Ben Claassen III

is creating Comics, Illustrations, & Paintings

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About Ben Claassen III

About Ben Claassen III: (from Wikipedia)

Ben Claassen III is a comics artist and illustrator originally from New Orleans, Louisiana<sup>[1]</sup> who frequently works with non-traditional media such as stencils, long exposure photography, sign painting techniques, and the use of stop-motion animation via a Game Boy Camera. He is best known for his illustrations in Wil Wheaton's first book, Dancing Barefoot,<sup>[2]</sup> weekly illustrations in The Washington Post,<sup>[3]</sup> and for the weekly comic strip, DIRTFARM.<sup>[4]
DIRTFARM has appeared in several alternative weekly publications, including Washington City Paper, Baltimore City Paper, the Chicago Reader, Dagens Nyheter, Antigravity Magazine, The St. John Sun Times, and the Chattanooga Pulse.<sup>[5]
Claassen co-created and illustrated,<sup>[6]</sup><sup>[7]</sup> which was an early social media site started in 1999 that has since gone private.
In addition to his other work, Claassen keeps a daily comic journal, does work as a freelance illustrator / graphic designer, and paints large paintings (which are on permanent display at Galaxy Hut in Arlington, VA & Spacebar in Falls Church, VA).


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 (& as of late it's INSTAGRAM counterpart @dirtfarm) worthwhile of your subscription. Please get in touch with any special requests. I'm up for anything...


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 let O'Ross have 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 some type of logo (typically introducing a main character), a title (which outlines the main theme), 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 to a prison inmate who wrote in asking for love advice behind bars.

DIRTFARM is drawn by hand using a brush and a variety of pens or is occasionally "inked" with a Wacom tablet, and is then scanned and formatted with Adobe InDesign. Text is sometimes hand lettered, 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:

• Antigravity Magazine (New Orleans)

& has previously run in:

• Washington CityPaper (D.C.)
• Baltimore 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:

• Mutant Funnies (Atomic Books)


• 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 sporadically. Several posts a month, or lately, as much as my toddler will allow...
45 of 75 patrons
If I reach 75 patrons a month, I imagine I'd have the time to draw more of them in color & will resurrect the DAILY COMIC JOURNAL (which I'd love to start doing again)
1 of 2
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 151 exclusive posts
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 151 exclusive posts

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