Well, I'm back from the show and taking stock of all that happened.
We arrived at around six to the less than perfect Hotel Britannia and if you're thinking of planning a nice visit to Brum your chances of that are hugely increased by staying elsewhere. Although the central location is an advantage, I'd have preferred to walk a little further.
At the check-in desk I met up with Dylan Teague - who deserves thanks for being so helpful and encouraging throughout the weekend. He also introduced me to Patrick Goddard, another 2000AD artist.
I milled around a lot on Saturday, had my work critiqued by Garry Leach, he thought some of it worked really well - but that I need to be careful with stuff like foreshortening and construction - he felt that, with experience, that would come more easily.
I bumped into PJ Holden and had a really nice chat with him about his exciting iPhone comic endeavour. Finally got to have a play with it too - very cool - link again for iPhone/iPod touch owners: http://tinyurl.com/4qjr4p
Tharg (Matt Smith) was once again very encouraging - he said that he thought my story-telling was pretty solid i.e you could read the story and know what was going on without having to have the words - he still felt some of my characters were a little stiff and overall he felt the pages could still be a bit more dynamic.
The greatest encouragement of the whole weekend came from Matt Yeo of Bulletproof comics. I found it hard to hear his kind words, shrinking violet that I am, somewhere in there though it's begun to sink in! And thanks also go to all the guys associated with bulletproof that he introduced me to, I really appreciated the confidence boosting comments.
In the afternoon, I had a great discussion with D'Israeli (Matt Brooker) whilst he did this sketch of Johnny Alpha (Strontium Dog) for me.
(click for full image)
I asked him for a sketch of the 2000AD character he'd most like to have drawn but hadn't worked on. Check out the goofy bloke who's holding the sketch here!
Of all the wisdom he imparted, one of Matt's comments sticks in my mind, the crux of which was; comics are probably the hardest discipline to master, the most underrated and under-appreciated and probably the poorest paid of all the visual arts, so you've got to be dedicated to it!
I also caught up with Dave Taylor and Jon Haward who chatted about the difficulties of actually securing enough work. Worrying, but necessary to hear I think!
Something I've hesitated to post here because of the content, is a piece I did for Alberto Ruiz's Brand Studio Press as a response to an open call for ''Eye Candy' from Strangers'. To my amazement, this was the most popular piece in my portfolio.
If you're not easily offended by gratuitous skin baring or gun-toting psycho-babes in negligees then click the cropped head shot for the full image. Beware, perv content on this is very high indeed, definitely PG 13 if you know what I mean!
On Sunday, it had all quietened down a lot and I chatted to Sean Phillips and Duncan Fegredo who both did little doodles for me too.
I need to follow up a few other leads and things, most notably with Berserker Comics who're publishing work from favourites of mine, Alan Grant, Glenn Fabry and Simon Bisley.
All in all a positive experience and I feel I learnt a lot too. I met loads of cool people, fans and creators alike, so much so, I'm thinking about attending the Leeds thought bubble show. I'm also thinking how I might improve my chances of getting work if I do go.
I know I haven't shown any of my artwork for a while, I'll have a few sketches to show from the next Taormina shortly so pop back soon. I might also have some stuff from other projects I'm planning too...