I am planning on hitting a few conventions soon. And by soon, I mean two in the next two weeks. I originally was going to the Asbury Park NJ convention last weekend, just to say hello to Al Jaffee with my daughter. She absolutely loves MAD TV and I thought it fitting she should meet such an integral part of the MAD look. But when we were getting ready to go that morning she asked me how long we were going to be there. An hour each way and maybe an hour or so at the convention I said. Two or three sentences later she expressed a desire not to invest the time. That was fine by me. We do enough together and will hit some big shows together this summer. It would have been nice to meet Ulises Farinas, who has done two spectacular commissions for me, but perhaps another time.
But this weekend it will be 90-120 minutes each way to rural Pennsylvania for the Comic Geek Speak Supershow. I have been to 3 or so of these, and they are a nice quiet break from the big show madness. I have never heard a podcast, much less the comic geek speak podcast, but I enjoy the convention. (Ooh, not true technically I guess. I have listened to a few Marc Maron podcasts after they loaded onto my ipod when synching from my wife's playlist.) Even though I am really moving away from convention sketches and staying with published pieces and bigger/fewer commissions there are a few reasons to go to this show. One I already mentioned, the low down locale. The 30 miles in and out of Reading PA is quiet and mellow and always a nice ride. You end up past the coastal regions of the northeast US and into true heartland of America stuff. Not like Indiana or Nebraska yet, but fundamentally different than Jersey cornfields. I like that. It wouldn't bring me to reading PA all by itself, but it is a nice touch. Kinda like the small town appeal of the Hawthorne NJ high school art class convention, it sets a sweet and mellow tone.
In order to travel that 200 miles or so round trip I need some true talent to be present. And since I am moving away from spending so much cash at conventions, and since I do not have it as my budget is going to the last few time payments on a painted cover, it better be something special to me. Oddly enough, this little show in the middle of nowhere does that in spades. Katie Cook goes here, so I go here as well. I found her art around 2008 and she was at an early Supershow so I went. At some point, 2010 or so, my elder daughter won a "Draw Gronk" contest online given by someone other that Katie. But the guy running it never followed through on the prize drawing from Katie so she was kind enough to do a nice little painting on a 17X5 piece of Bristol. She did Harry Potter and took up about 25% of the board. Hermione was added in 2010 at NYCC and Ron came last year. Now I hope to finish the piece with Dumbledore, Voldemort, or Hagrid and surprise my daughter with the finished piece.
My personal art goal is a nice finished pen piece by Tom Raney. Tom is one of the few artists who stay on my list no matter the frequency of our meetings. Some artists see me at their table at every opportunity - Tom Raney, Sean Chen, Andy MacDonald. Right now that may be about it. Then I get some big guns when I can, guys like Cheung. But those other guys bring it at a live event at a level I really appreciate. Tom and Sean will work in fine pointed pens or markers and I love the result. At this show I may have Tom add some background to a Fastball Special he did for me a few years ago. Or I may get a special request involving KANG. But if that proves difficult, it may be that background detail. Either way I am going to try and talk Tom into something much larger and involved than the single figure commissions he has been taking over at deviant art. Talking commission will be my main goal with Tom, and with Rudy Nebres as well. I have a few ideas for Rudy and will see which one he digs most. Then I will generate some reference and mail it over to his home. Then he will make magic with ink and talent and hard work.
The best part of the show won't involve me getting any art at all. Well, I may get something from his portfolio, but the goal of seeing Tim Truman in person at this show is to get a few pictures of him with this piece of art . It is the original painting for the poster advertising a Ratdog/Hot Tuna/Planet Drum concert on New Year's Eve 1999. If Tim has any Dead related or Dead themed art in his portfolio I may get it as well. I got this piece that way a year or two ago.
I even bought Tim's last copy of the Ratdog poster at that show, and I now own the painting itself. Yes I love this hobby.
My goal is to walk out with 4-6 free/cheap head sketches as well. I have a Batman jam started and may start one or two others at this show and the next. So watch out Joe Staton, Tom, Lee Weeks, Rudy, and James!
I will let you know how it went next week, as well as tell you about the show I will hit the following weekend in NYC! HINT HINT Sean Chen, again and again!