Work in Process: How Jamie McKelvie and Mike Norton Tag-Team a YOUNG AVENGERS Page

Our current Pick of the Week Young Avengers #1 boasts a time-tested and unbeatable pedigree with headliners Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. But that’s only part of the story. A look at the credits shows “arts” by McKelvie “with” Mike Norton. You might wonder just what that means in terms of responsibilities and process. It isn’t as simple or clumsy as the irksome practice of one artist handling some sequences while another picks up the slack on the remaining pages. Anyone who read this week’s issue can certainly attest, the division of pencils is virtually seamless. So, how does it all work?

Jamie McKelvie explained via his Tumblr page with this example from the initial story from last year’s Marvel NOW! #.1.

Here’s McKelvie’s contribution:


And here’re Mike Norton’s additions


A lot of people have been wondering about the division of labour between Mike Norton and I on art, so here’s a quick example from the Point One story. Image 1 is what I send over to Mike via Dropbox, and image 2 is how he finishes them off. I don’t always build Sketchup models for backgrounds – sometimes it’ll just be some rough pencilling. I’d call what Mike does background finishing, rather than background inking, as he adds a lot of form, texture and extra elements than just straight up inking.

All done in Manga Studio.

And now you know. Newsy bodies.


  1. Haven’t read this one yet. Can’t wait to get to it. No surprise its the POTW. I would like to see more of McKelvie’s rough pencils as he calls it.

  2. Wow that’s nuts and looks awesome. I know nothing about Young Avengers and care even less, however, I like both artists and Gillen… I might need to pick this up. As Wolverine would say, “Cripes!”

  3. I hope Norton is collecting a really sweet check for this. It seems kind of weird.

  4. Very interesting. Thanks for this.

  5. It would be cool if more artists did this, we wouldn’t have so many artist switches between issues.

  6. This is awesome, though it reminds me of that old Ben Edlund bit about how to draw The Tick.

  7. That’s very cool, I enjoy seeing how artists collaborate in any medium, and this (along with Ron’s pick) makes me want to pick this up. I know that photo referencing is common for bodies and faces, but how common is it with backgrounds?

    • Not sure how common it is, but in the second Phonogram trade Kieron shows some pictures he took of an area that Jamie used as reference for a sequence in one particular issue.

    • Probably more common from what I understand. The Activity’s next issue takes place in the Mall of America and the artist lives in town. He took a TON of reference photos from the sounds of it to make sure he nailed everything. Can’t wait to see the finished product.