I’ll Tumblr For Ya

I’m sure someone somewhere has used that little gem of a title, but oh well. BIG NEWS! I’ve started posting information about my upcoming comic, Quixote! If you’re looking for the latest news, updates, and art – you can check out the Tumblr site that I’ve recently put up dedicated to all things related to Quixote.

http://deronbennett.tumblr.com

I’ve also got a Facebook fan page up where you can interact and leave comments about anything I post.

https://www.facebook.com/quixotecomic

Of course, I will periodically post stuff here to keep things fresh, but to avoid redundancy the tumblr is where you’ll find things like art, previews, etc and the Facebook is where I’d love to hear from you.

All of this is in preparation of the issue 1 release, coming your way at C2E2! Stay tuned and spread the word.

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Currently Working On…

Hello 2014. I’ll skip over the recap- let’s just say 2013 was busy enough to prevent me from regular updates :)

So without further ado…

  • Airwolf 4
  • Night Trap 4
  • Knight Rider 4
  • Joshua Run 4
  • Roboy 5
  • Quincredible 2
  • Rampage 4
  • Revelation 3
  • SCAMthology
  • DC vs MOTU 4
  • Sunny 3
  • Ranma 3
  • Attack on Titan Jr. High
  • Hacktivist 2
  • Protocol Orphans 4
  • Vampire Diaries 5
  • The Legend of the Mantamaji
  • Hana Kimi After School
  • The Last Broadcast
  • Way of the Shadows
  • He-Man 10

There are a couple in here that have been finished, but I figured I’d give them their due. I’ll be doing some highlighting next “Currently” so that you can easily spot which ones are in the can. Also, I hope to introduce a  new system here where I can indicate which books are with some of the AndWorld studio letterers.

Oh OH! And I’m working on my own comic. More on that soon! Keep your eyes here.

Currently Working On…

  • Is This a Zombie 7 (Yen Press)
  • Line of Defense 2 and 3 (DC)
  • SCAMthology (Comixtribe)
  • SCAM 4 (Comixtribe)
  • Legend of the Mantamaji (Independent)
  • Fairy Tail 38 (Kodansha)
  • Beautiful Scars (Archaia)
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe 7 (DC)
  • Knight Rider (LionForge)
  • Airwolf (LionForge)
  • Crimson Society 2 (Actionlab)
  • WORTH (Roddenberry)
  • Meathouse Man (Jet City)
  • The Hedge Knight (Jet City)
  • The Black Coat (Independent)
  • Ranma 1/2 Omnibus 2 (Viz)
  • Imagine Agents 3 (BOOM)
  • Orphans 3 (BOOM)
  • Darklight 4 (BOOM)
  • Aliens vs Parker 4 (BOOM)
  • Genie the Genius 2 (APE)
  • Fruit Ninja 5 (APE)
  • Temple Run 0 (APE)

Currently Working On…

The point of currently working on (well besides telling you what I’m currently working on) is to promote the comics that I lend my services to. But what good is it if I’m always behind in updating this? I’ll try to be more diligent. In the meantime, here’s the latest. Most of these are wrapped already, just wanted to give them their due shine:

  • Fairy Tail
  • Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm
  • Fruit Ninja
  • Genie the Genius
  • Temple Run
  • Squids
  • Penguins of Madagascar
  • Poison Elves
  • Will O’ the Wisp
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
  • SyFy’s Haven
  • Imagine Agents
  • Ranma 1/2
  • Worth
  • Crimson Society 2
  • Darklight
  • Fearless Future

 

No More Heroes

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The traditional workplace is changing. For better or worse, employees are becoming younger and the structure of many businesses has changed so that responsibilities are consolidated and distributed among fewer positions. Employee turnaround is ever-increasing as jobs are cut and skilled employees look for better opportunities elsewhere – including the freelance market. Much of this is probably not news to you, but I’ve come to realize that this evolution has, in many ways, become a detriment to professional development. As the traditional workplace changes, the mentoring relationship that once existed in offices throughout the world has gone the way of the dinosaur and professional success has suffered greatly for it.

It used to be that when you started out in your field, you’d learn the ropes from someone else – that wise, old sage who imparted valuable knowledge unto you so that you’d be as prepared as you needed to be in order to succeed. His existence was a boon and inspiration. Not so much any more. That wise, old sage has either been downsized or he works from home. Either way, the new employee is forced to learn on the go, with mixed results, trying to figure out what works from what doesn’t.

Technical skills, daily routines, time management, and many tasks could be taught or developed further by a more experienced worker. Even intangibles like work ethic were impressed upon by an in-house role model. Though on-the-job training still exists – it’s not likely handled the same fashion. In our fast-paced society, new employees are expected to already know the ins and outs of a job. The time invested in training, therefore, cannot be long at all. And let’s not forget the aforementioned job turnaround and younger employees. While you may receive training, its probably from someone who was in your shoes not so long ago. They may not even have the long-term experience necessary to cultivate your know-how.

To compound the problem, its become an increasing fear that training someone else to do your job results in possibly losing your own. That being the case, many current employees are not willing to reveal their secrets to protect their own jobs. People who’ve been at a job long enough often develop shortcuts and figure out how to increase productivity through their own methods, many of which they do not want to share. This mentality has created a shift in professionalism that does not breed success. The precedent for getting the job done right may already be there, but nowadays the burden lies on the young grasshopper to find his own way with no master.

I know I’ve been discussing this all in terms of the in-house worker, but the freelance worker feels the effect as well. Maybe even more so, because the problem is two-pronged. On one hand, the clients that you deal with may be businesses that are going through exactly what I’ve described. In which case, you’ll be working with clients who lack the knowledge or experience that they might have obtained working with someone who could have provided it. On the other hand, your own development is stunted because you are not in the presence of someone with the professional maturity that you need in your own career. So what is a poor soul to do?

In both cases, its necessary to find some way to collaborate with people in your field who have more experience than you do. While change in workplace behavior and remote office spaces prevent us from having that one on one interaction, it doesn’t have to confine us. First of all, the social networks have made it so much more easier to communicate with people who we would not normally have access to – the same heroes you had as a child, the ones who inspired you, may be available in an online forum in some way. Reach out and see if they can give you advice. The worst they can say is no.

Also, find some local workshops or events that can improve your career. Look into training sessions that take place in a city near you. Many community colleges offer job training that can help you improve your skills. Even an online course may be worth looking into. Beyond that, try to develop personal relationships with the people that you interact with in these courses, workshops or sessions. Be proactive and offer your own input as well. I cannot stress the point of give and take. The only real way to make everyone successful is to share information.

In any given field, there exists someone who has mastered their job. With all of that experience out there, people shouldn’t have to search blindly for solutions to problems that have already been solved. While that person may not be available in the same workspace as you, it is up to you to find the necessary resources to fill that void. We cannot settle on mere books or other publications either. True growth comes from interaction and not just one-sided communication. Seek out those who can help guide your career. Get advice and give whatever you may have to offer. At the end of the day, we’re all better off learning something from each other.

January Update

This month has been nothing short of hectic. I’ve been extremely busy — and not just with work-related things either. So instead of just the usual “Currently Working On…”, I decided to give a more general update of what’s been going on this side of things.

First off, I’ve been working on some wonderful books lately. A lot of great properties and some fun independent stuff. I’m extremely proud of the work I did with Archaia on HAWKEN. We just sent that bad boy to the printer and believe me when I tell you that you’re going to want to pick this up. There’re some fantastic concept artists working on the book, each bringing their brand of unique style — Kody Chamberlain, Federico Dallocchio, Nathan Fox, Michael Gaydos, Bagus Hutomo, Sid Kotian, Khang Le, Christopher Moeller, Alex Sanchez, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Francisco Ruiz Velasco. You can hop on the comixology website or app and check out free previews to give you a taste of how awesome this baby is.

And that’s not the only thing in store from Archaia. We’ve been hard at work on Cyborg 009 and there will be some news coming down the pipeline soon about that. Actually, you’ll want to stay tuned to their twitter feed for some exciting announcements tomorrow. This will be my third time working with the 009 license (first with TOKYOPOP, then with Ishimori themselves) and I definitely think third time’s the charm.

Both of the projects have allowed me to get a lot more creative with my work and that’s one of the reasons I love working with companies like Archaia. It’s good when a client has faith in you and allows you to let your creative juices flow. I’ve been experimenting with techniques, new lettering styles, and typography. I like how it’s coming out so far and I’m hoping you guys will too.

Another project I’m stoked about is Poison Elves from Ape Entertainment. Here’s another book that allowed me to experiment a bit, as I was trying to evoke a style similar to the series creator, Drew Hayes. The art is gorgeous and while I didn’t follow the original, I consider myself a new fan to the Poison Elves universe.

I’ll do a full fledged wrap up on my recent works soon, but I just wanted to make sure you guys are on the look out for those three in particular and also the upcoming Cyborg 009 announcement from Archaia. A lot of cool comics that I’ve lettered are on their way to you and I certainly don’t want you to miss out.

Something else on it’s way is a podcast that I was featured on. I’m not sure if I’m good to mention it yet, but I’ll check and let you know as soon as I can about where to find it. The host was gracious enough to have me on and we talked a lot about the technical side of lettering. I’m hoping I didn’t sound as dumb as I felt I did, but maybe you’ll get to learn a thing or two about me and what I do. If nothing else, you’ll learn that I’m extremely awkward and terrible in conversation.

Lastly, I’d like to clarify things regarding the healthcare issues I’ve been talking about on twitter. In general, my wife hasn’t been well lately and we’ve trying to figure out how to take care of her healthcare needs. Unfortunately, we are both self-employed and do not currently have insurance. It’s not for lack of trying though — I just can’t find something I can afford right now. But that’s where all the trouble is. My wife isn’t dying or anything, so my situation isn’t desperate as much as it just sucks. I’ve been trying to find leads on insurance for self-employed people in NJ – so if any of you have information on affordable rates, please let me know. In the meantime, I thank everyone who has been concerned and just want to let you know that things are okay, they just aren’t great.

That’s all for now- I feel like I dragged on too long for a single post, so I’ll update more in a separate one. See you in the funny papers.

Currently Working On…

The number question posed at a convention is undoubtedly, “so what are you working on now?” So without further ado…

I do have some upcoming projects to announce as well. Hopefully I can update tomorrow and post some NYCC thoughts. Some really cool stuff coming down the pipeline, so stay tuned.

Currently working on…

Since I can’t hit the office today, I guess I should take time to let you all know what’s been keeping me busy lately.

Been working on a lot of the properties you know and love with Ape Entertainment. Richie Rich has been receiving some very positive reviews. It’s a series that everyone has been doing phenomenal work on and we’re very proud of it. Also in the mix is Strawberry Shortcake – wonderful stories here. If you were looking for something to get your little girl hooked on, search no more. I’ve also been a part of Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, Cut the Rope, Hero Within (a new IP that’s sure to be a blast) and many more. Plus we’ve got some more unannounced goodies to come. Check out ape-entertainment.com for more details.

Last year, Archaia put out a gorgeous hardcover in Dark Crystal: Creation Myths. The story is continuing this year and I’ve been hard at work trying to make sure my letters are worthy of the rest of the talent held within those pages. You’re going to love what you see.

On the manga side of things, I just wrapped up the latest issue of Fairy Tail, with another title right behind it. From Yen Press, you can expect to see more work from AndWorld Design in the form of Until Death Do Us Part. So much action in there, it’s insane.

I know a lot of people have been looking at the Voltron stories coming out of Dynamite. But don’t neglect the stuff coming your way from Viz Kids. We just finished up issue 5 and issue 6 is on its way. The story follows the hit animated series from Nickolodeon- Voltron Force. Don’t miss out.

As soon as I can, I’ll update with pics as usual. But for now, check out the books I’ve mentioned here and be sure to preorder at your LCS.

Be kind, everyone.

No More @andworlddesign

It seems like every summer vacation, I learn something new about my business. Or more specifically, I learn how to improve my business. It’s likely because I’ve had time to step away from it and notice what’s working from what is not working. Nevertheless, I’ve come to the conclusion that @andworlddesign is not working.

Not that there is anything inherently wrong with the username. In fact, once I figure out the ins and outs of changing your username on twitter, I fully intend to adopt it again as a separate user. For now though, I wanted to establish my own name as an identity. So from here on in, @deronbennett will be my twitter name.

Why the sudden change? I think it’s getting confusing on many levels as to who or what AndWorld is and who “I” am. For the most part, AndWorld and Deron have been completely interchangeable. I am AndWorld and that just shouldn’t be. One of my goals is to establish my business as something self-sustaining–something that can operate without me. It’s to be a service for the comic book industry, not a person. And having usernames and websites where I am the voice of AndWorld seems a bit counterproductive.

I’ve learned that you should model your business, no matter how small, as if it is a larger corporation or chain. Specific jobs, business goals, et cetera, et cetera, should be fully outlined. Branding and identity are a huge part of the success of a business as well. If that’s the case, @andworlddesign should have been used as a mouthpiece for my business decisions and not for my own purposes. I shouldn’t be blurting out my favorite recipes on that account or that I love the Mets. It does nothing to support the brand. It does the opposite, in fact, and more. It hinders my own personal development. The books I work on don’t say AndWorld Design, they say Deron Bennett. By continuing to confuse the two names, no one outside of the people I work with know who I am or what I do. I’m faceless.

So I’ve opted for a facelift. In the coming months, this site will see some changes as well. I’ll get my own blog (probably a tumblr account- I hear it’s all the rage) and use this specifically for business purposes. It’s probably going to be more of a challenge seeing as to how it’s already tough for me to update here, but that’s the way it is.

So…so long @andworlddesign. Say hello to @deronbennett. He’s quite an okay guy.

Not this year

First and foremost, I’d like to congratulate the Tale of Sand team and everyone at Archaia. Stephen, I can’t thank you enough for being confident in my skills and letting me be a part of this. Ramon, you are a rock star. Thank you for the jaw-dropping brilliance that made my job that much more enjoyable. Chris, you took a chance even with my early stumbles. Thank you, brother. I was so happy tonight to be a part of something special.

I know a good deal of people have been coming up to me expressing their sympathy for me not coming home with the Eisner. But listen, I am not upset at all. This night was magical any way you slice it. I celebrated a big achievement for an incredible book with a great publisher and got a chance to go on stage as part of an award-winning team. I hardly expected to win in my own category. Of course I had my hopes, but I was honestly happy enough to be considered. It was overwhelmingly humbling to be nominated and consequently told by my peers that I could and (in some cases) should win. That’s alone is worth being proud of.

The loss only inspires me to do even better. Perhaps I wasn’t ready this year. Perhaps I need time to grow. Whether or not this is the only nomination I will ever receive, I will continue to work on my craft to not only meet, but exceed the expectations that people have of me. Perhaps Deron Bennett isn’t a name to be attached to an award just yet. But, I’m encouraged by this experience to strive for excellence and let my work speak for itself. So don’t be sad for me- I’m one lucky guy all the same.

Cheers!