Author Archives: Keith Grachow

This is the first official printing of Yost the Golem, a creator owned project I've developed.

I haven’t disappeared, 2019 just hasn’t seen me yet.

*note: click on links after you read the article

The springing forward this past weekend also marks, at least in my mind, a coming out of hibernation from the cold and the end of my self imposed respite from con season. Next week is the first show of the year for me, Emerald City Comic Con, and because it is a lotto to get in,           KikaMika Comics, with Mitch Cook automatically apply every year. This year, it just so happens, it’s the same weekend as Toronto Comic Con. I love that show, but I had to make the hard choice of missing it this year, because of the rarity of getting into ECCC.

A couple of years ago, I made the decision to reduce the amount of comic conventions I go to, because of my work load. As a matter of fact, I had to cancel a couple of shows last year, due to the amount of projects I was lucky enough to get. The unfortunate side effect is I’ve got a lot more books to show off ( SALTWATER 3, Toronto Comix: Osgoode as Gold to name a few), but I haven’t been able to show them to you, and so I hope to be able to rectify that this coming year.

Speaking of projects coming out, along with the Cauldron Spring 2019 story I co-created with Ricky Lima, of The Black Hole Hunter Club fame, and the just released chapter book from my mom, in the Up-In-The-Sky series, I’ve also got my first solo creator owned project being released this year through Comics Experience and Source Point Press. It will be part of an anthology of stories, created by others who’ve taken classes, through Andy Schmidt’s online courses, which I highly recommend you take if you are looking to expand upon your visual storytelling arsenal.

A story co-created with Ricky Lima for Cauldron's Spring 2019 edition.
A story co-created with Ricky Lima for Cauldron’s Spring 2019 edition.
The fourth book in the Up-In-The-Sky series, and the first chapter book, written by Amy Grachow, with spot illustrations by me.
The fourth book in the Up-In-The-Sky series, and the first chapter book, written by Amy Grachow, with spot illustrations by me.

Yost the Golem is a five page origin story that will hopefully be expanded into a full comic book, that I’m working on, to be released later this year or early next. It’s my first time creating everything from writing to art and it’s been super fun to research the Spanish middle ages, when Muslims, Christians and Jews co-existed. My plan is to finish it as a one-shot and then do a Kickstarter for the pre-order of the book.  I’ll keep you all updated as to what’s going on with Yost, but if you’re interested in seeing him for the first time, we plan on doing a Kickstarter for the Comix Experience anthology sometime mid year. If you are going to ECCC and have purchased the Monsters and Dames 2019 edition, you’ll be able to see the first printing of Yost and his friend Aleena, which is quite an honour for me.

I also have a graphic novel that I’m doing the art for, that takes the more obscure mythology of Jesus and his disciples and creates a fun time travelling tale, that is part horror story and part sci-fi. It’s called Zombie Jesus Vampire hunter and will be out later this year or early 2020. There’s also plans to start work on the next chapter of Polybius Dreams, and talks of a second season of Donnybrook, so it looks like I will have a full work load for a good part of this year.

Which means that I will again be limiting my con show appearances, but I will be at TCAF in May along side my Cauldron compatriots and with luck I will be back at Fan Expo this year, having taken a break from tabling solo last year. I also will be doing a tour of local comic book shops as I did last year, so this means I hope to see you all at some point in the latter half of 2019. I will be showing up on the west coast one more time with Mitch Cook for our annual Portland Rose City Comic Con, and potentially I will be going down south to visit the family and do a show with them.

It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen a lot of my friends at the shows I go to, but I just want you to know I haven’t disappeared but I’ve been thinking about you and I’ve been missing you. I will have lots of new books to show you and talk about, and I want to find out what you’ve been doing as well. Feel free and reach out on social media, if you just want to catch up, otherwise I’ll see you soon!

Fan Expo 2017

It’s that time of year again! Fan Expo the big Canadian Comic Con Kahuna is coming to Toronto, and with that I’ve got some new books for you all to check out as well as my annual Monster Print Series number 7! You can find me with all these great new products at table A254.

Come see me at table A254 in Artist Alley!
Come see me at table A254 in Artist Alley!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First off is Saltwater Issue 2. This issue continues with our Mars Colony Alpha base realizing that the Earth is still around and the people on the big blue planet may indeed be alive and kicking. Meg is still questioning everything that has happened, while the consequences of the colonists decision not to find out what happened to the Earth starts to weigh down on them, especially to one astronaut in particular!

If you can’t make it to Fan Expo, you can always order the comic book online by going to

Kika Mika Comics . Did I mention that Saltwater Issue 1 has been nominated for a Joe Shuster Gene Day Award for Self Publishing?!

The Mars Colonists find out the truth about the Earth!
The Mars Colonists find out the truth about the Earth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up is Polybius Dreams Chapter 1. Writer Ben Grisanti, colourist Ester Salguero and myself have been working hard to get you the first of 4 parts to this horror tale of broken innocence in the small sleepy town of Autumn Hill. What is this Polybius Dreams video game that when played slowly drives people insane? Where did it come from and how will it effect the lives of Pat, Mike and Paul, three best friends who’s lives will forever be changed after the video game starts creeping into their dreams. This 36 page Fan Expo exclusive is limited to just 25 copies and has a special interview about me. Plus Ben Grisanti will be around to sign as well!

Pick it up while you can as we are not planning on printing any more books for Chapter 1 (unless you donated to our Kickstarter) until all 4 chapters have been finished. We’ll be doing another Kickstarter for Chapter 2 starting on September 29th, so go to Hypnotic Dog Comics to find out more! Or go to Thunderclap to check out how you can help us with our campaign!

First of 4 chapters of this horror story about best friends Mike, Pat and Paul and their corrupted innocence when a video game they play starts to creep into their dreams.
First of 4 chapters of this horror story about best friends Mike, Pat and Paul and their corrupted innocence when a video game they play starts to creep into their dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally Monster Prints is back with Series 7. We’ve got a new version of Frankenstein called Frankenstein and his Fiend, Dracula’s Daughter and a semi-sweet Quasimodo the Hunchback of Notre Dame, being terrorized by the villagers. Enuff Said!

Frankenstein's-Fiend-webDracula's-Daughter-webQuasimodo-web

 

 

Guest at Toronto Comic Con and Polybius Dreams Kickstarter launch

Toronto Comic Con is a great Informa Canada  show, with Kevin Boyd and his team running things spectacularly. I had great neighbors with Ian Flynn and Aleah Baker (writers on Sonic The Hedge Hog) to my right and Greg Hyland (of Lego fame) and Ken Wheaton (of Simpsons fame) to my left. It was my first Canadian show of the year and I’m always happy to see everyone that I hadn’t seen since Fan Expo in September. I got a good hall of comic books at the show as well; Sonic The Hedge Hog (Ian Flynn), 4th Planet (Fred Kennedy) Gladiasaurs (A Shay Hahn), Kronk (Marvin Law and Phil McClorey) Bridge Builders Creed (Shawn Daley) Neon Black (Kevin Briones) as well as a few others. Check them out if you get a chance.

IMG_1107

 

 

 

 

 

 

I launched the Kickstarter for Polybius Dreams at this show with a special black and white Ashcan of the first 17 pages of the 1st 32 page issue of the 4 part series. Ben Grisanti, the writer, came up on Saturday and schmoozed the hell out of everyone to let them know about this great story of horror, murder and arcade games, all set in upstate New York in the mid 80s. Ester Saguero is doing a fantastic job of colouring the book. We’ll be running the KS until mid May so the next show where you’ll be able to grab these limited edition ashcans for Polybius Dreams will be at Indiana Comic Con, April 14-16. 17361514_10155166338258417_6345748582276353562_nPolybius DreamsScreen Shot 2017-03-30 at 11.41.48 AM

16938603_10155097518028417_4326281788137990011_n

 

Saltwater Issue 2 Process shots

Screen Shot 2016-12-15 at 12.49.23 PM
Saltwater Issue 2

Here are some various process shots of the pages from Saltwater Issue 2, written by Mitch Cook and illustrated by me. We’ll be premiering the 2nd issue in September at Fan Expo 2017 in Toronto and Rose City 2017 in Portland Oregon.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 8.19.04 PM
Saltwater Issue 2
Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 2.12.18 PM
Saltwater issue 2
Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 9.15.50 PM
Saltwater Issue 2
Screen Shot 2017-02-14 at 4.48.41 PM
Saltwater Issue 2
Screen Shot 2017-02-24 at 4.40.25 PM
Saltwater Issue 2
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.

SW-pg10-11-web

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

Goldilocks-3-bears-web Jack-And-The-beanstalk-web Little-red-riding-hood-web

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.

 

 

laura-mccann-web

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.

Cisco-Live-web

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!