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One Door Closes…Another Opens

When one door closes another opens. So it looks like we are going to be doing Wizard World Portland 2016 in lieu of Emerald City Comic Con next year. For all of our fans in Seattle we feel we owe you an explanation as to why we will no longer be going to that show. Emerald City, under new management, has decided to create a lottery system for which they decide whom gets an artist’s table at the con every year. This is what they do with their New York Comic Con show. While we understand they are doing this because they have grown to the point where they can’t let every applicant into the show and have to give others a fair shot, it also means there are casualties to this method. Meaning many artists who have established themselves at their show, invested money and time into building a fan base are now left in the lurch. Continue reading

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The Business of Being an Artist – Baba Yaga

Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.

I am finally finished with Series 5 Monster prints. Baba Yaga was the character I had the least knowledge of and is probably the less well known of the three. I had really no idea about her other than she was a witch of Eastern European decent. The only time I’d ever seen her was in a Mike Mignola Hellboy story. What I wanted to do was something different from the other two monster prints, story-wise. The Invisible Man as I interpreted him was driven mad by his formula of invisibility and as a result attacked the woman he loved. The Phantom is again a mad character, but this time driven to take the woman he desires by destroying the man that is in his way. With Baba Yaga, she is a character that straddles good and evil. Sometimes she guides those in the forest that are lost, and at other times guides them to their destruction. With this illustration I wanted to capture that feeling that Baba Yaga may or may not be your friend. Continue reading

Up-In-The-Sky Cut Outs

Today I officially start pages on my next children’s book Above a Planet Named Up-In-The-Sky. I can’t believe this is the third book in the series! Here’s a little art to whet your appetite. It comes from a cut out series of characters we plan on putting on our convention tables starting in October.  The cutouts will be about a foot by a foot and be present on tables where we are selling our book series Up-In-The-Sky. Here are the roughs to the cutouts.                                        character-cut-outs-roughs-web

Here is the finished piece.

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The Business of Being an Artist – The Phantom of the Opera

Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.

Whew! I finally finished The Phantom of the Opera. Compared to The Invisible Man, this illustration was more of a struggle. I did everything that I normally do in preparation for a print. I worked out the composition in regards to creating basic shapes and making sure it flowed well before I started into the finished piece. Colour was also something I had a very strong idea about going into this illustration. Each print I do for a new series has to work as strong as it can by itself but I also want it to have a similar feel to the other two prints. In choosing which monster to do I think about the colour scheme so that I’m not repeating too closely with each one. Therefore a lot of decisions are made before I even start drawing. Continue reading

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Monster Series 5- Phantom of the Opera- Roughs

Having a grand old time working on these prints. While I’m familiar with the Phantom from movies and Broadway, I wanted to do something with my own spin, so I  mashed up the Lon Chaney character with the Andrew Lloyd Webber version. Here are the roughs with full colour to follow soon.

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The Business of Being an Artist – The Invisible Man

Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.

Here is the finished illustration for The Invisible Man, my series 5 Monster Print. A fair bit of prep work goes into the illustration before the actual finished illustration. A lot of it is visualizing what you want and working out solutions to possible problems that might arise. And going back to basics always helps. One of the first steps is thinking about the composition, and how line and colour moves the eye around. I also try to create a story so that also helps dictates what is happening in the illustration.

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So once I figured those things out, a lot of the illustration kind of falls into place. You can also see that while most of the major decisions for composition were made in the rough pencil stage, I did make some adjustments once I got to the colours. The biggest being that I added a bit more story to the part where The Invisible Man is carrying his wife. I wanted to also have the composition coming off of the print as well, to hint at a larger world and to give the eye a bit more secondary interest from the main elements. The most technically difficult aspect was figuring out how to make the Invisible Man invisible, while still being able to see him. Continue reading

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The Business of Being an Artist – New Website

Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.

I’ll make this short and sweet. My website is finished! My website is finished! Well, the infrastructure is all done. Now it’s time for me to add content, go through the existing content and update it, or just get rid of content that doesn’t represent me any more. It’s always a work in progress, but now I can officially show it off to the world in all of its glory!

 

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The Business of Being an Artist – Working on a long form project (or how to keep running in the race after you’ve just fallen flat on your face).

Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.

I just wrapped up the art on the final book in The Arcane Awakening trilogy for Mess Bucket Comics. Created and written by Dom Riggio, The Arcane Awakening is a sprawling epic battle for control of the earth fought by the forces of good lead by the angelic Ministry against the forces of evil lead by the dastardly Blight. It’s a real fun read, with lots of action, as well as some thought provoking dialogue and moral dilemmas for the main protagonists. It’s also been a great learning experience! I’ve had the pleasure of being the artist since book 2, and just finished book 3. Each one brought different challenges, but the main unifying factor for me is that they were both marathon races of a project that I had to pace out over several months of a year. I’d like to chat a bit about the mindset I had for each one and how I dealt with working on something that would require focus and discipline for such long periods of time.

As a commercial artist, if you want to make money, you need to figure out a process that allows for the amount of money you are receiving to equal your standard of living. In other words you can’t work on a piece of art for too long before it starts to become a money suck. That’s a luxury you might have if you are independently wealthy (which most of us aren’t) or if it’s a personal project that you can space out over years of your life. Projects where you get paid require you to have a set schedule, so that you can make sure that you are able to pay your bills on time, and not become the clichéd, starving artist.

For The Arcane Awakening Book 2, Dom Riggio and I set out to have a schedule where we had a pretty good idea when the book would be finished. That way plans could be made to premiere the book at comic book conventions, as well as let all of the fans know when they could receive their copy. We took into consideration the amount of pages I could pencil and ink in a week, and allotted time for my con schedule as well as post-production of the book. The book consists of 52 pages, as well as additional work for a cover, back and interior of the cover plus lettering and design. The series was also created from a screenplay, so it wasn’t in comic book script form on the outset. So we had to go through the pacing of the book before hand to make sure we knew what was going to happen on each page. We figured it would take about 5 months or so to get it finished at a reasonable rate that I could handle.

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FLORIDA SUPERCON

This weekend I’ll be at the Florida SuperCon with my mom, Amy Grachow. This will be our second year in a row, but we will be  premiering our second book, What Does Slog Do? at this show. People were very receptive to On A Planet Named Up-In-The-Sky last year so I expect they’ll want to take a peak at the second book. I’ll also be bringing both parts of Concrete Martians as well as the first two books in the Arcane Awakening series as well as my art book, prints and of course I’ll be doing commissions. If you’re going to the show, you can find us in Artist Alley at table E-11 from Thursday to Sunday. Come by and say hi!