The San Diego Comic-Con

Yeah I’m not going this year unfortunately due to school and work commitments. The Con itself is somewhat interesting as it features a pretty substantial animation presence, from individual animators all the way through to the corporate giants.

There is indeed much overlap between comics and animation, and I’m not talking about folks from one side being fans of the work of the folks on the other side. There are of course differences, no-one is suggesting that if you enjoy comics, you will automatically love animation or vice versa. That would be preposterous.

Indeed, it is perhaps the partial overlap that continues to stimulate creativity in both camps. Numerous have commented on the influence of various comics in their work. There is nothing wrong with that, in fact outside form of entertainment can greatly enhance the enjoyment factor of one form of entertainment. For example, imagine Scott Pilgrim without all the video game references? I can’t imagine what that would be like.

Anyway, the schedule is chock full of animation events including one from perennial attendees, Futurama, where the gang are likely to receive a rousing reception following the series triumphant return to TV screens this past month. Other panels of note include various animation-related ones ranging from advice to book signings. Cartoon Brew (as ever) has a complete list of animation-related events with times and locations.

The main reason that I would like to attend is to peruse both the small press section and the artists alley. I find both to contain numerous artists that I myself am a fan of and indeed their work. Of course, what better way to support your favourite artist by buying their stuff and meeting them in person to boot!

Of course, what would a comic-con be without all the folks who dress up as their favourite characters? In fairness, Comic-Con does have plenty of folks who go the whole hog and create some truly fantastic costumes. Personally, I ain’t much into that whole scene, but it is fun to see the pictures nonetheless 🙂

Of course, if you would rather enjoy a more animation-centric scene, you may be wiser to check out one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year, Ottowa is perhaps the best in North America. If a festival really isn’t your thing, you could attend the CTN Expo in Burbank, a convention put on by the Creative Talent Network. The first outing in 2009 received rave reviews so it is sure to become a regular feature on the animation calendar for years to come.

The San Diego Comic-Con runs until Sunday, July 25th. In the meantime, pay close attention to twitter for all the latest stories, gossip and tall tales from attendees and exhibitors alike.

Animators and their Art

I just realized that I have a lovely sketch by Lauren Faust hanging on my wall.  It’s not perfect and it’s in pencil, with plenty of rubbed-out corrections, yet I love it.

Right next to said sketch is a model sheet of Klaus from American Dad! signed by Dee Bradley Barker. Fair enough, he isn’t an animator, he’s a really funny voice-actor, but the drawing has the signature of Seth McFarlane.

The difference between these two pieces might as well be a canyon. On the one side, we have a unique, original sketch. On the other, we have a plain, manufactured sheet of paper with a fish on it.

Of course I like my Klaus picture. I received it as a present, but I still like it for what it is and for who signed it. Although in my mind, the sketch is by far the superior artistic product.

Unfortunately, animation art can get seriously expensive (like I could’ve bought a car for that type of money). Yet ordinary animators often have literally hundreds of sketches lying around. Some end up being coloured, others get tossed in the bin. Many of the bloggers I follow will post their recent sketches for all to see. Some are quite spectacular and make you wonder why they ended up on the floor.

I’ve noticed that lots of animators attend comic-cons around the country and sometimes they even sell stuff too! I’ve found this an excellent way to acquire stuff from artists I like, especially if you’re tight with the pursestrings. Many of the same artists also sell art via online stores, so you have no excuse if they aren’t coming to a comic-con near you.

Do yourself a favour and look into it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s some of my favourites to get you started:

EDIT: I now also have a model of Linguini from Ratatouille signed by his voice-actor  one of my favourite artists, Lou Romano!