Wednesday, August 2, 2017

An Appreciation: Nicola Scott

Nicola Scott. Photo: Cole Bennetts.

For my money, Nicola Scott is the finest comic book artist working today. Certainly, she's been an excellent artist for a while now, since she first entered the field about fifteen years ago, but recently she's emerged as a truly special artist, with a style all her own. Make no mistake: she's outrageously good now.

Her recent work, especially on DC's Wonder Woman and Image's Black Magick, is astonishingly impressive—seriously, drop everything and pick up the trades for these series right now. These books make it clear that Scott is in the midst of a major moment, and she's grasping those opportunities and making the most of them. Thanks partly to a unique confluence of events, including Wonder Woman's (brief) United Nations Ambassadorship last fall (for which Scott illustrated the jaw-dropping poster), the character's 75th anniversary in 2016, and the new Patty Jenkins film starring Gal Gadot, Scott's work is now reaching a larger audience than ever. In many ways, she's become the definitive Wonder Woman artist in recent memory.

Scott seems to be in total command of her artistic repertoire now, while also continually evolving into something even greater, with each successive issue. There's no one better right now at portraying the full extent of human emotions. When she draws Wonder Woman looking solemn or joyous or determined, you can see each clearly through Scott's emotive illustrations. It's in the way she draws Diana's eyes slightly downcast, or how she might make the Amazon's mouth break into a smile so broad it could light the world, or when she furrows her brow and directs those piercing blue eyes at the reader. She breathes life into her characters, making them feel like so much more than just lines on a page. Like all great art, Scott's work burrows straight into your soul and makes you feel, deeply.

As a lifelong practitioner of art whose true artistic love is portrait drawing and cartooning, I'm inspired by Scott's work. When I sketch now, it's her faces that I see in my head. When she recently talked with W about her philosophies and goals when drawing comics, my appreciation for her work only further deepened. Before you click over to that interview, let's end this appreciation with some examples of Scott's exquisitely beautiful artwork. These images, like my gushing words above, don't completely do her justice; for that, you really need to seek out her work in book form, recline in your most comfortable chair, and simply luxuriate in the glow of an artist at the top of her game.

Scott's ability to convey emotions through her characters' eyes is second to none. From Wonder Woman.

Scott's iconic UN poster art.

A visual feast, a tour de force, from Black Magick.

Nicola Scott with her lifelong hero Wonder Woman.

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