Chicago Comic Con and Toronto Fan Expo

Hello Hello!  Blog's been neglected a bit the last couple weeks as I've been preparing for/ and then attending Chicago Comic Con and the Toronto Fan Expo on back to back weeks.  I have to say that I had a blast at both of these conventions.  They were my second and third times ever having a table at one of these conventions and it was well worth it.  I met so many great people at both of these as well I believe I did around 30 commissions in Chicago alone and about half that in Toronto.  Some very busy weekends to say the least. Chicago happened first so I'll give the report on that event.  Now I forgot a camera that weekend regrettably, but I can still relay most of the highlights.  Firstly I was set up in Artist's Alley and right beside me was the extremely talented DJ Welch.  One night a "true" Chicago Deep Dish pizza killed us for acting overly ambitious.  It was worth it though and I will be craving that pizza until my next visit.  Next to D.J. was the incredibly gifted Mike Henry, whose work I have been a fan of for a little over a year now.  Mike and DJ both knew each other and were nice enough to let this Canuck tag along with and even invited me out to their "SketchBomb" club one night.  It was awesome!  Mike was also kind enough to trade his sketchbook for my Farmer Burrows book (yes I definitely owe him much more still).  His new sketchbook is crazy amazing and engrossed me for the entire flight home after the con.

I am still rather new to the convention scene and doing commissions for people, but Chicago turned out to be a fantastic time to practice.  I've always seen and envied artists who just pound out amazing works seemingly effortlessly just based off memory.  I was really quite nervous to take on drawing any commissions because although I'm a huge comic fan, I barely know the basic details of the most common heroes and villains.  Thankfully there was a poster "shop" just on that was a basically across the isle and had almost any hero I ended up needing, and those I didn't either had reference brought by the commission-ee or Mike provided ref for me on his phone.   Also seeing as I forgot my camera, Mike took pics of many of the commissions that I did, and here is that:

chicagocomicconcommish

The Pirate and "the Penguin" were actually done at the Sketchbomb evening where a whole pile of us went out and drew together one evening.  A really cool time.  Oh and to show how little I know about comics, at the Sketchbomb event we were all supposed to draw anything to do with Batman.  As stated, I drew "the Penguin".  As I was completing him someone came over and said "oh, nice Oswald Cobblepot." I was like, "ummm, well it's supposed to be the Penguin".  Mike then kindly informed me that Oswald Cobblepot was The Penguin's real name.

I was also able to meet up again with the Berona's War fellas who I first met in San Diego a few weeks earlier.  Jesse Labbe and Anthony Coffee are two fantastic artists and creators of the Berona's War book - and two of the nicest guys to boot.  They have done what I dreamed of doing with many of my friends growing up - drawing creatures from one side of a war who are fighting the creatures created by a friend.  It's so well executed by these guys it's amazing.  Check out their stuff if you ever doodled anything with a spear or sword or even liked spears, swords and shields even ONCE in your life.  They exchanged sketches with me (and I feel I came out way ahead) and here's why:

beronawar

Super cool right?!!  Yes it is (I know you're speachless).

After Chicago I basically came home, unpacked and then started packing and preparing for Toronto's Fan Expo.  I was blown away by how nice the venue was for this expo.  Just outstanding.  People were lined up for hours and hours with the line surrounding the entire convention center.  The show was even extended Saturday evening because people had gotten in so late.  I didn't really know anyone attending this one and was really sorry to have missed Darren Rawlings, whose creation Agent Orange I adore, but there will be a next time for sure.

As it for this trip I did bring a camera and so here are some of the pics from the show:

torontofanexpo2010

Before this convention I had quickly gone out and picked up some prismacolor markers I saw a couple people using in Chicago which looked very fun.  Turns out they were fun though I took a bit longer on each commission haha.  So some highlights in those photos are: Upper left is my brother and myself on the way to the airport at around 4am.  I have the best brother in the world, though he may look scary in the photo, he drove me to the airport for each of these conventions at a very inconvenient time and I am indebted.  Thanks Darryl (oh and he's an awesome artist to boot)!!  Also my brother-inlaw and his daughters showed up the last day of the show and as you can see, on the left side, his daughter AKA Super Girl, was targeted for many photos!  I also met some really cool people in Toronto.  Bottom right is Graham the creator of the webcomic Postscript and his wife Michelle, as well as Keith Grachow were my isle mates and just really great guys.  The Flash Gorden sketch I did was actually inspired by an amazing piece that Keith gave to me of the same Golden Age science fiction hero!

Though I had a great time I am very tired of traveling and looking forward to getting back on some book projects now that I am back home - though I am already planning for the convention circuit for next year ;)

Take care everyone!

-Mike