Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Post 396

Here is my Flickr gallery of my Heroes 2009 convention experience.

So, back from Heroes, and all is well with the world. I'll break this down into days, that way it'll help me put down words easier...

Day 1 (Friday)-Woke up at 4 a.m. and got to the airport early. The line was insanely long to get checked through because captains and first class passengers kept butting through. When I got on the flight I was seated between some people a lot bigger than me. This was a first, and usually the other way around. The stewardess got me a seat with another woman on a row of 3 so we could all have more space. I didn't have to use a seatbelt extender, and didn't have to put up the armrest. It's truly amazing. I liked having the extra space around as well, it was a much better experience! I know you guys didn't need to know this info, but it's the small things that are crazy to me. Life has changed for me in losing weight, and it has motivated me to push and get the rest gone until I get to my ideal weight!

Once I got to Charlotte, I hit the ground running, hopped in a cab, and got to the Westin. Once there, I was about to check in, but saw Doug Wagner heading out, so I ran up to him on the street and walked beside him. I didn't say anything, then he looked over, and did a double-take! I'll tell you now, I got the same look at least 30 or 40 times at the convention. He walked me up to get my badge, and then I headed down the escalator to the heart of the convention center. Upon arrival I got over to my table, said hi to Paul Maybury, Jason Horn, and Dean Trippe, who were my table-mates...by table mates...I mean we EACH had a table. We were a whole row...it was IN-SANE!!! Especially for our positioning, we were right underneath the Indie Island sign, it was outstanding!

Once I had my stuff all situated, I went for a lap around the convention floor to get acclimated. I first went over to my boys Mike Getty and Andy Black, who were in the very back corner of the convention center. I could empathize since that's where I was at Baltimore. After that I went over to the Studio Revolver table and talked with Tom Feister and Casey Edwards! Both of them are such class acts. We all grew up on either the Gaijin Board or Jolly Rogers messageboard. They were like upper classmen if the messageboards were school, so it was cool to get to hang with them and talk shop.

I'll tell you, it's been a couple years since I last went to Heroes, so I was using that as my benchmark. This was NOTHING like that!!! I used to always be "kaiser from the Gaijin messageboard" everybody's little brother. That was not now I was treated this year. I was treated with so much respect, I've finally found what I've always wanted. I always used the mantra "no respect" to push myself, because I never felt it completely. This year, I've found what I've been searching for, and I love it!

I went over to the Gaijin table, and the first person there to recognize me was Phil Noto!!! He even said my name! I've known Phil for years now, the first time meeting him at the first Wizard World Texas with my buddy Ian Bailon. I knew he recognized me, but was never sure he knew me by name, so when he said that, it really meant a lot! I got to talk with Cully, Phil, and mah boy Karl Story for quite a while...theeeeeeeeeeeeeen I finally got back to my table.

At that point, people started to come by, and I got some commissions. The first was a Death from Sandman. It was really a great way to start things off, the guy who bought it was really cool! That's something I loved at this show, the fans were SOOOOOOOOOOOO nice! They were all really well educated in a large variety of topics, but especially they knew their artists.

At this point I'm going to take a paragraph and talk about Craig Zablo. Craig came up to my table, and we had unknowingly met before years ago at the last Heroes I went to. But it was amazing to get to hang out with him during the weekend. I did a Stallone in Expendables picture for Craig, and channeled my best Ryoichi Ikegami style because of the tattoos. Craig gave me some portfolios, and a sketchbook. I can't ever say enough nice things about Craig! He's kept me motivated to get better, and keep putting out information on my blog and everything. It was great to get to tell him that this weekend!

After I got some more stuff done, Mike Denniston, my other favorite fan with Craig. Mike is all sorts of awesome, especially the sketchbooks his girlfriend makes for him. The Bizarro book is my favorite of all. One side is the normal heroes, then you flip the book upside down to reveal the Bizarro versions. I've done two in it now, a Batman, and now a Superman. I also did one in his new book, the Lost book. I had to break out some Mr. Echo!

This was pretty much the end of the day, it was a whirlwind. So we needed to get some food. We stopped by the hotel room. Then made the long trek to Mert's Heart & Soul, the best soul-food restaurant I've ever been to. Unfortunately...or fortunately for them, more people have begun to understand the 'win' of this restaurant. We went with Jason Levesque (Stuntkid) and his fiancee Elizabeth. I got to talk with Elizabeth, and she's really cool. I didn't know she was on the Drawing Board too. It's great whenever I meet people from the Drawing Board in real life because it's like a family there.

When your spirits are down after a long day, Mert's food brings you back! I had blackened pork chops, potato salad, and mac & cheese. It was so insanely delicious! I felt much better afterwards. Then we made the walk back and hung out in the lobby until about 2 a.m. at the Westin.

Day 2 (Saturday)-Woke up at 6:40, and then got a call from Sam Ellis. He drove in with a couple friends, one of which was Alan Hawley. I've known Alan for years online only, and was excited to meet him. So we went to Ember, the in-hotel restaurant, and paid 18.95 for breakfast! Yikes...

My Aunt Gloria came in, and and I got to hang out with her, introduce her to my world, and a lot of friends. It was really nice to have a family member see what I'm doing now, if it would have been a couple years ago, I would have probably been embarrassed. But I'm so proud of what I'm doing right now I want to (and sometimes do) scream it from the rooftops!

Had lunch pizza courtesy of Sam over at Fuel with Doug Wagner and Vito Delsante. Vito's good peeps, we both made it out of the massacre that was Speakeasy. So I've always found a kinship with people still working in the industry after all that!

Shared half of my table with Sam for Saturday. He was great table company and was hillarious as always. His sarcasm is legendary!

Near the end of the day, I went over and bought a bunch of Andrew Robinson sketchbooks...suffice it to say a bunch of studying is already going down!

Craig also brought over a friend with an INSANELY GORGEOUS PORTFOLIO of commissioned artwork from guys like Hughes. It was disturbingly outstanding. So I did a painting for him. Did most of it in the evening since most people were at the auction, and it was running really long. So after the first 30 minutes I ducked out and worked on it. The issue...I left this gorgeous sumi-brush Tommy Smith gave me in the convention center. I borrowed a pad of watercolors from Mike Getty. It had this tiny brush in it, so I painted the vast majority with my fingers by spreading water and mixing it. Then I did details with the brush and colored pencils into wet paper. It ended up coming out really beautiful in my opinion.

I went back down to the lobby for a bit and ran into J.D. Mettler, who I've known for about 4 or so years. Stood RIGHT in front of him, and he didn't recognize me. Tony Shasteen laughed, and then he freaked out! It made me so happy! J.D. is one of my favorite people in the industry, as well as colorists, so even though we only hung out for a bit, it was fantastic!

We went back to the room, and Dragonball came on the television...oh...wow...was it awful! I was disturbed by it and have nightmares during the day from it. We missed the beginning, and I'm half tempted if it's on tv to watch the beginning....wow...

Day 3 (Sunday)-Woke up and headed downstairs. Had a light breakfast with Tom Feister and we talked with Latour a bit. I need to hang out with them more often!

I spent most of the day finishing commissions. Got to talk with Mike Denniston for a while. It was really nice, he's so polite that it's tough to talk with him when people but in. He's so lucky because he sees Kirkman at his comic shop! I'm so jealous!

Before I began my multi-hour farewell tour, I went over to Eric Canete's table and got to talk with him a bit...it was amazing!!! Sometimes you go to meet one of your idols and you worry they won't meet your expectations...this was absolutely NOT that case! He was even COOLER than I imagined! He even had one of his portfolios that he made, and I jumped on the opportunity! It is so sleek. A plastic case/cover, 2 dvds, and 2 art books of the highest quality production value within! My brother is coming over JUST for the purpose of viewing this! But honestly, I told him about how I show my students his work as an example of how to show dynamic poses, storytelling...EVERYTHING! It was...gah...it meant so much to me!

As I was packing up, a couple of girls walked up to my table and I brought back out my portfolio. They really enjoyed my art, and that was so cool to me. For the longest time only guys would look at my art, but more and more I'm developing a female fan base, and that makes me happy!

After this I headed out to the airport and got on the plane. As I was getting situated, I noticed Mark Waid was on my flight...so I used twitter, and upon arrival he called me out! It was funny!

I can't explain how good this con was. I received professional respect. That is one of the most rewarding things I've ever recevied in my life!

Now to get back to work and make more art!


Matthew Warlick said...

Freakin' awesome my man!

Benito said...

Welcome back.

Get back to work!

Matthew Wilson said...

It was great to meet you Evan, you're art is quite impressive!

Craig Zablo said...

What Benito said.

Robert Ullman said...

You were at Heroes! Dang! I had no idea...I woulda stopped by!


Mr. Bryce,

Thank you so much for the conversation and for the time you spent at my table. I was humbled by all your compliments, truly grateful for your patronage, and wholly impressed at the fact that you are a teacher. Again, thank you - on all those fronts.

I appreciate your support in buying my embarrassingly expensive 'sketchbook' and I do hope that you enjoy it.

You are a competent and formidable illustrator in your own right and I marvel at your skill, and humbled by your work. I am almost ashamed that you're keeping such a keen eye on my blog - you'll soon find all of the proverbial cracks in my artistic armor, I assure you. Please try to keep the laughter to a minimum.

I cannot say thank you enough, so let me just exit by saying that it was my genuine pleasure to meet you. Please stay in touch.

Eric Canete.

Craig Zablo said...

Wow... the praise from Eric Canate!

When you come down from the clouds be careful walking through the first couple of doors!