Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Blog Flickr
Scott Neely

Thank you to Scott Neely for taking the time to answer all of my questions. I know I went a little overboard with the amount of questions I sent you. I really appreciate the thorough answers!

Scott Neely
Scott Neely is a professional designer and illustrator. He has worked on Scooby-Doo since 1999! His most recent work with Scooby has been the Capstone “You Choose” books and cover art for DC Comics. He has done work on so many other characters as well. For more information on Scott, please visit his website, Scott Neely Design-O-Strator.

ScoobyAddicts.com: How did you start working with Cartoon Network? (This should have said Warner Brothers, not Cartoon Network! This is what I get for not proofreading enough!)

Scott Neely: Not so much with Cartoon Network but with Warner Brothers who owns all the characters as they appear all over. Cartoon Network just airs the shows but the characters have a bigger existence outside of the show on products, etc.

I did a project with a guy for a Pharmaceutical company and his girlfriend worked high up at Golden Books at the time. They were trying to get the Star Wars license as it was coming back out in '97. I had drawn some Star Wars stuff before and so I had an in, but Random House paid way more than anyone else in the end for the license and they wound up with it. But I was called anyway as they had gotten the license for this thing called Pokemon. I had no idea what it was but I said yes. From there they got the license with Scooby-Doo. I wasn't a huge fan but I grew up watching it. I said yes again and I did an audition that beat the others out who submitted and I wound up doing mostly all the licensing work for Scooby in late '99 into 2001. I did so much that they still reprint it to this day. 2000 was my biggest output of work I ever had. I was a machine and just did what was handed to me. After that, they had just gotten the licenses for all the new Cartoon Network shows and they wanted me to do an audition for each license. Golden Books then told me that Warner Brothers requested me by name. That was pretty cool as they knew who I was and so I passed those auditions as well. I still have the printed email telling me I was approved. But that was how I got in where they would know who I was. From there I would occasionally talk to WB and see what was going on to get more work. They I did work for Disney and got known there the same way.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You have worked on characters like Scooby-Doo, Johnny Bravo, Dexter's Laboratory, Pokemon, etc. Do you have a favorite character you like to draw?

Scott Neely: Not really. I like all of them but they are fun to draw if you work on one thing too much. If I'm in the midst of Scooby-Doo stuff for 4 months straight and a Phineas and Ferb job comes along I take it It's great to break up the monotony.

ScoobyAddicts.com: What was the first Scooby project you worked on?

Scott Neely: Good question. I started off with 3 projects at once as I recall. I forget the order but I think the first was a write your own adventure style book that had stickers and kids could color as well. Then I was working on an adaptation of the Creeper episode as a coloring book and then the Alien Invaders book, so all three were going on at once. The most I did was in 2000 was four projects at once. It was then that they offered me more Pokemon stuff and I had to turn it down as I couldn't have fit in it. If I could have cloned myself...

ScoobyAddicts.com: Of all the Scooby projects you have worked on, what was your favorite?

Scott Neely: I did the last Little Golden Book that Golden Books published before they got taken over by Random House. It was an adaptation of the Snow Ghost episode. I have two other books that I did that I still like as a whole. Most times you like certain pieces out of it as some days you were rushed more than others and you always want to go back and fix something.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Did you grow up watching Scooby-Doo? Do you have a favorite Scooby-Doo series/episode/movie/character/villain?

Scott Neely: I liked it. Didn't love it but I watched it. I think the ones with Batman and Robin were my favorites. I love the Creeper and wrote a story called "The Return of The Creeper" that I wanted to be done in the comics and WB liked it as well but the current format won't allow it so I'll keep it till the time is right.

ScoobyAddicts.com: How many different projects do you typically work on at one time? Is it difficult to go from one to the next?

Scott Neely: The most I've done is four at one time. Currently, for Capstone, I'm working on two books at the same time. There is usually gaps in the time where I'm hanging out as things are in approval stage at the rough sketch point or the final art point.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You have drawn several of the Scooby Comic covers for DC Comics. How did you start working with DC Comics? How do they determine which covers you will draw and which ones they will give to other artists?

Scott Neely: I had been drawing Scooby for four years and called DC Comics in 2004 or so as I was looking for other avenues. I started doing some Scooby and a lot of Cartoon Network stuff. You mostly get the covers for the stories that you were drawing that would appear in that issue. Sometimes I just did the cover. I have no idea how they determine anything but I guess they liked the covers I did and I met the deadlines with no drama so they kept giving me them.

ScoobyAddicts.com: At the beginning of 2014, you had written a story for DC comics. You also drew the comic. Was that the first Scooby story you had written that was published? You said you had sold 3 story ideas. Have you completed the other 2?

Scott Neely: Yes, that was the first one published. I had over 12 story ideas and WB liked three of them as they were looking for something that was different and mine were about places I had actually been and built stories with Scooby in it. The Creeper story was part of it and it was a whole arc to it. The current comic structure just isn't built like that though so they chose stories that could be done in 10 pages. I couldn't cram what I wanted to into ten pages. My arc kinda went like what they did In Mystery Incorporated with Mister E. You have him appear but he gets away and there's a bigger mystery going on.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You also do covers for the Scooby-Doo You Choose series from Capstone. How did you start working with Capstone for this project? Will you be doing all of the covers for the series?

Scott Neely: Capstone emailed me out of the blue. Warner Brothers gave them my name. I do the art for the You Choose Capstone books which is a cover and ten interior pieces per book. Working on Books 11 and 12 right now. I also did two Scooby books for the non-fiction side of Capstone last year as well.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Can you explain the process of creating a cover for DC Comics or Capstone from start to finish? How long does it usually take to do a cover? Is there a big difference in how you do the comic covers vs. the Capstone covers?

Scott Neely: It's the same process. I have to know where the titles, logo, branding, etc. will fall so I can plan the layout but it all gets worked out in thumbnail drawings and then I do a rough version based on what I like or think is the strongest and submit it. Capstone likes it, they then send it to WB who approves it and I go to final. If I take out approval time, a cover can take, with no breaks, like 3 days. I've done comic covers in a day and a half though as they don't plan ahead so you have to crank it out.

ScoobyAddicts.com: What memorable responses have you had to your work?

Scott Neely: I get the occasional email from someone or someone comments on my blog which is cool. I had Phineas and Ferb Creator, Dan Povenmire, comment on my P and F work and that was cool. WB still gives my name out to license purchasers who get Scooby so after 15 years of drawing it, that's still nice. Capstone loves me.

ScoobyAddicts.com: What is your dream project?

Scott Neely: To do a book series based on my dog, Alfie, whom had just passed back in April. I should have done it years ago and had it all worked out but working for other people has kept blocking me. I did pitch it to Capstone so it still pending.

ScoobyAddicts.com: I went to Scott Innes' Christmas Party in 2012. He gave out coloring sheets that were drawn by you. Do you draw the coloring pages specifically for his parties or are they pictures you had drawn from a previous project?

Scott Neely: I think they were from projects that were done and we made them into free coloring pages. It was quick and easy with all the other stuff I had to do as I had to do all the advertising for the event in 2010. I have them somewhere so I'd need to see them to remember. I did do all new original art for the auctions we did there.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Speaking of Scott Innes, you co-created Hollywood Hal & Rhinestone Al together. How did you get involved in this project with him?

Scott Neely: Hell, I'd need a podcast for that! Haha. That's a novel if I typed it. He emailed me out of the blue back in 2004 or so. I did some small work for him and we became friends. We used to talk about just being hired guns and they can dump you whenever they wanted to and you needed your own thing that you owned. That's where Hal & Al came from as Hal & Al are based on Scott and Jim Hogg essentially. I created all the visuals and such and all the product art. People can check out my blog for it all. There's tons of stuff with Innes that I did. It was a high point to have characters I created along side of Scooby-Doo when we had the full costumes at an event. There's a pic on my blog of it.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You did a commissioned piece for me, which is absolutely amazing! How long did it take you to create mine? Do you do a lot of commissioned pieces?

Scott Neely: That took a looooonnnng while to do. It just scheduling but then something gets moved up and then you have to push stuff back to get the other stuff done that was fast-tracked. That's why I don't do as much of it as some artists do. If I did it in one shot, it was two days to do your piece as it took time to work out the other aspects of the layout with the props around Scooby. Plus doing final inks takes way longer as I try not to screw up and use any whiteout to fix stuff. I try to make it look like a print. If you buy a normal sketch from me that was used for production it can have white paint or paste over patches on top of it to make a correction fast. A lot of people don't know the difference between a print and original production art so I have to let them know what they are getting.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Have you seen any of the promo images for the new series coming out this year, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!? What do you think of the artwork?

Scott Neely: I've seen one piece of art. I didn't even know there was a new series till I was told about it. It's different and I think it's ok to switch it up. It looks like Scooby-Doo meets Ren & Stimpy with the art style. If you don't like it, you can be sure there's another series and another take on it soon after. Plus the yearly movies they do keep the classic style.

ScoobyAddicts.com: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?

Scott Neely: What everyone else tells you: don't give up and to be honest with yourself. You know when it's not up to snuff and if you need more work. It takes years to break into any industry and to be able to make a living doing it. It's hard to do what I do and stay "on model" as a lot of artists have their own styles which come through in their work. If you draw Batman there's more leeway to let you be you, but licensing is a different animal. You should do what excites you or else it's just a job and you should never do any work "just for the money." Those jobs are long and boring and you want them to be done fast and they just drag and never seem to end. Do work that you have some kind of passion for. I like cartoons, but I like some more than others and some of the easier ones are actually sometimes more difficult to nail down.