or personality; at least now I know it was because of something deeply meaningful instead. Thanks Hollywood!

My own failed ambitions aside, back to more serious questioning. What superpower would you most like to have and why?

click to view full size

click to view full size

NS: Flying! Without question!

AW: If you could work on any three series of your choosing, what would they be?

NS: A new character-driven origin for Wonder Woman; a JLA arc; a World’s Finest story.

AW: I’d love to see your take on a Wonder Woman origin; that said, if you’re interested in character-driven, meaningful stories, I’d suggest skipping out on the new Heinberg/Dodson Wonder Woman.

What three writers do you most want to work with, if the opportunity presents itself?

NS: Greg Rucka, as he has an incredible knack for interesting, character-driven stories with strong female leads. Gail Simone, ‘cause she likes to have fun. Mark Waid, for he can tell an epic tale.

AW: What work of your own are you most proud of or is your personal favorite?

NS: To date I’d have to say it was the Illyria one-shot. It was a great story with emotional depth, and a female lead was right up my alley.

AW: Do you have any creations of your own you would like to publish one day as a creator-owned book?

NS: Oh yes. When the time is right.

AW: What work do you have coming up that we can look forward to? And please, plug anything and everything you can because I’m anxious for more of your projects.

NS: There’s going to be a little more for the IDW Angel series. I’m also about to start work on Queen & Country with Greg Rucka for

I’m about to start work on Queen & Country with Greg Rucka for Oni

Oni. There’s some talk of a trade being published of my Halloween Man stories. I’ve contributed to a horror anthology called Shivers coming out through Onyx Publishing, a trade of the Image title Season of the Witch, and I’m currently in talks to do an event comic crossover for next summer starring two very hot tough chicks with big swords.

AW: Queen & Country? Excellent! You get to work with one of your “choice” writers and I get to see your work on one of my favorite series! That’s a Two-for-One if I ever saw one.

Which (sadly) brings us to the end of this discussion, but I’m glad we got to end it on such a high note. It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot more work from Nicola Scott in the upcoming year, and all on projects that each and every one of you should make sure to buy — I know I will.

I’d like to thank Ms. Scott for all her time and energy in participating in this interview, and encourage everyone out there to seek out her upcoming work as well as all her previous projects (e.g. Angel Spotlight: Illyria, Star Wars: Empire #26-27, Season of the Witch #3-4, etc.). If you enjoy Nicola Scott’s work even half as much as I do then you’re guaranteed to love it and claim her as one of your new favorite artists.

So keep an eye out for work from Nicola Scott; but if you foolishly miss it you can always come back here to where I’m certain to be talking about it and keeping you informed.





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