Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MASTER OF THE MACABRE


This week, I put a post on my Twitter and Facebook accounts, asking my followers how they would describe my art style. Some responses were quite specific:
  • "‎[Like] 1920s-30s newspaper funnies you would see."
  • "A lovely Chuck Jones inspired style..."
Some were quite complimentary: 
  • "Awesome."
 One just about melted my heart:
  •  "Your style makes me think (of) 'home'!"
And almost all of them pointed towards my macabre leanings:
  • "Darkly comical"
  • "...a touch of comical darkness"
  • "...delightfully insane monsters"
  • "Black humor, as in dark"
  •  "Your work reminds me a bit of Jeff Smith (Bone) with a more adult and darker twist..."
It's funny--a few years back, people saw my work and immediately latched on to the "cute". Now, I like cute. I'm proud of cute. I paint in bold strokes of cute. But my gags, my subject matter, they were almost never cute. Parents who glanced at my "Dead Duck" graphic novel and inexplicably missed Zombie Chick's pop-up knockers automatically assumed my "cute" cartoon art would be an acceptable purchase for their eight year olds (I corrected their mistake before any money changed hands, I assure you). But now, with "Dead Duck" having dominated my work for the past six years, and my "Necronomicomics" cartoon running regularly in "Rue Morgue Magazine", people are finally getting what I've been trying to tell them for years-- Jay P. Fosgitt is a macabre cartoonist. I accept the title with pride, as it puts me in the company of some of my favorite macabre cartoonists: Gahan Wilson, CharlesAddams, Tim Burton, Gary Larson, and so many others. But now, there's another part of me, stretching his drawing hand from beneath the piles of creatures and gore that I've heaped upon my creative aesthetic, waving at the crowd and shouting from beneath the dark rubble...

Hey! I can draw cute stuff, too!

Sigh. I'll never be satisfied.

NECRONOMICOMICS:

And speaking of my macabre work, there is no better representation than my monthly cartoon, published in the pages of Rue Morgue Magazine. "Necro" gives me more satisfaction than anything else I create these days. Maybe it's the freedom I have to create whatever I want. Maybe it's the subject matter of my beloved horror movies. Maybe it's the challenge presented in filtering familiar icons through my cartoon aesthetic. Whatever it is, it's making me very happy, and justifying my love of my art and career.
This is one of the cartoons that ran a few issues ago. This is the first installment that didn't directly lampoon a specific film, though everyone in the audience represents a horror movie icon. However, I made up the slasher at the podium. If you think this is gory, wait 'til you see my riff on "Sweeney Todd" next January (I draw these really far in advance).

DEAD DUCK:

I just started roughing out the pages for my next "Dead Duck" story. Though it's currently without a title, the script has been written for a couple years now. The episode is set in the mid 1950's, at a local make-out point for teens where aliens frequently land--and are continually blown to smithereens by an old fart with a shot gun. I'll post some art samples once I begin final illustration on this story.

FREE COMIC BOOK DAY:

On May 5th, I'll be celebrating Free Comic Book Day at 21st Century Comics in East Lansing, MI, where I'll share a table with several of my comic book creator pals. I encourage anyone in the area to stop by, pick up some comics, and get some artwork and face time with a fun group of artists!

ARTWORK:

Almost a year ago exactly, while experiencing a lull at a comic con I was attending, I doodled this cartoon on a blank Avengers cover:
Those familiar with Winnie the Pooh will get the gag. Typically, it's Tigger who pounces the silly ol' bear and perches upon his tummy. I went in a more suggestive direction by drawing Marvel's heroine (and not coincidentally, an Avenger) Tigra, atop Pooh. It was a fun idea, but one I felt I could do a better job with if I had more time, a better drawing surface, and the benefit of digital coloring. So this past week, I decided to make it happen.
I'm far happier with this new version. No doubt it'll end up in an upcoming sketchbook that I'll self publish, either towards the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013.

Another blast from my past--six years ago, after director David Cronenberg's film, "A History of Violence" came out, I was inspired to do a parody featuring Charles Schulz's Peanuts characters. It was just a black and white pen drawing, but at the time, I felt it was kinda special. However, it never generated much attention when I posted it online back then, mostly I think because not many of my regular followers saw the movie. However, I felt the piece was valid, and deserved to be dusted off and given a spit polish. I've posted the new version below. The only difference from the original is the color and the digital lettering I used for the title.
Lastly, the piece below was drawn as a black and white commission from quite a few months back. I decided to color it up and set it aside for a future sketchbook I want to publish, to feature all my pop culture pin-up girl drawings (the other two pieces I posted here will feature in it as well). For those who don't know, the character is Black Canary, a heroine from DC Comics. 
Thanks as always for taking time to read my weekly ramblings. Check back here next week for more news, and be sure to check out my Dead Duck web comic every Monday and Thursday!

--Jay

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Here's what's the haps...


Just a handful of news to throw atcha this week...

COMICS

I've just completed the first eight pages of "Old McMonster's Haunted Farm" (see my March 7th blog post for a peek at the characters) and sent them to Ape Entertainment. Brent Erwin, co-founder of Ape, and the official "thinker-upper" of Old McMonster's Haunted Farm, has posted the first page on his Facebook page, which pretty much gives me the go ahead to do the same below (click the image for a full view)...
 According to Brent, the book comes out in October of this year. I'll post any updates as they come in.

Denver Brubaker, my pal, fellow cartoonist and fellow resident (soon to be former) of Ann Arbor, MI, has asked me to contribute a guest strip to his hella-fun web comic, "Tales of a Checkered man." Denver and his fiancĂ©e are moving to Chicago, and he's asked a few of his cartooning buddies to fill for him while he gets settled. I'm told my strip will be posted on his site on April 10th. When it's up, I'll post it to my blog as well. In the meantime, be sure to check out "Tales of a Checkered Man", and soak up all the cartoony genius that is Denver Brubaker!   

This Thursday begins a new storyline in the Dead Duck web comic--"Gangs of New Scotland", or "Quebec to the Future"! It details Dead Duck's long history with the Canadian Mafia, or The Nova Scotia Cosa Nostra. Be sure to follow along for the next few weeks for some undead Canucklehead antics!

CONVENTIONS

I just added a new convention to my list of appearances in 2012--Summit City Con, in Fort Wayne Indiana. It's a one day show that'll be on May 12th. I'll be sitting between my pals Kyle Latino and Tony Miello, and as always, I'll be the one with the banner of a black robed duck and a chicken with a shag haircut and big knockers.

COMMISSIONS

This was a piece I drew for a returning customer who wanted me to draw his character from the video game, "Red Dead Redemption". I ended up designing a decent desperado, but after I finished it, I learned my client wanted the character to resemble himself (he's better looking than this rough mugged hombre I drew). I ended up re-drawing his face on the version I gave him, but I still loved this first version, so that's the one I decided to post below. I call this piece "Shoot Out In Coconino County" because of the silhouetted characters atop the mesa in the background. That's Ignatz Mouse throwing a brick at Krazy Kat's head, both from the classic comic strip "Krazy Kat" (1913-1944),drawn by the great cartoonist, George Herriman. The comic took place in the desert in Coconino County, Arizona. It wasn't part of my client's instructions to add these characters, but given the desert locale, it seemed like a good opportunity for a small tribute to a great comic.

That'll do for this week. Keep following "Dead Duck", and keep following this blog for news on what's coming next from my drawing board!

--Jay

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

He knows my name!


Let's jump right into this...

DREAMWORKS:
Three posts back, I mentioned that one of my publishers, Ape Entertainment, will be putting out a magazine focusing on Dreamworks Animation characters. I'd been asked to submit some sketches for Dreamworks to consider. Three weeks later, I got the thumbs up from both Dreamworks and my publisher, and it looks like I'll be doing sketches that will run along the magazine's margins, similar to what Sergio Aragones does for Mad Magazine. Plus, I've been encouraged to draw these characters in my own style, which sounds like a lot of fun. Not sure when this will start, but I look forward to drawing these characters, especially those from "How To Train Your Dragon", my favorite Dreamworks' film. You can see my Dreamworks samples below:

DINO DUCK:
Also awhile ago, I talked about "Dino Duck", the latest book I did for Ape. It's a concept that the publishers of Ape came up with, then passed off to me to design, write and draw. It's set in prehistoric times and sees a tribe of cave ducks at war with a tribe of monkeys. Dino Duck is the one brain among his dim-witted flock, and his crazy inventions are constantly misused by his tribe to battle their enemies, usually with failed and comical results. You can see the character sheet below (click it to enlarge):
 This past week, Ape posted a 15 page preview online, which you can read here. The book is coming out on June 12th, and I encourage you to order it through your local comic shop rather than online. I'm a huge proponent of bookstores, and every purchase prolongs their existence that much longer.

SKETCH CARDS:
In late 2011, I was given my third assignment for trading card company Rittenhouse Archives, and my third shot at drawing the Marvel Comics superheroes. This latest set is called "Marvel Greatest Heroes", and it's comprised of characters who have either been members of The Avengers, or had a connection to the team. This series was a blast to work on, and I've just gotten the okay to show everyone my cards. I've posted a small sample of the cards I drew below. You can view the rest on my Deviant Art page via this link. Once there, just hit the "previous" arrow in the upper left corner of the page to scroll through all the cards.
I'm also going to be working on a set of cards for 5finity, based on the work of my friend and fellow cartoonist Katie Cook. I look forward to playing in the cute and kitten-riddled realm of Katie's design aesthetic!

COMMISSIONS:
I just completed a big stack of commissions this week, and they were a lot of fun to create. Here's a small sampling of what I drew:
 This first one is Marvel's villain The Enchantress magically inflating GI Joe villain The Baroness like a balloon.
This one is just a simple sketch of Kermit and Piggy. My love for the Muppets will never diminish.
This was a request for me to draw a teenage Dead Duck asking the Greek goddess Artemis on a date.

And this last one is a little dark and weird, and should probably be scrolled past by anyone who prefers it when I draw cute, harmless stuff...
I was asked to draw my own version of the sins Lust and Greed. This is what I came up with. In my head, this was going to be a lot more comical. But on paper, it took a kinda dark, Clive Barker turn. I guess it's good that I'm stretching my reach as an artist. Right?

HERO ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
Something really special happened this week. I received an update from Twitter, telling me I had a new person following my Tweets. It was from "JLNelson". The name didn't strike a chord, but the profile pic brought it home. Jerry Nelson. Semi-retired Muppeteer. Original performer of The Count, Herry Monster, Floyd, Robin, Crazy Harry, Uncle Deadly, Pops the Doorman, Gobo Fraggle, Pa Gorg, The Trash Heap, The High Priest Skeksis, Skred, and countless other characters from Jim Henson's puppet universe. He decided to follow me on Twitter. This means everything to me. You people know me, and must know that I am a lifelong fanatic of The Muppets. And having Jerry, one of my heroes since childhood, follow me on Twitter of his own choosing, I mean...jeez...that's as good as Jim Henson himself following me!

That's it for this post. Have a great week, my friends!

--Jay

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Just a quick update and I'm outta here...!

I'm juggling several projects and gigs at once, so busy is the rule of the day. As such, this week's blog post will be a short one...
The latest issue of "Rue Morgue Magazine" just came out, and I received my comped copy in the mail yesterday. It's always a thrill to see my "Necronomicomics" in the pages of Rue Morgue. if you want to be thrilled too, go out to your local bookstore and pick up issue #120 of Rue Morgue. In the meantime, here's a peek at the cartoon from a few issues back. It's lampooning the 1973 British horror film, "The Wicker Man" (not to be mistaken for the abysmal 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage). The gist of it is, a colony of Pagans in Scotland sacrifice virgins by burning them inside a giant wicker effigy. It's a truly wonderful and chilling flick, and was a real treat to parody in "Necronomicomics":
Finally, I'm able to tell you guys about the latest comic I'm writing and drawing for Ape Entertainment. It's called "Old McMonster's Haunted Farm", and features a cast of animals as classic movie monsters. The idea was conceived by Ape co-founder Brent Erwin, and the writing, art, lettering and coloring is all me. The book should come out sometime in 2012. And below is the character sheet I designed for the cast (click on it for a larger view).
Ape is currently producing a kid's comic called "Scouts", which is about a ragtag troop and their misadventures. I actually designed the main characters for the book last year, though it's written and drawn by others. If you check out the link above, you may notice some similarities to my cartooning style. You can see my original designs below:
As yet another reminder, keep checking out my "Dead Duck" web comic every Monday and Thursday. I'm currently running through the stories previously seen in my "Dead Duck" graphic novel, but with some enhancements and lots of trivia behind each story's creation. And soon enough, I'll be running some brand new "Dead Duck" stories, so follow along with the comic so you don't miss out!

That's it for this week. Take care my friend, and talk to you next Wednesday!

--Jay