QUICK QUESTIONS WITH Ben Hennessy
WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT IS YOUR CONNECTION TO COMICS?
[I am Ben Hennessy] I was lucky enough to be part of Longstone comics for a good long time, but I do that thing that
freelancers do and say ‘yes’ to just about every job that came my way, for fear that it will never
come my way again. So since I say yes to everything, I pretty much spent more time working in
animation and less time working on comics. Not complaining I love my job. Plus I should have a new
comic out by the end of year with Tommie Kelly.
WHAT COMIC ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
A friend of mine and I are working on a comic we’re calling ‘336’ right now. This is the comic that I’ll
have out at the end of the year. It’s the only comic that I’m taking seriously at the moment, but like
every artist out there I have a couple of things in the pipeline.
WHAT’S THE BEST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
Drawing it! I enjoy the character design part quite a lot, I also enjoy when everything is light boxed
and ready for me to work my pencils. Since I have a very animated style I get to play with a lot of
shapes, I get to take my squash and stretch pretty far; this is the part where I have the most fun.
WHAT’S THE WORST PART OF MAKING COMICS?
When the page doesn’t really come together, when your not left satisfied at the end of the day with
your page, this frustrates the crap outta me.
HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER COMICS?
The Sonic the Comics, way back in the day. Used to love Richard Elson’s Sonic.
WHO IS THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR WORK?
Awh man, good question. David Colman, Skottie Young, Humberto Ramos, Mike Kunkel. These
guys are awesome, and I suppose that they are always a core source of inspiration for me. But it
really depends on my mood I suppose and what I’m working on. At the moment I’m digging Alvin
Lee. Trying to work on my ‘finishing’, looking at Alvin’s work is really helping me out. He gave me a
critique in NY a while back, it’s really helping I can see the difference in my work since.
WHAT TOOLS OF THE TRADE DO YOU USE?
Lots of stuff, Col-erase pencils, Derwent putty rubbers, Staedtler Mars Lumograph pencils, Battery
erasers are probably my fav trad tools. Digitally I use Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop and a Wacom
WHAT IS THE SINGLE WORK OF WHICH YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
I don’t know the more I look at my work the more faults I find with it, so the work I’m probably most
proud of is whatever I did last.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?
It was off a guy I was working with on my first ever job. I was suffering with ‘Eager Beaver Syndrome’
and at one point I was sitting really close to the animation disc. So this guy turns around and
says ‘What are you doing? Sit up! How can you see what you are doing?’ Just went to show me that
I was so wound up in trying to impress I forgot about the basics, so I got a two-fer there. Remember
the rules and loosen up no matter what the job (i.e. how to beat Eager beaver syndrome) AND it
doesn’t matter how often you hear it ‘Sit Up!’
WHAT IS THE WORST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Cant think of a single one… must have blanked them out or something. I know I’ve gotten some
down the line but, I think you can tell pretty easily what advice is a load of BS and what will take you
far in the industry.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE CURRENT IRISH COMIC SCENE?
It’s growing, it’s awesome. There’s some great talent coming out of Ireland at the moment, I think
it’s a great time for Irish comics artists. And not only is there great artists coming out of Ireland but
there are some great artists working on some great Titles. It’s exciting, inspiring and I want in!
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN IRISH COMIC IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Ha! I’d like to see me working in it! I’d also like to see it paying… maybe those two are connected.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN COMICS IN GENERAL IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
I’m actually seeing it. There are artists working major titles who have a very animated style. I’d like
to see this being a regular thing, and not the ‘phase’ a lot of people think it is. A lot of people turn
their noses up at animated styles.
WHAT WAS THE LAST COMIC THAT MADE AN IMPACT ON YOU?
Recently I re-read ‘It’s a Bird’ by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen… still as good as the first
FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO
START MAKING THEIR OWN COMICS? (And don’t say DON’T:) )
Get to it.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
*Tumbleweed rolls by
Ben Hennessy has been working in animation industry in Dublin, primarily as a character designer
and storyboard artist. He also helped set up and direct Pegbar, an animation social networking
event and recently Flip n’ Roll an animation co-op. He is an avid tweeter and blogger and can be
contacted easily enough here, http://twitter.com/bennessy and work can be viewed here, http:/