Sunday, January 8, 2012

Small Press Interview: Scott Hedlund

Scott Hedlund is a Pittsburgh-based small press comics artist. I first met Scott as a customer at Phantom of the Attic Comics and in the course of the last fourteen years we have become friends and artistic collaborators. Several years ago our mutual friend, writer Brian Babyok, asked if I would ink Scott's pencils on a comic called Chaos Punks. This was a project that was not only a lot of fun, but very seminal for me as well. After many years of not working on comics, this project got me back to the drawing table.

We worked at a rate of a page a week. Each Wednesday on new book day at the store Scott would bring me a new, completed page of pencils. I would return them, fully inked, a week later. This weekly deadline and expectation was a key for both of us in terms of production. Over the course of forty-eight weeks we both grew as artists and learned from each other.

Scott continues to grow as an artist and to work on a number of projects.

1) Tell us a bit about your comics and where they are available.

I like to draw a lot of different genres mainly because I'm interested in story-telling. I typically work with a writer on stories. I think it adds something to comic books to have more than one creative person's input on the project. I like to let the story influence me as far as page layouts and finishing techniques play out. This keeps me entertained and challenged to improve my work. Check out Weirdlings Press ( for most of my comics. Some of the more notable projects that I have contributed to includes: Weirdlings, Chaos Punks, World of Orenda, and Fairhaven.

2) Why comics?

I love the art of telling a story. And drawing comics is one of the easiest forms of expression. I put pencil to paper and I am doing just that. It's very satisfying to me personally and I enjoy the community that goes on with other comic creators and comic fans in general.

3) Who have been your biggest influences, both in writing and in art?

Ron Frenz was my first favorite comic book artist with his run on Marvel's Star Wars comic. Later I got into John Romita Jr's Daredevil run. Nowadays I'm inspired by people like Terry Moore, Adam Hughes, Yanick Paquette, Edward Risso and Guy Davis. As far as writers go, I like Peter David on X-Factor, Jonathan Hickman on Fantastic Four, Mark Waid on the new Daredevil, Brian Azzarello on 100 Bullets and Wonder Woman, and Scott Snyder on SwampThing.

4) What are your favorite comics (whether you consider them influential on your style or not)?

Currently, my favorites include: Swamp Thing, X-Factor, The Walking Dead, Wonder Woman, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Ultimate Spider-Man, I, Vampire, Justice League Dark, Rachel Rising, Voodoo, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, FF. I don't even want to get in to past comics. There are too many!

5) Have you studied art or writing in college, or are you self-taught?

I went to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and received a degree in Visual Communications. Drawing comics though pretty much comes from "How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way" and then I went from there.

6) What’s your normal process for creating your comic?

I guess I answered some of this in question 1 as far as how stories come together. The actual drawing part starts with a script, finished or loose and I break down the script into thumbnail drawings. This part defines story-flow/pace, overall page layout, character positions and space for word balloons. I then move right up to the full-sized 11x17 page and draw in the details. I use reference when possible. A little bit of accuracy doesn't hurt but I am also conscious of keeping the lines loose and I try to avoid stiff poses. In the last year I have been inking and coloring using the Wacom: Cintiq 12 using Adobe Photoshop. Then I do the lettering in Illustrator and place it into the Photoshop file.

7) How do you promote your work?

I promote through social media and person to person. I cohost a Comic Book Podcast called the Comic Book Pitt ( and I make sure to mention any comic projects that I am working on. I use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Google+, and of course is where most of my work is on display. In person, I go to a handful of comic book shows every year. Whether it's as an exhibitor or fan; I always bring something to give away that mentions my next/current project and what website to go to for more information.

8) What do you enjoy most about being a comics creator?

I enjoy the story-telling and the community of comic shows. The friendships that I have developed through this common love of the medium are what give me purpose and satisfaction in life.

9) What do you find most difficult about being a comic’s creator?

Probably the long hours it takes to draw a story and the low return financially. I see so many artists that make an easy buck on pinups of established characters. 22 pages of sequential art carries a lower value than one slick image.

10) What's more important to you: Telling a story or pushing the bounds of comic book art?

Ha! Probably telling the story, since I keep blabbing on about it! I think the art should serve the story, but there is an infinite amount of ways to push what works artistically and still tell the story.

11) Why self-publish instead of submitting your work to the majors?

Honestly I don't see myself succeeding in the professional market. There is a consistency of quality while maintaining a grueling schedule that I don't think I can live up to. Maybe I'm just a realist.

12) What are your long-term goals with comics?

I don't have any long term goals beyond next summer's comicon season. I have a few books that need printed. I will be working on a new story in the New Year and I'm excited about drawing it!

13) I've personally seen your work improve dramatically in the past few years. It seems like there was suddenly a point where you made a quantum leap in ability. What do you think happened to make this take place?

Thanks Wayne! That means a lot to me. I could name a few things that happened. I think our team-up on Chaos Punks helped me to improve my line work. Drawing for an inker is a whole other mindset than drawing something that I would ink myself. I also started using some photo references to get the character's looks and personalities down, as well as settings. It could also just be the volume of pages that I have drawn over the years and I finally drew enough bad ones. Ha!

14) Where can you be found you on the web if anyone wants more info?

Most of what I have drawn can be found at Weirdlings Press ( Also the Comic Book Pitt podcast ( airs pretty regularly. Thanks Wayne!

This is a page from Chaos Punks, written by Brian Babyok,
pencils by Scott and inks by me.
Pencilled panel from Weirdlings

Finished inks and colors by Scott

Pencilled page from Weirdlings

Finished page

Finished page from Weirdlings

1 comment:

  1. Very excellent! I love Scott's art and this interview was tons of fun to read.