Monday, 29 August 2011

Toronto FanExpo 2011 Wrap

Toronto Fanexpo 2001 is done! I had a great time (again!), but this year was the first time the event was four days long.  

I arrived around 2-2:30 on Thursday and found the entire stretch of table around my spot in Artist Alley was unpopulated.  I knew Dale wasn't going to be in that day -- he had a bunch of work to get done ahead of the show.  I expect that may be a diminishing issue for the next few years of the con;  it's not too difficult to swap a single day out of your work schedule for a can, but two days becomes a good deal more serious for freelancers and harder to prepare for.  As we get used to Fanexpo being a four-day event we, as a group will be better prepared for the amount of time.  I did a quick walk-about and said hi to a few friends before setting up and settling in.  The day started slowly, but eventually the floor grew more crowded.  I forgot my camera so I wasn't able to take pictures of any sketches.  The first day was surprisingly busy compared to what I expected for a Thursday.

Friday morning I remembered to pack my camera, but I noticed the battery was nearly dead so decided to leave it behind and charging as I left.  I picked up Dale and we hit the con floor ON TIME (we usually manage to be an hour or so late, so this was a plus)!  Friday was busy, but didn't feel as crowded as previous years because of the hall we were in this year.  It made Saturday less of a worry.  It was a very good and busy day, made more pleasant by having Dale around and my mini portable fan.  

Saturday started and turned out to be a pretty busy day overall.  Brought my camera, but forgot to take pics of a few sketches. Here are the ones I did grab over the day:

After the day, Dale and I went out with a bunch of friends for a bite, drinks and MMA.  I felt my voice go out while shout-talking -- figured Sunday would be rough.

I was pretty tired and stiff Sunday morning and was prepared for a relaxed and traditionally slower final day.  It was actually quite a bit busier compared to previous years, though I did make the time to do one walk through, spend a little money at the Labyrinth's booth and say hi to a few people.

Here're the commissions I did for the day:

I did a few smaller, quicker sketches I didn't think to take pictures of.

The highlights of the con were actually the highlights of the day.  While decompressing in front of the computer Saturday night I saw James Robinson was a guest at the show.  I had only met him once before in Chicago which led to my drawing an issue of Starman.  I still consider it the best working experience I ever had at either Marvel or DC.  The story was the best I ever had the pleasure of drawing, I was inked by the stellar Wade Von Grawbadger, Chuck Kim was (and still is)  the best assistant editor I have ever dealt with and the book was edited by Archie Goodwin!  I've been saving the first page from that issue to give James ever since and finally had the opportunity.  It was really great to see James again after all those years!

I got to talk with Bill Sienkiewicz more;  he's a real person and a true artist in the mold of all great illustrators of the last and current century.  I wasn't surprised to learn that he and Lance Henriksen had become fast friends after doing a signing for Lance's autobiography NOT BAD FOR A HUMAN.  While I was talking to Bill, Lance came over to talk to him so I went back to my spot, but Bill waved me back over and introduced me.  My hearts was beating pretty fast -- I've been a huge fan of Lance's since his turn as Bishop in ALIENS and only grew in admiration since.  I was a little overwhelmed while shaking his hand and asked if I could hug him and he said yes!  We talked for a bit, he really is as warm and generous as you've heard.  I'm looking forward to seeing his return to a certain role we talked about.  I used to draw Lance from the photos in various SF magazines when I was younger and more than a little envious of the people who contributed art to his biography, but I think I'm just going to do some Lance drawings for myself again soon!

There were a number of great encounters with people over the length of the con and I have to think the addition of a fourth day was a success.  I want to thank everyone; fellow guests, exhibitors, retailers, convention staff, volunteers and all the fans for making this such a wonderful experience.  I'm looking forward to next year already!


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