August 2008

Still working on digital coloring. Here’s a sketch I did of my studio space. It’s really in my bedroom. The sketch was done standing on top of my bed. I have an old architect’s desk. Huge, heavy, nice wood–certainly one of my favorite possessions.

An old drawing I found. I kinda like this one.

So when Johnny Hiro was nominated for the Eisners a while back, an article ran in San Francisco’s World Journal (a Chinese paper) which I thought was pretty cool. That’s a pic of my mom and dad on the left. I thought it was pretty awesome and funny.

Something else funny – The big bold Chinese characters under the pics? It’s an article about the Olympics. I kicked Olympics ass that week! Rock!

Like most headed west from NYC, I got caught in the plane traffic, my flight delaying 8 or so hours. I finally arrived at GB’s hotel room around 5am, crashing on the floor for a couple hours before getting to the convention at 9:30.

I shared a booth with Evil Twin ComicsRyan Dunlavey and Fred Van Lente. Ryan’s awesome; he offered me space at their already crowded table. And I finally got to hang with Fred. It was good to get to know the dude, since I’d seen him a couple times but never really got a chance to hang. Mostly we shared dick jokes, which some would call male bonding.

I bought a sketchbook from the wonderful Goodins, Robert and Georgene. They are some of the sweetest people around and I completely admire their comics and various other crafts. The sketchbook I picked up became my con book. Robert’s sketch is my favorite.

That night, after a dinner with GB and his friend Bryan, Ryan and Fred, and Scott Koblish of Jet Pack Pets fame, I went over to the Goodin’s hotel. It was a chill night. Rob and Georgene, Fantagraphic’s Michelle and Michael, IndieSpinnerRack’s Charly and Phil and Jeff Chapman (aka Jimmy Trout), and I sat around drinking vending-machine beer in the hot tub. It was a good first night in San Diego.

My parents drove down from SF. They’d never experienced Comic-con before. They are usually pretty quiet, respectable. They got totally into it, which made me really happy.

Aside from it being long, attending the Eisner awards was a lot of fun. I’d only gone as a spectator, so it was pretty cool to be acknowledged, especially in my first year as a creator of comics.

I was also lucky enough to be sat at a good table. Aside from my parents, I enjoyed the ceremony with Nick Abadzis, the lovely Gina Gagliano, and Jamie Tanner. Nick’s amazing book Laika took home the Best Teen Publication (congratulations Nick!), and I am still a bit miffed that Jamie didn’t get to take home an Eisner for his book The Aviary. Later in the evening, my good buddy Seth (not that Seth) joined the table.

Having Mom and Dad at the table was one of the best things ever. They were just the most amazing people to watch. They were incredibly supportive and nervous for me each time my little book was mentioned; it was really cute to watch. Again, it was just amazing to see them get into the comics world so much.

I went to the Hyatt that night. I hadn’t done it before, apparently it’s where people gather. Jamie Tanner, Seth, Comic Foundry’s Laura Hudson and I started off the night with some good hard liquor, you know, to take the edge off flying out to California to lose awards. It was a great night. I got to hang out with Comic Foundry’s Tim Leong and ComicGeekSpeak’s Peter Rios and Dave Wachter. Unfortunately, my camera had run out of batteries by then.

Seth and I ended up at a Denny’s until 4 or 5am.

And back to Dennys at 9am. And back to the Con at 10:30. So after two days, I concluded I was really bad at this whole exhibiting thing. It wasn’t that I was bad at selling, nor was it that I didn’t like it. It was mostly that, with so much stimuli around, I barely stayed at my booth. Ryan can testify, I was there less than half the day on Saturday. Where was I? Drinking. Robert was kind enough to sneak in a bottle of Bourbon, and kinder enough to pour a smidge or two or three into my coffee. Hey, I lost 5 awards the night before, I’m allowed dammit.

I spent a good amount of the day schmoozing. I wonder if anyone caught the smell of alcohol on me. When at the table, I did a good amount of sketching. One of my favorites was this one I did for Top Shelf’s Leigh Wein.

Having had little sleep for the past three nights, Saturday was my chance to just crash out.

Sunday was filled with new friends. The best people I met were the Brazilians, you know, those guys that won all the Eisners. I can’t say enough kind things about them. Specifically Rafael Grampa and Kako. Rafael just came out with a project from Adhouse and Kako had an amazing piece in the heavy Tori Amos anthology. Both of them are amazing artists and, if they keep making comics, they will surely become big names in the biz.

Mostly, what I loved about them was how genuine and appreciative they were, and anyone who has the chance to meet these guys will surely feel it. They are undoubtedly some of the kindest people in the comics and illustration business and I can only wish good things for them. And hope to come across them in the near future.

After the con, I hung out with the dudes from ComicGeekSpeak and IndieSpinnerRack. We recorded a quick episode before Peter, Charly and I headed out, yup, back to the Hyatt. Many beers were had. We ran into the Brazilians again, where we talked about our love for Image comics in the 90s. I think I scared one of them off when I kept going on about Shatterstar.

The next morning, Tony MobileHome (a UN worker who was on a month-long trip across the US and back), Peter, Charly and I went to the beach. The water was as warm as ocean water gets and the whole time I thought: “This is living.”

Charly did an amazing sketch in my book.

Titanium Rain’s Josh and Kat Rocha met up with us for a Pizza dinner.

It was the last hurrah before Tony MobileHome dropped me off at the airport. He was headed north, toward San Francisco. I told him that, if it was possible, he should spend a night out at Kirby Cove. I hope he did. Me, on the other hand, I boarded a plane eastbound.

The plane landed just after 6am. I took a train home, dropped off my stuff, and was at the office by 9:30. This is living.

Will post SDCC report after the weekend. For now, here’s a pic of a goose and Chuck Close.