What do you get if you combine doing what you love with your favorite fandoms? If you’re Ben AbuSaada, you get to make a living. Read on to find out how a Kansas City creator made it to the big leagues, making Star Wars and Marvel art.
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Ben AbuSaada, a native Kansas City geek.
When did you first become interested in art?
Growing up I always had a fondness for drawing. Back when I was in elementary school I was always doodling…specifically doodling Star Wars characters and scenes. In middle school into high school, I wanted to pursue illustration/comic book art. Instead I picked up a guitar and got into music. I’ve recently over the past two-three years reengaged with drawing and sketching.
How would you describe your art style?
I’ve always been influenced by the art found in the pages of the comics I read in 1985-88. Specifically Marvel stuff from Daredevil – Uncanny X-Men. I never considered myself a “realist” artist but folks have said I’m somewhere in between. As long as someone enjoys it…I’m good with whatever labels and descriptors!
When did you begin working professionally in your field?
In 2015 I started sketching and posting art to my Instagram account @KSGeekMan. When people began asking if I would sell my art, I began exploring the potential of doing art as a side profession. I decided I wanted to pursue a dream and see if I could do official work for the two franchises I loved most growing up: Star Wars and Marvel. I discovered through another local Kansas City artist who is a great friend and art mentor, that there was potential to do that through sketch cards with Topps and Upper Deck. I worked over a year at honing my craft and sent in some samples to both companies and was given projects.
What projects have you been involved in, and what are you working on now?
I’ve worked with Upper Deck doing sketch cards for the “Clerks” set released on 2017. Also the 2017 “Ultra Fleer Spider-Man” set. With Topps I’ve had the privilege of working on Rogue One Series 1&2, the Star Wars 40th anniversary set, Galactic Files Reborn, Walking Dead Season 7, the soon to be released “Journey to the Last Jedi” set and currently working on Star Wars Masterworks which will release in the Fall (I believe). In between I do commission for cards, sketch covers and more.
What do you love about creating?
I love the gratification that comes when seeing something come together. When an idea is sparked or the right mixture of color is brought together and it forms something tangible….it just taps into a part of my brain that brings me joy.
Where do you find creative inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration in seeing the work of others.
Tell us about a particularly memorable moment in your professional life.
The moment I received an email from Topps asking me to be a part of the Rogue One trading card set. To see that request after 39 years of loving Star Wars…that was a huge moment and feeling of accomplishment.
What future plans lay ahead for you?
I continue to enjoy working on trading cards and hope continue doing that. I had a table in artist alley at Kansas City Comic Con and have considered doing it again. I’ve also considered other cons but just haven’t been able to make it happen. Perhaps one day I’ll do it again.
How long have you lived in Kansas City, and what’s something you love about living here?
Was born and raised in KC since 1974! Royals baseball and the KC skyline. I am biased…but I believe we have the best city in the Midwest.
Where can someone find more information about your work?
- Website: Etsy.com/shop/ksgeekman
- Facebook link: KS Geek Man
- Twitter handle: @KSGeekMan
- Instagram handle/hashtag: @KSGeekMan #BenAbuSaada
- Other: ksgeekman.tumblr.com
If you could create art for any fandom, which would you choose? Let us know in the comments below!