(A few days prior to Christmas, Dec. 2007)
What's MY Christmas wish? That people would step away from Myspace and Facebook for a bit to check their actual E-MAIL ACCOUNTS, take note of any e-mail I send them with a link to my blog which they would then click on and subsequently read the contents of my newsletter once in a blue moon. Of course, for you cynics out there who would tell Virgina to go screw herself because there is no Santa Claus, then my Christmas wish is an exercise in futility. But for those of you who still believe, both in Santa and myself, my heart goes out to you on this holiday season, and an extra big present shall be dropped beneath your tree.
There's been a lot happening in the month since I last beamed about my Halloween exploits and shared sample artwork from my various creative endeavors. First off, I've been busting my hump (to employ an oddly sexual sounding vernacular) to appease the powers that be at Recycled Paper Greetings. For those keeping score, the current situation is this: They still dig the three cards they chose from my first submission, and seem to like at least one of the cards that I'd re-tooled (actually re-re-tooled) from my second submission. So I have to whip up some new material to send their way ASAP so they can have a complete selection of my work to post online for a focus group to review for them. Once they get feedback from that group, we’ll know if I've got the stuff to freelance for them. I'm still feeling good about this, so hopefully I'll have something more concrete after the arrival of the new year.
My other big push to break into Ape Comics with my comic book "Dead Duck" (seen here in a fun piece I drew titled "Freddy VS Jason VS Ash VS Dead Duck and Zombie Chick") has been producing some juicy fruit (and I don't mean gum!). I've persistently dogged one of their editors, Kevin Freeman, with at least one e-mail per month since August, and each of his responses made me more hopeful that they would in fact publish Dead Duck for me. We discussed marketing Dead Duck, what our target audience would be, and the format that the book would be presented in, all sorts of good stuff that made it look like it was finally happening for me. Then this past weekend I got an e-mail from David Hedgcock, who's the financial manager of Ape Comics. He wanted to schedule a teleconference to discuss the future of Dead Duck. The call took place last Tuesday, and while I'm not at liberty to divulge too much of the conversation, I will say that we're VERY close to signing a contract, and that Dead Duck will be a graphic novel, which was the format I'd always dreamed of. Now, nothing's etched in stone just yet, and the winds could change between now and then, but I've never been this close to my artistic destiny before, and I'm all for keeping a positive attitude and locking my gaze upon the horizon. More news when the time comes, and believe me, LOADS of news there shall be with the coming dawn of 2008!
In other artistic news, I've been the steady plow horse, trudging through the fields of art gigs, both good and could-be-better. For the most part, I've had some nice experiences drawing caricatures for events at Northwood University and some neat family portraits for various clients (see samples further down in this blog). But I've recently been involved in a situation where a certain unnamed party stiffed me fifty bucks and breached our contract. I'll only say that the matter has been handled, but the relationship with the party, whom I've dealt with for about fifteen years, is seriously strained and potentially done for.
(The day before New Year's eve, Dec. 30th, 2007)
Thanks to the characteristic hustle and bustle of Christmas (plus a nagging back ache that made it difficult to slouch over a keyboard), I had to step away from my ramblings and enjoy the holidays. But I'm back, and to continue where I left off via paraphrasing: fifteen-year association with a business colleague goes up in smoke due to breach of contract. News at 11. Moving on...
I finished a bunch more pages of my Dead Duck graphic novel during my blog-sabbatical, and I'm very happy with them. I'm up to twelve pages now, making it the longest Dead Duck story I've done yet, with likely another three or four to go before I'm done. Finished may be overstating, as though the pages are fully illustrated, they have yet to be scanned in, cleaned up (i.e. erase little errors that only I would notice) and colored. But for me, the crux of creating the comic is in the hand drawn pages. Everything after that is just the wrapping on the Christmas present.
For those who are a wee clueless as to the nature of Dead Duck, my first thought is that you don't normally read my blog or follow my work. Dead Duck's all I've really spoken about for the past year. But in the spirit of giving, let me lay it out for you Spark-Notes fashion: Death employs minions to bring him spirits of the deceased which he then processes and sends off to their respective afterlife destinations. My comic is about his number one minion, Dead Duck, and his sidekick Zombie Chick. The graphic novel will be a compilation of separate adventures where the duo will make various pick-ups in varying points of history and realms of reality. So there you have it.
I've been hammering away at celebrity caricatures for my portfolio in my spare time, and I've been pretty happy with the results. Here's a selection for you to pour over.
It's often difficult for me to present these time-consuming cartoon endeavors to the masses I encounter at my various caricaturing gigs. But I do it anyway. More often than not, it gives them something to do when I'm drawing them. But the difficulty arises when sticky little kids turn it into a game of "How fast can we whip through the pages and still streak the book with the highest booger count possible?" I've also had a hard time keeping a rein on the collection, as inconsiderate patrons tend to run off with it to show their friends across the venue, leaving me to cross my fingers and hope they have the consideration and sobriety to return my portfolio to me. Still, I trudge on, creating these caricatures to hone my skills in the medium and to promote my work.
I've also had my share of personal caricature assignments from folks who wanted their families and significant others cartooned in time for Christmas.
I drew this caricature for the people who own Print Express, the print shop I frequent in Shields. I highly recommend their business for anyone with printing and office supply needs. Great prices, great service and great people.
My friend Melissa commissioned this piece as a Christmas gift for her boyfriend, with the only instructions being to incorporate their interests of bowling, knitting and drinking.
And this commission came after a co-worker of my friend Melissa saw the one I drew for her. Aside from scrapbooking, the interests I was asked to incorporate into the piece hit close to home: zombie horror movies and comic books are familiar subject matter for me.
My last bit of news sees the sun set upon a pen name I've employed for at least twenty two years. You may have noticed that in some of these pieces, "FOZ", the signature, is absent, and in its place stands my full name, Jay P. Fosgitt. Though only time will tell, for now, this is intended as a permanent change. It has nothing to do with growing up and shedding my childhood image or anything like that. You know me. I'm Jay, child eternal, Peter Pan incarnate. Growing up's not an option. What it is is me wanting to make damn sure my audience knows just who I am. I couldn't tell you how many caricaturing gigs I've had where the people I'm drawing ask me to sign my full name, or ask me at great length who "Foz" is. So this is my remedy for those situations. I've found a nifty style for my full moniker and that's what I intend to use from now on. Having said that, Foz is still my accepted nickname, and I fully expect people to call me that 'til the end of time. It'll probably be on my tombstone when the day comes. And for as long as this blog functions as an all-encompassing newsletter for all facets of my art, The Foz Chronicles: news from the fozfront it shall remain.
I'll wrap this up now with a personal note to the many friends and family I have seen over the holidays this far, and the handful that await me after I post my blog. I love all you guys, and 2007 has been a wonderful year to share with you all. 2008 looks like it'll have some cool stuff to offer, and I look forward to sharing that with you, too. My best to you and yours, and despite the religious right that would have me do otherwise, I say HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you all in your individual beliefs and traditions. I've got mine, you've got yours, and we all have each other. That's how it should be.