Why do I go to San Diego Comic Con? I gave up my weekly trip to the comic store a few years ago when I had my extended bout of unemployment. Even when I return to the ranks of Executive Producers (fingers crossed) I doubt I'll return. I'm more of a graphic novel guy now.
Don't care about the movie stuff. Neat seeing the props but I don't need to wait for hours to see panels and advanced footage. I'm fine with online trailers.
Not a gamer. Not a cosplayer although I love the look of steampunk. Not a toy collector.
I go for the people. God knows there were enough of them there. But there are folks I only see once a year at SDCC. There are also people I got to know over the net while discussing their work. I meet new people too, even people I want to hire.
James is currently doing books for Ape Entertainment as is Amy. She also did a slew of Muppet work for BOOM! and is now part of Disney's Wonderground. Click for a video of the opening.
At cons they are usually buried under an onslaught of commissions, both tiny sized pocket princesses and Disney mash ups. Check out their web sites and Twitter feeds for samples and the continuing craziness.
You don't have to go back too far on this blog to see examples of Chris Schweizer's work. Not only does he teach comic art in Atlanta, he creates the ongoing historical fiction account of the Crogan Family, published by ONI PRESS. Chris not only gifted me with a copy of the newest book, CROGANS LOYALTY, but gave me a page of original art as I way of saying thanks for my vociferous support!
Easy to do when the books are this nice. I read the book while I was down there and can honestly say it's the best yet. It's not like it's a history text but I quickly gathered a new perspective on a time period I thought I had always known about.
The book has you rethinking the positions of loyalists, revolutionaries, mercenaries, Native Americans, settlers, Native Americans again and makes it all come alive. Get these books into the hands of kids everywhere.
Chris and I had a great time talking over lunch at Trickster and because of him I attended a panel of librarians who publish lists of the years top graphic novels. Who knew? Check out The Texas Maverick Reading List, and Great Graphic Novels for Teens. And if you're a fan of the creative process, buy Chris's Sketchbook which shows how he works. A great value for any artist. Wanna flip through it? Here.
Can't get enough of big, old timey, cartoony adventure? How 'bout a bear riding cowboy? Reckon you need to take a gander at Reed Gunther by Shane and Chris Houghton. That'd be those tough lookin' hombres on the left.
Okay, I try to give you a lot of links so you can check out the artwork and people I'm talking about. I'm sure that you usually click on them after finishing reading a post. Right? That's what I do. But I want you to stop a moment and check out this behind the scenes video that these guys did.
It shows you what real artists suffer through to share their works with the world. It's grim. It's a little gritty. I'm fairly certain the blood is real. Less sure about the dismemberment.
Seriously. Watch it now. I'll still be here when you get back.
Watch it here.
Back? I know, right? A little sample of the mean streets of comic book creation. Someone tell them they can change their clothes now.
Let's talk new people. Genevieve Tsai actually recognized me by name so everything nice I say about her is tainted by the ego boost I got. But it is no problem to be complimentary to talented people.
Had I met Genevieve two months ago, there's a strong chance that she'd be working for me now on a freelance basis. At the con she had strong prints, an attractive display, and an absolutely killer sketchbook that showed that she had a wide range of styles. And she smartly wrote her booth number on her cards. She was super pleasant and came across as easy to work with and she wasn't even trying.
That number would have been even more useful if the aisles of her section were actually marked. But let me take a moment to say what she could have done even better: update her websites before the show.
Genevieve is not alone in this. Just about everyone above has their last post as, "Off to Comic Con!" What I mean is that, if you're an artist exploring career opportunities, you should have a website with your strongest artwork, any professional work you can show and a link to your resume. This last is important to a potential employer no matter how short it is. It's not the type work as much as the fact you have worked. You're not a complete noob. And if you are? Don't worry about it. Your art will speak for you.
The last artist I'm going to talk about is Cassandra Poulson. I'm sorry I didn't get a picture of her, you'll just have to click on the link to see her fashion-model-next-door look. James Silvani introduced her to me which is how I got to see her portfolio. (Artists helping artists!)
As you can see to the left, it was filled with beautiful, beautiful art. She mostly had her head down, doing commissions. Note that her site has an easy to find resume!
If you go back to the early pages of this blog, you'll find comic pages of my Emmaryn story which involves fairies, strange creatures, exotic locales and the weird guy in your closet that your parents claim doesn't exist. Seeing Cassandra's work makes me want to check out Kickstarter so that I could pay her to illustrate that book.
It would give the story a whole new flavor (which it gets everytime I return to it) and really raise it to a new level. Plus, I have no doubt that it would get published. I will take this seriously once I make the move to my new house. Right now there's just too much to keep track of as stuff is being shoved into boxes.
I met other artists of course. That's the fun of the con. Any con. Don't worry about rushing to some panel. Get to know the artists/writers of work you admire. Just introduce yourself!
Now to end on a confession. Yes, introduce yourself. There is no reason to be tongue-tied. Just say, "Hi, my name is ______ and I think your work is amazing." In other words, don't be like me with Eric Canete who was sharing a booth with Cassandra for the whole convention. I was self conscious that I don't buy superhero comics anymore so I wasn't buying his work. He had a great sketchbook but not what I was looking for at that con. Yes, I overthought the whole thing instead of just introducing myself and complementing his art. So yes, we can all be knuckleheads. It's a big club.
So Eric, I'm Tad Stones. I work in animation and I think your work is amazing.
Now back to packing. -- Tad