That’s right, I’m back with a brand new 9Q9A! for you wonderful readers, this time time with everyone’s favorite: Ben Fleuter of Derelict. Ben was kind enough to “step into the studio” and answer a few questions, and if you haven’t yet heard of Derelict, then get on over there and check it out, then come back for some insights into the mind behind the work. Without anymore delay, have at it, friends!
Q1] What are you working on right now, art-wise?
A1] I always have a number of projects going on. In addition to Derelict, I currently have a short comic for an anthology I’m making progress on ever so slowly. I’m a freelance artist by trade, too, so (hopefully!) always have some art for someone else to be doing.
Q2] What is your workflow like?
A2] Probably not the best. I tend to work on one thing in very long singular stretches, rather than small passes. In order to try and get better with this and to wrangle multiple projects I’ve started making schedules for myself. It’s sad, but I get a tiny high now whenever I check off a box on my to-do list.
Q3] Who are your top three influences (any medium)?
Q4] What is the one piece of indispensable advice you would give a comics creator for getting their work out there?
Q5] What do you think your duty is to the reader (if any)?
Q6] If you could do one thing better, in regards to graphic storytelling, what would it be?
A6] This sort of circles back to workflow. I’d like to get better at doing multiple pages in passes rather than one in a sitting or two. That way they could be a bit more consistent as a unit. Consistency is something I worry about a lot, especially in a comic like Derelict which is so grounded in the rules I made up for it. I also feel my character art is lacking when compared to my environment art, and I want to get back on the Drawing from Life wagon.
Q7] What, if anything, do you prefer to listen to while you work?
A7] This changes a lot with the work. When writing, I can’t listen to something with lyrics in it, and instead need something instrumental that really fits the mood of the piece. When drawing or doing something that requires more brain power, I typically want energetic music and lyrics are a plus (I am a Rock and Metal guy, myself, but there is room for a wide variety). Finally when doing something I find more mindless and repetitive, such as inking and flat colors, I prefer to put on a movie or show. This will typically be something I’ve seen before, so I don’t find it too distracting, but the fact it tells a story and has a longer run-time than a song helps me get through the work I find more monotonous.
Q8] What is the one comic story that has stuck with you throughout the years?
A8] I am going to be wildly uncreative here and say Watchmen. The first time I read that “35 minutes ago” line I freaked out. There is also a Hellboy short called “The Troll Witch” that I love to death.
Q9] What do you consider to be the greatest power of graphic storytelling?
A9] A lot of people will say that its strength is that it combines visual media with writing to create a new beast, and that probably is in fact what makes it so strong. A specific advantage to that is that it allows teams of as low as one person to feasibly get their ideas out there in an easy to consume media – something that can’t be done with movies and animations too easily. It also lets such creators write AND draw at the same time and both of those are pretty fun!
So there you have it, friends. Thanks to Ben Fleuter for his time, and with a shout out to Beksiński and “The Troll Witch I like him even more. Au revoir till Monday!
(Derelict images © Ben Fleuter 2013)