Last weekend my wife Nicki and I took a couple days off from our day jobs and headed over to north Alabama for Con Kasterborous– a Doctor Who convention in Huntsville held at the Westin Hotel.
This was our second trip to ConK, and my second time being set up in Artists Alley. We had a blast here last year, and have been looking forward to a trip back. It’s a smaller con and in its fourth year, but is still growing. This has been our only Dr. Who con to attend, but hope to go to others such as Con GT in Clarksville, TN.
I must say that this year I had a MUCH better spot! Last year we were down the hall, around the corner, and down a bit more- a bit away from the action, and had the sun directly behind us best I remember. Lighting was great at this con and more even, which helped me with drawing at the table.
This year we were set up directly across from the viewing room and main panel room where the celebrity guests’ Q&A took place. We had great crowds- especially Saturday. You could definitely tell when the panels let out!
Our space also made it convenient for Nicki to go see panels and do photo ops- when she wasn’t being my Who booth babe. She could just pop across the hall for most activities.
I took some new sketch cards and sketchcovers, including a new Cyberman cover. Folks are still having a hard time comprehending just what exactly sketchcards and sketchcovers are.
They just aren’t sure why trading cards and comics should cost so much. They still seem to think of them as printed pieces, and not original hand drawn pieces of unique collectible art.
When it comes to explaining sketchcards, having blanks on hand does help. I tell them for the licensed sets I’ve worked on I normally draw between 25-100 (or slightly more) sketchcards and get between 3-9 “artist returns” I get to keep to sell at shows or on-line. The others (along with some by other artists chosen for the sets) get randomly inserted into card packs, with odds of finding one in a pack 1 per case. I try to compare it to finding a “golden ticket” in a Wonka chocolate bar, and that you’ve really hit the sketchcard lottery if you find a card by fan favorites like Katie Cook, Adam Hughes, or Joe Coroney. Those cards can go for big $$$ on the secondary market.
For the comics, if I show them that there is an actual comic inside, and that they can see that it’s an actual hand drawn illustration on the cover they get it. Helps if I’m drawing one at the time, but at some cons it’s just too dark or cramped to draw. (You can see more of my sketchcover work here- “Things Were “Sketchy” For Me At This Year’s Metropolis Superman Celebration- And I Loved It!”
One of the things I liked about this show was like Metropolis I got a chance to draw. It was relaxed enough to where I could sit and sketch without having to worry about being anywhere, it had good lighting, a good spot for plenty of traffic passing by for sales and people watching, and close enough to the bathrooms for quick emergencies. Load in/out and set up was also much easier this time.
Like last year, I did have some of the celebrity guests walk by on their way to/from panels, signings, and photo ops. That’s actor Eric Roberts who played The Master to Paul McGann’s Doctor. He was also in one of my favorite movies, “The Dark Knight“.
This con I worked on a War Doctor/8th Doctor illustration. Since Paul McGann was also one of the special guests this year, and I’ve always dug that head shot of him with the TARDIS, I picked that shot to work from. The 8th Doctor morphs into my new favorite Doctor- “The Other Doctor/War Doctor” (played by John Hurt), so I thought I’d add “Grandpa” to the back of the illustration.
I started off penciling the drawing first, and making sure the TARDIS wrapped around from front to back properly. I wasn’t completely finished with the pencil drawing early Saturday morning when a lady asked me if I planned on selling the comic. I told her I’d be happy to sell it, but since it was a front/back illustration it may not be done by the end of the day. She said her and her family were there for the weekend and she could pick it up Sunday before they left the con.
Well, pressure was really on now to finish it. I broke out my Copics and got the marker work done by the end of the day and took it with me to finish back at my in-laws’ house that night.
I used some Copic white with a brush for stars and highlights, as well as a Prismacolor white pencil. Tightened up the drawing with some Micron pens.
They were very happy with the final piece. Later I also sold a Batgirl sketchcover to a librarian! Met a few librarians over the weekend, including one from near here in DeSoto County in Horn Lake, MS.
Sunday I started on a small 6″x6″ Vashta Nerada sketch, but had to be careful of the shadows..! I like working this size- it’s smaller than my usual 9″x12″ or 11″x14″ marker illustrations, but not as small as a sketchcard. The Bristol pad fits easily in my backpack, too.
Awesome idea I’d love to see more people do- writer Michael Gordon sends a postcard to his nephew from each city he does a con. After saying a “Great con, wish you were here.” type of greeting many times, he started having people do sketches on them. Fun! I was happy to draw a Dr. Who minion (with a 4th Doctor scarf and hat holding a sonic banana) for him on a NASA postcard. He in turn gave me some of his comics and a CD!
Picked up some other swag while at the con. I love the plastic War Doctor, sonic screwdriver, and TARDIS done by one of the other artists at the show. We were table neighbors last year.
I also picked up some goggles to use for a future steampunk costume up in the vendor room, and got a cool Batman Brew coffee cup from a table just up from us. Picked up Nicki a few items over the weekend, too- including an Eaglemoss 4th Doctor figurine, some buttons, and a signed Paul McGann photo. Before we left Alabama we did some shopping at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, AL.
If you want some great Doctor Who cosplay clothes, that’s the place to hit. Found some cool steampunkish pants, and started my War Doctor costume off with some pants and a shirt. Recently ordered the sonic screwdriver and his hounds-tooth scarf. Will post pics as that cosplay comes together, and will definitely have it ready by ConK2016!
We had great table neighbors again this year. Two tables down from us at the entrance to Artists Alley was caricaturist Wayne Tillett and his wife Lisa. He stayed busy all weekend, and when he wasn’t drawing he was getting his picture taken as the 4th and 6th Doctors. Oh, and apparently we have a few mutual friends!
Between Wayne and Lisa’s table and ours were writers Brian Weimer and R. Kyle Hannah. I was shocked and impressed when I witnessed Kyle sell one of his time travel/history books to not only one- but to TWO different 12 year old kids! Nice salesmanship. Who knew kids still buy books..?!!
I’ll be posting more pics on my site Have Geek Will Travel later this week. Be sure to check it out for more cosplay pics. Oh, and check out Nicki’s site Fangirl Wednesday for her adventures and celebrity sightings and encounters at the con. Thanks to her for all the extra pics I used here and on HGWT.
Also, big thanks to Con Kasterborous Chair Bonnie, the ConK2015 staff, volunteers, guests, and attendees. I had a great time and can’t wait for next year. I’ve started work on a War Doctor costume and will be bringing it back with me. I’ll post progress shots of it as it comes together.