Artists Spotlight: Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood on TEEN TITANS
Last month, we revealed a major new storyline in the pages of TEEN TITANS. In issue #94, the Teen Titans and Solstice have to figure out who kidnapped Wonder Girl and Solstice’s parents – and why. Trapped in a lost kingdom and being preyed on by the land’s demonic inhabitants, the team is going to need all the help they can get to find their answers.
Bringing writer J.T. Krul’s epic storylines like this to life is no easy task – but it is one that the unstoppable artist duo Nicola Scott and Doug Hazlewood accelerate at tackling issue after issue. How do they do it? We asked them to describe their artistic processes and what it’s been like working together for so many years.
“Basically I don't really have an inherent or dominating style. At times I wish I was more of an overall artist and could just plug that style in and it would undoubtedly be faster in a lot of cases. As it is, I try to be pretty faithful to the pencils and whatever I add I try to be tasteful. There are inkers who can dominate the final look, but I have never been that type of an inker. It can come in handy if the penciller is weak and the inker has a strong approach (like Wally Wood or Jerry Ordway or some of these younger Image-y whippersnappers) and can compensate for some things,” Doug began.
“Doug and I have worked together for about five years now, building up a really decent body of work at DC, almost all on TEAM books. TEEN TITANS is a book I've wanted to work on since long before starting at DC. I love the characters and I was really interested in seeing how drawing teenagers would be different from drawing adults. I didn't want to just make them smaller or shorter. Teen bodies are different. Their proportions, their body language and the puppy fat on their faces vary in a different way to that of adults. It's been a fun experiment,” Nicola continued.
“For me, usually on the second read through, I start doing thumbnails, for each page, in the margins of the script. It's at this stage that all the tricky stuff needs to be ironed out. Blocking the scene so that characters aren't randomly jumping around from panel to panel. I think it's important that it's clear to the reader who everyone is and where they are. If it changes it's because they've made a move. It keeps the storytelling clear.
I then go straight to the finished art boards and do a really loose composition breakdown in blue pencil. Then I flip the page and on goes my magic lightbox!
I do all my real rough work on the reverse side of the page. Getting my anatomy and faces right is really important and I don't want to damage the surface of the right side with regular erasering. Next step is flipping it back to the right side and doing the final pencils. Even though this stage takes the longest, it's the most straight forward because I've already done all the grunt work. What I'm left with is generally pretty tight, clean pencils all ready for Doug to ink,” she said.
Doug agreed: “Nicola’s pencils are quite tight. TEEN TITANS is the first series we have done via bluelines. She scans in her pencils and uploads them. Nicola is in Australia and I am in Texas. I download them and work with them a bit in Photoshop to make them a bit more high-contrast and clean up some smudges. Then they are converted to non-photo blue/cyan and printed out that way full-size onto DC boards.
This was MY first book done this way also and it took a bit of getting used to. I now have figured out a fairly reliable system and owe a lot of thanks to Walden Wong's blog for great information on how to do stuff like this! It would have been tougher without it.
I'm not that fast an inker and here I have been on four TEAM series in row! I ink mostly with crowquill dip pens and Micron markers. Before I turned pro many moons ago, I really used brush a lot, but I don't know if I could have kept up with deadlines if I had stayed loyal to that as much. Some of the things Nicola turns in I just marvel at and wish I was blessed with as much overall artistic ability,” he replied.
TEEN TITANS #94 hits stores on Wednesday.