A classically-trained illustrator and compulsive sketcher, Bennett Klein has been designing and illustrating for over 30 years. His preference for fanciful black and white drawings is a natural fit for the adult colouring world.
Do you have a background in art? For example did you study art at college etc?
Yes, i studied in Montreal @ Dawson college, Illustration & Design for 4 years with some amazing international artists and designers.
How long have you been drawing for?
Ever since i picked up a pencil, which is almost 50 years ago!
Colouring in for adults is big at the moment, aimed at reducing stress and encouraging mindfulness. Do you think doodling has the same calming effect?
Absolutely, i can actually feel my heart rate slowing down as i continue to doodle. It reduces the 'chatter' in your head and stimulates the spacial/visual regions of your brain often associate with creativity.
Your art isn’t confined to note books, your work on the statue is particularly good, what prompted you to start drawing on different objects?
People asked me to doodle on guitars, mannequins for store windows, running shoes, i suppose doodling is becoming more culturally relevant and stylish.
What or who inspires you?
Comics, graffiti, traditional asian tattoos and wood prints offer endless inspiration. Growing up, Arthur Rackham, Käthe Kollwitz and Will Eisner posters were on my wall for studying constantly.
You’re based in Toronto right? I can imagine the art scene there must be pretty cool?
It's quite robust, but we're originally Montrealers, and that street scene is sick. We go monthly and wander around, taking photos.
You draw a lot of eastern images, do you consider yourself spiritual or is it simply from an aesthetic point of view?
My favourite quote is "we're not humans in a spiritual world, we're spirits in a human world". A Meditative focus on one's breathing to stabilize the body and mind is the only way to enable concentration and get focused work done, day in and day out. Art is work.
Some of the art on your profile looks digital, can you tell me a bit more about the images? Are they scanned drawings?
Yes, some projects are scanned portions of drawings that are then mirrored in photoshop, often done for quick concept art, tattoo designs and super detailed stuff where i only have time for 1/2 an original drawing. Much of the colouring is done in photoshop on those digital pieces.
Let's talk pens!
I use-Sharpies for dark bold line work and crosshatching, (all thicknesses depending on the medium),-and ballpoint pens (Bic and Paper mate) for shading,-i often combine them to add dimension to a drawing.
I think the democracy of doodling is important, anyone can grab a pen/pencil and make art.It's good for the soul.
I notice you favour Moleskines for your dooding, any particular reason?
I like Moleskines because for the cream tone of the and quality of the paper and pad, they are well made and if you are spending 100s of hour drawing in one, you want it to hold up. BUT they are expensive and are beginning to be exclusive to certain retailers, which i'm not thrilled with.Doodling is democratic, it's shouldn't cost anything. A chewed up Bic pen and a the back of a rejected printout is all you need, many of my best drawing were done in that way.Thanks so much for talking with us Ben!