What do photographers do?” and “What does a cartoonist do?” are the kind of questions that everyone can relate to. And I say this as someone who spends most of his time on the internet.
In most cases, I assume, I’m not the only one. So in a roundabout way, I decided to ask someone more closely, namely my friend Ben. My aim was not to be a professional. But I am not a professional. I’m not a cartoonist, just a guy who likes to draw. I write articles and comment like anyone else. In fact, I’ve always called myself “just a guy.”
So I decided to ask Ben.
His name is Ben Jonson. He writes for The Atlantic Monthly, where he’s worked since 2008. He recently started working with a large print company called Harper Collins, and he’s doing a book called The Book of the Week. Ben’s work is “about as popular as the Internet.” His online work has appeared in a couple publications, including New York Magazine and The Guardian. Ben says he’s noticed a huge increase in what he refers to as “hyper-art work,” and is now exploring what it means for a cartoonist to be on the internet in a digital world.
Ben Jonson: There’s been a great amount of experimentation that I’ve seen from a variety of people and artists. It can look like a cartoonist does a painting and then says, “I should publish this here and here.” It’s more about having a visual approach instead of being content with the process.
We spoke about his work and his background.
DZMM: Describe your first work and how it developed along the way.
BJ: My first post-college sketchbook was a collection of sketches, in the same style that I use today as a book cover artist. At some point it became about a series of “paintings” and at that point I decided it didn’t feel quite right to just say that I made the first post-college book in a hundred years. I wanted to say the book itself was the result of several years of experimentation. From there it evolved, and it was a collection of many different styles.
DZMM: What do your friends say about your web work?
BJ: For most people, it seems like a big leap. They’ll say, “Oh, he used to draw weird cartooning. And that’s really cool
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