A MAN OF ADMIRABLE TALENTS
When I walk into Temujin studios in the lower level of illustrator Scott Rosema's modest home, I never know what kind of project he's going to be immersed in. I only know he will have something interesting taped to his immense drawing board, he will be "on deadline," and he will be enthused. Scott is always working and loves it.
One day he was deftly inking drawings for a Jonny Quest coloring book, #2 brush skating across the art boards, trying to make deadline. (I'm convinced that only those who ink line work with a brush can truly be called inkers, but my opinions have been shaped of years of glamorizing New York comic book artists of the '50s like Jack Kirby and Jack Davis, real craftsmen and a dieing breed.) Publishers know how great inking will increase the value of their project, so Scott is in demand.
Another day he was finishing preliminary sketches for paintings for "Dragon," the gaming magazine. His paintings have that loose but controlled brushwork merely competent painters like myself marvel at. You know the look -- photographic in texture and detail, but you can see a brush was used, and the colors brush away to canvas at the edges.
From Scooby Doo artist to major publication illustrator, this is Scott Rosema. A Renaissance Man of printed entertainment. Skilled in so many areas, including time management to make that next deadline, many peripheral artists pale before him. He can talk before 200 children about comic book drawing, as he did in the summer of 1999 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, and the room will fall silent. He can listen with rapt attention at a comic convention to a fan who has always wanted to meet him, genuinely please at the complements. He's a big man, standing 6 1/2 feet tall, but once children see he shares their excitement and sense of wonder, they're hooked. I've never seen Scott in a bad mood. (And I wouldn't want to. As I said, he's a big man.) Where does he come up with the energy and the attitude?
"Drawing, for me, came very naturally and very early; I've been joyfully scribbling away since about 4 years old. But it wasn't until, in my teens, after being obviously influenced by comics for years by then, did it occur to me that art could be more than just a means to it's own end. It could also provide a means of communicating and comics, specifically comic books, was an incredibly powerful communication method. Of course it took me years to fully grasp that concept and I'm still trying to perfect its potential and application. But that pursuit and the building, honing of my skills and abilities as an artist, is incredibly exciting and enormously satisfying. Each day I can look forward to learning something new or getting just that much better or finding an answer to a drawing problem or be presented with a different challenge. And ultimately that means I'll be able to accomplish just that much more. That is exhilarating!"
Scott's determination has led him to some exciting assignments. A partial list includes: a Batman: The Animated Series Golden Book ("The Terror of Two-Face"), an X-Men Adventures (Season II, #7 plus a Rogue/Storm pinup), a variety of DC Superhero coloring and activity books, Batman Adventures color and activity book, Spider-Man paintings for a deluxe card set, comic book adaptation of Disney's Aladdin and The King of Thieves animated movie, Apocalypse card for Marvel Annual card set, penciled Solar, Man of the Atom for Valiant, illustrated numerous color and activity books featuring such licensing properties as Jonny Quest, Scooby Doo, Prince of Egypt, Small Soldiers, Looney Tunes, Dexter's Laboratory. And that's just since mid-1994!
Before that, starting in 1990, he did Tiny Toons/Looney Tunes comic books for Warner Bros. International Publishing (comics that saw print all around the world). And before that, since 1987 and continuing to this day, he's done countless drawings and paintings for TSR (illustrating Dragon Magazine and various gaming modules), FASA, and West End Games. And all the way back to 1978 to the present day, he did and continues to do illustration in the commercial art field (magazines, ad agencies, etc.).
"I started out freelancing right after college graduation in 1979 and then, in 1982, I started working for newspapers, these became my 'day jobs.' But all the while I kept doing comics on my own, I kept my excitement for them alive.
"During my seven year stint at The Muskegon Chronicle, I designed, penciled, inked and lettered the production of, along with pro writer and creator Roger McKenzie, a special 'anti-drugs' comic book insert in the Chronicle, featuring Roger's character The Shark. This was in 1989-1990; it was extremely successful. It garnered boosted circulation for the paper and won several national newspaper awards. As exciting as that was, it also fueled my desire to devote myself full-time to comics, which I did less than a year later."
"One of my most exciting comic book projects, and favorite characters, is definitely 'Space Ghost.' I had the extreme honor of having Steve Rude recommend me for the job. The first issue, Cartoon Network Presents Space Ghost #1, March '97, was suppose to be the first of an ongoing series. But Archie Comics, the publisher at the time, unfortunately had the license revoked when Warner Bros. bought Turner Broadcasting, which owns Hanna-Barbera. All rights to publish comics of H-B characters were allocated to DC, which has yet to utilize the H-B action/adventure stable of heroes (Though I'm still actively pursuing the chance to illustrate Space Ghost for DC). For now, that issue of Space Ghost, in which I painted the cover, penciled and colored the interior, stands as a true high point, thus far, in my career. Being only the fourth time the original Space Ghost has seen print in comics in the last 30 years, I'm very proud to be one of the few artists to help make that happen."
Scott has also taught and given many classes and lectures on comics, art, and creativity over the years but becoming an artist in residence at the Muskegon (Michigan) Museum of Art really gave Scott a chance to showcase one of the things he does best -- talk to people about heroes and stories. At the end of his year with the museum, a gallery show presented his art boards, comic pages, magazine paintings and sketches as fine art on the museums walls. Posters printed to promote the show disappeared quickly, as fans snatched them up to take home.
Temujin Studios includes Scott's wife, Susan Hiza-Rosema, a professional stained glass artist. Susie's incredible work appears in homes and businesses throughout Michigan.
In one of his latest, and most exciting, projects, Scott Rosema's character "August," published through Arrow Comics in August of 1998. Scott describes the series this way:
"August: A character and series that explores true heroism through an infinite prism; August is the ultimate superhero, protector and enigmatic figure of an alien world: an incredibly huge, rich, diverse, and ancient planet known as Brevon. The planet of Brevon has an intelligent essence to it, a cosmic guiding force, that 'represents' and helps it.
"The physical planet supports a vast number of totally different and separate civilizations and races of beings. Each of these civilizations, it's inhabitants and their land mass exist on different areas of the planet of Brevon but in different dimensional 'levels.' As such, each of these races are unaware of each other or the multi-dimensional nature of Brevon's existence. Most of these races are slightly related in a genetic sense but they've evolved in completely different social terms and at vastly different speeds; there are also many extremely and varied mutated forms of life. But from high tech to primitive tree dwellers, they all hold the view of the planet Brevon as exclusively theirs. Each culture's land mass(es) are largely unexplored. Brevon is mostly cover by water in each dimension; Promethean expanses of oceans that present their own qualities: continental-sized whirlpools, deadly giant storms, mysterious water creatures, etc.
"The only link any of them have to one another (though none are aware that this is a link) is the hero known as August. There are many people and creatures on Brevon, in different cultures, that possess extraordinary powers and abilities but only August (and a small handful of incredibly powerful/magical beings) has the ability to travel between the many dimensions to all these different cultures. Ultra strength, hyper speed, power beams (fired from his eyes and hands), and force fields; all are of prodigious magnitude. And he has a mysterious link to Brevon's 'spirit' as a source for his power as well as his mysterious and painful origin. An interesting thing about August is that when he visits these lands he's perceived in different ways by the different people: a sky god; a demon come to life; a folk tale; a superhero; an angel. A few of the lands regard him as just an empowered nuisance to be gotten rid of.
"Each culture has developed a narrative around him according to their separate beliefs and perceptions. It all depends on how that culture relates to him. And August has come to play a different role in each culture as he becomes exposed to it. His responsibility to these roles often times conflicts with his own personal ethics and standards. At such times his herculean powers become useless and he's left with only his mind and his heart to divine a solution. This in addition to stopping the epic disasters and supervillians.
"He is native to only one civilization and he has a wide variety of supporting characters around him and only the very closest to him are aware of Brevon's secretive nature, it's other cultures and his role in them. His life is dedicated to serving these lands, as well as his own, as best he can."
Only a world so vast could hope to contain the imagination of its creator!