This week let's get to know Benjamin Glendenning. This talented artist and writer has been creating artwork for more than two decades...and it shows. You can find his distinctive sketch cards in our Batman: The Legend, The Walking Dead Comic Book and Women of Legend trading card sets, among others. This summer, you can look forward to seeing even more of his artwork in our Adventure Time and DC Comics: Epic Battles trading card sets.
Where are you from, Benjamin?
I was born in Evart, Michigan, a small farm town in the center of the frozen state. My family moved to Mesa, Arizona when I was eleven years old, a much more urban setting with temperatures that made it feel like the surface of the sun.
Do you have a formal education in art?
I participated in an advanced art education program in high school, through which I earned college credits and worked for various marketing firms. I also started self publishing comics in my junior year, as well as attending every comic convention I could; I consider that my true training grounds.
When did you decide to become an artist?
When I was about four years old, my dad taught me to read with Legion of Super-Heroes comics and it instantly clicked for me. I had to draw.
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
There are so many but a few that always come up are Joe Staton, Keith Giffen, Stan Sakai, Dan Jurgens, and of course Jack Kirby!
What’s your typical process for creating your artwork?
I'm a big doodler. I typically just grab a fresh piece of paper and just doodle out any and all ideas regarding a character/project. For myself I think it's important to experiment and find my own unique voice on any given character, make them mine in a way, and then I can feel confident in their portrayal.
What are you currently working on?
Currently working on DC Comics: Epic Battles sketch cards, Adventure Time sketch cards, writing, drawing and self publishing my own comic Tin Star Tex, and working on a yet untitled comic with writer/artist Joseph Baker. I'm also producing original apparel for GeeksvilleAZ.com and participating on charity projects with the HERO Initiative, Vet Tix and Project: HERO.
If you couldn't be an artist, what would you do?
Oh, I'd still be in comics. If I couldn't draw then I would still be writing them.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Spare time? What is that? But seriously, spending time with my family and doodling.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
Probably that I am mildly agoraphobic.
Dinner party with anyone, living or dead. Who are the guests and what would you talk about?
Paul Levitz, Jack Kirby, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jim Shooter, Joe Staton and Mark Waid. It would be Legion of Super-Heroes and general comic nerd talk for sure.
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child?
I have WAY too many to list; if it was animated I watched it. Some notable influences would be Thundarr the Barbarian, G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K, The Real Ghostbusters and even Smurfs.
What was the best compliment you've received?
It's happened a few times, but when a young child brings me art and tells me I inspired them to draw.
What's the worst thing you did as a kid?
Hmmm...it's not necessarily bad, more of a mistake of youth, but it would be not listening closer to the stories my grandfather and great uncle would share with me. Both lived extraordinary lives.
If you could eliminate one thing from your daily schedule, what would it be and why?
SLEEP! What a waste of drawing time.
Name your favorite song.
Currently it's "Genesis" by Ghost B.C.
You are marooned on an island. What five items would you like to have with you?
My phone (with internet of course), my Fourth World Omnibus, a survival manual, huge supply of paper, and my pencil.
Name one thing that drives you crazy.
Anyone who uses the term "gritty, dark and realistic" when describing a comic or comic book film.
Name the most famous person you've had a face to face encounter with.
While walking out of a bar restroom in San Diego (at SDCC of course), I was pulled into a conversation at a nearby booth to settle an argument. The booth contained Frank Miller and Johnny Depp. What was the argument? That's a story for another day.
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Try to perfect a flight ring and avoid Validus at all costs!
Thank you for sharing your inspiration, process and ideas with us, Benjamin!