Conventions: Panels, Art, Books and Leather

Dragon Con & ACE 1995I attended my first Science Fiction & Fantasy convention, Dragon Con, back in the 1990’s. It felt like an endless maze of art, comics, books, jewelry, games, etc. If you brought a wad of cash with you it was the best weekend ever. They first opened their doors in 1987 and for several years it was called Dragon Con and Atlanta Comics Expo. In 1996 they became merely Dragon Con. The Atlanta summer convention has grown and swelled, especially so in recent years. In some ways this is great, it means the convention is doing well but it’s also frustrating when the dealer room is so cramped you can’t reach the booths. That’s what happened last year. Still, it’s one of my favorite yearly events and it has everything.

Some people attend just for the Cosplay, while others are there for their favorite fan track. There are parties and performances, gaming rooms, photo ops with the stars, television/film panels, publisher booths, comics and toys, dealers selling everything under the sun and so much more. Love Star Wars, LOTR, Doctor Who, Star Trek, Anime, Steampunk, Horror? They’ve got you covered.

And yes, there’s a lot of leather. Leather costumes, leather armor, leather corsets, leather accessories and more.

I love all of those things, but what I look forward to most are the educational opportunities and of course, the Art Show. I know. How boring, right? Learning at a SciFi/Fantasy convention?? Yes. Conventions are a great resource for writers, artists and comic creators. First you have the face-to-face networking with others in the field, including editors. Second, you have workshops and panels. I’ve attended a few of the writer/editor/publishing panels. They are top notch. You’re learning from successful, well-known individuals in their fields. The same is true of the Art Show Programming. This year I’m giving a panel on the Basics of Digital Painting in Photoshop. Anyone who’s ever been curious about how to get stared using Adobe Photoshop to paint will have the opportunity to see it in action. I think that beats reading it in a book any day. Here are some other great panels at this year’s convention:

 

Making Art into a Career

Panel of pro artists debate the nitty gritty of the business of art. Not for the faint of heart, real world advice will be given on how to make it!


Anatomy In Action

How the human figure looks with muscles contracting during action. Live models, suitably dressed, demonstrating &
holding poses. Bring your sketchbook.

SkullThe Art of Prepainting, the Unseen Hours Before the Brush Hits the Canvas

For fans and artists alike, join Michael C. Hayes for a glimpse into the work that occurs prior to the actual painting of a narrative illustration.

Open Studio for Art Show Artists

Workshop focuses on the importance of classical figure drawing. Draw from a live model. Bring your own supplies. Sign up with Michael Budzisz-Art Show.

That’s just a taste of the amazing panels scheduled for Dragon Con 2014. You’ve paid for the weekend, if you’re a writer or artist shouldn’t you also take advantage of furthering your career?

You can download the full 2014 Art Show Programming below. Oh, and don’t mind the fact that they have me down as Amanda Makepiece. It’s an easy mistake to make!

Dragon Con Art Show Programming 2014

Don’t Fall for the Trap

Charles de Lint quoteIt’s easy to lose sight of our path. It’s easy to paint what everyone else is painting. It’s easy to think I’ll never be as good as “them.” It’s easy to fall into the trap.

If you aren’t painting for you, you’re stifling your own creative voice. This makes you unique, what sets you apart from other artists. There are dozens of artist/illustrators I admire, and there is a small part of me that hopes and wishes I might be as great as them one day. But focusing on that won’t get me anywhere. As much as I admire Todd Lockwood, Cynthia Sheppard, Dan Dos Santos, and Cory Godbey (to name only a few), trying to be them is a trap. Read more