Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I wanted to try something new for my upcoming project, New X-men. I'm going to attempt to give you guys a weekly peek at the extras to the project such as characters designs, covers, interior previews, and some process stuff. I'm really amped to be working on this title, and I wanted to share that energy with you. Yea, I know, i'm sounding like some hippy here but I'm just that excited about this book.

So, to kick things off I'm giving you guys my take on 3 of the characters. Surge, X-23, and Anole. Let's get to it.

First I want to let you know my thoughts on something that I wanted to apply to all my designs. I have a piece of paper on the cork board in front of my desk that reads: AGE IS MORE THAN JUST A NUMBER. This is my mantra while working on this book and these characters. The average age of the cast is 16. Some being 15 to 17, but mostly 16. My goal is to make these characters look their ages. I think that it's an important part of story telling. When a character looks 16 the situations that they find themselves in carry so much more weight. Youth can give you a sense of frality, inexperience, temper, anger, ect. If a 16 year old looks 28, than the issues at hand will feel less impactfull. I want you to feel the vulnerablity in the youthfullness of these characters. I love Paco Medinas art, and have been a huge fan of his for many years, but I did feel that the age of some of the characters were a little blury at first glance. After speaking with Chris about the characters I was suprised to find out how young some of them were. For homework, I've been watching Veronica Mars, Everwood, Smallville, etc. to see what high school kids to should look at feel like. So, that's an overall rule for me when tackling these kids.

Surge: I love the look of this character. Before reading the books, based on just seeing some reference given to me, I had no idea she was Japanese. So, once I found out, I was excited at the challenge to make here look japanese at first glance.

I have the advantage of having a few great friends married to beautiful Japanese women so my reference was pretty close. I learned that thier hair can be very coarse, which is how you see younger, trendy Japanese kids with the super spikes in thier hair. So, I wanted to go with that. I didn't want the hair to feel semetrical either. I tried to make it seem off balance and sloppy. I think when the color is added it will add to the effect.

I liked the way her costume was designed, so i stuck with that basic idea with just a few cosmetic changes. I cut her pants off a little. She had really baggy pants, and I figured that in battle, the pants would get caught up alot, so get rid of the bottom few inches. I still like the "techy" shoes, but didn't want to leave her legs bare so I added some slim cover to that. Again, trying to add a bit of asian flavor, I added some wraps to her torso. Instead of a sports bra, whe pulls out the bandages and wraps up. This idea was very inspired by Mulan. I also added some padding to her thighs, almost like football players where. I added some grounding bolts to those pads.

She's always had these cool robot style fore arms and everyone has drawn them different. I am following suit. I didn't want to make them huge and chunky, but I still wanted to add something unique to them. I popped open Ghost in the Shell for this part.

X-23: I basically popped up my buddy Josh Middleton's take on X-23 and tried to see how I would do her with his version in mind. Josh nailed the goth style of character when he drew her and I wanted to bring it back to that. Again, I love Paco's work, but I feel that sexuality is more in the for front instead of this darker bad ass Wolvie Clone. And, she is 16, very important to keep that in mind. I went with a less planned costume. Some more worn and tattered from battle, but still keeping it slightly sexy. (i feel so dirty..she's fucking 16!!!) Again, I don't like semitry, so I threw in an under skirty to help keep it a tad off balance. And leather wraps to give her some bit of texture. My girl friend just got these boots, and they really inspired me here. Very manly style boots, but they're so cool on a girl. But, overall, I think she feels the same, just a little younger looking.

Anole: I love this guy!!!! Love him, Love Him, Love Him. I can't wait to draw him, and then draw him some more. And man, later...well, I'll keep that to myself for now. Not much to do to change him. Just a few little tweaks here and there. I'm going to give hima more textured head. I like the way Duncan drew Anole on him fill in so I'm using that style of "shell head". I think it's always been more just a checker board style, but I thought that this feels a bit more repitlian. And this is the first character that I wanted to draw in normal clothes. And, again, his age was my main concern. I was looking around online at 15 years olds, and they look..well 15. They're young looking, just like we were. Again, I think visual youth is a great story telling tool, and will really help sell the extreme situations. And, like Surge, I think that once there is some color on him, he'll sing.

Ok, so there is my first installment of New X-men X-tras. It's very long...too long for me to read, and I applaud you ahead of time if you made it thru. I hope this helps give you a small idea of what I am thinking about while going into each character. I'm not just putting down lines for the sake of drawing. I truley attempt at haveing purpose behind what you end up seeing. It will take some time to get used to these characters but i'm looking foward to playing with them some more. So, stay tuned for next weeks NXM X-tras for a few more characters, and mabye a cover.



Scott said...

SAHWEEET! I like how you are bringing the characters back to their original state (Josh's X23 was amazing, but the new design in New Xmen is sick, aka not good, your's looks all goth and NYX goodness).

The other characters are great too! I'll have something to you soon, sending out my last portfolio in two days! Stressful o_O

Joel said...

Only one thing to say really, Bad Ass, your Anole is the best version of him I have seen. I hope they use him more on your run than they have in past runs. I can't wait to see some of your other character designs.

RickyD410 said...

Ah!! Anole is adorable! Thank you!! THATS how he should look! And I LOVE that you make characters as old as they should be! Thank you so much. I loved Paco, but he gave every female Pamela Anderson sized breasts, and that just shouldnt be done on teenagers. Vic, Laura, and Nori all look their ages. And I love it.

Now, I'm not so keen on X-23 being ina skirt. That really just doenst look right to me, especially because it would get in the way when fighting. And she does a LOT of fighting. Acrobatic fighting too. She's always jumping around all over the place. Other than that though, I liked it.

And I like that Nori looks Japanese! I'm not so big on the cut-off pants, but I understand what you were going for. I love her hair, and I bet it'll look even better when its colored. Oh, and I love that you also redesigned her gauntlets. They look really cool.

Man, I'm so excited to see your Mercury, Dust, and Hellion. I'm sure you wont disappoint.

Ug, I just cant say enough, how Victor looks so amazing!! He looks so cool with his iPod, X-Hoodie, messenger bag and flip flops. I cant wait to see him in costume.

Skottie Young said...

Thank you everyone. I'm glad you're digging them. Stay tuned for more next week.

pod said...

So happy to see the designs Skottie, I love it when the artist really interact with us. And two things I'm really glad you're doing is the age thing, and making Nori look Japanese - I was actually just thinking about that the other day. Good to see you're actually taking the care to get things right.

I'll touch on each of the characters individually, but I have to say I'm not huge on the super thin limbs, but that's your style and maybe you can win me over. So Surge- honestly I'm loving it. Bandage idea is cool - though I'm not really sure if it's actually in character, and the rest of the costume works. The tube top has never been overly popular here but I always thought it was the kind of thing Nori would wear - she's got that rebellious streak to her that she wears stuff like that not so much because she wants to look sexy, but just because she can. The only thing bugging me is the gauntlets, I love the design but I don't really agree with you about everyone changing the designs. I'm looking back through my issues and they really weren't changed throughout the run without a in-story reason. Everyone kept up with Randy Green's general design even Paco when they were brought back in the Nimrod story. Brooks changed them and Paco kept with that basic idea, Now I think Paco has redesigned them just recently but they would literally be new gloves after the old ones were destroyed. Not saying you should change your design, just pointing out that they usually weren't changed by each artist.

Yay X-23 doesn't look like a hooker! Brooks went for X's innocent side, I think Paco went for her dangerous or sexy side, now we get the gothic side from you, which could be very cool. Not much else for me to say, I think the design is a nice adaption of what she had been wearing and touches nicely on part of her character.

Civie clothes are an important part of this book, it's one of the best ways to show us that these are real kids. It was probably one of Ryan's biggest strengths when he was the regular artist. I always felt Paco was hit or miss with his regular clothes. That said I'd honestly have rather seen a uniform pic, still it's really great that you're so excited about Vic, it's no secret that alot of people love this guy (me included ) and it's great to hear that the artist is too! Still something that bugs me about that Vic pic, but I have no clue what it is. It might be the eyes, they look kind of evil or mischivious, profile shot looks awsome though. I'm not really worried about it though, I think it's just the pose or expression, I think overall I'm going to love you're Vic. Loving what you've done with the carapace, much cooler looking than the checkerboard.

Can't wait til the next X-tras! It's strange, I'm not really a fan of your art style, I have this kind of like it/leave it feeling with it most of the time, but for some reason I'm getting psyched about you coming on board. Can't wait to see how you do Prodigy, Hellion, Rockslide and Match!

Hi-Fi said...

OK, I gotta say this, you already won me over! I was so afraid about the change of artists, but I'm madly in love with these sketches!! Loved the skirt on Laura, Surge looks great, and Anole... he looks FANTASTIC!!!

I especially love X-23 new look. I was a fan of that gothic look in NYX so I'm all for it.

Great work, Skottie!! Wow, really wow!! Can't wait to see another bunch of those!

Tien said...

It's about time New X-Men brought in a stylised artist.

Spootnik said...

I waited for this new article since quite a lot of time !! finally!!

Ouua X-23 is Great, I like her style. she looks like a gothic! Lol. But Surge is strange, I don't know why. But I don't like her ( ok she is pretty )
Anole ... I respect you . GREAT !!!!

Others guy have wrote novels in comments...I am French (haaa curse) thus I am limited in my English level xD!

Great work !!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

That's great!
I'm gonna sound repetive, but can't wait to see the others. Especially Mercury.

cin said...

Lovin' it. I'm happy to see you putting so much thought into it and going somewhere with every aspect of the art, with extra attention to age and personality, background, etc.. Great stuff!

Nori looks fantastic, except that maybe I don't like the low set techie shoes much with the higher cut-off pants, kinda clash, like they should be slip types but get confused with the tech. Love how you've got her looking more Japanese and.. textured, culturally textured.

X looks good, goth again. ;) I can't tell in this drawing if she's still got her collar, hope so, but looks good. I do think she should have a pants version for all the high kicks and upside down split kicks she does, etc., when the foot claws come out. Otherwise that skirt's always going to have to be pulling a Supergirl (blowing and folding in weird ways), which is maybe not right for an athletic teen superhero (well, considering our media hypersensitivity). Or just give her some undershorts? (probably the worst idea I've ever sent up.. hah)

Vic looks great all around, and I love the more reptillian design. Is he maybe going to visually evolve even further as he goes along?

looking forward to next week :)

cin said...

lol, nevermind, undershorts/tights it is I read. :) Good to go.

Dean Trippe said...

really nice, dude. i especially like the skirt on x23. nice blend of softness with sharpness. ;)

Antonio Santamaria said...

Skottie, all of them are really good looking... but my favourite is the first... Surge... she is really cool... I love this design!!! Althought I look again the others and well... it will be really a huge project! Good luck with it!

Anonymous said...

Looks incredible Skottie. Fantastic characterizations.

-sean parsons

Chris Sims said...

OMG!!! These designs are frigging phenominal. My only issue, which has been addressed before, is X-23 in the long skirt.

I could probably see her in some cargo-like pants to cover the boots. Throw a couple chains on the pants(not to long since they could get caught on objects), make the pants black with colored seams, and maybe some tears in the pants to reveal the fishnet she's wearing under them.

Just my two-cents!

I can't wait to see what you got coming for next week!

Skottie Young said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment everyone. I'm glad you guys are liking them.

Hi-Fi said...

No, no, no! Keep the skirt on X-23, Skottie!! It rocks!!

Anonymous said...

well it looks great, but must say that anole looks a bit strange in my point of view, and the thin legs and arms aren't me style of liking.
Bou other than that, it looks great.



too cool

this is more like it

more like this please

you rule skottie!

Dizz said...

im just picking up NX-men again, and this is great news. there was a flashback NMutants story in Unlimited #11 that i went crazy for. with David Aja on art, it had a look and feel close to what your working towards. this is exactly what the title needs! i just picked up the last 3 NWarrriors comics this week and your work w/ Speedball gives me high expectations. and yeah, Anole has to be a great character to muse over. anything you can do to bring him further up in the ranks would be greatly appreciated.

Madman said...

There are already big things in store for Anole starting in issue #37 as Chris and Craig have told us.

Nori looks f***in amazing!

X-23, I'm also not sure about the skirt. I think it's interesting but I'll hafta wait to see it "in action" before I decide if I like it.

Anole needs to have atleast one more spike on his head at the back - it's like he has missing limbs with just the three! But the overall design is very cool!

Dave_Zero_one said...

Wow, well first off you fixed one of the things that was really bugging me, namely that Surge didn't look Asian at all until now, I hope other artists follow suit when she does guest shots in other books. Love the new Gauntlet design, And the additions of the bandages are a real nice touch, both for the cultural aspect, but also it makes the Idea of wearing a Tube top into Battle a seem little more Practicle (seeing as she would most likley have to adjust her top every 2 minutes). Hair is cool, but I'll wait for a color version before giving my final opinion. Oh! and what are those Bolty looking things on her thighs? Those Look Cool.

Loooove the Laura design. Especially those leathery wrapy gloves she wears. Also I think the skirt is an Awesome Idea, Hell, it's just so different it's uniqueness really stands out, and I'm really looking forward to see her with it in action poses (the little torn bits at the bottom are a real nice toutch)

I really like anole's look And I do agree that his scaly head looks better than the checkerboard (must be a bitch to draw though ;) )

Really looking forward to see what you do with Mercury, Santo, Julian, Pixie, Trance and loa.

Valhalla Comics said...

I think of all three of these, Anole has the best overall appearance. I really dig the character. He looks very fun to draw.

All designs are great & I think once we see the designs for more characters, we'll all agree that this should lead to some interesting interaction between the team.

I'm really liking these. Keep it up! =]

Andrey said...

These look awesome. I love that you're actually trying to portray these characters as teenagers.

Although you know that by watching Veronica Mars, Smallville and Everwood your watching Twenty-Somethings pretending to be teenagers right?

Degrassi High or maybe Freaks and Geeks is the only Teen show I can think of where the kids actually look thier age.

Scott said...

Well - as if it needed saying, I'll certainly be picking this up.

It's funny - I've felt like the X-Men needed a good urban overhaul for a while... and you've come out GLOWING! Like the next step from your Runaways short...

Very nicely done, as always, thanks for the insight!

VicVic said...

It's great to see the kids finally get a style overhaul, they can definately rival the Runaways now! Any chance of colored versions of the sketches later?

Danny said...

Fuckin' A brother, you're gonna murder this thing. Gives me that inexplicable feeling of "that's how I'd have drawn them if I was on this book" even tho I know I couldn't have :)

Danny said...

I'm feelin' some Canete here too, true?

Danny said...

ALSO!! Your comments on the age of the kids in the book; Ultimate Fantastic Four really had that feeling early on with Adam Kubert, really felt the fact that you have a bunch of kids who should be skateboarding and hiding their smoking from their parents, and here they were trying to make decisions and take action adults would shrink from.

remix17 said...

Yo, Skottie! I work at Graham Crackers, man! I think you signed a book from me once.

Love the drawings. Your fluid style is amazing here. I adore the blue influence on the characters, too.

Rachel Edidin said...

Ooh, I love these. Thank you SO DAMN MUCH for drawing teenagers who look like teenagers--I'm so bloody sick of the adults in kids' clothes running around comics these days.

And I really, really like your take on X-23. You managed to make her sexual without objectifying her, which is a damn hard thing to do, particularly on a character that young. I can't wait to see your work on the series!

Norton said...

YEAH DUDE!!! These're awesome.

SK representin' the EVERWOOD too! (ya big girl) :)

Can't wait to see the rest of em, man!

Ed le Fey said...

Um. Hi there.

I'm really just getting into American comics, but I think you've successfully pulled me into X-Men. Teenagers who look like actual teenagers, drawn in a style that's mixing the best of American comics with the things I like best in Japanese comics... oh God, I can't wait.

I've really only a foggy idea of who these characters are (X-23 is the only one I know more than a tiny bit about), but with this... I want to know who they are. Anole is adorable, Surge looks incredible (can't wait to see her fighting), and X-23 is just... wow. It's a miniskirt that isn't a miniskirt! She looks sexy but not in a disturbing way! Being a teenage girl myself, I really, really appreciate that in a character design.

Think I'll be looking up your other works to tide me over until I can get my hands on the project these three are from....

Scott Hume said...

Fuck dude these look awesome, I really can't wait to see some pages.

ChickRockGuitar said...

Hi Skottie. Welcome to the NXM fans club! :0)

Heh. Vic is too cute, hehe.
Oo. I like Nori's face. Aww, I liked her big gloves...
Not too keen on Laura in a Skirt...

Thanks for sharing!

Spaniard513 said...

this is great work. in my opinion a perfect interpretation of the characters. i completely agree about the age being shown aparently. i watch this anime show bleach and those 15 years olds look 26, which has always irked me. i am so pleased that i can see your work regularly. the awesometude in your drawings coupled with its tremendousity makes for funky fresh art

Chris Battle said...

Great stuff, Skottie! Glad you're paying attention to the kids' ages; The gangly teenager design really worked well for the animated TEEN TITANS, too. I'll have to pick this up when it comes out! (Dang-- I don't even know who all these new X-kidz are...)

Anonymous said...

I love you take on x-23. Middleton's version is still my favotie to date as well.

AndrewTunney said...

I've watched your style really grow since the Human Torch days, honestly I wasn't feeling it so much back then but you've got me now. and it's awesome to see you taking on some young characters.

I love the tiny feet and skinny legs steez. Also, it's the first time X-23 has looked cool since Josh Middleton. Props for not making her into a fem-wolverine fan service character like everyone else has!

Crea said...

It would be really rude of me to have commented on the other entry and not comment on this one now isnt it. But rest assured as a whole I love everything you've put up so far (even if this WAS the first so i apologize if I've been commenting backwards).

So to start off... BRAVO on your work on Surge. Bravo. This is perhaps the first time EVER that I've seen Surge look Asian (and that is no WAY an exaggeration). you've captured the look and feel that i always wanted her to have especially in the choice of hair cut you've given her. As a lady of Asian descent, I applaude you on your redesign. I like how you've retained Mark Brooks' general design on the character as I always thought his design with the askew 'X' and the baggy pants brought over from previous designs was the best. I do see the practicality of the shortening of her pants and it works for me and is executed quite well in this design. The gloves are great though I kinda really liked Mark's original design where what I call "opera glove" extensions were placed above her gloves and on level with her tube top. I love Paco too but I never liked his decent into Surge's ever shrinking tube top and I hope you'd keep her tube at a comfortable length during your run. LOL

X-23 looks good as well. She does have a dark and bleak character that works well with the goth look. However Im still not too sure about the skirt though since given the type of moves and actions she does I dont think it would work well. But if that's her streetwear I'm fly with it. Otherwise the same leather reasoning you've chosen for Julian would probably fit her as well. though both of em in leather (matching attires) would really portray them as a terribly SERIOUS couple shich by the time you come in I'm guessing wouldnt still be the case. I'll still have to see if the skirt works for me if youdo choose it as her X-Men attire.

And Anole, same as Pixie, we really should see more street attirefor everyone not just the secondaries. It really makes them appear more humanized. Saying that, though Anole does look a little too "young" (there seems to be a HUGE visula difference between him and Hellion given their 1 year difference) I definitely like how you've given him something someone would ACTUALLY wear and see nowadays. I think the iPod was cute and subtly in character. I like as well that you've chosen and every other Marvel artist at this point not to exaggerate his homosexuality in their designs (remember how they've given Northstar those "fairy ears" so long ago). My "gays" would be happy to know that they aren't scandalized and portrayed exaggeratedly. They thank you for that.

Great great great stuff. I'm looking forward to your run.

Anonymous said...

I am a major fan of Surge and she looks great, except for the gauntlets.

Anonymous said...

ohhh they are very good looking specially x 23 i love your work and i would love to see hellion,pixie,and all the others...specially pixie jaja

very good work

Anonymous said...