Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chock full o'nuts (and I don't mean my pants!)

So I actually have a bit of news to share reflective of my career, rather than my latest toy and bike purchases (which I'm still very geeked about).

I recently met up with syndicated cartoonist Dave Coverly (creator of "Speed Bump") at a coffee house in Ann Arbor, and it was easily the coolest meeting I've had with a master of my field since my brief but memorable encounter with Sergio Aragones in May of '07.
We talked about the industry and the technical this-and-that’s of our craft, but we talked about so much other personal stuff, too. After awhile it stopped being like I was talking to one of my professional idols and more like I was reunited with one of my old college buddies. It was just an incredible experience. We plan on hanging out again soon, and Dave's going to give me a tour of his studio, which I can't wait to see. I've always wanted to peek into a famous cartoonist's inner sanctum (though many soon-to-be famous cartoonists, like my bud Evan Shaner, have studios that make me drool, too).

I finally finished my 100th page of Dead Duck, written, drawn, colored and fit into its template. I'm very proud and exhausted. Whereas there's no end to the glee of hunching over my drawing table and actually creating a page with pen and pencil, sitting at my computer for a month solid and digitally coloring my pages has been tedious, laborious and frustrating to the end. Yes, I've done some very neat things with the colors, and I'm very proud of how it turned out. But the rush of using the keyboard vs. the drawing board isn't much of a contest, and drawing board wins out every time by a landslide.

Having said that, it means everything to me that I'm doing this book 100% myself, writing, penciling, inking and coloring. Though I know there's far more knowledgeable and capable digital colorists than myself, I don't know if I could ever collaborate on Dead Duck. I'm creatively selfish, I admit it. Maybe someday I'll collaborate on my work, but not anytime soon and not on this book.

The biggest downside to my month-long coloring jag was my absence from actual drawing. Besides the previously mentioned caricaturing hell gig and a recent and far more pleasurable drawing jam session with Evan Shaner,
I've really been separated from the pen and paper. But in the last few days I've dipped my toes into the cartooning pond again, and believe me, the water is fine.

My first effort was a submission to Rittenhouse Trading Cards, a company that produces Marvel Comics cards. They're looking for artists to produce "sketch cards", which essentially means a card-sized drawing of a Marvel character done entirely by hand (including coloring). I was told they needed to see a minimum of five samples. I got so geeked for the project that I doubled my offering.

So this is what I came up with. I drew all my favorite characters, with the exception of the Hulk, since I didn't want him to compete for the attention of my Thing (which sounds dirty), which I'm very proud of (which sounds dirty and narcissistic). I had such a blast drawing these. It was like I could feel my body and imagination pull itself out of its long slumber and really hit the ground running. Even if nothing comes of my submission, I'm so glad I got the opportunity to draw these characters. It was a great warm-up for my next big push to draw the rest of Dead Duck. And speaking of which…

I had two written scripts and one in the making waiting for me to tackle them. Just last night I grabbed the first one, and in a fit of unbridled enthusiasm to be drawing my duck's adventures again, I competed the first page.

This story tries to clarify the roles of minions, particularly their limitations. Sure they deliver the dead, but what are the capable of beyond that? What governs them? I know, sounds too deep for a funny book about the dead, but I feel like I deal with it as humorously as ever. That's how the story begins, and then it segways into Dead Duck's latest exploits. This one puts Dead Duck and Zombie Chick in actual peril, and I feel it's a new direction for the characters. Plus it adds an important moment to the mystery of Dead Duck's origin. Sound intriguing? Well nothing satisfies intrigue as much as buying the graphic novel from which the intrigue originates! Hint hint!

Lastly, I wanted to mention a few unexpected places my name and work has been popping up in lately. I recently found in a Wikipedia entry about my old Alma Mater Delta College that my name has been added to the short list of "noteable alumni." "Jay Fosgitt-cartoonist" proudly stands amongst a scant four other names (one of which being my best friend and Journalist Justin Engel), and I thank my friend Robin who confessed to being the initiator of my entry.

I also stumbled across a Wikipedia entry for Kernal Korn,
the mascot I created for Goodrich Theaters in 2003. My name was included in the bio for the character's creation, which was a surprise, since I didn't part on good terms with Goodrich regarding a follow-up project. I'm just glad that whomever wrote the entry gave me props.

And finally, I got a message on Deviantart today from my friend Marian in Ireland. Evidently a news program in the UK was doing a story about a person who'd created a website dedicated to lampooning Britney Spears. And in the course of the news bit, they showed a quick image of my now infamous Britney Spears caricature (I've gotten more than my share of angry e-mails from irate Britney fans saying I should leave her alone. Obviously there pleas blew right past me). I checked, and I was given credit on the site for the caricature, so I'm good with it. And it's a real thrill to know I was seen on UK TV, too.

So that's it for now. Things are going swell, and my creative juices are spilling over. So expect some fresh dead Duck material to drool over very, very soon!

Much love,



Anonymous said...

What a great blog! You certainly have many GREAT things happening to you & I couldn't be happier for you! Can't wait to keep hearing about all your progress... Its just a matter of time & you'll be known world-wide... sounds like you already have a heck of a good start!! & who'dathunk... I knew you back in the day at Shields Elem.... I am the fortunate one indeed! :) Until next time...

Jeremy said...


i read it. and i approve.

now get back to work, slacker.



Robin said...

So excited for Dead Duck next fall-- Jonathon has yet to fully understand the blue guy's appeal, but I'll educate him!

Glad things are going well for you in Ann Arbor!