Reblogs, Rethinking and Thanks

Reblogs, Rethinking and Thanks

First of all I apologize for being late with my GEEK post.  I have been finding it more difficult to keep up with blogging lately due to other commitments.  I have also found that my Well of Creativity is running a little low.  To give myself a boost, I thought that I would just take a step back and pick some of my favourite GEEK posts from when I started 7 months ago.

Wow, 7 months.  I just received the 500 Likes LIKES tag recently and just reached over 100 followers to my site.  This is now my 70th post and I have had over 860 visitors.  My growth has been slow compared to other bloggers but I’m okay with that.  I offer a mixed bag of stuff here and I know that my material doesn’t necessarily fit into the “mainstream” or “popular” category.

I think that since I have been focusing on writing and school, my mind has wandered off track a bit when it comes to my blog.  I also haven’t dedicated myself to reading the posts of those that I follow as often as I should.  Looking back at some of my favourite posts is giving me a chance to reboot a bit…that, and large amounts of caffeine.  🙂

If you have followed me for a while, I hope that you don’t mind me rehashing some older material.  If you are new, maybe you will find something you like.

So, here they are….

This was my VERY FIRST POST. It talks about how comics today are much darker than in the past and how we, as parents, can navigate this change as our kids get into reading them.

Then and now…

I did a multi-part series on Conventions early on, with my focus on Fan Expo Canada. Part of it was to give myself material to work with, and part was a way to get traffic to my site by posting on the Facebook Fan Expo Canada page.  Was this the best way to go?  In retrospect maybe not, but I did learn a lot and met some very cool people along the way.

Conventions: Cosplay

I’m adding these two posts because these guys are convention friends of mine who helped me with my first interview blogs (I have done 5 in total now).  They are talented, awesome artists who helped me realize that I really like this interview idea.

Ken Wheaton

Alex Chung

I never realized just how much work went into these “Top xx” types of lists until I actually did one.  I have since posted it on http://www.creator.co and they have “edited” it to meet their standard style/format guidelines for promoting purposes, but I still like my original best.

W.I.G.’s Top 20 Awesome Canadian Sci-Fi Film Stars

I never expected to like this last post as much as I did.  I can’t even put my finger on why it appeals to me so much.  Maybe it’s because it taps into to my darker nature.

Stephen King, Madness and the Monster

Well, there you have it, some of my favourite GEEK posts.  I hope that you like them.  It was nice to take a look at what I’ve done.  It will inspire me to come up with new and creative ideas for future posts.

Thanks everyone for reading my blog, taking the time to comment, follow me, or even just hitting the LIKE button.  Your support is really appreciated.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the future!

-Tina

Text © Written In Geek blog (2016) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog, used with subject’s permission or under public domain (2016)

 

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CONVENTION ARTISTS Part 3: Alex Chung

CONVENTION ARTISTS Part 3: Alex Chung

A few years back while scoping out Artist Alley, the above print caught my eye.  In a sea of colour, a black and white print stood out.  Seeing a black and white print of Jon Snow was awesome…and that’s how we met Alex Chung.

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For those that have seen Alex’s booth, you will recognize his familiar black and white style, but he has also drawn a couple of great pieces in colour.  Here are some of the prints that we have bought that showcases both styles.

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The artist himself is a really nice guy, and we always like to stop by for a chat about his latest pieces or just life in general.  I thought that he would be a great choice to help me wrap up my series on convention artists.  So Alex, take it away…

Tell us a bit about why you became an artist?  Where did you study?  How long have you been in the industry and what is your main focus (sketches, comics, etc.)? Is there anything that a fan of your works wouldn’t know about you (that might surprise them)?

I absolutely love comic art. Ever since I was a little kid from a small town outside Squamish, BC, I was completely enamoured by Marvel and DC Comics, with X-Men and Green Lantern being my absolute faves. It wasn’t until I was in my very early teens that I realized drawing comics was actually a job. “People actually get paid to draw comics?!”. So becoming an artist was a huge dream for me. I never actually studied to become an artist…I just kept learning from my mistakes. To make a long story short, I actually got the opportunity I longed for and had the chance to illustrate some comics for Marvel Comics, not long after attending Wizard World Chicago Comic Con many years ago with sample pages in hand. Unfortunately, with a growing family in mind, I eventually had to leave comics to focus more of my work towards a full-time career as an illustrator for advertising agencies and for other notable clients such as the Toronto Raptors, which blessed me with the opportunity of creating all of the graffiti graphics and illustrations for their run in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. On a side note, I also created the illustrations on the special basketball shoes and cap given to Kobe Bryant from the Toronto Raptors as a special ‘Thank You’ gift commemorating his career in the NBA.

But my hiatus from comics didn’t last long as I started attending comic conventions several years ago, to get back into that creative mindset and to promote my artwork. Eventually my goal is towards self-publishing my own creator-owned pieces of work.

When did you start attending conventions as an artist?

I started approximately 3 years ago from this year’s Fan Expo Canada in Toronto. I didn’t start until I came across a lot of postings in social media from other artists promoting their artwork at comic cons. It was at this point I began to wonder why I wasn’t doing this and to this day I wish I had started much earlier.

How many do you go to a year?

I go to roughly 7 cons a year, mostly within Ontario with Montreal Comic Con and Vancouver Fan Expo being the only cons further out. I would like to eventually branch out to the US cons, however.

Have conventions changed when it comes to how they promote artists? (are they more supportive than they used to be or has it stayed the same?)

I’m finding a lot of cons have grown to include different genres with celebrities, voice actors and cosplayers…so there’s always a worry that this would lessen the focus on how artists are promoted. And I guess it would be easy to feel lost in this melting pot but I’ve had the pleasure of talking to a lot of people who have visited my table say that coming to Artist Alley is what they always look forward to coming to…so that’s a great thing to hear.

..and along that idea….

Do you see a difference in how convention organizers support different artists (such as independent artists vs. featured artists) or is everyone treated the same?

I can’t say for certain if there is a difference in how cons support different artists, but my thoughts would probably ring towards featured artists being noticeably treated better as they would be more of a draw towards getting more attendees in the door.

What is the best thing that you get out of attending conventions?

I get a huge kick out of the reaction from people who visit my table. And I also love the conversations I have with them. This interaction is pure gold to me and it really makes my day when I get to make people happy with my art. I also love the networking with other like-minded artists. It’s great to hear their stories and to share techniques. It’s a great motivator! And I have made a lot of friends with artists whose art I truly admire! As artists, we’re all in this wonderful journey together!

What is the worst thing about attending conventions?

I miss out on a lot of things being stuck to my table so I try to get my rounds usually just before the day begins. I also have this bad tendency to forget to eat! I get so busy talking to visitors that I forget to add fuel to the tank, so to speak. So if you meet me and I start to slur…I probably missed lunch. 😛

But definitely one of the worst things about attending cons is seeing some artists ‘shortchanging’ fans with downloaded and photoshopped imagery and reprinting them and selling them to unsuspecting fans. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to art and there’s something to be said about having art in your hands that was actually created by the artists’ hand and not just a copy…albeit an altered copy…of an image. I know the struggle and sometimes turmoil we all go through as artists to get that piece done the way we want. So much so, that it’s almost like a “piece” of the artist is in that piece of art you see before you. So I have a lot of respect for the art that we artists fight for.

How has attending conventions helped promote you as an artist?

It’s absolutely huge. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people who have either met me at a previous con or have seen my artwork on social media or who are now following me on social media after meeting me at a con. And I’m completely humbled after finding out some have actively been seeking me out at these cons. So I’m very thankful to the con experience.

What is the best/worst or strangest commission that you have ever been asked to do from a convention fan?

Worst would definitely be any nude or compromising requests…which I do not do under any circumstances. I love to draw everything and anything so just having the opportunity to even draw is the best! I know, that sounded like a cop out…but I truly enjoy every commission I work on. I absolutely love challenges.

What advice would you give to an artist that wants to use conventions as a way to promote him/herself?

Draw your heart out and put out your best work. Be enthusiastic and interact with your audience. These things will go a long ways to promote your art to make it and you memorable to your visitors. And a very important piece of advice: learn from your experience to take with you to your next con. What worked? What didn’t? With every con, you get better. Don’t let one bad experience dictate the rest but always let a good one motivate you for the next.

Thanks Alex, for taking the time to chat with me.  If you would like to see more of Alex’s work, check him out at:

http://studiomeridian.com/

So that wraps up my little mini-series.  A huge thanks to Alex, and again to Ken Wheaton and Liz Parkes for giving us all a glimpse into the world of the convention artist. Remember, all three with be attending this year’s Fan Expo in Toronto.  Stop by their booths to say hi or better yet, buy some of their work!

See you there!

 

Text © Written In Geek blog (2016) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog (2016) or used with subject’s permission

About Me

 

 

CONVENTION ARTISTS Part 2: Ken Wheaton

CONVENTION ARTISTS Part 2: Ken Wheaton

It may seem odd to show an Amy Pond print when talking about this American artist and Fan Expo regular.  Ken Wheaton is more well-known for his work on The Simpsons and Popeye comics series, but it was this cheeky print of the Doctor Who companion that caught my attention at Fan Expo five years ago.

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Ken drew this print (which was coloured by his friend Meg Casey) just for the convention, and over the last few years, we have gathered quite a little mix of Ken’s work.  You can always find some great creations at his booth.  The Simpsons, Popeye, Doctor Who and Jurassic World just to name a few.  Not only is he a talented artist, he is also a really swell guy (yes, swell) and we always make it a point of stopping by his booth to say hi.

I couldn’t think of doing a blog about artists and not include this guy, and he was kind enough to share a bit about himself and his convention experiences with me.

What training have you had and how long have you been in the industry?

The only formal study I had to become an artist was a childhood of practice and a few classes in High School and College. Becoming a good artist, to most artists, is an ongoing process that sways between narcissism and self-loathing, and I constantly practice and study the work of other artists in an effort to improve.

I’ve been working in the industry, albeit part-time, for over ten years. I supplement my comic book work with a day job (not worth mentioning, but is a fact of life for many artists who want a steady and reliable paycheck and heath coverage), as well as freelance advertising assignments and teaching library and after-school cartooning workshops.

When did you start attending conventions as an artist?

About a dozen years ago, I started showing my work to artists at conventions, and got my first big break when independent comic creator and pop art painter Chris Yambar asked to print some of my spot cartoons in the back of his comic, Mr. Beat. As it turns out, Simpsons creator Matt Groening was a fan of Mr. Beat, and hired Chris to write some stories for Bongo Comics. That was my opportunity to audition for work there, thanks to one degree of separation. I wasn’t a shoo-in, but knowing someone who knew someone definitely got my work more serious consideration than someone sending in blind samples of their work. After several auditions, I got hired to work on a story for one of their comics, and have been doing freelance work for them ever since. Around the time of the initial Simpsons job, I got to work on a number of licensed properties, such as I Dream Of Jeannie, The Phantom, Kolchak:The Night Stalker, Mister Magoo, and Buckaroo Banzai. When I started to do that kind of work, I made the transition from attending fan to attending professional.

How many conventions do you go to in a year?

I’m a creature of habit, and usually attend the same cons year after year, less than ten, ranging from some of the larger 3-4 day mega shows to a handful of smaller regional one-day cons. I haven’t missed a Motor City Comic Con or the Fan Expo Toronto show in years. They are my favorites of the larger conventions. Some smaller shows that I quite enjoy are Ithacon (in Ithaca, NY) and Twin Tiers Comic Con (in Elmira, NY).

Have conventions changed when it comes to how they promote artists?

These days, there is certainly more of an emphasis on media guests and cosplayer guests. The term ‘Comic Con’ is somewhat of a misnomer, since comic book professional guests often take a back seat to these other guests. I admire cosplay immensely, but I feel it’s something that many, many attendees do. I’ll never understand why there are suddenly ‘professional cosplayer’ guests that have table space and charge for pictures and autographs. Some of them receive more space on the fliers and websites than the comic guests, which can be quite distressing and disheartening. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I think this takes away from the hundreds of fans who attend conventions in costume ‘just for fun’, many of which have better and more imaginative costumes to begin with!

Do you see a difference in how they support a “featured” artist like yourself versus other independent artists?

I’ve never considered myself a big deal or a particularly big draw as a professional. My fan base is based upon the wonderful fans who are passionate about the projects that I’ve worked on and who I’ve befriended over the years. Having been fortunate enough to have worked on a number of high-profile properties, I’ve sometimes received favorable billing, for which I am grateful.

What is the best thing you get out of attending conventions?

This may seem like a cliché, but I do enjoy interacting with fans who are passionate about the characters that I draw. I had a father bring his three young children to get their three-volume collection of the recent Popeye series signed. I drew a little sketch with an inscription in each copy, and I received an email from the father several days later telling me that I was the highlight of their convention and that they were still talking about meeting me and that I had made them Popeye fans for life. That’s the kind of thing that makes it all worthwhile!

What is the worst thing about attending conventions?

Being a fan of comics and pop culture, I miss attending as a fan. As a professional, we don’t get to leave the table much, and I don’t get much time to look around at old comics and meet actors and fellow comics professionals that I admire.

How has attending conventions helped promote you as an artist?

Well, it helps get my name out there and people can check out my website and buy commissions. I’ve also been hired, on occasion, for freelance illustration work, which can sometimes be more lucrative than drawing comic book pages.

What is the best/worst or strangest commission that you have ever been asked to do from a convention fan?

You’ll get the occasional creepy fan who’ll want characters drawn naked or engaging in lewd behavior. I remember when I was working on the I Dream Of Jeannie book, someone wanted me to draw the character in a compromising situation (and sent me some of his own lewd ‘fan’ art). Of course, I refused and immediately deleted his email. Most fans have great requests, and many are quite imaginative. I’ve done a few cover recreations, where I’ve been asked to homage a famous cover with different characters in a similar situation. Those kinds of things are pretty fun. A lot of people like drawings on those blank sketch covers, and I’ve done a few which have been rather popular.

What advice would you give to an artist that wants to use conventions as a way to promote him/herself?

I would tell them to invest in a banner and business cards, as well as a website. I’d also tell them to have plenty of examples of their work to sell and be friendly and engaging with everyone they meet. It’s all about making a good first impression, and if a fan likes and remembers you then they’ll make more of an effort to follow you online or visit you at the next convention that you both mutually attend.

Thanks very much Ken, for sharing your convention experiences with us.  Don’t forget to stop by Ken’s booth and say hi this September.

Until then, if you would like to see more of Ken’s work, check out his website at:

http://www.kenwheaton.com/

 

Text © Written In Geek blog (2016) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog or used with subject’s permission (2016)

About Me