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HELLO!

Remember me? it's been quite some time... 

September 2017, to be more accurate since I last wrote. Before composing this update I took a moment and reread the one from 2017. It was full of such hope and enthusiasm - and my how the ensuing years took a turn. Not a necessarily negative one - though there were some lows - it was just an unexpected detour.

THE QUICK AND DIRTY...

To quote my good friend Karl Kerschl "I’m changing the way I think about, create, and distribute my work."

Many of you signed up for this newsletter as fans of Kukuburi expecting related updates regarding the comic. There's more on Kukuburi below but I'll be expanding this newsletter to focus on all my independent projects as well as Nadia and her friends to curate a direct relationship with all of you. I hope you stay and enjoy the adventure.

WHERE I'VE BEEN...

Following my prior newsletter, I took off to Japan for a month in the fall of 2017. I took part in a couple conventions in Tokyo, visited an amazing custom hot-rod and motorcycle show in Yokohama, and toured the southern length of Japan exploring such great cities as Nagasaki, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Miyajima, and many more. I had the time of my life, and returned in time for Christmas with friends and family, met someone wonderful, and celebrated New Year's eve with enthusiasm for the future.

Come 2018, art unfortunately was not to be my main focus. The ensuing years saw me become more of a renovator as I literally, with the help of some friends, built out our new RAID studio location (as we were forced to leave our original location and the contractor we had hired went AWOL) all while dealing with a tragic family accident at the end of that same year. 2019 Saw more renovations and building, fractured friendships due to the aforementioned, as well as strengthened bonds. It was a trying time. Being a freelance artist seemed like a previous life. 

But things were improving, and I stepped into 2020 restarting Kukuburi and working on a then 'secret' project called Stillwater with Chip Zdarsky. The future was bright... and then Covid hit, and the whole world went topsy turvy.

it's now 2021, Covid and quarantine lockdowns are still a thing, but I remain positive.

(I promise future newsletters will be more succinct - it's been almost three years after all!)

NOW, LET ME CATCH YOU UP ON THE FUN STUFF...

STILLWATER
"Nobody dies. In the town of Stillwater, that’s not just a promise. It’s a threat."

That's the tagline for the series I embarked on with with friend (and RAID co-founder) CHIP ZDARSKY. It's a horror / thriller series where we explore the curse of immortality in a small town setting. It's published monthly by Skybound and I'm excited to say that the first TPB collecting issues 1-6 is out this week! If you'd like to check it out, we have copies available in our RAID ONLINE STORE with an optional signature and / or remark (a small doodle) by me. 
 
KUKUBURI
I restarted Kukuburi in January of 2020 (on both its original website and on Instagram) with a 3 weeks on, 1 week off schedule.  It was working smoothly - and then Covid hit and all went to hell. Drawing became a very difficult endeavour. It seemed rather silly in a world where thousands were suffering and dying. Instead, I focused on the tangible - finishing the aforementioned RAID studio renovations, and opening our public-facing RAID comic book art gallery and cafe with a small retail shop.

It felt good, but I missed drawing, missed creating.

As I so excitedly proposed in my 2017 newsletter - I want people to hold a copy of Kukuburi in their hands before the year is out. I'm making that statement again and holding myself to it. I've been drawing new pages in the interim and will begin updating again come late spring, with a plan to launch a Kukuburi Kickstarter come fall. More on that below...
RAID PRESS
We founded RAID Press in 2017 to create an avenue for RAID and its creators to publish their independent works. We've been producing yearly anthologies showcasing our talented family and in 2020 we took over the dormant Mr. Monster Kickstarter from Comic Syrup Press to bring the project to fruition. I was thrilled to design this book and contribute some original art as well - see below for a sneak peek! Backers have received their digital editions of the book - and we'll soon have physical copies distributed and available in our RAID ONLINE STORE as well!
 
A sneak peak of my pinup in the Mr. Monster collection --- a special coloured print will soon to be available at RAID.world!
SHORT STORIES
As mentioned RAID has been publishing yearly anthologies showcasing the talent of our wonderful creators. I have had had the pleasure of not only designing these books but also contributing a short story to each of the 3 volumes, with the fourth just around the corner! I use these "shorts" (I use quotations as my story in RAID 3 is 20 pages long!) to play with and develop ideas I've had ruminating in the back of my head. I'm excited to say 'PAYASO' from RAID ONE is currently being developed into an original graphic novel! More on that in future newsletters as things develop. Below are the title pages from each of my RAID anthology contributions; Payaso, Till Love Do Us Part, and Ave Atque Vale.

if you haven't checked out our RAID anthologies - you can snag a 3-volume bundle deal with free shipping at our RAID online store. 
KICKSTARTER & PATREON
I have been working as a freelance artist in a variety of illustrative industries for over 25 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed my adventures, but my thoughts always return to my humble beginnings in webcomics and independent publishing. A decade ago the landscape was very different - and it was nigh impossible to survive on such things. But times have changed and things like Kickstarter and Patreon allow a direct relationship between creators and their fans.

I'd like to invite your input as I move forward in this regard ---
  • My first Kickstarter will be later this year to produce the first volume in series of Kukuburi books. I'll be running the Kickstarter through The RAID StudioWhat would people like to see beyond just the book as potential campaign tiers?
  • I have been developing a Patreon to give me the time and accountability to produce other developing content; this would include future Kukuburi, as well as the currently developing Payaso OGN, as well as insights into professional projects as well. Would people be interested in a Patreon - and if so, what sort of tiers/content would you like to see?
If you've gotten down this far, thank you for reading. I hope you stick around for future monthly newsletters, the content I plan to share here, and the stories I look forward to creating.

All the best,


Ramón.
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