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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!

 

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The Business of Being an Artist – Collaboration

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 get asked often enough by writers to collaborate that I thought I’d write a post on my thoughts on this. I’ve actually written about this in my FAQ section of the website, but I thought it’s important enough to talk about in a blog post. What is the significance of NFCC2015-Howardtheduck-WIPHoward the Duck in this post? Nothing, other than I just drew it at the Niagara Falls Comic Con and really thought it came out well. Here’s the information I give from my FAQ page.

Do you want to collaborate on a comic book or children’s book? Can I send you my pitch?

I’m going to ask you a few questions first, which may help answer the questions-

Are you an established writer or just beginning your craft?

Is this a work for hire project or a 50/50 collaboration?

Do you have a budget and is it one where you can pay someone a liveable wage?

Now if you have a budget but no experience or very little, then we may be able to start on something. However be aware that you are also hiring me as a consultant and as such you need to trust I know what I’m doing and give me the lee-way to do it. All of these things cost money, so make sure you have a reasonable budget. To give you an idea, it may take me a couple of days to create a single page of art. I am flexible in regards to pay, but it needs to be something that I can live off of. So think of what you would want to make in a full day of work, and then figure out the amount of pages that you want to have created. Add in the time that it takes to put the book together, as well as consulting which may be a couple of extra weeks time. That may give you an idea of how much budget you have to have to get your story created. It can get very expensive!

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The Business of Being an Artist – Catching up

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.
It’s been a busy time since my last blog. I’ve done a series of conventions, and prepare for Niagara Falls Comic Con this weekend. My website has been updated and is ready to be released to the world. I’ve been on a few podcasts, with Snake Oil Comics being the latest. And of course there is my main job, which is working on the third book of The Arcane Awakening for Mess Bucket Comics. All of those things are connected to each other in very immediate ways, but I also have to prepare for the future, and that’s why I’ve joined a few social networks, a critique group and plan on going to a life drawing class, so that I can bring something new to my next series of projects. And it’s almost summer so that means patio season is here, and with that my favourite activities of drinking beer and spending time with my wife, family and friends.
I’ve had some great cons this year and look forward to another great one, Niagara Falls Comic Con. It’s a three day event and is held by the same organizers of the Hammertown Con out of Hamilton which was an amazing con I was a guest at last year. I’ve heard nothing but great things about NFCC and so I was very eager to have a table and do a panel for this year’s con. You can look for me at table A41 in the Artist Alley section, and listen to me talk about creating a children’s book on Sunday at 2pm in room 201.

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Ottawa Comic Con 2015

Ottawa Comic Con is just around the corner( May 8th-10th). This year will be my 4th year attending (I’ve been going since it’s inception) and each year seems to get better than the last. In addition to having Concrete Martians Part 2, I’ll also have What Does Slog Do? the second children’s book  in the Up-In-The-Sky series available. I’ll also have my Monster Prints, Pooh in Space Prints, and will be doing commissions, as well as signing up people for personalized illustrations! For those of you that are interested in animation, I’m also hosting a panel with Kurt Lehner called Breaking into Disney Animation which will be held on the Friday at 5:15pm in Meeting RooM B. It’ll be moderated by the boys of  the End Credits Podcast. You can listen to my first chat with them here.

So if you are going to the con, you can find me at table 2510 in Artist Alley. I hope to see you all there!

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The Business of Being an Artist – Doing a Chapters/Indigo Book Signing

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.

On April 18th I’ll be at the Burlington Chapters/Indigo doing a book signing for my second children’s book “What Does Slog Do?” For those of you interested in coming and getting a book signed, I’ll be there from 1-5pm. The great thing about Chapters is that they do allow for single day consignment, which means that they will allow you to sell your book at full price for a single day in their store. To find out more about this all you have to do is talk to either a manager or someone in charge of the children’s book section. FYI, they do take about 30% of the book cost, but it’s a great way to get your work out their outside of conventions and comic book stores. It’s also a great way to build a relationship with your local bookstore. Some of the stores also allow a certain amount of self-published authors to carry your book on their shelf. Every store is different in regards to how many self-published author’s books they will carry and for the length of time they will allow your book to be in their store. You’ll have to inquire when you do your book consignment. All in all, it’s been a great way to get more people’s eyes on my book, and to make a bit of extra cash as well. Here’s the link to the Burlington Chapters/Indigo I’ll be at. Hope to see you there!

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The Business of Being an Artist – Toronto Comiccon and ECCC 2015

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! Wow! Those are the words that pretty much some up the last few weeks of going to cons. Both Toronto Comic Con and Emerald City Comic Con were successful and exhausting both in it’s own right. I’m happy to be on the other side of them, so that I can focus on Arcane Awakening for the next month, and so that I can gear up for the next wave of cons in May and June. But I’m also still absorbing the lessons learned from each one, and that’s what I want to go over in this post. Continue reading

Keith Grachow's Biography

The Business of Being an Artist – Toronto Comic Con 2015

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.
Convention season is starting up for me, so what that means is that I will be on the road for the next several months, meeting lots of new artists and fans as well as selling my wares. First stop is Toronto, which is my old haunting ground. It’s always fun to do a show in T.O. because I get to see friends I haven’t seen since the last Toronto comic con. I also get to apply some of the tweaks to my table presentation, as well as try out elevator pitches on new products. It’s all around exciting and scary, even though I’ve been doing this for half a dozen years now. For next week’s blog I will report on how Toronto went, the trials and tribulations of the show as well as my take a ways to apply for the next con. Hope to see you all there!

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