Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ellingson's Daily Slimer

My friend Josh Ellingson draws a Slimer every day. At least, he has been for the last 116 days. They are all done on dry erase board. It's a habbit that started naturally enough. He drew the first 60 at work. Not on the sly either; The big-wigs and everybody else loved it! You see, he was working on a Ghostbusters casino game so his dry-erase Slimers were drawn to warm up and to rally the troops.


The Ghostbusters game is pretty much wrapped up now and Josh has moved on to other projects. But that hasn't slowed down the Daily Slimers. And now he's pulled other artists into it! So here is my take on Slimer. Haven't you ever wondered what he looked like before he was a ghost? I sure did.

See the Daily Slimers and Josh's illustration work at

Pre-Slimer by Ben Walker
Pre-Slimer by Ben Walker

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rex Goliath rules


I tell you what. Rex Goliath kinda rules. He has been here with us for some great nights. So this is my little tribute painting of Rex.

I must admit, despite the fact that I have spent a good chunk of my life in Wine country (the North Bay area), I don't know a lot about the subtleties of wine tasting. But who cares? It's becoming clear that there might not be any true "wine experts" anyway. In blind taste tests, experts had trouble identifying a $10 bottle of wine from a $200 wine (Check out the Wine Trials 2010). All I know is I love (good) red wine and I can't break the bank on it. The thing is, if you are spending less than 8 bucks on a bottle you could end up with something tasting like fruit punch with a splash of vinegar.

That's why Rex Goliath rules. Aside from sounding like the name of a speed-metal band, RG also rocks for tasting lovely, robust and expensive. Oh and it's almost always on sale for about 5 bucks in most grocery stores/bev-mos.

Rex was a real-life rooster and side show attraction in the early 1900s. He weighed in at 47 pounds. Holy crap-bones! Do I even need to make the joke?

More info at

-Ben Walker

Monday, November 5, 2012

Available Tees

MAD TRAPPER Comes With a Beaver
Albert Johnson was a real man who led the Canadian Mounties on an enormous man-hunt in the 1930s. He was wanted for allegedly disabling animal traps and hanging them from trees. No one knows for sure what started it all, but the "Mad Trapper" may have been the Yukon territory's first animal activist! He was basically Gentle Ben meets Rasputin.

For the month of November, every Mad Trapper T-shirt ordered ships with an original Ben Walker sketch of a Beaver. Available in Men's sizes Small - 2X. Only from


You and Who is a T-shirt company with a simple mission: Sell one-of-a-kind designer T-shirts that help worthy causes in cities across the country. Every time they sell a T-shirt, someone in need receives the same shirt. So pick up one of my WINNER tees and someone in San Francisco will get a little pick-me-up.

Thanks for readin',

Ben Walker

Thursday, October 11, 2012

APE (the Alternative Press Expo) is happening in a couple days, Oct. 13 and 14th. Look for me at the MEGA BIG TIME table. I'll be there all weekend with my partner in crime Amanda Storey. Here's a preview of some of the small original paintings I'll be bringing.

Best of the Westify

A look at some of the best creations with my free photo app, Westify

First I have to mention that there is a big update for Westify! Get the latest version so you will have more than bear heads and guns to work with! Over 60 new graphic bits to add to your photos.

Here are a few of my favorite Westified pics made with Westify 1.0 ~

by jounina

by cuteash

Follow me on Instagram or Twitter, @artofbenwalker to see my Westify pics. 

And I'll be at Alternative Press Expo, table #819,  APE runs Oct. 13th, and 14th. I'll be selling small original paintings, new T-shirts and prints.  Mega Big Time!

~Ben Walker

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Artwork Inspired by Nick Cave music

It's not always easy to get started on a drawing or painting. Staring at a blank piece of paper with no idea of what to If I want to get my imagination fired up there are a few things I can do. I might go through history books, draw from my parents' old yearbooks, or listen to music. 

That's why I love listening to artists who tell stories. And as far as I'm concerned, no one can do that better than Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. All of Cave's songs (Grinderman too) have a timeless, manly grit to them that I relate to more than any other music artist out there. 

Their album, Henry's Dream is an amazing ride full of poetic stories. John Finn's Wife gives me chills every time I hear it. The last track, Jack The Ripper is a driving rock song about a guy with an overbearing wife who reacts harshly to his sexual advances. The lyrics, mournful backing vocals and Cave's repeating "oh yeah" capture the dreadful feeling of being in a soured relationship and still having, uh, needs. 

This image started as an ink drawing in my sketchbook. It's colored digitally. 

Jack The Ripper

No More Shall We Part was the first album I picked up by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. I love it. This album is a piano drenched, roller coaster ride of emotions and themes that don't come up in most of the music out there. Careful though, when you're a guy in a dark time, this album can feel like a spotlight. I'm actually glad I don't relate to it as much as I used to. 

Hallelujah is this epic story aging, depressed writer or musician? I'm not totally sure, and that's what I love about Cave's lyrics. They are mysterious and open to interpretation. I like to have those same qualities in my artwork. Anyway, there's a line in this song:

My typewriter sat mute as a tomb and my piano sat in the corner of my room with all it's teeth bared. 

I like this line as it touches on the avoidance and fears that come when you are experiencing creative blocks. 

All It's Teeth Bared, 11"x14", inspired by Nick Cave's Hallelujah 

a 1 minute interview and live version

This piece is sort of a preview of the artwork I'm doing for an upcoming show (May 2013) in San Francisco. All the work will tell tales of love, war, travel and adventure. I'm going to have more pieces in the mix that are sparked by Nick Cave lyrics.

I wish I could show more from this show! But this work has to stay under wraps. For now, just listen.

Check out Lawless! Screenplay by Nick Cave and soundtrack created by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Thanks for reading,

-Ben Walker

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Westify me!

I'm excited to announce that there is now a Ben Walker App! Westify is available for free download from the iTunes App Store. Westify lets you add weird Western elements to any photo. The free version of the app comes with a nice selection of bear parts, lots of guns and some cowboy essentials. All of the elements for this app were hand drawn and colored digitally. 

Upgrades with more parts will be made available soon.  

This app is a collaborative project with Franky Aguilar, maker of the wildly popular CatWang. He's teamed with a couple other cool artists who will be launching their own apps in the next couple weeks so be on the look-out for those.

So go to iTunes App store and download Westify. Share some pics on Twitter or Instagram. Tag them #Westify so we can see! 



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

It sounds just the way its spelled, Dr. Hfuhruhurr

Excuuuuuse Meeeeeeee opens this Friday, June 8th, at Gallery 1988:Venice. This group show tributes the unmistakable comic genius that is Steve Martin. I'll admit, the concept for my contribution to this show didn't come easily. I played with ideas showcasing the Cowboy Gil character but nothing got me excited. Then I remembered that The Man With Two Brains was by far my favorite Steve Martin film. The rest fell into place. 

I won't be able to make it to the opening but I hope you will.

Thanks for reading,


More info at-

Friday, May 4, 2012

Adam Yauch, Gone at 48

The Beastie Boys. I'm trying to think of anybody else who showed up in the public eye in the mid 80s and then went on to be more and more of a musical/artistic inspiration for people, right up to the present day. Nothing is coming to mind. ...Madonna? I guess. I don't know. I mean any other artist is either in absolute obscurity now, or at best, considered "retro". There's nothing retro about what these guys have created. The Beastie Boys music and videos are about fun, laughing, living. They take influences from not just hip-hop and punk but lounge music, funk, pop culture in general, and have made something that's uniquely their own. Shit, they did an ice-skating organ instrumental about honkies!

It's clear from the reactions of nearly every one of my friends on Facebook and Twitter; People lost a friend today. Not over bullshit drug overdoses or a shooting. Just someone we loved who got sick and was cut down way too early. When Whitney Houston recently died, my girlfriend asked if there was a celebrity I would really feel saddened by losing. I'll just say it's a pretty short list. Today I am sad over the loss of Adam Yauch.

You can't, you won't and you don't stop.

R.I.P. Adam Yauch

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Exhibitor Booth Design

So you wanna have a booth at Comic-con?

I thought I'd talk a bit about and designing booth spaces and exhibiting at events like San Diego Comic-Con. I've been selling my T-shirts and art at conventions for about six years. I still have a lot to learn. But when I think about just how much is going on at Comic-con, it feels pretty great to know I get any heads to turn my way at all! After all, I'm am competing for attention along-side celebrity signings, top-name artists, illustrators and every niche of pop culture you can think of (and even more you haven't).

To have any success as in indie artist at these events, you need to have quality artwork and/or products AND an eye-catching booth design. One that presents your merchandise in a way that's appealing and easy (for you and customers). That's definitely it's own challenge and ultimately, it can mean your success or failure at con. Here are a few things I've tried and some tidbits I've learned.

The Wind-up

Having a super-cool, flashy booth won't help you if your artwork or products are not appealing. So before jumping in and taking on the time and expense involved in exhibiting, definitely make some amazing art, comics, toys, etc. Sure, show them to your friends. But also show them to people who aren't your friends. Try to step back and get an objective sense of how well your work will be perceived by people who aren't concerned with sparing your feelings. It might be good to try renting a table at some smaller events first.

The Pitch

Now that you have awesome stuff to sell, you need a good, quick pitch! One sentence that can let people know what you and your art are about. Trust me, the reason most attendees of Comic-con (etc.) walk 5 feet away from tables is because they know they are constantly at risk of being pulled into an endless sales pitch for something they don't understand and have no any interest in. Keep your pitch quick and friendly and let them browse in peace. If folks want to talk with you more, they will.

In the past, this has been tough for me because I do a lot of different work and it's hard to sum it all up. Still it's good to have one sentence that will communicate what it is you do, what you're comic is about, etc. Hopefully most people will get it. Many won't. That's OK. The audience that's right for you will at least ask you to elaborate. For my indie art book Portraits and Tales From Remington Ridge, I would say,

"Check out my new book. It's like Bonanza meets Twin Peaks."

Again, not everyone "gets it." But the right people will. In other words, it's a safe bet that if someone has never even heard of Bonanza or Twin Peaks, they probably won't be interested in my work. That's OK, go find that Twilight cast signing or whatever.


I've always made my own signs. Hand-painting your own name across a 6 foot banner can feel kinda narcissistic but you'll have to get over it. Once you're set up in a convention hall that sign will look like a postage stamp. Signs should be bold and relatively simple for a quick, easy read. 

My first time as an exhibitor at San Diego Comic-con was in the Small Press area. There isn't much room for flashy booth design here. Just a 6 foot table and some space for you to stand behind it. I had my name on a hand-painted sign which was strung across the front of the table. It's a good thing to have but honestly, people may not see something down there. I also brought a 0 budget display consisting of a hand-made "gun" attached to a cut-out of a bear (found at a garage sale). No artist or company name. Just a bear with a gun. I think the mystery was a big part of what made it appealing. And of course if someone got curious enough to ask about it, I could show them all of my art prints and T-shirts depicting bears with guns. 

The Armed Bear became a photo-op for attendees and neighboring exhibitors. 
Photo by Darlene Horn

For the 2010 launch of my Snake Oil line of T-shirts, I made this sweet boom-town storefront sign with a shingled awning. It was made with PVC pipe (which I had been avoiding for years), hand-painted canvas sign and faux-painted foam shingles. Plus plastic antlers for extra old-timey appeal. I also attach a rope of Christmas lights under the awning to light up my T-shirts a bit. The sign and awning goes up and dismantles pretty easily. It's lightweight, big and bold. Perfect!  

Get it up!

The best thing you can do for yourself as an exhibitor is to get your product(s) up and in people's line of sight. Don't wait for people to walk right up to your table and look down at your comics, T-shirts, etc. That usually doesn't happen. People like to walk by at a safe distance and if something peeks their interest they will move in for a closer look, maybe even turn around after the awesomeness of what they saw sinks in. 

I've sold a lot of different "merch"to sell at conventions: Originals, prints, T-shirts, buttons, etc. I try to get as much of it up and vertical as I can. At least some attention-getters to bring people in and browse through the rest. I own a lot of little easels. even one to prop up my postcards (Oh yeah, always have awesome business cards and postcards out for people to take. if you are super organized have your booth number on your card so people can find you later).

I have bought my share of display items and hardware but I've never had anything  custom-printed or produced for my convention displays. By hand lettering canvas signs and incorporating old ammo boxes and other objects I might find at an antique store, I can achieve the home-grown, "old-timey" look and feel I'm after. It gets the right kind of attention and keeps costs pretty low. The downside is that these things are often heavy or breakable. I'm always looking for ways to make my booth designs easier, lighter, and more appealing. 

My price cards are printed and stickered onto the backs of playing cards. My buttons are displayed on a toddler's jean jacket. The rest are safe in a bead-organizer bin. If you put buttons in a bowl people will think they are free and walk off with a handful of them.

Under The Table

I wish I had pictures of what goes on under the table and behind the scenes stuff when exhibiting. In the past it's been pretty ugly: Suitcases full of extra T-shirts, prints, postcards, snacks and coffee, garbage...Where's the cashbox? It's the one place I haven't been good about being prepared for. Here are some things that we artsy exhibitors tend to forget about until we are set up at a  convention. Show up with a plan for this stuff!

The Money: Hopefully you will be making a lot of sales. When things are going well, it will be so busy for me that two or three of us will be to talking with attendees, finding T-shirts in the right size, and taking payments. Everyone behind the table needs to be able to quickly access the place where you keep your cash and make change. So put it somewhere consistent and easily accessible for you and your help. It also needs to not visible or tempting for anyone else. Oh, and bring a lot of ones and fives for making change, at least $80.

A way of taking credit card payments is worth having if you can use a system that's cost effective and People at these events run out of cash quickly so being able to take a credit card payment often means they will buy more from you. I've had bad experiences with iPhone based apps, but that was before Square so I'd be curious about using that. The biggest issue is that with the quarter of a million attendees and exhibitors crammed in the convention hall (all carrying their own mobile device) you may not be able to get a signal. Boo. I would recommend having a back-up system for taking cards. Having a "knuckle-buster, some sales slips and a Paypal Merchant account has worked out pretty well. The down side is filling out these forms takes way too long.

Something for your garbage: Many convention centers don't provide exhibitors with a trash can. Getting out for a "garbage run" isn't always feasible. Bring some plastic bags and a small collapsible box that you won't mind throwing away after the Con.

Chairs: The chairs at convention centers suck. They are plastic and get in way. I've heard some conventions, like New York Comic-con don't even provide them for free. It's a pretty good rule of thumb that you won't sell much sitting down anyway, so I say get rid of them. You do have to eat and rest sometimes so I bring one or two camping chairs. They are nylon and collapse instantly, which is super handy when you need to quickly make room.

Organization: Depending on what you are selling this can be a non-issue or a huge debacle. If you have T-shirts it's going to be ALL about having a good system for organizing them and accessing them quickly and easily. If you can't find what a customer wants quickly, you will lose that sale. Lame. I like having a few T-shirts out in every design so people can hold them up and get a feel for them. Most of my stock is folded neatly in plastic envelopes and kept in bins behind the table. If there is room, its nice to have them up on my own table, arranged by size. If someone wears a medium I can quickly see exactly what designs are still available in his size.

Have a tracking sheet: You will want to track everything you sell. This way you'll know if you are out of stock on something and you will be able to easily see what sells well and what doesn't. I have a print-out listing everything I sell in boxes. If I have 12 XL men's shirts in a particular design, I'll make 12 "XL"s in the box for that design. Then as each shirt sells we can just tick off one of the "XL"s. When they are all ticked off, I know I'm sold out.

Lots of water and snacks: Nuts are easy and full o' protein. Coffee is tempting and pretty nessessary. but stay hydrated for real! Comic-con (or any other) is exhausting. You're off schedule and tired from being "on" all day for 6 days straight. Coming home foggy-headed and dehydrated is a bum-out and can kill an extra week of your life. Drink water constantly. Have a buddy at your booth for potty breaks. Oh and go upstairs if you want to go in uh, privacy. Nobody goes up there.


I hope this info is helpful to you. If its your first convention, Good luck and have fun! If it's your 20th, The same! Thanks for reading.

-Ben Walker

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ink Sketches

Here are some new ink sketches! They are all around 6"x7" on illustration board.

Bear with a Machete vs. Unicorn

The very scary and very real Supervisaurus


Lil' Baron on a Buck

HR Monster

Young Powder

A Very Brave Hunter, Indeed

Young Prince of Darkness, circa 1900

I just made a bunch of my paintings available too! Like this one-

Those Wicked Woods

Thanks for taking a look!


Monday, April 30, 2012

Gallery 1988: MEMES show

MEGA BIG-TIME debuts in LA

Gallery 1988 is celebrating its 8th birthday with a MEMES show, 100 artists taking inspiration from viral videos and images on the Internet. We're excited to say that MEGA BIG-TIME will be part of this show!


MEMES  opens Friday, May 4th at Gallery 1988: Melrose

-Ben & Amanda

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Six moments in my life with Spider-man

I present to you, six of my memories of Spider-man.

1. The Formative Years and TV Weirdness

Like a lot of people in my generation, my first exposure to Spider-man had to have come from seeing him on TV. There was the Electric Company's live action shorts, (Funky!) and of course the animated cartoons. But the Spider-man moment I want to tell you about happened in a movie that I saw on TV. When I was about six years old I saw this movie that (I'm sure to adults) was a heart-warming story about a deaf kid. Again, I was very young when I saw this, but from what I remember, the story revolved around how this kid's parents didn't realize the boy was def so they were flummoxed by his "odd" behavior. At one point in the  film the boy and his older brother are watching Spider-man on TV.  Because he can hear, the brother understands that Spider-man is a hero, but to the deaf boy Spider-man is just some weird looking bug-man. The deaf boy sneaks off, takes his brother's Spider-man action figure (back then they were basically a 12" Ken doll wearing a polyester super-suit), and sticks Spider-man in the oven. When mom finds him and pulls him out, Spider-man is all charred and melted.

This freaked me the EFF OUT!

Melted Spiderman

...I'm pretty sure things ended up fine for the deaf boy. 

Anyway, Spider-man went on to be huge for me regardless. I had Spider-man clothes, Spider-man Halloween costumes (sometimes weird knock-offs) complete with trick-or-treat buckets in the shape of his head, birthday cakes, you know, the webby works. And then I started reading comics.

2. Comics and McFarlane

Once I hit the 7th grade, I loved nothing more than reading and copying drawings out of comics. At this point in my life I didn't do much else. One time in school I was pulled into the counselors office for a surprise study interventions. I knew it had to be a big deal because my parents were there. In the same room. Together! The counselor talked to me about how I was doing with classes and studying and, wanting to learn about my study habits, asked to see the contents of my backpack. I only carried one binder for all my classwork. When they opened it they found one lonely comic book and not much else. Hey, at least I was interested in reading something.

I bought a lot of comics but mostly I was obsessed with X-men and Spider-man. Todd McFarlane started on Spider-man about this time and that clinched it for me. Spider-man was rad! I especially obsessed with black costume Spider-man. 

3. First Publication
Technically, the first of my artwork to ever be "published" was a drawing of Spider-man I had done which ended up in my 8th grade yearbook. 

4. I Razzed Stan Lee

In 1987 I went to my first comic book convention. It was the year Spider-man got married so this became the theme for all the festivities. If you are not familiar....somehow...with Stan Lee, he was a writer, then editor, now Comic-culture God who collaborated with artists to create most of the super hero characters you've ever heard of: X-men, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-man and so on. At this time, Stan Lee would actually hang out and look at drawings by gangly preteens and offer them encouragement. So that happened! Stan would also take part in panel discussions and field a question from said preteen. I loved Spider-man and could have asked anything in the world! I stood up and said,

"How is it that in the cartoons, Spider-man can shoot a web and make it into a baseball bat or shield? And how does he travel over the ocean?! What are his webs attaching to, passing planes?"

 I felt stupid as I was saying it and even worse as the Spider-man who was MCing the panel repeated the question word-for-word to Stan Lee. Stan answered, "Well, it's just a cartoon and it's supposed to be fantasy and fun." Everybody cheered and as I sat down I nodded to my friend in agreement and approval of his answer.

5. Spider Skates

When I was in high school I worked at a roller skating rink. I bought skates and painted Spider-man on them...I guess there isn't much to that story.

6. The Future!

OK I don't really have something specific to recall here. I reserved this spot for the climactic moment when I might do cool Spider-man artwork professionally in some way. I'll leave room at the bottom of this page and just see where life takes me. Excelsior!

Thanks for reading,

Ben Walker