Friday, May 16, 2008


Sorry for the two week hiatus from blogging. As much as I love to reach out to the fans through my blog (all three of you, including my mom), it takes a good chunk of time to create one of these updates, time that could otherwise be spent working on my latest Dead Duck pages. However, I'm an attention hog, so getting these blogs to you, the people (again, two of you and hi to my mom) is still a priority. So with that, I've got a mess of junk to show you, so cancel your two o'clock appointment and tell the wife you'll be late for dinner. This one's a read.

I'm combining production news from two different stories here: the first is just a taste from my last story, DAY'S END.

As you may recall, DAY'S END is a dialogue-free story that explores life outside of work at RIP Inc., as well as the complex relationship between Dead Duck and Zombie Chick, and the class division between minions and zombies. Sounds like a hoot, I know. But trust me, it's good. Anyway, I tend to put a lot of references to stuff that means a lot to me into these stories, and this one's no different. I make reference to one of my favorite John Hughes films, Pretty in Pink:

Though I'm a child of the 80's, Pretty in Pink always seemed like a girl movie, so I avoided it until this past year when I decided to give it a shot. Not surprisingly, I totally loved it, except, of course, for the end, where Molly Ringwald's character chooses the hunky preppie guy over the dorky outcast (played by Jon Cryer) who truly loves her. That was a real burn. At any rate, the dork gets one of the greatest moments in any comedy EVER where he lip syncs to Otis Redding's Try A Little Tenderness, a skill I myself mastered at age sixteen. And the dork's name? DUCKY. I shit you not. Now this is a discovery I made a good four years after I created Zombie Chick and had her call Dead Duck Ducky. If this ain't fate, then fate can go get bent, 'cause it sure feels like fate to me!

Onto my latest story. This one is another slice of Dead Duck's childhood, which sequentially speaking will come after his origin opus tale, DEAD DUCK RISING (Yes, they'll both be featured in the graphic novel). In this one, we see J.P. Yorick dropping Dead Duck off for summer camp. Contrived, you say? Too derivative, you think? Been there, done that, you rehash? Perhaps, I retort, were it not for the fact that this is CAMP SCHOLOMANCE, a Transylvanian summer retreat run by none other than the devil himself in the hopes of finding an evil apprentice! Why would J.P. send Dead Duck there? Who will Dead Duck encounter? Why are all these sentences in the form of a question like we were playing Jeopardy or something? Follow me, kids, for a few answers, at least…

These are the model sheets I've sketched for some of the characters Dead Duck will encounter. We have the devil himself (inspired to a degree from the awesome design of the devil in Nelvana's animated special, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL MOUSE and to another degree, the goblins from the Rankin Bass cartoon of THE HOBBIT).

We also have a young Dracula (come on, it takes place in Transylvania. Like you didn't see this coming). I decided to forgo the clich├ęd interpretations of the character, drop the bat motif and give Drac a reptilian quality with a great thick dragon tail, which has been so much fun to draw! It practically takes on a life of it's own. Yes, I kept the pointed ears, but gone are the two pointed teeth in favor of a mouth full of 'em.

I've also sketched up loose caricatures of Richard Nixon and Adolf Hitler who will also appear in the story as I imagine they looked as kids. Hey, it's a camp for the potentially evil. Now there may be those out there of a more liberal slant (I'm with ya, brother) who wonder why I didn't put in a youthful version of a more recent political figure, an "oily" character on his way out the door. My answer: too easy. Plus, despite his apish face, he's not that much fun to draw.

Lastly, we see a gypsy whom I've named Tibor. He's modeled loosely off Bill Murray, and based a bit on Murray's role as head counselor at Camp North Star in the classic comedy MEATBALLS. Like I said, I pay mad props to stuff I love.

This here is view of the script I'm working from. I type it up on my computer, print it off, then go through it carefully and decide how I'll divide up the panels.

Simultaneously, I sketch out a fist (my bigger interpretation of a thumbnail, which is a small sketch that defines what I'll draw on the finished page). Using the script, I number sections of dialogue and put the corresponding numbers in the fist's panels where they'll appear in the finished work. This is actually the first time I've tried this method, and thus far it's working very well for me.

While I'm not prepared to show you any of this tale's finished pages yet, as a consulation prize, I'm going to give you a sneak preview of what will be the very first story in the Dead Duck graphic novel. It's titled THE SOUL-TAKER'S APPRENTICE or WHEN YOU WISH UPON A SCYTHE. The title is an obvious parody of a famous animation studio's product, but the story itself is of a far darker bent. So if you're ready, here's the first four pages in what became a fourteen page tale concerning Dead Duck's first foray into Minioning….

And as if all that wasn't enough, I'm going to share with you how I support myself in between working on Dead Duck. I've been caricaturing at parties, schools and corporate events for about sixteen years now, and only in the last three have I really felt like I was getting the hang of it. Now I'm very proud of my ability to caricature, and with my latest gig at Northwood University I had the foresight to document my subjects with my camera. So for your enjoyment, here's the best of the batch that I drew a couple night's back. It's a lot of fun for the most part, and there are far worse ways to make a living.

Now aren't you glad you stuck around to the very end? And hopefully I've made the two weeks it took me to post a new blog well worth the wait. I can't swear when my next posting will be, but rest assured, I'll have just as much cool stuff to share with you guys when that time comes. In the meantime, take care, much love, and keep checking out my blog for all the latest happenings!



Carla said...

As always, I love your work!

I can't wait to see the finished DD stories!

Also, my mom LOVES your artwork for the wedding...and so does everyone else she showed...

I can't wait to see you guys there!


Robin said...

Oh Jay, there's more than three of us!


Anonymous said...

Bit of trivia for ya: Molly's character was supposed to end up with Ducky in the original version of Pretty in Pink but Molly refused to do the movie unless she ended up with the hunk in the end so they revised the script. True story.

Keep up the good work!


Rev. said...

It's great you snuck Cholly in there, but what's up with killing Santa!?

Lindsey M said...

I just wanted to let you know I read every single blog. I love hearing the updates! I hope all is well.

Doc Shaner said...

Jay. Jay. Those colors. They look great my friend. I'm glad to have seen the "Soul-taker's apprentice" artwork in black and white because it helps me appreciate the colors that much more. Really solid work on that.

And as always, those caricatures are top notch.

Bill Drastal Blog Mode!! said...

Lets see some more of those caricatures!!!! Stat!!

Nilu Crocodilu' said...

I too am an aspiring cartoonist, and I want to ask you: what kind of a pencil do you use for the caricatures?

Otherwise, keep on the good work ;)

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