By Donato

Comic-Con opening night when it wasn’t that crowded!

Well, another year has past and another crazy five days spent at the San Diego Comic-Con!

I have been attending the event for over 12 years now and while each year gets easier to pack and mentally prepare for the convention, the professional atmosphere on the main floor seems to diminish.  While I am making as many business dealings as ever, the shear mass of humanity that fills the floor (and the mind numbing music rant from the FOX booth nearby at a high decibel range) makes it difficult to have a conversation on the subject of business or art.   You barely begin a discussion when another passerby, fan or professional, joins in.  This is not a bad situation per se, but makes for in depth discussions on one train of thought exceedingly rare.  A few times I found myself stepping out of the booth, into the aisles to extend the conversation so others would not know I was there to meet and talk to!

Capt Haddock strolling by!

It is frustrating to want to share and talk with so many people – from young talented beginners to highly established writers like Rachel Caine and her artist husband Cat Conrad – but find your attention constantly fractured.  Luckily I’ll catch up with  Rachel and Cat in September, and planned a dinner with others who swung by, writer Christopher Paolini and his sister Angela, but when Dylan Cole dropped off his latest children’s book unfortunately we had only seconds together.  I was bummed.  But luckily enough I ran into him at a late night hang out and talked for over an hour!  Others whom I ran into range from Phil Hale, Tony DiTerlizzi, Todd Lockwood, Dave Dorman, Scott Robertson to, Jason Manley, Dave Seeley., John Picacio, Allen Williams, Craig Elliot and Robh Ruppel, to name just a few.  The place was teeming with talent!!

The ritual (and necessity after 10 hours on the floor!) of relaxing business dinners and late night socializing with other professionals provided the much needed release from the 2 minute short talk which dominates the day.

It is these after hours gatherings which keep me coming back year after year to events like the Comic-Con and other major conventions.  While, yes, I am there on the main floor exhibiting art and selling drawing, paintings, books, DVDs and prints, but more importantly I am there to stay in touch with the industry.  I am very much interested and care about what is happening in our field and want to be in on the pulse of anything that transpires.  Talking with other professionals as well as fans provides insights which cannot be cultivated from other sources – people are much more candid in person.  These events keep me on the edge, never complacent and fully inspired.

I hope you get the chance to experience the same for yourselves!

A wonderful evening with Acme Archives.
Back: Donato, Madelynn and Stephan Martinere.
Front: Brian Rood, Lisa and Sean McLain, Chris Jackson.
Todd Lockwood staring down the three trolls from the Hobbit.