Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A little announcement...

Well, I'm back for yet another stunning installation of, Jacot's weird and wild mind. Well maybe not weird, or wild, maybe if I did a blog post while drinking... nah nothing good could come from that.

Anywho, I don't have much in the way of PC maintenance tips this week. I was straining my brain to think what else could be useful. I couldn't think of much for the general PC user so I thought of something for the graphic designer or digital typesetter. Two words, Font management.

If you've every dabbled in design work on the computer you've probably taken advantage of the thousands of free fonts online. When you have thousands of fonts installed on your computer it can bog down your design software. I found this out the hard way when Adobe Illustrator was shutting down due to lack of free memory. At the time I had 1400 fonts installed on my computer 1350 of them I never use but they looked cool so someday I might want to use them. I had been wanting to trim the fonts on my computer for a long time but didn't want to spend the hours it would have taken to go through the font folder having to open each font and determine whether I needed it or not. One day I decided to look online for font management software and was blown away by what I found. NexusFont is a free font management tool that does everything I need. This program allows you to see installed fonts on your PC, fonts in different folders, see what the phrase or word looks like in different fonts, and much more. I was able to get my font addiction under control easily and even manage fonts on the fly while doing some graphic design work. If you are a person who works with type/fonts this program is indispensible and highly recommended. The website can be found here.

Now onto the announcement I promised last week...

Recently Ryan Claytor, a good friend and one of the hardest working people in the indy comics scene, stopped by to drop off poster tubes to mail out MSU Comics Forum posters to various comics retailers. During the visit Ryan proposed a challenge, one that I feel was sorely needed. You see, Ryan is posting a page a week of his new And Then One Day comic on his website for the first 24 weeks of 2011. He challenged me to do the same here on my blog. Well not post his comic pages on my blog but post my own sequential pages. It was a challenge I was glad to accept. Now the only problem is which project to put on that time frame. So many to choose and yet so many started and left unfinished. I couldn't choose what to do so I did the only logical thing at that time. I went to bed.

The next day, while sitting at work, I made a decision. It's time to get The Tao of Snarky of the back burner and get it cooking again. Brad DeMaagd and I have been working with a script for quite some time but there was always something missing. With the decision to break it out the answers came to me easily.

So, for the next 24 weeks I'll be posting a page a week of The Tao of Snarky: The Cutting Edge every Tuesday night at 9:00pm. After that I'll probably take a few weeks break and start the second installment with weekly posts, then a break, then third installment, then a... you get the point. Now this will be part of my weekly blog post, it will not replace it but be in addition to the weekly blog. So for those who look forward to the weekly helping of... me, you shall still get it.

In light of this development I thought I would share an old image of Snarky from back in the day...

I've always enjoyed this image, it was one of the first times I used Copic markers and was blown away by what was possible with them. Oops almost forgot, In case case you've never read Snarky or know what The Tao of Snarky is check out the first 4 page introduction into the world here. You'll get strong feeling of the character and it should prepare you well for the weekly posts.

In case you're still reading I'll sum The Tao of Snarky up like this:

"The Tao of Snarky is a futuristic film noir detective story. Snarky's searching the Galaxy for his sister and is stuck on the alien planet of Rex-9. Snarky's a Galactic Private Detective, the only problem with him being on Rex-9, he's human. Snarky's going to be taking the case of a missing talisman that may cause the destruction of a major family of the indigenous species on Rex-9. While on the case he's caught in a moral dilema, solve the case or live to talk about it. Snarky's going to find out what what it means to live on "The Cutting Edge""

Well I'll see everyone back here next week for page 1 of 24.

Wish me luck,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ding, Ding, Ding... PC maintenance round 3

Welcome back for your weekly dose of... well... me.

That wasn't that exciting but what do you want for nothing...? Rrrrrrrrrubber Biscuit? Bow bow oooh ooh oooh oooooooo-waaaah.

On with the show.

Everyone knows (if not, this might be shocking for you) that if you are connected to the internet, you need to have anti-virus software so I'm going to forgo that little bit and jump onto something not as many people know.

If you browse the internet on your computer you will more than likely end up with Malware. Malware is short for Malicious Software. This can be anything from software that fishes your browsing history for personal info and broadcasts it, bots that take control of your computer, Trojans which function like the classic Trojan horse (hence the name) and discretely install software on your computer (and you know how that worked for Troy), and much, much more. Essentially you need to protect yourself from this stuff. My recommendation is Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware. This comes in two versions like a lot of the programs I've mentioned on this blog, an incredibly well functioning free version and an even more functional paid version. The free version does everything I need it to, it finds the malware and let's me get rid of it. I try to do this every other week to make sure my system is clean, you can find a frequency that works well for yourself. This is a necessity when if you browse the internet because Malware doesn't function like a virus, so your anti-virus won't catch it, and it can cause your computer to become infected with viruses.

Another thing you'll want to do is manage your installed programs. I find the add/remove programs feature leaves too many pieces of the program behind. I found a fantastic program called Revo Uninstaller. It not only makes it easier to uninstall programs, but it also hunts down all the little places on your system where the program is mentioned and gives you an option to delete it. This is where the standard windows feature is sorely lacking. Prior to finding and using Revo my system would end up with a whole bunch of little "crumbs" leftover from un-installed programs. With Revo it helps maintain a clean and healthy system.

And it's now the time in our program where we have fun with art...

This week is a little piece I did back at a LADD meeting. It all started with a story from Jon Gordon about his son Galbraithe. Galbraithe evidently loves Ryan Claytor's auto-biographical And Then One Day. Well one day I guess he was playing super heroes and said I'm Ryan Claytor... once Jon said this at the LADD meeting laughter ensued and this piece of art was born.

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post, I'll be back next week with an exciting announcement for 2011.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

PC Maintenance Round 2

Ahoy there, mateys!

This be Cap'n Jacket here for the second installment of art and computer maintenance. this week we're going to delve into some software to help with your computer.

There's some general things to help out with the health of your disk drives.

These days hard drives measure in terabytes (TB) and each terabyte is approximately 1000 gigabytes (GB). Now you can leave these drives alone or you can split the drive into smaller portions called partitions. Splitting them up into smaller portions allows for quicker searches and usually faster load times. There's a lot more that goes into this such as write speeds, read speeds, and rpm of the drive though we're not worried about that for now. there's many great programs out there to manage the partitions of the drive, you can use the disk management utility built into windows but I prefer EASEUS Partition Master. The free version is good enough to help manage the size of partitions and manage your disk layouts. This isn't something you need to use all the time but it's useful when you get a new drive or manage the size of an old one.

Speaking of hard drives, when information is written (saved) to the hard drive it isn't saved in order or even all together. Most of the time the information is fragmented and saved in various locations of the disk. After a while your hard drive will start slowing down when trying to load various files depending on how fragmented they are. This fragmentation also increases the chance of file corruption by having the computer accidentally write two separate bits of info to the same location. To help prevent this you'll want to defragment your hard drive. Windows has a built in defragmenter that will work but I recommend using a different tool. I've found Auslogics Disk Defrag performs better than the defrag utility built into windows. It's faster (which is good when working with larger hard drives) and has a good visual and user interface. Depending on how much info use save or delete during the month you'll want to run a defrag every month or two. After a few times you'll find a good schedule that works for you.

That's enough for this week on general PC maintenance. Onto the Art!

This week we have a little illustration I did to create a quick handout for the MSU Comics Forum 2011. I've had this concept in my head for the past few years and finally found a good combination of Comics and a Spartan helmet.

Speaking of the MSU Comics Forum 2011 pop over to the MSU Comics Forum website for more information about this years event. Also any comic creators who would like to be part of the artist alley table spaces are still available, more info can be found on the Comics Forum website.

Hell why not give you a peak at the quarter page flyer that the art was done for.

Now I bid you Adieu for this week, be back next Tuesday night.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Meandering Blogger Has Returned

Long time, no post.

It's been a while eh? A lot happened to create this delay in posting, a lot of excuses. I have no actual reason that I didn't hold to my previous statement of weekly postings, more of a series of events.

Shortly after my last post I had a catastrophic hard drive failure. The hard drive that failed stored all the information I had saved for the past 10 years. This included all comic and art files I've scanned and saved. For any of you that have talked computers with me you may know I'm a pretty knowledgeable guy and am very free with that computer assistance. One of the bits o knowledge I hand out is "If you have important information on your computer then you should keep a back-up." Well I seem to have disregarded this statement. I figured that I could recover from anything less than a complete hard drive failure. Well lesson learned, the cost? 60% of my art and work gone forever, including current work/projects. I had started to try and work with a mostly digital work flow this year and now I've paid for it and will never forsake the blessings that simple paper and pencil can bring.

Here's another about the hard drive failure. There were plenty of signs it was going bad... I just ignored them because they would go away. A lot of problems from my previous post actually relate to problems with this hard drive.

After this event I can't stress enough the importance of regular computer maintenance.

Most Mac people are probably laughing at this time and have probably figured I have a PC. I can't help it, I'm a PC guy, I really enjoy Macs and their reliability. Even if someday I own a Mac I will have an operational PC as well.

Regular computer maintenance should be done for both hardware and software. Over the next few weeks I'm going to highlight some open-source (freeware) software solutions to help with general computer maintenance. His week is going to be about dusting... minus the french maid and feather duster (unless that's your thing.)

Dust buildup in your PC causes your computer to overheat and heat is your computers enemy. This can lead to decreased system response, sudden shutdowns by the computer (trying to prevent damage to your system,) system failure, and even hardware failure.

Before you start physically cleaning out your PC be sure it's turned off and unplugged. If you have a laptop be sure its unplugged and the battery is removed. If your computer is under warranty you should first check to see if opening the case to your desktop or taking apart your laptop will void the warranty. If it will then don't worry about opening your system and just use a can of air to clean out what you can.

When cleaning out your desktop it's pretty straight forward. Open the case and remove any large accumulations of dust. Pay close attention the fans and heat sinks, this is where most of the heat buildup will take place. Once large chunks have been removed take your computer case outside or to an area you don't mind cleaning when you are done. Use a can of compressed air to blow the dust buildup out of your system. When using the can of compressed gas don't just hold the trigger down for an extended period of time pull the trigger in 1-3 second bursts. This will give you more dusting capability with reduced downtime. Once that's done you can plug the computer back in to check and make sure all the fans are spinning properly.

Now laptops are another matter all together. General maintenance and dusting are much more complicated and you might feel uncomfortable with the process. The main point affected by dust buildup is on the heatsink where the fan is supposed to blow air over it. Here's one of the biggest pains, to properly remove the buildup you need to disassemble your laptop. Scary thought? It's not as hard as you think. Before you do that though I have to remind you about the warranty thing and also it may be a good idea to check and see if there's a buildup in the first place. Shine a light into the fan and look through the exhaust slits/ports. If you see an fuzzy buildup blocking some light you should clean the dust of the heatsink. If you're not sure what you're doing search online and find a tutorial to take your laptop apart. When you get to removing the fan you will see the dust build-up on the heatsink.

Well that's all for this weeks general computer maintenance post, onto the art.

Here's a commission sketch I did for Ralph Griffith one of the writers for Calibur and Arrow comics OZ series. I believe the character design was done by Bill Bryan for the series, here's my take on the Tin Man. For some reason or another I really enjoy the mood of this piece, it speaks to me. almost to explain how I've been feeling beginning with a huge loss of information.

Until next week, and I hope I mean it this time.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Truth about Godzilla

Welcome to this weeks blog post. I've pushed it back a day due to the 4th of July weekend, sorry for those who were here on time. Hopefully though this weeks post will give you a bit of enjoyment.

I've updated an old concept. Some of my old friends may remember this from a while back

This concept was done clear back in 1995. I was going to do an entire series of "The Truth About" but being young and having the attention span of a newt, it was left on the wayside. Who knows maybe I'll resurrect this project and attack the concepts of Cryptozoology. So in the interest of history and full disclosure, here's the original concept image circa 1995.

That's our programming for this week, see everyone back next week.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Reason Why there's not more Wookie Jedis

I've been promising this for a couple weeks and here it is. Born from Random conversation with Josh Boeringa, Rob Forest, and his wife Kate Forest during the first day of C3.

So we're going to keep it short and sweet this week with just short comic, click on the image to open in a larger window, Enjoy.

Catch everyone back here next week.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Combining Visual Art Mediums

Slight Change,

Do to unfortunate timing and some technical issues I'll be posting "The reason why there's not more Wookie Jedis" next week.

I ran into an interesting article that came out over this past weekend from The Boston Globe. It was about the great Art Spiegelman of MAUS fame. It appears the dance company Pilobolus has courted Mr. Spiegelman into creating a joint venture of Cartooning and dance. You can check out the amazing article here (or click on the image below.) Reading this made me smile. You see two years ago I had the pleasure of working with the Community Dance Project (CD Project for short, a project though Happendance) in doing the exact same thing, combining dance and cartooning. To read more about that project check out my old blog post here. The project with Pilobolus has gone the next step from what I had done with CD Project. Art has created an animation style "Seventh Dancer" to be projected with the other dancers. On top of that the dancers appear to take some time doing some silhouette/shadow work to "Interact" with the animation. I only hope I will get a chance to see this in video. I have a feeling it will be an incredible thing to witness.

Dancers from Pilobolus rehearse "Hapless Hooligan in 'Still Moving,'" a collaboration with cartoonist Art Spiegelman. (Matthew Cavanaugh for The Boston Globe)

It's seeing like this that make me wonder is there anything that art can't be applied too? What's the next meshing of art forms that's going to find a handhold? Never constrain yourself as to what you can create, the capabilities of creation are truly limitless.

On to another bit of subject matter, This is my birthday post, I'm officially 31 years of age today. Just as I expected it doesn't feel any different. But I digress.

The following is a poster I had way too much fun creating. It was for the 2010 Russel B. Nye Lecture at Michigan State University. This years Lecture was by Shelley Fisher Fishkin of Stanford University. She came and talked about American literature and how non-American scholars viewed it. Well, more particularly the prose on the body of work from the famous American author, Mark Twain. I think a quote I used on the poster sums it all up "The cultural conversation about Mark Twain that is most familiar to scholars in the U.S. happens in English. But writers have been reading and responding to Mark Twain in languages other than English for at least 138 years. This talk looks at what we can learn by seeking out and attending to writing on a canonical American author published outside the U.S. in languages other than English."

For the poster I wanted to create original art that would wrap the whole concept together. I created a quick illustration of Mark Twain with a strong shadow. Then I scanned in the piece, colored it, set up a background, and made my color choices. Now I still had incorporate the fact that this Lecture was based on non-English languages. So utilizing the shadow on Mark Twain I placed foreign book titles, that discussed the works of Mark Twain, in a slightly darker color. I really like this piece and wanted to share it sans text.

I should have all technical issues sorted out be next week and then I'll have a quick little Comic to share with everyone.

Until then,


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Four weeks and counting.

Welcome back!

I'm going to keep this post a little short this week... well shorter than normal.

I wanted to start off this post by just putting out a big thank you. Thank to Mike, Rob, and the crew from Top Comics for putting on this years Cherry Capital Con. Thanks to all the volunteers for helping to make it run as smooth as possible. The sponsors for helping get the word out and broadcasting from the con all weekend long. Thanks to all the exhibitors and and vendors for displaying fantastic art and wares everyone was able to witness/purchase over the weekend (though I'm not going to thank you for taking my money.) Lastly, thank you to all of the attendees from this past weekend, without you there wouldn't be a C3.

I had a fantastic time at Cherry Capital Con (C3). I got a chance to meet some incredible creators and touch base with many people I haven't seen or talked to since last years con. I had many great conversations with attendees including one who had the wonderful/unfortunate experience of Tony Miello and I recounting Ypsi Ink and Stein where we got on to the topic of Zombie Defecation. It's events like this that give me a chance to talk to people about my work. I really enjoy doing this stuff and I'm happy I can share it with others that may enjoy it as well. Speaking of sharing (well more of exchanging) I sold many prints this weekend to delighted attendees (many who couldn't help but pick up the Betty White vs. Wolverine), quite a few comics, and even managed a commission on Sunday (If I manage to get a copy of that commission I'll post it.)

Enough ranting and raving about C3... onto the art. With all art I post you can click on the image to view a larger version in a new window/tab.

Here's what I promised last week... Batman in color.

I also created a halftone/grayscalimage I wanted to share.

Now I'd like to take a moment to showcase one of my friends Dean Stahl. Dean is an incredible artist and creator who is constantly producing artwork and always impresses me with his new work. Earlier this year Dean started his own wrestling based web comic. You should take a moment to hop on over and check it out. Click on this link: http://www.headlocksandheadaches.com/ to check it out. I'm pretty sure Dean's work will keep you entertained. Dean also is the co-host of the podcast Ultra Friends Go! I just started listening to these and they're pretty darned good, it's a brand new show and has some technical difficulties to start with but they're getting better all the time. You can download it from Itunes or their website: http://ultrafriendsgo.com/.

Well that's it for this week (I guess it really wasn't that short,) be sure to tune in next week when I display the reason why you don't see many wookie jedi knights.


Sunday, June 6, 2010


This year I will once again be attending the Cherry Capital Con (C3 for short). It's taking place this weekend June 12-13 at The Grand Traverse Resort in beautiful Traverse City, MI.

Here's a little blurb from the C3 website to set the tone for the show: "Cherry Capital Con (C3) is a comic book convention that celebrates the medium of comics, rather than a specific genre. At C3, all comics are equal; as are their creators and their fans. The organizers of C3 intend to prove to the world that comic conventions—just like comics fans and the comics, themselves—don’t have to be “this” or “that”. They can just be what they are…which is simply “cool”."

This is the second year of the show and if it is anything like last year the show is going to be amazing. It was one of the best shows I attended last year. The promotional material and coverage was absolutely amazing. This year appears to be even better with over three times the exhibitors. If you're in the area or willing to make a little road trip it'll be worth it. Of course it doesn't hurt that if you do come out you'll be in Traverse City, during the summer, looking out on lake Michigan... but who would want that? For more information about the Cherry Capital Con go to their website www.cherrycapitalcon.com or click on the banner to the upper left.

Speaking of C3 here's the new poster I'm working on for debut at the show.

I have been playing around for a while with this image concept and decided it was time to just get it out of the way. The piece will be in full color and I'll post the finished piece next week.

This past March I helped organize the third annual Michigan State University Comics Forum. We had twenty-six Michigan based comic related creators in this years artist alley. This included the amazing Guy Davis. Guy is an amazing comics creator some of his past work includes Bakerstreet, Sandman Mystery Theater, The Nevermen, B.P.R.D., and The Marquis. For more info on Guy Davis take a moment to enjoy his website www.guydavisartworks.com. Guy Davis was kind enough to be this years keynote speaker for the MSU Comics Forum. He did a fantastic job on the keynote and I wanted to give him a special "thank you" gift. Here's a piece I did of his character The Marquis.

I'm finishing up this image digitally with some tones. Once that's done I'll post it here. If you want to see how the MSU Comics Forum went then scoot on over to the following live blog - http://ievolvedintothis.com/?p=93.

That's about all at this point in time. I'll be back next week... same blog time... same blog channel.

-Jay Jacot

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

On Schedule... WOO HOO!!!

Well this is the first post of the regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday nights, as promised.

I was trying to think of something good to go over, something… useful. Something that people could learn from. Now, as I was thinking about this I began to realize a lot of the stuff has already been covered by one of my good friends, Ryan Claytor. So I thought I would take a moment to pimp out his website http://www.elephanteater.com/... (insert shameless plug here, well maybe just the image from his new bookmark. Click on the image to open his website in a new window.)

At his website you will find his weekly postings, musings, and his shop for comics/merchandise. He just finished posting "And then one day #8" (his most recent issue, to be printed soon), be sure to check out all the instollments of "And Then One Day", they're worth the read. Ryan (at the time of this post) is mainly an auto-biographical comics creator. He's used his series "And Then One Day" to push the boundaries and provoke thoughts on the concept of Auto-Biographies and the comics medium. He currently teaches Comic Studio courses at Michigan State University and University of Michigan - Flint. Be sure to take a moment to check out his resources page it includes one of my favorite topics - Small Press Professionalism.

Now this doesn't mean I won't be posting my own musings and information on the Comics medium. There’s plenty of time for me to write about that in the future.

I previously mentioned information on some of the projects that I’ve been working on and I thought I would share an image or two of the concept work.

First off… Space Teddy Roosevelt. This concept came from an old high school friend, Benjamin M. Sidou. Just the thought of a real life over-the-top character, such as Teddy Roosevelt, going on a space safari made me smile. The classic image of Teddy’s toothy grin framed inside a space helmet was too much to take. I started sketching some Ideas and this was actually the first piece I produced. I’ve cleaned it up a bit from my initial rough and am currently designing a mock cover to set the tone and direction for the project. I’ll post the final cover concept in a future post.

Now here's a little something from a great monthly gathering, Ypsi Ink & Stein. This is a monthly gathering of creator's and friends to have a good time and produce work in a highly creative environment. I was lucky enough to be able to attend this past month's Ink & Stein (it was moved to the same weekend as the Motor City Comic Con.) Once everyone settled in it didn't take long for the conversation to take a turn to the lower end of the comedy spectrum (pun intended, what do you expect after a long day at a convention?.) Of course this could have been due to the amazing company of Jay Fosgitt, Ryan Estrada, Adam Talley, Tony Miello, and Brett Pinson. With a line-up like that you can only guess what came next.

The subject: Zombies
The question: "Do Zombies Defecate?"

The debate started... Hilarity ensued... and here's what I threw into the "pot" of creativity.

Well that's about the end of this weeks segment.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next Tuesday night.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Time to dust off the blog.

Well now... It's been a little bit since I've made a post. I figured it's about time to come back and dust off the old blog. I've really missed it and apologize emphatically for my laziness. A lot has been happening in the time I've been away.

- I've finally started working on the relaunch of Comics Obscura (something I need to do to keep the dream alive.) It should be launched by the end of the year with the first issue hopefully in early 2011. I'm going to build a solid base that the idea can flourish on. Over this past winter I finally started to deal with some issues (brought on by the Comics Obscura debacle from last June) that I didn't realize I had. It was part of the reason I disappeared from this blog for so long.

-The Tao of Snarky has gone back to the Drawing board for some reworking on the script and story to provide the best story possible, after working for so long with page restrictions we got into a compressed storytelling mode. It kinda felt like the story was being vomited onto the page when we started doing more than six pages at a time. It's all for the better trust me. I'll post more info as we work it out.

- I've started work on a story by Jeremy Dunckel titled: A Throne of Refuse. It's a dark psychological trip that Is a solid story. This is going to be the next sequential work I'll be publishing.

- Kurt Spatrisano is currently working on a script based on one of my story concepts. It's the tale of a soldier dealing with his emotions that plays of the concept "We never give children enough credit for what they can understand." I've been mulling this over for a while, earlier this year Kurt and i were sitting down and I brought it up, Kurt made some good comment about it and I asked if he would write it. I can't wait to get started on it.

- I've made a decision about my blog-posting irregularities. The blog will be updated every Tuesday night by 9:00pm (est) with a new post and new art. I figure this way I can devote some time to making your visit here as entertaining and enjoyable as possible (basically not leave a hastily scrawled post)

Now I have something to share. right before Motor City Comic Con I threw up a question on my Facebook requesting ideas to draw for a new print. There were many great ideas, one of my favorites being Space Teddy Roosevelt (project in the works, probably a web-comic,) but then something magical happened... Joe Foo made a statement "Betty White vs, Wolverine"... needless to say pencils and inks were done the next night and colors were finished the night after.

So without further ado... Betty White vs. Wolverine

I look forward to seeing everyone here every Tuesday night.

Thanks for joining me and entertaining my prattle.

-Jay Jacot