Ben Hatke's Blog

July 29, 2014

Fan art for Gene Yang and Sonny Liew's Green Turtle:

One of the things I've been meaning to do around here is put together a list of recommended graphic novels. Considering the backlog of things I'd like to post about, it will probably be some time before I get to that, but if I did manage to put together a list of some of the great long-form comics that have been coming out, Gene Yang and Sonny Liew's rebooted Golden Age superhero tale, The Shadow Hero, would certainly make the cut.


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Published on July 29, 2014 06:36

July 23, 2014

Okay! It's finally time to announce the winners of our Julia's House for Lost Creatures giveaway! I had hoped to post this earlier in the day but someone here at House Hatke forgot to pay the internet bill.

And, for this announcement, I present unto you a very silly comic:

And there you have it! Winners, contact me by email using the address on my side bar. Send me a mailing address and I will send you your book as promptly as I can.

And now... I am back to coloring Little Robot.

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Published on July 23, 2014 11:54 • 9 views

July 22, 2014

How did a week pass so quickly?

The Jolly Julia Giveaway is now closed, but I think this has been the contest with the most entries so far. Thanks, everyone, for enjoying my work and for all the nice comments.

I will be drawing and posting the winning names tomorrow!


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Published on July 22, 2014 09:25 • 10 views

July 15, 2014

One of the coolest things about writing and drawing books is the part where a box of shiny new author copies shows up at your door. And yesterday was the day that copies of Julia's House for Lost Creatures arrived here at House Hatke.

I know I've said it before, but I'm really happy with how this book turned out.

The official release date (September 2nd) is still over a month off, but I'm going to give away two copies now, along with a bit of original art!

Regular readers of this blog, you know the drill. But for the sake of the newcomers, HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:

To enter the drawing all you need to do is leave a comment in the comments section of this post. Remember to leave your name, or some internet handle that I can announce. You can increase your chance of winning by helping me spread the word about this new book (Julia's House is, after all, only one little book in a great sea of literature). Mentioning the book, linking to, or otherwise spreading the word via social media (twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon, Google+, blogs, tumblers or any of the other myriad of options) this is worth TWO EXTRA ENTRIES. Feel free to tag me on twitter where I am @BenHatke.

And that's it!

The FIRST person whose name I draw will receive a signed copy of Julia's House along with a little piece of concept art from the making of the book.

The SECOND person whose name I draw will also receive a signed copy of Julia's House, along with a little original sketch or bit of art.

The contest closes ONE WEEK FROM TODAY. And we're off to the races!

PS: Look at my desk. It's atrocious:

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Published on July 15, 2014 07:57 • 7 views

July 14, 2014

I am, right now, on the home stretch of my current graphic novel project. Today and tomorrow I will be drawing and inking the last few pages of Little Robot. After that comes scanning, some editing, and a whole lot of coloring. Not to mention the cover illustration and some watercolor decorations.

So there's still a hefty amount of work to do, but the end is in sight and that's a good feeling.

Unfortunately, all this intense work has caused me to fall behind in the ol' blogging and that's a shame because I'm building up a hefty backlog of posts. I've got book news! Journal comics! More D&D art! Green Turtle fan art! Reflections on the studio of my dreams!

So stay tuned. Little Robot will soon be Morping and Jonking his way to the publisher and I'll be posting more stuff around here.


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Published on July 14, 2014 08:19 • 6 views

June 30, 2014

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you might remember this short series of D&D-style adventurers that I started posting last summer. Well I never meant for Nip, Tuck and Groff to be a mere party of three in their dungeon crawling quests for fortune and glory. They needed someone who could really sling some spells. And so now a real honest-to-Baccob wizard has finally stepped up to join them:

Bugsby is a wizard that just can't manage to stay retired. He's tried gardening. He's tried opening a little Potions Shop. He's even tried attending the Silvered Singles Socials in the local village. But no matter what he does the call of the open road eventually catches hold of him and soon enough Bugsby finds himself in the local tavern, where adventurers, rogues and ne'r-do-wells all gather, reminiscing about battle magic, goblin hordes, and treasures won.

And so, when Nip and Tuck and Groff the Fighter pass through the village, Wizard Bugsby fairly jumps at the chance to join them.

Bugsby is a more conservative than daring old adventurer, with his focus on healing potions, his helping handystaff and his trail marking hat bat (not to mention his excellent cooking). No one can decide if the jolly little wizard is a very small human or a very burly gnome or something in between, but one thing is certain: beneath that easygoing exterior is a battle-hardened adventurer that has seen it all.

Is the Wizard Bugsby past his prime? Only one more adventure can say for certain...



I hardly ever recommend specific art supplies, but the sketch above was made in a Strathmore 400 series, warm tan toned sketchbook. It's a great sketchbook. I used black microns for the drawing and white gouache for the highlights and a "light sand" colored Tombow brush pen for the tones. It seems like a really good combination for sketching.

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Published on June 30, 2014 12:50 • 10 views

June 24, 2014

I've been hard at work, these past few weeks, on my latest graphic novel (hence the blog silence). The book is called Little Robot and it stars our Robot Friend from these comics .

One of the things I've enjoyed most about writing and drawing this book is that the setting for the story is, essentially, the area where I'm living, and so I've taken a lot of inspiration from the mountains and trees and the river nearby. Not only that, but a lot of the action takes place in a junkyard, so I've become an almost compulsive photographer of rusted-out machinery.

When I speak to young creators, one of the things I focus on is tethering your stories to your life and the world around you, both artistically and thematically. I've been trying to go the extra mile to do that in this book by using reference photos and by drawing on location when possible.

Here are a few examples!

Drawing a railroad bridge on location. I posted this picture on my Twitter:

Here is an old Jeep that I also drew from life. I wish I could have brought this guy home:

A couple months ago I was driving with Anna when I saw this car near the side of the road. I pulled over and ran to it with the camera, leaving Anna somewhat perplexed. But impulsive photography paid of in this case because this little gem disappeared pretty soon after:

Having kids of different sizes/ages has always been a help in my work. My Julia, who is 6, posed a bit for the little girl in this book and it's been very helpful! Thanks Julia!:

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Published on June 24, 2014 10:56 • 12 views

June 2, 2014

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Published on June 02, 2014 11:23 • 10 views

May 27, 2014

So I'm home from my travels, and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl has, for this week at least, hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. (keep in mind, the list is broken down into sections so Zita is number 1 in "paperback graphic books" and is not competing against, say, 50 Divergent Shades of Game of Thrones. Still, it's not every day that an 11-year-old spacegirl bumps Batman out of her way).

Also, here's a link to a pretty lengthy interview I did in Toronto over a plate of poutine. It's funny to see a transcript of an interview that I did in person, and when I read this I thought "do i really pinball around from subject to subject like that?"

Still, we were eating french fries smothered in brown gravy and cheese curds, so you can't blame me for being a little excited...

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Published on May 27, 2014 11:18 • 13 views

May 23, 2014

A Tired Author checks in:

Yesterday I arrived in New York for the last few stops here at the tail end of my First-Ever-Book-Tour. And, as is my habit when I come to this crazy magical city, the first thing I did was wander up to the Flatiron building to see my friends at First Second. There was something waiting there for me...
It was my first it's-a-real-book copy of Julia's House ! I was very happy with how it looked all printed n' bound (like jumping up and down happy). Here's a little peek:

Now I'm sitting in a friends house in Brooklyn, in one of those rare quiet moments, and I'm thinking about how I've never traveled to so many places in so short a time as I have in this passing month of May. 
I'm struggling to come up with something to say that can tie the whole experience together -the bookstores, the libraries, the meals and evening conversations with friends in different cities. The airports, the hotels, the taxis, the subways...  
Maybe it's the idea that the most interesting and romantic parts of our lives also tend to be the most exhausting. After all, "adventures aren't all pony rides in May sunshine."
But I'll be headed home shortly, and I have a shady little farmhouse porch waiting for me:
(image from Anna's Instagram).
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Published on May 23, 2014 15:44 • 13 views