Thursday, August 01, 2013

Work Sketching the Foglios of Comic Con

Work-a-Doodle: Sketch Dump

I'm doing the finishing work on a new Geek Speak, and while I'm doing that I would like to share some of what goes into my notebooks at work. These are some recent drawings, mostly done between taking notes while listening in on a conference call.



The first drawing, of a young witch on a broom, is me experimenting with drawing a pin up. It does occur to me from time to time that my notebook at work may not be the best place in the world for me to be drawing even mildly racy content like this, but when it turns out relatively well I convince myself it was worth it for the experience and practice. 

The next one is Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin and one of the major villains in both Spider-Man and Daredevil comics. For this drawing I actually pulled out my Prismacolor markers to do the shading. That's not something I can do a lot of at work. It takes time and attention that I usually don't have time to spare. On this day I was mostly doing time sheet updates, so I had a minute here and there to spare for coloring in a little bit. 

The third one is kind of a play on the song by Shakira. I had the thought, "if hips don't lie, what would they say?"

Finally, I drew Batman holding a toy from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For those not hip to the MLP, that's Fluttershy he's holding. That's right. Batman's a Bronie. Deal with it. 

Comic Con - Day 2 - Continued

When I left off last I had waited in a long line (though not the long line) only to be shut out of getting into the Korra Panel. On the one hand, it sucked not being able to get in and get a look at what lies in store for the titular (snicker) Avatar in The Legend of Korra: Book Two, but if I had been able to get into that panel, it would have radically changed my entire day. 

As I said last time, after being disappointed at the doors to ballroom twenty I headed to the floor. Once I got to the floor I knew the author and artist of Girl Genius, my favorite webcomic, would have a booth in with the rest of the groups who were promoting webcomics. On my way to their booth, however, I got side tracked by another artist's display. The Noah Fine Art booth featuring works, conveniently enough by, Noah had amazing paintings featuring Disney characters. His work has a whimsy and a lightness to it, while maintaining solid technique that grabbed my attention and held me at his booth, even as I saw Kaja Foglio (who writes Girl Genius) walk past on her way to something elsewhere in the Con. I would like to have lingered over Noah's work a while longer, but I did want to try to catch one of the Fine Foglios while I had the chance. 

When I did make it over to the booth it was to find that both Phil and Kaja Foglio were elsewhere. I had a great talk with the lady holding down the fort for the absent professors. We talked about her being a preschool teacher by trade, but helping out in Studio Foglio, and about the comic in general. Then she mentioned that Phil was drawing for donations to the Cartoon Art Museum in another booth just a little distance from where Girl Genius was set up. I thanked her and headed over. 

I didn't actually get a picture of Phil, but he looked pretty much exactly as I had pictured him. I started talking to him and asked if he would mind drawing a picture of my daughter holding a lightsaber from a photo my wife had taken and modified (she added the lightsaber). He was happy to oblige for a fifteen dollar donation to the Cartoon Art Museum, which I was happy to hand over. This would be the best money I spent at the entire convention. 

Phil is a gracious, fun person, and he chatted with me while he drew, which he certainly didn't have to do. On a slight digression it's always interesting to watch pros work. They make it look easy, and every one of them has a different approach to starting a drawing.  At one point Phil asked me what I do and I said something marginally witty like, "I'm a project manager by day and a cartoonist in what little free time I get." The comment was innocuous in and of itself and he went on drawing and talking, but somehow the conversation swung back around to my drawing.

I don't really recall how we got there, but something was said and it opened the door for me to ask if he would like to see a drawing I had been working on of Agatha, the main character in Girl Genius. He hesitated for a moment before saying, "Sure, let's see what you've got." I can understand the momentary hesitation. In his position, especially attending events such as ComicCon, and presumably Emerald City Comic Con in his hometown of Seattle, he must constantly get people running up to him and saying "I'm a a cartoonist, would you like to see my sketchbook." Still, he invited me to pull out my Nexus tablet, open it to the drawing I had been working on, and hand it over. 

Whatever reservations he had appeared to vanish in another moment's hesitation before he said, "hey, I like this! This is really good!" Which he didn't have to do. He could have politely handed it back with something non-committal such as, "that's very nice," or, "nice, keep up the good work," or "is that it, whatever, NEXT!" The latter would not have been too unlike my experience in auditions. Not only did he not do that, but he took it a step further; escalated the awesome, if you will. He asked if I had comic strips up, which (if you've been watching this blog at all) of course I do, and he asked me to send him a link. 

Phil Foglio, an artist whose work I respect and follow, whose regular comic is a bright spot in my day every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, asked to read my comic strip. I never understood the expression "you could have knocked me over with a feather" until that moment. Honestly, I felt so light that a feather might have done me grievous bodily harm. 

I immediately went to the car to put his drawing of my daughter away. While I was down there, away from most prying eyes, and safely away from either of the Foglios, I immediately did an exuberant happy dance. I don't dance, at least not well, but I made an exception on this day. 

In its own way this was another authentic Con experience; making a connection, no matter how brief, with someone who creates work you admire. It occurred to me after the fact, in the midst of the glow from talking with Phil and while sharing the experience with Lendell Prime as we walked over to lunch, that if I'd been able to get into the Korra panel, that whole experience with Phil would likely not have happened. I probably still would have met him and spoken with him, but it wouldn't have been the same. 

I ultimately did send a link to this blog and, by extension, Geek Speak to Phil and Kaja through an email address they share. I haven't heard back from them yet. Whether I do or not, and whether he really intended to do so or not, that talk with Phil made my day. 

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome, man! I'm excited for you!