We spoke with the multi-talented Ryan Benjamin. You may know him from his work on Batman Beyond or from his very own Brother’s Bond on Webtoon. If there’s anything needed in the creative Ryan most likely knows how to do it. Please check out our interview with Ryan Benjamin!
Q. When did you first realize your artistic talent and when did you decide to turn that into a career?
I was about 12 years old when I knew that I wanted to publish a book. I didn’t know how I would do it, but that was one of my goals. I was the kid in class that would always draw or get pulled from class to work on art projects for the school. When I was in high school, my AP Art teacher, Terri Regotti, specifically created the class for a few of the students, including myself. She was my first mentor and nurtured my love for the arts. She also helped me out with the admission process to go to an art college. It was in college when I realized that I could be a comic book artist. Once I made the realization, I got serious about turning my love of art into a full-fledged career in the comic book industry.
Q. Your website lists almost every service possible, how did you become the Swiss army knife of storytelling? Was that by design or did it just happen?
It was by design. I’m creative by nature, but I had to nurture that side. Little bit of everything. For instance, when I was working at the studio, my colleague would be well versed in a computer program I was interested in learning. So I would ask questions and try to soak up as much as I could while I was at work. Then I would go home and practice. I am continually learning because I refuse to settle.
Q. You do pencil, ink, computer graphics.. is there any medium you prefer over the other? And why?
There are pros and cons to both. I started off with the traditional medium of pencil and paper. Digital is great when I need to get things done quickly. I can also easily fix mistakes when I’m creating art digitally. The traditional way requires precision and planning before putting it onto paper. However, there’s more value with traditional pencil/ink on paper if I decide to sell pages/covers later down the road because it is ‘original art.’
Q. What was it like working on Batman and Superman? Was there a moment for you where you just sort of sat back and realized that you’re working on BATMAN…
I would sit there, every 3-4 days, and think, ‘I can’t believe I’m working on this right now.’ Working on Batman: Beyond was super fun and I would like to draw him or Superman on a series.
Q. Do you ever get tired of creating? Like do you get to a point where drawing Star Wars for the 100th time just isn’t fun, and it’s work? Or is it just always fun for you?
For the most part, it’s fun, and I love that I get to create every day. There was one time throughout my whole career where I got burnt and needed a vacation where I didn’t want to think about art at all. But I was itching to get back into it within a couple of days into the break.
Q. What advice would you give to young artists?
Practice and surround yourself with like-minded people (networking). I think the two go hand in hand. For example, you could be practicing all day in the basement for the next several years, but to grow and get better as an artist, you need to surround yourself with peers/mentors who can give you feedback. You may not realize it now when you’re younger and hanging out with your peers, but 10-20 years down the road, they will be in a higher up position calling the shots. The same person you spent time drawing/hanging out till 3-4 in the morning could be an executive at a studio who needs to hire an artist. They will come to you first over others. In general, learning how to network, is a great skill.
Q. When did you decide to do the Cons?
It was something that my peers did when I first started off in the industry. I started going once I knew I was serious about getting into the comic book industry. At the time, I couldn’t afford to get my own table so a friend of mine got me in.
Q. What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about having a booth at a con?
I get something, what I call con-brain. I get pulled a million different directions during a show, and I can get tunnel-vision towards the end of the day. If I don’t say ‘hi’ while I’m at the booth/table, especially while I’m drawing, I’m not trying to be rude. This one is across the board. If an artist is doing a show solo, it can get difficult to get food/bathroom breaks. We do our best to be available to everyone.
Q. What do you love/hate about cons?
I like meeting people at the shows. It’s great to meet and interact with fans and draw for them. It’s also a place where I can meet my artist friends that live all over the country. It’s kind of like a class reunion. The hours at the show can get long, especially now that I’m getting older (I’m in denial about that haha), but the buzz/energy from the con-goers keeps me going.
Q. What can our readers expect from you next?
I am currently creating my IP, called Brothers Bond on Webtoon. It’s a weekly webcomic that you can read for free by downloading their app on your phone or by going to their website. I did a couple of issues of the Immortal Men series, by DC Comics. So check those out!