"Being an artist isn't just about drawing, it's about the characters, what they're wearing, the environment they're in, mapping the scene out to make it comprehensible. Putting the actual pencil to the paper is the last thing you worry about."
As a child, Scott McDaniel ’86 wanted to be Batman. As an adult, he got to do the next best thing: draw Batman for a living.
“I really had no formal plans to be an artist. I had the passion and desire to be one, but not the training. My mom thought it’d be wise to get a real degree,” says McDaniel, who has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
At Bucknell, he befriended Glenn Herdling ’86, who later worked for Marvel Comics. “I worked my engineering job during the day and on my art during the evenings. Glenn was in a unique position to take my work in and get it critiqued,” he said. “After a few years of that whole cycle, I started getting little jobs.”
McDaniel’s break came in 1991, becoming the regular artist on Daredevil. This allowed him to quit his engineering job with his wife, Amy’s, blessing to become a full-time artist.
“Being an artist isn’t just about drawing, it’s about the characters, what they’re wearing, the environment they’re in, mapping the scene out to make it comprehensible. Putting the actual pencil to the paper is the last thing you worry about,” he explains.
Since 1996, McDaniel has worked for DC Comics, starting with Nightwing, a title featuring the first Robin —Batman’s partner — all grown up.
“I loved that book. Chuck Dixon is a phenomenal writer, who pumps more testosterone into a script than anyone I know. He has an artist’s eye when he writes. Together, we created Blüdhaven [Nightwing’s city], which is based on the dirty, industrial era of Pittsburgh and Chicago,” he recalls. “I was on the book for four years and left on my own terms because I wasn’t doing anything innovative and new anymore.”
Next, he graduated to Batman. He has also drawn Superman, Robin, Green Arrow and Trinity and is illustrating Batman: Confidential.
“Super-hero comics are about good vs. evil. You put these characters on a collision course in exciting, interesting ways,” he says. “Let them be who they are and see what happens from there. That’s the purest form to me and is what I love about comics.”
Posted Fall 2008
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