cover illustration

New Book: Aspen Mascots Halloween ComicFest 2018!

Aspen's 2018 Halloween ComicFest  Aspen Mascots  cover, art by yours truly, inked by  Gabe Carrasco , and colored by  Justice !

Aspen's 2018 Halloween ComicFest Aspen Mascots cover, art by yours truly, inked by Gabe Carrasco, and colored by Justice!

Exciting news-- this year's Halloween ComicFest titles have officially been announced, and this year, Aspen will be presenting Aspen Mascots as theirs! I did the cover for it, which was revealed yesterday-- and it's the first cover I've done since Everstar back in 2014. I'm so excited about how it turned out. 

The inside will be coloring-book style as usual, and it'll feature my pages from Aspen Mascots as well as games and puzzles! It'll be available FOR FREE at a participating comic book store near you this October.

A complete listing of all the HCF titles, including the HCF Commemorative T-Shirt by Eisner Award-winning creator Eric Powell, can be found in the July issue of Diamond Comic Distributors’ PREVIEWS catalog, on sale at all local comic shops on June 27th, 2018.
— HalloweenComicFest.com

Check out my posts about previous years' Halloween ComicFests with Aspen!

Ghost Coast

GhostCoastFinal

All my life I've enjoyed spooky things ("spoopy" as the internet calls it). As a kid I would gobble up any sort of ghost or alien-related media-- I had just about gutted my local library of anything it had on the subjects. The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine was definitely a favorite of mine, as well as Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz. Whether it was fictional or real-life accounts, I wanted to read it! My aunt and uncle took me to London at the tender age of ten, and I was excited and desperate to visit the Ghost Tower in Warwick Castle. Finally, I'd see some ghosts and learn that IT WAS ALL REAL! (Think of Baby Joie as a preteen Agent Mulder, yeah?) Sadly, no ghosts made any appearances, but I kept on reading and hoping one day I'd see something.

Even though I'm more of an Agent Scully now in my adult years, I still can't get enough of horror/paranormal/spoopy entertainment. When I was thinking up ideas for new illustrations recently, I remembered that horror-for-kids is a thing. In fact, I recently read a middle grade horror novel called Took by Mary Downing Hahn. (I really enjoyed the book a lot, btw). So, why not try something like that? I decided to cook up a faux middle grade novel about a bunch of kids who investigate paranormal stuff. Turns out it's a sub-genre which already exists in droves, based on my recent trip to the book store... but whatever, I wanted to do it anyway!

I didn't want the cover for this faux book be just a regular ol' "kids exploring haunted house" thing, though. I wanted something interesting and new-- I wanted the setting to be unique. They say draw what you know, right? Or does that just apply to writers? Anyway, I decided that the coastline of Oregon was perfect since it was so beautiful and specific. And, what sort of ghosts might one find near a coastline? A ghost SHIP! Of course the rhyme of "Ghost Coast" was my husband's invention, and I couldn't not use it.

So looking at photos from Battle Rock Beach and the general surrounding coastline of Port Orford, Oregon got me started. I've spent a lot of time up there, considering it's where Joel is from... and we also literally got married there last year. Dramatic rocky cliffs slathered in evergreen forest jutted up against a beach? You got it. Let's add in some kids who have found a map that draws them to the area and are an appropriate mix of "this is terrifying," "this is cool," and "I will conveniently miss any paranormal activity because I am always looking in another direction" respectively. (Of course, gentle reader, the latter's name is clearly Dana).

And finally, we'll add the "ghost." And I mean just look at that sick ship. Sick as in "it's a sickly color" but also "the concept of a ghost ship is cool." I'd be totally into seeing something like that when I go to the beach at night soon.

I enjoyed creating this illustration so much that I am going to do more with these same kids. So keep an eye out for that if you like this sort of thing. If you don't, there's not much I can do about that. Have a spoopy day!

New Illustration and Website!

Today is a day of new things: new illustration, new website, and fun new career goals! Wait, what?! I’m getting ahead of myself, let me explain!

First– my new illustration, Spotted! A girl who rescues an injured pegasus must keep it hidden from the world that won’t understand its existence? This is totally one of my 12 year old self’s fantasies. Straight from the heart, for sure! This piece is meant to be a cover for a mock middle grade novel of my own invention showing us a tense moment when the girl’s pegasus is spotted!

Second– new website? Why yes, you're on it right now! Awhile back, I had some technical issues with my old illustration website (you remember JoieArt.net, right?) and I had to take it down, redirecting the URL to my comics website. Now that my comic site’s hosting plan is up for renewal, I decided to move hosts, relaunch my illustration website and consolidate everything on here! Make sure to change your bookmarks!

Third– over my career thus far I’ve worked in a lot of industries simultaneously including table top games, theme park design, animation, and primarily comics. Diversification is the name of the game when you’re a freelancer!

I’ve been wanting to reinvigorate the illustration side of my business for awhile now, and children’s literature has always appealed to me. When I found out about Middle Grade* publishing, I got extremely excited and wondered if it was something I could do, too. In my research so far, I’ve found quite a few all ages comics artists that I admire cross over into the line of Middle Grade illustration, and I think that’s got a lot to do with both industries having similar topics and art styles. Plus, I’ve had no less than three art friends/colleagues practically hit me over the head telling me to try it– so now it’s a new goal of mine to work toward!

Since this goal takes me into uncharted waters (for me), I have a ton of research to do! I’m excited though, because doing illustrations like this hits a nostalgic nerve that is hard to describe. My time between the ages of 9 and 13 is precious to me, as it was when my imagination was free to roam and my creativity was at an all time high. I’d love to recapture some of those moments in illustrations, and perhaps inspire a “Me too!” moment in my audience as well.

joiefoster_pegasus_detail2.jpg

So that said, there’ll be more illustrations like this popping up soon! I’ve got another one that’s almost finished, and quite a few more in the planning stages. Additionally, I’m going to the SCBWI conference this weekend here in Los Angeles and it promises to be an amazing time. I’ll be sure to blog about my experience there later!

*Middle grade is a term for books that typically are targeted at kids ages 9-12, give or take