These are some sketches I did in New York the past few days. Some are done at a farmhouse in upstate NY , the rest were done downtown in NYC, racing to get as many done before the sun set.

Light Studies

I did both of these this evening...just to try some contrasty lighting. The first one totally reminds me of an old animation background from the road runner and coyote. I left them loose, didn't want to make them too tight, my hope is to do a very large selection of these with varying light sources.

Still have some touchups, but i will repost the final later on. Suggestions welcome

Video by Isaac Niemand awared with the 1st German Fashion Film Award

from Danish Daughters

Potipoti's fashion video 'Berlin Closer' has been awarded with the 1st German Fashion Film Award in Berlin. They've received the award in the category womenswear. The German Fashion Film Award has been organized by noted fashion-expert and journalist Claudia Carillon and is supported by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. The challenge was to create a 3-minute video the presents the labels style and collections. The award was offered to designers based in Germany that have been working for a minimum of 2 years up to a maximum of 8 years. A total of 77 videos classified in the categories womenswear, menswear and accessories have been sent in of which 15 have been nominated.

Here the video we made around 1 year ago.

The Two of Them

Onward, ever onward!

So, it has been a busy week. My buddy Bert has been working on my book, working out the format and fonts and uploading artwork. I forgot how labor intensive my books are. I have spent twenty hours this week working on artwork for the book and I think I probably still have another 50 hours. Bert on the other hand probably has another 90 hours. Bert got some good news this week. He was laid-off from his job in January and has been doing a lot of free-lance work since then. On Friday, he received a great offer from a local design firm for a better job than he had before. He and his wife are very excited. I am too. He starts on August 9th so that means we have a lot of work to do to make sure we are done before that.

My books have each taken about 100 hours to layout. That seems like a lot, especially when normal books take only about ten hours to design. I have never been normal. Bert anCheck Spellingd I have a lot of fun working together. It is like two kids sitting down with an endless supply of Tinkertoys. The fun never ends as we build on each other's ideas.

Each chapter of this book will begin with a numbered tile--each one hand-made. I think i might be insane to spend so much time on these books, but I am hoping you all enjoy them--that you feel like they are as much of an experience as they are for me--like you can find yourself in Niederbipp, eating Sam's bread, drinking Isaac's tea, falling in love with Jake and Amy as they discover the truths that are all around them. This has been a most enjoyable experience. I am excited to share this last book with you. It feels like it is by far the very best. I find myself dreaming about it at night and thinking about it all day as I am frantically trying to get ready for the Park City Arts Festival, the first weekend in August. So, try to stay cool. Read a good book, and Viva Niederbipp! Ben

Updated Eliana Pictures

Just wanted to post some recent pictures of our little Ellie! Here she is with Spencer in the baby bjorn. She finally likes it, now that she can face out and see what's going on!

I don't know what it is about this picture I love so much... if it's her brignt eyes, her little expression, or just what. She cracks me up :)

Went for an early evening walk and Eliana managed to stay awake! Usually she finds walks so soothing she misses out on seeing everything. This time, though, she got to enjoy it!

Four months old!! She's growing!

Loving the Bumbo!

4th of July!


One of my favorite all time characters. very loose, very quick portrait while watching snatch

House Sketches

How's the Grief?

I've been asked this question, How's the grief?, a handful of times since Eliana has been born. Most of those who have asked are mothers who have lost a child themselves, and are keen enough to know that having a new baby at home doesn't erase the grief of missing the child you've lost.

So, how is the grief?

It's different. My arms no longer ache with emptiness since Eliana is now here for me to snuggle... and she loves to snuggle! My longing to raise a child has been met through Eliana's presence, even though my longing to raise Isaac will forever be unfulfilled. With that, comes a new dimension of grief. Prior to Eliana's sweet arrival, I understood only in theory what I was missing out on with Isaac not here; now, I understand its reality.

Like any mother of two, there are days when I feel torn about loving both of my children well... and the fact that Isaac isn't here, makes that even more unique. It's things like trying to balance reading up on a plan for starting solids with Eliana, while finding time to maintain this blog; or, balancing running to Target for diapers and wipes with time to spend at the cemetery; and even something like finding time to both play with Ellie and work on this year's golf tournament. There's a part of me that feels guilty for not having the same amount of time to pour into things having to do with Isaac as I once did; and yet I wouldn't trade Eliana's presence here and my time with her for anything.

So the grief is different, yet I know that in some ways it is still the same. The missing is there. It still stings when we go out to eat and the hostess asks us, "Just three?" Yes... I think... JUST three. And I know that as another October 7th rolls around, the weight of Isaac not being here will settle in again; it's almost as if I have come to learn to expect the ebbs and flows of it all much better now.

I am grateful to know that even though I sometimes feel like a mess trying to balance it all... laughing one minute with Eliana as she giggles, then tearing up the next as I flip through Isaac's photo album and tell her about her big brother... that God meets me in that. He honors the struggle in balancing great joy with great sorrow, and provides the grace in order to walk that fine line well.

Stay tuned in the next few days... I have lots of recent pictures of my precious little Ellie to upload :)

Layout For Becoming Officially Begins Today

That's right. After a long and tedious editing time, we began today with the layout and design for the book. The cover art for this one is amazing. My friend, Erin Westenskow Berret, did the artwork--an amazing picture--she paints like Amy, and I can still afford her. You are going to want one of her pictures too as soon as you see the artwork. I spent the day working on my doodles and sketches for the book. I am a little stressed out with all I have to do. I was accepted to the Park City Arts Festival this year and have several firings I need to do in order to be ready so I will have a lot of late nights between getting ready and finishing the book. It is the twelfth of July and I am still hoping and thinking we might have it done for the festival which is on the 7th and 8th of August this year. Then I am really going to need a break.

I have been amazingly unmotivated to make pottery lately. I am sure the heat has a lot to do with it, but I am really enjoying the writing. I have two more books that are screaming at me to begin them, and I really want to, but I have to finish this one, make pots, provide for my family and find an agent.

I am glad folks are enjoying my books. I have sold over 12,000 copies now. Most of those have been passed around because we love to share books and, yes, we're cheap, :) so I am guessing that with only 12,000 copies sold, I have had nearly four million people read my books. ;)I may be off just a bit. I never hoped to get rich by this, but it would be nice to break even. Somehow, I know it will work out.

So, for those of you who have been waiting, I am going to suggest that if you want to get the most ouf to book three, you should probably reread the first two. You may have to get them back from Aunt Edna or your fourth cousins sister's grandpa, but I garauntee it will be worth it. Cheers. Ben

ROJO®NOVA work in progress (week01)

Here the first clip for NOVA.
First week in Sao Paulo.
Rebecca Ward
Tofer Chin
Mulheres Barbadas
Yochai Matos


I'm just fooling around with my dip pen

Illustration Friday: Giant

The One-Panel Critics: Lots Going On in Mister Miracle

So a week or so ago, Ed Piskor put together an interesting collection of comics panels in which "cause" and "effect" both appear in the same image. (I first heard about Piskor's collection a few days back from noted trendspotter Mike Sterling. By now, though, even that old fogey Scott McCloud has jumped on the bandwagon, so I'm probably about two days from being tragically unhip here.)

I think what Piskor has in mind is that the originator of an action and its results seem to exist in slightly different time-frames in the same panel: for example, Andy is at the end of the follow-through of a throw, and the thing he's thrown is already shattering a faraway window.

To be precise, this isn't just a matter of causes being visible alongside their effects, but being visible in different temporal frames of reference within the same panel. It's as if the motion line were a sort of time-distortion device, guiding the reader from a slightly-past "present" to a somewhat-more-present "present," all within the panel.

In order to add my own two cents to the discussion, here's my favorite example of this weird feature of the way comics represent time:

Go on and click to enlarge it. Take the time to read it. That's a splash panel from Mister Miracle #15 (Sept. 1973), written and drawn by Jack Kirby.

What's going on in that panel? I detect at least three, and maybe four, temporal frames of reference swirling around each other there.

Okay, some stuff happens before the panel actually begins. This includes everything leading up to ...

(A.) the tossing of a grenade.

Shilo (B1.) sees the grenade, (B2.) calls out a warning, and (maybe not simultaneously—so B3? or C?) trips Mr. Miracle.

(C? D?) Mr. Miracle falls to the ground.

Of course it's weird that all these different causes and effects are visible simultaneously. I think it's extra-weird that they don't simply "read" from right to left, but follow the actions around the page counter-clockwise from twelve o'clock, like so.

I can't tell whether this panel is a muddled mess or a masterpiece of compression and efficiency. I've looked at this comic so many times since I was a tot that I can't imagine what it would be like to read it without already having read it.

What do you think? Does this panel work to convey its complicated chain of cause-and-effect clearly, or is it confusing?

Art Jumble Topic : Villians

The One-Panel Critics: the Vanity of Swamp Thing

It's been nearly a month since my last measly post, and I don't think I'm going to break any postyness records for July, either. But here's a little something I noticed recently.

I've been re-reading my old Swamp Thing paperbacks, thinking about the storytelling as well as the story there, and I noticed a couple of panels from the slow build at the end of Saga of the Swamp Thing #30 ("A Halo of Flies") that I hadn't paid attention to before. Probably I had skipped past these quickly because they're pantomime (there's no text to read), which is a shame, because they build up to an awfully strong final-page reveal—one that anticipates the rug-jerking surprise at the end of the eleventh issue of Watchmen, in its small way.

Here are those panels I mentioned.

Maybe you're already seeing what I saw.

Even if you're not an avid Swamp Thingophile, you may be familiar with Bernie Wrightson's cover to House of Secrets #92, which included the first Swamp Thing story:

(This image borrowed from the Grand Comics Database, like the next image.)

This story was later reprinted, with a new framing tale around it, in Saga of the Swamp Thing #33, with John Totleben providing a cover swipe or homage from Wrightson's original—with the post-Alec-Holland Swamp Thing's sweetheart, Abby Cable, in the place of Linda Olsen.

By now you've probably figured out what I've noticed: the elaborate vanity setup that the silent swamp monster stalks past on his way to Abby's curtained four-poster bed.

My hunch is that this is an earlier homage to House of Secrets 92. Maybe Steve Bissette will correct me if I'm wrong about this, but I think it's deliberate.

As he looms through the house, Swamp Thing is framed to look like a monster, even though he's the hero of the tale, and the "cinematics" of the scene help to build a really nice sense of foreboding that the chapter's conclusion pays out in spades. It's a nice touch—and a subtle thing to notice more than two decades after the comic was originally published.

The NIemand Rig

Music ©ROLL THE DICE - Axee
I just built up this gadget for the NOVA film in Sao Pualo.
No budget no gadget!!
More gadgets?
The Niemand Dolly 2.0
The Niemand Light System

Update on new book, new stories, Warm Bodies prequel...?

I've been tweeting and Facebooking about this plenty lately but haven't said much on the official-type blog thing, so....update! My short-story collection, FLASHLIGHTS IN THE BASEMENT, is close to done. It's going to contain several new stories that I haven't published on the internets, not even one of the many possible internets I have to choose from.

Two of these new stories are notable. The first, called "The Basement", is over a hundred pages long--almost a novella, really. It's unlike anything I've ever written, very strange in both content and style, yet probably a lot more "fun" than most of my stuff. Lighthearted and kinda goofy, while also being insanely dark and creepy. It's a highly fictionalized version of my time living with 5 college kids in a college house in a college town last fall. With um...supernatural elements. Weird ones.

The second notable story, called "Two Kids, Living" takes place in the world of WARM BODIES several years prior to R's little adventure. It shows what happened to Nora Greene after she was abandoned in the ruins by her parents, including encounters with certain other characters at earlier stages of their lives and post-lives. Still writing this one, but it's going to be pretty substantial as well. Really excited about it.

Once I finish "Two Kids, Living", all that's left to do is a few editing passes of this and the other stories, and the book will begin production at the same print shop where I did the original runs of WARM BODIES.

Also, stay tuned (you know, with your internet tuning forks?) for updates on the WARM BODIES movie, which is rapidly moving forward. I'll tell you more as soon as my handlers give me the go-ahead.




Thanks to everyone who follows my blog, the winners of my art giveaway are the following.






Please winners contact me at with your mailing address and if you have a specific piece of work you might like to receive. Thanks to everyone who participated!! Will be doing this again soon!