STUDIO TOURS: Todd Nauck

Wed, February 20th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Andy Khouri, Editor

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"Teen Titans Go!" Vols. 1-4 on sale now, "American Dream" #1 on sale in May
Best known for drawing more than fifty issues of DC Comics' "Young Justice," Todd Nauck is beloved by fans for his consistently high-quality and expressive superhero artwork. Currently wrapping up his work on "Teen Titans Go!" (Nauck's final issue is #55), the artist recently announced his latest project, "American Dream." The five-issue Marvel Comics miniseries is written by Tom DeFalco and features a teenage, female version of Captain America and is set in the same alternate universe as DeFalco's "Spider-Girl." The first issue goes on sale in May.

In addition to his work for Marvel and DC, Nauck is presently preparing to release the next chapter of his popular creator-owned project, "Wildguard," the story of a made-for-TV team of superheroes assembled on an "American Idol"-style show. The first trade paperback is on sale now from Image Comics.

With his ceaseless output of work for Marvel, DC and his success with his own creations, Todd Nauck is an inspiration to up-and-comers, who will no doubt be inspired further by this in-depth tour of his home studio in California.

Story continues below

By Todd Nauck

Welcome to my humble studio here in sunny Southern California! I have my studio set up in the spare bedroom of our house. My wife Dawn and I named this room "The Vortex" when we first got married and moved in. Anything that entered the room never left. We had lots of unpacked boxes and wedding gifts jammed in here. I was working out of a friend's office at the time. Once we got things squared away in "the Vortex", I set up shop in here. I prefer working out of my home. I can hit the table whenever an idea strikes.

Here are some points of interest:

  1. See that little brown spot on the door? That's where the heater almost set it on fire when the door could open all the way up and stop by the heater. We got lucky we caught it before it had a chance to ignite. Close call!
  2. Here are my art dolls. Dawn likes to leave them in weird poses when I least expect it!
  3. There's my Tom Servo (from "Mystery Science Theater 3000") head. I found it a candy shop when I first broke into the business. I've always kept in my workspace. But I haven't always kept it filled with candy. Probably for the best, health-wise.
  4. Speaking of health, here are my multi-vitamins, vitamin C, and fish oil tablets. Dawn is concerned about my health and makes sure I get my daily nutrients.
  5. The orange cord and wooden box is a lightbox my dad built for me years ago after I graduated art school. It's big enough to draw a full sized double page spread.
  6. That's a remote control dragonfly a buddy gave me for Christmas. My deadlines have been keeping me too busy to play with it, but I've played with one before. They are awesome!
  7. This bookcase is chock full of trade paperbacks and random action figures. The cabinets below hold half of my "Mystery Science Theater 3000" VHS collection. I just don't have the heart to get rid of them. It would make the Tom Servo head angry.

Moving on to the right, we see more of my bookcase. I really need to take the time to get a nice new one.

Points of interest:

  1. That's the door to the bathroom. But that's not the point of this tour.
  2. Some action figures a friend at Mattel sent me.

3. See that long box? I still take the time to file my comics. I like to keep them easy to find whenever I need to reference something from a specific comic. But I put that chore off for once every six months. And I don't bag-and-board anymore. Just file alphabetically.

  1. FedEx supplies. I ship the pages via FedEx.

Remember how I said my office is in the spare bedroom? Well, it's also our guest bedroom. Dawn set up the bed as a couch-like sitting area. She'll hang out and watch TV in here while I draw, sometimes. That can be fun.

Points of interest:

  1. Those framed pieces are the original art for the alternate covers for my Image comic, "WildGuard: Casting Call" (from left to right: Ed McGuinness, Mike Weiringo, Paco Medina).
  2. The poster is the cover from "WildGuard: Casting Call" #1. You might've seen it at my artist alley table at a comic convention.
  3. My computer area. I'm using a Mac G4, but I keep the old G3 for scanning. A buddy "lent" me his enormous scanner so I could scan 11x17 art. We have yet to find an adequate driver to run it on the G4. The post-it notes are Dawn's reminders for me to read stuff she's edited.

And here is where the magic happens! This is where I spend much of my day.

Let me point out some things:

  1. As you can see, I am an Arthur Adams fan. I've had that Mutants poster since 1990. And the framed piece is the original art Arthur did for the alternate cover of "WildGuard: Casting Call" #3. I loved seeing what he did with my characters!
  2. I'm a huge "The Office" fan. I have "The Office" Season 1-3 DVDs on pretty frequently (I also have episodes on my PSP… have I said too much?). I also have a Dundie Award and a mini Dwight Schrute bobblehead that came with a special edition Season 3 DVD set.
  3. Photos of Dawn from when we were dating up to present. She's my inspiration. My "Young Justice" editor, Eddie Berganza, used to rib me about making Arrowette look like Dawn. It was kind of a coincidence and not intentional but the similarities were striking.
  4. There's the ginormous scanner I mentioned. I call it the Scanolith!
  5. I try to keep up on pricing my original art. But the latest issues of "Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man" and "Teen Titans Go!" I've received are starting to pile up. I need to take the time to catalogue and price them.

Let's take a closer look at my computer desk.

  1. Toys on top of a computer? I started that trend… Just like Al Gore invented the internet! Oh! On the far left, that's a custom Wandering Eye (a character of mine from "WildGuard") a fan made for me. I thought that was pretty cool.
  2. That stack of business cards are ones I receive at comic cons from other pros, editors, and fans. I need a better filing system for those.
  3. Bills. If I don't keep them somewhere I can easily see them, I'll forget all about them.
  4. This keyboard. I just picked it up from Staples one day. Then, on one of my passes through "The Office" Season 3, I noticed Michael Scott has the same one. It was a geek-out moment.
  5. I tend to keep the pages I need to scan in on top of Scanolith. Here I have a Robin commission piece and some thumbnail sketches to scan in.
  6. There are some of my favorite Super Powers action figures, Martian Manhunter, Firestorm and Red Tornado. That was a great toy line.

And we wrap up with a closer look at my drawing table.

  1. There was a time, several years ago, when I would customize LEGO figures. Mostly DC and Marvel characters. You can see more photos at my website.
  2. Reference! Anatomy books, catalogues, magazines, comic books and character handbooks. And look down to the bottom: the rest of my "MST3K" episodes on VHS. But wait!
  3. The white stack of envelopes are DVD copies of my "MST3K" library. Still have a few holes in my collection. I also have other TV on DVD collections: "Arrested Development," "Scrubs," "Lost," "Charles in Charge"… yes, "Charles in Charge."
  4. The Raven maquette was a thank you gift from Paul Levitz at DC. I was asked to draw a "Teen Titans Go!" piece for a WB executive's kid who was a big "Teen Titans" fan. I was happy to help out. A few weeks later, I received the Raven statue with a cool note. DC Comics has been very cool to me over the years.
  5. Dawn gave me the blue lantern when we were dating.
  6. Reference and plot for my new Marvel miniseries.
  7. This piece is a triptych cover for my upcoming WildGuard miniseries, "WildGuard: Insider."
  8. The brush, templates, and French curves are the same ones I used at the Art Institute of Dallas back when I attended in the '90s.
  9. Some tools I use are 2H, HB blue and red lead pencils. I like to ink with Pigma Micron and Sharpie markers.

And there you have it! Thanks for taking the tour.

Thanks very much, Todd Nauck!

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