Chicagoans in San Diego
The trip to San Diego was insane, but every day got a little more pleasant. We had originally planned on spending Thursday on Coronado Island before hitting the Con Friday. But that plan got scuttled. Big thunderstorms hit Chicagoland the morning Lisa and I left. Lisa took a photo of me by an Ohare window, so I could do a before (rainy Chicago) and after (sunny CA) comparison.
Our 11am flight got delayed several times, until by around 2pm it was finally cancelled. Hundreds of passengers were left to beg space on other American Airlines flights One might have hoped for a company lackey with a clipboard organizing the stranded, but that's not how America(n) works anymore. Some of us waited at counters, or waited in line to use the free customer service phones (about 50 people+ at any time), or used up our cellular
To sum up, we flew United into Orange Country airport near midnight, drove a rental car to San Diego and checked in. I was in no mood to take 'after' photos. I then had to pick up my luggage, which had gotten to San Diego without problem.
That was about 7am. At 10am I went to the convention. It was a great pleasure talking to people who weren't holding my suitcase hostage. Mark Schweikert and his crew from Arizona were there to meet me. I don't know if I was too brain dead to be fun, but I had fun hanging out with them.
I honestly didn't see much of the Con. I found out from a last minute phone call that I'd been added to the Wildstorm panel (check the listing: I wasn't supposed to be there) during the time I'd scheduled to hang out with Eddie Berganza. I did a signing at the ACTOR booth alongside Bill Willingham, who attributes the success of the GOP to the low quality of prostitutes at Democratic events. I'd like to see him relaunch Commander in Chief! You may know he's one of my favorite writers, but he's also a favorite artist of mine. It was a big thrill to watch him draw. And I went to an under-promoted signing at the BCI booth. I'd complain, but the two fans who showed up were gorgeous twenty-something She-Ra devotees. A California blonde and a adorable Italiana who had just enough flaws in her English to make her even cuter.
It was a fruitful trip. I reconnected to old colleagues (Anina Bennett, my Dark Horse editor, and I'm still waiting for you to contact me back, Jim!). I got to meet Ivan from Brazil, who's even cooler in person than online. I pitched a Batman project with Lowell and Art, and even if it doesn't get approved I feel like we've forged a team for future projects.
One of the important lessons I learned was how to draw a little faster. There weren't any proper lectures from more accomplished artists: Steve Rude didn't sit me down and demonstrate pencil stroke technique. It was just an accumulation of little things. Like drawing a marker sketch while talking to inker Andrew Pepoy. I'd been thinking for years about drawing a comic book in marker, which I'm wicked fast with if I don't do full gray scale. But the rough and crappy finish quality always stopped me. Both Andrew and I own large format (11"x17" plus) scanners and color printers now. I could create a new work model. I could draw an almost finished 'pencil' in marker, touched up with white paint or even White-Out pen. That gets scanned into my computer and FTPed to Andrew. He prints out the image in non-photo blue and creates a professionally inked version.
Part of the point is to avoid the infinitessimal detail for which I'm known. Whenever I contemplate a change like this I always get nervous. What will you guys think? Hopefully you'll trust me enough to keep reading. I'd love to be an artist who can handle monthly work again, and nobody wants to wait five years for a big Gene Ha project again...
Our last full day in California was spent on Coronado Island, just me and the Ms. We did finally get there.
If you are in Chicago for the con, enjoy our metropolis and don't leave town without trying a gourmet hot dog at Hot Doug's, or the Polish buffet at Old Warsaw. And say hi to Zander and Kevin and Britt at the Big Time Attic table!