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About Professional Artist Ben BatesMale/United States Recent Activity
Deviant for 8 Years
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Statistics 221 Deviations 886 Comments 151,082 Pageviews

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Battletoads by BenBates Battletoads :iconbenbates:BenBates 178 17 Divine the Mammoth Mogul by BenBates Divine the Mammoth Mogul :iconbenbates:BenBates 43 8 Chuck the Hedgehog by BenBates Chuck the Hedgehog :iconbenbates:BenBates 95 4 Uncompleted 2006 comic by BenBates Uncompleted 2006 comic :iconbenbates:BenBates 65 32 Powerstars Character Designs by BenBates Powerstars Character Designs :iconbenbates:BenBates 64 19 Sonic and Mega Man concepts by BenBates Sonic and Mega Man concepts :iconbenbates:BenBates 108 17 Mario comic by BenBates Mario comic :iconbenbates:BenBates 427 47 Super Mario by BenBates Super Mario :iconbenbates:BenBates 388 52 Mario mayhem by BenBates Mario mayhem :iconbenbates:BenBates 320 40 Mega Man cover issue 35 by BenBates Mega Man cover issue 35 :iconbenbates:BenBates 146 16 Mega Man issue 34 cover by BenBates Mega Man issue 34 cover :iconbenbates:BenBates 91 4 Mega Man 38 variant cover by BenBates Mega Man 38 variant cover :iconbenbates:BenBates 242 24 Mega Man issue 43 variant by BenBates Mega Man issue 43 variant :iconbenbates:BenBates 189 7 Mega Man Battle Book story by BenBates Mega Man Battle Book story :iconbenbates:BenBates 114 35 Tmnt Countdown request 28 by BenBates Tmnt Countdown request 28 :iconbenbates:BenBates 49 2 TMNT Countdown request 27 by BenBates TMNT Countdown request 27 :iconbenbates:BenBates 82 3


Spawn by DustinWeaver Spawn :icondustinweaver:DustinWeaver 93 10 Wildcats by DustinWeaver Wildcats :icondustinweaver:DustinWeaver 33 3 WELCOME TO THE POWER STONE WORLD by L-DAWOLF WELCOME TO THE POWER STONE WORLD :iconl-dawolf:L-DAWOLF 346 46 LOZ MAJORA'S PLOY by L-DAWOLF LOZ MAJORA'S PLOY :iconl-dawolf:L-DAWOLF 833 58 Jurassic Germany storyboard by Hyrotrioskjan Jurassic Germany storyboard :iconhyrotrioskjan:Hyrotrioskjan 117 48 Chipmunk Stripe by ScruffyToto Chipmunk Stripe :iconscruffytoto:ScruffyToto 313 38 Skrelps by Shoyu-Rai Skrelps :iconshoyu-rai:Shoyu-Rai 131 28 USM Expressions Sheets by jeffwamester USM Expressions Sheets :iconjeffwamester:jeffwamester 1,493 44 Oh my by vaporotem Oh my :iconvaporotem:vaporotem 2,237 169 Into the Wilderness by L-DAWOLF Into the Wilderness :iconl-dawolf:L-DAWOLF 521 80 Rockman by RioRock Rockman :iconriorock:RioRock 572 39 Kronos by VectorTheCrocodille Kronos :iconvectorthecrocodille:VectorTheCrocodille 5 2 Korra by chriscopeland Korra :iconchriscopeland:chriscopeland 1,397 68 A Polar Bear and a Duck by JoeAdok A Polar Bear and a Duck :iconjoeadok:JoeAdok 516 66


I doubt I'll ever finish this. I wanted to do a cat one too.
Divine the Mammoth Mogul

Around the same time I was redesigning Sally Acorn for Archie, I wondered what I might do with other characters specific to just the comic. I decided to make Mammoth Mogul a female and give her a more Sonic appropriate name. 

Thats right, I’d shake things up like crazy!!! Nothing would be safe under my reign!

Chuck the Hedgehog
This must have been 2011 or 2012, around the time I was redesigning Sally Acorn for Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comics. I had no idea other characters would ever be redesigned, so for 100% my own amusement I started tinkering with whoever popped into my mind. 

As you may know, I despise "hair" on Sonic characters and tried to work Chucks mustache into a more graphic shape appropriate to the rest of the design. Like old animals, parts of his pelt or fur or whatever it is have started going white and growing out. 

I also mixed his quills up so he didn't look exactly like Sonic with a mustache...
This entry isn't meant to bash anyone's favorite thing. I think I'm writing this to share some thoughts for those who want to tell story on a professional level or just a higher level or whatever. This is an exploration on the deeper meaning of things and why we craft them. 

Small Universe is a term I think I came up with to describe a popular trend in storytelling (there is probably a real name for it I don't know yet). I use it as shorthand to encompass the concept that as a story goes on the main characters are revealed to deeply tie into one another (most often being family members) in ways that weren't apparent from the being, in many cases distorting the earlier parts of the story to fit this development.   

The best possible example of this, given its wide reach, is 'Star Wars'. Let me be up front that I'm not really for or against Star Wars. From what I understand, the first movie offers the opportunity to be exposed to every endless possibility because an entire galaxy is available to explore. But by the end of the original trilogy this massive playground is actually limited to just five or six characters that all happen to be related to one another. This pattern of thinking only becomes more ingrained as the property continues on; Anakin Skywalker hand crafted C-3PO and R2-D2, Boba Fett's papa is every Storm Trooper ever, Yoda and Chewbacca are childhood friends, this list goes on. Nothing happens in the Star Wars universe that wasn't directly created by just a handful of characters. It's one of the smallest universes I can think of.

Off the top of my head, a couple other properties to follow this pattern of storytelling are 'Dexter' and 'Adventure Time'. When both series begin, there is an endless possibility of characters making unique choices and being exposed to outside possibilities and patterns of thought that may take and transform the story in any direction. However it turns out for both series that every main character is either related to one another or tied intrinsically into every other characters background. 

Lets's be clear here that nothing is absolute, so nothing is absolutely good or absolutely bad. The small universe concept can be done well, or used to great effect, but for the most part I think Small Universe storytelling is super lame. It seems terribly incestuous. Looking up the definition of the word, I mean that as in- being so close or intimate as to prevent proper functioning.

Sticking with just Star Wars for its ease of use, and just using the original trilogy, it doesn't take much thinking to start poking holes into the story if all of these characters are secret dads, and secret brothers and secret sisters. That's every definition of incestuous right there! The Star Wars story does not function properly because these characters are related.  

Small Universe storytelling is an easy trap to fall into and it almost always damages the original intentions and experience. 

Maybe its so common (and the overall acceptance from the audience) for Small Universe is due to the human brain's pattern recognition ability. We humans feel safe if we can understand something and if a series of events can be controlled. But if the world is really susceptible to chaos and random events, like reality, then the fear maybe that we wont embrace a story as heavily. 

Even if pleasing an audience's core sense of control with the small universe path of storytelling is the more readily embraced option, it still most often leads to incestuous results. Ultimately one of the two core programming elements of the human brain has to win out and I think this is where our higher intelligence, our ability to act differently than our core programming comes into play. Out of the two, what results more often in "proper functioning" storytelling, incest or our fear of the unknown?
  • Reading: Chronowar
  • Watching: Medabots
  • Playing: I just finished level 14 of Edward's quest
  • Eating: an apple
  • Drinking: fresh brewed coffee


BenBates's Profile Picture
Ben Bates
Artist | Professional
United States
My name is Ben Bates and I'm lucky enough to be a storyboard artist working for Marvel Animation. I've had all kinds of fun in my career, when I used to work in comics.

Sonic the Hedgehog
Mega Man
New Crusaders

S.H.O.O.T. First
Star Wars- Defenders of the Lost Temple digest

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
My Little Pony

Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA



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MrCompose Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2017
Hi Ben;
You drew some art for me - Puss In Boots.  Hopefully you remember?
Please contact me 561 333.9142
Thanks and best regards,
DoNotDelete Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2017   Digital Artist
I recently heard from someone that (via a post you made on Facebook) you've reached an impasse and you're trying to figure out what you want to do with your life. Reading between the lines of your journals and comments and artwork descriptions - you strike me as the kind of person who questions your life direction a lot.

If this is true - as someone who also asks these questions of myself a lot - I can relate.

I think it's something a lot of artistic/creative minds have to deal with - that constant feeling of self-doubt and worriedness about making wrong decisions - or having made decisions that were wrong.

I don't have any answers or quick fixes for what you're feeling, but I just wanted to say that you're not alone in feeling those things - I hope it helps in some way that someone tells you you're not alone in feeling these things.

I hope you continue to keep doing your artwork. I don't know if you'll find the answers there - but I think at least that creating things can help a creative mind to right itself - if nothing else it's just a means to fight back those feelings of self doubt.

Kind regards and best wishes from a fan of your work, DoNotDelete.
supercrashthehedgeho Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
you're probably tired of hearing this but I gotta say I love your art! I especially love your work for the sonic the hedgehog comics and mega man comics. You're a huge inspiration for me.
BenBates Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2017  Professional
Thanks man, I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know! It's an honor and incredibly satisfying that my work is helping to push you forward. Looking forward to the day you surpass me!
supercrashthehedgeho Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
you're welcome man.
CheetaHamSloth Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Ben Bates great work! I love how you draw sonic characters! It's wonderful and so harmonic! :hug:
BenBates Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2017  Professional
Hey sorry it took me a couple months, but thanks a ton for letting me know you like my stuff! I'm pretty happy with the description "harmonic"!
Red-The-Mink Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I love you, Bates! Wanna do some art for me, please?!?!
xXxBlackWidowsxXx Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I love ya Ben Bates! <3 You are an amazing artist. I hope I can be as good as you someday!
BenBates Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2017  Professional
Hey sorry to take so long to reply, but thank you! Keep at it, learn to draw everything and to love drawing everything and you'll be not just as good as me, but better than me!!!
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