Hey theres. Well I managed to survive another year of the insanity that is FanExpo Canada in Toronto. Truly, every year gets more hectic, more crowded, more sensory overloaded.
While I might enjoy the coming together of everyone who loves comics and such as much as I do, not to mention my peers in the medium, I’d have to say that Toronto might be digging itself down past the 800 lvl of the Convention centre into a deep mire.
I’ve noticed that with the inclusion of Anime, Gaming, Horror, SciFi, not to mention the litany of media outlets whose booths keep expanding on the floor, things are kinda getting too big for Hobbystar’s britches in T.O. It might, some might say, be too ambitious, therefore causing some anger and rejection of the show.
The doubt with that is, is that there will always be hordes and hordes of people, because its become an entire new being in the universe. But it’s not the only one. There’s many other shows, in many other places, that need love too. I’ve recently been introduced to Niagara Comic Con ( I was honored to be at the inaugural con last year, alongside comic legend Leonard Kirk). It’s a place that hasn’t had much of a comic scene but had all the fans. This past convention was proof of that as it exploded into a new venue and fantastic events and turnout.
Anyway, what I’m meaning to get at is that the Toronto shows are getting so corporate that the artist alleys among other things are being slowly squeezed aside in favour of other things. This frightens me, because what is the ComicCon without the creators and writers and artists of comics who started the gatherings?
With that said, I tried my best to make the most of the show this year, as a part of the Comic Book Lounge booth which sliced off a part devoted to The Toronto Cartoonists Workshop. This is where I made camp, as part of the faculty for the upcoming fall courses along with Rob Walton, who I met for the first time, a very cool guy. Anywho, when I arrived day one, I was met with a HUGE 22 in display from Cintiq, which was provided by Autodesk in conjunction with the upcoming event in November. Admittedly I was initially miffed, watching the already small space become even smaller. But who could stay mad at such a lovely machine?
So with that, I sat down alongside The Comic Book Lounge crew (Joe Kilmartin, Kevin A. Boyd, Kellam Templeton-Smith, Marshall Geddes, and Rachel Copeland, all terrific people. Along the other side of them were the lovely ladies of Red Herring Burlesque starring Reena Smith. So a plus all around in spite of things. Naturally I started to sit and draw on the Cintiq, and got into the groove, while keeping an eye on any interested parties. It was hard to get people interested in the course I was offering, because it seemed there weren’t as many opportunities to draw the right demographic in towards the booth. So more drawing, and that seemed to spark some passers by into stopping for a little bit.
On this went for day 2 where I was determined to find some company editors or the like to show my new work to. Admittedly, I was a wee bit confused and frazzled as to who I should show the work to, but I did maintain an air of confidence and calm as I wandered around trying to track down aforementioned parties. It seemed fruitless among the throngs of people and constant events happening this way and that. The closest I got to things was meeting C.B.Cebulski outside a panel on the Friday. He was kind and outgoing in our brief encounter, and had I known that would be the only time I would interact with him I would have given him my books right there and then. Oh well. That’s what follow up emails are for. I was advised that maybe working on talking to mid-level publishers would be a better approach, although noone seemed to want to see any of my work when I went around. Odd. I should have been more disheartened, but then I remembered that I love doing comics, I love being in this environment. And that will undoubtedly show in my work, and therefore get me noticed soon enough.
So with Day 3 it was utter insanity. SO CROWDED AND LOUD! The confusion amidst all the people was insane, and I tried my best to keep out of the flood of fandom filling every aisle. My highlight was being asked to take part in an Autodesk Sketchbook demo hour where I drew whatever I wantedSUPERMANBATMAN.
Ahem. The setup of their Cintiqs was amazing and I had a blast drawing on it. Of course I was sold on it, who wouldn’t be. And for my time and effort, I was granted a FULL COPY of the NEW software! Sweeet. That aside, I did thoroughly enjoy drawing for the fans, which is what this show is all about. And fortunately afterwards, I was asked for some traditional pencil/paper commissions from some fans, which is always a plus.
On the last day, I thought for sure that it might die down some. Nope. Not a chance. If anything, it was even more insane due to the panic of last day events and opportunity. Good thing that I made tracks at around 2. But before doing that, I entertained the masses one last time at Autodesk with a sketch of Supergirl. It was cool because at the same time, Gibson Quarter was testing out one of the tablets beside me, and before I finished up, Ty sneaked up on me and looked over my shoulder at the drawing and the whole set up, which he himself now wants one of. I don’t blame him, I’m singing the same tune. Before I left I made quick rounds to Ty and his wife, Keiren Smith, along with Rachael Wells, and Adam Gorham.
So, exhausted, but happy that I got to see my peers and friends and have a great time, I made my way home. To collapse. Eventually, which was hard because of the adrenalin and overload from the show. Now that it has calmed down some, I can focus on getting back to work on my pages. Currently, I’m in the midst of completing a story for Heroes Of the North, a comic based on the online action web series originating out of Quebec. I feel quite satisfied with these pages too, which makes me feel like I’m on a roll.
Speaking of which, it was a breakout year in terms of getting my style of comics to the next level, with the just finished and released Holmes, Incorporated issue 3 from Ty Templeton’s Comic Book Boot Camp. From first meeting of this issue, I knew that I had to bring my A-game, and not cut corners or lazily phone the work in. Especially when the writing came from fellow Holmes Inc veteran Mike Marano.
I’m very pleased how the story turned out, it got high praise from the others who saw it, and it is by far my best work to date. A peek -
As you can see, the difference from this year and last years issue is quite the leap, which I’ve tried hard to do previously. Anyway, this isn’t the end of my style, it will continue to evolve with more learning and patience and practice. For the full issue, feel free to check out Drive-Thru Comics- for free, nonetheless.
So with all that said, I’m proud of where things are headed. If there are classes in my future, or more more projects, all of it is a happy journey onward and upwards. And I have my family and friends to thank for that, in their support and advice and assistance.
Ok, less talk, more work, and sleep.