Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cons: Off to SPECTRUM Fantastic Art Live! tomorrow---

Convention Season starts for me this weekend.  Going off to Spectrum Fantastic Art Live, in Kansas City, MO.  It's an all-fantasy art expo that started last year.  It's run by the folks who do the SPECTRUM: Best in Fantastic Art Books.  And they have their awards ceremony there.  Tons of artists have booths and guest artists do panels and presentations.  It's pretty cool if you love fantasy art at all.

Here's the website:

I'm sharing a booth with Diana Harlan Stein... and friends, Karen and Joseph Bovenmyer will be there to help us out and just hang out.

Other upcoming events:

Illustration Master Class -- (attending as a student) in June

San Diego Comic Con -- (booth with Diana Stein in Fantasy Illustrators area) in July

GenCon -- (table in art show) in August

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Cons: WonderCon, Anaheim, CA

Got a free Professional Badge for WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center (across the street from Disneyland), so I thought I'd check it out for the first time.

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Wondercon has only been down in Anaheim for a few years.  I think it used to be up in the Bay Area?  Anyway, I had no idea what to expect other than that it is run by the same folks who run the San Diego Comic-Con.

People have said it is a bit like a Comic-Con-lite...

This was the line to get into the Exhibit Hall on Friday--
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The advertizing banners was definitely like a mini-Comic-Con--

LOVED the food trucks lined up along the walkway between the hotels on the main walkway to the Convention Center.  I had to stand on line to get my badge.  There was still a big line to get into the Exhibit Hall when I got back, although it was moving quickly.  I figured I'd take an early lunch at the food trucks before committing myself to the con and convention snacks.  I had a great sliced steak with pesto sauce over fries from the BarcelonaToGo truck.  Sat on the benches along the walkway and listed to live music played in the plaza in front of the Convention Center. 

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The Exhibit Hall was pretty dang HUGE... and busy for a Friday.  There was a large Artists Alley, autograph booths with Peter Mayhew and Lou Ferrigno and Richard Hatch, and a ton of guys who played secondary characters in various movies and tv series.  Lots of booths with artists and small press books. 

I saw Teresa Mather in Artist Alley, and Llyn Hunter had a booth... chatted with them briefly.  Saw some other guys, Ken Meyer Jr. and Tom Baxa, but didn't stop to chat since they were busy.  Bumped into old Art Center chum, Mitchell Bernal and chatted and walked about with him for a while.  He's sold his Skellanimals company.  (Skellanimals had a booth.)

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There were the a few electronic games demoed and displayed.  Some cool odds and ends being sold--the usual clothing and jewelry and art supplies (I bought a ton of $1 brushes from the Art Supply Warehouse booth, and a $5 sketchbook).  Picked up a couple of art/illustration/character books.

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Missing were the Mega-booths that Comic-Con has, no freebies, no huge, noisy displays... but there were still some things that came close--
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And there was definitely a lot of people.  Couldn't even guess at the attendance... Seemed to be around GenCon size which is 30,000 or so?  Hard to say because GenCon has people crowded in huge gaming halls, not all in the Exhibit Hall.  There was programming for WonderCon, but not at all the big names and presentations Comic-Con has... still, not bad.  Some media presentations and sneak-peaks.  And they had a cool animation and children's animation film festival/track, as well as anime.  Plenty of things to see and do.

And for the people who miss the comics at Comic-Con... a bit more of a comics emphasis. 

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Kinda liked this resin sculpture with the glowy lights, but happily resisted buying it--
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I failed to resist buying a lot of other stuff, however (got one of those shoulder dragons with the wires that move the head.  Geesh.  But they had a lot of cool ones on display, so I finally caved!  Also had a major failure to resist some of the clothing... got more Steampunk attire (corset, skirt and bustle).

Anyway--It was definitely worth a visit.  I could actually make it through the entire Exhibit Hall in one day, with a lot of concentrated effort.  I didn't get to any panels.  It had really great foot-traffic, nice crowds, for the Hall and the panels.  Even the convention-food had some variety.  The complex includes a number of large hotels, also with food and snacks.  I think the vendors were doing OK.  The booths are less expensive than Comic-Con and it's more likely customers will find your booth--so it might be worth it for sellers to think about.

I was too lazy to go again on Saturday, but that's just me... I'm very lazy these days!  It would have been another nice day, I'm sure... I just didn't want to face the chance of more spending-temptation!  Although some of the panels about IP and business sounded good...

I'd definitely go again next year.  Would think about selling stuff, but am already committed to other cons at this time.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Art / Cons / Workshops -- 2013

One more day to submits stuff to SPECTRUM (the book).  --I've done my share of supporting Spectrum through submissions the first 8 or so years, so I haven't thought about submitting stuff in YEARS... but it's still a very cool thing.

SPECTRUM FANTASTIC ART LIVE 2 is in May, held in Kansas City, Mo.  The booths are reasonable, but sales were pretty low the first year.  But people seemed optimistic and understanding when I was there last year.  So I'm doing it again this year.  I'm sharing the booth, so even better.  The show is very cool to attend for an artist because of the folk who are selling there and the panels and presentations.  And the Awards show is the next best thing to having an Academy Awards for Fantasy art... it's a well-produced event, attended by the top guys to give it credibility.

ILLUSTRATION MASTER CLASS 2013 will again be held in June in Amherst, MA.  Mike Mignola is the special guest instructor this year.  I know it's expensive, and an investment of a week in time, but I still can't recommend this thing enough.  Unfortunately, it is SOLD OUT this year.  There might be a waiting list.  I'm going for my fifth year.  It's keeping me alive, art-wise, I think.

SMART art courses-- Many of the same instructors, plus more, run classes online.  I'm sure this kind of one-on-one, even if not face-to-face, is highly beneficial.  These instructors are amazing.  I'd do this in a shot if I was interested in improving my career and skills.

SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON--  Pro-reg initial approvals have passed for this year, they are taking pre-Pro-reg for 2014, though.  Actual Pro-reg is still up-coming.  If you can prove you work in fantasy art, games, films, etc., you can usually score the ability to try and get a free Pro-badge (after jumping through the required hoops).  Regular membership to this con are almost impossible to get!  This is a crazy-big con, maybe 150,000 people or more.  Almost too big to actually be beneficial, but there ARE contacts to be made.  Almost everyone in the known world is there (not really much of an exaggeration, either).  Booking a hotel is nearly impossible, as is getting around in the traffic.  It really is a big, nasty, incredible thing, the Comic-Con.  I share a booth there so I can get out of the way of most of the crowds.

GENCON-- held in August in Indianapolis.  Still a great con to sell art at (HUGE art show, they give you tables and pro-panels to hang art so you can be there and sell stuff).  Having a booth can be good, too.  Also making contacts in the table-top/paper and collectible card game industry.  There are smaller game cons, but GenCon is still the biggest and best.  I've attended for 15 years or more and it's been worth it.  Great for sales, socializing and making connections.

ILLUXCON--  I actually haven't been to this, but people seem to love it.  Lots of amazing artists and demos and such.  I mean to check it out someday...

TLC WORKSHOPS-- I haven't been to these, but know the person running them and the folk who are instructing and I'm sure they are fantastic.  If you can get to the NW for a short workshop, think about it!


I'd love to hear about more convention recs and fantasy art events and workshops!