Over a month ago (oct 4-5) I attended the Birmingham International Comics show (BICS) and have only just found my notes again that I made from that weekend.
So, overall, I really enjoyed myself and it was my first convention! I was a bit daunted by the sheer number of people but warmed up once I detected how warm everyone was; artists and fans alike.
High lights include:
- meeting Jolly Jack and him giving me a signed drawing as well as a kick up the arse on self promotion. He made it clear that you need a way of easily advertising yourself if you want sucess in this industry. I'm not really interested in professional comics but am so for storyboarding and animation design so the rules still very much apply. Its my next project JJ!
- Chatting with the guys from Cute but Sad on how life is making hand drawings of badgers for a living and learning from them about how flickr is one of the very powerful tools at your disposal for communicating.
- Talking to a representative from DinkyBox about publishing my book about dogs. Scary because their site is so professional looking! That reminds me, I need to get back in touch with them over size specs concerning the book and the printer.
- Watching live portfolio reviews with Garry Leach and Michael Wright; they assessed maybe a dozen potential comic artist's works and kept coming up with common problems: Study life drawing more, use line weight to vary dimensionality and think about the box you are placing a scene in and how it affects pacing.
- The 'weird and wonderful comics' lecture by Paul Gravett who took us through a plethora of short run fascinating comics. The lecture served to plug his new book which I've put on my christmas list hur hur :D I think what was most interesting was learning why certain comics failed; through a total lack of research or an unhealthy urge to jump on the bandwagon, like alot of the hippie comics in the 70's.
-Garry Leach's painting demo and 'Tank girl at 20' with Rufus Dayglo (who is mentored by Leach) were both fantastic. To be fair, Leach's was common sense colouring, blocking and toning with paints but it was great to see I had some sort of grasp on professional technique.
Rufus' lecture was fascinating for both his humour and his portfolio of beautifully inked comic work. I'm learning by seeing lectures like this that a good portfolio has consistency of quality but is varied in style and/or contexts, showing you can fill various areas to a professional degree.
However, my favourite event was 'Hello Chiarello' with Mark Chiarello, Editor, artist and writer of DC comics. I found his drawing style and colouring absolutely incredible and he himself is a charismatic being. From his lecture I learned to just be persistent with the career I choose, to be friendly with everyone I meet and that my own original ideas can distinct myself from others, much like Mark's 'Negro League' work in which he painted portraits of black baseball players from 'the golden years' who would have otherwise been forgotten by a racist industry.
All in all, an enjoyable and insightful experience.
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