This week Leigh chats with the mysterious Ben Sullivan. What will Leigh uncover, who is this amazingly generous Ben, what makes this master artist tick, and why is he so damn nice. 🙂 I personally can’t wait.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPTION (text may contain errors)

Voice Over (00:00:02):
This show is sponsored by the Comics Shop. We hope you enjoy the show.

Leigh Chalker (00:00:24):
Good day and welcome to How episode four. Hello mate of Tuesday, chinwag Day. Mr. Chama.

Ben Sullivan (00:00:32):

Leigh Chalker (00:00:33):
<laugh> tonight just for everyone out there. Good day, Dave Dye. We’re on the Come Network sponsored by Colmex. Big thank you to Sizzle and Carrie for letting us do this show. And for anyone that hasn’t seen the show, it’s just six prompting words, questions, who, what, where, when, why, and how. And we just take it as it comes, mate. So I have Mr. Ben Sullivan.

Ben Sullivan (00:01:00):

Leigh Chalker (00:01:02):
Mate. Yeah, yeah. All right. So we’re letting comments flow up tonight for anyone that’s got some questions for Ben cuz you’re a bit of a mysterious bugger mate. You don’t pop on these shows too much. You

Ben Sullivan (00:01:15):
No, sorry about that. <laugh>, the computer side is kind of tricky.

Leigh Chalker (00:01:21):
Oh man. Man, I’m stuff. I feel you meant like it’s technologically inept. I saying to you before, I got no idea man. It’s like I just get off my way through this. I think I do it on rhythm, that, that, that. And then yeah,

Ben Sullivan (00:01:37):
We go, oh yes I do too. And there’s not enough thinking I think.

Leigh Chalker (00:01:41):
Yeah. And we’ll get into rhythm later cuz I understand you’re a musician tucked away back in there too. So I’ll ask you some questions about that.

Ben Sullivan (00:01:49):
All right. Yeah. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:01:52):
<laugh>. All right, my friend.

Ben Sullivan (00:01:53):
Yes. Greatly. First

Leigh Chalker (00:01:54):
One who? Yes. So who are you mate?

Ben Sullivan (00:01:59):
<laugh> Ben Sullivan illustrator father of two. What else? One of five brothers and sisters. That’s pretty much for that question. <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:02:18):
Yeah. Where are you from?

Ben Sullivan (00:02:23):
I’ve always been around the Bay. All Melbourne. I’ve lived sort of from Manly Frankston round to Port Melbourne all around the bay, but nowhere else. <laugh> just the bottom

Leigh Chalker (00:02:40):
End. Yeah, right. So you’d like bit of a bit homebody. I, I’ve lived my whole life in town. Yeah. Is that right? Nice time. It’s nice up here now mate. But she gets a bit hot. Don’t worry about that. So it’s hot enough. Hair fell mate. So you got a full head of hair there so probably stay in the cold <laugh>. So what was your upbringing like man? Did you

Ben Sullivan (00:03:09):
Yeah, my upbringings funny. My dad’s a musician and he pretty much bred three other musicians, <laugh>. So my brother’s a bass player and I was a drummer and my younger brother’s a guitarist. My sister played sax for a while. So music has been something that was part of my upbringing I suppose. Did

Leigh Chalker (00:03:36):
You have family band? Was it like the

Ben Sullivan (00:03:38):
Yeah, give us a family. Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. I’ve played with my dad and my brother Bass piano and kit for years and years. I think I was doing gigs with dad I think, well from 14, but proper paid gigs probably when I was about 18 I suppose. But with other bands at like 15, 14, and 16. Oh well since 14 onwards. And I quit playing Kip probably about of two, three years ago too because it was too much, I suppose. Got too much

Leigh Chalker (00:04:22):
With your family and artwork Cause you, that’s weird.

Ben Sullivan (00:04:26):
And music, well life of music is pretty rough I reckon. Especially drummers maybe cuz you the first set up and the last to leave and yeah, I don’t know, gigs, they got too much in the end and I was kind of glad to see the end of music after so many years of it. I mean it’s a lot. Every night’s a party kind of thing and it gets hard <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:04:54):
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely.

Ben Sullivan (00:04:56):
It’s too much.

Leigh Chalker (00:04:59):
So I suppose you gotta look after those wrists too, mate. Where are now with all that artwork and stuff, banging on those. Yeah, don’t wanna get too much rim shots on the old wrists and stuff.

Ben Sullivan (00:05:15):
Oh yeah, I suppose so. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think I probably suffer more from drawing actually than I did for music. Just hand cramping up. Especially from, I think using pens, my hand cramps up like crazy brush, I feel fine and pencil’s fine. I guess it’s good technique. But pens, I do this draw like that and it’s not good.

Leigh Chalker (00:05:40):
Yeah. Can you see that mate? That’s Peter Lane asking, what was the name of your band? Any album or

Ben Sullivan (00:05:46):
I, many,

Leigh Chalker (00:05:46):

Ben Sullivan (00:05:47):
But the family one was a Sullivan Trio. Peter Sullivan Trio. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:05:52):
That was your dad’s name.

Ben Sullivan (00:05:54):
Peter Sullivan. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:05:56):
That’s cool. Cool. I like that.

Ben Sullivan (00:05:58):
You might know him from his what the two man band wrote up there. Kaza, you have the song up there, Kaza.

Leigh Chalker (00:06:05):
Yeah. Right.

Ben Sullivan (00:06:06):
Yeah, yeah. Him and Mike Brady are there in book of records for most albums sold or Australian albums. That is.

Leigh Chalker (00:06:15):
And there’s my mother giving a thumbs up to us. Oh really? Hello mom. How are you? Nice to see you watching <laugh>. I better not swear now I’ll be on my best behavior. Oh

Ben Sullivan (00:06:26):

Leigh Chalker (00:06:26):
<laugh>. Yeah mate. I reckon that’s cool though, having that straight into creativity mate. You didn’t get a choice cuz.

Ben Sullivan (00:06:37):
No, that’s funny actually, cuz going into the arts as well is kind of a crazy thing to do. But I’ve seen how my dad can make money out of the arts otherwise you’d think that’s a crazy thing to do. It is an insane thing to try and do. I think

Leigh Chalker (00:06:57):
We’re all crazy mate. Some way. Yeah, sure. You just gotta follow. But how did you, playing in a band and stuff and the Peter Sullivan Trio, you’re doing gigs, you live traveling and stuff around the bay as you said. How did you get, what brought you into the well it’s all artistic so I mean what brought you into the literal painting paper and pen sculpture, all that side of things meant

Ben Sullivan (00:07:25):
Yeah, I’m not sure cuz I’m the only one who does painting or drawing. But I doing, I started taking that seriously probably about 13 before I got into doing. I was doing music before that, but I started taking that very seriously, probably about 14. And I started life during it. I think I was year 10, so I think it was about 15 midway through. Yep. Year 10. And from there I kept up life during, I was I think years and years as many days as I could with that for I think I sort of stopped around 27 I think. And then had kids and oh no, that was later. Much later. I still do life during I suppose. But the visual arts side is, I’m the only one who does in the immediate family. My uncle did a bit, my nana did a bit. But that was kind of always my thing I think. And my way to be do my sort of version of the arts I suppose. But

Leigh Chalker (00:08:38):
It also, so stepping out of the shadows of the band mate, like just trying. Yeah,

Ben Sullivan (00:08:43):
Not, but yeah, it happened that way. I don’t know, I guess I loved drawing I suppose, and kept

Leigh Chalker (00:08:51):
Going. So you’d obviously drawn as a kid. Were there any influences that prompted that? I mean did you go to a museum or were you a cartoon fan or was there a comic

Ben Sullivan (00:09:01):
One day? The first thing I started drawing was actually asterisks. I was a asterisks fan. No, actually before that I was a Heman masters. A Universe fan too.

Leigh Chalker (00:09:14):
Oh, weren’t we all man, don’t be shy about announcing you watched He man. It’s like I love that stuff.

Ben Sullivan (00:09:21):
Yeah, yeah. It’s really influential for everyone, wasn’t it? But yeah, that was a big one. I think maybe, probably drawing those I mean how old forever if you draw, you draw. You’ve been drawing forever haven’t you? <affirmative>. But

Leigh Chalker (00:09:42):
Do you ever go a day without drawing?

Ben Sullivan (00:09:45):
Oh yeah, I think I have a few days without drawing. I notice it when I do. Yeah, did go without it. But yourself, you’re probably the same. That’s why you asked the question. You don’t go a day without it, do you?

Leigh Chalker (00:09:58):
Well you, yes you don’t because you prompted me there with the whole, when you draw, you draw cuz it’s like, even if you’re just doodling next to the telephone or you’re sitting down and doing a proper page and stuff, I’ve always found that. Yeah, yeah. <laugh> pleases <inaudible>. I’ve always found, yeah, I do draw every day. Regardless of whether it’s in a serious nature or not, it’s just one of those ingrained things in it, isn’t it man?

Ben Sullivan (00:10:27):
It is. It’s weird, isn’t it? How do you feel when you’re drawing? Do you feel, to me it’s scratching my head or something? Like scratching your s, there’s something just tangibly relaxing about it.

Leigh Chalker (00:10:39):
Yes. Yeah. <laugh>. No, it is made. We can all have our moments and days or feel a little bit of stress or bit flat sometimes and you just go and attack your artwork and you suddenly find that you get into that nice little zone of everything just sort of doesn’t matter as much anymore I guess. Yeah, I find it quite a meditation for me man.

Ben Sullivan (00:11:05):
It is, isn’t it? Your whole focus just goes right there.

Leigh Chalker (00:11:09):
Yeah. Yeah.

Ben Sullivan (00:11:11):

Leigh Chalker (00:11:11):
Funny. I You’re right. Go ahead man.

Ben Sullivan (00:11:15):
Oh, I can tell what my brain’s doing when I’m drawing, how much I can’t talk while I’m drawing. So I think the kind of of tells me that I’m probably using a lot more of my brain than I think I am. It really

Leigh Chalker (00:11:35):
Well I’ve seen your artwork man, and it’s, it’s fire. So it’s know, use as much in that brand as you want. Man doing that stuff on paper.

Ben Sullivan (00:11:46):
Yeah. Yeah. <laugh>

Leigh Chalker (00:11:48):
Man, I can’t talk either when I’m drawing, it’s like if someone pops over and I’m in the middle of a page and I’ve got a couple of seats in the granny flat and stuff and they sit there, I just can’t gotta stop pens down and turn and give my attention to ’em man. Cuz it’s yeah, a little drift off and it’s like, it’s not as easy to get rid of. Yeah. Make comic books. What was the first one Sticks into your mind because you mate, you’re pumping out more comic books than there are trees in the Amazon I think over the last couple years, man it’s

Ben Sullivan (00:12:30):
Been a lot. Yeah. <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:12:32):

Ben Sullivan (00:12:33):
Let’s do a page a day. That’s what I do. Page a day. That’s what I can do. I think I’ve had days where I’ve done two pages a day, but it depends on the kind of work I’m doing. I suppose some pages I can get through a bit faster if the sort of more cartoony maybe. Yeah. But I myself six a week <laugh>,

Leigh Chalker (00:12:56):
So what’s that penciled ending or penciled off to an so penciled ending? No

Ben Sullivan (00:13:01):
Penciled end. Yes. Penciled and int. Cause it kind of has to be. You are the only one I’ve actually just penciled for. I’d love to do all that. Yeah, I here too

Leigh Chalker (00:13:14):
Actually. Yeah, and that was good fun too. That was great. Oh man, I enjoyed that immensely.

Ben Sullivan (00:13:22):
Yeah, I could tell.

Leigh Chalker (00:13:23):
Yes, no, no that was a good exciting time for me doing my artwork man. I was fully focused on those pages was great. It actually, man.

Ben Sullivan (00:13:33):

Leigh Chalker (00:13:33):
I going

Ben Sullivan (00:13:34):
Back fast

Leigh Chalker (00:13:36):
Dude, you taught me so much just from thinking on your pages just visualization panel work, that sort of stuff man. Cuz you’re not wrong about you’re definitely thinking about what you’re doing. Cuz there was some things there that I remember early on in the day you’d penciled a page that I’d already penciled when we were first like, oh yes, off ring around the and I looked and I penciled it and you’d penciled it and I was like, man, man I did not even see that. It was just, oh the interpretation that blew me out.

Ben Sullivan (00:14:22):
Oh that’s interesting. Bear

Leigh Chalker (00:14:23):
With me man. I’ve got wild beasts in my house man. Hang on. Yeah, there you go. Sorry, I’ve got dogs man there. No, I just had dogs going in the background. I didn’t want you to think there was some <laugh> weird town ritual going on or something in the background. I’d

Ben Sullivan (00:14:40):
Love to turn the camera around. What’s in front of you there? <laugh>?

Leigh Chalker (00:14:43):

Ben Sullivan (00:14:45):
Pictures, three dogs,

Leigh Chalker (00:14:47):
<laugh>. Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty much what it is mate. Yeah. Let me <laugh>. Yeah, but no mate, that was, thank you for that cuz that was brilliant to see you.

Ben Sullivan (00:14:56):
Oh thank you Lee. No that was excellent. Thanks. Actually everyone they put that on because that whole production’s really interesting. But it was really interesting for me cuz like I said, I never had anyone my work and I was wondering whether the question I was had in my mind is, should you pencil for the person you are that’s inking. Should you sort meet halfway? Should I try and draw you in a way or think the way you might work? But I realized no, absolutely not. You draw the way huge whatever you do. Because when your work came back, seeing your work in mind, that’s something really beautiful. That’s something really interesting, really bizarre.

Leigh Chalker (00:15:41):
Yeah. Oh man, I was wondering the same thing when I was looking at your pencils thinking like, oh should I be inking these? Cuz it’s <laugh>, they’re beautiful pencils, man. Yeah, no but that, that’ll all come out in the future for everyone. That too if you’re interested. Yeah, Ben and I with SPS doing ring around the rosy part too. But yeah, I love it. So while we’re on an A thing, <affirmative> you, you’ve shown me in the past too, you’re not just like comic books, you know, sent me a photo once of this giant painting you did so obviously and you paint covers of certain comic books for reverie and stuff too. I’ve seen your Mr I covers and things. So you enjoy painting as much as you do the drawing side of things?

Ben Sullivan (00:16:38):
Yes. Yeah, I paint, I’ve probably over years plated more than I’ve used in when I was painting I used actually using ink and brush, but as for that picture that’s still sitting in the garage waiting to be finished. And I started that by the start of the year. I thought I’d get it done in a month. How long has it been? What we nine, eight months into the year. <laugh> becoming a side. But <laugh>

Leigh Chalker (00:17:06):
It was big that it was a big piece. It’s

Ben Sullivan (00:17:08):
Massive that thing’s massive. I’ve done works that big before. So you

Leigh Chalker (00:17:14):
Mate Dave Dye asking if did you draw more detailed for the ink?

Ben Sullivan (00:17:20):
Oh yeah, that’s a good question too. How far do you go? I think I did. I went as far as I could with that. I mean I think really it’s just telling the story, not holding back at all, actually just draw enough to tell the story and then pass it on to you. So it wasn’t like I was holding back or anything like that or stylizing anything I was just doing. That’s the thing. I was doing it the way I would do it then pass it on to you and it came back with your face on it and those magical stuff. It’s really, really interesting. Thank you. Sorry Lee. What was the question before that

Leigh Chalker (00:18:03):
Does? It’s a chinwag bud that’s all about, is chinwag having a talk about what we are doing? Yeah,

Ben Sullivan (00:18:11):

Leigh Chalker (00:18:11):
That’s the beauty it. That’s the

Ben Sullivan (00:18:13):
Beauty. Yeah, no, I actually love painting. I, it’s insanely difficult. But yeah, I love painting <affirmative>. I think I like penciling more than anything though, over inking painting and all that. I think penciling is getting, honing in on pencils and trying to get my pencils working. Well maybe it’s just more relaxing maybe cuz it’s less pressure than with painting my find. I’m like, do you find painting a lot more pressure and stress?

Leigh Chalker (00:18:53):
Not, no, not really, man. I don’t get much time for painting these days. Only the covers that I do. I used to do a lot of abstract stuff when I was younger and through my teens but sporadically I guess, man, I’d hit it for maybe six months at a time and then draw for, I don’t know, two, three years, then sort of veer off this more painting and that sort of stuff. So I’ve never been at painting full time, but I’ve always enjoyed it. I particularly like attacking a canvas when you got no idea what you’re doing. So you just, not even an image, you just, I’m going with the green paint and then

Ben Sullivan (00:19:40):
Dive straight.

Leigh Chalker (00:19:42):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sadly man, I think I dive straight into everything. Ben, <laugh>, <laugh>,

Ben Sullivan (00:19:50):

Leigh Chalker (00:19:51):

Ben Sullivan (00:19:51):
I even

Leigh Chalker (00:19:53):

Ben Sullivan (00:19:54):
<laugh>. Yeah, I over plan I think when back when I was but

Leigh Chalker (00:20:03):
There we go. What’s your, hang

Ben Sullivan (00:20:05):
On, here we go. Oh,

Leigh Chalker (00:20:05):
Subject’s your favorite subject to draw or paint. Yeah. Yeah. And are there any particular stories that really float your boat?

Ben Sullivan (00:20:16):
Actually that’s one thing I was about to say is the difference between painting and drawing. I think with painting you’re tackling more plains aren’t you? Where drawing is more linear, sort of you’re thinking more so I think what I like drawing is probably different to what I like painting. I like painting landscapes. That’s what I like doing. I used to drive out to just farm country, farm areas and set up and just paint. I used to do that a lot and I’d love to do it again, but busy, busy. But drawing, I love drawing heads and hands. What I love. Yeah, I’ll say that. Hands and hands. <laugh>. Oh, have I frozen or I think I’ve lost you Lee.

Leigh Chalker (00:21:17):
That’s just really,

Ben Sullivan (00:21:25):
Oh sorry Lee. I’ve

Leigh Chalker (00:21:27):
<inaudible> that. Heads and hands and faces and stuff. Because you can tell more of a story through them. You know, hands, you can either

Ben Sullivan (00:21:43):
Dropping out a bit. Yeah, hands are expressive. That’s the thing. A lot of the story is told through hands I think.

Leigh Chalker (00:21:50):
Here we go. You there?

Ben Sullivan (00:21:53):
Yeah. Yeah. Oh, am I dropping out? Or

Leigh Chalker (00:21:57):
Nell I can see is

Ben Sullivan (00:22:04):
Oh, Lee is dropping out. Oh. So okay. That’s not, I just check here. Oh, so it

Leigh Chalker (00:22:24):
Is, here I am. It’s alright. But we’re back. Nothing can keep us down. <laugh> The beauty of the internet.

Ben Sullivan (00:22:34):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s been like that all night. Yeah. Oh, hands are expressive. I think in panels I find hands be say so much. Act more than well just as much as hands I suppose. And poses hands do a lot. They carry a lot of weight.

Leigh Chalker (00:22:56):
Well they certainly do mate in more ways than one. Don’t they really? It’s they tell a story Hands. Yes. <laugh>. Oh <laugh>.

Ben Sullivan (00:23:05):
The whole physique comes through. I think the whole body comes through and terminates at the hands with whatever you’re doing. The whole gesture comes through I think.

Leigh Chalker (00:23:17):
Yeah, I, I’d agree. You can definitely hands, I dunno if I dropped out before, but I was saying hands, you can either make peace with them or you can make war and anything in between. Oh yeah. You know, can either have an open hand shake or you can, they’re expressive in that regard cause Yeah, hands

Ben Sullivan (00:23:44):

Leigh Chalker (00:23:47):
Do. Yeah. Yeah. I guess I do on and off. I mean, I don’t know, I don’t sort keep the ally <laugh>.

Ben Sullivan (00:23:55):

Leigh Chalker (00:23:57):
But I think I might, I tend to find dice probably my hands are always at my beard mean more than anything.

Ben Sullivan (00:24:05):
Ok. Yeah. Yeah. I didn’t, yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:24:07):
Yeah. <laugh>. <laugh> like I can’t do that. <laugh> <laugh>

Ben Sullivan (00:24:13):
Gotta keep it. Can’t that grow beard. So <laugh>. Oh

Leigh Chalker (00:24:17):
I you’re on. All right mate. You’ve bench this and you’re know and <laugh>. All right. So mate, now when did you first get into comic books? What got you into your first comic book? How did you get there? Who was it that came to you?

Ben Sullivan (00:24:38):
Yeah, first well like I said before, I was copying a lot of asterisks starting drawing. But I wrote a story around my twenties. It was quite a long story and I tried to turn that into a comic and I failed terribly real. I had no idea how to, all those basic questions I could not answer. I think I tried about three pages and I had the intention of doing this thing that probably would’ve been about a hundred pages long. And when you do start, your dreams are bigger than your possibilities maybe. And that’s where I was. I got three pages in and nothing made sense at all. Why should you put this in these panels at the most basic of questions? How many panels should there be? Or how? Of course where the balloons words flow as well, which is still a interesting question to me. But that when I started seven years ago, I picked up what I thought would just be a illustration job. I, I’d just gotten out of another doing waterproofing this trade job which was interesting. But I got out of that to go into house painting. But I picked up this one job, which as I said, as an illustration job. And it turned out to be a comic for a guy, just for a private sort of job.

Yeah. That’s where I started with. It was a 32 page comic of these two characters Jackie and Tiffany. And now that was seven years ago. And now with that same guy I’m doing Can I just one sec, I’ll show you.

Leigh Chalker (00:26:39):
Yeah, yeah,

Ben Sullivan (00:26:40):
Yeah. <laugh> up to our volume eight this’s, one of the volumes there and we’ve printed four of them. This is over seven years. So this is the first job I did. And we’re actually, we’ve got volume eight working on volume eight at the moment. So it’s been 600 pages since <laugh> or 600 since, yeah. With this one job that’s just set me off, I suppose, set me into this world. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:27:15):
Yeah. So 600 pages mate.

Ben Sullivan (00:27:21):

Leigh Chalker (00:27:22):
<laugh>. Oh that you were just saying before it had a crack at a hundred page and it didn’t go Next job in I’ll go 600 plus. Why not <laugh>?

Ben Sullivan (00:27:32):
Yeah, I guess it’s purpose. I don’t know. I mean I will say the first book is I might show you because it’s terrible stuff, <laugh> really bad sort of stuff. But I think it’s important to

Leigh Chalker (00:27:51):
See learning me.

Ben Sullivan (00:27:53):
Yes, exactly.

Leigh Chalker (00:27:55):
Oh you’re still, no, you’re still there man. I can see that in terms of your styles there, it’s just start and there.

Ben Sullivan (00:28:03):
It’s really start. I’ve actually redone a lot of these pages cuz they were so bad. But I speak to the guy about this, he agrees that the work, early work was really terrible.

But 600 pages I’ve seen where I’ve grown from it. So that’s the good sort bit about it is that I have actually grown from it. But in that first year, after the first two books, I sort started to think that maybe I could actually do this, do comics, get into comics. So I started pushing my stuff around my dinky little folio and I met DK Darren Kale through there and he was the first one that really got me into some work other than this sort of stuff but early DK stuff. And he was great. He gave me everything he could, all the work he could.

Leigh Chalker (00:29:11):
And where did you meet him mate? Just like at a convention or just Yes,

Ben Sullivan (00:29:16):
Met him at a convention with my little folio. Yeah, yeah. Well guess with him. I think it was issue 21 of DK I started and then went all the way to the end of dk, then picked up with sci-fi. And I think I’ve got about one to or couple of short stories with all of those. So there’s a lot of work through there as well. And it’s all cutting teeth, all just all learning along the way and making terrible mistakes and decisions. But you

Leigh Chalker (00:29:49):
Gotta learn while we work mate. Yeah,

Ben Sullivan (00:29:51):

Leigh Chalker (00:29:54):
Man, it’s a beautiful thing to do that. God, that’s a ballsy move though. But excellent cuz it’s wicked stuff. But I could definitely see, I mean I think without sounding a dickhead, I think everyone has their own unique stamp on their artwork and stuff like that. I’m Noah <inaudible> or anything, but I could definitely see what I know of Ben Sullivan. Now Ben Sullivan still in those pages you just showed me so you’d already your attention there man.

Ben Sullivan (00:30:26):
Oh thanks Lee. That’s strange. I don’t know about you but I can’t really see my

Leigh Chalker (00:30:31):
Style. No in your faces. You were just saying that. Dude, I just inked you mate. Believe me, I spent a lot of time with your artwork. Many, many hours. And it’s like the little nuances you have with female eyes and lashes and different things like that. I just saw a pocket of in those pages. Oh

Ben Sullivan (00:30:53):
Wow. That’s really interesting.

Leigh Chalker (00:30:54):
Yeah, I, yeah, I don’t know, it’s like I can’t

Ben Sullivan (00:31:00):
Any, it’s weird. Oh I think if hopped out. Oh

Leigh Chalker (00:31:28):
Yeah. Oh, can anyone hear me?

Ben Sullivan (00:31:31):
Oh, got you. Now you back I think. Lost it. While we’re waiting I might show some I’ll put Leon <laugh>

Leigh Chalker (00:32:01):
Confusion mate. I’ll tell you. Bugger over time. Look at me guys. <laugh>, I love that drawing you did to me came outta technical difficulties to see my <laugh> my head. That was weird man. Okay. Yeah. Anyway, come on. Internet, God’s up there. Work our magic up here. So mate you, you’re doing decay and stuff and then where I guess did the Rry stuff come into, cuz you started doing a few issues there. Was that after decay or doing those things you had to mold both of them or just went from one to the other?

Ben Sullivan (00:32:51):
Yeah, I met Gary after Darren, I think I was about two years into, oh possibly, yeah, probably two years into doing DK before I met Gary. And yeah, he just threw everything he could to me actually. He was excellent. I think the first one was probably Toby, I think. Yeah. So no, there was something else before it. He got me to do something, I think just a, I don’t know, he was testing the orders or something, but he gave me something. I got it straight back to him. And Gary again is gives me a lot of great stuff. There’s Rick, Rick McClune I did with Haydens Spar.

Leigh Chalker (00:33:37):

Ben Sullivan (00:33:39):
Sorry, first of all there was Toby two I did Toby two with him first and that was great fun to do that. But then, yeah, I did the first Rick clone with Hayden which was funny actually, cuz it’s kind of a weird story there where I got the script from Gary, but I thought Gary wrote it and I’d sort of tweaked a lot of the script, not <laugh>.

I did that with to Toby. Gary gave me the script and said, yeah, have fun with it, play with it as much as you want. Do whatever you want to it. And I of did, I had my fun with it and I did the same thing with Rick not knowing that Hayden had written it. So I sort of just rearranged and changed things and halfway through I, it’s written right in the front of the script as Hayden’s Borough <laugh>. And it dawned on me that was actually a person and I thought, oh hell, I’ve almost like I’ve changed too much of this <laugh>. But anyway, I meant, I think I met Hayden after I’d finished the first one. I had to say, oh sorry Hayden, but I kind of took liberties with your script <laugh>. He was OK with reports.

Leigh Chalker (00:35:06):
He’s a good, I’ve actually got a copy of that Rick McCleon issue one man. It was a good combo that you both did. So

Ben Sullivan (00:35:13):
Yeah, that’s great. Yeah. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:35:16):
Right mate we got a comment from Danny. No and today Danny and it says Hi Ben. Are you a full-time illustrator these days?

Ben Sullivan (00:35:24):
Yes I am. Hey Danny. Yeah I am. I don’t know how many people are but yeah, six pages a week that’s all there is. I work from nine o’clock to three o’clock when the kids get home and then it’s all into a domestic sort of routine. And then I start again at nine o’clock and work till for a bit more on doing the computer stuff, coloring and things like that. But yeah. Yeah, full time. It’s been full-time this for seven years since I started, which is probably weird.

Leigh Chalker (00:36:05):

Ben Sullivan (00:36:05):
How many people might be, I’d like to know actually.

Leigh Chalker (00:36:09):
Yeah, I don’t know myself. We’ve spoken, I’ve got a part-time job and work split my time between Work Battle for Bustle and home life as well because yeah, you’ve gotta live. So cuz that’s a nice breakdown in your hours though. Cause that was something I was gonna ask you is, I mean you’re pumping out six pages a week, so you’re like yeah to the timeframe at nine and you finish at three. Question, is that a layout, pencils bang onto the page and then inked by three? Is that what you’re pushing yourself for every day?

Ben Sullivan (00:36:51):
I, I’ll tell you how I do work, what I do is if I’ve, once I’ve got a script, whether it be five pages or 20, 22 pages or whatever pages, I pencil it all out on a four paper. I should have brought some to show you cuz they’re kind of interesting. I draw them as a four. So it feels like what the comic’s going to look like, feel like in the end, even if it’s us still fits on an A four page. But you really get to see how everything lays out and plays out page by page, panel by panel. It, it’s, well that stage is everything.

Leigh Chalker (00:37:32):
Bensey said he just keeps those exact same hours mate. It’s dad Illustrator life

Ben Sullivan (00:37:38):
<laugh>. Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah interesting. But once I’ve done all those layouts, that part’s done and I share that with whoever wrote the script or whoever’s involved. But then a day would be me getting tracing off probably it the night before, trace off the sketch computer onto double the size on Bristol board as big as possible actually. And then that from nine till three will be from penciling that by about 12 or one and then trying to finish the inking by three. And if I miss it then it’s kind of not good. I gotta pick it up tomorrow. And so I try and really get those paid before three Cause then after that it’s office works to get ’em scanned cause I don’t have a scanner and then it’s onto the computer then I start coloring.

Leigh Chalker (00:38:43):
Yeah, right. No I feel your pain there with ducking into Office Works man. It’s like every time I go in there, I think their heads drop. <laugh>. I

Ben Sullivan (00:38:52):
Know by name <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:38:55):
<laugh>. Yeah, <laugh>.

Ben Sullivan (00:38:57):
I’ve seen over three cycles of employees come through <laugh>. Oh <laugh>. Yeah, <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:39:10):
I’ll be invited to the Christmas party this year, mate. The way it’s going. Oh

Ben Sullivan (00:39:14):
Yeah’s like it was a bit Oh

Leigh Chalker (00:39:15):
That but next. Yeah, <laugh>.

Ben Sullivan (00:39:21):
So I should say I’m so familiar, oh I got so familiar with, there was one employee about three years ago that he asked me to design his tattoo at Office Works is weird. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:39:40):
And did you end up doing it?

Ben Sullivan (00:39:42):
Yeah. Yeah. And he showed me the tattoo, he got it done

Leigh Chalker (00:39:47):
And it looked good.

Ben Sullivan (00:39:49):
I wouldn’t get it. But that was cool. <laugh>

Leigh Chalker (00:39:53):
I wouldn’t get, it was

Ben Sullivan (00:39:55):
A personal thing.

Leigh Chalker (00:39:56):
Yeah, yeah, I know there’s a lot of different tattoos out there. Hey, I actually I did a tattoo apprenticeship for about two days man and Oh

Ben Sullivan (00:40:08):
Wow, really?

Leigh Chalker (00:40:08):
Yeah, and I didn’t dig it at all man. Why

Ben Sullivan (00:40:13):

Leigh Chalker (00:40:13):
That? It wasn’t so much the artistic side, it was just, I don’t know if I want people I, I’ve been working all day and in the concrete and in the pits and stuff and then coming in, you know what I mean? Gimme a big tattoo. So <laugh>, I dunno man, it just, yeah, it didn’t really appeal to me. I thought it would in mates were like, oh take your drawings into a tattoo place and stuff. And yeah I got there and I don’t know, the amusement wore off really quickly. So yeah, <laugh> said bike so

Ben Sullivan (00:40:52):
Yeah, very different job.

Leigh Chalker (00:40:54):
So what do we got here? Danny Nolan? I rate Ben and Nicholas Scott. The two best illustrators for comics in Oz at present.

Ben Sullivan (00:41:03):
Oh Denny, that’s

Leigh Chalker (00:41:05):

Ben Sullivan (00:41:06):
Oh that’s very nice. Danny, thanks very much. Cola’s excellent. She’s genius. I met her at a ComicCon and she gave me advice to use tech pens cuz I was using just you these for about three years in. I said well get a tech pen and just get him tighter. And I did that for, I took her advice for about two years but then went back to this and just get these really sharp. I think I kind of feel you draw differently with tech being, I know you might be the same, but I kind of like to do that, not that.

Leigh Chalker (00:41:45):
Yeah, I myself, I like using the lead to help shade and stuff. Holding it on the side and different things like that man for when I’m penciling. So I use pencils as what you are doing as well.

Ben Sullivan (00:41:58):
Yeah, right.

Leigh Chalker (00:42:00):
Early on we used to use paces but very, it is very intricate. I know I like to flow with my pencils man. So it’s just me. So we all find our little niches don’t we? In the and Yeah.

Ben Sullivan (00:42:14):
Yeah, that’s right.

Leigh Chalker (00:42:16):
Now when you’re inking mate, are you traditional Indian in or you know, you were talking to me earlier, you don’t like so much the pens when you’re inking you like the brush feel across the page.

Ben Sullivan (00:42:31):
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, definitely. I think actually it’s the same thing with pen as it is with brush, with pen you are drawing, you’re writing and I don’t think that’s good. I mean with brush you’re still holding it that way, but I think it broadens out the detail a bit, which is probably, so you get a kind of more of a swifter broader line which tightens everything up. Whereas pen, I guess you got more what’s an example? You got more room to move, which probably sounds good, but in a way it’s not a brush, it just, it’s, I think a brush is doing a straight curved line in, you know what I mean? It’s like, it’s the straightest curve line. You can’t get it with a pen. Oh I can’t get it with a pen. But yeah, it just gets a bit funny when you’re getting in close with small detail with a brush. Yeah, that gets tricky. And I guess it’s hard to know when you switch back and forth between the two. I never know. Sometimes I get in with eyeballs and things like that, get in with a pen but kind of feels wrong somehow. So <laugh>, I dunno,

Leigh Chalker (00:43:46):
We all have your likes don’t we mate? What feels good and stuff. I, I’m, yeah, you have your favorite erases and stuff too that you know, wear down until they’re the size of a little fingernail and then there’s no saving it. You’ve got a chance. You

Ben Sullivan (00:44:04):
Don’t use those eatable erases.

Leigh Chalker (00:44:06):

Ben Sullivan (00:44:07):
You don’t use the eatable ones.

Leigh Chalker (00:44:08):
Yeah. Yeah. I, I found get this right a Kmart, it was shocking with erases I went through this big patch for everything. I’d rub out it smudge in that it was giving me the hes and you know, start peeling up a bit of paper and that a layer here or there? Not through the paper but just scuff it I guess. And I dunno chance my arm, it came up, I don’t know, a couple years back on these 55 center races I thought I can’t lose, you know what I mean? I’ll give it a go <laugh> best racer ever man. I dunno is anchor. Yeah. Oh man, it works for me. I don’t know what I’m doing but there’s a raise that these, I’ve had three or four of ’em and they don’t know, they just work men. So that’s like

Ben Sullivan (00:44:57):
Wow. You’re saying you find what works?

Leigh Chalker (00:45:00):
Yeah, yeah. Everyone have different inks. I don’t use so much Indian ink anymore. I use black acrylic paint when I’m doing wash these days. Yeah I used to do it just, I don’t know, I guess, I don’t know man. It’s just one of those things I ran outta in one day and thought what am I gonna do? And it turned out alright. It works pretty well for

Ben Sullivan (00:45:28):
Is that

Leigh Chalker (00:45:30):
Issue four? There’s a lot of black paint in that. The first three, not so much man. I was using Indian ink there. I mean I use pens as well to do I like pens. Yeah. Cause for me, I don’t know, my pencils aren’t as tight as yours. Mine are real loose and smudgy and stuff so I sort of tend to go into the detail with the inking. So that’s probably why I talking about it now. You like your detail in the pencils I’m thinking and what we’ve just said that that’s probably why I liked inking your work cuz the details were there. I could do yours but

Ben Sullivan (00:46:16):
I see. So how finished are your drawings before you ink? Can you stay pretty loose? Think I lost you again. Lee. <laugh>. <laugh>. Sorry. Hey Rob tell us why. Sorry. Rob. Rob why? What was I talking about? I think you might name in. Why do you do it? Oh. Oh thanks Shane.

Leigh Chalker (00:47:04):
I’ll let Lee back in and I’ll pop myself back. Sorry, I’m having a shock and time

Ben Sullivan (00:47:11):
I That’s alright Lee. That’s right. Rob just asked why I think Shame was saying why comics possibly, why do I draw? Oh yeah, thanks Rob. God a geez, that’s a hard question actually cuz I’ve been doing so long. I probably it’s just something I do I without, I don’t wanna sound silly there but I’ve been doing so long that I think about, oh God, I think because I can’t, I’d have to say that there’s things like that drawing does that I can’t be done in talking and I’m not very good at talking anyway.

Leigh Chalker (00:48:02):
So you find that a communicative device man.

Ben Sullivan (00:48:09):
Yeah, storytelling device. I’d say that. Yeah. Yeah. Something like that. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Because I mean drawing the visual arts can do something or it has a wheelhouse or a field of things that it can say. Whereas music has a field of things. Cheers rob. A field of things that it can say writing as a field of things that it can say. And I think actually interesting when you get writers and illustrators together with comics. I think that’s a huge magical part of comics is that you’re getting writing two different worlds. So I can’t say my hands two different worlds together that speak in different languages but it comes together in comics.

Leigh Chalker (00:48:58):
Yeah, yeah.

Ben Sullivan (00:49:00):

Leigh Chalker (00:49:02):
Do some writing yourself cuz you’ve got heaps of short stories and stuff. I’ve seen them pop up around the place one pages and two and three pages and stuff here. Do you enjoy the writing process? Cause obviously as you was talking about earlier with Hayden and stuff, you sort move some bits and bobs around to express yourself too. Do how’s, do you like writing yourself as an individual?

Ben Sullivan (00:49:31):
Yeah, I actually do but I know I’m not my thing, I mean I’d, I’d leave it to Rob Hayden and people that bright. So I tend to say that I don’t write because of that. But I mean do love it. I really do love it. I think I’m kind of pretty simple in the way I think of stories. I’m not very, my stories aren’t that complex but when I was changing Hayden’s stuff, it was more to tell a story through pictures and find a way to tell a story through pictures. And I mean that’s how I would write anyway. My tendency would be to write more of a visual type rather than literary type. I suppose when I did that, Rick oh excellent. <laugh> when I did Rick, I actually I wrote out everything on Post-Its and when laid out, I think I laid it all the pages on little PostIts 32 so I could actually see how things play out. Not literary can see literal rarely conceive them kind of thing. Cause I don’t think my brain works that way. I don’t go from A to B, I kind of just go everywhere. <laugh> a

Leigh Chalker (00:51:05):
Very filmmaking process men. Cuz a lot of filmmakers tend to do that with their ideas, posting notes on balls and stuff and then move things comes with the flow.

Ben Sullivan (00:51:16):
Yeah. Cause I’d rather see it as a whole rather than from A to B.

Leigh Chalker (00:51:21):
Yeah. Yeah. Do you have ideas first or do you have a story from what you were saying or you definitely go back and piece it with your posting notes? You’ve never had a moment where you’re gone point A to point z bang or write it then?

Ben Sullivan (00:51:36):
Not really at all. Actually I, I’d go from, I have set of scenes and know where they fall and then just stitch those together and then try and weave relationships between each one of those pages. Yeah, that’s what I do with Rick. But I wouldn’t sit down and write from A to B, I just could not do it. This is one of mine, which Gary brought out a long time ago. And how did I write this? I think I just had the general conception of what I wanted to say and then, cuz I wanted to say this is two character asterisks and OBLs, my kind of version of that. But it’s kind of a right brain, left brain thing and just playing off how the two play off each other. And that conception drove every little, every joke and every point through through the story. So it’s not like there’s a plot driving it or a story arc or anything like that. But the idea of how this brain concept kind of plays out <laugh> left, left hemisphere kind of dichotomy kind of thing. Plays. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:52:51):
Oh mate, it works for you mate. There’s no doubt about that. So works. We all have our little bloody things I guess everyone’s different. I don’t know how anyone can sit in and start writing for eight hours a day like that, but that’s just me. I’d do it sporadically as well, man.

Ben Sullivan (00:53:11):
Well how did you write approach? Oh did you do 1, 2, 3, 4 the same way?

Leigh Chalker (00:53:20):
No <laugh> to an extent, but it evolved men with the story over time I guess I used to just do splash pages of the characters and different scenes myself and had an idea where I wanted to start it and where I wanted it to go. A bit like yourself, had images in between that were pillars of what I wanted to hit. I did do scripts many, many years ago they’re in a folder over there. But since I’ve been doing it with Tam, cuz Tam’s the co-writer of Battle for Bustle we have a much more organic way. It’s just how we have evolved. We sit down together and the drawings are there. We’ve left that script behind now and we sort do I guess we sit at the table and the computer man and as we’re going through the artwork we talk about it, act without put the word bubbles on it that way cause

Ben Sullivan (00:54:32):

Leigh Chalker (00:54:32):
Wow. Yeah, I’ve laid the artwork out. It’s all pages done man. And I know what people wanna say. I put little notes next to the pages, what’s prompting that individual, why they’re looking that way and just mold the script into that. So

Ben Sullivan (00:54:52):
You have a lot of the imagery before you have the script.

Leigh Chalker (00:54:56):
All of it. I do it totally the opposite way, man. I’ve got synopsis for the story, but now as I said, I’ve don’t even look at those old scripts anymore man. It’s like Tam and I have just got it to this point now where it’s just like, Tam’s a great writer. I enjoy working with her in that regard. Cuz like yourself man, I prefer the art side of things, you know what I mean? In spending time doing the pencils and learning there. That’s where I’m at.

Ben Sullivan (00:55:29):
One thing I love about writers and the rule of writing is if you’re gonna write five pages, you actually have a world of maybe 200 pages. <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:55:40):
Yeah. Yeah. And

Ben Sullivan (00:55:42):
You hone right in and just get exactly what you’re just aiming for in the first place. I mean, writers really break their backs, I think the work that we don’t see.

Leigh Chalker (00:55:54):
Oh mate, I’m, I’m a hundred percent with you man. There’s, see the weird part is, I came from Townsville so isolated, hadn’t worked with anyone, just been doing this thing in my room more or less since I was a kid. And when Covid hit one morning, threw it out there and here I am now sort of thing. So what I thought was the right process for me when I began 20 years ago on this has become something totally different now. Mean, cause I’d never actually worked with another writer other than Tamara until Spy wrote the script for Ring Around The Rosy and Right. That was my first I guess, involvement with someone else’s script. Right. Again, getting a script and then putting it to paper. So

Ben Sullivan (00:56:54):
How’d you find it

Leigh Chalker (00:56:57):
Different to begin with? Obviously wasn’t something I was used to, but I think that’s what I’m enjoying so much, man, about being able to talk to people and do artwork and stuff is, there’s heap of different ways of doing work man. And I think probably just the most important part is man, is just do your best to finish what you’re working on. Do you know what I mean? A damn good crack at it because it may not do the best thing you can at the time. Whether you write a pencil or Inca editor, anything you can, but long as you’re always improving and learning and stuff. Yeah, I

Ben Sullivan (00:57:40):
Think that’s exactly rightly,

Leigh Chalker (00:57:42):
Yeah, that’s all I’m trying to do, man, is just get better mate. And having, drawing with you and Ryan Valer and stuff, you know, pick up, as I said to you before, bits and pieces of, oh I didn’t think about that. Or I could subconsciously, unconsciously, who knows? It’s, there’s elements of you that have popped into some drawings I’ve done, there’s elements of Ryan that I’ve noticed that sort of stuff. So that’s where I’m at. I encourage anyone, regardless of what, how they do it. There’s no right or wrong man. As long as you have done really bud.

Ben Sullivan (00:58:17):
Well it’s like you said it doesn’t matter as what you’ve got in the end, whatever happens before that is all yours. But if you can get something in at the end of finished work, that’s everything. Cuz there’s nothing more useless than ideas with no end result. It’s the end result, you know, got something to hand to someone that they can actually make something with. Yeah. How you get there is all up to you. <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (00:58:42):
Oh yeah, that’s exactly it. A, it can be, I don’t think there’s any probably, now that I’ve met so many people, I would say that there was probably an easier way for me to get to where I started to the drawing I’m at now. But I mean it’s just that, I guess the old cliched word of the process, isn’t it really? Everyone’s got their own process, their own path, you know, find your way, you pick up bits and pieces on the way and talk to people, learn a bit. There’s ideas, man, that I’d never even thought of like that. Now I’m very well aware of. So

Ben Sullivan (00:59:24):
Oh yeah,

Leigh Chalker (00:59:25):
You just improve as best you can man. So it’s all an art for man.

Ben Sullivan (00:59:30):
Yeah, it is. Absolutely. So Lee, did you say you’d started this 20 years ago or two years ago before Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (00:59:36):

Ben Sullivan (00:59:36):
Yeah. <laugh>. Yeah.

Leigh Chalker (00:59:40):
Yeah, you heard, right? Yeah. Yeah. There was no breakdown with the internet there mate. <laugh>.

Ben Sullivan (00:59:48):
So you’ve been doing this for 20 years? Comics for 20 years.

Leigh Chalker (00:59:52):
Well I’ve been doing Battle for Bustle for 20 years, man. And much like yourself have had up until, you know, got to seven years ago, I’ve had a myriad of jobs, man in different things in a whole different life. But I always had that pulse of drawing and then when you draw, much like you said, you can have a whole heap of paper, but where’s it going? So the paper was racking up. So then I started, okay, I maybe turn this into a story and life has its ups and downs. You,

Ben Sullivan (01:00:26):

Leigh Chalker (01:00:27):
You kick it and it’s ass for two years and then drop off. Cuz you’re working 60 hours a week or whatever it is.

Ben Sullivan (01:00:37):
Yeah, that’s right.

Leigh Chalker (01:00:40):
But no, it’s just something I’ve want to wanna finish, mate. So that’s essentially where I’m at right now, so I get what you say about it.

Ben Sullivan (01:00:49):
So how far do you wanna go with battle for Bus as well? I think you were thinking of finishing a four, is that right? Are you gonna

Leigh Chalker (01:00:56):
No, no, I’ll I’ll go, I’ve got nine mapped out so I’ll get to issue nine and then, I dunno from that point on. So that, that’s the mission at the moment. And the mission for me is just to try and get better as an artist and get in and learn from as many people as I can mate like yourself. That’s why I enjoy doing these shows, to learn paths, how they get there.

Ben Sullivan (01:01:26):

Leigh Chalker (01:01:26):
Roads, we all travel cause everyone’s different. No one’s given. This is where you’ll go. Take that road. Okay. It. Oh,

Ben Sullivan (01:01:36):
I would love to hear that. Sometimes <laugh>

Leigh Chalker (01:01:38):
Oh yeah.

Ben Sullivan (01:01:38):
Wouldn’t be easy. But

Leigh Chalker (01:01:40):
Yeah, there’s no character, no stories in that. There’s no way. All right, so we, Danny Nolan here asking, do you work off traditional scripts or are you given outlines? When you talked about page layouts, it seemed like your instructions weren’t clear.

Ben Sullivan (01:02:00):
I get different things from different people. This guy this one, we were hand in hand a very rough outlines. He doesn’t actually write scripts at all. He’s writing a story. Oh God, it varies so much. I, I’ve had some pretty tight scripts with my work that’s really loose as I was saying. But yeah, no, it varies a lot actually. I get all kinds of scripts from tight to, I mean, I don’t know how tight it can get, what’s his name? Melan Moore type. But yeah, then I can get really vague sort of stuff as well. I get all kinds of things actually I also got this other job where they actually put the panels and balloons in and gave me that to work from and I had to fit the images in with that. They did say that I could move balloons and things like that and I had to, anyway, the way it was laid out wasn’t, could have been.

That was a bit, didn’t work. But that was an interesting one. Getting panels, balloons and then drawing in that. I mean with the freedom to change as well. But yeah, no, it varies a lot. A lot, a lot. I don’t have a preference either of which way to, I think the best way to work though would be is if I can have as much communication as possible with the person with the script that I think that’s really important. I don’t think I’ve ever been given a script and just told to sit down and just go. Which is probably normal for the industry, maybe

Leigh Chalker (01:03:50):

Ben Sullivan (01:03:51):
Probably, probably is <laugh>,

Leigh Chalker (01:03:54):
Well we got here sps, he’s got one for you. This is one of Ben’s more low key great treat traits. He’s always interested and curious about the process of others and is a great listener.

Ben Sullivan (01:04:06):
Oh, thanks Rob. Thank you very much. Thank

Leigh Chalker (01:04:09):
You very much. Yeah, what are you working on now? You’re obviously six pages a week. So do you work between focus on one project and bang, get it out of the way by the Jude deadline? Or you got at the moment, one, two things on the go. This one’s gotta be done by the 1st of September. I’ll focus on that real quick and try and push that out. This one’s like, you

Ben Sullivan (01:04:47):
Know what I mean? This I reckon is the hardest thing of all is how to juggle all this. There’s got about four criteria, which stacks what work I should be doing, where the pay is, where the deadline is, where my interest in it is. I mean I’m interested in all of them, but that is a factor as well. And oh, the deadline that’s been asked for as well. All these things. I can never really figure out how to order this properly in some works. I’m about two months behind, just quietly <laugh> in a couple, I’m about two months behind at the moment, <laugh>.

But yeah, a short job I’ll get done pretty quickly. Actually, this last short job I did is a five page job I did in five days, just out like that. But today, working today, I had three pages going and I needed to, because there’s character designs and two, three character designs and the architecture and a ship as well that had to be designed so that they feed across properly across the pages. You probably can’t just draw page one and then it’s hard to carry onto page 10 or whatever. So you gotta crunch on them the same time. So today I was working on three pages at lunch, which was tricky with another two pages as well. For something else I should do it one page at a time, <laugh> and probably one job at a time. And I probably work might be a bit more better, but I do as much as I can in front of me at the moment. I got five pages going that I need to get done. Ah, yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:06:38):
Right. <laugh>. Yeah, fair enough. It’s a mess. A mess. Well obviously it might be in the process mate, but it’s not in the end result. So what do we got from spy here we got, and to follow that up, is that a general curiosity or wanting to learn bits and pieces more from other people?

Ben Sullivan (01:07:04):
What were we following up for?

Leigh Chalker (01:07:06):
And he’s talk and he’s talking about your interest in other people’s processes and stuff and that you were a great person. Cause you’re always asking

Ben Sullivan (01:07:13):
People. Oh I see. I’m deeply fascinated by the way other people do things. I guess cuz I can relate to it so much cuz it’s what I do and throw my whole mind into I to learn. I think I’ve sort of got my ways of doing things now after seven years. I mean actually process wise. But in terms of drawing, there’s a thousand things I’ve gotta learn more than a thousand. But no, I’m interested in other peoples cuz it’s just interesting how other people, what they do, how they work. And there’s some strange ways that people work that I find I could never do. But I wonder your process is a direct answer to your result too. So if you do change your process, I bet you the end result would be different. So maybe I should change my process a bit. <laugh>

Leigh Chalker (01:08:19):
Experimenting mate. You know,

Ben Sullivan (01:08:22):
Closed. Yeah, maybe I should

Leigh Chalker (01:08:24):
<laugh>. Oh mate, that’s entirely up to you. You might hit that. You know, might go through a process like the old American comedian George Carlin mate who went through five or six changes over his career.

Ben Sullivan (01:08:35):
Yeah, he did.

Leigh Chalker (01:08:36):
Yeah, it was a bit of a Beatles dude. And then suddenly he’s a hippy cocaine snorting crazy man and stuff like that.

Ben Sullivan (01:08:45):
Yeah, yeah.

Leigh Chalker (01:08:48):
Yeah’s got question for you too. Who are your influences?

Ben Sullivan (01:08:54):
Well, I would say I want to draw him crazy. I kind of change monthly or six monthly actually at the moment. There’s an Italian artist that I’m looking at can’t mamo. Courage. Courage. I can’t remember his name. But there’s one guy I’m looking at the moment really trying to see how he does it. That’s an Italian artist that’s working. I think he’s still, he’s still working at the moment. I can’t remember his name. But others.

Leigh Chalker (01:09:43):
Is he a comic book artist or more of a classical type? Right.

Ben Sullivan (01:09:47):
Well I love the abstract artist actually. Like Seitz and the more abstract sort of stuff. There’s someone else I love. I’d love to be able to do that stuff. There’s not, it’s hard, you can’t really do that. I mean most people would want the story just told, but to break out into something more adventurous like that, I’d probably do it with my own work, I suppose. I’d love to do it. I’d love to go down more that abstract sort of road actually. But most of the jobs are called for doing straight down the line, panel by panel, tell the story kind of thing. But yeah, I think if I was gonna do my own work, I’d be influenced by the more abstract kind of artists. Definitely.

Leigh Chalker (01:10:35):
I’d love to see you have a crack at doing an abstract man along what you’ve just described there. Cause

Ben Sullivan (01:10:43):
There’s one I want to do <laugh>. The next comic I want to do is a rock opera <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (01:10:50):
Yeah, right.

Ben Sullivan (01:10:51):
Yeah. I wanna see if it gonna be done well. I I’ll approach it that way. A rock opera, you do the words as if there could be some, as a corny eighties rock opera kind of thing. And then just do everything and draw just over the top. I mean I love Over the Top with anything in the arts who’s over the top? What’s his name? Everyone hates him. Lee Field.

Leigh Chalker (01:11:21):

Ben Sullivan (01:11:22):
Yeah, he’s actually genius I think. And because he is at that over the top heavy style

Leigh Chalker (01:11:30):
You can pick him a mile away. Anything he does, he’s definitely got his own thing going.

Ben Sullivan (01:11:36):
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. But I call him an abstract artist too. He’s more in the abstract end of things, I think.

Leigh Chalker (01:11:42):
Yeah. Cause because his figures are different. People have their own opinions on his art style. I personally love these very early stuff. The new Oh, things like that. I was a big fan. I haven’t seen so much of his latest stuff. He’s still going. So that’s a credit to the man. People love his, I mean, energetic. Yeah, yeah.

Ben Sullivan (01:12:08):
Absolutely. Yeah. He has haters though, doesn’t he? <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (01:12:14):
Oh yeah,

Ben Sullivan (01:12:15):
Yeah. Well maybe that that’s,

Leigh Chalker (01:12:21):
Yeah, that’s not a here nor, I’m one of those people that’s just like, if you like it, you like it. If you don’t, that’s cool. I’ll just keep going after the things. I like <laugh>. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But no, I quite like a lot of his stuff, man. When I was young and formula and he stuck out to me, man.

Ben Sullivan (01:12:46):
Yeah. But anyway, yeah, I wanna do rock up, that kind of thing. Really over the top. And

Leigh Chalker (01:12:52):
I wanna see that. What are the chances of that happening?

Ben Sullivan (01:12:56):
Very, maybe three years if things go, drops off <laugh>. Yeah. Yeah. It’s really hard to find time for my own work.

Leigh Chalker (01:13:08):
Oh, well from the sounds of things, man, you flat out this,

Ben Sullivan (01:13:12):
I’m up to pay, I’m up book two. I’ve got a 10 book arc for this one. Yeah. And I, I’m the second book and I, I’ve drawn 20 pages in but I drew and then put the words later, but now I can’t remember any concept that I, any words that are gonna, it’s been too long. I can’t remember it all. So I’ve got all these visual jokes. I’m gonna have to patch in some words somehow. <laugh>, finish that.

Leigh Chalker (01:13:40):
The trials and tribulations. The trials, yeah. So what are you working on currently at the moment?

Ben Sullivan (01:13:47):
Yeah, I’m doing I, I’ve just finished the third book of Mr. I. There’s book one, two, and three with Rey and that was fantastic. Soon as I finished I got Covid and got sick for a week. <laugh>, soon as I finished it was really funny. But, oh, getting out of that, I had to do a five page job. I got that done. This was a week ago, so not long ago. But now I’m working on Dark Nebula, which is really fun and I wanna get that done as soon as possible. That’s a really interesting one. That and Southern Squadrant are something I’m really proud of being a part of cuz that’s Australia. That’s Australian history there.

Leigh Chalker (01:14:36):
Yeah, yeah. Certainly is mate. And

Ben Sullivan (01:14:38):
I’m being part of that, which is awesome.

Leigh Chalker (01:14:44):
Yeah, blew your mind when you got to the script and had to sit down and, whoa, okay. I’m drawing these dudes to real now.

Ben Sullivan (01:14:53):
Yeah, I went carefully with Dave Dre with the characters there. I wanted to get that right cuz I think he originally wanted, he wanted to get the more older versions of the characters as well. Or was it the new one? We went through it really carefully and I wanted to get that close as best as I could because I’m part of something there.

Leigh Chalker (01:15:19):
You’re right. Beautiful.

Ben Sullivan (01:15:20):
That’s something to take seriously.

Leigh Chalker (01:15:22):
And that’s due out at the end of the year too, I think. Something to that effect. But one from Dave Dye. Here’s got, I noticed a few profiles in one of your stories lately. <laugh>, have you come around? <laugh>?

Ben Sullivan (01:15:37):
Yes. <laugh> Dave won <laugh>. I had an argument, or not an argument, I had a real conversation with Dave about this cuz it was really, I think it was getting to both of us at the time, is we were talking about profiles. I put the proposition that you never see a profile. It’s always slightly off. And he would say, oh no, said it can do it. You can do see it. And it does happen. He pointed it out once, said a comicon too. I said, oh yeah, but I swear I said it’s even slightly off. You can tell I’m sure of it. But no, I think I’m come around. I think you do see profiles and I think they’re also necessary to, just to simplify what’s being said, but what do you think, Lee, do you think of profile? A straight on profile is a rare thing to in the wild in our minds. I

Leigh Chalker (01:16:35):
Dunno for it guess I’ve never really given it much thought, to be honest with you.

Ben Sullivan (01:16:40):
I don’t think I’d ever given a thought until I talk to Dave about it too.

Leigh Chalker (01:16:43):
Yeah, yeah. Well you’ve triggered something in me. I feel like I’ve got to go back and give this more thought because nothing springs to my mind immediately. Now we are discussing it.

Ben Sullivan (01:16:58):
Yeah, no, sure. It’s pretty nice.

Leigh Chalker (01:17:00):
But in terms of using them, if it helps the story and stuff, my God, throw all the profiles you can in there. You know what I mean?

Ben Sullivan (01:17:08):
I think that’s it. And I think that Dave’s right there too. If it tells a story, then you do it.

Leigh Chalker (01:17:14):
Well what do we got? Danny Nolan, you got, did you read comics as a kid? If so, which ones?

Ben Sullivan (01:17:20):
Asterisks. All asterisks. I was mad about Asterisk.

Leigh Chalker (01:17:24):
Where did you pick up your first copy of that? From Mate? Just at the news agents or?

Ben Sullivan (01:17:29):
No, I think a friend gave it to me or yeah, I think it was a school library book. I don’t know what hooked me on it, but I know it was so to do with the drawings. But the first drawings I was copying was from the Olympic Games, the disco throw up from the Olympic games. I distinctly remember drawing that and I don’t know, I knew then it was good <laugh>, just ease and the flow of what the way he does it. And I mean they’re books and you’d think that over time you start to see the kids’ books, but not at all. He’s genius. That guy after maybe five books in when he really finds his way there. Just beautiful things. Just a beautiful line. And oh I’ve got, I want show you, we all

Leigh Chalker (01:18:20):
Know you still got copies of those.

Ben Sullivan (01:18:22):
Yeah, I do. But probably bought, I had ’em all, I had the game book. I dunno if there was a game. There’s three game books and I had a freeze as well. Yeah, yeah. No, I was mad about him.

Leigh Chalker (01:18:38):
What did you think of the Gerard Deju version of Asterisks Mate? Did you ever see that or shouldn’t We

Ben Sullivan (01:18:43):
Talk? I’ve seen all the cartoons and I’ve seen that. And it’s also that Italian guy was actor as well. I can’t remember his name. I can’t remember the guy who played Asterisk. But the thing is with it, they never get the words. I love Jared, like in all his movies he’s great, but I don’t know, they never get the So the Voice right on any of them ever. In all the cartoons. I’ve always been disappointed. And that’s because I guess they’ve been, they’re in my head, there’s specific voices. I can’t hear it, but I know exactly what asterisks voice sounds like in O Looks and I can never get it right. They’ll never get it right.

Leigh Chalker (01:19:23):
Yeah, that that’s obviously comes from you reading them as a kid and having the voices in your mind and familiar in that regard.

Ben Sullivan (01:19:31):
Yeah, I’ve always put it wrong. Yeah, yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:19:34):
Yeah. That’s very interesting man. Yeah, I my dad used to read comics to me when I was young, so I had audio like him doing sound effects and stuff like that as he was reading. Oh yeah. I could synthesize with that too. Certain voices definitely. But then on the other hand, in a weird way, you’ll see a movie or something and then go and read the comic book or the book and you, as you’re reading it, <laugh>, you hear the actor’s voice.

Ben Sullivan (01:20:05):
Oh yes, absolutely. That’s right. Yeah. So that’s very true.

Leigh Chalker (01:20:10):
And if you like the book or the comic book but you didn’t like the actor or the movie man, it can be a dreadful thing trying to reread this book and you’ve got this terrible actor in the back of your mind.

Ben Sullivan (01:20:23):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Leigh Chalker (01:20:25):
Yeah. Right over the back of your shoulder and that. Right. Well hey man, what else we got here? So I guess we’ve established a why and a how as to why you do it and how you do it. A little push off to the why is you’re busy, you’re loving it, how long do you see yourself doing it for? Are you just going keep going and going from talking to you now? I think you’re the sort of bloke, even if the work dried up, you’d still keep pushing on with the process of the art form itself, cuz you love it. So I guess, what are your ultimate goals, man? With

Ben Sullivan (01:21:14):
Where, yeah, I started out with a year goal. I wanted to get somewhere. Then I had what, a two year goal, but a four year goal. I’ve never done this in my life before, but I did that typical sort of planning thing and I sort of met those goals early on. But a lot of them were pretty unrealistic early on too. But now I’ve got a 10 year plan kind of a 10 year sort of framework of what I’m working in. And then I’ll worry about the next 10 years I suppose.

Leigh Chalker (01:21:42):
Yeah. Now I

Ben Sullivan (01:21:43):
Should actually probably think about it. <laugh> <laugh> <laugh> is coming up, but no 10 plan. That’s where I’m working. Working on working within now. Yeah, yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:21:58):

Ben Sullivan (01:21:59):
But I’ll doing, yeah, I’ll be do this. I’ll be drawing till the day my, I don’t know what will happen to these, but <laugh>.

Leigh Chalker (01:22:06):
Yeah, well look after that hand man. No more drumming for you that put the band.

Ben Sullivan (01:22:15):
I still play sometimes, but I’ll keep of course drawing big comics. Yeah. Okay. What was I saying?

Leigh Chalker (01:22:34):
You’ll keep drawing comics.

Ben Sullivan (01:22:36):
I’ll keep drawing comics. God. Yeah yeah. God, yeah. I’m in that. Good. The medium is, I mean I talk to Hayden about this. When we go through scripts we always end up saying, finishing, looking at each other. My God comics, the medium is amazing and it is an amazing medium, bizarrely strange, medium million reasons. It’s caught between literature and movies. It leaves enough for the mind as it does for the person, as it does for the, there’s an interplay between the read the well, the viewer and the creator, more so than there is in other mediums. I think as a blending of two different worlds. Right. The literature to the visual world as well. So once I started with comics, I’m in this painting, of course, drawing that forever. Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:23:42):
Yeah. I’ve got one more question mate that I, I’m gonna try and ask everyone and I guess segues to two. What’s one piece of advice that you can give to anyone listening that you’ve learned that was important to you, that just comes to your mind and what is, you’ve already, I would ask you what’s your proudest achievement so far? But you said that earlier with putting so much time into the southern squadron and dark nebula and

Ben Sullivan (01:24:17):
Well, there’s a lot of things I’m happy with,

Leigh Chalker (01:24:20):
But what is the proudest mate? Are they the proudest, you’ve done the, you sit there and go, wow, I did it.

Ben Sullivan (01:24:29):
Yeah. I find that about every work though. I’m happy I’m happy with every work that I’ve done, but I think the best advice is, and something that I think about all the time, and this is why I am happy with everything I’ve done, is because I’m, I’m better than this <laugh> I’m better than me yesterday. I think that’s the advice is isn’t compare yourself to other people but compare yourself to you yesterday.

Leigh Chalker (01:25:01):
Yeah, I

Ben Sullivan (01:25:02):
Think I’m the same with that, with drawing. I compare myself to my drawing yesterday. If I’m slightly better and if slightly better then I’m proud of that. Happy with that.

Leigh Chalker (01:25:14):
Yeah, I think that, mate, I, that’s beautiful words. I Ben, I mate, I don’t think we can wrap up the interview any better than that, mate. So <laugh>, yeah, you’re gonna come back for a part two at some point in the near future, mate because

Ben Sullivan (01:25:34):

Leigh Chalker (01:25:35):
I wanna keep talking to you cause I could sit here talking to you for hours. But yeah,

Ben Sullivan (01:25:39):
I think we could Lee, thanks for having me on too. Thanks for having on pleasure. All the others you’ve had too. All the other great people.

Leigh Chalker (01:25:48):
Yeah, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, glad you enjoyed it. But

Ben Sullivan (01:25:51):
It’s great to it. Yeah,

Leigh Chalker (01:25:53):
Hang around for afterwards mate, and we’ll have another yarn, but just due to time constraints and stuff and people’s bed times and things like that and we might call it an evening there for part one of Ben Sullivan. Great. Thank you very much for everyone that’s tuned in and listened to Tuesday. I do apologize for my end of the technical difficulties but hopefully we got through that and I’d like to thank you very much for Ben. I’d like thank comics for sponsoring the show comics all things comics in Australia. It’s a lovely, lovely group of people that you know can reach out and meet and have a answer about people if you’re interested in the field and varying other points of artwork and comic book creation. Other than that, I’m going to wish you all well look after each other, look after everybody. Look after your neighbor. And peace, love, and harmony and community is unity. So good on you. Thank you very much. Thanks so much.

Voice Over (01:27:03):
This show is sponsored by the comics shop. Check out for all things comic X and find out what come X is all about. Then head over to to pick up a variety of Australian comics from multiple creators and publishers. All for one flat hostage rate. And don’t forget to check out the comics channel on YouTube. We hope you enjoy the show.