Jacob Benison in English

Nos han pedido la versión original del reportaje al artista editorial Jacob Benison. Como no es de conceder muchas entrevistas, sus colegas norteamericanos quieren aprovechar ésta para conocerlo un poco más. Además de la versión en inglés, hemos agregado unos bocetos de su famoso cuaderno borrador y la obra final "Fireman" .


I would like to know about the dynamics of your work at the newspaper.
I'm not quite sure what you mean by dynamics. Anyway, I work in a graphics department with two other artists. We provide graphics for every section of the newspaper — front page, nation, world, metro, sports, business and features (And there are five editions of the paper every day). As you can imagine, our department stays very busy. We do a lot of simple locator maps and bar charts. We try to do our own research when we can information graphics. Most of our illustrative work is for features stories.

BENISON 0How do you work when the newspaper ask you for the illustration, how much time do you have for each illustration, how do you work constrained by the journal requirements, etc.?
When I receive a illustration assignment, I will try to read the story right away. After I read it, I will get some scrap paper and start thinking of ideas. I will quickly doodle whatever comes to mind (I try not to judge my ideas until I fill a couple sheets of paper). After I discover an idea that seems to work good, I will ask my colleagues what they think. Then I will make a decision. With the decision made, I pull out my personal sketchbook and I start refining my doodles into full fledged drawings — which unimaginative editors will be able to understand. I think about the composition and how it will work on the newspaper page. Once I'm happy with a drawing, I show it to the editor and he or she will tell me what they think. If the editor likes it, I scan the drawing into my computer, and I start painting, using Corel's Painter. I usually am able to start a feature illustration a few days before it's needed for publication. Unfortunately, I must fit the time in between daily news assignments, so I'm always struggling to find opportunities to start or finish an illustration. I estimate that I takes me about eight hours, on average, to complete a full page illustration (sometimes I take it home).

Which artists influenced you?
N.C. Wyeth, J.C. Leyendecker, Chris Ryniak, Joe Sorren, Daisuke Tsutsumi, Ryan Church, Limbert Fabian, Eric Tiemens, Thomas B. Allen, Robert Weaver, Ruprecht von Kaufmann, Kadir Nelson, William H. Johnson, Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, Art Spiegelman... Right now these are the artists that have had a big impact on my work.

When and how did your relation with the journals start?
When I finished my little bit of education, I decided to find a part-time job as a graphic designer. I saw an ad in the paper for a graphic artist wanted to work in the newsroom. I sent them a resumé. I was pleasantly surprised a month later when they called me in for an interview. I came with my portfolio, they seemed to like my enthusiasm.
A couple of days later, they offered me a job. That was in the fall of 1998. When I think about it, I was very fortunate to receive a job when I had no experience in journalism.

Why do journals ask you for illustrations?
Sadly journalist ask me for illustration only when they have no other options. I am learning that I must be proactive and find my own stories if I want to illustrate more interesting subjects.


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