OK, this is the last of the posts for the C2E2 2011. It was a fabulous con and I’m still buzzing slightly. I have gone over most of the people and costumes, now I will touch briefly on the stuff I brought back.
There were lots of “events” at the show. None of which were of any interest to me. Virtually all of them are things that can be seen on-line and I have seen most of them already since the show. What interests me is the people and sights and of course, the stuff! I have become big on the con sketchbooks. They are not really all that collectible as anyone that wants them, has them. There are a couple of older ones that are harder to find, but value is not the goal. I like the glimpses into the process for some of the artists and just to have more of the material of some of the others.
I will start with someone I was not looking for. I stumbled across the artist Franchesco! while looking for someone else in the Artist’s Alley. He was friendly and outgoing, and really liked talking about his process. That is a difficult thing for some artists to do. They don’t discuss what they do, they just want the end product to speak for itself. Franchesco! is a little different. As I understand it, he is reluctant to sell most of his work, so anything you get is done as specific commissions. I was so impressed by the work I saw at his table and so enjoyed talking to him I made sure to pick up his con sketchbook without seeing anything other than this amazing cover…
This full color book is fantastic and I think what struck me about his work is the similarity to an old favorite of mine, Rick Leonardi. They have a very similar stylistic approach and much of the end result has the same feel. There is a very elaborate design to even the simplest pieces which creates a huge amount of energy in each drawing. His pencils are so tight and detailed that there would be little need for inks at all. We discussed that for a bit. His is a style and technique that, once inked, causes a fair deal of detail to be lost in fact. The inadequacies of most printing processes save those of higher end art portfolios and prints, make it necessary to simplify and lose a lot of the detail. Which is a shame as his work at the pencil stage is some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. In person it is even more remarkable.
This is not the best example in the world to illustrate my point, but it will serve for this format. Also, these two pieces are in the sketchbook in question.
Much of what he does at the pencil stage is obviously intended to later be replaced by color, but to be honest I have always been of the opinion that color is overrated. While often needed to convey certain things, it can just as easily cover subtlety and a delicate beauty that only exists at the pencil stage.
Another artist I was looking forward to see this year, I had seen last year for the first time. Stephane Roux is relatively new to the industry, but has quickly established himself as a great and very fun cover artist. I picked up this year’s book as well as an older one from 2008. Imagine my surprise when I opened it and discovered an original sketch on the inside front cover!
Next on my list was Terry Moore of Strangers in Paradise, Echo and the soon to be published How to Draw Women and Rachel Rising. He is one that I saw last year and at that time he seemed a bit out of sorts. No foul really, it happens. So this year I made sure to be as upbeat and friendly as I could. It was not needed as he seemed very relaxed this year and very excited to discuss the two new projects. His enthusiasm got me even more interested than I had been. He signed a couple of trades that I had brought with me and the 2010 sketchbook too. It has the neat wraparound cover with the characters from SiP, Echo etc. This book like most, is B&W.
Another find that I had not expected was Lisa Lubera, a local artist from the Chicago area whose con sketchbook is light and fun. Her color book is much nicer than some of the less known artists at these shows. There is a difference between spending time and spending money on a project. She did not spend piles of money but the effort put into this book to make it look good is evident on every page. Here is the cover…
Jill Thompson had a book this year, so I was excited to see how nice a package she put together. Full color was a must given that her style is mostly watercolors for these sketches.
Another one I had been wanting was from my friend Kurt Wood. I grabbed all three he had available and he did a free sketch in the space set aside on the cover of the 2009 book. I said I wanted Power Girl, or more specifically PG’s you-know-whats. These two books are below. I’m all about contrast.
There was also this year’s Adam Hughes book. I must confess to not liking it as much as last year’s. Sorry Adam. I still love you. His book too is B&W and features con sketches from the previous year’s con season. They are usually fully rendered and very nice and the Playboy parody cover is a nice touch.
We “discovered” another really fun artist this year. Serena Guerra’s books (we grabbed the 2010 & 2011 books ) are an oddity. They are spiral bound at the top instead of stapled at the center or glued. She also has a blank page in the back for sketches. The wife requested Death in hers and I asked for Harley Quinn in mine. She did both quite nicely. As they are pencil sketches, they will not show up here all that well so here are the covers…
There were lots of art prints to be bought this year as well. Unfortunately they are too large to scan here easily. So there.
The last of the sketchbooks I grabbed were from a pair of guys sitting next to each other in the alley. Bald Guy Studios is the name of one (I’m sorry Bald Guy, I forgot your name. But people can find you at http://www.baldguystudios.com/BALD_GUY_STUDIOS/HOME.html ) and the other is Chad Spilker. Both are true pin-up style art with the emphasis on classic cheesecake. Unlike another favorite of mine, Dave Stevens, these guys are a bit more sexually charged. I don’t normally go quite this far into the erotica, but they are both talented and have a real sense of fun in their work, particularly Spilker. These are not the kind of art that everyone can enjoy. Some of it is very racy and some just one step shy of pornography. On balance, they are fun and sexy and the very few that I personally think step over my personal line, are still quite nice, even beautiful. They lack the grace and gentle poise of the classics like Gil Elvgren or Alberto Vargas, and even at times the stylistic choices that make Stevens or Hughes stand out among the piles of other cheesecake artists out there, but there is no denying that these guys have something. An unidentifiable quality that makes them fun and alluring. These are large, glue bound books in B&W and were a very good price for what you get.
That one is from Bald Guy, these last two are from Spilker. One is the cover and the other from inside the book. I have endeavored to find one that is a good example of the style he employs for these drawings without showing too much as some are pretty racy.
Well, that is my coverage of C2E2, or at least my thoughts etc on my day there. As I review these posts, I notice about 5000 words between the three of them! Wow. Just wow.
I have a few books still left from my last trip to my LCS so the I will get back on the horse and do the reviews for them. Hope you will join me for them…