Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Not-So-Great Pumpkin: Broken Bat

Happy Halloween, my friends!

A couple of years ago, I sort of half-participated in Inktober by throwing together a slapdash illustrated story about the Not-So-Great Pumpkin. You can read it here. This year I revisited the NSGP with a short story comprised of 13 ink and watercolor panels. It's not really a proper Inktober project, what with the ink taking a back seat to the watercolors, but it was fun, and I enjoyed visiting my sad little pumpkin friend again.

One of my rules for storytelling is to have a pretty solid idea of the ending before I start. I broke that rule this time, changing the ending two or three times as I went along. This is what it looks like when I tell a story on the fly.

Oh! one more thing: I'll have some project announcements coming up very soon. New books are on the horizon, and I'm anxious to start talking about them. You know, officially.

Okay, that's enough out of me. Enjoy!

Monday, September 18, 2017


Hello friends!

As you may know, my most recent book, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, was released earlier this month. Once again I'm going on a short journey, crisscrossing North America to meet readers and sign books. This time, at most of the events, I will be "in conversation" with another author/artist. This will almost without a doubt make these evening bookstore events much, much more lively and interesting.

I've made a graphical poster image for the tour (posted below) with most of the pertinent information. Underneath that I will post links to the various venues.

I really would love to meet as many of you as possible. Tossing stories out into the wide world is great, but meeting readers in person is a particular and powerful magic.

And so, without further preamble, I give you:

Green Bean Books

University Bookstore

Once Upon a Time

The King's English

Red Balloon

The Eric Carle Museum

Toronto Public Library

McNally Robinson

Monday, August 7, 2017

More Mermaids and Dragons.

Just popping in with a note to say that I did a SECOND PRINT RUN of both Memory Mermaid and Memory Dragon. They are in my Etsy store right now!


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer of Mermaids Art Sale

Hey friends!

For those of you who have a train to catch, here's a short version of this post: I’m having a summer art sale. There are things up in my Etsy shop. The link is right here:


And so we find ourselves in the middle of another Summer. Here’s a long-overdue, kind of rambling post.

As I type this it’s late afternoon and I’m in my Very Secret & Very Quiet Writing Hideaway. There is a Summer Thunderstorm brewing outside. It’s lovely.

Sitting next two me, here in my Very Secret & Very Quiet Writing Hideaway, is my new-used 10 speed bicycle. It has fenders! It has a rack on the back! It was a gift from my friend-and-mechnic, Justin! I'm planning to strap an old milk crate to the rack so that I can cart various sundries back and forth from my VS&VQWH. Here’s my new-used bike:

(thanks Justin!)

And here’s me in my VS&VQWH:

Clever readers will have guessed (correctly) that I put the timer on my iPod and staged a photo to makes me look like a Serious Writer. That’s part of my plan. You see, if everyone thinks I’m a Serious Writer then I will definitely get these projects I’m working on done. That’s how being a Serious Writer works. (I think.)

Anyway, I will have a lot more to say about my VS&VQWH in an upcoming post. There’s some exciting stuff on the horizon. But for now let’s move on to the mermaids. And for that, we’ll have to travel back to May…

In May I was traveling through Macedonia as part of the U.S. Speaker Abroad Program. I was talking about visual storytelling at schools and universities. I was visiting “American Corners” in different towns and being driven hither and yon by the American Embassy. And I was sneaking out at odd hours to explore the old Turkish Market in Skopje. Here are a few pictures from Macedonia:

All the while I was aware that mermaids were cropping up all across the internet as part of a cleverly-titled art challenge called “Mermay” The challenge, simply, is to draw a mermaid each day in May (I think these monthly challenges got their start with Jake Parker’s “Inktober”). I saw the mermaids and I thought “no way am I doing that.”

But then of course I drew a couple mermaids on a tablecloth and I was off to the races.

I wasn’t able to do a full month’s worth of Mers, but I ended up with a good fifteen. Here are a few of my favorites:

I had a blast drawing these, and posting them over on Instagram. It took me some time to figure out what to do with them, but I finally had them printed as a set of Memory Cards, like my Memory Dragon set from a few years ago.

Memory Mermaid is available over on my Etsy Shop as part of my wee Summer Art Sale. There are also a few prints and some original pages from Mighty Jack.

And now the rain has come and a cool breeze is blowing through the VS&VQWH and I have a story to write.

See you soon.

Monday, July 17, 2017


Hi everybody. Today, as promised, I have the MIGHTY JACK AND THE GOBLIN KING Jolly Raffle Giveaway Contest winners to announce. As always, thanks to random.org for offering “true randomness” in choosing the winners.

And as always, we’ll announce the winners with a weird, hastily-thrown-together comic:

And there we go! Winners! Get in touch with me via my email address on the sidebar and I’ll send those books on their merry way.

And feel free to keep checking back here! I’m planning to give this blog some long overdue attention in the coming weeks.

Friday, July 14, 2017


Hey friends!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win a copy of Mighty Jack and the Goblin King!

My plan is to post the winners on MONDAY (July 17th).



Friday, July 7, 2017

Jolly Raffle Giveaway Contest: MIGHTY JACK AND THE GOBLIN KING!

Hello friends! You know what we haven’t done in awhile? A Jolly Raffle Giveaway Contest. Remember those? We used to do them all the time!

That was back when I still updated this blog. Those were good times.


Well... okay, look, I may be an inconstant blogger, but I can still bark like a circus ringmaster. And I can sure as hell run a Jolly Raffle Giveaway Contest. Yeah, I can still do that. Ready? LET’S GO!

That’s right! Step on up! I have two, count ‘em, TWO big copies of MIGHTY JACK AND THE GOBLIN KING sitting right here on my desk. This book releases to the public on SEPTEMBER 5th, but one of you (yes you!) lucky readers could bring the tome home early. Don’t be shy! Just take a look-see at these gorgeous books:

That’s right readers! One of these books is a sturdy hardcover and the other is a shiny French-flapped paperback. Both are up for grabs. But that’s not all!

If you (yes you!) are the lucky winner of the hardcover, you will also bring home an original page from the book! Just take a look:

And if you find yourself the winner of the shiny French-flapped paperback you will also find yourself the proud owner of a brand new copy of the Memory Dragon Matching game!

And, as always, entering to win is RIDICULOUSLY EASY! All you need to do is leave a comment in the comments section of this post. It’s so simple! (do remember to leave your name, or some internet handle that I can announce. “Anonymous” entries are ineligible).

As with my previous giveaways, you can increase your chance of winning by spreading the word about this new book. Mentioning MIGHTY JACK AND THE GOBLIN KING on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, Tumblr, your own blog or other social media gains you TWO EXTRA ENTRIES. Let me know in your comment if, and how, you've spread the word! (Tagging helps too. I am @BenHatke on twitter and @heybenhatke on Instagram.)

THIS CONTEST ENDS ON FRIDAY, JULY 14th. (one week from today).


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Spirit of Spring

Hello friends! Just a quick note to tell you all that, despite five months without posting, this blog has not ended. It's been hard to keep up with though, for sure, and it definitely needs an update. Most of my creative side projects and daily updates are ending up on other social media these days (Instagram mer-folk anyone?), but this is still the best place for book announcements, tour announcements and roundups of my work.

And speaking of book announcements I should remind everyone that my next book, Mighty Jack and the Goblin King, will be out on September 5th! There is a very exciting tour shaping up around this book, which looks to have me traveling far and wide in late September, so stay tuned for more on that.

In the meantime, I'll try to stop neglecting this poor little blog.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This Comic is Backwards, But I'm Posting it Anyway

Oh this poor comic! I got about halfway though it before I realized I had it all backwards. What seems to work better is that FIRST you bleed your heart out onto a page (or whatever medium you're working in) and THEN you use your brain to clean everything up and make it legible. 

Still I think the sentiment is right. It's not always like this. Sometimes making stuff is a joy from start to finish. But other times the worry creeps in. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Lone Adventurer, and a Commissions and Prints Update

FIRST THE ETSY ORDERS UPDATE: If you ordered ONLY ORIGINAL PAGES from me, you have likely received them by now. Most of those orders have gone out. If you ordered ART PRINTS ...well, I thank you for your patience. Some of the prints did not meet my quality control standard and so those orders are taking a bit longer than expected. I am hoping to have all the prints mailed off this week though.


I reeeeeeaaally hadn't intended to participate in Inktober this year, but sometimes, unexpectedly, a story just claws its way out of you. I started the Ballad of the Lone Adventurer with a single, loose sketch and no plan. It grew from there with a life of its own.

And the response was just amazing. I'm very, very grateful for the level of engagement, the discussion and comments that surrounded this unexpected little art-child. I haven't had this much fun live-posting a project in a long, long time.

Many of you have been calling for a print version of this story and I am definitely looking into that. It may take me awhile, but eventually I'll make it available in some kind of physical form. For now though, I'm posting the whole thing here in one easy-to-scroll-through post.

Thanks again, my friends, and Happy Hallowe'en!