INT: Ben Templesmith

The Arrow interviews Ben Templesmith

Australian artist Ben Templesmith is best known for having worked on the vampire graphic novel 30 Days of Night with Steve Niles (to be cinematically adapted by Sam Raimi's prod company). He' s also done some stuff for various Star Wars, Army of Darkness and Silent Hill properties. The man keeps busy! Funnily enough, I got to know him via his stellar creature Production Designs for "Boogeyman" which led me to me asking him to do the amazing "Teaser Poster" for Pain Killer, a film I'm working on. I had the chance to tequila shoot a couple of questions Ben's way and here's what he spat back at me.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

Have to be John Carpenter’s “The Thing”. Great, bleak story, and great effects that still hold up to this day pretty much!

What’s your favorite horror comic in terms of art and narrative? Why?

Would have to be Hellboy, though it’s not technically true ‘Horror’ in my mind, but it’s one of the best comics out there, and Mike Mignola can tell the best stories. His sequential techniques put everyone eels to shame really.

Was drawing something you always had in you? Did you go to school to perfect your skills?

Yeah, I was drawing before I could write. Pretty much self taught, though I ended up going to University and getting a Design degree, majoring in Illustration. They taught us how to sell ourselves though, not how to actually ‘do’ art.

What was the “plot turn” in your life that had drawing become a career?

I guess the move that turned it into a career was picking out 30 Days of Night from a list of pitch material a guy named Steve Niles and I wanted to do between our then regular gig working on a comic called Hellspawn. IDW Publishing had balls enough to risk publishing it…and then thanks to the concept and a pretty looking concept book that was shown around studios, it got optioned, got a hell of a lot of buzz, and away I went as ‘vampire boy’ doing vamp comics for the longest time. Still doing em too. Working on one with Amber Bensen of Buffy fame right now. Having a blast with her writing style too. Very cool and quirky which I love.

What’s your process when its time to “create”? Booze, loud music, strippers dancing in your office...?

You forgot everything but the cocaine. Actually it just involves sitting at a desk all damn day, drinking coffee, and playing with my cats to chill out at break times.

You did the amazing Production Art for the “Boogeyman” creature. How did you feel when you saw the film and their CG rendition of it?

Thanks! Yeah, I have the guys like Sam Raimi and Rob Tappert to thank for that and for the whole 30 days of Night option thing too. The funny thing is though, I’ve not seen the movie yet. Would have to download it if I wanted to see it, since it comes out here (Australia) May 24th or something like that. And the studios wonder why piracy is a problem? Hah! I love same day world wide releases!

You illustrated “30 Days of Night” for Steve Niles. Did you have a hunch while working on it that the comic would be such a success?

Well, I never illustrated it ‘for’ him as such, it was a collaborative effort, and it only really happened because I was willing to work for free in the end! I guess you could say I had a little inkling it might be something people could latch onto when I picked it from that pitch list I talked about. Doing that, and the rather popular pitch book artwork really sold it. But to do what it did and have a bidding war on movie rights and all that hype and craziness, well, no one could predict that (at least I can’t! ). One of those right place, right time things I think.

Do you think you’ll ever draw outside the macabre? Like Barbie’s Next Adventures perhaps?

Oh definitely. Already done a more sci-fi series called ‘ Singularity7’. That was all me. Mostly these days, I want to draw nude women with snake tattoos and things, which are all over my website http://www.templesmith.com. After awhile doing all the dark stuff can get a bit monotonous, but it’s still what I enjoy. Most things will have a dark twist to them if I draw them. I think I’m coming to the end of drawing vampires soon though. Bit sick of them. Need a break!

Do you have any other aspirations within the horror industry?

Not really. Having achieved my goals and then some…I couldn’t ask for more. I’m just happy to see what the future brings. Would love to try my hand at music videos one day maybe, but mostly I want to concentrate on upping my skills. They’ve suffered too much from deadline fatigue. I want to spend 4 months on one painting or something sometime. Yeah, that’d be nice!

I'd like to thank Ben for dropping by the site and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors. Now go spend that 4 months on one painting man! Make it happen! It's the only way it will! Cheers mate!


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