Ben Claassen III

is creating Comics, Illustrations, & Paintings
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About Ben Claassen III

ABOUT:

DIRTFARM is a comic strip written and illustrated by Ben Claassen III that has been published in several alternative weekly newspapers since the fall of 2004. The newspaper industry has been in rapid decline over the last decade, so I've recently decided to try to find a new home for it here on Patreon.

Thank you for checking this out and reading this! I hope I can make this page worthwhile of your subscription. Please get in touch with any requests. I'm up for anything...

HISTORY: 

DIRTFARM got its start when a cartoonist named P.J. O'Ross handed down a space in the Washington City Paper where his comic STINKFISH had run for 5 years previously. STINKFISH (previously titled DIRT WOLF), was originally placed in the paper as a paid advertisement. It ran for three months at $300 a week before the editors of the City Paper ultimately decided to just give O'Ross the space. DIRTFARM retains the same size & shape of a STINKFISH comic & has also preserved several other design elements.

DIRTFARM has a few recurring characters, but it doesn't rely on them heavily from week to week. Each comic is written more like an illustrated standup comedy bit. Individual comics depict a wide range of themes including social critique, comics about relationships, work stresses, riffs on holidays, personal stories, the mocking of trends & current events, and every now and then has gotten political (but rarely).

The comic has a unique format which allows it to be split into a variety of panel configurations (unlike most other syndicated print comics). Individual comics are more often than not split into 4, 6, or 9 panels depending on how much space a theme demands. Over the years it has run with as few as 1-3 panels and as many as 20-30 tiny panels. Each comic contains a header, a main body, and a footer which all float on top of scraps of ripped paper on top of a black background. The header usually contains a title (which outlines the main theme), some type of logo (usually introducing a main character), and some type of meta joke inside of a "Fold this" bubble in the top right hand side. The body contains the main comic which sometimes contains a serialized story and sometimes is just a series of non sequitur vignettes riffing on the main theme. The footer contains a bottom comic which works as an afterthought or extended punchline to the main comic, or sometimes stands alone and is unrelated to the main comic. This format is very flexible, and in the past has included things like internet contests, clip & save coupons, challenges and games, and once even an illustrated response letter to a prison inmate who wrote in asking for love advice.

DIRTFARM is drawn by hand using a brush and a variety of pens, and is then scanned and formatted with Adobe InDesign. Text is sometimes hand drawn, and other times is set with a typeface (depending on time constraints). Most of the comics run in black & white, but a few have been in color. The drawing style is very simple with most characters displaying a lot of extreme facial expressions and gestures.

DIRTFARM currently runs in the following papers:

• Baltimore CityPaper
• Antigravity Magazine

& has previously run in:

• Washington CityPaper
• Chicago Reader
• Chattanooga Pulse
• Knoxville's Metro Pulse
• St. Johns Sun Times (Virgin Islands)
• Baltimore Magazine
• Hum Magazine
• Dagens Nyheter (Sweden)
• Magic Bullet (comic newspaper)

& on the websites:

• killoggs.com
• bendependent.com
• Mutant Funnies (Atomic Books)

AWARDS:

• 2007 - Alternative Association of Newsweeklies Award (3rd place) 
• 2006 - Bmore CityPaper Comic Contest (1st Place)
• 2005 - Bmore CityPaper Comic Contest (2nd Place)

Launched in October of 2004.

Updates every week!
Goals
$150 of $500 per month
If I reach $500 a month I'll draw more of them in color & will resurrect the DAILY COMIC JOURNAL (which I'd love to start doing again)
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