I’ve only been to a handful of Cons – mostly the notorious “Comic-Con” in San Diego. But even with my limited experience, there are always certain facets of each Con that I gravitate to as both a professional animator and artist. The most obvious being Artist Alley. Located on the main floor, usually off to the side or hugging the north wall, Artist Alley is where artists of all backgrounds can be found showcasing their work. From personal commissions to professional pieces, these artists can both sell and/or display their craft for everyone in attendance. This is where I usually head to first. As an animator working specifically on Marvel characters, I’m always looking for iconic poses that I can implement into my work. Browsing Artist Alley not only exposes me to the work of some of the best draftsmen (and women) in the industry but it also helps inspire me creatively. I love looking at character design and unique takes on familiar characters. This is also a place where you can have the opportunity to approach and even talk to some of your favorite artists.
(Me with one of my favorite artists: Pascal Campion)
The next stop for me would be where the statues are displayed. Sideshow Collectibles and Bowen Designs almost always have an area on the floor to show off their newest and upcoming statues. Crowds tend to form as people anxiously await to glimpse their next potential purchase. Again, I’m looking for great poses and quality sculpts. 2D poses are great to look at but if you can get access to a 3D sculpt that you can walk around – all the better.
Another aspect of cons that is worth looking into are the various talks about animation and/or video games from the very developers and working professionals that create them. More often than not, you’ll find panels on feature animation and game design peppered throughout a con’s heavily packed schedule. The last panel I attended talked about short films and gave some great insight into the process of making one.
There are animation-specific conventions such as CTN (Creative Talent Network) Animation Expo in Burbank, CA but as I’ve only been once about 6 years ago, I’m sure things have changed since my experience. What I can remember from my visit was that it mostly consisted of artists and studio representatives looking for potential hires. Eager graduates would have their demo reels in hand, ready to show that one studio they so passionately want to work for. But even if you don’t land that dream job right then and there, just attending could be considered a great opportunity for networking and meeting like-minded people.
In the end, that’s what its all about. Conventions were created to gather together a group of passionate people who share a common interest. We all have our own personal reasons on why we go to cons and hopefully this provides a glimpse of why I try to make the trek whenever I can.
*All photos taken from Michael’s personal gallery and banner taken from google search
Why do you all attend comic book conventions? We would like to know why so please leave a comment below or feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page here or Instagram page here or our Twitter page here.