RFR page sketches

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Preaparation is the key small

In the beginning of RFR’s production Silver bought me a Moleskine storyboarding notebook which I started using right away to sketch out the first couple of chapters. Over time, as we had more and more of the story written out, I kept adding new chapters to it.

It’s full of scribbles, each uglier than the previous, only readable to me, even if just barely. Still, this notebook marks the first, and possibly most important stage in drawing a comic book: thumbnailing the story.

Thumbnailing is not about pretty pictures; it’s your roadmap and your comic’s visual plotline. It’s crucial to be prepared and ready, knowing your overall goals and each page’s content before you zoom in on the individual panels. It’s all about story pacing, and page composition and flow, already marking places for drama and suspense. This is where I decide between a silent, one panel page, and a ten panel, action packed sequence, or how to best compose the blacks and whites and lights and shadows that the comic is basically made out of.

You will add the character acting and nuances when you get to drawing the actual panels, but for storyboarding you’ll have to think more like a storyteller than a portrait painter. The key is to always understand how each page works with multiple pages forward and back. If you have this, 80% of your decision making is basically done.

Optimally, you’d have all your story written out by the time you start thumbnailing. This is one thing we learned from RFR: have a script or at least a plotline ready before you start drawing anything. Having to make changes in writing is much easier than having to decide to throw ten inked pages out the window because the story needs to go a different way after all.

All that said, I wanted to give you a little peak into this scribbled mess I’ve been calling “RFR thumbnails”:


The tale of two mugs

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I’d like to unveil our new and improved RFR Society6 store!

We’ve uploaded new posters – amongst which is the “Mushroom men” poster that was requested on facebook – but what we’re most giddy about are the mugs. Society6 does a great job with those; we know, because the first thing we did after uploading the designs was buying a couple of them.




Full disclosure, there was a disappointing mishap with the first two mugs we got: they arrived in a dozen tiny pieces – a ceramics slaughter! The mugs were clinking in one corner of the box and the meagre amount of bubble wrap sat in the other. Looked like someone at the warehouse was having a bad day. We contacted the store and they sent us new ones along with their apologies, this time securely packed and whole. No harm done.

Presently the broken mugs serve as pretty cool pen holders, but not before we had our fun with them:

We kinsugied the shit out of them!



It's not as easy as it looks...

It’s not as easy as it looks…



The store has more designs with mermen, mushroom men, cats, etc, and we’d love to see pictures if anyone buys some of the other mugs! A photo will always beat a mockup picture in a store :)





Twitter me at @KaijaRudkiewicz

How a Chinese brush is made?

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This morning a question popped into my mind: could I make my own brushes?

I have a tendency to try to make as many things as I possibly can on my own instead of buying them. Almost half of our wardrobe is made by me, I love making pickles, muesli, and some toiletries like deodorants and lip balms from scratch, I’ve started growing my plants from seeds instead of buying them, buttons, jewellery, tinctures, you name it.

So, now that you know about my obsession with DIY, you will understand that making my own brushes is not that far of a leap.

I started googling and finally found what I was looking for. And the answer is a resounding NO; I definitely won’t be able to make my own brushes :D

And here’s why:


This series of videos kept me mesmerized easily for over half an hour. And although the training, knowledge, and the tools required to make a perfect brush far surpass any time I could possibly commit to mastering this skill, I’m happy I got to see the process. If anything, learned to appreciate good quality brushes even more.

Check out this master at work, and if you know of any other similar resources and glimpses into someone’s craft, please shoot them my way either on facebook, twitter, or in the comments below!


Kick-ass women in history

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I haven’t written in here for a while, and lately the weight of keeping the blog alive has been on Silver’s shoulders. His last post about ancient history finally gave me an idea to continue the history streak, and gather and present a few kick-ass stories of some kick-ass women from history.

But first, let me go through a little tangent before we get to all the ass-kicking:

In secondary school I had a history teacher who acted out in front of the class everything he taught. He added drama, flare, and comedy to historical events, basically translating them to us on an emotional level. Everyone loved going to his classes and no one had problems keeping their grades up.

By contrast, my grades plummeted in high school, when another teacher, looking like a bored toad behind her desk, barked out dates and events at the equally bored looking class.

History is an amazing source of inspiration for a storyteller. Not only does it offer precedents for hypothetical situations you’re trying to figure out, but if you dig deeper you realise that there’s multiple stories to be told for every event recorded, all of them coloured with emotions: tempers running hot, nostalgia, greed, joy, guilt, love.

Striving for objectivity when recording history is important, but I personally find it boring. From the perspective of telling stories, objectivity serves as little more than just a clinical dissection of time. But when you tell a story from the points of view of different people – or for a bigger picture: from the points of view of different cultures – you’ll end up with a huge spectrum of experiences and interpretations.

Unfortunately, one point of view omitted in most history books is the female perspective. For obvious reasons, women didn’t play the leading roles in most major historical events, and as a result many interesting stories have been left untold.

Luckily, our best friend Wikipedia doesn’t discriminate as much as our primary education, and we are able to read about countless kick-ass heroines. I wanted to introduce you to a few, that I’m itching to model some future story-characters on:


Julie D’Aubigny (1673-1707) aka Mademoiselle Maupin or La Maupin

Julie D’Aubigny had a life full of passionate affairs, opera performances, illegal duelling (during which she almost always dressed as a man), running from the law numerous times, and setting a convent on fire to rescue her lover from nundom. The latter story is my personal favourite.

With a life so vibrant and erratic, Julie’s story just begs to be told. Read more on Wikipedia!


Olga of Kiev (c.890-969) aka Saint Olga

Olga was the Queen regent of Kievan-Rus, ruling on behalf of her son, Svyatoslav, for 18 years. In order to preserve her son’s throne, she refused suitors from the neighbouring, hostile tribe, killing one group by trapping and burning them alive, and burying alive another group. Rest of the hostile tribe she invited for a mourning-feast, got them drunk and had 5000 of them killed. Whoever was left alive was begging for mercy at this point, but Olga had pigeons fly to their villages, dispersing sulphur from bags attached to their legs, and burned everything down, sulphur making the fire unquenchable.

More about Olga here!


Ching Shih (1775–1844)

Ching Shih was one of Asia’s strongest pirates, who terrorized the South China Sea. She was undefeated all her life, commanding a fleet that is estimated to go as high as 80,000 men, and was one of the only few pirates who retired from piracy by the end of her career.

She started out as a Cantonese prostitute, captured by pirates, eventually marrying the notorious pirate captain, Cheng I. After Cheng’s death she worked hard to rise to power and take his place, cultivating relationships and making herself indispensable to the huge fleet. Once in the leadership position she set up and ruled by tight rules, writing down a code of laws with severe consequences to prevent looting friendly villages, setting down strict distribution of the loot, and prohibited rape (the pirates were only allowed to have sex with the women they captured if they took them as wives/concubines and remained faithful to them).

Read the full Wikipedia article for more detail.


Stories like these make you realise that even Game of Thrones can sometimes feel tame next to reality.


And I’d also love to hear about your favourite historical figures and craziest stories, male or female. Contact me on Twitter, Facebook, or comment below :)






Creature concept and one day free Amazon promotion

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First of all, let me start by letting you know that today Amazon has a one day free promotion for Daughters of the Witch Queen. Go get it while it’s still possible!

You can read the story on either your Kindle-device, or on Amazon’s browser-reader at http://read.amazon.com/, or on any Apple or Android device that has the Kindle-app installed.

As you may have noticed, we love telling stories through pictures. And, as you may have noticed also, even though the next project we’re working on (Daughters of the Witch Queen) is a novel, we’ve been creating concepts and illustrations for the story as much as time allows. But it’s not just all about the pictures: we’re taking on a mindset of sprinkling information in with them, and widening the world beyond the story we’re creating.

And for anyone who’s not interested in the story itself, these pictures can act like puzzle pieces to the world; a little random at first, but soon you’ll be able to piece together the big picture.

_White Lie_SMALL




Some unplanned sketching

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On Friday Silver found an app for drawing on your iPad, and I’ve taken to it for some reason. For two days straight, instead of absent mindedly picking up the iPad and playing a round of Alto or Two Dots, I’ve gone to draw a new sketch. The app is called “Forge” and it’s been really fun to play around with, so I thought I’d share the love:



If you happen to pick up Forge, I’d love to see what you’ve created with it :) And if you’re interested, I’ll be posting these sketches regularly on instagram and twitter.






Daughters of the Witch Queen announcement

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edit: advance reader copies gone! Thank you for your help guys.


Today we’re announcing a new book project called Daughters of the Witch Queen.

We’ve been working on this story for the past two years alongside of Run Freak Run, and what seems like a million rewrites, violent headaches, and many cries, this story has come to a place that we can start sharing it.

We’re especially proud of it because it’s something quite different for us. It’s a serialized novel that we hope to release to you in parts, like TV episodes, as a series of e-books – all the while continuing to work on and deliver Run Freak Run to the finale it deserves.

But we’re also artists, so this novel will come to you with a mighty package of concept art, info-graphics, and illustrations. It is a project in which we hope to marry our two loves, creating stories and creating art.

We want you to be part of this experience! The first part of this serialized novel is finished and ready to be released on the 1st of March on Amazon for $2.99. But before that happens we’re releasing the first two chapters to you for free. This blog post contains a link below. We hope you enjoy them!
On that note, we’re also looking for early reviewers who would receive a free e-book of Daughters Of The Witch Queen Part 1 for a promise to leave an honest Amazon and/or Goodreads review after reading it.

This is in no way a request to satisfy our vanity but a means to help us get our feet into a totally new distribution system. Amazon’s search engine works, among other things, by giving the more reviewed items priority in search results, and getting some honest early reviews will be immensely helpful to us to spread the word of the book. Not to speak of giving people a better understanding of what to expect from the story and helping everyone to make a more informed purchase.

So, if you want to read Daughters Of The Witch Queen for free, then send us an e-mail to contact [at] runfreakrun.com requesting a copy, and we will send you the e-book within couple of days. All we’re asking for return is an honest Amazon review: a star rating and a few words whether you liked it so far or not. We can handle a group of hundred volunteers before we’ll get overwhelmed, so we have to operate on first come, first serve basis. We hope you understand. :)

The first part of Daughters of the Witch Queen is roughly 1-1,5 hour long reading experience, depending on the speed of the reader. As mentioned before, the release happens on the 1st of March, so that means you’ll have about two weeks to give it a read and rate it after the release :) We hope this sounds like a fair enough exchange, and we will be eternally grateful to the first hundred that wants to take a stab at it!

Now back to the sneak peak :) You’ll find the first two chapters along with a new set of illustrations below. Click on the “Click To Read!” button to go to the Google Drive document with the chapters. We hope you enjoy reading them!



Daughters of the Witch Queen part 1 – teaser

Click to read!








To sum up!

We are working on a serialized novel, released in segments of 1-1.5 hour reading experiences. DotWQ is planned as s 9-part story (at least). We’re releasing it in small segments because we enjoy this constant interaction with our readers, and we’d love to keep it up, instead of writing in silence for the next three years.

Each part will be released on Amazon for the price of $3. We’re going to do our best to delight and entertain you, and to earn you as our readers.


If you’d like to help us create this book, then please become one of our advance readers. You’ll get a free copy of Daughters of the Witch Queen part 1, and we only ask that you’ll leave us an honest review on Amazon/Gooderads. We can only handle up to a hundred helpers, so first come, first serve.


To participate, send us an email at contact@runfreakrun.com


We look forward to this ride with you :)



Silver and Kaija


Drawing On Everything

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If you don’t know Shantell Martin you should check her out. She is a New York based artist, who is known for her black and white marker drawings. They adorn anything from walls to furniture, objects and clothes, and are often done live in front of an audience.

I saw her Skillshare class: Draw On Everything, where she talks a lot about her process. Hearing artist’s thought processes is almost always fascinating, but Shantell’s was particularly eye opening: “Everything is one big mistake, and you’ve got to enjoy the process.”

Personally I’m tired of having a stick up my butt about not making mistakes when drawing. So I’m creating space for spontaneous drawing on anything that stays still for enough time to fill it with squiggles.

Armed with Krink pens, I’m taking the first step of spontaneous doodling by filling my drawing board:


Any permanent marker should do, but the Krink pens have been perfect for this. They write on most surfaces, dry quickly, and don’t come off. Not easily at least.


This first attempt didn’t go entirely without hiccups. You’ll notice in the video there’s a tad longer pause at about 01:30. That’s me turning to Silver and asking if he knows if you can clean out permanent markers easily because I think I ruined my drawing board, and Silver answering: probably not, time to go nuts. And I did. And I think I understand Shantell’s message. Sure it looked horrible at some point if perfection was the goal, but when you relax, give up on perfection, and instead just create a tapestry dedicated to mistakes, the outcome is impressive.

I love my new drawing board:


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I love how other drawings look against the texture. It creates cool synergy.

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Shantell Martin: http://www.shantellmartin.com/


Krink pens here!: http://shop.krink.com/





tweet tweet me @KaijaRudkiewicz

The Original RFR

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This might be confusing to you, but I promise if you read on you’ll find out why I put RFR and a gif of a cube shaped cat in one picture ;)

Titles are terrifying.

They’re supposed to be one or more words that will represent everything that your hundreds of pages of work have been trying to get at.

And it’s a paralysing prospect: in addition to being representative of the whole point of your work you want the title to convey the tone of the work, right genre, and hopefully not be too much of a mouthful at the same time.

During the year we took to prepare RFR before launching, we went through at least a dozen titles for the comic, none of which made much sense after a few days of commitment. “NEXT! Ok, this one is good. No, what were we thinking? NEXT!” Some were going for a wild west vibe (not sure why), some were as broad as can be (“Witch hunt”), and most were so unmemorable that for the life of me I can’t recall them now.

And this leads me to “Run Freak Run”.

During my college years I used to have an Etsy shop where I sold plush toys sewn by me. It didn’t exactly take off, but it gave us a bit of pocket money to… well… eat something else than plain spaghetti with a drop of soy sauce on top for flavouring.

All the toys were these weird, cute, colourful monsters with tongues and brains coming out from behind zippers and with “X” to mark their buttholes.

But the shop needed a name.

My approach to finding that name was to rifle through my seven shoeboxfuls of cd’s and brainstorm based on the song names. A mash-up of “Run Boy Run” (I can’t remember by whom, I’m pretty sure it was in a “Punk-O-Rama” cd) and “Freaks in uniforms” by Horrorpops became “Run Freak Run”.

I stopped running the shop when I got a full time job. The shop was empty for couple of years gathering virtual dust, the toys gathering actual dust, until in the year before launching the comic Silver said something along the lines of: What about reusing Run Freak Run? We already have a website for it, a shop set up, and it fits the story surprisingly well. That doesn’t actually sound like Silver at all, but you get the gist.

For better or for worse we went with it.


To give you a feel for what RFR was originally I photographed the toys we still have in the apartment and pulled some pictures from Etsy sales history.

I hope you enjoyed hearing this somewhat unusual origin story. How we came up with the comic itself is a tale for another day.


Group picture. There’s more, but they’re stashed in the cellar somewhere. 

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These pictures are straight from the Etsy shop pages. We’ve come a long way with photographing products!



Don’t forget to enter the Winter art givaway by signing up for our newsletter! More info here.


20 days later

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20dayslater_header copy

Ever wondered what happens to neglectful people’s pumpkins after Halloween? Me neither, but today I got to see it anyway. Today, after 20 days, they finally caught my eye while walking past the balcony. First the toothless grandpa grin that one of them was sporting, and then to my horror the mangled face of the other’s.

I gotta say, the wrinkles and the mouths frothing with mould make the pumpkins quite photogenic, but needless to say, after taking couple of pictures they served their last purpose in life.

Can’t wait until next year for a repeat performance!

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