NYCC Review 2: A city beneath another city. – A semipro’s POV:
On Thursday the 10th and a couple of hours on Friday 11th I was able to attend New York Comic Con.
My first and most important goal was to show my portfolio around, make several contacts and gain expertise. Geeky stuff would come if I got the time and the money.
As I said it was my first comic Convention… a real and huge convention from the country that makes them… I had 6 portfolio printed: 3 from my latests inking works and 3 from my assembled team of pencils, inks and color with Kóte Carvajal and Diego Toro.
We came the previous day to pick up our badges and that was the first smart move. The lines on the fist day were kilometrical, however we couldn’t be able to skip some lines of extra badges we required, so if the show was scheduled to start at 3 PM, and we arrived at 2:30 PM, we could actually step into the Javits’s at 4 PM. Thanks for the useless help, old lady at the concierge desk.
Jacob Javits Convention Center is a place so big you can see it from every NY’s observation deck. Crowned with a huge Crystal Palace, where some stands were placed, all the publisher’s stands were behind that crystal palace. It also has like 2 basements (where all the Entertainment meet & Greet took place and some panels) and you had to walk to the left corner of the building to get to the Artist Alley. Hours before the con Started it was already packed with people making lines to the Will Call and other badges pick up desks.
It took me a couple of hours to be able to understand what a big sized ComicCon is. Despite the fact I had my floor plan and backpacked with a tight – but realistic agenda, I wasn’t able to feel any comfort during the first two hours of the Con. Imagine Times Square: filled with ecstatic tourists, right? Gazillions of people trying to get a hot dog, take as many pictures as they can and shopping-shopping-shopping. Well, a ComicCon this size is Times Square plus some geek costumes on acid. Like a big geeky mall on Christmas Eve. The big hall, where all the publishers and entertainment booths were set was a completely and utter madness. I profoundly disliked it at the beginning. Yeah, sure, great stuff, great cosplayers, beautiful girls, but the ambient, the air was unbreathable, like everyone was running to get everything no matter what.
I wasn’t there for the cosplays, getting free stuff or making lines out of everything. I was there to show my portfolio and receive as many comments as I could about my inking skills. I was able to drop my portfolio to Aspen Comics, Zenescope, Devil’s Due, Boom Entertainment a couple of others and I meet Kelly Bender, a tall and great looking writer (according to my wife) whom I have been working with on Celestial Corps and he was trying to pitch it, among other projects.
Kelly is the nicest person you can meet. Unfortunately we only meet for almost 20 minutes. He was just arrived directly form the Airport and he was even carrying his bags, but he was adamant about showing his work to publishers. His attitude towards making himself known is inspirational to me. It was like meeting someone between pitstops in a race and I thought that was the right attitude to adopt in this case, where you are an unknown artist and want to break into comics. The last I’ve heard from this pitch was that a couple of independent publishers had shown interest on it. Let’s see what happens after the con.
For that reason I ran, ran and ran looking for some places to drop my portfolio, get comments and know people. And I think it worked on the Artist Alley.
Artist Alley was a better place. Equally packed with people but they were way nicer. High level artists, with mid level artists and ground 2 artists, where the small independent artists were on the main floor of the gargantuan Jacob Javits Convention Center. There were lots of known names: Jimmy Palmiotti, Adam Hughes, Rob Liefeld, Chris Claremont, Bob Wiacek, Mark Morales, Jimmy Cheung, Dexter Vines, Olivier Coipel, and many many more. Everyone as nicer as the next one and easy to talk with. I focused on the inkers. While Bob McLeod and Klaus Janson were not in their seats on that moment I could be able to talk long time and get some portfolio review from Mark Morales, Dexter Vines and Bob Wiacek. Had the opportunity to analyze Klaus Janson’s inking for a while.
Mark Morales, who’s work you can see on Jimmy Cheung’s pencils, mostly on Avengers and lately with Olivier Coipel’s AVX was great to me. He allowed to step inside his table, grab a chair and speak for almost 30 minutes both days.
All three told me about three or four general themes on my inking that shows that still I am on a training process:
– Need to improve the line weight between figures, mid background and background. Watching at Morale’s portfolio it felt that still I am unconvinced or even a little scared of line weights. Bolder, make more evident who’s in the big picture and who’s in the background and separate them effectively.
– Crosshatching proportions: Must make more printed tests in the final resolution to see if my hatching blurs into a grey messed area
– Feathering, feathering feathering. Still need tons of practice on doing those feathering more regular shaped and same direction oriented.
Adding to that I think that I still lack of fluently on my lines. I like the way other inkers seems to liquify their pages as a result of a loosely hand brush.
Yeah, sure. I am still on diapers inking-wise, but I think there a list of things to correct and now I know what are those thing to correct and then I’ll be way more closer to make it. That is the best part of it. I am not sure if that’s the place to be in terms of closing deals. Still lots of pages to improve, still not there, but close. Still trying to break in comics and not lose faith during this period of time. Can’t wait to return to my drawing board.
A convention like this is the place to realize if you are in the right way, focus your skills, polish the idea and calibrate where I am aiming with my inking and be prepared to receive harsh reviews. I travelled a lot of kilometers to get those reviews, so being polite does not help to my work. You, know… if there’s something that I have realized is the huge importance of this deal I made with myself. I don’t want to remain unnoticed, just like Sasha and Nino. I’ll have them on my mind as long as I can.
PS: Next time, bring cards. Those are useful!