Fact is, by most rights I shouldn't have even been there in any capacity beyond spectator. Even artists more famous than myself who've worked on books or their covers are rarely seen signing next to the books' authors at events such as this — unless, of course, the book in question happens to be a comic book. So I consider it a real honor that the offer was made, and I didn't hesitate to say yes.
I'd met Ben for the first time in person last year while I was spending some quality time in Seattle. He and his wife, Andrea, were nice enough to take me out to dinner and I took the opportunity to show him the cover of his most recent book in progress. I'd had lots of contact with him through email and such to that point, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to get to know him on some level. He could not be a nicer, more affable, more humble human being — the kind of person that you want to see gain some measure of success (no matter how great or small).
Ben is one of those rare folks who stumbled into the success he's had and has been gracious enough to use that success to toss work to the likes of me and the other artists who have contributed to his books. That's a rare thing, indeed, and despite his insistence that he owes me, I feel that the situation is quite the opposite.
And so, at 7:00 pm last night, at the University of Boston Barnes and Noble, Ben gave a quick presentation to the score or so fans in the room. This was followed by a Q&A that was more open and forthright than one typically hears, after which Ben and I sat and signed for a while. Once every question was answered and every copy signed, we all (fans included), went out for a beer. It is my belief that more book readings should end this way.
Once again, I'd like to thank Ben for everything. I wish him all the best, both in general and in his travels, and I raise a glass to the next book.
If you'd like to find out if he's coming to your area and when, you can find that information here. If you'd like to know more about the art I contributed, everything I've written about it can be found here.