Category Archives: Illustrations

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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!

 

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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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