Okay, I got a bit tired of the whole 17X5 thing and decided to try something new recently. This is not to say that I am done with the 17X5 strip art theme or that I will stick with my new love exclusively, but when the Comic Geek Speak people cancelled their convention in Pennsylvania and a loosely affiliated business stepped up to host a show on the same dates in the town next to mine I figured there was no better time to try something new. And so I broke out the colored paper and set out for the Super Wild Pig Show a few weeks ago. I brought a few different colors and some ideas about what characters would work on each color paper. I had a small size, regular 8.5X11, and a few larger sheets about 26X22 or something like that. I also had a colored blue art board, firm, maybe for watercolors. I was most excited to use the largest sheets for head shots of The Hulk. My approach on head sketch jams is to try and get head sketches thrown in with, or negotiated alongside, convention sketch commissions and then consider a central figure if it is looking good. Lee Weeks was attending and hey, Lee Weeks = The Hulk, right? Well to me he does. Or at least did. He was next to Joe Staton, who could go a Green Lantern on another piece for a mixed character jam perhaps? Well Joe actually agreed to do a quick GL head sketch for free, or cheaply at least, but I never got around to getting it as he was usually busy or I wanted to go home. I had also pre-arranged a piece with The Shade from Chandra Free and figured she might do a small head sketch as well. And conventions always offer up unanticipated opportunity, so I always have that going for me. With that I set out for the long trek to Piscataway.
Six minutes later I was there, delayed who knows how long by having to endure the interminable wait of a passing train. I actually ended up going to this convention and home again two or three times each day since it was so close. I arranged for art from 4 artists: Lee Weeks, JK Woodward, Chandra Free, and Reilly Brown at a cost slightly north of $300. More than I wanted to spend but I had my new idea to pursue. Jk Woodward was quickly up for the challenge, as I new he would be. He took an 8.5X11 piece of red paper and agreed to do a Spider-Man shot. He seemed excited about it, so i was too. Then I got to speaking with Lee Weeks, who now knows me by sight if not by name. (For the young among you, dear readers, might I suggest it is a bad sign for your wallet when the artists recognize you when you enter the room. They poke each other and nod knowingly, saliva and spittle appearing at the edges of their slightly agape mouths almost imperceptibly, instantaneously. And when they speak you hear what the guppy hears when the shark speaks to him, what the fly hears when he alights on the web. "Welcome my friend. So good to see you.") Now I wouldn't want to cast any aspersions on Mr. Weeks with that digression, who is a gentleman and a scholar and overall nice guy. Deeply genuine, you can tell when you talk to him for even a few minutes that he lives by a strong ethical code. Nonetheless, he also possesses a bit of charlatan in him, and in this persona will amaze and astound you with feats of magic and prestidigitation. Although he did indeed do some great card tricks while I was in his presence, charming a young girl and her father both as Rudy Nebres and I looked on, it was his artistic ability that really left me amazed. When I approached him with the red paper and asked him to draw Spider-Man it was because I really like his version of the ol' wallcrawler. But he too got excited and told me about a Daredevil he had drawn a few years ago on red paper. DAREDEVIL! Lee Weeks "equaled" Daredevil for me long before Lee Weeks = the Hulk. So I left him the paper for a Daredevil and off I went. When I got back the next day I had the same reaction I had when Sean Chen handed me my first 17X5 piece. That of awe and of being astounded. This guy knew what he was doing, that is for sure.
Yes, another long trek awaited me. So one table down I ventured, down to the left where Mr. and Mrs. Rudy Nebres were seated. I had gotten my first Nebres sketch in the early 90s and reminded him of the show, the Super Mega Show in Secaucus. He had some wonderful art for sale, but I now have 3 Dr. Strange pieces drawn by Rudy and the convention sketch thing was covered for me. So we arranged a commission for him to complete at home and I gave him the rough idea and promised to bring reference to him by the shows end Sunday. That night I almost forgot and Rudy laughed late the next day when I finally showed up at his table, saying he was sure I had disappeared on him. So in the next few months I hope to have a sweet Dr. Strange vs Dracula drawn by Rudy Nebres in my possession. Doc will hopefully be discovering Dracula just after partaking of a little snack, to be one of the following heroines: Clea, The Valkyrie, The Scarlet Witch, Moondragon, or Photon aka Captain Marvel aka Monica Rambeau. So I also have that going for me. but I digress. Back to COLOR!
By the end of the day Saturday I had arranged for reilly Brown to do a Dr. Strange, but he was charging $50 for head shots and it didn't look like a good idea to ask for a freebie with my sketch. I often feel that if I spend $100 or more on a convention commisison from an artist than that is enough do-re-mi that I can feel okay asking for a quickie when I pay. But you have to feel each situation out and asking reilly would have been too big an imposition. He was going all out on my sketch and making good cash with his time on a Zatanna (really nice Zatanna, too) so it would have been unfair to ask, he likely would have done it too, but that don't make it right.
Now Chandra Free, on the other hand, was someone I felt fine asking for a quick sketch. I wanted to get a sketch from Chandra for a year or so since I became aware of her work but time and money had not yet aligned until now. She had arranged to do a Shade, from Starman, for me but since I wanted it big I had to bring the 11X17 paper to her late Saturday for Sunday pickup. That meant going home Saturday with 4 arranged pieces but nothing yet in hand. So when giving Chandra the paper I hit her up for a quick Batman on my blue artboard. She agreed and really did much more, and a much larger piece, than I expected. Now it is too big to scan and I have no picture yet, but believe me when I say it is way cool. Her take on The Shade was equally wonderful. but the main point is that I now have a large piece of blue art board with a sketch of Batman on the lower left corner. So I guess the colored paper thing may gain some traction after all. While the 17X5 pieces will continue, they will slow and be more carefully chosen. I only have a few more sheets left before I have to buy more. But colored paper, I got tons of that stuff. And with that DD up there to go by, I expect great things to come as a result.
Okay, that was longer and more rambling than first intended, but I can live with it I guess! See you soon!!!