Name your favorite artist in comics. Now what if you could see more of their art – more than just comes out in the comic book and graphic novels, but a more raw and perhaps instinctual drawing style far from what you see in print. Artists have long sold sketchbooks and done sketches at conventions, and with the advent of the internet you've been able to glimpse them on websites and blogs such as the popular ComicTwart blog. But two entrepreneurial artists and friends have decided to team up and bring it to a whole new level.
Skottiescott.com is a new website set up by cartoonists Skottie Young and Scott Morse as a place for them to get their juices flowing and offering up new, original artwork every day of the week. Every day they'll pick a character and crank out their own renditions – in some cases character studies, in other experimentations. The site launched on February 21st, and in their first week out the pair cranked out various Spider-man villains from Venom to Kraven and more. The site has garnered over 10,000 unique hits, and as an added bonus, Morse and Young are aren't filing them away but putting them for sale for readers to buy and have for themselves – with several of this past week’s drawings already purchased.
With the site just launching last week, we caught up with these busy cartoonists to talk about their new collaborations.
Newsarama: What’s the purpose of the site, guys?
Scott Morse: I'd been seeing Skottie post these really great character warm-up drawings on his site and linking to on Twitter, and it occurred to me that I should probably do something like that, too: get out some early morning drawing energy and just have fun with characters I don't normally draw or have an opportunity to draw. So the new site is really a venue for us to stretch our muscles and play. We also wanted to make it a venue where people that don't get to come to conventions can see what a con drawing might look like and have an opportunity to grab one, if they like it.
Skottie Young: For me, it's about motivation and inspiration. I've always tried to do warm-up drawings in the morning before jumping on pages. It's good for getting my mind in a place of ease. If I bang out a quick drawing or two then the day feels a little easier. I'll do them for a few weeks and then a day will hit that I can't and I end up falling out of the habit for a month. I think the idea that Scott will be out in sunny California drawing each morning will keep me on task and make sure I put in the work. The bonus is we'll learn a few things along the way by challenging ourselves with new ideas each day.
Nrama: The idea of offering sketches for those who don't attend conventions is interesting. I've seen you both at conventions and you do a great business selling art. Was this site a reaction to that gap for non-con goers at all, or something else?
Young: It's not really a reaction to anything. Mostly just 2 artists saying "Hey, let's do a blog and have a blast drawing."
Morse: I think for me I've been wanting to try to cook something up with Skottie and this seemed like a good way to do it, to sort of "jam" on ideas and shapes and energy with something fun that didn't have the weight of, "Oh man, it's got to be perfect" behind it.
Nrama: What will the schedule of art be like for the site?
Morse: I think the plan is to each do at least one drawing daily, or as close to daily as we can, at least 5 a week (like a work week), riffing off of the same pre-chosen character. So in this way, people can see how two different artists might approach something.
Nrama: What kinds of things will you be drawing?
Young: I think we'll make our rounds thru some of the comic and entertainment industries characters and from time to time challenge ourselves with some original ideas. I view it as a chance to push ourselves to try things we might not have thought of before. We take a known character that has a base design, a cliff to jump off of. From there we can try out new shapes, new types of arms, a new method of inking. Whatever. But having the base of a Doctor Octopus, or a Venom can help cut down on the invention time and just let us keep trying new things. It's character study at it's most fun.
Morse: Fun things the people love, and by "the people", I mean you and me and every nerd in the world. I thin we're going to try to make it character-themed, often times riffing on characters people know and love, but maybe sometimes keeping it broad, like genre-based or what-have-you.
Nrama: I'm going to be working up a list for you personally after this.
Nrama: You said these sketches won't be just online to be viewed but be available for sale. How will they be sold?
Morse: Good question...I think we're counting on people just e-mailing us or dropping a note on the blog in the comments if they see something they like, first-come, first-served, and we'll circle back on a case-by-case basis and make it happen. We're gauging interest over the first few days and might make it more of an online store situation if the need arises.
Nrama: What do you think the price ranges will be?
Morse: We're sticking to $100 plus shipping for pieces that are 9" x 12". For me, since I'm producing so much new work digitally, this might be the only way to actually score an original "new" piece from me unless you're at a con. I don't really have the time at the moment with work at Pixar and my comics work to do commissions, so this seems like a good alternative.
Nrama: Is it always going to be you two, or are you open to others joining in on the fun?
Morse: I think it's just us for now, at least, unless your name's Scott. I'd love to see other pros cook up similar sites where people can see work "actively" being created on some sort of basis. It might make for a neat alternative to conventions. I know sites have tried to be "virtual comic conventions" in the past, but this would give a sort of festival vibe to that idea. More focused, maybe.
Nrama: I like it.
In addition to both being full-time professionals, you’re also fans… do you want to see some of your favorite illustrators do something like this?
Morse: Completely, yes, I'd love to be able to link out to other buddies that have buddied up and set up their own daily sketch hub. It's a good way to reinvigorate the blogger aesthetic with new energy and purpose, less of a portfolio and more of a festival of interactive art being born daily. Something for fans to look forward to, me included. Now let's see if we can keep it up!
Young: Sure, but we're not doing anything super new. There have been plenty of groups over years that have done similar things. It think we're joining a long history of artists coming up with ways to play around with art online while sharing it with the world. The guys over at ComicTwart.com have been slaying everyone for the last year with their weekly drawings. We're just making it quicker and daily -meaning that we'll never touch their bad assery. [laughs]