Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back In The Saddle

Hey there loyal readers. If you've been hoping for news of White Pony then I can offer you an exciting tidbit; I've completed new pages. They will be posted soon once Nathan and I have had a chance to put our heads together and come up with a satisfying end to our current story arc.

We have been a bit lackadaisical with our approach to our webcomic but I wanted to get back on top of it; at least I hope to arrive at the point where I could satisfy my portion of the story and make ready to hand the baton to a worthy successor, should the epic tale continue.

I've also started a NEW BLOG (featuring many older posts from this blog) that is more specifically geared to my individual artistic pursuits. Nathan and I will still be posting here on occasion but the news will concern our mutual projects and all things Melee. If you want the buzz on Ben Dewey please visit me at Dewey Draws!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Thor Brings The Thunder

I've been working on getting some Marvel Sample Pages; I get to practice cleaning things up a bit. My typical penciling can be a bit smudgy and with the help of the 'Paper mate tuff stuff eraser stick' I have been able to edit and clean as I go! My friend/ studiomate Natalie Nourigat showed me this fine addition to my arsenal and I owe her big time. I recommend it to those of you out there who get tangled up in construction lines.

Marvel Avengers Super Heroes page one at a middle stage

Here is a Thor Montage I had started back when Periscope was putting up images of the thunder God on our Tumblr for the ongoing studio-wide sketch challenge. I still have a Mario, a Mad Men and a few tid-bits here and there left to share. Check back with me here and let me know what you think.

See if you can name all of Thor's friends and rivals without looking it up on wikipedia!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Star Wars Sketchcard Frenzy!

I got a request from a reader to do a few star wars sketch cards. He sent along a few cards; one had a promo piece I had done already printed on it along with my name and title. Now that I'm done with My Work for Dark Horse I have a little time to catch up on little things like this:

Approx. 3 X 7 inches; ink on cardstock

Approx. 4 X 2.5 inches; ink and gray marker on cardstock

If you want a sketch card like this you can send a crisp 20 dollar bill and a self addressed stamped envelope to Periscope Studio Care of Ben Dewey! You can also look for my Star Wars Digest title "Strange Allies" coming December 6th (mark your calendars!) to your local comics retailer. You can also pre-order online

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Observe and Report.

I like observational drawing. I feel like it is one of the things that I do well. I encourage developing artists to try it as often as possible. It becomes a reservoir that one can tap into as they develop cartooning solutions for the articulation of complex information. Without some understanding of natural light and forms that emerge from contrast, the methods of stylization that people often employ quickly reveal themselves to be incomplete.

I got Lindsey to draw me and she did a better job of honestly recording what she saw than many people I went to art school with would have.

Some friends of ours were in town over the weekend. I often draw people that I'm having a meal with but I've decided it might be best to ask first. The fellow on the left of the image (a dear friend of mine) was annoyed with my depiction of him to the point where he asked me 'not to do it again.' That is a possible peril when you portray anyone I suppose.

Lindsey and I had a nice breakfast at Tom's where we talked about drawing. I asserted that adults seem squeamish about drawing because they appear to have a strange standard of necessary quality that is self applied. Many people don't hold themselves to a similar litmus test with other popular activities like sports or cooking, that have a well demonstrated, professional, archetype against which their own skills could be measured. If they do, the peak potential ideal doesn't seem to stop most of them from enjoying their own explorations. Drawing is fun and I'm glad when Lindsey does it.

Lindsey is depicted here depicting me. The drawing she is working on can be seen above

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Girly Stuff.

I've been swamped with my Star Wars project for a long time now and I have not had much in the way of free hours. Still, what little time there was manifested a few lady-specific sketches: I do make a point to draw Lindsey as much as I can, I was commissioned to do a portrait of an ailing but brave girl fighting a brain tumor and, finally, I happened to have a 20 minute period where I put way too much effort into a little wonder woman doodle.

I like to draw women but there is a fine line to walk between being playful in exploring what you find attractive or enticing and being a total perv. I've come to a point where I'm just going to draw what I like measured against the context I'm working in; trying to find that balance.

I was talking with Periscope's current Intern Ainsely Yeager, about what gains a person success in the field of comics, and I said something along the lines of 'if you don't have boobs you should learn to draw them' to which she replied with a more concise "(to succeed in comics) you better be a hot chick or know how to draw them." It's true that being an attractive girl can go a long way in endearing your work to comics readers.

It has occurred to me that, since I like science, it might be a worthwhile thing to try an experiment along these lines. Will more people take an interest in my work and promote me if I spend the next month drawing hot ladies and popular subjects rather than my usual fare? The question really boils down to whether people are more interested (generally) in subject rather than approach. I suppose there is a balance to be struck between drawing weird niche images that satisfy me and the things that please people.

we'll see aye?

Friday, April 15, 2011


I love "The Legend Of Zelda." It was the last video game that I played alone and really loved. My favorite part of the whole series is the puzzle component of the temples. I don't care for a lot of busy work or repetitive button pushing.

'Zelda' always seems to have just enough monster fighting to keep it feeling like an 'adventure' without overindulging in that aspect nicely avoiding the tedium of the ubiquitous side scrolling street (or space station-esque) brawl games like 'Double Dragon' or 'Final Fight' of my youth. We all know that those sorts of games exist to be played with friends while staying up all hours of the night while you eat pizza and bag on each other.

Zelda is a world unto itself and I wish I could relive the experience of playing "Ocarina Of Time" again on a first run through. I used to go to bed thinking excitedly about potential solutions.

May the way of the hero lead to the Triforce.

Maybe some day soon I'll replay 'A Link to The Past' Or "Ocarina of Time.' If I get really crazy I might obtain a copy of 'Windwaker' and 'Twilight Princess.' At which point more elaborate and extensive fan art would be required!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Lindsey Book, My Animal Mystery

I have a sketch book that I am filling with primarily observational drawings. That same sketchbook has become a venue for my portraits of Lindsey. Most of them are drawn at breakfast or while she is watching movies. I like trying to capture how I see her and sometimes I'm more successful than others. I want to fill the book with images of her over the next few years and catalog my appreciation of her while improving my drawing skills!

She was disappointed in the fact that they currently make the French Toast with regular bread instead of Croissants as they once did.

I've also started to accumulate a collection of quotes from her. Though this is my favorite over all:

"If you get the water, I'll start eating the pizza"

Lindsey and I are both filing for extensions this tax season because we are disorganized and as a result of that we've been going through piles of paper that have accumulated around our apartment. That usually seems tedious and tortuous to me but the good news is that I found this old mini comic (circa 2008) that I had started while I was teaching at Art 4 Life:

There is a mystery in the comic and I think I'll finish it because I remembered the mechanism I planned on using. It's going to be fun and, hopefully, somewhat challenging. Check back with me over the weekend for posts about Stumptown. If you are local or inclined to hop on a concorde come find me and say hello!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Out On The Town!

What do the Dark Knight, Kal-El and my brother Zach all have in common? They are proud denizens of major metropolitan areas that they improve with their presence!

My Brother Zach has moved to Portland and I am excited for him. I remember what it felt like to be here early on; there is a trilling sense of discovery accompanied by the awkward stumbling progress of establishing a life apart from that which you had previously been so accustomed to. He is a very talented illustrator, designer and all around good guy. I sincerely believe that he has made the first and most important step in the process of profound personal development: choosing the right venue for growth. A big part of succeeding in the pursuit of one's goals involves betting on an informed choice of a home base. Zach has bravely made that bold move toward an energetic future of golden possibility by joining us here in PDX!

Even though he has been here for a few months I still offer him a warm welcome and I hope you'll do the same by visiting his Blog:

He and I went to Brunch at the Morningstar Cafe to celebrate his arrival!

My last bit of Sketch art from Emerald City is this Batman and Superman piece That I did on the final day of the con as things were winding down. Nathan and I had done a Star Trek/Wars competition on Saturday and decide to try a similar information gathering venture Sunday with the Caped Crusader and last son of Krypton. I finished the image once I got back and I think I'll offer it via Periscope's Etsy Store.

I don't do much DC-themed stuff at the moment. I do love the potential of those characters in the same way that I love the Marvel Characters but I think Marvel has been more in step with what I've wanted to see as a consumer of entertainment. That said; if you readers want to see some DC Characters then you can drop a line in the comments or email me a sketch suggestion or for a commission!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lucky Seven.

Periscope Studio has a regular sketch challenge that I've only been able to participate in sparingly. I'm super busy working on my Star Wars story for Darkhorse comics at the moment but when the opportunity to help out with the relief effort in Japan each of us in the studio set aside the time.

The recent tragedy in Japan was something that even the best scientific instruments available could not predict or prevent. Since we have been presented with a clear circumstance of need, each of us owes our fellow humans on the other side of the world the most we can give. I don't have a lot of money at any given time (though I am donating money as well) but I can offer up my skill set to garner more than I can afford on my own. My contribution to the Periscope auction is this piece of original art:

If you are interested in bidding on it please click on this link:
Periscope Studio Ebay Auction For Japan Relief!

I wanted to do something that would be encouraging and embody the triumph of will over adversity that has been a historic strength of the Japanese. I read somewhere along the way that in post-WW2 Japan there was a re-embrace of Samurai culture and mentality that helped make the nation into the dynamic cultural force it is today. Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" Perfectly captures the spirit of dedicated earnest people fighting the good fight in spite of tough odds. We can all find a correlate of our best selves amongst that diverse band of seven warriors.

The inks without the watercolor

If you know someone who loves classic film and wants to help the people of japan remedy their distress then send them over to the link posted above and get in on the effort. It's win win; the auction winner gets cool art that they can always feel good about and the Japanese get the resources they desperately need to help remedy the effects of an unavoidable disaster.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This first image is a sketch from Emerald City that I did in between commissions. I didn't get any requests for color this time around but I'm hoping for more of that sort of work next year. I like to work in color because it adds just that much more spark to already fun ideas:

The Great Master Yoda handing down a lesson

This other drawing was done while waiting for food at McMenamin's. Lindsey and I went (with our friends Randi and Wes) to see our old pal Bob Grunau race his bicycle against many foes. He did really really well; he came in 6th place. It was a really big field and all of those guys was working hard to win the promised prize of cake. This was one of his first races and I'm excited to see how he does in future contests.

Left to Right: Bob, Signe, Wes, Randi and Sweet Lindsey

More Convention sketches to on the way so come back soon and be sure to check out the updated Tales From The White Pony site!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Saving Throw Vs. Science!

Hello all, I'm trying to catch up on my Dark Horse work so I'm not getting a lot of extra time to work on images for the Periscope Sketch Blog or this Blog but I have started a bunch of images that will be sweet once they are done. These partially completed works include: Mario Kart, Mad Men, Seven Samurai and Carl Sagan (which you can see in process in a previous blog.)

For the time being I'll offer you this great series of Science related things:

President Kennedy speaking in Texas about our achieving nation's potential thorough science!

PZ Meyers awesome Blog!

The fantastic Gem what-is NASA.

They just put a spacecraft into orbit around Mercury!

Tonight my old pal Rich Ellis invited me out to play a D & D encounter, with Grace Allison and Susan Tardif, at a game store here in Portland called Guardian Games. I had a lot of fun, but as you can imagine, public RPG sessions offer some serious potential for awkward clashes with the unwashed nerdy fringes. We shared a table with three dudes who took obnoxious, narcissistic dorkiness to a level I thought heretofore unreachable.

I did a drawing of Rich and Grace. Susan was sitting next to me so only her dice made it in to the picture. Our DM was a really nice, if somewhat meek, fellow named Dean. We fought an army of Ghosts. I ended up finishing off the main spectre with a magic missile.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Post Con Thoughts

Emerald City taught me some things about what convention appearances are good for at this stage in a comics career. The most worthwhile aspect of it for me was meeting people and talking with them about their convention experiences as a way to engage in community building. A side benefit of our conversations was that, hopefully we gained some readers for our webcomic Tales From The White Pony. We gave out about a hundred free buttons between the start of the con on Friday and Saturday afternoon and if a tenth of those people become regular readers I'd call it a successful campaign.

For next time I'm going to remember to make more of those buttons, more mini comics and some slightly less-improvised signs like the group seen below. I still enjoyed making them out of what we had around but it might be better for getting people to take me seriously if it's printed out. I also learned that name recognition and cuteness are crucial selling points. Since I don't have the latter, I'll work toward the former!

I'm going to keep these prices for con -sketches till next Emerald City. If you want one for Stumptown you can contact me through Periscope Studio or send me a message at my website.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence."

I'm making a good effort to try and catch up to the rest of my studio-mates for the weekly sketchblog challenge. I'm behind on several of the subjects but this time I've got the jump on my colleagues. Here are the first two stages of my tribute to my hero Carl Sagan:

I did the majority of the black and white work on the train back from Emerald City Comic Con. I added Voyager 2 and the gray tones when I got back. My next move is to add some color and maybe a few photoshop effects like subtle gradients or levels of opacity. I'm also going to find a great quote to underscore the image and evoke Carl's wonderful elocution in the practice of exalting scientific thinking.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Trek V. Wars

Yes, Yes it's true I'm back from my hiatus and Emerald city. It was a great time. I have a ton of art and a few bucks to show for it (although after final tally I think I broke even.) The subject of Saturday was whether their was a bigger display of fandom for Star Trek or Star Wars. Nathan and I decided to have a friendly competition (actually more of an experiment) to see which would come out on top. I chose the underdog (Trek) in an effort to seem like I care about something other than Star Wars. This is our tally sheet:

Nathan would tell people which side we were on and after some people threatened me in a half-joking manner I put on my new headphones to let them know where I stand.

In the end we decided that the reason Sw beat out St was that for all the great aspects of the message inherent to the Trek universe like considerate exploration and a positive future for humanity; Wars has a much cooler visual vocabulary to draw from and if you think I'm wrong then I say this to you: Lightsaber, R2, Vader, Deathstar, Chewie, Yoda, Jaba and Akbar are relentlessly referenced in memes of all sorts. The themes of Star Trek are intellectual (which the science-side of me loves) while the lasting legacy of Star Wars is sensory (which has inspired my drawings since I was 3.)

You can see that we did a Batman/Superman-off but it didn't have the same spark of intrigue that our initial choice did. It should be noted finally that my underdog pick also had a boost from the con appearances of many next Next Generation cast members and the Trek overlord, Shatner himself, but still didn't win.

In the end we did see one Herculoids tee shirt and Nathan made special mention of it.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Buttons and Yeti-centaurs.

I'm part way through our first mini-comic and it is taking longer than I'd like. The good news is that Nathan should have a script for me as of tonight and I have finished buttons:

The other good news is that my sweet Star Wars headphone arrived and they are just as cool as I'd hoped.

No really, the good news is that I've been getting a lot of little things accomplished and I'm looking forward to seeing my buddy Nathan for our fun excursion north to that gem on the Puget sound. We will have at least one (but maybe two) mini comics in print to promote our big sprawling online comic. The first of them is the side adventure of the troll brothers and the second will be based on our Gnome protagonist.

This is a set of non-sequential pages from the min which will measure, roughly, 5.5 by 4.25 inches when properly sized and collated in finished form. I'm going to produce a cover for them too but that will come at the end of finishing all the interior art. Nathan will be here soon so I'm hoping, once he arrives, to see this whole little side project come together in a brilliant flash of bro-hugs and late-night snacking.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Emeralds On The Horizon

Nathan is frantic with school. I'm busy depicting a galaxy far far away but I am excited that no matter what happens in the next few days, we will both be in Seattle as of March 4th. Since I'm working on some little mini comics for the con that I mentioned in the previous post and I finished a Mario Kart tribute piece but since neither of those are really ready I'll show you this Drawing I did on the bus.

Good Old Number 9 Line

It was packed and the driver kept shouting "All the way to the back people... all the way back." I liked that the people sitting in front of me had interesting heads. I did not use an eraser!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Old Projects And More!

I am waiting for the bus which is the only reason I have time to write this now. As the month draws to a close I am still faced with a mountain of tasks and a limited capacity to accomplish them all. It was mentioned to me this morning that, as a freelancer, my taxes are going to be hellish and I've been avoiding that whole hornets nest till now too! I don't have new art to share because I'm doing a long run of pages for a book that I've mentioned in previous posts but I will post a crop from a piece of promotional art I did for a client. You can guess what it's about!

I'm envious of those people who take their time producing work. I tend to feel like I've got one arm tied behind my back because, seemingly, the number of things I'm trying to accomplish stops me from expressing the full range of my skill set. I'm trying to take on fewer jobs so maybe some day soon I'll really get to stretch my legs and run on a project that perfectly suits what I can do with a more flexible deadline. Till then you'll probably keep getting these weird little snippets!

Here's a crop of another piece done for a book:

On the upside we have this awesome lecture by Professor Brian Cox that will henceforth also be included in my links on the right side of the blog under Science and Philosophy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Funday

I did this drawing of Lindsey with a handful of old oil pastels that I found in a box while cleaning/rearranging. It turned out OK, which is more than I can say for our breakfast.

We went to a place on Hawthorne street that we had been talking about checking out and it was lame-sauce. I'm not picky either but if you strike out on taste, expense and portion then I can't pretend to like it. I try not to complain about things on the lighter third of the scale between 'I lost limbs and my vision via civil war and racial genocide' to 'this isn't the color tote-bag they usually give out at this kind of thing' with 'my pet died' somewhere around the middle. I have a good life and I think about that every day. That said; this Muffin I had was definitely closer to 'sorry champ... rocket got run over' than 'this free popcorn sucks.'

Why Go to Hawthorne for breakfast when you can go to Tom's?

I like our Sunday breakfast adventures to far flung locales (of more than a block away) but I'm going to stick to Tom's for a while because the coffee is perfectly watery, the pancakes are cheap and plentiful and the waitresses all seem to have names from the 19th century.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Yes I'm Obsessed.

Lindsey Showed me these the other night:

Even as I sat today drawing Star Wars comics, thinking about these headphones and having just watched the original theatrical cuts of episodes 4 and 5 the previous night I still did not feel over-saturated.

They make Carl Sagan merch too and I want this just as much:

I'll post some art tomorrow; tonight my inner materialist is on display.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Behind The Scenes Of TFTWP

I thought I'd share some aspects of how I put a recent page together. You can see the script here below. I start by printing out what Nathan sends me (which is his distillation of ideas that we've talked out or things he has a firm grasp on that will move the story forward.) I highlight the relevant parts of the script so that I can keep track of what I'm supposed to keep in mind for dialogue and description.

In this case I had some elaborate descriptions to work off of and some other panel descriptions that leave a lot of room for interpretation. You can compare the script with the thumbnail layout I did and then the finished page (here or seen below) that Nathan is working on (lettering as) I type this. It is also interesting to see how he will sometimes alter the interchanges based on things I've drawn or new ideas he has.

I've been trying to finish my pages really fast because I have a serious work load to catch up on but I don't want to neglect our beloved web strip. I've taken to using methods that I've seen Terry Dodson and Mike Mignola employ. One of those tools is the use of an establishing shot followed by several images that either only hint at or neglect the background when it is not necessary for telling the story. I rely on the mind of the reader to fill in the parameters of the location once I've given them the prompt.

This is a sketch of some possible banners for the revamped website. Nathan and I have been trying to do this for a while and with the approach of the Emerald City Comics Convention (where we'll both be in attendance) we have a concrete deadline for the launch. The only problem is that I have, literally, a dozen other White Pony related art projects to finish in the same time frame. This would all be in addition to the ongoing story (which is getting better and better; you guys just wait and see!)

I'm also drawing an 80 pg. Star Wars GN for Darkhorse (as I've mentioned before) so February is going to be one busy little month. Wish me luck friends!

Monday, February 7, 2011

LindseyAnne Improves My Future

As I may have mentioned, Lindsey doesn't draw much voluntarily but somehow I got her to agree to produce images to go with her frequently staggered blog posts. We reinforce each other by performing complimentary and or equivalent tasks.

I have been trying to do an image of her at least once a week. Sunday is often my day for that little event and I decide after this last, particularly lazy Sunday, that I want to implement a similar goal for my long neglected board game design. I want other people to have the chance to play my sweet games and until I set time aside they just exist as rough prototypes.

Here's to a future full of productive Sundays!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Return Of The Thumbnails

I'm working on a Star Wars GN for Darkhorse and since my thumbnails don't reveal any dialogue or give any plot points away I'll post a couple here so you can see my process. I usually take a few minutes to look over the script, write down any specific reference I need and then sketch out my initial impression on printer paper.

The hardest part of comics is the problem solving; choosing the best framing, angles and panel size to clearly evoke the atmosphere that the writer intends. Storytelling isn't about how well you draw. It is about how you think.

My favorite comics artists consistently try to serve the script more than the vague notion of what the fans might want. My hopeful assumption is that fans respect a well crafted script and an artist who can bring that script to life in such a way that never leaves them feeling overly distracted by the flourish of the drawing. I am continually refining my approach to have a balance between allegiance to story and quietly compelling image-craft.