Max Benzine

I make things with paper and glue.

Hey Internet,

Ever since April, I have been making small paper zines to send to friends. You may have seen me post about them on Twitter or Instagram. You may have received one yourself!

I make them the old fashioned way, with sharpie pens and scissors and a glue stick and a label printer. I make a bunch of copies on my printer/scanner and send them out with stickers and little notes to my friends. Each one is a single piece of paper, folded into 8 small pages.

Here they are:

It delights me to no end to see pictures of them appear on Instagram as they arrive, and more and more people ask to be “on the list.”

The most recent zine I made took a lot longer than the others.

I wanted to do a tiny comic book. I decided to make it about Max Headroom, the dystopian AI talking head character from one of my favorite TV shows. I spent a lot of time making practice doodles of Max and other characters from the show. Then, I did a rough pencil version of the comic at 1:1 scale. I used Copic brand markers and a cool but expensive screentone sheet to do the final line drawings and shading. I haven’t done anything like this since I was a teenager!

I was determined to do as much as possible without using the computer. I did all of the illustration at the actual size - each page of drawings had to fit inside 1/8th of a piece of normal paper. It was a good constraint.

Finally, I scanned it in and did a final pass digitally - mostly to add the word bubbles, but also to add in some color elements.

Now that most of my friends have received their physical copies in the mail, I feel like it is now safe to share this here online! The short comic is below in a slightly modified format. Enjoy!

The End.

Here are a few behind the scenes shots:

One of about 30 doodles I drew of Max while trying to figure out how to draw him. I am still trying to break myself of the habit of crosshatching everything.

My first attempt at using Copics markers. Pretty good! A testament to the capabilities of these awesome marker more than to my drawing ability.

Here are the rough pencils. You can see the folds in the paper. This is how I tell how big the pages are going to be.

I used my iPad’s screen as a light table to trace the rough drawings onto a clean sheet of paper and then traced over that with ink.

Things really came together with the addition of the shading and screentones. The rest was done in Figma!

Did you know, Max Headroom was a sci-fi show AND a weird British music video show AND a weird Showtime talk show in the US? Yeah, neither did I.

Thanks for reading. I hope you are well.