Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CTN EXPO 2014 Recap

You can call me recovered from this weekend's CTN (aka "Cartoon Talent Network") Expo. What was it like? You can get a little flavor from the artist exhibitors pages. Here is mine, and here is the whole roster of artist exhibitors--including one Jefferson Resolme Ranjo, who was an inexcusable no-show (tho' he kindly meet me and Joe for a great dinner at Don Cuco's after a long Saturday of overtime sketching at the Diz Studio).

The show was like a version of Comic Con that catered almost exclusively to those either working in, or wishing to work in the animation industry. Which felt like waltzing into a buzz saw... lots and lots of talented people, most of whom sat behind their table with a great deal more reason to be there than me....

Y'all remember my pal Joe Sanabria? With his great website of paintings and portfoliation? Well, Joe got a table and asked me along. I'd never been to CTN and for some reason (probably long-ago photos spied on Facebook of what looked like a chill Burbank street-fair), I thought the event would be a fairly low-key hangout.

First indication of the error of this perception should've come when I got the bill for our table: a nose-bleeding $755 dollars. Gulp.

It's a three day affair that takes up every inch of the Burbank Convention Center and will cost you something like $150 simply to attend--and reservations were required (tho' not extra $$?) for many of the talks/seminars (Glen Keane, fer instance...). But there were lots of gratis entertainments to be had, particularly in our neck of the woods, which was adjacent to both the old-fashioned 2D animation demo station (where major living masters of the artform like Eric Goldberg and Andreas Deja did live animation demos), the 3D modeling/painting/animating demo stage, and the live model sketching stage. Not far from us were the Copic marker folk with their own demos, too--tho' I missed seeing a single one, including one by one of the famous female art designer from Star Wars, Terryl Whitlatch....

 Our booth presentation looked a little flimsy compared to those tables surrounding us, tables staffed by either A. ambitious young recent graduates or near-graduates from prestigious animation/illustration programs, or B. famous-ass animation people. But I hoisted my FUME banner and let my Teen Ellis fly....

In the end we did OK--but nowhere near recouping our cost. I get the idea at a show like this is to NETWORK, and thereby garner new work...fingers crossed. We did have lots of people come by and stop and look at the work, a fair portion of whom plunked down cash to take a book home with them. Maybe I'm naive--no, I am naive--but that remains the essential test to me, the whole point of the excercise of unfurling yr rug in the bazaar and bartering with the public--you are hoping to get people to desire your stuff enuff to pay money for it. And whenever that bar is passed, no matter how small the stakes, I feel grateful and a little ecstatic.

Some of the drawings I did over the three days, many shared on Facebook (and Instagram!) already:
Michael asked me to draw him with Woody Guthrie--but when it turned out he was a big fan of my pal Peet's band "The Mountain Goats," I forced him to accept this. He was OK with it.

Sara wanted Beethoven! At top is Xavier, or "The X-Man" as we called him--a former co-worker who is, among other things, French.

This young lady was so very nice...so very, very nice. And I drew her about to be devoured by Evil Adele. It wasn't even s'posed to be a fat joke! Apologies to Adele, and Vivian (who was so horrified to see this perversion of her innocent request that I did a make-up drawing...and critiqued her storyboards).

Josh was a super-cool guy who eschewed my offer of drawing him with a favorite musician and instead requested...Wally Wood! I instantly thought of Ellis's pic posted here a while back, with machine gun. I tried to draw Josh in a spacesuit, but it came out looking like a deck hand in Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Josh has great taste in comics and exhorted me to do more with the Black Flag stuff...the only person this whole show (and all the others except ONE guy at APE) who responded to my Black Flag art! (and I forgot his glasses--same with Vivian above).

Speaking of Ellis and guns...this young chap's name in Ellis...Ellis Lu. Sweetheart of a guy who went to Stuart Ng's to buy my sketchbook on credit when he learned I couldn't take plastic...brought the book back (which already had a Chubby Cheeker vs. Frankenstein drawing in back) so I could do a sketch of him. One of the few where I remembered to put the glasses on a bespectacled subject. I always try to draw a person sans eyewear first, THEN add it on.... but I usually forget. Proof that I look past the superficial....

These were the two funniest guys of the whole weekend. Bought their books with the very last of their cash at the closing bell--paid full price, too, God bless 'em. Did Benny's on top in about 90 seconds as the security guards were trying to usher people out of the hall. And Daniel...this photo doesn't do the resemblance justice, but DANG he looked like a young J.R. Ranjo--with a Beatles haircut!!
(paging the Teen Ellis...!)  Told us his girlfriend had just done the cut. He CRACKED UP at both the drawings. They're pals.
Oh, one other cool thing that the organizers set-up but that didn't really fly: a pre-printed convention sketchbook filled with ads for each artist/company exhibiting. It was a nice 8.5" x 11" spiral bound thing. Most pages were just ads, but some of us did a clever thing and designed our ad with a pre-arranged empty spot where we could either sign or sketch a little personalization in for any fan willing to take the thing around and gather autographs...a great idea, except A. they ran out the first morning, so few people got them, and B. most were handed out to those who showed up Thursday to get their badges, and few bothered to haul it back.

We had a fun ad, designed by Joe--whose brilliant idea it was to not only so a comic strip, but to leave an entirely blank frame, and to set out heroes in space....

Three people had the books, but had no intention of having artists sign or otherwise deface the material...I had to demand they take the book out of their freebie CTN EXPO bookbag and let me draw in it. This one was typical...who doesn't love a space monster caricature?

Overall a good time. Met some real nice folk. I might just bite the bullet and sign up for next year...who's with me?


MrGoodson2 said...

What you did beats wandering around with no clue with a couple of copies of Lulu self published books as samples.
CTN experiences are some of my lowest memories. As you say, crammed with other GREAT talents, behind tables, getting one person to look at your work.

For all the extra expense, I think having a able is the only approach. Be there to stop people and give out samples. That would be worth planning for and saving p for the expense.

I know one other fellow that was going to have table space. I believe he was calling himself Ace High or Ace studio. Cliff Cramp illustration professor at Cal State Fullerton. He would be looking for freelance cover art assignments. He stays pretty busy.

Thanks for the long breakdown and all the great sketches. Love using the lightbox feature of Blogspot on all those sketches.

MrGoodson2 said...

I notice Ranjo lists himself as character designer vs his old title as story artist.

He can probably call himself whatever at this point in his career.

I like your official profile page. A good link. Another part of what you paid for. A nice resume, google hit, link.

Davis Chino said...

Elz, glad you found some use in this...a little ramble-y, but that's what you get from a three day marathon.

I vaguely remember you going to this--dang, hate to hear it put a wallop on you. But I can see how that could happen...certainly I left day one feeling a bit low.

Thanks for the nice words on my page. I am continuing to work on the website. It's now comicsbymartydavis.com. And I've got the instagram as well as the tumblr going...I am slowly gaining "followers," whatever that is worth!

And psst...son't say this outloud, but I saw yr photo on F-book and I sent a friend request. Shoot me down if you must--or if you're using F-book to air aggressiveness!

Davis Chino said...

And hey--Wally Wood!

MrGoodson2 said...

The rambliness was good. It's a big show. Trying to cram the whole scope of the thing in would be daunting. You didn't mention how much fun parking is in the area. Or have they changed areas? It used to be right next to John Wayne airport. Good luck finding a spot. And when you do get a spot- more cash for the fun of the experience.

It is artist alley times 10. Everyone there has the goods as an artist. I didn't run across anyone holding down a table that i thought was deluded about having a marketable talent.

I no longer post aggressiveness. I've limited myself to almost no followers on my new Twitter account.
My first of 2 total tweets- "I don't RT" Move along. No good following me. I just lurk and check out other peoples posts. Because with zero following, you are literally talking to yourself with any post that you do. Keeps me from venting.
Tumblr- pretty much the same deal. It's not for politics of any sort. Even though I follow about 3 SJWs that can't shut up. They also do some cartoons I like. Sometimes it seems like time to unfollow them. But I just go right on by their nonsense posts.

I'm still convinced I'm surrounded by idiots. I've just decided they have to get wise to the commies all by themselves without my help.

MrGoodson2 said...

My only political Tumblr post. That I know you'll like Marty. Me as global warming skeptic.
I was thinking about doing another math helper post about the amnesty. The numbers getting the amnesty just happen to be double the population of Oklahoma.
Two new states worth of illegals!
I decided not to do it.
Damage done.
Why bother.

MrGoodson2 said...

And back to Facebook, since that was the point. I get on Facebook to check into 3 private groups. One of which expressly prohibits any politics.

Peer pressure forces me to "like" the occasional page I could care less about. But hey, that's America.

Peer pressure can make you believe or agree with the damndest things.

Tom Moon said...

Ummm Ellis... I don't want to get into a global warming debate with you or anybody; not my style.

But I do want to ask you about your math.

If the Earth has lost (about) 200 BILLION tons of ice, and an aircraft carrier weighs 200 THOUSAND tons, then the amount of ice lost equals ONE million aircraft carriers. Not FIVE THOUSAND million aircraft carriers as you calculated.

200,000,000,000 tons/200,000 tons = 1,000,000.

Could you check me on this?

MrGoodson2 said...

I did state I was a dummy with a calculator . I asked a couple of people to check my math and no one did. Let me look at your check.

Aren't there 1000 million in a billion? Aren't there 5 aircraft carriers to make a million tons?

It made my head hurt initially.

I think you're right. It's just 8 trips around the world via aircraft carrier deck. Not nearly as absurd as my 40000 trips.

Unless I have that wrong as well.

I see what I did now with multiplying without

Still, while my point about absurdity is very definitely reduced, it's not erased. Still a LOT of ice. And I don't accept it.

But my math is very off.

MrGoodson2 said...

Complete hijack of the thread. Sorry Marty

"I see what I did now with multiplying without " doing math for how many 5s go into 1000 vs multiplying 5 x 1000. Big diff.

But that's the deal. Someone could now point out how stupid I am at math, and not argue whether they think 1 million aircraft carriers of ice could melt in 3 years.

I just wanted a visual for the ice.

Rickart said...

"I'm an artist, not a math professor!"
Thanks for the Recap, Marty! Sounds like a fun, if pricey, show. I would do it with you if I though I'd have a reasonable chance of making any money back. I would guess that it would be a good show to go make an impression of an animation producer who might be looking for fresh content to make into films or TV shows.
BTW, I was in your old stomping grounds yesterday... we took Belinda for a college visit to Reed and we stayed by the train station in Portland. We dined in the Pearl district last night and thought of you! :)

Tom Moon said...

Yes, thanks for the incredibly detailed post Marty. You did some great drawings. Was $755 just for your half of the table? Just a little too expensive for me. Even the entrance fee sounds really high, but I'm spoiled, being used to getting in for free to things as a "Pro".

Davis Chino said...

Tom! Rick! Glad you found the recap useful. $755 was total cost for a table for two, my share was half of this...it IS pricey, but that seems to keep it very industry-centric, (far fewer fans). If you aspire to get work/make a pitch, I'd say skip the table route. I didn't get impression that a lot of companies were searching tables for talent. It WAS happening, but I think you could do as well searching stuff out on your own...Joe was great at researching who he wanted to track down and talk to...he even had James Gurney and his wife come to our table and hang out. Super-nice people (tho' I wasn't introduced :) who had very nice things to say about Joe's work.

The global warming thing. amazing that this stuff becomes political. I remember when catalytic converters were viewed as the devil, and the height of gov't tyranny...also remember growing up in LA unable to see the mountains 300 days of the year for the smog.