Monday, September 9, 2013

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 Recap

Jack, Dave and myself arriving on the train, Fri July 19

Disclaimer: the super nice, non-instagram-sized pictures in this post were all taken by my boyfriend, Dave. You should go check out his Flickr!

This review is coming about five and a half weeks' behind everyone else's SDCC recaps, because I'm slow and bad at life. I also don't have many pictures to illustrate my favorite memories, because I am terrible at asking people I admire for a picture, and awkward in front of a camera to boot. But in a nutshell, and in no particular order, these are my favorite memories from my very first San Diego Comic-Con:

1. A FANTASTIC, intimate panel for the upcoming documentary on the great movie poster artist Drew Struzan.
     1a. Meeting and getting to shake the hand of the man himself.
     1b. Meeting and getting to shake the hand of Dean DeBlois, the director and genius behind the How To Train Your
     Dragon trilogy, and getting to tell him how much the movie means to me, during which I'm sure I sounded supremely
     1c. Scoring an EXCLUSIVE HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 poster by Drew (one of only 2000), which has quickly
     become perhaps my most prized possession.
     1d. Getting said poster signed by Drew, who is without a doubt one of the kindest, most humble men I've ever met.
     1e. The movie is called Drew: The Man Behind the Poster, and you should absolutely check it out. A favorite quote
     about Drew: "His art creates a feeling of nostalgia for something you've never seen before."

Bonus picture: HTTYD director Dean DeBlois holding aforementioned poster. It's beautiful.

2. Meeting an artist I've admired for a long time - Aaron Diaz, who writes and illustrates the famous webcomic Dresden Codak. I happened to catch him at a kind of lull at the Topatoco booth, and we ended up having a fairly extended conversation, where he mostly talked my ear off about Metropolis... which is pretty much exactly what I would expect from the creator of Dresden Codak. In any case I was mostly just relieved it was him talking MY ear off and not me being worried about the reverse, as I usually am in these situations.

One of my favorite pieces of Dresden Codak art.

3. Simply standing at the Schoolism booth for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon (looking exceptionally mature in my Pokémon costume) and getting treated to not one, but TWO, awesome, FREE demos by artists I love, the amazing character designer Stephen Silver and the absolutely legendary Nathan Fowkes. No one else watching was speaking up too much so I just peppered them with as many questions as I could think of as I watched them make beautiful art. Oh look, I actually have a picture of this one.

He signed my sketchbook too despite me looking like a complete weirdo. Success!

4. Meeting Brett Bean, a smaller, more local artist, but one of my absolute favorites! As far as I am concerned, Brett is the master of the very technical, specialized technique that I call 'Fun Shapes™' (a few examples below). I almost worked with him and his wife Julie (an equally amazing jewelry designer) editing a video for his latest Kickstarter project, but unfortunately their deadline was pushed up at the last minute and I was unable to help on such short notice. Even so, they were perhaps the nicest human beings I've ever met, and as a bonus I was able to pick up a cool steampunky compact mirror by Julie!


5. Dressing in my Pokémon costume! This was my first time wearing a costume to a convention and thus joining the worldwide phenomenon known as cosplay. It wasn't a terribly difficult costume - I already had the shorts, T-shirt and socks, so I got a wig, bought and modified the jacket (I'll wear it again), bought the hat from etsy (this one, in fact - it's great quality), bought green fingerless gloves, and got some cheap black Vans knockoffs from Target and painted them (unfortunately you can't see the shoes in this picture).

By far the most time-consuming part of the costume was making the pokéballs and belt. Usually when people make pokéballs they make them out of styrofoam, but I really wanted them to look like super shiny, manufactured, hard plastic like they do in the show. I ended up buying those clear decorate-it-yourself Christmas ornaments, painting the insides to maintain evenness on the outside, and adding a black rim and white button on the outside like I saw in this video. Then I secured them to the belt by using snaps (in the front, so I could take them on and off and pose with them) and by sewing the ornament-tail to the belt itself (in the back).

It's not an elaborate costume, so I didn't really expect anybody to take notice, but actually a fair amount of people took pictures of me! By far my favorite was a little kid who was ALSO dressed as Ash Ketchum (or rather, Ash's his current outfit on the show, mine is the 'retro' version now I guess. In related news, the Pokémon show is STILL GOING, you guys). He was so curious about how I made my pokéballs, and was very intent on showing me the little stuffed pokémon he was carrying around.

It's not drawing or painting, but cosplay is definitely a very fulfilling creative craft! It definitely felt good to get away from my desk and work with my hands using physical materials. If I wasn't concentrating so hard on drawing, I'd be diving headfirst into more cosplay projects. It was a lot of fun.

My dear friend Thadd is on the left, cosplaying Spock from Star Trek IV.

6. Meeting the cast of Heroes of Cosplay! As an editor, this is something I don't get to do a lot. The producers prefer to keep us in dark windowless little rooms and never let us out. But since almost all of the cast had booths or some type of business at the con, I sought them out and saw their awesome costumes in person. Unfortunately I don't have pictures with Holly and Jessica, who I actually went out to breakfast with and had a great time. But here are some pictures with Yaya Han (cosplaying the Invisible Woman), Victoria Schmidt, and Riki LeCotey (as Yeoman Janice Rand and ... someone else from Star Trek, respectively). They are all wonderful and incredibly talented people!

7. Last but not least, check out these awesome photos of other cosplayers, all taken by Dave.

This guy was huuuuuuge. His costume basically looked professional.

Pick up that can, citizen!

Leeloo multipass.

SDCC, you were crazy, exhausting, and fun. I'll be back next year.

© Gina Florio 2013