Production Blog

Spacepig Hamadeus at the Calgary Expo! (Table C04)

Spacepig Hamadeus books will be available at the 2013 Calgary Expo, which starts today! Here are some of the cool things you can pick up;

  • A signed and numbered, limited edition Calgary Expo exclusive print drawn by Justin Shauf and coloured by Donovan Yaciuk!
  • Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea (3rd printing), featuring a brand new cover and 12 pages of additional content, including the Spacepig Hamadeus Encyclopedia, all drawn by Shane Nitzsche!
  • Spacepig Hamadeus versus the Spectre General, featuring three stories drawn by Evan Quiring, Justin Shauf, and Shane Nitzsche!
  • Spacepig Hamadeus trading cards!
  • Posters, including a fantastic piece featuring Tentaclor and the Intergalactic Crime League!



Praise for RA Comics Direct

The last two printings of my all-ages Spacepig Hamadeus comic books were printed by
RA Comics Direct out of Elk Grove, California. I’m absolutely stunned by the quality of printing, customer service and delivery speed that they provide, and have to take some time and space on this site to rave about them.

The previous printer I’d used, (who shall remain unnamed) never returned calls, took 6 weeks to ship to Canada, and NEVER followed through with a promise to place Spacepig Hamadeus on their online estore.

I thought that was just par for the course for companies that print for self-publishers like myself. But my friends Brian and Ronda at RSquared Studios had recently had a positive experience with RA Comics Direct, so I decided to give them a shot.

The positives:

  • I cold called RA Comics Direct, and the guy who answered to phone gave me all the time in the world, and answered all my questions with ease.
  • I submitted my file for printing on a Monday morning. By Monday afternoon, I got a proof for review in my inbox.
  • I approved the proof that night via email. Within minutes of sending my email late Monday evening, I got a personal response from Jim Anderson in sales telling me what to expect next. Do these guys ever sleep?
  • Tuesday afternoon, I got notice that my books shipped. Less than 48 hour turnaround time. Phenomenal.
  • A tracking number on the package – I knew exactly when to expect my package, and where it was every day in between shipping and delivery.

The cons:

  • The only con I can think of is that I can’t put out new issues of my book fast enough to give these guys more business.

If you’re a self publisher and you’re not already giving these guys your business, what are you waiting for? RA Comics is going to make your life infinitely easier.

Highly recommended.


Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea cover process!

Donovan Yaciuk: Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea has just gone to press for a third printing, this time with more pages and a brand new cover by artist Shane Nitzsche. This blog post is going to examine the process of creating this cover from start to finish. Shane is going to walk us through the process of conceiving and drawing his spectacular new cover art! Take it away, Mr. Nitzsche!

Shane Nitzsche: The art direction for this new cover was fairly wide open, but Donovan suggested that I search the story and come up with something representative of a scene within. More often than not, even if a single idea is crystallized in my mind, I will rough out a few options for Donovan to choose from, and in doing so I like to make them as different from one another as possible.


Here’s some options. I like them all for different reasons. The left one is simple, bold, and tells the story in just a few elements, and is an effects extravaganza for you what with the burning and the flashing and the sparking, and maybe a chance to play with reflections in the canopy glass…. The middle one I enjoy the scope of, and the tension is heightened by the smoking cannon and the shadow under the plummeting ship signifying it’s mere feet from “ka-splat”. The right one was a total afterthought. In fact I had the page in the scanner when this flash of inspiration came to me, and now it’s my favorite. 🙂 It’s extra scribbly compared to the other two, but the idea is a scuffed and injured SP is walking away from the crashed ship (carrying a “lifeless” ELA which tickles me to no end), and he’s just drawn his gun because he heard a shuffle in the palm trees behind him. We’d see tiny little shapes of martians, but not enough to give anything away.


Once we settled on a direction, I sized the sketch to the proper ratio, enlarged it, and turned the lines pale blue to give me an unobtrusive guide for the next step. More on that in a moment, but first…Although the composition was action packed, fraught with intrigue, and we both really liked it, there was something bugging me about it. After staring intently for a while it dawned on me, and a single keystroke made all the difference in the world! Mirroring the image set the action “moving in the right direction”, and somehow even heightened the danger!

Then the real work began. I printed out the doodle and began penciling. In most cases, a lot of re-thinking and refinement happens in this stage, so that’s why it helps to change the lines to a different color and make them very light, so I don’t get confused which lines are which. Luckily this composition was pretty well laid out from the beginning so corrections were minimal, and I was able to arrive at a finished piece fairly effortlessly. It also helps that I know these characters like the back of my hand by now, but that just comes with repetition.


Satisfied with the final drawing, I scanned it in again for posterity, and for the distinct possibility that an un-fixable mistake or mishap might occur in the inking to follow. One can never scan too many iterations of their work! Sometimes I will put the penciled work away, print out yet another blue-hued version and work from that, but I find that there’s a quality about inking directly over pencils (and hand smudges for that matter) that I enjoy, so that’s what I did in this case. Because I put in the extra time to be meticulous with my pencil lines, inking was a cinch. Some artists are better than others at interpreting their own sketchiness into confident black lines. I am not one of them. 🙂


Of course scanning followed the inking process, and then a little bit of Photoshop “white-out” treatment to fix errant lines, and then it was sent off to Donovan for the sparkle!

Donovan Yaciuk: I remember being completely blown away by this cover when it hit my inbox! I love Shane’s clean style and composition! Like any inspiring art, I took one look at it and was able to see it finished in my minds eye.

The first step was to lay down the flat colours, and map out the general colour scheme.


Next up is the modelling phase, where the actual digital painting comes into play. My style on this book is inspired by the traditionally animated Disney cartoons of the past. Backgrounds and places were all lushly painted, while main characters were painted using flat colours and colour shapes. For example, you can see digital brush strokes used to paint the front of the ship in the lower right hand corner, as well as in the fire in the left hand corner. On the other hand, Spacepig Hamadeus and 6-ELA are coloured using flat colours, with no apparent brush strokes.


I’ve also added some red and orange glows to the painting over the flames in the lower left and upper right hand corners, which emphasize the flames. Placing them in opposite corners has sort of sandwhiched the main characters in the middle of the page, accentuating the claustrophobic scene.

Once I got Shane’s approval, I merely added the book’s title and logos, and it was ready for print!


ANNOUNCEMENT: Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea – Third Printing!

COVER-Ambush-3rd-printing-thumbnailA third printing of Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea will be released at this April, with brand new content!

The first two printings have both sold out. This third printing will feature the original short story, a new cover by Shane Nitzsche (shown to the right), as well as the debut of the Spacepig Hamadeus Encyclopedia, featuring detailed character writeups, facts, sketches, and more!

Story, art, colours and letters by DONOVAN YACIUK
Spacepig Hamadeus is sent to the surface of Mars to help an old friend. But will he even get the chance to set foot on Martian soil?

Everything you need to know about inhabitants of the Spacepig Hamadeus universe, including favourites like Spacepig Hamadeus and 6-ELA, and brand new characters like King Kaluka, Schhuub the Unstoppable, and UD-40!

20 Pages / Rated G / $4.00

SOLD OUT: Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea!

cover_SH_0I’m pleased to announce that the second printing of Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea has sold out!

The first printing sold out shortly after it was released at the 2011 Central Canada Comic Con. A second printing of the book was ordered earlier this year, and as of this morning, all of those are gone too!

Clocking in at only four pages long, this book was extremely short – I’ve often joked that you could read it while holding your breath and not suffer any discomfort!

As such, I’d like to announce that I’ll be doing up a third printing of this book, and will be expanding it to include extra material! More news on that in a couple of months!

A huge thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy of this book and supported me on this adventure! I never imagined I’d be going back to the printer for a third run at this book!

WATCH: Creating a comic book page!

Spacepig Hamadeus Versus the Spectre General will be released at the 2012 Central Canada Comic Con on November 2, 2012!

In this production blog entry, we take a look at the 5 steps each page in the book goes through, from concept to finished page!

We’re going to look at the opening page to Dillo Dhatta and the Scarlet Harvest. Justin Shauf really outdid himself on this splash – that punch looks truly jaw shattering!

Below, we’ll see the page animate through 4 different stages:
1. Script
2. Pencils
3. Inks
4. Colours
5. Letters


ANNOUNCEMENT: Spacepig Hamadeus versus the Spectre General

01-SH_Spectre-COVERDon’t miss the next chapter in the Spacepig Hamadeus saga, Spacepig Hamadeus Versus the Spectre General to be released at the 2012 Central Canada Comic Con on November 2, 2012!

Unlike last year’s short prequel, Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea, this year’s book will be a full length release, featuring not one, not two, but THREE stories set in the Spacepig Hamadeus universe!


Three stories set in the Spacepig Hamadeus universe, for the price of one!

Tremb’axx and his brother Zebulor seek out the assassin who is killing their brothers and sisters, one by one! The answer may surprise them!

Dillo Dhatta is enslaved on the Captive Planet. How did he get there? And can he trust the warrior princess Siara?

The mystery attacker is revealed! But will Spacepig Hamadeus live to tell anyone? Plus, who, or what, is the Intergalactic Crime League?

32 Pages / Rated G / $5.00

Adam Zero crossover

The second chapter of the Adam Zero online comic strip, Gladiator, is complete!

The strip is written by Adam Zero writer and creator Marc Fletcher, and features art by Evan Quiring and colours by myself, Donovan Yaciuk! And for fans of Spacepig Hamadeus, this chapter featured the first crossover with everyone’s favourite adventuresome pig!

Evan Quiring is no stranger to drawing Hammy, as his work graced the cover to Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea! He brings his energetic art style to this chapter of Adam Zero! Here’s a shot of his rough pencils, side by side with the finished ink and colour drawing!


It has been an absolute blast to lend my character and colouring skills to this chapter of Marc Fletcher’s epic space adventure. Here’s hoping the same team can reunite to make the next chapter as exciting as this one!

Rock Me Hamadeus! The Video Game!

rock-me-hamadeus-01The latest issue of Yva Starling features a cool tip of the hat to Spacepig Hamadeus!

A great scene in the first issue of Yva Starling: Troubleshooter takes place in a darkened space arcade. In the background of a few shots can be seen an old stand up arcade cabinet, cleverly titled Rock Me Hamadeus!

I won’t lie to you… I’ve created several video games using Adobe Flash, and I’m very, VERY tempted to create a retro style arcade game by the same title, I just can’t think of what the game would be about! Perhaps a Guitar Hero ripoff?

If you’ve got any ideas, send them my way!

The full page can be viewed here.

In the meantime, I really need to get around to creating a “Friends of Spacepig Hamadeus” section on this site to feature so many of the other self published books put out by my friends. Near the top of the list would be RSquared Studios’ Yva Starling: Troubleshooter by Ronda Pattison and Brian Roe. Until then, I highly recommend you like both the Yva Starling and RSquared Studios pages on Facebook!

The entire, full length debut can be read for free at the following link: Yva Starling: Troubleshooter – Shopping Day, but wouldn’t you rather have it in print, so you can enjoy the feeling of real paper in your hands? If so, you can order a print copy here!

Yva Shopping Day page 15

Spacepig Hamadeus/Adam Zero Team Up

ADAM-ZERO-1The first full length issue of Spacepig Hamadeus is still a few months away, but very shortly he’ll be making some appearances in the Adam Zero web comic!

The strip is written by Adam Zero writer and creator Marc Fletcher, and features art by Evan Quiring and colours by myself, Donovan Yaciuk! Evan Quiring is no stranger to Hammy, as his work graced the cover to Spacepig Hamadeus and the Ambush at the Hourglass Sea!

Evan has graciously allowed me to post a scan of his rough pencils for the strip, showing Hamadeus in action. Seeing his work makes me envious. He’s got a great, fluid command of anatomy. This chapter of the Adam Zero saga is going to be a classic!

Adam Zero is a fantastic indie comic, and I’m very honoured to have my character involved in this team up!

Here’s the preview banner I designed! I’ll announce the launch of the strip on this website, and if you haven’t yet liked Spacepig Hamadeus on Facebook, here’s a good reason to do so!

Click the banner below to read the latest installment of Adam Zero, the Last Man of Earth!


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