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London Comic Con Prep


Radio silence will possibly ensue over the next few days as I am leaving early tomorrow to head to London for London Film and Comic Con, my first convention back on the circuit after my month off. This is the first time I have appeared at LFCC and I am extremely excited. LFCC was actually my first convention as an attendee when I was in my first year of University in London. I met the wonderful Richard Briers and we discussed Shakespeare together. I even met Elijah Wood (my childhood crush) and was lucky enough to get a photo with him. It’s weird to think that I will actually be attending this one as an exhibitor.

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Today has been a pretty busy day. I’ve packed up all of my stock, ordered some new prints that I will be picking up from Staples on the way through to the city tomorrow and (most importantly) made some Rocky Road for my cousin who I will be staying with all weekend (it used to be her favourite when I lived with her). You can expect a full run down of the event when I get back on Sunday night/Monday morning, but until then it is very likely that I will be offline. Cons aren’t the best place for keeping your phone alive! Especially when I will most likely (/hopefully) be using it for reference.

I am looking forward to changing my table layout in a few cons time ready for the launch of the Cirque Du Mort Kickstarter. My current set up is getting a little tired and it will be nice to make things a bit more cohesive with my new product. I have already gathered some of the much needed displays and will soon be posting step by steps on how I re-purpose some of the cool Victorian/Carnival stuff I have found at car boot sales/charity shops for display purposes.

I hope to see a few of your lovely faces at LFCC and cannot wait to get going in the morning. But for now, here is my favourite song to listen to while I am prepping for cons by the awesome Kirby Krackle.

London MCM May 2014 Roundup

by Anastasia Catris in Convention Comments: 8 tags: Convention, london mcm

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.

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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.

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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!

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Not the best picture of my outfit, but I was pretty happy with what I was wearing: Skirt from Monsoon, Boots from New Rock, Sleeves from Scrapunzel, Vest from New Look. The CEX Octopus seemed to like it :/


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?)

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Wore my Okami tee shirt from TeeTurtle for the Sunday of the con. It was super comfy and lightweight – perfect for the hot convention.


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.

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The prize pack I donated to Riot and MCMEsports including a Jinx print, Kill Teemo print, Off The Clock comic and six sketch stickers of various champions.


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!

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I think this little guy will be joining the Chaos Hour Poro as an official LAN mascot!


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.


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The mister strikes a very Game of Thrones pose… on an octopus toilet seat (yes, there was a toilet seat under there!)


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One of the lovely ladies who bought a print from me also gave me a cute little present!


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My beautiful recycled sleeves from the very talented Scrapunzel (http://scrapunzel.co.uk)


MCM Ireland Roundup

by Anastasia Catris in Convention Comments: 0 tags: Convention, Dublin, Ireland, Ireland MCM

MCM Ireland Roundup


Well, I have just returned from my first international convention and it was amazing. I have been a professional guest at overseas cons before, like NYCC, but I have never actually exhibited as an artist so this was a pretty big step for me. I decided from the outset that I was going to travel by plane (despite the ferry being a much easier choice) as this meant I would get the much needed practice of collecting all of my con-gear into one suitcase (and under 20kg at that!)

I actually managed to get all of my stock and display items in my suitcase with no real trouble, hitting in at 19kg at the airport. I actually took a little bit more stock than I needed as I wanted to test how I would do at a larger 3 day con like New York, so I was pretty happy that I managed to go under target. The flight was nice and simple, only one hour up and down! Before you knew it I was in Dublin and it was absolutely beautiful!

I have been to Ireland a couple of times in the past, Dublin twice and Ulster once, so it wasn’t too much of a shock, but as I was selling there for the first time, the Euro was probably my biggest challenge. Lucky for me the Bureau De Change managed to swap me a whole bunch of change as soon as I landed, so I managed to sort out my float for the weekend (That was honestly a huge worry for me!)

I made my way to the hotel first and dropped off all of my stuff then headed straight to the RDS where I got to work on setting up my table. I didn’t have my usual set up of metal grid shelves as they would have been far too heavy to take, so I settled for a flat table display with a few acrylic stands for artwork.

Dublin Set Up

All in all I was pretty happy with how it looked, though I would like to get a banner stand or something to add height for the next overseas con as I felt a little lost among the sea of tables. Sadly my tiered stand managed to get damaged on the first day as there were no tables on the end of the artist rows separating us from the crowds, so our tables got knocked about quite a bit.

I managed to meet some lovely artists and was lucky to be sat right next to Bearlands – a very cool independent comic, the creators of which I have met a couple of times at various cons. If you like Care Bears and the Walking Dead (!) then this is the comic for you. I also got to hang out with the awesome Steve from Beyond The Bunker who I met for the first time at London Super Con. If you haven’t checked out his brilliant comic, Moon, then you definitely should.

I wish I had got to know my other neighbors a little better, but I suppose that is the problem with attending a con on your own. Splitting Borders who were sat just behind me, were a lovely couple of people and their comic is absolutely gorgeous. Anthea West, who was also sat behind me had a gorgeous mixture of fan art and unique art work. Definitely worth checking out. I also had the pleasure of meeting  Gavin McCumiskey, the writer behind Innocent Tales and Lady Jekyll, whose artwork (and hair) I absolutely fell in love with!

Also, in BIG NEWS! Lyndie Greenwood from Sleepy Hollow actually stopped by my stall to say hi. She remembered me from Birmingham MCM and was kind enough to buy one of my original pieces of fan art; a duo-shade ‘Alien’ piece I did a few years ago that I have always been pretty proud of. Apparently she is a big fan of the Alien franchise, so I threw in an Alien sketch card as well.

I’d love to go back next year and I thought MCM did a brilliant job with their first overseas conventions. The people at the RDS were very friendly and came to check up on the artists on both days, which was a nice touch. Gary, who cared for the Comic Village, was also a frequent visitor checking up on all of us and getting feedback. Looking forward to visiting Belfast in June for the Northern Ireland MCM.


Cover photo is courtesy of www.mcmcomiccon.com

Birmingham MCM Roundup

by Anastasia Catris in Convention Comments: 0 tags: Birmingham MCM, Convention, MCM

Birmingham MCM Roundup


I am not going to lie, this was a pretty slow convention for me. This year is very much a learning curve and I am trying my best to go to as many conventions in the UK and Ireland as possible to test out which ones work for me and the logistics of travel/accomodation/stock etc… So, Birmingham was a good learning experience.

I haven’t been to a convention up in Birmingham since it was held in the Think Tank Museum, so this was new territory for me. But I knew that this was a big one. For one, it was being held in the NEC! As Birmingham is only 2 hours drive away from where I live, I decided to travel up on the day of the con, which was a mistake in itself as I arrived dead on entry time and couldn’t even find the organizer’s booth as all of the security were sending me in different directions. Due to me having been on holiday when the bookings went live back in January, I missed out on a table in the Artists’ Alley and ended up having to shell out more than double the price to get a retail table instead. This turned out to be another mistake as I didn’t realize how heavily memorabilia oriented this particular MCM was and consequently was in between two very large stands at the end of a very busy row full of merch – masking my small art table considerably.

On the plus side, I got to get away from my table for a few moments on the Sunday to meet the cast of Sleepy Hollow – one of my favourite TV shows at the moment. Nicole Beharie (Abbie Mills), Lyndie Greenwood (Jenny Mills) and Katia Winter (Katrina Crane) were all extremely sweet and even gave me hugs. I managed to get a photo with Lyndie and Katia, but sadly Nicole was stuck behind a desk (but she gave a me a hug anyway 😛 ). I managed to do a little bit of fan art to give to them all as a gift and they all seemed to really like it and were very encouraging of my work, which is always nice.

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I love the fact that Nicole even noticed that I had used the Book of Revelations as stock in the background of this piece, but I suppose when you spend most of your filming days staring at it as a prop, you would recognize it pretty easily! The ladies were kind enough to sign my copy of the art work, so now I have my very own Special Edition Sleepy Hollow print to remind me of the experience. If you would like to see the original artwork that I took to them, please visit the gallery entry here.

I also managed to meet up with the lovely Liza and Jason from Cult-Stuff Cards, with whom I worked on the Beyond Stoker’s Dracula Sketch Card set. I am hoping to return to the next Birmingham MCM con (which is apparently much more sketch card orientated) with them in November.

So all in all, although the weekend was quite slow, it was still beneficial for catching up on business and networking with Sketch Card companies, so I’m very glad to have gone. Here is hoping that next time I manage to make my way into the Artists’ Alley so I don’t get lost among the dealers.


Cover photo is courtesy of www.mcmcomiccon.com

London Super Comic Con Roundup


London Super Comic Con Roundup


I had heard a lot of good things about London Super Comic Con and as this was my first time to the event, I was very excited. Luckily for me, I have already done London MCM twice now, and LSCC was taking place in the Excel, so the logistics of getting there, accommodation, parking etc… were already sorted in my head. I traveled down on the Friday night and stayed in a Premier Inn 20 mins away from the centre (conveniently located next to a shopping mall – a place my mister and I discovered last year).

My dealer’s  table was located at the very end of Artists’ Alley (the fun of alphabetical order) in between some awesome people. On my left was Andy Doodle Baker, an extremely talented caricaturist, and on my right were the super friendly guys from Alien in the Outfield. It was the AITO guys first con as exhibitors and they did amazingly well. Their comic is an all ages 80’s style story about an alien who crash lands on Earth and joins a baseball team. It looks incredibly fun and you guys should check it out. Directly behind me were Nick Angel (7String) and Jon Lock (Afterlife Inc), who I have mentioned before, but unfortunately were segregated by banners so I didn’t get much chance to chat with them.

Also, just opposite our tables was the constantly busy desk of Jonathan Ross! This was pretty cool as, unlike so many celebrities who you see at cons, it was nice to see how enthusiastic he was towards his fans. He was always letting people cut in line to say hi and taking photos with people (even though so many celebs would  photo opp stands instead), he was also very encouraging of the other indie authors and artists, looking over their work and giving helpful comments. A good friend of mine was cosplaying the Other Mother from ‘Coraline’ and he was so excited to see her in costume that he mentioned he would send a pic of her onto his ‘mate’ Neil Gaiman! At the end of the con (and yes – he stayed the ENTIRE day, with very few and very small breaks) he even came over to the Artists’ Alley to say hi to the artists who had given him samples of their work and see their other stuff. I’m hoping I will get a chance to read over his newest comic before I see him again at Wales Comic Con in April.

Had a chance to catch up with some other creators in the evening, going out for a few drinks and some dinner with the lovely guys from Stiffs, The Pride, Lou Scannon and Moon. Sadly some one in my hotel decided it would be really fun to play dubstep until about 3 in the morning, so the next day (including the 5 hour drive home) was not as much fun and included much Red Bull chugging just to see the day through. But, all in all, this was a very fun, social con where I got to meet a lot of other creators and make some new friends.

Up next is Birmingham MCM Expo on the 22nd – 232rd March in the NEC. Looking forward to seeing some of you up there!


Cover photo is courtesy of www.londonsupercomicconvention.com

Cardiff Film & Comic Con Roundup


Another day, another very productive convention. I have to say, I LOVE home town cons! Just the feeling of walking around a hall you have been visiting since you were a tiny child and seeing every gig you have been to in the space which now is filled with Attack on Titan hoodies and Pikachu plushies. There’s something pretty cool about feeling at home in the otherwise stressful and difficult situation of selling your work.

Showmasters have once again put on a very organized and fruitful convention with some brilliant guests (John Rhys Davies for one!) and attractions, including the Iron Throne and 1960s Batmobile.  I was also lucky enough to meet Lee Merriwether, Cat Woman from the 1960s Batman!

Now, the Adam West film was actually my first introduction to Batman when I was about 3 years old. My dad had an old VHS and I still remember watching it on repeat with my little brother, laughing over Shark Repellant and the problems of disposing of a bomb on a busy pier! So meeting Cat Woman (who I can still remember lines from in my head) was a pretty big moment for me.

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I actually drew a sketch card specifically of her representation of Cat Woman as a gift and she liked it so much that she gave me an autographed photo as a trade. Herself and her daughter were both very encouraging of my work and I really hope to see them around the convention circuit again one day.

As the end of the weekend came, the kind staff of Showmasters popped round and I managed to book myself in for the next convention in November. So I am happy to announce that I will be returning to CCFC on Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th November 2014. This is a perfectly placed con for those of you looking for Christmas commissions or gifts for the geek in your life (yes, I am thinking that far ahead).


Cover photo is © www.MithrilWisdom.com

Telford MCM Roundup


Telford MCM Roundup


My second con of the year and my first (of many) with MCM. Telford MCM or Midlands Comic Con was held in the Telford International Centre – the same place where I-Series was held only last year, so it was nice and easy for us to find. We managed to get there in perfect time to set everything up before the crowds were allowed in.

Again, this is a convention that suffered from the recent spate of bad weather. While the crowds were definitely present at the beginning of the day, there was not the usual constant influx of people you can expect on a day where taking comics back home in your bag will result in a pile of rainy mulch when you get home. I would imagine quite a lot of cosplayers were also put off by the possibility of their costumes getting ruined on the way to the con.

That being said, it was still a very positive day. I managed to see Nick Angel (7String) and Jon Lock (Afterlife Inc) who I have spoken about so much on Chaos Hour, but rarely actually get to talk to. One of the great things about cons is the small moments you get to step away and see what other artists are up to. It is a constantly inspiring and educational experience.

I also got to meet Laura (Pink Apple Jam) who was kind enough to stop by my table and say hi. I have since had a chance to have a look at her artwork and you seriously need to check her out because her stuff is beautiful.

Next up on the cards is Cardiff Film and Comic Con, hosted by Showmasters, which I am really looking forward to. This is the second time for Showmasters in the Motorpoint Arena since last year, so it’s still a new venue for them, but they have some fantastic guests (and a brilliant town) to work with so I am sure it will be a great con. Hope to see some of you Wales and West based friend there!

Don’t forget to follow my blog and like my Facebook page for information on upcoming conventions and real time updates on the days. Also be sure to bookmark my News Page for all of my convention appearances as they are announced.


Cover photo is courtesy of www.mcmcomiccon.com

AniManga POP Roundup

by Anastasia Catris in Convention Comments: 2 tags: AniManga Pop, Convention

AniManga POP! Roundup


I have just got back from my first convention of 2014 and it was fantastic! I am happy to say that it was hosted by Mike Alwood, of CICAE fame and as always offered a brilliant selection of entertainment, cosplay, exhibitors and artists.

AniManga POP! was held in the Holiday Inn Plymouth. The location was nice and easy to find (even though it did require me getting up at 5am but that’s the price you pay) and parking was very usefully located right under the hotel, requiring only a short elevator ride to the hall itself. The staff were, as always, incredibly friendly and accommodating and Mike managed to seat me right in front of the cosplay stage which gave me a great view of the day’s entertainment.

Now, Japanese art and culture aren’t one of Mike’s specialties, however, he managed to create a very fun and lively event with a bit of everything thrown in. The crowd was excitable and, despite the recent flooding (especially near the coast as we were) they came out in droves to dance along with J-Pop, chase each other around with potatoes (Attack on Titan people especially) and generally support local artists.

Probably my favourite performance of the day was Naomi Suzuki, a J-Pop singer and performer who managed to get everyone dancing with her lively routines and catchy songs. It was nice being in the heart of the action as I rarely get to see a lot of the performances at cons, being stuck behind a desk. Though it did often get a little bit much as the crowd tended to gather in front of my stall to see the stage rather than actually look at my art.

After the con was over I started the long drive back to Cardiff and managed to get back at about 8pm. My friends were all at EFragz – a local LAN party – and quite frankly I needed a bit of a drink and a game after that much driving. So, despite having been up since 5am, I packed up my laptop (could not be asked to pack my gaming PC for just one night) and headed off to meet them. I managed to stay up till 5am, making my day a full 24 hours long, but it was worth it to get the chance to hang out with the guys and play some relaxing games.

All in all it was a pretty geeky weekend and I loved every second of it. Now if I could find a way to have a LAN after every con, that would be brilliant! 😉


Cover photo is © Fantasy Events UK

London MCM Roundup

by Anastasia Catris in Convention Comments: 0 tags: Convention

London MCM (October) 2013 Roundup


Well, that’s the end of my conventioneering for one more year. London MCM was a blast and I got to see many of my friends from the circuit one more time before the close of the year. Sadly Friday turned into a bit of a bust due to having exceedingly bad migraines all day, but I somehow managed to stay on till the end (luckily Fridays are usually only a set up/preview day) and Saturday/Sunday more than made up for it. Huge thanks go out to my mister who tried his damndest to make me feel better all Friday evening – even to the extent of driving me around to try and find food, only to have me not be able to eat because my head hurt so much!

I managed to bust out some commissions all day Saturday, including one for a very stylish bearded young man who requested a portrait of himself. I am always a bit wary of drawing portraits ‘on the day’ simply as I am never able to spend as much time as I would like on likeness (and always find multiple photos help as opposed to one phone photo) and would hate to offend anyone with a bad portrait – but this one didn’t turn out half bad. He seemed very pleased with it and even kept popping by to chat and push his friends over to the stall when he could.

Overall London MCM this year has been a brilliant learning curve for me. This was the first of my ‘big’ conventions and has really set up my expectations for London based cons in the future. Mostly learning the logistics of travel and accommodation, timing and stock, has been the most useful experience. I am hoping to get to a lot more of the MCM conventions in 2014, but until then it is time to wind down for the Winter and work on my sketch card projects and Christmas commissions.

Thank you to everyone for coming to visit me and of course commissioning work off me. I hope you all liked it. Be sure to comment below if you were one of the lovely people I met this year, it would be awesome to hear from you.

Be sure to follow this blog or my Facebook page for announcements on 2014 appearances and I look forward to seeing you all


Cover photo is courtesy of www.mcmcomiccon.com

next year!

Showmasters Cardiff Film and Comic Con Roundup

by Anastasia Catris in Convention Comments: 0 tags: Convention

Showmasters Cardiff Film and Comic Con Roundup

Well this weekend saw in my second to last convention of 2013 and my first ever taste of Showmasters’ Conventions. This was the first Showmasters convention in Wales and definitely brought in the crowds. The queues went all the way around the Motorpoint Arena and also brought in a lot of people who I haven’t seen at cons in Cardiff in the past (including a lot of old college friends).

One of the nicest things about this con was it was a home town con, which are always nice and relaxing. I was lucky enough to know a lot of the people who came through the doors, but also knew some of the non-locals from cons around the country and of course the exhibitors themselves, so it was a very nice friendly atmosphere. The staff of Showmasters were very pleasant and even came round to my stall to see how things were going. And I was lucky enough to be seated next to a good friend of mine, Jamie Todd.

I think one of the nicest surprises, however, was being sat directly behind Gail Simone, a bit of an idol for me as a female creator. She was kind enough to chat to me for a while and was very encouraging of my work. I also got the chance to meet James O’Barr, whose prolific work The Crow was a big inspiration to me growing up.

The only thing to mar the experience somewhat was the news that Showmasters would be returning (not the bad news) on March 1st and 2nd of 2014. On one hand I was excited that Showmasters would be coming back. All in all this had been a very pleasant experience for me. But, sadly, this meant that they would be returning the exact same weekend that CICAE would be running its convention just down the road!

For those of you who don’t know, Cardiff International Comic and Animation Expo was my first ever convention. Mike Alwood, the awesome con organizer, was the first guy to give me a chance as a convention artist. My first ever con and he gave me a table right by the entrance! I had never sold my art ‘in person’ before (I had freelanced work online and obviously drawn SuBo’s Cat – but I’d never really worked face to face with potential buyers) so this con was extremely important to me as it gave me a lot of confidence and much needed experience in selling my own work. Without CICAE I probably wouldn’t be where I am in my career right now as far as getting my work out there to the right audience and meeting so many other artists and collaborators.

A bunch of us, The Pride, Stiffs and Jamie Todd included, all contacted Mike that day to show our support. I even went as far to say that should he choose to go ahead with CICAE, I would opt to get a table with him over CFCC. As lucrative as Showmasters was (and this isn’t an ‘us’ and them’ situation) and welcoming as they had been to me personally, Mike is my conventioneering family!

Sadly, he has decided not to go ahead with CICAE from now on, which I personally think is a huge loss to the convention community. As much as Showmasters and MCM do for the comic and ‘geek’ community, it is difficult for small press and independent creators such as myself to compete with the larger names and (quite frankly) bigger audience pullers that shows like that can attract. So, smaller, local cons are necessary for people like us to grow as artists and learn how best to approach the bigger cons when we’re ready.

Luckily, Mike and the team behind CICAE are still avid supporters of the small press and indie scene and are hoping to put on smaller, more niche shows in the New Year. I will keep you up to date with any shows that they have on offer – because you can be sure as hell I will be there supporting them every step of the way – just as they have done me.

Until then – with CICAE sadly taken off the cards for 2014, it looks like I will happily be set to reappear at Showmasters Cardiff Film and Comic Con on March 1st – 2nd 2014. I am sure it will live up to the hype that it has created in Cardiff this year and hopefully inspire new creators and artists to step up to the plate and exhibit for their very first time.


Cover photo is © Event Seeker