Thursday, May 28, 2009

Drawing From My Youth

At a recent CAPS ( Comic Art Professional Society ) meeting, we had an interesting assignment--to bring a piece of artwork you created as a kid.  It was fun digging through all that old stuff.  It was interesting to see drawings I hadn't seen in years, and how that work shaped my abilities as an adult.

One of the oldest pieces I found was drawn in the back of one of my first art books. It was a well worn copy of "Drawing the Head and Hands" by Andrew Loomis that was handed down to me from my mother.  There were a bunch of doodles that me and my brother did in the blank back pages of the book.  Of note was this one I did around 1975 ( age 11 ) of some famous celebrities of the time.  I vaguely remember referencing a book of TV stars I got from Scholastic Books to do this.  Clockwise from upper left:  John Shuck, Rock Hudson, Susan St. James ( the cast of MacMillan and Wife ), Elvis Presley, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (from F.B.I ), James Brolin (from Marcus Welby ), and singer John Denver.  

I also found this drawing of Tarzan I did in August of 1979( age 15 ).  I believe it was an art class assignment.  I'm thinking of redoing this drawing for my August 22nd post this year.  It would be a thirty year gap between the two drawings.  Hopefully, I've learned something since then!

Below is one of a series of little quick sketches I did of boxing matches.  I had developed an intense interest in boxing at the time and would try to recall the moves I saw on TV.  This exercise not only taught me a lot about boxing, but drawing and choreographing the figure in action.  I did tons of these little doodles.  Many of these drawings were recreations of big fights of the time, including Sugar Ray Leonard beating local boxer Pete Ranzany, Wilfredo Benitez, as well as some pages with Muhammed Ali.  This drawing was probably done in the late 70's or early 80's.
Below is an X-men mini-comic I wrote and drew called "Attack of the 50 foot Mutant."
This was a project I did in my senior year of high school for my printing class.  It's an 8-page mini-comic I had planned to use as part of my portfolio to get into Marvel Comics upon graduating.  It was quite an ambitious project.  I had to shoot negatives of the art and burn plates, run them on the big Heidelberg offset press, fold and staple everything.  It didn't get me into Marvel, but it taught me a lot about the printing process. 

As a teenager I got involved in the whole fanzine thing.  I was a member of NYAPA ( The New York Amateur Press Alliance ).  Every other month I would write movie reviews, short stories, and comics and staple copies of this xeroxed mini-zine together and send it off to a "central mailer" who collected all the other mini-zines from around the country and distributed the collated piece to the rest of the membership.  We would then comment on each other's little 'zines.  It was really kind of a forerunner to blogging.  I did several comics features this way.  One of note was a romance strip I did.  I was intent to not just focus on superheroes and monsters beating each other up ( although I did plenty of those too ) but to learn how to do drama as well.  Odd thing for a high school aged boy to draw at the time, but it taught me a lot. Below is a page from "Deb", written by fellow NYAPA member Tom Muck.
After seeing this challenge to draw yourself as a teen, I thought of doing one, but realized I already had done one. "The Filler" was a little autobiographical 1-pager I did in my late teens.  There are all kinds of inside jokes in this piece that were specifically geared to the NYAPA membership, so they won't really make much sense to anyone else.  It's a pretty accurate portrait of how I looked back then.  Big hair and glasses, and all of 117 lbs at 5'11"!

THE CHALLENGE: It was fun  going through this old stuff.  It's a bit embarrassing to show this old stuff, but it was also kind of enlightening as well.  It really showed me where I've come and gone as an artist.  I'd love to see some of the childhood drawings of some of you out there, especially some of you high-fallootin' professionals out there.  It would also be nice to see you redo a piece and put it side by side with your original childhood drawing.  I will do the same and I will collect all the links here.  C'mon artists!  Lets see it!  Don't be shy!


At Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 6:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger D.J. Wong said...

nice, balfoo! love to see the old stuff! i remember the self portrait comic strip in your portfolio when i first met you. next time im in SF i'll see if i can find some old logos or illos. or something.

At Tuesday, June 16, 2009 at 5:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger crazy_asian_man said...

Hey Benton,
Awesome- I left NYAPA way too early- I know I saw a little chunk of what you did way back when, but never realized your art was so developed in high school! WOW!

I know I owe you copies of old NYAPA (unless you've found them all by now)--- I didn't realize the amount of junk accumulated made it something that would take months to excavate... I will send you them, promise.... once I find them...*sigh*....

At Thursday, June 18, 2009 at 10:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

D.J. Wong-Hmmm. I don't remember showing you the autobiographical strip back then. I haven't even seen it since I was in junior college--long before I met you, and I never had it in my portfolio. I did probably show you the X-Men thing, though.

crazyasianman-I'm such a packrat. So much of the stuff I've done over the years is packed away in boxes that are under boxes which are under more boxes. It was fun going through the old stuff. There still is a box somewhere with some of my better "old stuff" that I used to get into art school, but I just can't find it since so many of the boxes are unlabeled.

While searching, I did find an old original ditto master (remember ditto machines?) of on old NYAPA strip you and I collaborated with Scott Brubaker called "To Save The Universe" The cover still is legible, but the rest of the pages are a bit smeared and faded. No rush on sending the other stuff, I'll send some stuff to you as well. I mostly have just bits and pieces of originals of my own

I know there was some rare cool stuff in some of those 'zines. I remember that the Hernandez Brothers had some of their early pre "Love and Rockets "work in "Potboiler"

At Friday, June 19, 2009 at 11:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger crazy_asian_man said...

You've been keeping (more/less) everything you've been doing all these years? How freaking awesome is that???

Judging by some of the stuff that you've posted from movies, I assume you're allowed to keep/post all your old movie stuff, too?

I didn't know you were into the X-men (I was a crazy nut for the Neal Adams/Cockrum/Byrne eras).... are you planning on posting the rest anytime? That definitely adds more context to you working on Wolverine now! (Though I wonder; did you work on any of the movies?)

At Tuesday, June 30, 2009 at 10:42:00 AM PDT, Blogger Randy @ WCG Comics said...

Benton--I'm sorry I missed that CAPS meeting 'cause I have kept a lot of my old stuff too. I've been meaning to post some of this old material as well, and occasionally have printed this material in my comic-book. I actually included a piece at the bottom of a past blog post here. (You can see the art full size here.) This art was done when I was 12.

I always love this kind of stuff--Jules Feiffer published samples of his "home made" comics in the original edition of his book '70s, the Great Comic Book Heroes.

I've always regretted that I didn't discover the APAs/zine scene until well after college, rather than when I was younger.

At Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 12:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

crazy--I keep as much as I can of stuff that I like. I don't have a lot of my old ILM stuff. Most of that is in their archives.

I have and will continue to post some of my past movie work as I see this blog as an extension of my portfolio.

Of course I was into the X-Men as a kid. And of course you know that as "Attack of the 50 foot Mutant" was in NYAPA when you were still a member. And you know I drew you into a cameo in that book on the very last page.

I didn't work on any of the X-Men movies. I did work on a bid for ILM when they were competing to get the show. The ILM art dept. did quite a few pieces even though we didn't get the job. Some of those pieces mysteriously turned up as an Easter Egg on the first X-Men DVD. A couple of the pieces I did are on the Easter Egg. Including a concept piece I did of The Beast among others.


It's great seeing where artist's start from. It gives some insight into their work.
I remember as a kid their was a library book I used to check out all the time. It was a book on making comics geared at young people. They showed big name comics artists and showed some of their work as kids. Jules Feiffer was among them as well as Will Eisner. I remember Eisner's childhood strip "Harey Carrey" particularly good.
I really like your old war comic piece. I'd love to see your take on it today! I like how the soldiers are grabbing on to the lettering. I will be redoing my old Tarzan piece on Aug 22.

At Friday, August 7, 2009 at 3:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger The Keeper's Notes said...

Hey Benton - This is a fun post! I always dig seeing artists early attempts. I actually set up a seperate blog last year, with a similar title as this post, that showcases my old drawings...the earliest from around age 5 or 6. I've got tons more that I'll pick from every now and then to showcase. You can find it here:

At Friday, September 4, 2009 at 3:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger Marcos Mateu said...

I love the continuity in the movement of these two boxers!
Good work.

At Sunday, September 20, 2009 at 7:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger benton jew said...

The Keeper's Notes-Thanks for the link! It's cool seeing your progress isn't it?

Marcos- I've been a boxing fan for some time now.
I'm hoping to work that interest into a future project.

Thanks for dropping by!


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