This is going to be a bit rambling. Sort of like a shout out track on a CD mixed with some actual information on rare occasion. Drew Baker,Kat Argyle,Andy Hopp,Jason Engle and his assistant (sorry I forgot all three of your first names) were all very nice to me at GenCon and I really appreciated it. Thanks for inviting me along to those dinners. I'll assume the kindness wasn't just because I was giving out velcro to everybody.
Side note:velcro is about the only thing I nailed at my first GenCon. I brought fabric hooks too and they were a huge pain in the ass compared to just using velcro. I was also able to safely remove the velcro from all of the foamcore prints.
Kat was the bizarro version of me at the con. She was an excellent sales person, talking with such excitement and love for the work that you couldn't help but like the work as well (not that it wasn't awesome anyways). Meanwhile I felt completely incapable of hyping my own work. Actually I think Kat was one of the few who was able to hype the work and maybe that's because she was one fo the few people running a booth who wasn't the artist. Maybe most of us artists egos were too damaged and weak from having so much great art surrounding us.
Drew had some very handy vertical panel extensions. Next year I'll have to ask to have my back to Drew's booth so I can mooch off the extra space. :) . I had planned out how to put my work on the panel before arriving but you don't realize how small those panels are until you're there. Drew also had a big banner thing that stuck up out of the top of his panels. If "Joe Slucher" ever comes to be a name somebody might recognize I'll have to consider it. Drew also had a homemade display thing for flipping through his smaller prints. Very nice and affordable solution. Mark Poole had a super fancy version of the same thing. It was more like a pedestal and each page was kept semi-rigid by a frame.
Moving on, I got to meet the Aberrant guys;Simon,Tony and Bryan.They were nice enough to take me out to an Indian restaurant that required walking down a long hallway and through a grocery store. My wife can't eat Indian food so it was a nice change. Then I went with them to a gun store where it looked like you could buy various law enforcement badges. Scary. They told me how much it costs to get an exhibitor booth and I think it was $2000. It amazes me that there are any artists in the exhibitor area at those rates.
Ben Thompson was nice enough to talk to me for a bit. I was too chicken to talk to him last year about the WoW card game. Thought I'd be a jerk to walk up and ask him something about his AD job while he's running a booth as an artist. After talking to him, I think it was silly to be so reluctant last year.
Raven Mimura and I talked for a while about what's popular and clients. I was really surprised by how long he talked to me and we even did a print trade. Very nice guy.
I had a great time at the bar with several artists I'd never met. Aaron Miller was nice enough to pull me into the conversation. He's just now getting into the fantasy art field and managed to land a gig with D&D I think. We ended up trading oil paintings. His portfolio was a box with prints mounted individually. I always think of that style as more of a fine art thing so I was a bit surprised by it. He only showed about 8 pieces though so the arrangement didn't seem too awkward. I would love to know what ADs think of that presentation. It makes you really focus on the individual pieces of art rather than the whole of the portfolio. Sounds like a good tactic if you have a couple of super strong pieces that you think really fit the client well. I also talked to Mark Winters,Caroline Himmelman,Anna and Jeff Himmelman. All were very nice and I hope to see them next year. So there were a lot of Illustration Master Class alumni and WIP podcasters. All of us were talking about going in new directions with our art. :) It appeared artists liked my miniature oil paintings way more than customers. I should also probably mention my two buddies,Oliver Meinerding and Chris Simmons that I brought along and helped a lot with the booth. I think they had a good time at the bar. Me and Oliver ended up getting to work on the same sweet gig from GenCon. Also talked to Jared Blando for a bit. He's an amazing cartographer who is now moving into the illustration side of things. Seemed super enthusiastic and excited about getting into the illustration stuff.
Oliver introduced me to another local artist, Woodrow Hinton whom I have heard a lot about. He was nice enough to introduce me to Andrew Bawidamann and tell me about the weekly illustrators lunch that happens in the area. Hopefully I'll be able to go to one soon.
I also got to finally meet Billy Tackett in person. He's another Covington artist and I've been reading his blog for a while. He's super active with conventions,fairs, art shows,etc so it shouldn't be too hard for you to run into him somewhere. Kind of embarrassed that I hadn't made the effort to meet him before now. Can't really say a bad word about any of the artists I met. All of them were very nice.
Also met Thom Scott. I talked to him for a little bit about sales and he's stats flew in the face of my previous post about what seems to sell. His best seller was a guy with a shark head. He had other pieces that were much better in my opinion but that was the one that got people. I think I was just afraid to look like a fool in my previous post and suggest others make illustrations of people with shark heads.
Met Jeremy McHugh for the first time and he interviewed me for the Ninja Mountain Podcast. With a little bit of clever editing, I'm sure he could have made me sound like a complete idiot so i appreciate that I only sounded like a partial idiot on the podcast. He was just as nice as I expected although I was not expecting the pinstripe vest. Perhaps it was a clever ploy to throw off interviewees. I know I was expecting to be handed a fancy martini at any moment.
There was also a super odd meeting at GenCon. There was a company that I worked for that gave me every reason in the world to hate their guts. I mean they are the absolute worst company I've worked for and would never ever consider working for again unless there was a clause in the contract that said, "if I'm displeased at any point, I can walk away and still get paid". These guys were what spawned my Client Warning Signs journal entry. Well they came by the booth and chatted it up like everything was wonderful between us, as if one day maybe we'd have kids and they'd grow up and marry each other and we'd be related. It was mindblowing. I would have thought they likewise weren't happy with me but I guess all of the anger is strictly on my end.
I also got to meet Joe McDonald whom I did some illustrations for a long time ago. I think we were both surprised to see each other. He was looking at my booth for a while before finally going, "oh hey you did some work for me!" I take it as a good sign that my new work would be that different from the old work. I was mostly shocked by how young he was. So keep an eye out for him in the future.
I'm sorry if I've forgotten to mention our meeting. I ran into a ton of people and most of the time it was while I was running around as fast as I could while Oliver or Chris watched my booth. Not to mention, one night I slept in the hotel closet to try to escape a roommate's comically loud snoring so some sleep deprivation was going on. Also check out this video to see one of my friends in a hilariously bad Hutt costume that some friends made.
Next post will be an actual discussion of illustration. Promise.