The above drawing is the only commission I was able to complete at BALTIMORE COMICON. It has become increasingly difficult over the years to get any commission work done at shows as I’ve had more and more comics published. I’ve worked on so many different titles that there are a lot of folks out there with at least some of my comics– so I do a LOT of signing. This makes it almost impossible to get any drawing done during the show itself, and the evening each day of the show I’m usually so wiped out that I can’t do any drawing in my hotel room either. This year, I only took six names on my sketch list, and told everyone from the first guy (and that would be Lou La Palombara III, who commissioned this piece and was kind enough to email me a scan– thanks Lou…!) that I couldn’t promise I’d get the piece done. I think that as much as I hate to do it– because so many folks really like to get fully finished pieces from artists at shows as a highlight of their trips– I’m going to have to just stop operating under the pretext that I can get any of these done at cons anymore.

I DID, however, figure out what I think is the answer to another problem I’ve experienced over the years. There are also many, many folks who go to shows with the hopes of getting a free head sketch from artists there. Now, when I was first starting in the business, I did endless head sketches for people. I did it as a way of self promotion– a way to ingratiate myself into the fan base in order to get them to perhaps buy my work. i’d wager that most of the folks who get these sketches don’t know who I am– or at least didn’t back then… and perhaps still don’t. I’ve learned that one of the goals of most con-goers is to nab free ‘swag’. If it’s free, they’re all over it– even if they don’t necessarily like what they get for free. It’s the ‘freeness’ that’s the key. But the truth is that comic book artists, although in it for the love of the medium, are also at a certain point also businessmen (or at least we’re supposed to be– it is also a business, after all). We like to be able to make some money at these shows to cover expenses and hopefully a little profit on the side. The problem with free head sketches is that the news that an artist is doing them seems to spread like wildfire through the con, and at more than one show, I’ve looked up after agreeing to do a few free head shots to find that there are at least 50-60 people standing in line to get one as well. These sketching marathons get very exhausting– especially as I get older and my back problems get worse. At Baltimore, for the first time, I found a happy medium to this conundrum. I had a new printing of my sketchbook GORILLAS IN SPANDEX with me, and I began to tell folks that I’d do them a head sketch if they bought a copy of the sketchbook. This worked very well, and I almost sold out of the newest printing– and I was able to do a sketch for almost everyone who wanted one AND make a few bucks in the process. I think I’ll continue this at all the shows I go to in the future.

I was able to attend my very first professional sports event at the show. The generous John Higashi (Hi, John…!) bought a big block of tickets for an Orioles/Yankees game Friday night for comics pros who wanted to go watch some professional baseball. I had a great time– and being in the company of so many comics buddies was a big part of that fun. It seems that baseball games are as much a social event as they are a way to watch live sports. I noticed that even among the hardcore sports fans wearing either Orioles or Yankees gear, there was a lot of chatting and eating going on. The atmosphere is just plain fun– and it was a real highlight of the show.

Other than the brief speed bump of the fire alarm going off early on the first day of the con and forcing everyone to evacuate for about an hour, the show was just plain fun. I always love getting to go to these cons and see my friends that I usually only get a chance to communicate with on the phone or by email. Todd Dezago, Craig Rousseau and I have become kind of like the Three Musketeers at several shows these days– like HEROES and BALTIMORE COMICON. And this year, my good buddy Randy Green went to the show with me. We drove up to Richmond to stay overnight with my brother and sis-in-law and caught the train into Baltimore on Friday morning. It was Randy’s first time on a trian– and it was a blast traveling with him. This is the third year in a row that I’ve gone to the con in Baltimore. It’s always great– but this year was even better with Randy along. These shows are social events as much as anything, and having a buddy on the trip makes it that much more fun.

I didn’t take my camera with me, but I took some pictures with the camera in my cell phone. I don’t have a USB cable for the phone– but if I can get one soon, I’ll try to upload the shots to my desktop and share them with everyone.

One more thing– a big thanks to Hawaiian Dave for the delicious candy. This is the second show in a row that Dave has left me some candy from Hawaii…. and it’s amazingly tasty. You’re the best, Dave….!

OK.. that’s it for today.

This is Entry 276.


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