Artist Spotlight:
STEVE BENTON

I recently created a series of questions to ask Indie (Independent) Comic Book creators. As I wait for my guinea pigs to answer these, I figured I'd fill them out myself. Here are the answers, to my questions.


1. Are you currently working on any projects and what can we see?

I'm sort of working on this website that you're looking at right now. Seriously though, Don Edwards has just wrapped up layouts for American Bison (Insane Comics) issue 3! I'm looking forward to working on that as soon as I'm done with this website. You can see the nearly finished cover in this feature.

2. Is there a particular concept or piece you are most proud of in your work and why?

I once did a painting for my daughter of a creature she accidentally invented. The dreaded, Crocroach. She was about 4 years old at the time and would mispronounce it. It was around the time Sharknado came and and Sharktopus, and I just went with the name. I think I'm most proud of that piece.

3. Do you have any formal training? Do you even think it's necessary?

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Originally I had enrolled to be a sequential art major because I've been drawing since I was about 5 years old. While I look back at the academic experience fondly, I don't think it's necessary to be a valid artist. There are many people, much more accomplished than I who are 'self-taught'. Truth be told. Even people who go to college are self-taught. Art is a very personal thing, and although you may be able to teach people tricks and techniques, I really don't think you can teach someone how to draw. It's just a matter of doing it.

4. Analog(traditional) or Digital, or a combination of both? What tools do you use and why?

I tend to work using both methods when it comes to my art. I absolutely LOVE the magic of a person being able to take a piece of graphite or chalk and whipping out 3 dimensionally rendered objects using nothing but their brain and hand. Computers are tools. They can make good artists, great. At the end of the day though, it's the artist that shines, not the tools they use. I use both. Sometimes I shine.

5. How did you stumble into the Indie Comics scene?

I'd always wanted to work in comics (See Question 3) but when I was at SCAD I went to a portfolio review with a Dark Horse editor. It was a great experience but when I looked at wonderfully drawn work from upper classman, I was still unimpressed. In the sense that. It should move. All of this should be in color and moving. So I switched majors (thankfully) to Computer Graphics. But to answer the question, my childhood buddy Tom Lynch wrote me when we reconnected on Facebook in 2009. He felt a character I created in 1987 would be perfect for today's world. That character is Anarchy Sam. I started dabbling, and then testing myself to see if I could actually draw an entire comic. I did Komodo with someone I met off Craigslist. After that I wanted to see if I could WRITE a comic. So I came up with American Bison. I submitted it on a lark to James C. Munch at Insane Comics, he accepted it, and here I am today.

6. There can only be one survivor! Penciler, Colorist, Letterer, Writer. Why'd you pick that one? Please Explain.

Strangely enough. WRITER. The tools and algorithms they're working on today will soon put traditional artists out of business. However, I feel humans will always have the desire to create marks somewhere. A friend of mine though once pointed out that no matter what happens in any industry they can NEVER take away your creativity. If an accident were to befall you and you lost your arms; if you can still think, you can still create. I feel writers are some of the most powerful people on this planet because of that. Writer it is!

7. Who's your hero? Athlete? Family member? Teacher? Caped Crusader?

As corny as it is I'd have to say my dad. Although I loved the Spectacular Spider-Man, DareDevil, Captain America and Bat-Man, I'd have to say him. His family was VERY poor when he was growing up and he was one of the smartest men I've ever known. He was that backyard tinker type. The story is, he once passed an engineering test for a major college with flying colors, but sadly couldn't attend it because of his financial situation. If not for his absolute hard-work, when my brother and I were growing up, I'd be a struggling tradesmen. It's because of him, I'm where I'm at today.

8. Do you even read comics, bro? If so which ones, if not...why not?

I wouldn't say I'm an avid reader of any comics at the moment. I was reading The Vision (which was great) but I missed an issue and haven't gone back to pick it up. I did also grab the MiracleMan hardcovers, and of course I've read The Watchmen. Now, I try to stay away from everything as to not let it influence my writing.

9. You can earn a comfortable living doing ANYTHING. What is it? Feel free to explain why.

I'd love to be a conceptual artist for video games or a salon painter. That painter that can just paint WHATEVER they desire, and have it sell. That'd be unreal.

10. Where can people see more of your work or find out more about you?

You're on the website now, but if you click the Even more Info at the bottom here it's yet another link to my FineArtAmerica.com page.

11. Anything else you'd like to share with us? Political view. Religious view. Baby on the way? Your first job? Email address? Favorite sports team?

When I was 19 years old I was struggling to figure out what I wanted to do. I asked my brother should I become a heavy metal guitarist (because I can play fairly well but my tone is HORRID), or should I pursue a career in art. He's older and broke it to me gently. "Dude. You draw really well for someone your age. You need to focus on that. Any legit guitarist would almost already be famous at your age. You started learning to play too late, didn't focus on it, and are just mediocre. It's a really rough road and you don't shine. You shine with your art. Stick to that!" It was the absolute best advice anyone could ever give me, and done with the perfect amount of tact and tough love.

Steve's Painting Portfolio »

feature image 1

Cover to American Bison #3


feature image 2

The Dreaded Crocroach


feature image 3

Komodo Cover