Pitt grad gets paid cartooning


Tom Scioli, Pitt alumnus (class of ’99), spent his college years making comics with his… Tom Scioli, Pitt alumnus (class of ’99), spent his college years making comics with his friends.

Scioli received a grant for his work that allowed him to have his art published. Now he is a professional comic book artist.

Scioli, who has drawn for “Freedom Force” and the “Fantastic Four,” is now working on his own creation called “Godland.”

He said that constant practice is one of the most important ways to spend free time.

“Just start drawing now, that’s the best way to get better,” Scioli said. “Then send it to editors.”

He said that an artist needs a market.

“If you want to be an artist you need an audience. If you don’t have an audience then you are not an artist.”

Scioli recommended basic art classes, even for students who feel that they don’t need them. He also listed film and writing classes as a big help to anyone who wanted to become a comic book artist.

Scioli was one of the talents gathered at the Century III Mall in West Mifflin, Pa., to sign their work and talk with the public.

Dave Nestler, who attended Pitt for three years before dropping out, was also there.

Nestler illustrates pinups for books and magazines. He went from Pitt to Carnegie Mellon and finally the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

“As soon as I took my first class and there were football players there, I knew it was a joke,” Nestler said.

Nestler said that an aspiring commercial artist has to submit his work to editors as often as possible.

“I’m not going to sit there painting stuff in the hope that someone’s going to notice me,” Nestler said. “Figure out what you want to do: concepts, landscapes, comics, and find out all about the market.”

He stressed that a successful artist should know his limits.

“You have to be honest with yourself. Look at what’s out there and see how you compare,” Nestler said.

Todd McDevitt, the owner of New Dimension Comics and host of the event, warned student artists that they face a tough time in the comic book industry.

“It’s a very difficult business to get into. It’s more exclusive than the NBA,” McDevitt said. “There is no magic formula for it.”