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Aceyus- A prelude to what’s coming

I did a series of illustrations for Aceyus, a company that was in need of art for a few trade shows. They released one of the images, so I can now post it on the interwebs. Once all of them have been released I’ll do a full blog post on my process for the different pieces which presented some new challenges.

 

What’s Up?

Seems like a lot of things are coming to fruition as we enter into the month of June.  I’ve got projects wrapping up and getting ready for print. I also am half way through con season, but since it’s a bit overwhelming to think of all of the shows I’m going to, and all the prep work required for each one, I break up my year into two parts. And this first part is coming to an end with the Florida Supercon during the first week of July. But before that I’ve got one of my new favourite shows, The Niagara Comic Con. You’ll be able to find me at table A17 in the Guest section of Artist Alley. I’ll also be doing a fun panel, my first flying solo, on Saturday at 3pm. This one I’ll be doing some drawing for kids and families, creating characters from the imagination that can become creations for stories. It’ll reqniagara2016uire lots of participation, so if you want to draw with me, come on and join in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first issue of Saltwater put out by Kika Mika comics is in the home stretch. I wanted to have the last page finished this week, but due to some neck issues, I’ve gotten a bit behind. Next week, I’ll be finishing up and getting it ready for the proof the following week. It should be ready for the next part of the con season, with Fan Expo in September and then Rose City Comic Con a week after with Mitch Cook, the writer of Saltwater.

SALTWATER Preview
SALTWATER Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Concurrently, I’ve finished up the next children’s book I worked on, Lost Hallway. Written by Peter Reynolds, it’s a fun whimsical modern fairy tale that asks the question “Where do lost things go when they don’t want to be found? The answer is in the Lost Hallway!” It’s in the middle of an Indiegogo Campaign that is more of a pre-order of the book, as the book is finished. But this way if you want to get yourself a copy, you can get all sorts of fun rewards, like your name in the book!CjUB7_nWgAAWYgD

While it’s been amazing to have all of this fun work, and to draw for a living, I’m due for a bit of a break as I’ve been putting in lots of long hours to get everything done. Once the books are sent off, I plan on doing some commissions, working on my own children’s book, and possibly drawing for a comic book pitch. I have a couple of ideas for some new prints to premiere at Fan Expo, as well. Once that’s done, I’ll start work on Salt Water #2 and gear up for the next wave of cons!

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Warm up Werewolf

During the drive home from Ottawa Comic con a couple of weeks ago, Mike Rooth and I had a great conversation about warming up everyday before you get into your drawing. This can mean drawing doodles for a couple of hours, going over anatomy, working on sketches of poses for the characters you’re supposed to draw, or just drawing something fun that has nothing to do with anything. Basically it’s just to get the ole hand loosened up and the ole mind’s eye sharpened. And it helps if you keep to a schedule on a daily basis.

I’ve tried to take that lesson to heart, and while I don’t do it everyday, (because sometimes I start a bit late) I have been pretty good about doing it most days when I’ve set my self up well with my schedule. I’ve done lots’ of doodly stuff that will probably never see the light of day,  but this one I had to share.  Mr. Hairy Face, started as a doodle, but sometimes the muses smile upon you . And since they were guiding my hand and I was very inspired, I worked on it a bit each day, until it was finished.

What’s fun about this one, is that I really had no pressure for it to be anything. I wanted to experiment a bit on line, colour choice and rendering, and it allowed me to do so without fear of it working or not working. And sometimes those are the best illustrations that come out. It kind of fits with my monster print motif, but it’s much smaller, so I may or may not make a print of it. Whether I do, or just let it be a fun experiment in doodling, it’s something I’m pretty proud of and wanted the world, or interwebs to see.

 

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Toronto Comiccon 2016

It’s been a while since I posted anything, but I tend to hibernate when it gets colder, and I guess blogging goes along with it. But with the coming of spring, and with lots of great new things on the horizon, I thought it was time to dust off the old cobwebs and restart all of the updates.

This year’s first post is about Toronto Comic Con. While I’ve actually done a con already this year (the fabulous WW Portland show) I really do feel con season officially starts with Toronto Comic Con. While it isn’t the biggest show of the year, it’s definitely one of my favourites. It’s where I get to catch up with my compatriots whom I haven’t seen for about six months or so, as well as show off some new material. This year I’ve got Arcane Awakening Book 3, which I didn’t have until late in the year, so for a lot of the fans it’s a new product. I also will have a print preview of my new book SALTWATER which will be out in time for Fan Expo in September. Toronto Comic Con, while quite busy, feels like a more intimate show, and because of that, it gives off a more relaxed vibe. I get to chat with all of the fans at more of a leisurely level which makes me feel more connected to everyone. I am coming out of hibernation after all.

SALTWATER Preview
SALTWATER Preview
Arcane Awakening Book 3
Arcane Awakening Book 3
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Hamilton Comic Con 2015

I’ll be at Hamilton Comic Con this weekend (Oct2-3) You can find me at table A7 on the third floor in Artist’s Alley. I’ll be selling my children’s book series Up-In-The-Sky, my comic book series Concrete Martians as well as monster prints (just in time for Halloween). And of course I’ll be doing commissions! Come by and say hi if you plan on going!

 

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Holiday Commissions 2015

It’s that time of year again. I’m taking on a few holiday commissions for you and your family. If you’re looking for a gift for the holidays or someone’s birthday, anniversary or a wedding present, then get them a personalized illustration of your loved ones as their favorite tv show, movie or animated character, or even something completely original.  I’ve got a couple of slots available but book soon as spots are filling up fast.

It’s a very easy process, as you just let me know what idea you have and I come up with a composition from there. From there you can send me some images of your loved ones or let me know where to find them on Facebook. I do all different sizes so that it will fit on their wall as well as work with your budget. If you want to work out a payment plan, I’m game with that too, as long as you put down a small deposit so that I can slot you in to my schedule.

If you would like to find out  more feel free and email me at kgrachow@jnkimagery.com. You can go and check out more commissions here.

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The Business of Being an Artist – The Waiting Game

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.

Fan Expo 2015 has come and gone. It’s a roller coaster of a show, with lots of people roaming the Artist Alley, many looking and buying and many just merely window shopping. It’s also the place where I’ve made a lot of friends, as well as made some professional connections. It’s been a testing ground for my new artistic products, and new set up, which then inform me what I should work on for the coming year and what I should maybe put on the back burner or try in a different way. It’s the show that makes me feel like I’ve gone into the gladiator pit, fought the lions and come out scathed but alive. And this year was no different.

This was the sixth year in a row that I’ve done this show. And as cliche as it is, time does fly. The days flew by and the show was over before I knew it. I feel like I’ve got a good sense of the show by now, knowing how much I’ll make as well as what will most likely sell. That being said, this year through me for a bit of a loop, in that the first two days of the show were what I expected but Saturday was way off in numbers, so because of that I had to reassess my figure for Sunday. It was a bit soul crushing because it meant that the show was going to barely break even for me. But then Sunday blew my expectations and made up for Saturdays loss. Did I mention it’s a roller coaster?

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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