Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Emerald City Comicon

Whew! Ok so I just got back from Seattle. It was great. I went to show off my portfolion but more so to gauge the comics culture. I met some great people there. The ones that really stick out in my head are CB Cebulski, Alex Grecian, Chris Castillo, Bob Schrek, this one advocate/agent type- Quentin Shaw and an upcoming artist who's last name escapes me but his first name is Zeka.

So I get into the convetion and it's just a maze to me and my wife (who is awesome for supporting me from the get go). But we end up navigating through and this guy running a gay comics booth asks me to see my portfolio. So I show it to him and his crits are fair, and constructive but for the most part the vibe I get is more of a social thing, to me it felt like he wanted to socialize , but it was good because that was the first person ever to see my work. And I needed to get that first one out. But basically I walk away with 3 things I need to have an establishing shot in each page, I need to vary my camera angles, and my pencils are way too dark. Then he tells me I need to see Bob Schrek.

So then we make our way to a a well dressed gentleman drawing on an artboard. I read his name and it's Dennis Calero who's name I recognized off the ECCC website, he drew the cover to the program guide. So I ask him for his opinion on my portfolio. He looks at it and he reiterates the pencils being too dark. But he also sees something that I've thought all along. He says that with these pages 'It's almost as if there's some good stuff underneath what is going on in these pages' And you know what I've always felt that way too. In the layouts when there's no pressure on I feel free and I can do what I want. But when I blow it up and lightbox from there, all the good stuff is covered up, you know? But he really didn't like how dark it was. He tells me to walk around and look at some of the other pencils by professionals, which I end up doing later. He also reiterates on the establishing shot on each page because you never know where the ads will be placed. And he tells me I need to work on my backgrounds. Too empty. And in closing he tells me in a year if I keep at it I should be ready. So from him I take with me a few things; too dark (that's 2), establishing shot on each page (2 again), to try to embellish the backgrounds way more, and to keep at it for another year, which he doesn't tell anyone very often.

We find Bob Schrek doing portfolio reviews and the attaendant tells us to come back at 3:30.

Then we make our way to this booth where a tall black man and a tall slender skater type dude are. They turn out to be Quentin Shaw and Zeka ( I forgot his last name). SO they both are blown away by my portfolio, that immediately told me that they weren't at the same caliber as Dennis Calero or the other guy but hey what the hell my ego is blown up at that point. And judging by the portfolios layed out on their booth table, they're about at the same caliber as myself.We got to talking with Quentin and Zeka on a more friendly level. They're both impressed. Zeka really liked one of the character designs I came up with and Quentin really just liked my artwork.

So Quentin hooks me up with another review. I forgot that guys name too. He spots some unnecesary cropping, where the readers would get confused. But he also spots something. See there's 3 different samples I'm showing, a DC 5 pager, a Marvel 5 pager, and a 9 pager of a script I'm working on. So he spots fatigue in my work. Which was true. See I had to work my fulltime job before I went to Seattle and I live in Hawaii. So I had to compensate for the time I would miss at work and work extra prior to leaving. So the Marvel script was good, and by the time I get to the DC script I'm fatigued. And I kept telling my wife my brain was fried, with working extra hours and then drawing up until I got to the con that day. So I walk away with this- give myself more time, embellish backgrounds, and he tells me Marvel and DC are going a different direction- more realistic. Which I later find to be true. I have a carttony style and I guess that style has run it's course for now.

So then Quentin takes me over to CB Cebulski. I know who he is, his name is all over the internet so I was excited. So CB looks at it and asks who my influences are- I tell him Joe Mad, Ed Mcguiness, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, and a few more- which he sees. I actually felt that he got my work. That he understood what I was trying to get at. I saw something there. I felt a connection. He went over how to make a page really hit home. How the little details really bring the page to life. Like Supes and Bats capes being cropped off. How to emphasize visually on what is important. Then he went to the crits which were- the cropping (again) backgrounds not being enough (again) and then his observation took on story telling- he said when I worked from the script the story telling was better than when I did my own. He liked my stuff and he too said one more year and I'd be ready (again). But he offered to send me some sample scripts to work on, which I intend to do. He then gave me his info and told me to e-mail him.

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