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To Better Know a Renegade: Donovan Yaciuk

Sean Tonelli - Friday, November 10, 2017

What do you get when you take some of the hardest working creators in the comic industry, stick them in subarctic conditions, steal their hockey team, give them back their hockey team then ask them to come up with the most ballistic, original and humorous comic starring a pig? Well, you’d get Spacepig Hamadeus. If you’re reading this introduction and are still a little confused, then it must be time for…

To Better Know a Renegade! Featuring Donovan Yaciuk. Since 1998, Donovan Yaciuk has done colouring work on books published by Marvel, DC and Dark Horse comics. Donovan honed his craft as a part of the legendary, now-defunct Digital Chameleon colouring studio. Donovan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) from the University of Manitoba. He lives in Winnipeg, MB Canada, with his wife and daughter. Recent works include Pemmican Wars (A Girl Called Echo), Firestarters and John Shiwak: Patriot for Highwater Press, and appeared in Sequential Survivance by Michigan State University Press.

Sean: How did you get started as an artist?

Donovan: I made the first Spacepig Hamadeus books when I was 10 years old!  I did a 12 issue run, that ended with a Secret Wars II crossover (because is was 1985!) So I've been creating comic books for a long time.  I got a Fine Arts (Honours) degree in 1998, and went straight into learning the art of colour at Winnipeg's Digital Chameleon studio.  I owe that place a huge debt for getting me my start.

Sean: Who or what gives you the most inspirado?

Donovan: As far as colourists go, Matt Wilson, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Nadine Thomas and Elizabeth Breitweiser are inspirations whose work I frequently admire and reference. Matt Wilson's work on Paper Girls almost brings me to tears, it's so deceptively simple and effective. In terms of writing, I love Stephen King and John Carpenter. Edmond Hamilton's Captain Future and Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières Valerian have their DNA in my Spacepig adventures. And Jim Shooter is king.

Sean: What are some secrets to your creative process?

Donovan: I wish I knew, but they stay secret to me too.  It's worked so far, so I'll let them lie in quiet until they decide to go on strike.

Sean: Any upcoming projects that you would like to tell readers about?

Donovan: Pemmican Wars: A Girl Called Echo is being released this month by Highwater Press, written by Katherena Vermette and illustrated by Scott Henderson.  I coloured this graphic novel, and it's made me flex my colour muscles into areas they've never gone before.  I'm really excited to see it hit print.  I'm also working on Gladiators by Julian Darius and Steven Legge for Martian Comics, and a gorgeous new series called Titanium Star by Victor Gischler, Patrick Macchi and Wes Locher.  At this summer's FanQuest in Winnipeg, I hope to release two new Spacepig Hamadeus stories as well.

Sean: What are some of your favourite tools for being so creatively awesome?

Donovan: I do all of my colouring in Photoshop, although I've recently started using an iPad Pro to help me lay down flats.

Sean: Advice for up and comers/bitter rivals?

Donovan: Naivety and ignorance can be valuable friends.  Once you start climbing a project's ladder, you can't stop to think about all the things working against it.  Be ignorant of the cost. The time. The effort. Just do it.  Because there's a million reasons why you shouldn't, and any reasons why you SHOULD aren't FULLY apparent until the story is released into the world. So just put your head down and go.   

Also, for the love of Santa, don't colour and letter your books yourself. Pay your colourists and letterers well. They are more essential to your storytelling than you can possibly imagine, and unless you've really done your homework and put nt a year or eight of experience, you shouldn't be doing it.

Donovan’s Spacepig Hamadeus is coming soon to our VOICES imprint starting November 22nd 2017. In the meantime you can check out some of Donovan’s work HERE