Donning a burly beard and a hooded sweatshirt, the 6-foot, 4-inch, 230-pound Skottie Young looks like one of his own creations. From the day he came to Bristol, Young was known as the kid who carried a sketchbook in his hand, creating new superheroes and villains, or recreating classic ones with the stroke of a pencil.
Five years ago, Young turned his passion into a full-time job and began penciling, inking and coloring for comics giant Marvel. A 1996 Tennessee High graduate, Young took his first job and a sizable step into the art world when he was only 15. That’s when his art teacher recommended him for a job drawing advertisement signs for 13 area Big Lots stores. With his own office and a nonstop supply of markers, Young drew copies of the same sign, over and over, for all 13 Big Lots – a task he enjoyed immensely at the time.
“I was a slave,” Young said laughing. “I look back and say, ‘Why didn’t they tell me to draw it once and then take it to Kinko’s or something?’”
Following high school graduation, Young began working a second job. During the day, he waited tables at Chaco’s and at night, he penned signs at Big Lots. Little more than a year later, Young packed his art supplies and returned to his native Chicago. While readjusting to life in the windy city, Young bought his first computer. He got connected to the Internet and started a Web site with other artists to promote all of their art.
Then, Young’s big break came. Attending his first comic book convention, Young put his portfolio in front of the right person. The rest, as they say, is history.
“Sometimes I tell people I wish the story was more romantic,” he said. “I drew a lot – I did that part, but as far as really knocking on the door of the comic book industry? I didn’t even know where the door was to go knocking. I feel like I had a little bit of luck mixed with a little bit of skill, and over the years I’ve tried to get better at the skill part.”
Since starting with Marvel, his skill has indeed increased. He’s drawn Spider-Man, Venom and his favorite project, a reincarnated version of New Warriors. Unfortunately, Bristol’s favorite comic artist has a hard time making his way back to visit due to the demands of his job. Every time he makes it to town, he insists it’s a breath of fresh air.
“When you’re living in Bristol, you don’t ever think it’s pretty,” he said. “Going back there to visit, with the roaming hills and mountains, you realize it’s actually kind of beautiful.”
Published in the Bristol Herald-Courier.