I'm back from C2E2. It's 1:45 am, I am mentally exhausted, and I'm going to bed. But first...
We all know how a nights sleep can have a soothing effect on your brain. Not smoothing, that's weed and alcohol. Soothing. Such as, you do it after you have an argument with your "other", before you buy a house or a car, after a hard days work you may need a nap before you go and hang out with your best friends and take it all out on them. Well I didn't want to forget my experience and soothe (or smooth) it out.
Organizing the trip was easy. Putting together my new portfolio, arranging the funds, the transportation, all easy. Easy-peasy, I've been known to say.
The convention itself was as-big as the Wizard World/Comic-Con held later in the year, but far higher production with many, many more guests, exhibitors and attendees. It really felt like a mini (MINI!) SDCC. It was beautiful, the venue was amazing, everything was great. Except for outcome.
My portfolio was still underdeveloped. It was obvious as soon as I walked in and I saw the huge beautiful banners of paid artists. Articulate, dynamic, engaging, perfect. My book felt to me like it did three years ago when I was pushing "The Art of Benjamin Sawyer Vol. 1". How pretentious right? Well I can't stop now, can't wait for V4! But the feeling was mortifying. DC didn't even pull my book for review and the talk I got from Valiant comics was scathing. Go back to learning anatomy. Something I KNOW I don't have a firm handle on but it still really stung to get such a basic critique.
Later that day I talked to Ryan Benjamin (lol) about his work. I appreciated his openness and willingness to talk to me so I bought one of his books and we discussed things further as he did a sketch on a blank page in the back of the book. We talked about his friends at Image and how he got started. He talked about how he learned everything after he got out of school. And somewhere along the way it was brought to his attention that I had a portfolio and he asked to look at it. After a few times through the book we both agreed that my pencil work was my least established skill. But he really liked my color work. He then took one of my cards, wrote "colorist" on the back and shoved it into his front shirt pocket.
The defeat handed to me by Valiant and DC was shattered by Mr. Benjamin and I was back up to full strength. I was energized, given purpose. I was to develop my pencil skills, but try to SELL my color and ink skills.
The rest of the Con was quiet, with few people paying me or my Ink and Drink partners and attention. I bought a few trades that were on sale and bought some art from our neighboring booth. I packed up, still feeling a little defeated, and met up with my ride home.
Ah the ride home. There was a storm ripping through the midwest. It ran from St. Louis to Chicago, directly along the path of 55. Heading Northeast. It took us 8 hours to drive 300 miles. It was fine at first. But then everyone's patience and nerves started to shatter. It was good to see the arch.
But, that being said. This city is small. REAL small. The riverfront skyline would disappear in the Chicago skyline. Chicago is big. MAJOR city big. Old architecture, new architecture. Pristine parks. 24-hour mass transit. It has it all. And I hear it rarely gets above 95 in the summer! Anyone need a roommate?
Anyway. The trip was... interesting. I've learned a lot. A fire has been set in me and my spirit is RAGING! Look out DC! Next time, I will be deadly serious next time!