So, I've spent the last few days in Seattle. Yes, it rained. :p
I visited with Greg and Julie, and did the Emerald City Comic Con with them. Some of you may remember them--Greg stood at our wedding a few years ago and very kindly tolerated the dark green pirate shirt. ^_^ Not all of my friends are as enthusiastic about costuming as I am. (Translation: It is a testament of friendship that they lay off the cosplayers in my presence.) I was actually a last minute bridesmaid in their wedding a few years back as well. Glad I had packed a nice dress! I also did their wedding cake. (I also did mine. Advice to would be brides: if artistically inclined, do your own topper. It can be done the month before. Let someone else bake the damn thing. You have too much other stuff to do.) I've known Greg online at CBR for years now. He and Jim MacQ kept an eye out for me six years ago when I took Greyhound out to Comic Con International in San Diego at nineteen. (N.B. I advice against cross country Greyhound trips. I particularly advise against them if you are young and female.)
Tangent, me? Never!
Greg teaches an after-school cartooning class at Madison and Aki Middle schools. This is the real deal--they learn about storytelling and plot and how to convey that visually. They learn perspective and line weight and to use different zooms and angles, and how to show different emotions in a person. They have a class zine, and deadlines that must be met for it. All continuing stories have to have some sort of ending at the last issue of the school year, which is a refreshing change from some mainstream comics! The kids work really hard. Greg says that girls have dominated the class in recent years, but boys are making a comeback at Aki.
So what does this have to do with the con? It's the class field trip! The kids have a table in Artist's Alley and take shifts manning and signing copies off a convention-edition zine. Some of the kids sold sketches, especially with an eye towards buying this year's "in" item--costume fox tails and wooden swords. Two years ago it was anime kitty hats. Several kids got weapons safety lectures from me about this is why we do not carry it in a busy room like SO, etc, and I can't help but wonder if something will happen to some of those fox tails. Apparently most of the girls didn't realize they were real, and were quite dismayed to find out later. I took shifts supervising, if you can call unscheduled "go do this, I'll man the fort and ensure they don't burn the place down" bursts "shifts." Likely far more accurate to say I helped out. ^_^ Basically it involved keeping track of students, occasionally reminding them that they are PROFESSIONALS here so watch the language, and giving The Schpiel to adults and kids passing by. "Want a free book? It's made by middle schoolers! The artists are right here and you can have 'em sign it. These guys are in an after-school class to learn how to make comics, it's funded by the Families and Education Levy. Vote for it next time it comes up!" The exact phrasing of The Schpiel varied, but it usually hit the same points.
I actually managed to shoo Greg and Julie off to Wil Wheaton's panel on Saturday, which pleased me immensely. I don't think he's ever hit a panel at ECCC before as he's usually tied to the table, but they both came back giggling. I chatted with a few parents and a lot of students this weekend. I also did several sketch swaps.
Rachel did a take on Catwoman.
Lindon did an awesome action Wonder Woman in manga style for me. I told her and Lynn the same thing: when you port a character from one style to another, you can play with the costume! She started with this...
But apparently wasn't happy with it as I came back to find her inking on the other side! Lindon also kindly let me swipe her drawing tools all weekend, as I'd left most of mine at home.
Lynn did a truly kick-ass redesign of both Wonder Woman and Batgirl.
Aja's piece made me go all melty-awww. That's her up there in the corner asking if I like it. :)
Here's the piece I traded to Aja.. she asked for something Sailor Moon. Princess Serenity! Slightly redesigned jewelry and gown.
I didn't snap shots of the two four year olds I drew in Artist's Alley, or of Lynn's Mercury or Ed's Batman Beyond. (Which I am kicking myself a bit for, cause I was hella pleased with it.) However, I do have a sketch of what I was wearing Sunday, that I did in a note to Lindon.
Lynn gave me something else that I didn't try to explain to her, but I'll give it a go here. I am horrible with names, and early on would be confused about who did what comic, even on the ones I really liked. Not understanding the frequent changes in writers and artists and why so many people were listed didn't help. (I learned about the X-Men from the 90's Saban cartoon. Claremont was the only guy I could name for a while, because Perry got me hooked on the old New Mutants series. Dani Moonstar FTW!) My first year at Comic Con International, Greg took me around Artist's Alley and introduced me to some of his old favorites as well as people who had worked on books and characters I liked. I didn't have the nerve to approach them on my own because I didn't know what they did and figured it would be insulting to walk up to someone, especially the older gentlemen who had likely been doing this for decades, and say "Hi, who are you and what do you do?" Greg gave me both parts. I spent a lovely forty minutes talking to Nick Cardy that year. :) He also pointed me in Paul Chadwick's direction when I wanted a classic Doctor Strange sketch to take home for my stepdad. (As an aside, Paul Chadwick was at ECCC this year and I made a point of stopping by to remind him of it and let him know how much he loved it.)
I wasn't thinking about any of that directly when I took Lynn over to the Freebie Tables to show her where they were and kinda scan the contents to see if the books were age appropriate. But on our way back, I realized I'd met several of the attending writers and artists before, so I changed our return route. We went by some of the small press booths (Oni Press, Image, Phantagraphics, Top Shelf) and I explained a bit about their lead titles and the styles they're known for, and then I saw that Owly creator Andy Runton had a spare minute. I nudged Lynn over, introduced her and explained the class presence at the convention, and showed her how of his storytelling is done visually. Owly has almost no words at all. We chatted for a few minutes and he grabbed a comic, did a quick sketch, signed it to Lynn, and gave it to her. (It worked out pretty well for him, she later bought a stuffed Owly and several girls then checked him out in pursuit of hats.) Lynn's quiet, but she seemed to think it was pretty cool. I pointed out a few more people in Artists' Alley, but a fair bit of it was "The person who WILL be sitting here did this and thus." Most of the pros were a bit late Sunday morning, after a long Saturday night out partying. She seemed pretty happy with her Owly comic though, and it wasn't until later that I realized I'd just run a new kid around the con like Greg had done for me. Obviously I don't know nearly as much about a lot of the creators and storylines as he does, but it made me really happy to find I had been able to pass on the favor.
There were a few weird things, and some awesome things. Weird thing: Guys who wanted to take pictures with artists, and then freaked out when they realized everyone at the tables next to me was in middle school. "Oohhhheell no, we don't touch the under 18 crowd!" Rachel and I exchanged slightly o_O wtf? looks and they scampered away as fast as possible. Kinda glad I hadn't let them take mine yet. Creepy. Fortunately, that was really my only encounter with creepiness for the entire con. See? It's a small percentage! They just make good stories so everyone hears about them..
Awesome thing: Rachel had done some sketches that she hadn't sold, and she was trying to give away. She did a color Spiderman with MJ on one side and Gwen on the other (poor boy was in major trouble) and gave it to Gail Simone. She and Scott stopped and took the time to make sure it was securely in their box where it wouldn't get messed up as they headed out. That kind of thing means a lot to a fan. I was reminded of when I gave Phil Jiminez a little "Chibi Super Artist Phil!" fanart of him as a bitsy anime character, proudly holding his brush aloft. Donna Troy is one of my favorite characters and we'd talked a fair bit about what he'd done with her that year. When I wheeled up later in the day to give it to him he stopped in the middle of his signing, dug out his portfolio, and tucked it into a safe place. I don't know if it actually made it home with him, but he took the time to put it away when I was there and it meant a helluva lot.
Awesome: Daniel Logan coming up to give me a hug and ask how I'm doing cause he recognized me. He's sweet. :) And a flirt. *L* Also had a nice conversation with Bill Willingham. We both managed not to giggle when a four year old asked if I was his wife.
Another awesome thing: Everyone who did free sketches with advice for the middle schooler's advice to young cartoonists book. I hit up Greg Rucka writer of umpteen things, Bill Willingham of Fables fame, The Sketch Crew, Chris Giarrusso of Mini Marvels, Terry Minor, and Taki Soma. Thanks guys! (Hey, they gave their time and effort. The least I can do is link back to them!)
More awesome: I got sketches too! Mostly commissions. ^_^ Harrison Wood from the aforementioned Sketch Crew did a drawing of me with a Seattle background that you see here.
aka Crayonmonsters did an awesome job. "What kind of character do you want to be? Or if you give me a reference, what character do you want?" My response? "Me as an anime chick with kinda ghosty feather wings. In my wheelchair, if you can manage it.." That last part wasn't a slight. I hit Artists' Alley at a different con one year and people either balked at drawing the chair, or drew a standard hospital type chair instead of mine. Despite me sitting in front of them the whole time. :/ You can image I was pretty excited to get this!
I only link to myspace *shudder* here because Jerry Minor is THAT awesome.
I gave him this rough up of her clothes and a written description. It looked like this.. yeah, yeah, I slacked off on the feet. :p
A couple of swing-bys meant I was able to clarify some colors, and I ended up with an AWESOME piece. Unfortunately, the colors aren't photographing well with the camera phone. In the meantime, here's a phoneshot of the lineart! (I hope to properly scan all these next week.) I also got a second commission from him on Sunday, but the watercolors on it aren't photographing too well either.
I also bought these two pieces:
I also bought a couple of tshirts: a black babydoll with the red batlogo on it, and a dark blue babydoll with a metallic red Super S on it. :D $10 each! woot! I also picked up the Wonder Girl action figure, and Donna Troy as Wonder Woman. I LOVE that as a costume for WW. The Wonder Girl figure totally needs a touchup paint job though.. her costume's V cut is to the equivalent of 4-5" BELOW the bottom of her breast and its annoying the heck out of me.
This is what happens when you write half of a post on the plane, and half of the post a few days later.. :p I'll try to get back to another one to finish it better, and post actual scanned images of the art instead of cameraphone pics. I haven't even touched Monday and Tuesday!