- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 11, 2008

This is the 59th in an infinite series profiling members of the comic book industry. This month we crack the corpus callosum of artist Scott Hepburn and ask him to:

Give us a piece of your mind

Born in the quiet Ontario community of Wiarton, at about the time Wolverine was first discovered, Mr. Hepburn quickly developed a talent for drawing and eventually studied classical animation at Canada’s Sheridan College.

His work had previously been seen in Marvel’s monthly series Sentinels, Nelvana Limited’s cartoon Grossology and White Wolf Publishing’s role-playing books. Mr. Hepburn’s current assignment is bringing Dark Horse Comics’ six-issue series Star Wars: The Clone Wars to illustrated life.

Official title: Illustrator

Age: 31

Favorite childhood memories: Toys, video games and cartoons, in rotating intervals. I grew up in a small beach town of Port Elgin, so I played outside a lot, but I was generally pretending to be characters from toys, video games and cartoons while doing so.

Why did you start drawing? As a kid, drawing was fun - it was unregulated play that earned me a disproportionate amount of approval from grown-ups. Later I realized that my artistic ability also brought me a lot of slack from my parents and teachers. Who needs advanced chemistry credits when you’re going to college to draw cartoons?

First comic books read: The Mighty Avengers and Marvel’s Secret Wars

Your influences? They now come from as many different sources as possible, but I always try to follow Stuart Immonen, Frank Quitely and Olivier Coipel.

How did you decide to work in comics and what was your first assignment? I always wanted to work in comics, but I started out working as an animation designer. At one point, I was between jobs and some friends had gotten their feet in the door doing Marvel pages through a studio called Udon Entertainment. Through that connection, I ended up doing my first comics work, drawing backgrounds on a Marvel book called Agent X.

Tips for younger artists: The most important thing is to learn the fundamentals. Anatomy, perspective, line weight, storytelling, composition. There’s no substitute for a solid understanding of the basics. And, whenever possible, draw from real life.

How did you start work on the “Star Wars” comic books? Getting the call from Dark Horse to work on the Knights of the Old Republic was a total surprise. It was my first real multi-issue run, and it was the opening chapter of the “Vector” story, which was the first crossover event ever in “Star Wars” comics history. I was surprised and superexcited. And then terrified.

How is it to work with Lucasfilm? Lucasfilm has been great. Dark Horse editorial has a long history with Lucasfilm, and it’s a really great working relationship. The only directives are to make the characters look the same as they do in the movie and upcoming TV series and to make the storytelling fun and dynamic. It’s no small feat, but nobody said drawing comics was easy.

Favorite character to draw: Right now it’s Obi-Wan. He’s always been my favorite “Star Wars” character.

What is the current state of the comic book industry? The comics industry is better now than it’s ever been. Worldwide, influences are mixing together, from Europe to Japan, North America to Hong Kong. You get insane mash ups, like horror comics with Manga influences and superhero romances. And the Internet is letting everyone in on the next new indie project overnight.

Last comic book read for fun: All Star Superman by Frank Quitely and Grant Morrison.

What comic book character would you like to work on? Garfield or Batman

Favorite image: The home page of www.txcomics.com.

Favorite word: Plug

Besides this interview, what’s the stupidest thing you ever did? This one time, I tried to sneak some shameless self-promotion of my webcomic, The Port at www.txcomics.com, into a newspaper article.

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