|Giant! Robots! From! Space! I loves them. |
If you do too, please browse my gallery, and let me know what you like! (And what you don't, as well. )
|Giant! Robots! From! Space! I loves them. |
If you do too, please browse my gallery, and let me know what you like! (And what you don't, as well. )
|I love my little arts. I hope you do, too.|
AND NOW… The Moment [some of] You’ve All Been Waiting For…
--THE BEST OF BOTCON--
Subsection 1: THE ART GODS
(Because we all know they’re what I go to Botcon for!)
#1: Achievement Unlocked: Alex Milne Teases Me On Sight Now
It’s probably weird to have as a life goal to be teased by one of your creative mentors, but I did. I‘ve always wanted to get to the point where I could josh (but not Josh) back and forth with Alex, instead of being all intimidated and shy and feeling like I was the most annoying thing on the planet.
Mission accomplished. For the whole convention I had only to walk by his table, and he’d start teasing me about a comment I made a bit back about not being able to respect “girly” art. (I’ve recognized my bias and I’m working on it!) He’s been chastising me about how either gender can draw “cute,” and that it’s just as hard to draw that as anything else. He’s right. But I’m just like “SENPAI NOTICED MEEEEEE!!!!!” I squeebled internally while hanging around watching him color and trying to act like a proper adult. Hah. Much love, Alex, forever and always.
I brought the picture he’d critiqued for me two years ago, and showed him how I’d redone it -- much more successfully -- on his advice. I also showed him how his commission had turned out when I colored it on ye olde textured paper. But I didn’t give him anything, because I just can’t face giving any of those particular pictures up, and had nothing else I thought he’d like. I didn’t want to spam the man. Really wish I had thought of something worthy to art for him, though.
(Funny incident: He was coloring a Rung, and remarked, “I need a color I left at home. Know what I’m going to do?” I joked, “Colored pencil!” because that’s my go-to fixit for whenever I make massive errors. But he just got out two colors and proclaimed, “I’ll MIX it!” To which I was like, “Well... yeah.” Because I don’t even think of mixing as being a thing any more. I am a chronic mixer. I mix EVVVVVERYTHING. Because I don’t have the level of control or the temperament needed to use Copics which go darker if you color more. [and because I like the way mixing looks]. That being said, it is really cool that he totally knows how to mix a specific color from the get-go like that. I tend to do a lot of trial and error.)
#2: Achievement Unlocked: Actually Giving Away Art
I think I’ve very recently come to an important tipping point. I’ve made enough art over the past few years to be able to give some of it away. I tend to clutch onto anything I color with the desperate intensity of someone whose creative victories are so rare as to be priceless. But you know what? I’ve colored a lot of things now. And I will color a lot more in the future. So when I decided (to my own amazement) that I wanted to give Casey Coller one of the lineart printouts of his I’ve colored, it was like floodgates opening. I had the idea of giving something to all of the Art Gods. And I set out to do it. I wasn’t totally successful -- I didn’t come up with anything to give to Alex, and I didn’t get Livio’s art finished in time. But I did make and give away several things. Mostly silly things. But all made and meant with love and admiration.
John-Paul Bove is one of the world’s most hilarious people. And an Art Bro. He was one of our favorite people at Botcon 2011, and we -- the whole darn posse -- have missed his face since then. He started this whole thing about Jake Dalrymple, a random character from the old Marvel comics. So I decided to take a page from the dinosaur coloring book I recently got (a remembered wonder from my childhood, and a huge coup when I found it on Amazon) and color the two duckbills on it as Jake and Frannie for him. Loads of fun. And appropriately silly for a very funny man. It was great to be able to give that to JP.
Casey Coller always makes me feel like a million bucks. But never more so than with his reaction to my giving him the Prowl and Chromedome cover I had colored. He received it like a kingly gift. He really LOOKED at it, noticing what I’d done in coloring it. I brought out all the covers of his I’d done, because it was so cool to be able to share them with him. He commented on specific things he liked. It’s always very cool to have anyone appreciate coloring tricks you’ve used to make a picture work to the best of your ability, but when that someone is a talented artist, it’s even better. Thanks, Casey.
Matt Frank and Thomas Deer have evolved into a single Art Bro organism, always sharing a table and collaborating on TF projects. They’re both awesome. I think they were the impetus behind my crazy idea to color the Art Gods as horsies and dinosaurs. Because there is this great imperious thick-bodied dino in my book that looks very Godzilla and was perfect for Matt. And there is the probably-offensive-but-lovingly-meant “Indian Pony” in the carousel book….. I colored the dinosaur dark green, and the horse in Thomas’s specific color-palette, and shared those with much heartfelt love.
If I’d been thinking more clearly, I’d have chosen a different sketch for Josh-The-Art-God-Burcham. I wanted to give him one of his own sketches colored. But I chose the Prime he’s used on his banner. Oops! Should have done one from the vault that hasn’t gotten as much love yet. I used the same red-on-grassy-green palette that I still love from the first sketch of his I colored, that I use as my DA icon. Anyway, I love that kid. My biggest regret is not realizing till too late that the gloriously off-center Overlord sketch he’d done was not a commission for someone else, but a piece he had for sale. If I had, it would be on my wall right now. Alas!
I brought my markers and some pieces to color, because I LOVE COLORING and did not want to get bored. I also secretly wanted to be coloring and have people come over and admire and talk, and maybe meet DA people in person that way. So while I did not finish Brendan Cahill’s piece till I was at Botcon, that was OK because it gave me an excuse to do some Public Coloring. No one stopped by, though, because let’s face it, I was coloring a carousel horse as Optimus Prime. Pretty obscure and weird. But seeing as he kinda started this whole MedievalFormers thing, I thought it was appropriate. The best thing was that Razzie was with me when I gave Brendan the picture. She about burst a seam laughing with delight that I was adding another horsie to the pile of others I “spam the internet with.” It made Brendan laugh and appreciate the whole thing more than he might otherwise have done.
I had meant to give Josh Perez the Bumblebee horse I colored a while back, because it’s PERFECT for him. But I didn’t see his name on the list of artists, so I didn’t bring the picture! D’OH!! I really should have brought it anyway; what could it have hurt? So moment of self-loathing there. I hope Josh comes to TFCon Charlotte, so I can remedy the situation.
I had not made anything for Kotteri (because I had no good ideas) but I did get to tell her how much I love her art in person. I will repeat until I die how much I love seeing fanartists get hired on by IDW. HUZZAH. So many talented people in the world! I had heard that the girl who does the Overlord/Trepan comics would be there and have books for sale, and I fully intended to buy one from her. But I never managed to find her. Alas. I did see one neat thing, where a girl buying one of the Japanese fanartist’s prints handed the $20 bill over in two hands with a little bow. It made the whole transaction so much better, a statement of “I value your work highly, and believe this money is a worthy exchange for it. I receive it gratefully.” I kinda wish I could have done something like that for everyone without feeling like a knucklehead. As it is, I overflow to everyone with babbling words of appreciation.
It’s scary to give thing to Art Gods. After all they are Art Gods for a reason --they are GOOD AT ART, and might not think your little gift is worth anything. But expressing affection and appreciation is good even if the art itself just goes into a pile somewhere. You never know. At least, this is what I tell myself. I am determined to make Alex something before Auto Assembly. And I must overcome my nervousness and actually give Livio the silly thing I’d intended. (I also need to get better at making intelligible words in front of people when I give them things, because if you don’t adequately explain “I colored you as a horse; isn’t this great?!” they will probably be very confused.)
#3: Achievement Unlocked: ART NIGHT WITH THE ART GODS
Saturday night a bunch of Art gods had pulled tables together at the bar common area, so that they could all work on sketch commissions. It looked like fun. It looked like Art Night. And all of a sudden, I HAD to participate. So instead of swimming with Hound, the usual/traditional evening activity, I went and grabbed my markers.
Chromie, Hound, and I got drinks at the bar while we waited for a table to clear. Chromie jumped in and ordered me a Shirley Temple. The barman looked at me like he thought she had been teasing. I grinned and nodded. “Yup -- a virgin Shirley Temple,” I told him. And my knowledge of Real Drinks is so nonexistent that I didn’t realize that the “virgin” adjective was redundant. I had to laugh, because this night provided proof that I can get drunk on air. I kept laughing to Hound that I felt totally wasted even though as always I was drinking no Actual Alcohol whatsoever. I was drunk on happiness and Art God Proximity.
We got a table, and I set up to color the commission I’d gotten from Matt Frank two years ago (It takes me forever to do things sometimes) while Hound set up to write. I never went up to the Art Gods’ table and shoved in -- that would’ve been rude and presumptuous and jerktakular. I just wanted to be part of the general arting. So I worked quietly off to one side. Sometimes people would come over and watch, and I’d always feel silly and like I was masquerading as a “real” artist. I will say, though, that it MADE MY ENTIRE NIGHT to have Matt come over, look at my 150-ish numbered markers and my sheets of color swatches, shudder, and say, “That looks terrifying.” HA! I still have an incredible amount to learn, and I can’t draw without sweating blood, but by golly, I am not terrified of markers!!!!! *quiet fist-pump*
I did get to be part of the Art Gods’ Art Night just enough. (I really didn’t want to bother them -- they had an insane amount of work to get done!) I got to do my usual, “For serious, I love you guys, You all are awesome!” thing, which I utter like a person with tourettes when in the company of these people I just gosh-darn LIKE so much. I got to check out what they were working on, and show my coloring off just a wee bit. Thomas Deer walked over and plopped down a Megatron sketch for me like it was nothing, and I gawped gratitude. Matt Frank made me an “Old Hollywood” Elita, and put TONS of extra-mile work into it. Like, way more than I’d paid for or deserved. Seriously, these men. I stayed up coloring “Too-Rude-For-Regular-Art-Night Megatron” till he was done (and my eyes were crossing with tiredness), showed him to Matt and Josh Burcham, and called it a night. The Art Gods mostly stayed up till forever, working. It is not an easy job, people.
While on the subject of Art-Nighting With The Art Gods, I must include the Interlude of the Drunk Guys. For verily, it was hilariously bad. So two dudes and their poor worn-out designated driver plopped down to watch Hound and I working. They asked all kinds of questions about how I was working -- questions that even now I don’t know if they were serious, or being on-purpose jerks, because it seemed to me that they were being deliberately stupid just to see if they could get a rise out of me. The more they acted like obnoxious kids, the more I treated them as such, until I finally just flat-out told them, “Look, you’re acting like my kids, so I’m going to treat you like kids. Asking polite questions is acceptable; swearing and rudeness are not.” To which the most obnoxious guy responded, “Hey, you don’t have to bully us!” Hey buddy, you started it. About ten seconds before I was about to go full Mom-Mode on their heinies, their DD prevailed on them to leave. Hound got a dark kick out of the fact that one of them claimed to have just gotten married, and then asked if we wanted to hit the town with them. For better or worse, I got all high on the fact that I’d actually told them off without fear. I sometimes shrink down and just take things. So I was proud that this time I had not. I’d just stood up for what I felt was the bare minimum of what I could/should tolerate.
#4: Things I Missed
John Barber wasn’t there. (There wasn’t even an IDW table!) So I did not get the chance to talk with him about all his recent writing. I had really wanted to. I’d brought the utterly delightsome Angry Birds/Transformers book for him to sign for all the Little Bots, who are all old enough now to appreciate that. And I’d really wanted to gab with him about Punishment. Often, it’s James whose ear I wish to bend. This time, though, John was right there with him on the pedestal. He’s been involved in a lot of kewl stuff lately, and I wanted to express appreciation.
Granted, if I had been able to read [not-RiD]Transformers #42 before Botconning, I might have EXPLODED on John about how much I HATED Prime punching out Prowl after Prowl was in custody. I worry lately that while James takes Megatron on a redemption arc, John is taking Prime on a descent into darkness. It just didn’t follow, John! The previous [combination-as-spark-bonding] issue ended with a very calm Prime & Co. giving Prowl over to Starscream’s authority. So this sudden “You’re making me do this!” PHYSICAL ABUSE seemed totally out of character. (I am so mad about that particular line from Prime. SO MAD.)
Mairghread Scott also wasn’t there. I ALWAYS want to talk with her and Jason Enright about what she’s writing. Again though, it’s probably for the best that she was not, because while I am over the moon about Elita making an appearance in her comics, I am [as of this moment] NOT A FAN of her being some kind of fiend on a throne of dead bots’ pieces. Did We Learn Nothing From The “Crazy Arcee” Debacle???? There is more than one way to alter a character from their original appearance. Crazy killer needs to stop being the default. Still super happy that Elita exists, though. I even squeed a small abortive squee for the two seconds Prime was on her ship. Gosh dangit, why does everything have to be so dark all the time?
Other people I really would have liked to see include Sarah Stone, whom no one seems to know what happened to (I hope she’s doing OK!); Joana Lafuente, who is endlessly awesome (and so I could tell her in person that her colors on MTMTE #36 were part of what made that issue look so ASTOUNDING); and Priscilla Tramontano, because her new comics on the Robots in Disguise comics are gleesauce and winning. Marcello Matere was not there, and he usually is. And I still have not managed to meet one of my top-tier Art Gods of all time, Guido Guidi. Someday, you should really look into flying him over, Botcon people.
The opposite of “things I missed” is of course “secret knowledge I gathered.” And I did get some good scoops. But they’ll stay secret for now. Let’s just say that life is mostly good for us TF fans, but we all need to respect the art gods as only human.
--Subsection 2: The Actual Convention--
#1: Achievement Unlocked: Cosplay Participation and Voice-Acting Tryouts
This might seem silly, but one of the things that made me the most happy was deciding to jump up and be part of the cosplay lineup at the cosplay panel. All I was wearing was a t-shirt patterned in a detailed front-and-back of Prime’s torso, bright blue jeggings, and a 4-inch Matrix I had made from perler beads on a chain around my neck. It was just enough to justify going up there, I thought. And somehow, it was AWESOME! People thought the Matrix was really cool, and complimented me on it. I felt like a million bucks. The other cool thing was the little gust of knowing laughter that greeted my self-introduction as someone who is always pretending to be Optimus Prime. I think there might have been several people in the room who knew me From The Internet. Last year when I cosplayed as Verity I did not feel like myself. In the Prime getup, I totally did. So it was cool to have such a minimalist, comfortable thing give people the happiness that cosplay can bring. Huzzah.
The other nifty thing about the cosplay panel was that Hound and Razzie were both asked to be up on the mics as presenters!
We all went to tryout for the script reading the next day. That was not run very well. But it was fun to try out. Apparently I have no projection, which surprises me, yet also kinda doesn’t. I guess we all sound louder in our own heads. Hound and Chromie are experienced voice actors, because they do puppeteering. But they weren’t chosen either. The funniest thing to me was having Derek J. Wyatt telling the guys trying for a super-Canadian character to “put more Alex Milne in it.” Hee hee!
#2: Achievement Unlocked: Frank Welker
His panel was handled Very Well. I am a huge fan of them doing something like this in the future, when they have a massively popular person in. People had submitted questions (I assume in the autograph line), and they had an interviewer presenting the best of them. So instead of listening to a lot of fans express their gratitude to Frank for coming, we just got to listen to him go -- all while still getting fans’ questions answered. He was very professional, almost like he was on a TV interview. But he did say that everyone he’d met had thanked him for coming, and that it had meant a lot to him. He seems like a fairly introverted, self-contained guy. But he did know how to work a crowd, too. Guess what I mean is that he’s very pro, but did not have that personalized, direct love that Peter Cullen gives to everyone. (You know, that thing that makes him Prime.)
I wished fervently that I’d brought a notebook to record the best-of’s from that panel, because there were many. The one I remember most was when Curious George was discovered in the ‘Con base by Soundwave, and then squished by Megatron. [!!!] Frank said he’d get in trouble for that one!
They of course inducted Mr. Welker to the TF Hall of Fame while he was there. He gave a short speech in thanks, and ended with a triumphant, thundering, “Tonight, You Are ALL DECEPTICONS!!!!!” I cheered like a mad thing, all the while thinking with an internal grin, “I am PRIME! I should not be cheering for us being turned to ‘Cons!” Some brave soul in the crowd (who shall forever be my hero” shouted as Frank Welker was leaving, “All Hail Megatron On Three! ONE! TWO!” And then we all screamed at the top of our lungs, “ALL HAIL MEGATRON!!!!!!!!!” And again with that internal, laughing, “What the heck are you doing??” voice, ftw. It was all great fun.
Chromie gets props that night for acting as Table Conversator, and getting the two unknown couples with our posse to open up a bit and make the dinner lots of fun.
#3: Achievement Unlocked: Filling the SwagBag
I left for Botcon with a backpack full of Emergency Rations: granola bars, trail mix, chocolate fruit, jerky. The plan was to eat those and make room for Plastic and Artistic Swag. I never plan on buying much non-art stuff at Botcon, though. So I wasn’t planning on the Massive Load I brought home. [Glee!]
Last year at TFCon, Chromie bought a box full of old TF toys. She pieced them together with love, and then began giving away the extras. So she gave me for the kids a pile of funformers, including a G2 Prime, Prowl and Bluestreak, Long Haul, Bombshell, Waspinator, and a really cool Beast Wars praying mantis guy. Already that was way more than I’d thought I would be bringing home. But then I found TFA Ironhide, complete with epic gryn, for 5 bucks in a bargain bin. And a World’s Smallest Prime for $10. (I’m still hatin’ myself for not getting the teeny Thrust for $5 as well -- he looked neat.) My favorite find though was Unicron. I’ve wanted him for ages. Chromie got the kids a kibble-less one a few years ago. But this was a complete planet-eater, and I got him for $40. He and Primus have been wrangling ever since. (Liam likes to pose Unicron sitting on Primus, etc.)
I’ve had a lot of problems getting my toys from the Collectors’ Club over the years. I’d called them once about it, but for various complicated reasons got no help. So this year I decided to go talk to people in person at the TCC store counter. The main reason is the Rampage toy from the recent “Alone Together” comics. I By-Primus NEEEEEEEEEEEEED that toy. I mean, think about it: Rampage, particularly in the Transmutate episode of Beast Wars, is everything calculated to make me love a nominally evil character. Holy CRAP, that ep kills me!! And while I was at first a bit meh about them making Transmutate definitely female (as opposed to the original androgenous unknowable), I did like the way she was in the comics. So I begged for rampage, if for nothing else. But despite talking with several people, I really did not make any headway. But Chromie, may she live forever, got me the set of Rampage and Transmutate. MAY SHE LIVE FOREVER. Holy crap, I love those toys.
I scored one epic t-shirt. I’m a sucker for big poster-style prints, so I got a nifty one with a comic-type cover of Prime vs Megs on the front, and bought it big for Bigger Picture.
The best toy acquisition I got to witness [and hey, it even had silver chrome for bonus WITNESS ME! points] was Razzie’s. She took me to a custom-painted toys booth to show me the glory that was the SuperShiny Sentinel Prime they had made. I declared that I would not be capable of acting as the Voice Of Reason in this instance, and urged her to buy it. Because if there is ANYONE who needs and would love a L33T-Mode Sentinel, it is Razzie. The booth people recognized this truth as well, and gave her a massive deal on it. I felt good because I got to put in my own teeny drop into the Get Razzie This Toy Now fund. Very few things are as good and right as that particular purchase was. It’s still giving me joy to think about.
Other gleeful things I got to witness were Chromie-related. She found and bought real Masterforce Bracelets, which is a thing I did not know existed. she made ther mistake of giving me some of her comics to get signed by Art Gods, and when JP Bove asked me whether he should make it out to her on some way or just sign it, I suddenly got the truly evil idea to have him say something about Chromedome on it. Because Chromie is the world’s only living MTMTE Chromedome-hater. Well, disliker anyway. JP to his credit made sure, double-sure, and triple-sure that I thought this was a good idea before going ahead with it. We made Chromie wait to look at the comic till she was at JP’s booth, so he could witness her reaction. He had written, “For Chromie. I love Chromedome too!” It was glorious. The last glee Chromie-thing was her commission from Matt Frank. She’s been getting tons of artists to draw “Sixshot, Ninja Consultant” from a mistranslation of the Japanese series. Matt did not know the reference, but that only made his final product that much better. He drew Sixshot holding up a page of various black swatches for a teeny ninja on his desk to choose from. Again, I got to help out a teeny bit, because he showed me the in-prog, and I got to explain the joke, and (thinking of my markers) suggested the various black swatches. Matt named them delightfully -- I think they progress from Warm Black and Cool Black to Shadow Black and Murder Black. Glee. Chromie went utterly supersonic when she got the pic. And I don’t think her feet touched the floor for a bit there.
The Hasbro toy guys came with pictures of upcoming toys. The best bit was when they revealed an Actual Sky-Lynx toy, and the place EXPLODED with screams and applause. Who’da thunk it? The toy dudes said that gave them chills, and seemed really happy. For my part, although the prospect makes my wallet shriek, and I will probably wimp out, I will say that I’ve always liked Menasor because I have a secret crush on Motormaster. So if I were to get an entire combiner, it would be Menasor. But Bruticus is a strong contender as well. Those toys are GORGEOUS. And he looks good all put together. Also: Swindle. If I had all the money in the world, though, I WOULD OWN THE TAKARA DEVASTATOR SO HARD LIKE WHOA HOLYCRUD. Even just for the box alone. SO PRETTY, you guys. I am a SUCKER for good graphic design, and this has it in spades. But dat shiny purple. And the vaunted Working Elbows on the ‘Structies. Oh yeah. Do Want. This was the first year I spent a long time poring over the “Lookie Here!” toy display. Like half an hour, probably. It was worth a good long look. Lots of loving work went into those guys.
#4: Achievement Unlocked: Meeting Guyus Prospecticus
I’m including this last bit simply because I love Chromie’s use of language. We all got to meet and sometimes hang with a guy Chromie is (in toy terms) contemplating for purchase. Unlike me, she would never speak of people in James’s terms of Endurae (whether Conjunx or Amica). Nor would she use my spark-bonding or sign of loyalty vocabulary. No, Chromie refers to herself as MISB, and goes for Latinate useage when toy terms don’t apply. I can’t report much, since the most I did with Guyus Prospecticus was play Cards Against Cybertron, a TF version of cards Against Humanity which Chromie had compiled over a long time with help and suggestions from fellow fans. He is very chill. But Chromie went from referring to him as “Guyus Prospecticus” to “Guyus Potentialis,” so I think that’s something?
FINAL THOUGHTS: Botcon in the Future
We can’t really know what’s to come. But it did make me nervous listening to a fun lady from the t-shirt booth talking about how she goes to a lot of conventions and she “sees sharks in the water” around Botcon. She worries that we aren’t including enough kids in this convention, to resupply the fandom with new blood. (I’m not worried for The House O’ Bots -- even Magnus cracks knowing jokes about TF comics; and they all love the toys.) She worries that there’s not enough just plain easy fun going on -- no cheap, all-inclusive activities to get everyone acquainted and happy. I don’t know whether she’s right or not, but they were thought-provoking insights.
As for me, I’m spoiled by my first two Botcon experiences, when in 2009 and 2011 we went to Pasadena and had the TF cars, tons of massive promotion and free swag from Hasbro about the new games and shows, 20-foot tall robot statues, etc. The Hasbro connection is what sets Botcon apart, and if they don’t keep that strong, it stops being such a special convention. I’ll have more perspective after going to Auto Assembly and TFCon Charlotte. But for right now, I don’t see a reason to stick with Botcon if another convention is closer/easier/has guests I’d like to see. Botcon is still home, though.
Moment of brutal honesty: I am the only person I know who does not hate/dislike Pete Sinclair. Part of it is that people have to do something hurtful to me Personally in order for me to hate them. Or we have to have a massive personality conflict. Even with the whole not-getting-my-toys thing, and with the general mess that is Botcon this year, I still assume people are doing the best they know how. It’s so easy for things to escalate on the internet. But I don’t want to spoil my fun by hating. That said, I need to send off another email about getting this year’s toy, because in spite of talking to people a lot at Botcon, I have not heard anything back about it.
Our long-suffering pal “Ultra Magnus” had the victory of finding some art prints of Batman and of her favorite video game. Even at Botcon, other fandoms sneak in under the door!
I am steadily wallpapering the house with TF art. It is a good life.
Current Residence: Post-Ceasefire Cybertron|
deviantWEAR sizing preference: Human sizes don't work for transformers
Favourite genre of music: There's something great in every genre, but I tend to like great words and a beat.
Favourite style of art: Besides comic book art? I tend to like a bit of expressionism as an icing over realism
Wallpaper of choice: AAAAARRRRRTTT!!!
Favourite cartoon character: Myself, Optimus Prime, of course!
Personal Quote: I have fought the good fight; I have finished my course.