MUSKRAT RAMBLINGS – Tuesday, August 24

Muskrat Ramblings
The Original Artwork Conundrum – or, see John Feel all Awkward and Self-Conscious
posted by John

Many folks have asked about buying original art, and it’s something I’ve never really done before. I’m not sure why, save that it’s always struck me as a bit of a weird thing. Perhaps it still freaks me out a little that people actually like my drawings enough to wish to have them hanging on their walls.

(I mean, for goodness sakes, don’t you people realize I draw characters with THREE FINGERS? I almost want to send you to the many great cartoonists who DIDN’T sleep through “The Fourth Finger 101″ class in college).

That said, you have no idea how much I love my readers, and feel eternally grateful to you all for letting me put food on my family’s table by drawing muskrats for a living.

So I’ve been trying to think of ways to overcome my naturally aversion to selling art, and come up with a few different ways that people who actually WANT Dork Tower and Munchkin and other stuff on their walls can actually get those.

For a start, I figured out a way to get really nice, glossy 8×10” prints done of Dork Tower comic strips. Now, Dork Tower art isn’t much to look at: it tends to appear quite unfinished, and I’m still not sure of a great way to add the text (which I do on computer – I’ve turned my handwriting into a font) to the originals. Here’s what an original looks like:

Original Dork Tower

Now, OK, if that’s the sorta thing you like, well, OK, maybe we can talk. But I’ll warn you right away: anything before 2009 is going to be PRETTY darned hard for me to track down. Between the move, and the fact that I’m not the most organized person in the world, chances are quite good I have no idea where it is.

HOWEVER, a nice, signed, glossy, framed print of a strip looks more like this:

Framed Dork Tower

MUCH better, no? (At lest it would be, if I wasn’t taking these shots with my crappy camera phone…trust me – it looks SPIFFY!)

I was thinking $40 for a signed print, plus postage; $50 for a framed, signed print, plus postage (postage would tend to be around $5 in these united states: more elsewhere). And possibly $200 for the original art, which would come WITH a signed color print.

Now, if you’re looking for something Munchkin, an average page of Munchkin drawings looks kind of like this:

Munchkin Originals

But what I’ve been doing is drawing SOME Munchkin cards larger, with an eye towards selling the original art. These will usually be 8×10″ or 10×14″, and tends to look like THIS, when framed:

Munchkin Originals

Munchkin Originals

Munchkin Originals

So what I’ll do is try and create a page which lists original Munchkin art for sale. Again, like Dork Tower art, anything drawn before 2009 is gonna be hella difficult for me to track down, and, honestly, I’d rather not even think about that for a year or two, as we unpack boxes and get organized in the new house.

Possible pricing for original Munchkin art? In my mind’s eye, I’m thinking $150 for an 8×10 piece, or $200 for a 10×14″ piece, framed. But again, high-quality signed prints will be available for $40-ish unframed, or $55-ish framed. (In fact, with the prints, I can just search my computer and maybe find an exact piece, should you want it. Also, I may from time to time put up smaller pieces, if I feel like cutting up a page of originals, for, say, $100 each (Warning in advance: few of the Munchkin pieces are colored. That tends to happen on Steve Jackson Games’ end).

I’ve also been doing some paintings: these are between 14×14″ and 18×18″, on canvas or wood, acrylic and sometimes mixed media, and I’ll have a couple for sale, from time to time. Hold your breath, because these I’ll probably only do for about $400-$600. But I don’t do many at all.

Fun and Profit in the Gaming Industry

Grendel's Less Brave Brother

Midnight Cow

One idea I’ve had, for those who want something VERY specific, is to take commissions to do paintings of certain Munchkin cards. I’d charge about the same as I do for the regular paintings, but I’d only do ONE painting of any given Munchkin card. For example, if you want the Gazebo, I’ll do you a Gazebo. But then, that’s it. NOBODY else gets a Gazebo. As there are about 3,000 Munchkin cards out there, I don;t think this will cause any heartbreak, but I also think it’ll be a way to make the paintings a bit more special for anyone who wants one.

Munchkin Waiting Fort Santa

I’m trying to come up with a way to do limited edition silk-screen prints. Especially of some of the pieces that I did for Louisa, and are not for sale. It would be nice if these could go for $50-$100 or so, but I haven’t priced them out yet.

Louisa's Giraffe


You, caricatured in the Munchkin style? I actually get asked for those fairly regularly. That’s on 10×14″ paper, and runs $100 per person, black and white, or $200 per person, color. (At conventions, the sketches tend to be quicker, rougher and – as always – free…but the set pieces turn out much, MUCH nicer. “Suitable for framing or wrapping fish,” as the saying goes…)


Now, LASTLY, I know this stuff is pricey (some of it very much so), and I actually feel a bit apologetic about that. OK, INCREDIBLY apologetic And all pretentious, an’ not thinkin’ my stuff’s worth very much at all, an’ shit. Blarg. So a cheaper option is needed. How’s this: if you’d like me to sign a book or a card or something, or do a sketch on a John Kovalic Draws Another Wandering Monster card, all you need do is pack it (along with a stamped, self-addressed return envelope), and send it to:

John Kovalic
Box 45063
Madison, WI 53711

And that’s, as always, always, ALWAYS free, and I’m very, very happy to do it. And if you catch me at a con, Sketches are ALWAYS free, there! (I just don’t offer that service through the mail, as it could take a ton of time away from my workday).

Anyway, none of this is set in stone. Just some thoughts. I’m hoping the various price levels, starting at “Free,” lets some folks get something that they may want, but doesn’t take too much time away from the basic work I have to do. So: a variety of options, at a variety of ranges.

Wall Art

And lord knows when I’m going to get the time to actually work on that original art web page anyway. So in the meantime, if any of this is of interest to you, just drop me a line at, and let me know.

posted by John


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