RAID! Pirate’s Plunder on KICKSTARTER!

The board game I’ve recently been hired to illustrate is called “Raid! Pirate’s Plunder” and it is currently being funded on Kickstarter!


The game and its first expansion pack (combat) is finished, but for it to come to fruition and go into manufacturing it has to reach its funding goal of $11,000 by the middle of May.

Each player takes on the role of a pirate captain in Black Bart’s armada and the object of the game is to carry off the biggest sum of loot while avoiding the Navy, even if it means coming to blows with your fellow pirates!

By contributing your money to the fundraiser at the $25.00 level you are guaranteed a copy of the game if it reaches it goal – and the cool thing about Kickstarter is that if a project fails to meet its goal *no one* is charged for their support.

At higher backer levels you can get one-of-a-kind rewards like original pirate-themed pieces of artwork by yours truly!

I’ve playtested the game with the folks at Boulder Board Game Company and I honestly think its a fun, elegant game that is easy to pick up and play while still having the strategy elements to keep it fun over time.

In short, if RAID! meets its goal the supporters’ money will go to make it a reality (and they get their games) and there is no risk if the goal isn’t met.

Ken Kokoszka Illustration on Facebook
Boulder Board Games Website

The Lady of Sacrifice


The goddess Freyja presides over many spheres. Her domains include love, fertility, sacrifice, and death. She taught the ritual magic of Seidr to the other Gods and she receives half of the dead who die in battle to take to live in her hall Sessrumnir. One of her roles is to oversee ritual sacrifice, one that she will continue to fulfill even after Ragnarok has ravaged the world.

Freyja wears a cloak of falcon feathers which gives her the ability to shapeshift and fly. She weeps tears that become gold and amber and around her neck is a dwarf-forged necklace called Brisingamen (gleaming torc or necklace).

Recent Works

Continue the Sacrifice, digital, 2013 (in progress)

Freyja’s Messenger, digital, 2013

Trollhunter, digital, 2013


Freyr and the Giants, digital, 2013ken_kokoszka_001

Orc Shaman, digital, 2013

Orc Shaman Redux! part 3

This is the final revision on my Orc Shaman digital painting from early 2012.

This consisted of a few more steps to finish it up. I layered on some transparent blues and violets to the fur trappings of the Orc’s clothing so emphasize the shadowed areas.


When I moved on to address the magic conjuration I went with some vibrant greens. I feel that this color choice created a very unnatural mood and was also quite arresting – similar to a poison dart frog that shows off its intense coloration as a sign that it is dangerous. I wanted a magic effect that was simultaneously thick and viscous, and ethereal so I combined blooming light areas with drips that employ a large value range. After the magic was finished I went over the figure with a final pass of green reflected light on the surfaces that face the spell and more violet to dramatize the shadows. Once all of this was complete I adjusted the values of the piece as a whole using the levels adjustment layer. I didn’t do anything too dramatic here, I mostly lightened the mid-tones a little bit.

Here’s the comparison again.


I think its very important to stand back and take stock of one’s progress as an artist every now and then.
I made this level of learning and improvement despite working and going to school full time for most of the interval. It serves as a reminder to myself  that there’s no excuse for not practicing or pushing myself – even if I don’t have as much time to devote to the craft as I would like, the time I do have is well spent.

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:

Until next time…

Find me on the web!
Ken Kokoszka Illustration website
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on Facebook
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on DeviantArt

Orc Shaman Redux!: part 2


From this point forward its almost all direct painting on a single layer. After working for a bit I noticed that the skin tone was leaning too far towards green. I wanted a more elephant-like chromatic grey so I dialed back the saturation across all of the skin. I’ve started on the fur texture of his garb as well which I think will be a long process of many layers to get the variation in tones that I’m looking for. Finally I got some photo reference for the feathers that hang from the head of the sphere so that I can get a more accurate shape and color on them.

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:

Until next time…

Find me on the web!
Ken Kokoszka Illustration website
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on Facebook
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on DeviantArt

The Professional Artist-Client Toolkit.

There are a mere four days left before the deadline on this project arrives and unless another $12,000 or so is raised it is going to die on the vine.

And in case you need more convincing, the legendary Todd Lockwood is involved.

Orc Shaman Redux! Part 1

A little over one year ago I created an Orc Shaman illustration for an Art Order challenge.

Orc Shaman

This is a good measurement of my skill level at the time. While I was proud of the finished product it wasn’t long before my skill level advanced past the level of finish that this piece shows off.

Since I’ve recently graduated from the Metropolitan State University of Denver and I now have a plethora of free time to devote to personal work I decided to go back and re-paint this illustration to bring it up to the level of other pieces in my portfolio such as my recent Troll Hunter.

I still feel that the initial sketch and line art are strong and hold up when compared to the rest of my work so I’m happy to use the same chassis.

One of the elements that I’m less satisfied with in the original is the over-exaggerated value contrast. As I moved into developing the lights and darks I tried to include more graceful transitions in the light .


As I developed the underpainting I tried to restrain my level of saturation – I can always pump up the vividness of the colors as I paint in the later stages. Here the colors are added in thin transparent layers so all of the initial line drawing is still visible throughout.


Now we are caught up to the piece as it stands currently. I have just begun to paint directly on top of the image with opaque colors. The original drawing gets covered up in most ares but there will be some places where it still shows through, even in the finished product. As I painted I toned down some of the more rapid value shifts even further and I am concentrating on keeping a matte finish in some areas. One of my nitpicks about the version from last year is that the colors in the entirety of the image seemed too glossy.


Next Time: more direct painting and some subtle glazes to get a rich variety of tones and hues throughout the image.

Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:

Find me on the web!
Ken Kokoszka Illustration website
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on Facebook
Ken Kokoszka Illustration on DeviantArt


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