Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Pasadena Rock'n Comic Con Wrap Up

Woo-hoo! First blog post with details in a while. I’m going to intersperse this with pictures I took at the Pasadena Rock’n Comic Con (more on that in a bit), so there are what I hope prove to be entertaining visuals with a decent read. Above is a picture of Fuzzles and I at the convention. He is my stuffed Koala. He is also made of awesome. Don’t judge.

(Fuzzles sat on my handmade greeting cards intermittently throughout the convention)

I love to write, but I never have time to blog. In a sense, Thank God, though, that when I was thirteen/fourteen/fifteen that blogspot, Twitter, and Facebook didn’t exist, because I would have been writing every single inane unfiltered thought that ran through my head, at every second possible. I had a livejournal during college that was dramatic enough, and as an adult, I much prefer having a blog in which to ramble, discuss things, and more importantly, write about what I am up to with the various creative things I’m trying to do. I like doing personal writings on here that are hopefully interesting to read and not totally ridiculous. I also think it’s a good way to keep a record of projects that you’re working on, especially if you show pictures from a beginning to an ending stage of a piece you’re working on. Anyway, I need to start doing this more regularly.

So, as can be seen from the photo of me in my booth… I exhibited at the first annual (if it continues? I think that's up in the air at this point) Pasadena Rock'n Comic Con. I actually had a good time, all things considered, and made a lot of great connections and friendships with other artists. The vendors were really cool. The attendees were really cool. Pasadena is really nice, and the convention center is top notch. I’m also going to include a disclaimer here that I am not trashing on the con itself per se, or those who organized it, because I am really grateful I got to be a part of it. However, things can always be improved, and I am just stating my experiences. As I’m about to discuss, my own personal experiences were pretty good.


I know that for many vendors, I am alone in that regard. Almost nobody came to the Comic Con, largely because it was not well marketed. I've heard a ton of different stories from different people as to the details of how and why this happened, but it basically boils down to some major mismanagement and a lack of communication. As an Artist in Artist's Alley, I myself (along with most other people) was never told a check-in time, when the con was supposed to start (the times were changed several times, and we were never notified about it), or where we were to get badges, etc.

Personally, I am no stranger to times being changed on me at random and have had work experiences where at the last minute employees have all of a sudden been expected to arrive three hours later, half an hour earlier, stay seven hours later, etc. However, choice as that is, at least when times are constantly changed and someone is saying, "JUMP! I demand that you inquire as to HOW HIGH," they are at least informing you that you are expected to jump in accordance with their schedule changes.

This convention was just bizarre in that we were literally never told anything. It would have been bad enough if (as I mentioned above) we were constantly having conflicting demands thrown at us. But we were never informed of anything they wanted us to do. Originally, it was a Friday through Sunday nine to five affair. It then changed times completely, with Friday being a late show and Saturday and Sunday being full day shows, which I only knew because I continued to obsessively check the website. The oddest thing was on Saturday, when all of a sudden in the afternoon they decided that the convention would be open from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM, despite the fact that everyone was planning on breaking down at 5:00 PM. Again, I only even discovered this because I checked with someone working at the Convention Center, who checked the website--which had suddenly been changed on Saturday. Ultimately, the convention center staff kicked everyone out at 6:00 PM (I knew that as I was still there, moving my table to a better location), as nobody had stayed. This luckily meant there was no risk for things left out by vendors. However, it could have been a disaster if the center had let people wander in for an extra five hours.

(Quick break in RCC Rant: My cartoonist friend Rafael Navarro, who is awesome, came by the Con and has people draw their own interpretations of Captain America in his sketchbook. I am not a superhero artist per se, but I still made a go of it and drew my version of Captain America, with Fuzzles being villainous and bopping him on the head, as shown in the bottom three pictures. I promise, though, Fuzzles is not usually mean. Can anyone yet tell how much I like my teddy... um, marsupial?)

As for Rafael, I am a huge fan of his comic, Sonambulo. If you like detective stories, lucha stories, and/or noir, go check out his comic, straightaway!

Back to the pre-scheduled blog about the con. I actually realized ahead of time how disorganized it was shaping up to be, so I didn't freak out during the actual convention. I realized how cray cray (to use a few favorite internet slang term of mine) it was shaping up to be, so I was able to just enjoy it and not be bummed or nervous about the hot mess aspects of it. My Artist’s Alley booth was huge, and I ultimately moved to a bigger spot on Sunday because so few people came to claim their exhibitor booths, and then others packed up for the rest of the weekend on Saturday afternoon. But again, this is just how I lucked out personally. You pay a lot less for Artist’s Alley than you do for a big booth, and essentially what the Artists were given was the same booth space as that of the bigger companies. I’m not complaining because I loved my setup and lucked out, but the situation was not fair for bigger vendors. I think everyone should have been charged the same lower Artist’s Alley rate, since then more exhibitors would have probably shown, there would have been less empty space gaps, and less people would have been upset, felt cheated, and not lost out on quite so much money.

I also consider myself really really really lucky, as Artist's Alley was very affordable, and even with the lack of attendees I made enough of a profit to justify being there. I am actually stunned that I did, because so few people showed up. Forgetting money, though, it was a really great experience because it was my first time getting to work a con and exhibit my own work, as opposed to working a con for a job. I like cons regardless, but it is always best to do what is valuable for yourself. There were also really cool people, and even some Phantom of the Opera! A story that I am obsessed with, in all its incarnations. Below are pics of the work done by Casey Wong, a really cool exhibitor that I met. He does phenomenal makeup work, as you can see with the Phantom mask below!

(Casey's Myspace can be found here:

In any event, again, I am not trying to bash on anyone. I am really grateful I got to be part of this Con, because I met such cool vendors and artists and overall lovely people. I just hope that the con can happen again and be planned a bit better, because it’s in a great location and there are a ton of great artists in the Los Angeles, San Diego, and overall Southern California area.

(Two last pics of my table, the first of how big it was after I moved locations, and the second of some pins and jewelry made of Sculpey that I had for sale)

Last, but certainly not least, here are some SHOUT-OUTS! My blog seems to never want to link things properly, but copying and pasting will always work--please keep that in mind for any links I've put in previously, and for the ones I am about to put in. So without further ado, here are the names and websites of several really cool artists that I did not already get a chance to mention:

Chance Raspberry, cartoonist and designer who does cool works of his own, as well as works for some awesome companies (he's done work on "The Simpsons!"). Here is his blog:

Carl Anderson, the cartoonist behind the very funny Geeks Comic Strip:

Jeff, and the staff of Crazy Cat Comics--they have some seriously awesome collectibles and toys!

Karl Altstaetter, and the other cool guys who work on Stranger Comics! Here is Karl's Deviant Art Page:

Jean Kang, a member of Girls Drawin' Girls and a really cool illustrator!

Smorgasboard Productions, Dahveed, and the guys behind Super Pirate Booty Hunt! Link to the cool animation with the adorable turtle here:

John Earickson, artist, graphic designer, and head of Atomic Boogaloo:

Happy Con, to all who were involved! I hope all who enjoyed it are still riding the high, and all who had an awful time have finally recovered.


Atomic Boogaloo said...

Great Post! I like how it was unbiased and well written. Also thanks for the plug!

While I had a personal issues with the management before the con even started, the fact that it was slow allowed me to talk to some of the artists and compare notes. Something I rarely get to do since they are often too busy for any conversations.

craftydvl said...

Thanks! I just saw that you plugged to my blog, so thank you for that. It is true that we did have more time to compare notes and talk to people, which was cool. Hopefully one day a con will happen with a good mix of breaks to talk to fellow creators, and lots of being busy with attendees, sales, and all that jazz.