It’s been a long month. I didn’t really realise it until I was sat at my desk at London MCM Expo and my neighbour asked me if I had done an MCM before. I had to think a little bit before I answered. Since February I have attended Telford, Birmingham and Dublin MCM, as well as London Super Comic Con in the Excel; and several other regional conventions. In the past month alone I have attended three cons. This was to be my fourth and last until July. I simply answered, “Yeah, I’ve done a couple…”
I don’t think I realised how exhausted I was until London MCM. It may only seem to be working weekends, but preparing for cons takes up the whole week leading up to it. The stock taking, restocking, commission drawing, packing, new prints… it becomes a full time job. So, as I sat at my table – the table cloth in need of washing, my pens in need of re-filling and my stock of hand drawn sketch cards whittled down to only a few; I was pretty glad that this would be the start of a month’s break.
The Friday of MCM is always quite quiet. Most people who come along on the Friday tend to save their purchasing until the weekend. And, considering the regular working hours of most folk, Friday can be a bit of a ghost town. A lot of the other artists (especially those with day jobs) don’t even turn up until the Saturday, so the Comic Village itself isn’t the most inviting of attractions; although it does mean that those who are there get the first pick of punters for the weekend. Considering that Saturday was already set to be a sell out day, however, I figured I could use this time to have some business meetings and generally just warm up into the weekend. So, I decided to make the most of it and use this opportunity to actually enjoy some of the con.
When I attend a con on my own, getting the chance to walk around can be a rarity. It all depends on how the day is going. If it’s a really busy, financially rewarding day, I can be loathe to leave my stand even to get food, drink and go to the loo, as I feel like I may be missing out on sales. On a slow, quiet day, however, this can be easier but completely depends on my location, if I have neighbours I can trust and (especially in the case of MCM) if the toilets or food facilities are so far away (or are expected to have huge queues) I will be away from my table for a long length of time.
Luckily for me, London MCM has started to become one of those cons where I can feel at home. I know a lot of the artists now and there is a great sense of community between them so that I can trust people will look out for suspicious activity and (on EXTREMELY rare occasions) shoplifters. The security staff at the Excel are very friendly and helpful and the Comic Village itself is in a slightly more out of the way area than the main hubbub of the retail stalls making it easier to spot dodgy behaviour.
So after a couple of slow trickling sales in the mid-afternoon on Friday, I decided to go against every retail instinct I had and actually enjoy the convention as a punter.
I don’t regret a thing!
I forgot how much I love wandering around cons. The atmosphere is always electric as you know that you are surrounded by people who love all the same things as you. You are introduced to new games, films, comics and manga that you may have never seen. You see some of the best cosplay has to offer and there will always be someone who has outdone themselves by coming up with a completely obscure character that will make you feel nostalgic, or impressed. From my perspective, it’s great to see what new trends are appearing; what shows and films are the most popular and, of course, what other artists are coming up with. The artists in the Comic Village are a constant source of inspiration and really challenge me to improve myself, my work and my stall; so meeting them and being inspired by their work is an essential part to any con.
I managed to meet up with some Kickstarters I had supported including Super Duper (which is currently running and you should definitely check it out here) and the awesome guys from Afterlife Inc. I have been following Afterlife since Bristol Expo two years ago and watched as their brand and book has gone from strength to strength. It is probably one of my favourite indie books out there right now and you should definitely check it out. We also picked up a copy of Heart of Time by Sarah Millman. This is a gorgeous book and the lady who writes and draws it is always such a ray of sunshine at any con. As well as a couple of books and pieces of art, we managed to pick up a few fun things including some awesome Okami tee shirts from TeeTurtle, a LonLon Milk candle from Soapasauraus (it seriously smells of Mini Milks – how could I resist?)
After the Friday con, we went back to our hotel to recharge then popped out to the cinema to watch X-Men: Days of Future Past. We didn’t actually realise how long it was though, and inadvertently ended up having a pretty late night, so the next morning (which also happened to be the busiest day) was a little painful at first. On the plus side Saturday was very productive. I broke even (on everything including accommodation, petrol, stall and stock – which is always a plus), so Sunday could be stress free. I also managed to meet up with the guys from Cult-Stuff and hand in my Sherlock Holmes cards. I even managed to do a couple of extra ones on the day, which I handed in as a bonus.
I met up with Soapasaurus to have a chat about a super-awesome-amazing project that I am working on with them (not sure if it is hush hush right now, but I will assume so just in case) and handed in my rough illustrations for them. I also met up with some of the guys from MCMEsports and Riot Studios, who had taken some of my artwork as a prize for their competitions. They were very complimentary of my work and even popped by my table to pick some Jinx and Teemo prints up later that day.
That night as we were leaving the con to hang out with some of the other artists, we stopped by the rave outside. Yes. A rave. Outside a con. It was awesome! You have not lived until you’ve seen a gang of Deadpools moshing alongside Pikachu and Link, while a bunch of Attack on Titan cosplayers are starting a conga line with Batman. After a few drinks at the hotel bar, the mister and I drove across town to the Wildstar launch party, which we were kindly invited to. We got to hang out with Reaperfox which is always a plus as we very rarely get any social time together. The game itself looks amazing and the guys in charge are so passionate about it, it’s pretty infectious. If you haven’t heard of it you should definitely check it out. If you are a fan of MMOs but have been looking to be a part of one from the ground up, then this would be a great place to start. We even got some very cute loot!
Sunday was much slower, as is expected, but I had a lot of people come back to buy things who hadn’t picked things up over the weekend, so it was still a good day. So, after a long , fun weekend, we started the almost five hour journey back home (including a necessary dinner stop of course) and I pretty much collapsed. I now have a whole month to draw, re-do my stand and generally just catch up with myself before cons start up again. I’ll be at London Film and Comic Con in July (for my birthday week – wee!) followed by a whole bunch of Autumn cons… where has the year gone? I also have time to work on the Cirque Du Mort, which I am very excited about getting started. But first, it’s time to catch up on all of those commissions I have had laying around and Breygent’s ‘Women of Dynamite’, so, if you need me, I’ll be holed up in my studio…
Is there anything you would like to see me add to my stall? Any fan art or prints you would like to see? Let me know below.