Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 25, 2010

Illustrator Saturday – Mike Scott

Mike Scott has been a professional illustrator for 26 years. Moving from Ohio to New Jersey in 1984, he worked at The Courier-News as a illustrator, graphic artist and editorial cartoonist until jumping to The Star-Ledger in 1996, where he worked as a graphic artist, illustrator and editorial cartoonist until 2009.

Now, he works as a freelance artist in magazine & newspaper illustration, web graphics, logo design and general illustration. The NJ Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded Mike a first- and third-place for his editorial cartoons for in 2010.
His children’s book illustrations are done in pencil and pen & ink, and then painted in Photoshop.
First up is an illustration done for NJSCBWI’s  June 2010 illustrator intensive. I chose to illustrate a double-truck spread from Peter McCarty’s wonderful book, “Jeremy Draws a Monster.”
After I do some character sketches, I sketch out the spread at a larger size, so it can be reduced for the final (it tightens up the drawing).
Once the art director approves the initial sketch — after whatever tweaking or changes he/she needs, I transfer the drawing to a better grade of paper (usually 80 lb. drawing paper) using a light table. I ink the final with Micron felt pens and technical pens.
In this example, the AD suggested I make the monster a little less scary, and also make him taller, to give him more emphasis within the illustration. I thought those were pretty good suggestions, so I made the adjustments.

Then I scan the inked drawing into Photoshop. With this illustration, drew and scanned Jeremy and the monster separately. I wanted Jeremy to be outlined in black, but the rest of the illustration outlined in a blue line to make Jeremy stand out more. Using layer masks in Photoshop, I adjusted the color of the outlines to blue and placed Jeremy and the monster in the illustration. Photoshop is also great because it allows me to place the type.
Now I’m ready to apply the “paint” in Photoshop. I work with layers in Photoshop, so every element’s color is on its own layer —this is one advantage about Photoshop: if I need to adjust any element, I can go to that element’s layer and not affect any other item in the illustration. I try to map out the color of the entire drawing in my mind.
In this example, I wanted the two ends of the illustration framed with a bold color — the red building and the red bus — and use other tones (tan in for the mid background, blue for the buildings in the far background).

Mike just joined the Sprouts Magazine team as designer, working with our Art Director Leeza Hernandez.  Mike  lives in East Brunswick with his wife Sue and their beagle-dashound Abbey, the wonder dog. 

Hope you enjoyed getting a little insight into Mike’s art.  If you would like to see more, you can visit his website

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Kathy, I am simply blown away by Mike’s work. I believe I have one of his postcards from the conference! Photoshop looks amazing!

    Mike, I couldn’t click on your link fast enough. I just LOVED seeing how you work and amSO impressed. Glad to hear you’ll be helping Leeza too. I imagine it’ll help free her up a bit 🙂


  2. Mike, your are awesome! Glad I got to meet you at the June Conf. Thanks so much for sharing your work and thoughts here!!!


  3. very nice artwork


  4. very nice work I use the same pen 🙂


  5. Mike it’s joyce Klein 7326007287 moss’ wife need to talk to you about 3 projects ASAP I am usually up till 1:30 am and turn my phone off so you can leave your number I couldn’t find it anywhere !!


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