Saltwater Issue 1 set on a Mars Colony.

SALTWATER Issue 1 premiering at Fan Expo 2016

Fan Expo is one of the first shows I ever tabled out, and arguably the biggest I go to, so I’ve always premiered new art at this show. This year is no different with new monster prints and my new comic book SALTWATER. Created by KikaMika Comics and written by Mitch Cook, my partner in crime with the 2 part comic book Concrete Martians,  Saltwater is a new ongoing series that takes place on a Mars Colony in the modern era. The twist with this book is that the colony has been cut off from the Earth since the early sixties, so they are stylistically, socially and technologically stuck in that era. With the premiere issue, we start off with a mystery, when young Meg discovers a signal from Earth for the first time in 50 years. This shocking discovery sends the denizens of the base in a tail spin that will unravel as the issues continue. Be the first to pick up a copy and get it signed by me! I’ll be at table A254 in artist alley.

Saltwater Issue 1 set on a Mars Colony.
Saltwater Issue 1 set on a Mars Colony.

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Monster Prints- Series 6 Dark Fairy Tales

I’ve just gotten my prints for Dark Fairy Tales series of Monster Prints. So excited to see these new ones printed for the first time! For those of you keeping track this is the 6th year in the series. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since I’ve started these, and my overall 7th at Fan Expo Canada. They will be available for purchase at Fan Expo at $15 each. If you aren’t going and are interested in purchasing them, please email me at kgrachow@jnkimagery.com

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Monster Series 6-Dark Fairy Tales

It’s that time of year for me to create a new series of Monster Prints for Fan Expo. This year I wanted to go for something different then classic monsters, so I opted for classic fairy tales.

The criteria for these illustrations were that they would be closer to the originals in it’s dark themes and not adhere to the more child oriented stories created in the last century. In choosing the specific fairy tales, I thought of how each one could be different from each other, while maintaining what I consider to be the look of my monster prints. I always thing about the characters being archetypal, while adding a personal flare to each one to make it unique from the original. This helps me tell the story in my style.  Color schemes also plays an important role. And of course the story itself has to be interesting to me. All of these elements dicate the fairy tale to use so that while all three are separate from each other in look as well as in theme, as a whole they have a nice unified look to adorn your wall.

I’ll post each one separately in the coming weeks. to give each one room to stand on its own and then I plan on putting them all together so you can see how they would look as a unit. This will all lead up to you being able to purchase them at Fan Expo, and then eventually on my website.

So as not to leave you in the lurch, I’ve posted last years three prints from Series 5. Next week will be Jack and the Beanstalk.

Last years three monsters- Phantom, The Invisible Man and Baba Yaga.
Last years three monsters- Phantom, The Invisible Man and Baba Yaga.

 

 

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Opening up Commission list-July

I’m opening up a couple of slots on my commission list. These commissions, or what I like to call Personalized Illustrations, are one of a kind and unique to you and are great for gifts or special events.

So what are they? Really, they can be anything you want. It could be you and your loved one as characters from your favorite movie, or a superhero team from a popular comic book. They’re not limited to just comic books or movies. They can be from video games, tv shows or even made up. I’ve done mash-ups like Doctor Who meets Willy Wonka. It can be an imagined meet up with Tiger Woods on the golf green, giving your dad a winner’s jacket, while you and your family are in the background holding up a banner which celebrates his 60th birthday. Or it can just be you and your fiance, on a romantic date, sitting in your living room in front of the fire imagining your futures together. It really is anything.

The whole process of creating this personalized illustration is really quite easy and effortless for you. All I need is some moments of your time to go over any ideas you might have and from that I hope to create a composition that will blow you and your loved one’s socks off! Once the composition is taken care of, then I go through my process, from rough sketch to finished drawing. This part of the process still involves you and so you get to see the illustration develop before your eyes.

So if this sounds like something you’re interested in, and would like a booking, please contact me soon at kgrachow@jnkimagery.com as slots are limited.

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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