Krzysztof Gawronkiewicz graduated from the Faculty of Graphic Arts of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. His first comics date back to his time in primary school, when he would redraw the adventures of Tarzan and adapt television series such as Space 1999 into little comic books. He made his debut as an illustrator in Nowa Fantastyka/ New Fantasy magazine. He was born on 1st April, 1960, in Warsaw.
He came to the limelight as the author of the as-yet-unfinished comic book Burza (Storm), based on a script by Maciej Parowski. The first part was released in 1991, however, the most extensive part of it, which depicts an alternative history of the course of WWII after Germany’s failed attack on Poland, was published in 2004 in the anthology Wrzesień. Wojna narysowana (September: The War Drawn).
Gawronkiewicz also drew the famed series Mikropolis, serialised in Gazeta Wyborcza and based on a scenario by Dennis Wojda, who he got to know at the Academy of Fine Arts. The series was subsequently published in book form: the first entitled Przewodnik Turystyczny (Tourist Guide) in 2001, followed by Moherowe Sny (Mohair Dreams) in 2002. The latter won the gold medal at the sixth edition of the Advertising Creators Club competition, and one of its episodes entitled Krzesło w piekle (A Chair in Hell) won the Grand Prix at the International Festival of Comics in Łódź.
Another result of Gawronkiewicz’s collaboration with Wojda is an unfinished but already renowned comic book about Warsaw, Tabula Rasa, which was again published in Gazeta Wyborcza. Together, they also created the comic book Lena as their submission to the 2012 Comic Book Festival in Lyon.
In 2003, together with scriptwriter Grzegorz Janusz, he won the first edition of the European Comics Competition organized by Arte TV and Glénat Publishing, which resulted in them signing a contract with the French publisher for the publication of two volumes from the series Przebiegłe dochodzenie Ottona i Watsona (Otto and Watson’s Cunning Investigation) on the francophone market and in Poland. The first one, entitled The Essence, depicts an investigation that leads to the discovery of the meaning of life; the other, entitled Romanticism, is about a secret mission to revive the Polish national poets. The action of both comics takes place in Warsaw. Some critics consider The Essence to be one of the best Polish comics.
However, the author himself regards Achtung Zelig, published in 2004, as his magnum opus. The script was written by Grzegorz Rosiński's nephew, who gave himself the pseudonym Krystian Rosenberg for the purposes of this project. The comics depict the Holocaust in a dream-like, fairy-tale-esque way. The volume has also been published in France (coloured by Grażyna Kasprzak, pseudonym Graz). Gawronkiewicz also illustrated Marzena Sowa’s script Marzi about the Warsaw Uprising. The first part of the diptych Powstanie (Uprising) entitled Za dzień, za dwa (In a Day, or Two) was published in Poland, France, Belgium and Switzerland,
I need various artistic conventions to not get tired of drawing in the same style. The realistically drawn Storm stemmed from my fascination with French graphic designers: Moebius, Manara and Bilal. The script itself demanded such a convention. To some extent, the style of Mikropolis was accidental, for I received a commission for a satirical series. Thanks to stylistic and formal experimentation, I gained greater detachment and freedom, and I created Achtung Zelig. I do not like to constantly draw in one style. When looking for new characters and in order to get rid of the mannerisms of realistic drawing, I sketched with my left hand and with my eyes closed. It allowed me to abandon stereotypical thinking. It's also more healthy than taking hallucinogenic mushrooms, as Moebius did – said Gawronkiewicz in an interview for the Gazeta Studencka.
The artist has been awarded many times at the International Festival of Comics and Games in Łódź, including winning the Grand Prix twice. Achtung Zelig has been particularly well recognized at international festivals. He has twice taken part in the City Stories international comic workshop in Łódź, which resulted in the publication of an anthology. The Bulletin of Cartoons devoted one of its issues exclusively to his work. He has been published in magazines such as Nowa Fantastyka, Ślizg, AQQ, Wprost, Aktivist and Gazeta Wyborcza. He also works in advertising. His works have been shown in Paris, Berlin, Angouleme, Lisbon, Kyoto, Tel Aviv, Bratislava, Vienna, Brussels, Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław.
Author: Łukasz Chmielewski, December 2014, transl. GS