Monday, December 11, 2006

Still Crazy After All These Years...

A couple weeks ago my grandma unearthed a very old piece of newsprint that held significant historic value to me. Given to her by a cousin of mine, it was the very first article ever written about me, dated May of 1987. Almost twenty-effin'-years ago. Back then, I was an introverted sixth grader at Shields Elementary with a noticable passion for drawing cartoons. A very kind and supportive librarian (love ya, Mrs. S.) brought wind of my artistic abilities to our local newspaper, The Township Times, and they did the following story on me:

Despite a couple misquotes (I never said I wanted to work for Marvel more than the Muppets. At age twelve I wanted nothing more than to work for the Muppets. And I can promise you I never told the reporter I liked the superhero "X-Man." X-Men, sure. But who the heck is X-Man?) and a woulda-been-better-off-left-out quote that while intended to make me look cute made me feel stupid (If 40 is old, then I'm eligible for retirement in the next eight years), this article was a real thrill for me back then. I especially like that they took my picture with my first drawing of Banzai Beaver, a character that I still use today.

Jump ahead roughly twenty years (a couple weeks ago, to be specific), and The Midland Daily News calls me up and says they want to do an article on me as their featured artist of the month for an entertainment magazine insert they produce for their paper. Let it never be said that networking and old college connections haven't yielded positive results in the life of the Foz. Anyway, I was interviewed the following week, and the end result ran in the news on early December of this year:

It was actually a very nice article; concise and with accurate quotes. And the photo of me has become one of my favorites, since it really wasn't posed and showed me in my natural environment, hunkered down behind my faithful old drawing board of the past seventeen years while scrawling out some inky monstrosity.

Looking at these two articles side by side, almost twenty years apart, I'm inclined to reflect on my life and career, and to consider my aspirations from 1987 and their status in my life in imminent 2007. I take note of the fact that, despite the addition of facial hair, glasses and college loans, I'm still that insecure introvert who hides behind his drawings. And I like that I'm still him. It means I still have hope and still have dreams. That I'm not through learning, exploring, and finding new things to fascinate and inspire me. I also take note of my accomplishments, the friends and allies I've brought into my fold (and whose fold I have been brought into), the love I've experienced, the life I've experienced, and all the fun, horror and excitement that adulthood has given me. Together, these two articles tell a very interesting and personal story. And now, onto the next chapter....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


In my thirteen-odd years of doing freelance work for people, I'd have to say that by and large, most of my clients have been pretty intelligent. They listen to my suggestions, find my rates reasonable to the services I provide and, once they've given a loose guideline of what they want, allow me to run with it free of interference to do what it is that I do best.

Then there's the small percentile that not only fell out of the stupid tree and hit every effin' branch on the way down, but managed to land abruptly in the stupid pond and get soaked right down to the marrow.

Without naming names, allow me to recount the story of one such client. We'll call them Dumbass University.

Dumbass contacted me months ago to draw caricatures for a small event held in their commons today. They'd seen my work firsthand from a previous caricaturing event that they'd hired me for. During that previous event I was handed a check midway through my contracted time. Not only was the check for half the amount I was contracted for, but someone else's name was on it. I immediately brought this to the attention of my contact person, who then scrambled to cut me a new check before my contracted time was up. Fortunately, all was rectified in time.

So when I got the call to do this new gig for Dumbass, I thought to myself, "How good are the odds that something that unabashedly ignorant could happen again?" I later found out that the answer was: "Very good."

Trying to forgo any unncessary mishaps this time around, I called up Dumbass University to make sure I was all set for the event, which was an hour and fifteen away from commencement. The person I spoke with said that, while they were ready for me, they hadn't received a contract from me yet.

FYI, I informed them, I sent out a contract the very same day I was requested to perform, at least two months back, and had also received confirmation from my contact person that same day that the contract was received and that everything was set. So, I went on, it made no sense to me as to why now they were asking for a contract which I'd already sent and had approved two months prior. The woman on the other end asked me to call her back in a half hour so she could get things straightened. I agreed, and hung up.

A half hour later, the woman said she still couldn't find my contract, and requested that I e-mail her a whole new invoice, insisting that I would be getting paid at the event. I had no choice. I whipped up a new invoice, e-mailed it off to her, and headed off to the event at Dumbass University.

Upon arriving at Dumbass, I encountered my original contact person. I again asked how they not only misplaced my first invoice but also lost all memory of my having ever sent it. The woman was adamant that she never got it, until I told her that she personally sent me confirmation of her receiving it. She then said, "Now that you mention it, I think I remember seeing it when I got it..." Still, a new contract had been e-mailed anyway, so it was a moot point. My contact then told me that my check would not be given to me at the event, but mailed to me this coming Friday. I said that would have to do, and went about my business of drawing caricatures.

Midway through my first two-hour block of time (the event was broken up into two two hour blocks), an emmissary of my contact person comes up to me and asks when I'll be sending the contract to his superior.

Growing very tense, I calmly hissed, "I e-mailed it a half hour before I got here. She should already have it."

The emmissary goes back to his superior, returns and again says she doesn't have my invoice. I then asked for my original contact person's e-mail address, thinking I'd have to re-e-mail her a new invoice (making it the third). Suddenly, thinking better of it, I grabbed a marker and hastily scrawled out a new invoice on a sheet of paper, handed it to the emmissary and told him to take this to his superior, make sure it's acceptable, then get confirmation that I'll still have a check for the full amount due to me sent out this Friday. He left immediately to replay the message and deliver the third invoice.

Five minutes before my shift is up, and the emmissary hasn't returned. His air-headed little associate is holding his post at the event, yakking away on her cellphone. I interrupt, saying I need to know where the emmissary is, if he delivered the invoice, if it will work and if I will indeed be paid my full amount and have it be sent to me this Friday. With a few pauses here and there, she managed to relay my message, and confirmed that all has been handled and the check will be in the mail on Friday.

I'm now on a two hour break before I return to Dumbass University to complete the second block of my caricaturing session. If I happen to see my contact, I have no doubt that, with absolute decorum but with a very stern manner, I will question her and her associates ability to retain important information an documentation regarding my work for them. To shed the rhetoric, I'm good and pissed off. I shouldn't have to jump all these hurdles and go through all this bullshit for an event that I had set up well in advance. A university should be better run than that, and should have more effificient people in charge of such matters. Dumbass University does not impress me. I have one more gig slated with them in May, and if anything goes the slightest bit wrong between now and the arrival of my check, not only am I going to decline my involvement for the future gig, but I'm going to tell them so with no shortage of words beginning with "F".

So please, use this story as a parable should any of you care to hire me for an event or a project. Don't be like Dumbass University. File the papers, dot the i's, write the correct name and amount on the checks. And above all else, do not screw around with me.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Not counting his appearance in my thus far unpublished comic book, "The Herd," my character Dead Duck (and his sidekick Zombie Chick) is appearing in his first comic book story in over ten years! Y'see, it happened like this:

I recently got an offer from a local newspaper to create an ongoing comic strip for them. While this initially sounded like a good deal, the price I was offered for my services was completely out of the question. Still, I said I'd take a few days to consider their offer. In that time, I e-mailed several established cartoonists and asked them what they thought of the price the newspaper offered me. The ones who replied told me it was chump change and not worth it, which I expected and agreed with. One of those cartoonists was Frank Cammuso, the brilliant creator of "Max Hamm, Fairytale Detective." After Frank warned me that I was gonna get fleeced by that offer, be concluded his letter by saying, "P.S. Dead Duck is a great concept!" Now, Frank must have seen my website, seen my old Dead Duck strips and deemed them worthy of his kind remarks. This, plus the fact that I've been dying to return to Dead Duck and his world for a long time was enough to prompt me to create a three-page Dead Duck adventure in honor of Halloween. The results were both fun and fulfilling, and I offer up the fruits of my creative loins here (click on each page to enlarge it):

So there ya have it! I plan to occassionally do Dead Duck and Zombie Chick stories for my own amusement, and ideally, one day I'll compile them all into a graphic novel and self publish it. That's muh goal, y'see!

Now, back to the previously mentioned newspaper. So, I turned down the offer the editor made me for my cartooning services. He countered with the possibility of hiring me out to not just his paper but their "sister" paper one town over as well and thus splitting the costs of my services with the other paper. I'm going to submit five of my old "Stoutheart and Cholly" strips to him, he'll run them sequentially, then pole his readers to see what they think. If there's a favorable response, he says we'll "Talk turkey" and try to work out a better deal, presumably with the other paper at the bargaining table as well. So there's some news for ya!

Lastly, I've been doing a lot more work for Interlude Magazine lately, and they're becoming a monthly publication. That means more work for me, and hopefully, I may be able to work my way into a position as staff artist. Now, if that were to happen, then I'd probably have to choose between Interlude and the newspaper. I'm not going to worry about that right now since nothing's set in stone, but in the meantime, I kinda like the idea of for once having to choose where I'd like to work more doing the thing that I love most! So anyway, more news on that as it comes.

Happy early Halloween, everybody!

Love, Jay

Friday, September 01, 2006


Whatever the hell that means. Anyway, rejoice in the fuzzy majesty of what is my first new blog in a couple months. Like I said before, I hate posting when I don't actually have any real news to share. I've got enough other outlets for inane blather and pointless rambling that I don't need to crud up this blog, by far my most important. So, let's cut into the meat and see what bleeds:

After an intense couple months of dogging Web-funk-and Tetris-master Foco to post some new material on my website, he finally got the hint (and only after five empty clicks of my gun's chamber! Whooda thunk?!). Check out my caricature, commercial art, comic book, photo gallery and sketchbook samples sections (the last located in the leftover section) for new stuff to paw through, ya friggin' grizzlies.

I just got my children's book, Pillow Billy, printed up at, an online printing press that does a professional-looking-as-hell job, and at a fraction of what Kinko's would've cost. I ordered two copies initially, and sent one off to Boyds Mills Press, a children's book publisher in Pennsylvania. The other copy I'm keeping on hand just to show people, and to have a completed symbol of my efforts of the past two years.

I've been drawing caricatures quite a bit. In fact, 2006 has been a banner year for my career in caricaturing. I've had at least one gig per month since January, which given Michigan's crappy economy is saying quite a bit. I'm actually a little bit ahead financially right now, and for this time of year, that's rare. So I'm happy about that. I have a couple gigs lined up for September (at a mall in Novi) and in November (at Northwood University here in Midland. Let's hear it for short distances and less gas-spending!). I feel like my caricaturing is reaching a new plateau. I've adopted a somewhat more detailed, kinda illustrative style which emphasizes detail while still striving for simplicity. Some say it's a step away from my normal cartoony style, but that side of my ability isn't hurting for attention anyway. I think the cartoony style will always be the standard I'm most recognized for, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I've been approached to help illustrate an independant comic book published out of Shepherd, MI. I'm not sure whether I'll get aboard that or not. The work I've seen of it thus far (specifically illustrations) are top notch, and I'd be creating a comic strip of the established characters, which is tempting. But if it's not worth it financially, then there's no point. If I wanted to do something purely for the exposure and the art, I'd self publish my own stuff. So that's still up in the air.

I've also been posting artwork on pretty regularly. The only problem there is that many of the other people who post on the site are considerably younger, and don't necessarily "get" the references I kake in some of my cartoons. Take the following one, for example:

Now, obviously anyone this side of a playpen has heard of Peanuts, regardless of age. However, not everyone is of deciding age to have seen or rented David Cronenberg's film, A History of Violence. So while I feel that this is a really funny idea and a great tribute, a lot of the kids on Deviantart just don't get it. Sigh. Such is the tragic case of ten year old trapped in a 31 year old's body. Guess I need to start playing with the older kids.

So that's about it for now. Hopefully I'll be back much sooner than last time with another update or something really cool to yell about. Talk to you then!


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Shadows of the Past....

Back in summer of 2004, I was living with my girlfriend (now fiancee) Laura in Mt. Pleasant, preparing for our last year of college at CMU. At the time I was holding a few jobs, one of which was staff cartoonist for Central Michigan Life, CMU's school paper, a gig I maintained for my full 3 1/2 years there. Generally, the summer edition of CMU was weaker than the yearly edition: not as much big news to report, minimal student activity and we only published once a week rather than three days a week during the school year. So coming up with material for my editorial cartoon, WASTE PRODUCTS OF A WARPED VISION, got really tricky considering how little was actually happening on campus. But then the night of June 25th rolled around, and suddenly I found my editorial inkwell filled to the lip.

A guy named Damarcus Graham was set upon by a mob of people outside a Mt. Pleasant bar and breaten unconcious. Not surprisingly, interviews from the police would result in tight-lipped witnesses claiming ignorance to the whole situation. Also not surprising was the death of Graham three weeks later, having never regained conciousness from the beating.

Despite the lack of witness testimony, two facts were made immediately apparant in the case: there was no shortage of witnesses that night, and CMU football players, historically the most revered and protected group on campus, were involved in the attack.

At CMLife, as my editors and staff writers scrambled to hammer out stories about Graham's beating, I sat at my drawing table at home, creating my own response to those responsible for the attack. What follows is four of my editorial cartoons that were published in the pages of CMLife around the time of the case.

The last cartoon was actually based on an unrelated incident, but was intended to show a related string of occurances at CMU at the time. Before the Graham case, a kid named Jacon Showalter was attacked in the street outside a CMU frat house and horribly beaten. This went to trial as well, but the assailant regretfully got aquitted. Then after the Graham case, two guys in an apartment building were beaten outside their door while neighbors kept their doors locked and did nothing to help. This case is what prompted me to make the resulting cartoon.

I'd just gotten fed up with the thug mentality that ran rampant at CMU, and moreso with those responsible who were being covered for and those in positions of authority to do something about it sitting on their hands and doing nothing. So I lashed out the only way I knew how: through my cartoons. Understandably, I pissed off some people, either those who were friends with the accused (and presumably, the accused as well) or those in charge whom I felt were as responsible as the players whose scholarships and team positions they sought to protect. But in editorial cartooning, pissing people off is the real payoff. We seek to get the bad guys by making them look stupid and crooked in print. So I was as satisfied to have done my part as I imagine the guilty were to have seen me graduate the following Christmas of 2004, relieved of my editorial cartooning duties which made them look so bad for so long.

The reason I bring this all up now, two years later, is because on July 19th 2006 the Damarcus Graham case came to a close. Many of the football players involved in the beating have earned themselves sizeable jail sentences. But two of them, by all accounts those most directly involved, pleaded no contest to a lesser charge and will consequently receive much, much weaker sentences than they deserve for their actions. A recent CMLife photo shows them leaving the courtroom all grins and elation, convinced of their success and planning to celebrate. Celebrate a murder.

So, being a graduate two years out the door and no longer having CMLife as my soapbox, I feel powerless to make my voice heard as per the injustices that still surround this case. So instead I dig up my spent ammo shells of past battles and display them here, to show that though I'm no longer in the fight, I still know a just cause when I see one....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The World's Hardest Working Cartoonist (or at least the tri-cities')

For the few of you out there who try to stay regularly updated with my blog, I apologize for the lapses between entries. I like to have a good body of news built up before I throw one of these gab sessions together, and sometimes that takes a few weeks or longer to accumulate. This time around, I figure I have a few things I can share. Nothing too groundbreaking, just a few nuggets of interest to pick through for you cartooning geologists out there.

The latest issue of Interlude that I provided illustrations for (see last blog entry) came out on July 1st. I suppose I should have posted a shout-out that day to tell everyone, but I figure if you live in the tri-cities then you'll stumble across it at one of the locations I've mentioned before (I find Bay City to have the most locations). And if you're not in the tri-cities, you have as much of a chance of finding an issue as you would a copy of Donkey Bondange Weekly in Pat Robertson's bathroom. At any rate, the illustrations looked good, and I'm hoping for further work with the magazine.

I also completed a caricature for a retiree of Dow Chemical (see last entry) which was commissioned by his secretaries. It was a bit of a challenge. Usually when handed an assignment like this, the client will give me a choice of several ideas to incorperate into the drawing (interests, job, etc.) and I'll choose one. But in this case, the clients gave me several ideas and wanted them all in there. Admittedly, the ideas were all disconnected. But I like creative challenges, so I did my best to unify the concepts into a complete drawing. I've posted the completed drawing here so you can see what I was up against. To verbally explain, the guy was a chemist for Dow who invented a new type of Styrofoam, once owned a Corvette and liked to turkey hunt. The biggest challenge for me was the Corvette. Most people know of my difficulty in drawing cars. But as I said, I dig challenges. So by using a visual reference, I was able to satisfy myself by creating what was at best a caricature of a Corvette. Hey, it worked for me. And it worked for the client, too. They liked the caricature and suggested that they may hire me to draw caricatures for their staff picnic sometime this summer.

Last night I had a gig where I drew caricatures for a home builders show/banquet at the casino in Mt. Pleasant. For the most part it was a good time, partially because I got paid when I first got there rather than having to hunt my check down at the end of the night, which I hate. I brought Laura with me, and for the bulk of the time we just sat and people-watched, since from my experience, home builders are not generally caricature fans. Gradually people came up and got drawn, and a lot of them were nice. But one couple that I met got on my bad side. And I mean big time.

At the beginning of the show, this couple comes up to me to see if I'm "giving stickers" which a lot of representative businesses were giving out at the function. Getting all the business stickers qualified you for a raffle with a $1,000 prize. I told them I didn't have anything to do with that, but offered them a caricature instead, to which they rudely declined.
So three hours later, the same couple, now presumably less than sober, come back to my table expecting my services. They're all giggles, and the girl says, "We want you to draw us, but we have a really funny idea!", and eventually composes herself enough to suggest I draw them engaging in "doggie style." Now, I've allowed certain "adult" suggestions into my caricatures in the past, but admittedly, they weren't always appropriate for the crowd (I narrowly avoided a talking-to from an administrator for agreeing to write "Tits" above a football jock's caricature at his prom). So I'd learned my lesson from the past and told the girl that it wouldn't be appropriate for me to draw that. She swore she wouldn't show the drawing to anybody. I told her it didn't matter, that the peoiple who hired me wouldn't approve. She said she'd go ask them herself. I said fine, if she came back with written authorization from the company head who hired me that I would draw this for her, no problem. Obviously I called her bluff, since she gave up after that. But then she proceeded to "threaten" me.

Her: "We'll just go over to that OTHER caricaturist! I'll bet he'll do it!"
Me: "I'm sure he will. That's why he only gets two gigs per year (and few repeat customers)."
Her: "Well, if you won't do it, then we don't even want a caricature from you!"
Me: "No problem."

Of course, Laura's sitting next to me, seething and wanting to deck this chick, whose boyfriend or husband or whatever seems to want a caricature regardless of my refusal towards his lady's suggestion. Then the merchant to our right leans over and says to the couple, "You know, this guy's really good (meaning me)." To which the girl responds:

Her: "Must not be!"

To which I reply:

Me: "So you're saying you want me to draw you ugly."
Her: "Hey, I don't care. I can just throw it away when you're done."
Me: "That's what I tell people. I'm getting paid either way."

At some point, I guess her man says something to her along the lines of "Just shut up and let him do his job", and from that point on, she shut up just enough. But she could have shut up more for my satisfaction. Hell, for my satisfaction she could have
spontaneously combusted. And I sat there with a fake smile, boiling with fury. But I'm a pro, and I finished the non-sexual caricature with a much scripted "Thanks for stopping by!" I kept an eye on her until she was out of sight, so see if she'd go through with throwing the drawing away...

So that's one of the joys of the caricature game. Unless it's a kid's party (and sometimes, sadly, even when it is), alcohol is usually involved, making the people you draw turn into real jerks. But as I told Laura, I refuse to accept alcohol as an excuse for that lady's behavior. I just chalk it up to her being a bitch.

So anyway, that's what's been going on, with little other news to report. I have a gig lined up in mid-August where I'll be drawing caricatures for a hospital company picnic in Clare. I've done this gig twice before, and the people are nice and the money is good. I've also been talking to some people who want family portraits, and I have a gig lined up with my parks boss' class reunion for some caricature work there.
So there's still stuff coming in, but there's always room for more.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Cartooning Gig Pipes Come Unclogged...

The pessimist within will surely hate me for saying this, but honestly, things are going pretty well right now, artistically speaking. As mentioned in my last post, Interlude Magazine gave me my third assignment, this time illustrating a humorous column about the evolution of technology. I did three cartoons for it, including another cartoon for the Granholm/DeVos story that I was assigned to prior to THIS assignment. All this new work can be seen in Interlude Magazine on July 1st when it hits newsstands. Incidentally, I've discovered that most coffee houses in the tri-cities carry Interlude as well, so if you are a regular at your local javatorium, you may just come across my stuff. Here's a sample of my work for the upcoming issue. It aludes to a bit in the column that forcasts celebrity ice fishing as the next big reality show.

I've also been getting caricature work from unforseen sources lately. I was visiting my birth-mom (as opposed to my adoptive mom) a week or so back, and a client of hers who knew of my work commissioned me to draw a caricature of her parents for their 50th anniversary, with them flanked by their six grandchildren. Long story short, it paid great and turned out very well. Check it out for yourself:

Then late last night I received an e-mail from an employee of Dow Chemical, saying she was looking for a local caricaturist to draw a retirement caricature of someone, and asked me to quote her a price. So I did. By this morning I received another e-mail from her, saying she'd seen my website, really liked my work and was considering having me draw TWO caricatures now. The deal will be closed by this monday and I'm excited to see what I'll be producing.

So that's about it for now. Keep checking back to see what's happening next in the world of the Foz. Seriously, come back frequently. My website needs the traffic and it's gettin' lonely around here.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A Bit Of News and A Couple Caricatures To Boot...

As I'd mentioned in my last post (which had to have been at least two weeks ago), based off the strength of my previous work for Interlude Magazine, the editor in chief recently gave me a new assignment, which was a lot of fun and somewhat challenging: drawing caricatures of Michigan Governor candidates Jennifer Granholm and Dick DeVos. After much research and trial and error, I felt that I created the best political caricatures of my career. I walked the razor's edge between accuracy and cruelty and ultimately came up with drawings that I felt were worthy of "big time" magazines (I'm still waiting for your call, Rolling Stone). And though the focus of my assignment was to remain entertaining yet unbiased in my representation of the candidates and their platforms, I couldn't help letting a little bias drip into the caricature of whom I considered the opposition. All I'll say here is that Granholm has a couple tiny moles, but DeVos looks like the illegitimate love child of Jimmy Durante and Bert. I've included the dominant caricature so you can judge for yourself. The issue featuring my art should be available to purchase in late July/early August.

I would also like to take this time to pay tribute to one of my creative partners and best friends of the past six years, Pat Dooley. Pat is heading out to Florida (or, as Homer puts it, "America's wang") at the end of June in pursuit of a career at Disney World. He takes with him half of the magic that brought to life my homegrown movie epic, "Son of Scurvy," and more than half of the fun and humor that our rapidly shrinking gang of friends has possessed all these years. Pat and I have shared many adventures and been a part of many ridiculous creative endeavors, and my imagination is going to be a little lost without him. Hell, I'LL be a little lost without him. So here's to the best of experiences waiting for him at the Magic Kingdom, and to the hopes that he returns home from time to time to help conjur a little of that old magic that we all were once a part of.

And lastly, I've recently been awoken to the obvious notion that actress Julia Stiles is hot and more than caricature-worthy. I found her appealling back when she did "Ten Things I Hate About You," but then lost touch with my infatuation when other sources of drooling overtook my senses (Salma, Halle, you know what I'm talking about). But with her role in the remake of "The Omen" and her face popping up everywhere, I was once again made aware of her "hottitude". With her caricature, I chose to focus on 1. her smile: It's almost like a frown, but with the corners of her mouth just slightly upturned. And her teeth are like big white stalagtites (or is it stalagmites?) that jut out of her mouth, yet somehow manage to look more attractive than awkward. And 2. Her eyes: Julia has natural "puffs" (the less considerate term is "bags") under her eyes, and when she smiles, her eyes form the same shape as her mouth. So all this, coupled with proper hairstyle and such, is what my caricature is comprised of. It should be noted that this finished piece was actually a second draft, the first being much more exaggerated and, dare I say, unnecessarily harsh. She does have a very strong jaw which COULD have been taken further than I took it, and I could have really gone nuts with those teeth. But that just didn't work for me, so I gave it another shot and was far happier with the results. I guess abbrasive exaggeration just isn't my style. I tend to go with more subtle representations I think, at least with women. I take the features that stand out, but I don't overdo them any more than necessary, resulting in a cariture that looks like the subject but is still plenty flattering (I hope). I've drawn the ire of some national (and international) caricaturists because my style tends to heavily deviate from the accepted style that so many others use, but I think what I'm doing is good. I'm more confident and content with my caricatiring than EVER before, and I'm too far along to accept unsolicited criticism from those who opt for cliche over creativity. So at any rate, hope YOU enjoy this caricature of Stiles, at least.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Drawin' Muh Blog: An Experiment in Expression

Click on the image for my first CARTOON blog entry (then click on it AGAIN for an even clearer view)!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Good News Deflated and other such hot air

Well kids, I said I'd let you know what the good news from my previous entries was, whether it happened or not. So here it is:

"Yenny" creator Dave Alvarez offered me the chance to illustrate an ongoing comic strip that he would write which would be published in Puerto Rico.

Basically he'd e-mail me the scripts, I'd draw the cartoons and e-mail the work back to him. It sounded like a sweet gig. When Dave asked me how much I'd need to be making to be a part of this project, I consulted my friend Greg Evans (creator of the comic strip "Luann") to see what the standard rate for such work would be. Once I had those figures, I sent them to Dave and waited for his response, which I just got ten minutes ago.

Unfortunately, Dave said he wouldn't be making enough off the comic to realistically meet the amount I required to be a part of it. He was very cool about it, and suggested that maybe we could collaborate again sometime down the road.

So that was that. I love the guy, he's been very good to me, a fellow cartoonist whom he's never actually met. I'd just be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. Once again I allowed myself delusions of an actual steady, good-paying career in cartooning, just to see it come to nothing. It's very, very frustrating. But there you have it, good news gone bad.

On another topic, I hope you guys have gotten the chance to check out my illustrations in the recent issue of Interlude Magazine. For a list of places in the tri-cities where you can find it, cut and paste this link:

And on yet another note, my friend and co-worker Betsy who hired me to draw caricatures at Merrill High's prom this past Saturday has provided me with a couple pictures from the event which I'm posting here for you to see. The lovely lady with me is my beloved fiancee, Laura, for those who don't already know. It was a very nice event, and I appreciate Betsy allowing me to be a part of it, and for giving me the great photos to remember it by.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Holy Crap, I'm Published Again!!

April's been a good month for me. I've had a couple profitable caricaturing gigs, and as of tomorrow, I'll be published for the second time this month. On May 1st (okay, so I'm a day off regarding this "April is so great" tirade. So sue me.), those in the mid Michigan area will be able to see the fruits of my most recent published labor in the pages of Interlude Magazine, a publication about the tri-cities (Saginaw, Bay City and Midland, respectively). I drew several cartoons illustrating a multi-page article about things to do in the tri-cities. Anyone interested in getting their hands on a copy of Interlude can find the magazine in Kroger grocery stores and most area bookstores and restaurants. As for me, I'm going to try to get my hands on some directly from the publisher. So check it out when you get a chance!

Also, for those who are wondering, while getting published in Interlude is very cool, it's not the BIG news that I eluded to in my last post. That bomb has yet to drop, but I surmise that I'll know one way or another sometime this week. So stay posted here until I give the word, eh?

And in keeping with the last handful of postings, here's a cartoon to share with you kids. It's a caricature I drew of actress Keira Knightley. I had it posted on this blog last week, but a glitch caused it (and the post it was attached to) to get deleted. At any rate, it's back, and I hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Whole Lotta Somethin' Goin' On...

First off, my apologies to those of you who haven't been able to find Yenny #4 at your local comic shop, especially those of you who sought out issues at Coy's Comics in Saginaw, MI. As I think I mentioned earlier (or maybe I didn't...), Coy's was supposed to order ten copies for me, three for my pal Premo and five for the store to sell, which I was to sign. But a mix-up in shipping caused Coy's to only receive three issues, all of which I bought. They implied that they MIGHT get more in, but thus far I'm not sure that it's happened. I encourage you guys to check out and see if you can order some issues directly from the publisher.

Next order of business: I'll be in Freeland, MI tonight at the Skyroom drawing caricatures for Merrill High School's prom from 6-11 pm. If anyone reading this happens to attend the event, I look forward to meeting you (or if someone I already know from Merrill is reading this, I look forward to seeing you again, at least!). Laura will be attending with me, and it should be a pretty nice event.

And finally, by the beginning of next week, I should have some BIG news to share, bigger even than my work in Yenny #4. News that may have a very positive effect in my career. I'll leave it at that for now until the cement hardens, so to speak. Until then, I'll be drawing odd shapes in the sidewalk for you guys to ponder until the path is ready to be walked upon.

I leave you now with a cartoon I drew of Hellboy and his two teammates, Abe Sapien and Liz (click on the image for full-size). If you don't know who Hellboy is, visit your local video store, or check out, the official site of the character and his creator, Mike Mignola.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Upcoming Caricature Gigs and other news

This Wednesday (April 19th to be precise) I'll be drawing caricatures at Northwood University here in Midland. It's rare that I have art jobs within close driving distance, and this one is about as close as I could ever hope for. It's always nice when I don't have to take a loss on how much gas I'll be burning on the drive over, since it's only about five minutes from my apartment.

On April 29th I'll be drawing caricatures for Merrill High School's prom, which will be held at the Skyroom in Freeland, MI (just a mere twenty minute drive from my place. Sweet!). They're providing Laura and I with dinner, which rocks, and it's not going to run terribly late, which also rocks. Nothing sucks worse than a gig that gets out at three in the morning and having a two hour drive home ahead of you.

The past couple weeks have seen a bit of an artistic phenomenon in my little world. I post a lot of my work on, an online art gallery. And one of my pieces, titled "The Last Happy Meal" and featuring the McDonaldland characters reinacting The Last Supper, has been chosen as a standout piece by the website's administrators. In less than two days the cartoon got over 3,000 hits, and positive comments came by the bushel. Only one negative comment stood out, but that one quickly got overwhelmed by an onslaught of MORE positive feedback. This was definitely my most well received work to date, which I'm posting here now.

So that's about it at this point. Stay tuned for future updates and more cartooning news than you can shake a stick at. Jeez, shake a stick at. What the hell does that mean, anyway?

Friday, April 14, 2006


On a whim I stopped by Coy's Comics in Saginaw today, and to my surprise, Yenny #4 has finally been released! I grabbed three of the ten copies that I'd reserved (the other seven should be in next week) and walked out of the shop elated. It looks great, and you guys are gonna love it. Thanks for everyone's patience in waiting for the issue's unveiling, and let me know what you think of it when and if you get it for yourselves! P.S. I'm including a sample of Dave Alvarez's Yenny artwork so you can see how much this guy artistically rocks!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sneak Preview of Pillow Billy

I figured now was as good a time as any to introduce you all to Pillow Billy, my children's book that's still in progress. I've included the first completed page of the book for you to see (again, click on the image to view it full-sized), which will hopefully give you the flavor of the book and a hint of what the completed work will be like. I'd like to point out that while the text is exactly as it will be read in the completed book, the font and layout of the text are not set in stone. At this point, I'm either going to have my friend Justin assist me by laying out the text in Quark (a page layout program) or I'll be lettering the book by hand to maintain the scratchy, messy, homemade quality of the book. On a related note, I hope you'll notice the dramatic change in art style that I've adopted for this piece. At any rate, let me know what you think.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sneak Preview of Jay's Yenny Pages

Thanks to the efforts of Web, funk and Jedi master Foco, my blog has been updated with the capacity to post images. And you better believe I intend to use it, starting right now. For my first image-included post, I'm going to show you the two-page story that I wrote and drew for Yenny #4. Seeing as how Coy's Comics hasn't contacted me yet, I'm left to assume the comic hasn't been released yet. However, for those of you who've been waiting so patiently to finally see what all the hoohah is about, here ya go. Just click on the image to see it full-sized. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

King Tut's Tomb or Al Capone's Vault...?

Essentially what the subject heading means is: will tomorrow, April 5th 2006, finally see the grand unveiling of Yenny #4 featuring my story and artwork and be the biggest unveiling since King Tut's tomb, or will it fail to be released on schedule yet once again and become the next biggest let down since Al Capone's Vault? Alias Comics website seems certain that Yenny will be reaching stores tomorrow. That's the best assurance I have on the subject. So what I suggest is check it out for yourselves. Call around. See if it's in. As for me, Coy's comics says they'll call me when my stash arrives. I've got ten issues set aside for myself, my pal Premo has one set aside, and there will be five issues set out on the shelves by Coy's management, all of which I will have personally signed. So if you want to get one of those issues, better perk up your ears and make headway to Coy's before all five are goner than gone.

On another note, if all goes according to plan (and as you can see with Yenny #4, it rarely does), this blog will have a new look sometime within the next week. Web(and funk)master Foco will be updating the format of this sweet baby, allowing me to post artwork and images. So if any of you out there happen to know Jeremy (and I know at least one of you does), make sure to give him a call and tell him to get on that, would ya? Thanks!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

And The Plot Thickens...

Okay, I know I said I wasn't going to talk about Yenny #4 again until I got some news. Well, it's not much, but I GOT some news.

Back in early February when Yenny #4 was first slated to come out, I called Coy's Comics (my favorite comic book shop since childhood) about reserving some copies. The guy I spoke to said that they didn't normally get Yenny in since it was a small press book (i.e an independantly published title that had small print numbers and equally small circulation), but that he'd leave a message with his boss to call me if it happened to show up.

Jump ahead almost two months. My phone rang about a half hour ago. It was the manager of Coy's Comics. He said my friend Jason (whichever friend that may have been. I know a few Jason's, and he didn't specify which one) had come into special order Yenny #4, and the manager wanted to know if I wanted him to special order any issues for me. In the end, we agreed that he'd order me ten copies for myself, plus I'd come in and autograph five copies that would be on display in the shop.

According to the manager, the issue could come out anywhere between next Wednesday and the middle of April. Similarly, I've heard from my friend Adam Talley that Yenny #4 is due out on April 5th. So regardless of which source you want to quote, it looks like the book is coming out in the next month.

It was a good feeling to get that call. Coy's was a real sanctuary for me growing up, and provided me with my best education in comic books and their rich history. So the prospect of having my signature emblazened upon a published comic book to which I contributed my talents is a real landmark event in my life, and it's an honor to be featured in such a sacred temple from my childhood. It's like coming full circle. And it feels good.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Emporer's New Comic Book and other fables

Remember that story about the emporer, and how he was convinced that he was wearing these really snazzy clothes, and he told all his subjects that he was wearing snazzy clothes, but as it turned out, he wasn't wearing any snazzy clothes at all?

Well guess what. Right now I'm the emporer. And I'm butt naked.

Y'see, I wrote and drew that story for Yenny #4, right? I contacted the local media, did two or three interviews about my work on this comic book, posted innumerable blog updates about it, and harrassed a great many friends and family about my work's impending arrival, originally slated for mid-February, then rescheduled for release on March 22, 2006, in a comic book shop near you. So everybody's expecting this book to come out, right?

Well guess what again.

It hasn't.

Don't know why. Don't know when or if it will. I know nothing. So here I stand, lacking any answers, more than a little disheartened, and emotionally and creatively nude. It's been a long and lackluster ride, and not worth the gas money. So if this book ever does surface, I'll let you guys know. Or if you stumble across it before I do, let me know. But for now, I have nothing more to say about that comic book or my involvement in it. It's no offense to the creator, Dave Alvarez, who gave me a great opportunity to be a part of it. But his publisher, Alias Comics, has really dropped the ball.

Now, for the upswing.

I met with the editor in chief and design editor of Interlude Magazine on Tuesday and they gave me my first assignment: ten illustrations, based off their suggestions, representing things to do in the tri cities (mid Michigan for those outside the mitten).

Over the course of three nights I completed the work, and I'm very pleased with it. I think it's going to look great in the pages of Interlude, and I'm anxious to show the staff when I take the work to them tomorrow. Hopefully this will lead to more work with them in the future. It's certainly been a very positive experience so far.

The issue with my work comes out on May 1st. And unlike Alias Comics, Interlude knows how to maintain a set release date. You can find the magazine around the tri-cities at The Midland Center for the Arts and at most Kroeger grocery stores, among other locations. So check it out when the time comes, okay?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Pillow Billy Reaches End Of The Line (And Start Of The Hue!)

As of this very moment (this very moment being Sunday, 7:40 AM, approximately sixteen hours after the ACTUAL MOMENT), I'm one page away from being through with the illustrations for Pillow Billy. That's when I get to take on the task of coloring the pages, which I'm really excited about. As I've mentioned before, I'm going for a very childlike, somewhat messy look in the illustrations, which in terms of color means very bright hues, lots of scribbly marks and going outside the lines aplenty. There's an art to intentional messiness, and I hope I've got it mastered. This isn't like coloring in Photoshop, where you can go to your history and erase any mistakes you may have made. In the realm of color pencil, the mark is a permanent thing that commands respect. So let's see if I still have what it takes to tame the savage beast of the Prisma colored pencil!

In other news, I recently got contacted by Interlude Magazine (a Bay City-established periodical focusing on the tri-cities of mid-Michigan) to illustrate an upcoming article. I had approached them way back in December of '05 about doing work. They seemed interested in my stuff at the time, but given the lack of communication in the ensuing months, I figured it just wasn't gonna happen. But I got a call from the editor yesterday (ironically, I had a cold and sounded lousy) and she set up a meeting for us on Tuesday of next week to discuss the assignment. The funny part to me was when she said, "But just so you know, we don't have much time. Only two weeks...", and I'm thinking, "I've whipped out double page spreads in two hours. Two weeks is practically a vacation!" In other words, I'm fast. And good. Hopefully this assignment will lead to more work with them.

And speaking of more work, here's another reminder that Yenny #4 hits stores this Wednesday. Check my last blog post for info on known places that will carry the book. I'm uber-excited to see the published work, and as always, I encourage you guys to get your hands on it if you can.

And lastly, I've been trying to work with my webmaster, Jeremy "Foco Ono" Foco, to revamp my blog so as to allow me to post artwork, photos and such. He claims that he's well underway to making it happen, and I'm inclined to believe him. I guess the best evidence of his completion will be when you next visit this blog and see artwork and photos. So keep popping back to see what happens!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

What's That? Yenny # 4 Finally Has A Release date?! Shut Yo' Mouth!!

True dat, kids. Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth (the horse in this case being Alias Comics and the mouth in question being their official website).

(As posted in the Alias Enterprises forum on Feb. 16th, 2006):
The following books are scheduled to reach shops on March 22, 2006 from Alias Comics

Yenny #3
Yenny #4
Victorias Secret Service #1
Twin Blades #1
Hyperactives #1
Hammer Kid #0
Atomik Mike #1
SixGun Samurai #4
Lullaby: Once Upon a time
The Legend of Isis #8

So there you have it. Yenny #4 which features a two page story that I wrote and illustrated will be available for purchase on Wednesday, March 22nd.

If you're from the mid-Michigan area, the only comic shop I've found that carries any Alias books (and to my knowledge, only one, and not even a Yenny book)is Collector's Corner in Midland, but seeing as how Alias is releasing eleven books in one week, I'm gonna assume Yenny #4 will find it's way to the Corner's shelves. Here's their contact info:

Collector's Corner
4011 Jefferson Ave, Midland, MI
(989) 839-2060

I've also found a shop in Kalamazoo, MI that carries Alias books and ALWAYS has some Yenny issues on hand. It's called The Game Shop, and you can reach them at this contact info:

Game Shop
3307 S Westnedge Ave
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 344-1818

I encourage you to call either of these shops NOW to reserve a copy of Yenny #4. This issue is a pretty monumental stepping stone in my career, and I know I'll be looking to score a copy or two!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Pillow Billy and Mother's Goofs

For the past couple weeks I've been working diligently at scanning in my old Mother's Goofs strips, adding tints, cleaning up blemishes and typos and fixing glaring errors that had slipped past me the first time around. All this work has a purpose: an all-encompassing collection of my Mother's Goofs comic strip, featuring every cartoon from 2001-2004, with the exception of two or three which back then were done so hastily as to satisfy my deadline that they weren't of good enough quality to include in the book.
There's still no official release date for this graphic novel, but I'm closer than ever to having the book ready for print. I already have a guest artist pin-up drawn by Mark Bode (son of Cheech Wizard cartoonist Vaughn Bode) of Snow White which I'm including in the book, and I'm currently soliciting other cartoonists for their own renditions of my characters. Pleasant Hymns cartoonist and pal Adam Talley has offered his services in helping me package the book, and I may have a printer lined up. So for the few Goofs fans out there, this may be something you'll want to keep your eyes open for. More news as it comes.

My children's book, Pillow Billy, is coming along very nicely, and is shaping up to be some of my best work in any genre to date. My imagination's been dry-docked for the past couple weeks in my attempts to come up with original designs for Cinderella and Prince Charming, two famous names who figure largely into the story's plot.
But last week, while at a dinner theatre with Laura and her family, I drew a quick sketch of this freckle-faced waitress with the most amazing curly red hair. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I had found the perfect model for my Cinderella. A few costume changes and her character was complete, and she looks great. As for the prince, I drew inspiration from my old character Stoutheart, made some design changes, and voila, I had my Prince Charming.
With these last two crucial designs completed, I look forward to finishing the illustrations and diving into the coloring. For the first time in a long while, I'll be setting aside Photoshop and returning to my artistic roots, using colored pencils to add vibrance to Pillow Billy's world. It's all set to be something special to see, and I'm anxious to show it to the public when it's complete.

So that's all the news for now. Keep checking back here for future updates and breaking news to spare!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

And Finishing Dead Last, The Saginaw News...

Finally, weeks after the interview took place, the powers-that-be at the Saginaw News had a slow enough news day to fit in the story about me and my contribution to the Yenny comic book. Here's a link to the online story:

I would like to give my utmost appreciation to my friend Jessica Soule who wrote the story and who bears absolutely no responsibility for how long it actually took to print. I think it's a great article and I truly appreciate the coverage. Better late than never, as the saying goes.

Monday, February 13, 2006

CMLife Beats The Saginaw News To The Big Scoop!!

Fellow Delta College alum and recent CMU student reporter Rachel Lodewyk wrote one of the best stories about me ever, and it appears in today's edition of CMLife. If you want to see it, either go to or click the following link:

She hit every point about me and the Yenny comic book without misquoting me once. I'm very thrilled about how it turned out and want to express my appreciation to her for writing the piece, Dave Alvarez for giving her a really nice quote, Terry Rock (Delta College PR Director) for being interviewed for it, CMLife for agreeing to carry the story, and my friend, old Collegiate editor and journalism wunderkind Justin Engel for giving what was possibly the best quote about me EVER in ANY news story, which I'm reprinting here for your enjoyment:

"I saw Jay's work as very daring, in-your-face and bordering on getting me fired for letting it publish. But his humor grows on you and his drawing abilities are undeniable...He does things most cartoonists don't dare to do. He's not afraid to voice his opinion through his comics, no matter who it might offend."

Given the current situation with Muslim opposition to the Dutch cartoonists' editorial depiction of their beliefs, I take Justin's comment as the highest praise, and I'm truly honored.

I would also like to remind people about the radio interview to be featured on 91.5 FM tonight between 6-6:30. If you want to listen to it on your computer, here's another link to do so:

And possibly, not definitely but possibly, my OTHER article will run in the pages of The Saginaw News sometime this week, maybe even today, so keep an eye open for that, too!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Okay, I'm Done...

The Saginaw News still hasn't run the article.

Because this is more a news blog than a personal diary rant, I'm going to strain to be diplomatic in my expression of feelings here.

Suffice to say, I'm through dropping fistfulls of change on a newspaper from a town that I don't even live in anymore in order to find a story about me that's not even there.

If anyone out there stumbles across this "alleged" story about me (which could run anywhere from tomorrow 'til a year from, depending on how many more harrowing tales the news is obliged to print about aerobic workouts for old people and their pets, effectively pushing any story about me back indefinitely), please let me know.

Better yet, give me a free copy if you have extras. I think the news has bilked me out of enough cash for one lifetime.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Must I Be Made A Liar?!

It seems every time I post about something that's coming up on a certain day that it somehow gets set back either to a different date or indefinitely. Well guess what? Happened again!

The article about me in CMlife didn't run today. Instead, I'm led to believe it will be in Monday's edition. Why they didn't run it today is beyond me, though in a way I'm kinda glad. Historically, Friday's edition of CMlife rarely gets a lot of readers, since so many of them sleep in from boozing it up the night before or head home for the weekend without seeing the newspaper. So if the article does indeed appear in Monday's edition, you can check it out at

Having said all that, I have it on good authority that the radio inteview I'm a part of will indeed still air on Monday on 91.5 FM between 6-6:30 PM. Check my last blog for a link to the website where you can stream it to your computer.

As for my work in the Yenny comic book, Dave Alvarez tells me that Alias Comics has been pretty bad with their shipping schedules, so he's not sure when the issue will be sent out to stores. He tells me that the entire comic book has been sent to them, though, and should be packaged and ready to go. So let's just keep our fingers crossed that it achieves the February launch date that I'd hoped for.

And my interview for the Saginaw News is still slated for Sunday, so keep an eye out for that, too.

Hopefully I'll have some more definite and less schedule-challenged news to share with you in the near future.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Jay Fosgitt: King Of Mount Pleasant Media

I was in Mount Pleasant today where I gave a radio interview concerning my thoughts on the controversy surrounding the Dutch cartoonist-created editorial cartoons which lampooned Muslim beliefs. The interview will air on 91.5 FM on Monday February 13th between 6-6:30 pm. If you have access to a computer, you can stream it by going to this link:

For the record, I fully support the cartoonists' rights to free speech, and applaud the editor for his support of their work and for encouraging such a hot topic to be lampooned. While I bare no particular hostility towards any one group, I believe every person and every group is susceptable to the harsh spotlight of an editorial cartoon. An editorial cartoon is a political statement that manages to get its point across without violence or global hostility. The Muslims who take physical action against these cartoons should intead take steps similar to the cartoonists' in making their views heard rather than succumbing to the violent measures that the cartoons accuse them of. All they're doing is validating the cartoon's messages and giving the cartoonists' more ammunition.

Secondly, CMLife is running that article I'd previously mentioned in tomorrow's edition. You can view it at Let me know what you think of it.

Extry? Anyone? Somebody? Mom...?

Okay, the most recent news on the cartooning grapevine (the grapevine in this case being my friend and reporter Jessica Soule who covered the story) is that the Saginaw News piece being written about me will run in this Sunday's edition (2/12/06 for you number junkies out there). Whether or not that actually happens remains to be seen, but to be fair, this has been a pretty big newsweek both nationally and statewide, so I can understand the story getting bumped back.

Also, another friend and journalist, Justin Engel, has set another reporter on my tail to cover the story about me doing the Yenny backup story in issue four. This story will run in the pages of Central Michigan Life (my old college paper that I worked on), and I should know when it will be released by this afternoon.

On another topic, I completed my mural at Swan Valley Middle School last Thursday. Seven hours on a ladder is murder on your back and feet, but it was worth it. I'm happier with this mural than I've probably EVER been with a mural (I'm a harsh critic to be sure), but more importantly, the school kids and faculty seemed to like it. It's nice to think I'll have a legacy at my old school and that I won't just fade into obscurity.

Lastly, I will be drawing caricatures this Friday night at the very exclusive Saginaw Club. The event declares itself to be a kid's party, which is generally what I'm best at handling. But the club's members tend to be very well to do business people, so I'm a little intimidated. The last really posh gig I worked was this past summer in Bloomfield Hills, and I felt like a hobo at cotillion. Still, the money's green, the blood is blue, and I walk out a little red faced, but it's almost always a unique experience.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Okay, Maybe "Extry" Was A Little Presumptuous...

The article wasn't in the Saginaw News when I'd previously said it would be. In fact, it hasn't been in yet. But it will run at some point, so best I can do at this point is encourage you to keep looking. I surmise it'll be in there sometime this week, especially now that Superbowl is over and there's room for more articles about me drawing comics.

Secondly, I'm here to advertise my services in drawing caricatures to anyone interested. If you're in the Michigan area and would like the best damn caricaturist between Saginaw and the U.P. for your party, then I'm your man. My rates for events are $100 per hour, plus travel expenses (i.e. tank of gas and motel if it's a late event).

If you're interested in a caricature of someone specific for any kind of event or occassion, I'm also available. All I need is a photo (or photos) of my subject(s), some specifics as to what you'd like to see, and of course, payment. You can e-mail me the photo or snail mail it, whichever you prefer. The cost is negotiable and varies from project to project, but shipping and handling will be included in the final price.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: I'd love to add a portrait for you to my portfolio, and to add my artwork to a special event in your life!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


In tomorrow's edition of The Saginaw News (which will be today's edition in another twenty minutes), reporter and good friend Jessica Soule will have a story about me and my contribution to issue #4 of Dave Alvarez's Yenny comic book. She's a solid journalist, and did me a real favor by doing a bit on me, so do us both a solid and check it out!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Not Quite MAD Enough

Good news and bad news on the submission front. First the bad. Mad Magazine wasn't quite ready for the unrestrained mayhem that is my artwork. So now I have yet another rejection note to add to the ten-year-old pile in my closest. The good news though, was that on the bottom of the form letter Mad sent me, I also got a personal response from Mad's art director, Sam Viviano. Here's how his message went:

Hey, Jay!
Some interesting stuff, but I'm not sure that we have any illustration opportunities for you here at MAD just now. You might want to check our new feature, "The Strip Club," and come up with an unpublished submission for that. In the meantime, as one Michigander to another (I grew up in Detroit), thanks for letting me see your work!


It's always a positive thing to receive a personal reply, especially considering the amount out submissions a company like Mad has to respond to. And the friendly nature of Sam's note, coupled with the suggestion of other opportunities, did much to cushion the blow. I do intend to look into Mad's "Strip Club," and I think I have a concept that would fit in well with Mad's comedic sensibilities. So, more on that when the time comes.

In the meantime, let this be a lesson to other aspiring cartoonists out there: DON'T GIVE UP! Rejection letters are still responses, so at least you know people are seeing your work. And a rejection letter with a personal message is distilled hope in its purest form.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Giving Life To Krazybread

Over at, where I have yet another, less art-related blog, I've recently come up with what I hope will be a good promotional tool for some of my work.

I gave The Krazybread Man, my character from Mother's Goofs, his own myspace entry.

I went so far as to create an e-mail address for him ( And as far as anyone who visits myspace in concerned, he's real (sure, you need to have an imagination and a sense of humor to buy it, but I'm treating him as real).

I figured using him as a kind of spokesman might be a good way to bring new people into Mother's Goofs, and when I eventually publish my Mother's Goofs collection (two years in the works now), that'll be all the more people potentially interested in buying it.

His entry is pretty funny, and his blogs are totally suited towards his character. You're warned in advance that some of the stuff is a little adult, but it's all good fun.

Here's a couple links:

Let me know what you think!

Friday, January 20, 2006

So Where's My Damn Grammy?!

Back in 2004 a group of music professors and classical musicians from CMU began production on a CD and commissioned me to design the cover art. Now, a year later, the CD has finally been released by Centaur Records Inc. To the best of my knowledge, it should it be available in a music store near you (Best Buy in the very least). Even if you're not a fan of woodwind music, it might be cool for you to own a piece of my very first CD artwork. I should stress that I make no money off sales of the album (mine was a one time flat fee for art creation). I just thought it might be a cool keepsake for you guys who dig my art. You can view the original art at the link below.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Release Date for Jay's Yenny Work and other news

I just spoke with cartoonist Dave Alvarez, and he tells me that my work will appear in Yenny #4 sometime in February. However, this may be subject to change. Planned release dates for most comic books are often as unpredictable as Michigan weather, and this particular issue was originally supposed to be due out last October. But at any rate, that's when he told me, so I'm sticking to it.

Look for it at a local comic book shop near you. I'd suggest, though, that you get to one NOW and ask for a copy of PREVIEWS, a catalog that advertises upcoming comic books. Since Yenny is published through Alias, which is still a growing company, probably not alot of shops immediately carry Alias comic books, so you may have to special order the issue through Previews, which any shop will help you do. It won't cost you anything extra to order the book, but it will assure that you get your hands on it. I know that's what I'll be doing!

In other cartooning news, I just sent out a portfolio of my work to Mad Magazine last week. It had a lot of caricatures featured on my website, as well as samples from my various comic strip creations. I thought the REEL FUNNY strip in particular might grab their attention, since they've always been heavy into movie parodies. More news on that when and if I hear back from 'em.

There's some caricaturing gigs coming my way, which is great news for my bank account. For the first time in I couldn't even tell you how long, I actually have at least one gig per month scheduled between now and June. That's good exposure, good money and good art (I pride myself on my caricaturing work).

I'm also going to be drawing a mural at Swan Valley Middle School (my old stomping ground) sometime in the next month. I was commissioned by one of my old teachers who's now head librarian there, and the mural will span one of the walls of the library. The mural will be done entirely in purple permanent marker (purple is Swan Valley's school color), which will make the job sooooo much easier than using paint (cleaner, too). I'll try and post some photos of the job once it's finished.

I'm also in talks to submit some artwork to the Northwood Art Gallery here in good ol' Midland, MI.
I stopped by there one day with Laura, and asked what a guy had to do to get his work in there. The director there seemed interested in my being a cartoonist (a first for the gallery, I'm certain). But I immediately got a line of questioning that was very straight forward and a little intimidating, ending with, "Are you any good?" "Well, I think I am," I nervously replied. She asked me to bring back a selection of my work to review and that we'd talk.
Walking downtown with Laura afterwards, I was kicking myself for not answering her question with: "I'm the best cartoonist the tri-cities has to offer." I'm not so arrogant to think I'm the best there is in Michigan (there's always someone better than you, after all), but I feel confident I have Midland, Saginaw and Bay City under control.
More news on the gallery as it develops.

Lastly, there's more potenially big news on the immediate horizon, though I won't say what until I get confirmation. Even if it falls through, I'll let you guys know that it would have been. But for now, it sounds like a pretty sure thing.

Thanks to all you guys who've been replying to these semi-regular postings. Tell your friends about this website and make sure you and they keep checking my blog regularly to see what's in the works. If things keep progressing the way they have been, the news is only going to keep getting bigger and better!

Monday, January 09, 2006


From the moment after I told the world about my upcoming work on Dave Alvarez's comic book, I hit the ground running on the project. I hammered out the script in an hour, had my "fists" done in another hour, and began penciling the pages within the same 24 hour block of time. I got immediate approval from Dave based on my penciled pages (and he REALLY digged my script!), was given the go-ahead to ink and color the pages, and the whole deal was completed early Saturday morning and e-mailed off to Dave in Puerto Rico. So that's that. I currently await confirmation from Dave that he's received the pages. As soon as I know when they'll be published, you'll be hearing all about it, to great lengths and with no shortage of excitement!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I can't believe this is happening, but it is indeed happening.

I made friends with a guy named Dave Alvarez who's a frighteningly talented cartoonist from Puerto Rico. He's has a character called Yenny that he draws in an online comic strip and in a comic book published by Alias Comics, a new and very impressive looking publisher.

And he's offered me the chance to write and draw a two page story for his Yenny comic book!

I'm seriously freaking out here, but I've managed to keep my cool long enough to hammer out a plot, script and fists.*

*Fists are my own personal derivative of thumbnails. Thumbnails are the small, scribbly sketches that cartoonists use to map out their pages before they actually draw them. As my own thumbnails are effin' huge, I call them fists. End of lecture.

I intend to start the actual illustrating tonight when I get out of work. I have less than a month to put this together and get it out to Dave, and I'm shooting to complete this before the end of the week for my own satisfaction.

So that's the big news. Unless something dramatically changes, my work will be appearing in the pages of Dave Alvarez's Yenny comic book sometime very soon. More news on that when the time comes.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go wet my pants.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jay's Blog: Not just a clever bathroom code anymore!

Welcome to my blog, where I'll be posting news and updates regarding my cartooning! This is the biggest development to my website since it was built over a year ago, and I'm anxious to play with it and see what it can do.

I'm hoping this blog will have capabilities allowing you guys reading this to send me feedback and drop me some comments, but as of now I'm not sure how that works. I'll be talking with web (and funk) master Foco about making that an option if it isn't already.

Now to kick off this new blog, here's some actual news in the career of The Foz (um, yeah, that'd be me):

I've recently began creating a portfolio to send to Mad Magazine, home of Alfred E. Newman and (as their bi-line's proudly displayed for decades) "The Usual Gang of Idiots." I've been to their website and based on their suggestions, I think I've put together an impressive package of caricatures and comic strips for them to pour through. I'm hoping to send that off to them this week, so more on that when the time comes.

I'm still in the middle of creating my children's book, Pillow Billy. The holidays forced me to put it aside briefly, but by no means permanently. I'm passionate about this project and think it's going to be something special when I'm through.
As of now, the writing's done (several drafts later and I feel great about this story!), and the artwork is about midway through completion. Then I need to add the color pencil, which to me is a big deal, since I've been coloring digitally almost exclusively for the last three years. I miss the old hands on, organic look and feel of colored pencils and am anxious to incorperate them into my children's book, where I think they'll fit in beautifully.

My comic book The Herd has been done since the summer, but funds to print it have been extinct (Y'see, the book's about animal superheroes, so I figured "extinct" would be kinda fitting, get it? Uh....Yeah...I'm sorry). Regardless, as creating that book was my New Years resolution for 2005, getting it printed and distributed is my goal for 2006. I'll find the money and I'll make it happen some how, so don't give up on it yet. I know you'll love it when it hits .

And my collection of "Mother's Goofs" comics is still in the works as well (tenatively titled "Triple Fat Goofs"). I've been building up interest for the strip on, and it sounds like there may be an audience for the book beyond my old CMU gang (who will ALWAYS be my core audience). More on that as it develops.

And speaking of (an online art gallery) , I've been posting artwork there since just before Thanksgiving, and I've made some good contacts and met some nice people. If anyone's interested in seeing my gallery, here's a link to the site:
Just click on the images to fully view them and let me know what you think. There's some old Mother's Goofs strips on there, but mostly it's all new stuff.

Beyond that, I've got some caricaturing gigs and freelance art projects coming up and am trying to make myself a name in the art world, both locally and nationally (we'll hold off on worldwide until I tackle that "nationally" thing).

Thanks for keeping an interest in me and my work, and keep checking back here for more news and updates!