April 15, 2012

And now, for something completely different...

I am taking a break from my "How to Artist Alley" features to talk to you about a random convention that appeared this weekend. Well, okay, I knew about it a while back, but then stopped thinking about it until the other night.

Like many artists, I have the occasional crippling self-doubt and self-loathing. I find I am more in my element in the convention world than the every day one (probably because I am surrounded by such creativity and wonderful minds that I feed off it like a creativity vampire. But in a good way. Not the bad way.)

But enough about me, this is about spontaneity! So the other night, after yet another break down (yay.) I lamented that I felt stuck, like I didn't know if what I was doing mattered. I offhandedly mentioned C2E2 (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo), and Dave was all, "Oh? what's that?"

This is what happened next:

Me: "Oh, it's like a comic book convention that's in Chicago. I keep forgetting about it. It'd be awesome just to visit someday."

Dave: "What's it got?"

Me: "Oh the usual - a big dealer hall, and a HUGE artist's alley, and a bunch of media people and companies and things. With the regular comic book industry, not like anime."

Dave: "So... this would be a good place to network and learn what's out there on the other side of the art world?"

Me: "I guess so! Their alley list is huge, and a few of my webcomic artists that I keep track of will be there. I'd love to meet them."

Dave: "Okay. Let's go then."

Me: "What?" *insert clickity tappy noises from the computer*

Dave: "C2E2 right?"

Me: "Yeah... what are you doing?"

Dave: "I just bought us tickets. Let's get a housing spot so we can visit for a day."


Dave: "I guess we'll leave after work then."

And that was how I ended up in Chicago for a day on Saturday. And thus begins my C2E2 recap!

C2E2 2012 REVIEW

I had no idea what I was in for. After a lovely 5ish hour drive over to Chicago in the late evening hours, we arrived, slept, woke up and drove over to the convention center. Now this convention took place in the McCormick center (I'm used to stuff being the Rosemont Center), so naturally I was in for an adventure. 

We got there really early (okay, early on Chicago/Comic Convention standards. We didn't have a lot of time to adjust to being 1 hour earlier). So when we got there, it was pretty desolate. The registration booth was empty, and we just walked up and handed them the barcode, where they scanned it, then gave us our tickets and we were on our way. Well, we had to wait for the dealer hall to open.

View down the hall in the McCormick center.

One of the main entrances. They had us go through the side.

So we waited for a while, and chatted it up with a gal we knew from AWC (I'm sorry I'm so bad with names, I knew WHO you were, I just can't remember names AUGH). Oh, and I had a starbucks coffee to start the day. YUM. I'd need that caffeine boost later.

During that time, I ended up buying myself a new hoodie with the convention logo on it (so I'd have "geek cred" in saying "I was there!") and got myself a picture with a storm trooper.

What? I'm not in cosplay? 

Since it was such last minute stuff, I didn't bother bringing a cosplay which is weird for me. I did bring the Ben Ten Jacket and wore that around - I was certain it'd be chilly with A/C on and all. And I was right.

Once the doors opened, and the herd filtered into the hall, I headed to where I wanted to check out the most : the artist alley. They had almost 400 individual artists in this alley, and it was amazing. Here's a shot to give you an idea of how big the room we were in was:

This is maybe the width of a 3rd of the alley.

I did a lot of browsing at first, picked up a couple of things I knew I wanted, then we went into the dealer hall area. Lots of shopping to be had, but alas, not much I would want (I'm not really a comic book collector) but there were some really neat areas.

They of course, had an Avengers Movie promotional area. And they let us take pictures with either Captain America's shield or Thor's hammer. You can all guess which one I took.

It was surprisingly heavy.

I was on the prowl for costumes, since I was photographer this time, instead of cosplayer, but I did not see many at all. And that made me sad. So should we attend next year (It looks likely, and I may very well aim for the Alley - I'm going to see what the rules are), I plan on upping the bar with some costumes.

But! I did find this very lovely Lady!Hawke from Dragon Age 2. She was so pleasant and stopped for pictures. Her detail was amazing. Here's my favorite shot:

Her staff lights up. It was awesome.

I ended up leaving around 4ish because I managed to twist my ankle or something that made it near impossible to walk around without intense pain. But it was WORTH IT. I had so much fun talking to artists I've only seen their work online, and I got to shake their hand and tell them they're awesome.

My only real gripe with the convention was that nobody here seemed to understand common courtesy. I know AnimeCons are notorious for running screaming fangirls - so I hide behind my table for the most part or know to dodge appropriately. Gencon has always been uber polite so I never had too much of a problem (even in crowds). But here? Apparently nobody understands an "excuse me" and that it's dangerous to go randomly bumping into people. I'm fairly certain this is how my ankle died.

So next year, if I have to rove the hall.... I'll certainly know what (not) to expect from people.

In the meantime *shakes old lady cane * daggum attendees need to get some manners *grumblegrumblegrumble*

Anyway, I'm not usually one to do that "take pictures of my stuff and post it for everybody to see" but I just HAD to in this case. Being an Alley Dweller myself, I was most definitely impressed with how the booths worked in this alley (MUCH different than say an Anime Con artist alley. And if anybody wants to know my thoughts, I can definitely spend a post talking about variations and the good and bad of both).

One of the big things that caught my eye was the business cards and free swag that the artists would give out:

Enlarged to see detail

Every business card was different (no VistaPrint templates THANK YOU!!) and some of them got creative. I got bookmarks,postcards, QC codes, a free 2 page promo comic, and yes, a mustache on a stick (his info was on the backside). And they were all FREE. Like, just handed to me when I walked up. It made finding people SO much easier later, and I knew exactly what their booth did.

Needless to say, I loved my little collection of swag.

Now onto what I bought.

I love webcomics and indie comics so very much. It makes me sad to see a lot of Anime AA's no longer feature a lot of prints or comics, or anything unique to the artists (the original art rarely sells in comparison to fanart - which yes, I'll gripe on in a later post), so when I was at C2E2 it was like an artist PLAYGROUND for me. I went kinda nuts, but I brought money to spend, and oh did I:

That red print makes me laugh so much. I call it the "derp face". It will go up in my artcave.

I got to meet some very lovely artists, and had a fabulous time talking with them all. I hope I didn't fangirl too much at you guys, cause I was really practicing my restraint. Thank you for letting me tell you you're awesome.

And thank you indie artists who I didn't know about until I went there. You guys were awesome too. It really expanded my vision art-wise and I am REJUVENATED.

I picked up a total of 6 books (only one of them was a single issue like print). I can't wait to read through them all! There were more books I wanted to buy, but I was too poor to. SAD. But next time I'LL BUY MORE.

I had a fabulous time, asides from the awful foot pain, and I'm fairly certain I'll go back next year. It was great seeing all the different kinds of artists that were out there and they all really inspired me. They also helped me in realizing, I'm pretty much THERE when it comes to my art, and I'd be a competitive force in the arena. Just need to build up a decent portfolio - so here's hoping the inspiration keeps up (and my hand works) and I can find a way to fight back the tiredness after working full time during the week.

Thank you C2E2, and see you again next year!


  1. Awesome! I'm glad you got to see how you ARE amazing. :)
    I adore "the Dreamer". I'll have to check out "Super Mom".

    1. Ohhhhh it's so cool looking, you should see the book it's SO PRETTY. I will bring it with me to game on Friday. :) And I'll bring you the supermom promo too - it looked cute!

  2. Yay for spontaneity, inspiration, and rejuvenation!! Also, Storm Troopers. :D Glad you had a good time (and props to Dave for endorsing spontaneity)!

    1. I spent a lot of the travel time on friday night going ... "I'm going to chicago. I'm going to chicago. OMG"

  3. This sounds so amazing! Maybe I should go sometime as I have a similar sadness when I see what there is to offer in anime con artist alleys comics-wise. I'm glad you had such a good time and I hope your ankle doesn't keep giving you the "I'm dead and painful!" treatment!

    1. I highly recommend it! It's so refreshing to be immersed in an artworld that is so vastly different from what I've lived in the past several years. :D (And you don't necessarily have to go to just this one - there are comic conventions all over I'm sure)

      The foot's doing a little better, I've been trying really hard to NOT walk on it and I think it's been working. I was so worried I'd have another awful tendonitis incident where I'd be on crutches for weeks like I was in college. :P