Q and A…
If you're looking to check out some random and possibly pointless questions and answers from yours truly, you've come to the right place!
1. What's your name?
Ben Krefta. I'm known over the web and on forums as 'Bomu' - Japanese translation of the word “Bomb”. I often sign my artworks with the name Bomu written in Katakana (Japanese characters). I'll go into the origins of my internet name another time
2. Where are you from?
I currently live in a tiny village in the south east of England called St. Mary Hoo. It's so small, I usually just say I live in Rochester, or Kent or failing that, United Kingdom!
3. What's your current occupation?
Freelance artist, web site and graphic designer. If anyone is offering some graphic design, web designs, illustration or comic book colouring work, you know who to call
Basically something not too stressful, enjoyable and pays well. One idea might be to own my own high street shop and online mail order business. I just don't know what I'd sell! Or I'd like to become an amazing tattoo artist! Or I guess, any kind of tattoo artist would be a good start!
5. How would you describe the kind of art and design work you do?
The majority of it would be classed as "digitally rendered manga style character design aimed at an older male teenager audience". I simply just draw what I think is cool at the time. It's a view I'm pleased to share with the great anime producer Yoshiaki Kawajiri. A lot of my art doesn't have any deep meaning or political messages and so on. I like designing cool looking characters with detailed accessories and outfits rendered to a high quality smooth, airbrush-style finish.
I also like dabbling with other styles - more western comic book styles and graphic design and occasionally photography. I'm a fan of contemporary design or anything that looks new, clean, slick and professional as well as sci-fi and futuristic graphics. I try to incorporate these preferences into web sites and graphics I produce.
6. How would others describe your style?
There's a strong anime and game influence, but it's perhaps not so typical “anime”? My line work has Japanese influence, while my usual colouring style is a more mainstream western comics style. Much of the Japanese manga and anime I like often shows of a high level of clean-cut technical detail. This is something I'd like to demonstrate in my work rather than a more sketchy or painted-look approach. Personally, I don't feel I've even come close to defining my own style, but that's ok with me.
7. Do you like your own artwork?
Sometimes I manage to impress myself. Especially after completing a new piece which I'd put a lot of effort into creating. Although if I look at something I've done a day/month/year later, I always manage to find flaws. I also find it difficult to be a fan of my own work, as there are so many other great artists out there who I admire. I think I'd like my artwork more if: I didn't need reference to get it looking perfect, was quicker at producing quality work and if I could consistently produce my best work every time. I hope as I improve, I'll begin to worry less and less about these issues.
8. Why do you draw?
I really admire people that can create something out of nothing. Artwork can amaze, influence and inspire people and to be able to offer this is really worthwhile. It's also a great feeling to have achieved something. I just like producing work that looks good and is based on things that inspire me - this is how I express myself.
9. What inspires your art?
Movies, comics, games, anime and life in general! When it comes to characters, I'm a fan of macho muscular He-man-type males and sexy, busty babes as opposed to more typical average leaner looking manga males such as Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Beebop), Tenchi or Kenshin and cute younger looking females like Sakura (Card Captor) or DiGi Charat girls. I think this is maybe due to growing up on a diet of He-Man, Arnie movies, wrestling and the like. And the girls... well, what guy doesn't like sexy girls?
10. Do you have any fans?
I have some (thanks!). I think most people that can hold a pencil will know at least a few people who can't do better and admire their work. I'm by no means a celebrity, even in the anime or comic art field, and quite rightly so! But if I were pumping out stuff as good as some of my idols or other top end pros and not getting any recognition I might be disappointed.
11. Did your family encourage you with your art?
None of my family ever put me off. The fact my mum's very artistic helped and encouraged my brother and I with our art. My brother decided to give up drawing after he got to about 18 and I eventually overtook him.
12. What is this 'Graphics tablet' of which you speak?
It's one of those cordless pens which you use instead of a mouse. Difficult to get used to at first, but once you do, it makes CGing and digital artwork faster and easier and helps prevent wrist strain you might get with a mouse. I use a Wacom Intuos, although the most up to date model is expensive and I'd only recommend it to professional artists and designers who would use it regularly.
13. What's so good about Photoshop?
It's recognised industry standard graphics software. Being a professional piece of kit and you can get a lot out of it if you know how to use it. However, many people think if they own Photoshop they'll become art masters! Photoshop or any software package is just a tool. It takes time to learn it properly but even then, if you don't have basic art and design knowledge you'll never be able to produce decent work. I'd also never recommend it to beginners to the world of art, illustration and design. Basically you need to get good at drawing, understand shading, light and composition, then you could consider perhaps a cheaper alternative such as Paintshop Pro.
14. What equipment do you use to create your work?
Other than two mechanical pencils (one with a 2H lead, the other with a 2B):
Hardware- Lenovo Y500 15.6" Notebook:
Software Typically Used:
15. Do you think only Japanese artists can do good manga?
A big pre-misconception is that only Japanese can draw manga. That's like saying only Americans can play baseball despite the game being really big in Japan. It is true that Japan is a very visual culture. Manga in Japan is taken very seriously, as reading comics is a popular past time for kids and adults alike. The artists are praised in the same way we think of movie stars, so there's always a demand for quality and a reason for artists to maintain a high standard of work when it comes to Japanese manga art. I have seen many western 'Japanese manga style' comic artists and writers who's standards are easily on par with Japanese comic pros. Coming from a different environment and culture means there are gonna be differences in style and content but if western artists mimic a typical Japanese manga style, it is no less manga than if a Japanese draws it.
Generally I like anything clean cut, original, modern, detailed and professional looking.
17. Do you have any favourite artists?
I like Capcom Artists, especially Shinkiro (Capcom vs SNK) and Edayan (Rival Schools). Kishiro Yukito (Alita/ Gunnm) Hirohika Araki (JoJo's Bizarre Adventure), Joe Madureira (Battle Chasers), Masamune Shirow (Ghost in the Shell).
I have hundereds of fantastic web artists bookmarked in my browser or through Deviant Art. A few of which can be visited through the links page.
18. So what exactly is the difference between “Manga” and “Anime”?
Generally, in the west, the word “manga” refers to Japanese style comics, while "anime" refers to Japanese animation. Anime and manga are not only an art format (comic, animation, whatever), but a style in their own right. I might describe myself as a manga or anime artist as these styles are very prominent in my work, even though I'm not an animator or comic book artist. As “Manga” is sometimes used by both Japanese and westerners to describe anime, if can become confusing!
19. What are your top 20 Anime & Mangas?
A lot of my favs are old skool titles. Other than the fact I don't watch as much anime as I used to, I wonder if new anime in general no longer has the same impact it did when I started getting into it? But If you're reading this list and can recommend similar anime (especially Action or Sci Fi based Seinen stuff), which I may not have seen yet, let me know! There's so much crap out there that it's hard to actually find something I'll really enjoy!
20. Umm. I'm unfamiliar with a lot of those anime titles! What's JoJo's Bizarre Adventure?!
Try googling for it! It's basically a kinda of 'supernatural martial arts' manga / anime. Series 3 of the manga (which was made into an anime, although only a few episodes were released in America) is my favourite and contains some of the most ingenious battles I've ever seen. There's no typical DragonBall Z style 'Whoever has the biggest power level wins' style fights. Battles are won through strategy- the heroes overcome their foes by using their individual strengths after discovering an enemy's weakness. It's really hard to explain without just checking it out, but it you're a fan of Shonen (For guys) manga, I'd totally recommend it.
21. What was the first anime you saw?
Other than day time kids shows like 'Mysterious Cities of Gold' and the Moomins etc, Akira was my first! I got seriously into anime around about the mid 90s which I felt was the best time as far as the UK anime scene was concerned - you had a load of original, new releases coming out each month and I was even member of the official Manga club!
22. Are your friends interested in anime?
Other than web buddies, I've never had friends interested in anime or manga to the same degree I am. The fact I've not had people I could meet up with and talk to about the coolness which is ‘anime' is a bummer! (Thanks for inventing the internet!) Although it's still sometimes hard to stay motivated to draw this sorta stuff when you have no one truly appreciating what you do within your circle of friends. Although if you step outside the circle you'll find it's a different story. It's good to know there are millions of fans out there and you're not alone.
Who'd want to be an otaku (obsessive fanatic generally over anime and manga)?
You can understand that being an obsessive isn't a good thing. It's usually referred to those who spend all there time and energy on one thing, who eat, sleep and breathe it. I don't think many people can be classed as Otaku because it's really about being a hardcore fanatic. it doesn't include a 'liker' of anime, only the real 'Train Spotters'. Such fanatics are shunned by most of society because of their unhealthy infatuations; even fellow fans usually disagree with them because they're seen as 'know it alls' and are generally sad.
Despite this I've used the term for myself on odd occasions simply because its implications aren't the same in the West. It's not seen as an 'evil' obsessive, just a term for a intermediate/expert fan without the same connotations as in Japan .
But these days, I'm just your average fan. Within the small anime fan circles etc. I'm a novice in many respects (every fan will specialize in different areas), as far as the rest of the country goes, I'm quite knowledgeable!
23. Ever been to an anime convention?
Not yet. Most anime fans I know through the web are regular con goers, but I've not really been to any (been to a few comic cons though!). I feel, to really get the most out of conventions, you need to know other people that are going so you can use it as a social event/gathering, or you'll need to be one of these people who are friendly with the stall holders, or willing to make conversation with many of the sellers and peeps behind the stalls. I find it can be a little intimidating to approach certain sellers for example, to discuss their wares, or any other topic and pre-arranged meets sound like the way to go. From my experiences of other conventions I've been to, simply wondering around as a spectator can be a little boring and disappointing.
24. What about the International Anime and Manga Festival?
Yeah, I guess you could call IMAF a con. It's based around a massive art contest held annually (it was at least!) in London. The fact it's geared towards artists as well as the usual anime and manga fans makes it pretty cool and worth checking out even if it's just to browse the gallery artworks.
25. If you were an anime, manga, comic book character, who would you be?
I dunno if I'd wanna be anyone in particular. I've always been a fan of the silent hero, who always holds back and shows little emotion. He'd be tall, well built but not like a tank. He'd be agile and wears a cool costume! Girls love him, but he's more interested in his own goals
I also like the bad guys, but most look evil or have something physically wrong with them, so it might not be a great idea to be one of them!
26. What are your top 20 Movies?
I've tried to list these movies in order of preference, but it's a tricky thing to do since they come under different genres, and it depends what mood I'm in, as to what I would wanna watch at the time. If you're reading this list and can recommend similar movies, which I may not have seen yet, let me know! I'd be interested in hearing about your favourite movies.
27. What are your top 20 Video games?
And other great games, which have given me hours of entertainment, include:
I've been into games the Atrari ST first hit the shelves and it's probably not something I'll grow out of any time soon! If you're reading this list and can recommend similar games, which I may not have played yet, let me know! And mention what gaming platform it's on, i.e. Playstation 3, XBox, Wii, PC...
28. What is your favourite board game?
Pictionary! I can draw, but that doesn't make me great at it. The true Pictoinary masters are people that can translate accurate ideas quickly onto paper. Other fav games are: Monopoly, Boggle, Scrabble, Talisman. And if you can recommend me a board game to check out, that'd be cool
29. What is your favourite card game?
Texas hold-em no limit Poker. I go through stages of playing a lot of online poker at PartyPoker.com for money or just for fun. I enjoy other card games too.
30. What is your favourite playground game?
Pogs used to rock! Remember Pogs? And so did conkers! (I think that one's just a British thing?)
31. What is your favourite TV show/s?
The Simpsons, Big Train (UK Comedy series), Little Britain (UK Comedy series) Derren Brown: Mind control (Psychological trickery and cool stuff) , documentaries about martial arts, wildlife, technology and science, UFC, The Wire, Oz (prison drama), The Sopranos, Mad Men, Battle Star Galactica (recent), Other sci-fi stuff.
32. What is your favourite kind of music?
I'm a big music fan and dont rule out most genres, but I'm also really selective and rarely get excited by typical chart music.
I like soundtracks best both because it's good to hear tunes which remind me of the game or movie I heard them in, and generally they can be really epic and moving. I also generally prefer songs without lyrics. My favourite soundtrack composers are Joe Hisaishi (Ghibli movies), Taro Iwashiro (Onimusha 2), Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy), Thomas Newman (Road to Perdition), James Horner (Avatar), Jo Blankenburg (Vendetta), Steve Jablonski (Transformers) and John Williams (Star Wars) to name a few.
Rock & pop-punk bands- my favourite being Fall Out Boy (up until 2007. Really dont like their new sound since the release of their album 'Folie A Deux'). Also like The Starting Line and selected songs by: Goldfinger, Blink 182, Yellow Card, MxPx, Good Charlotte, Pennywise, Sum 41, Billy Talent, Rise Against, Paramore, Madina Lake, Simple Plan, Attack! Attack! (UK band), Bowling for Soup, Foo Fighters, Feeder, Semisonic, Angels and Airwaves, All-American Rejects, Funeral For a Friend, All Time Low.
I'm a big fan of chilled out and melodic Trance. My favourite artist being Chicane. I don't think he's ever made a single bad song. One of my favourite tracks of all time is “Saltwater”. It's one of the only tunes I've listened to loads without getting tired of it. Also like New Age chilled out stuff.
33. Have you ever tried writing a story?
I had started several stories and scripts when I was younger but didn't get very far before giving up on them! Sound familiar? Most people seem to go through a phase like that it seems. I was never great at English despite being born in England! I always come up with cool story ideas (in my opinion) and never follow through with writing them down or developing them.
However, a few years back I had this really weird dream that woulda of made a cool story. After I woke up, I wrote it down and managed to fill half a dozen pages with words. I was actually pretty impressed with the amount of detail I had remembered from the dream. More recently I looked through what I had written and thought "This dream, this idea- its great and had potential! Still!"
I've since been working on developing this story into a short novel or possible screen play which I'd love to actually complete and see published. I dont wanna give any details away, but at the moment I'm just chipping away at it, writing a few pages here and there whenever I feel inspired. It's good fun
34. What is your favourite book?
I don't read many books. I've never enjoyed reading and when I was younger, I never used to be able to read very well, so would avoid the effort of books. Perhaps that's why I like comics and manga?
I do have a big collection of Japanese anime and game art books. I love checking out other people's art (as long as it's good!), be it in the form of books or online.
35. Favourite magazine?
Short Answer: Don't have one.
Turquoise, Purple, Black (if you count black as a colour), and some shades of green.
36. What is your favourite possession/thing?
It's gotta be the computer since I use it every day. My hard drive content is massively important to me as it contains all my artwork, photos, music, pictures, games and memories. I also like my Car.
37. Favourite food?
Junk Food eases my pain McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Fish & Chips, Pizza Hut. LOL!
38. Do you like any weird foods?
I like cockles- they are small shellfish that look like mini foetus'!
39. Favourite Drink?
Energy Drinks: Lucozade, Powerade, Red Bull, Relentless, Monster. Soft drinks: Lilt, Lemon Fanta, J2O, tropical fruit juice, hot chocolate.
40. Favourite Alcoholic Drink?
41. Favourite sport?
Skateboarding- I mostly just watch it these days. I like sports that involve tricks, such as skateboarding, BMX freestyling, or even gymnastics! I'm also a fan of martial arts and particularly like watching MMA and the UFC.
42. Do you have any children?
43. If you had children would you encourage them in becoming an artist?
I'd like to let them pursue what they wanted, but if they were interested in art, I'd probably encourage it.
44. Do you have any pet peeves?
Yes, a few of them include:
45. Anything you really hate?
Email spam! No, I don't want to 'save $$$ on my mortgage', I don't want 'Low cost Meds', or to have my penis or breasts enlarged! Every day I access my email half a dozen times or so and I never fail to get several spam emails in my junk mail in box. If I didn't use spam blockers I'd probably get 1000 spam to every 1 legitimate email! Sending Spam emails in the UK has been banned and I wish other countries would follow and make spamming illegal.
46. What's on your mouse mat?
It's plain black with a gel wrist support.
47. Best and worst feeling in the world?
Best: feeling confident
48. If you were an animal, what would you be?
Everyone says something cool like a tiger or wolf. My friend thinks I'd be either a frog or a snake and I'd probably agree!
49. What's the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
The dream I just had. Then I think, I don't wanna get up!
50. If you had the chance to re-live your life, would you and from what age would you start over?
There's a lot I'd like to redo. So providing I knew everything I know now, I'd probably restart if from the age of 10.
51. What is most important in your life?
Being alive in general is very important! Friends, family, achieving something worth while.
52. What kind of car do you own?
A Metallic Black 1.8L Ford Puma- One of the coolest looking cars under £10K you can buy IMO. Formerly a silver Ford KA Luxury.
53. Do you drive fast?
Only when it's safe. I like to get from A to B as quick as possible, but without putting my life at serious risk.
54. What's under you bed?
Some of my old artwork, misc boxes and a few monsters
Cool Flash ones with music, animation and sound. The kinds of sites that are more 'an experience' than just text on a flat background.
56. Why did you create a personal web site?
A few Reasons: I wanted to share my work with people that might appreciate it. It's a fun little project to manage. It can be used to easily show my work to clients without lugging a portfolio around. I guess it's also worth mentioning there was no such thing as Myspace, Facebook and Devianart when I first thought about having my own site.
57. Ever thought about quitting the site?
Not really. However, visitors are always demanding new artwork in the gallery, changing my art style completely or other updates. If I don't want to update or have the time to do so, I could do without the pressure. It'd also save me money as I have to pay for my site domain and web space each year.
58. Do you use MSN or other instant messaging services?
I used to really love IM, but it started taking away too much of my time so I don't log in to my Live Messenger account as much these days. Sorry to everyone on my MSN list for hardly going online!
59. Would you ever come to the United States? if so witch state would you like to visit?
I've visited the west cost (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Vegas and others), so I might check out the east coast if I go to the US again.
60. Anywhere else you want to visit?
Australia, New Zealand (to see relatives), Japan. I wouldn't mind going anywhere in the world if the money was there to spend on holidays.