Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toronto Comic Art Festival

I feel pretty fortunate that I have such a cool city like Toronto less than a days drive from where I live. I lived in San Francisco once. For a very short time. SF is also an amazing city full of vibrancy and culture, but because of it's geographic, aesthetic and functional accessibility, Toronto beats San Francisco for the coolest little modern city in North America. Keep in mind, I've only been to Quebec City. I'm sure Vancouver's pretty awesome and I'm well aware of Montreal's top notchedness by reputation alone. So, this review is only relative to my experience.
Or maybe it was subject to the fact that I had a kickass time at the TCAF!!

Meeting John Malloy and his wife really set the mood of good vibes for most of the event. We hit it off like we were old college roommates. or prisonmates. I think they only socialized with me because I bought one of his prints. I kid. Cool folks and i really like John's work. Which helps. I attended the after party with them and listened to stories about their dog. It woulda been boring if they weren't so good at telling it. funny in a you-hadda-be-there sorta situation. I kid, again. seriously, great people.
I met a number of other comic artists throughout the festival. Asking questions, passing out the little bit of swag that I had (biz card and sticker). Absolutely loving being amongst so many talented folks. It really was an excess of stimulating visuals. My mind was running wild. as were my eyes.
Stuart Immonen was also there. The man that got me over my hump on my first 2 pages of Channels months ago. This sweet man has been a sort of a compass for me of what I would like my comic art to become. Not in style but in range and storytelling. His critique was precise and unforgiving. Just enough compliment to keep me going, leaving me with lots to think about. I didn't get discouraged because I really wanted him to dig my work. at least enough to say "this is good".
Since that critique, I've found myself asking Stuart various questions on sequential art and sometimes venting on working with the other folks involved with creating ONE. GODDAMMNED. COMIC. and the frustration that can come with that (all this through emails). His simply wise comments grounded me and helped me to better approach this new endeavor I be facing.
So, meeting Stuart was one of my primary functions to attend this awesome event. That and to bump elbows with some of the best and brightest and come away smarter than before. in which meeting Stuart fell into this reasoning. The fact that he was my acting "tutor" gave my finding his booth more urgency. And meeting him and his lovely wife, Kathryn was perfect yet frustrating because I just wanted to buy them both a drink and sit at a booth and talk about books, music, family, etc. Maybe someday...

I walked away from this festival a wiser comic artist because of the following pros:
Stuart Immonen
Nick Craine
Scott Chantler
Steve Macisaac
Rob Walton
James Turner

These folks took the time to say a little more than they needed to. Their generosity is much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time and tolerating my lack of confidence.

After attending this festival, it gave me a stronger feeling of what I am doing as an illustrator and how I want to do it. I feel inspired. Almost giddy with creativity. So, shut up, Brandon, and get back to work. You're getting paid for this now. and people are watching. At least, I hope so.

one of the things I regret about the festival was that I brought a camera but didn't take one damn photo. I'm just not much of a camera person. I guess that's something else I can learn from Stuart. That dudes flicker-happy (or Flickr-happy).


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