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TeeeeKAF.

So last weekend was the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and I was there. I tend to make myself pretty sick at conventions, either through not eating or not sleeping or whatever, so I was all impressed with myself that I managed to make it through this convention realitively unscathed ... until I had an allergic reaction to something on Sunday morning, and by late Monday my left eye had swelled up to enormous proportions. GROSS! Wanna see? Fortunately some drugs have helped things, but I've never had that happen before, so it was freaky. Hopefully I'm not allergic to the convention.

It was my first time to the show, and my first time as an exhibitor with actual books to sell (I shared a table with Eric Kim, who was lovely), so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I mean, I always find conventions to be kind of this roller-coaster of emotions, being surrounded by artists who are for the most part better than you, so I spend most of my time wondering if anyone will talk to me, and then if someone does talk to me, wondering WHY they're talking to me when oh my god, the Immonens have a table right next door!!!!!11 Yes, I would like them to adopt me. I'd mentioned in my National Post Q&A (all the artists at TCAF got one), that Stuart Immonen was one of the people I really wanted to meet at TCAF (the other being Paul Pope, but he scares me, so it was okay I didin't meet him), and I even brought along a copy of Nextwave Vol 2 that I'd hoped he would sign (actually, I also brought it because I find it's easier to approach artists when you have their book in hand), and then it turned out their table was right next too mine and it was total flop sweat time. But they were lovely and sweet and Kathryn Immonen reassured me on Sunday that I wasn't too much of a dork, so that was very very cool. I bought their book Never As Bad As You Think, which is AWESOME, and Stuart drew an adorable The Captain in my Nextwave book.

The crowds ... My god the crowds. What a crush of people! Saturday I didn't get a chance to budge from my chair as flocks and flocks of people came by me. Quite a few said that they'd liked my work in the past, or brought their own copies of Zombies Calling or The War at Ellsmere for me to sign, but it seemed that even more just walked by my table, glanced through a copy of either book and bought it. People were there to SPEND. Honestly, I think the event being free encouraged people to spend. I know my thought process is "well, I haven't had to spend $20 to get into this convention, so I have an extra $20 to spend." By the end of the day Sunday I had only two copies of Zombies Calling and three copies of Ellsmere left, so I'd sold over 70 books. I was really thrilled. Y'know, going in, not knowing if anyone would even talk to me, and then nearly selling out, it was really wonderful. My lovely boyfriend Tim was especially helpful during the whole thing, and gave away a ton of preview freebies for his webcomic. It was his very first convention.

On Sunday I got to be on a panel about comic book artists who also worked in animation with Graham Annable, Brian Envinou, Troy Little, and Paul Rivoche, moderated by Jim Zub. I was the only one of the group who was doing comics fulltime, and not currently working in animation, but that's more of a "I'm willing to live in poverty for a bit if I can have the chance to do comics fulltime" thing than me actually making REAL MONEY from comics.

Nice folks I met:
Jim Rugg! Aw, I LOVE his work, and he was so nice! I got to chat with him for a good couple of minutes at his table, just seeing what he was doing and getting his opinions on comics. I tried to by a copy of Street Angel off him, but they were gone or something, so that made me sad. But he swapped me a lovely print for a copy of Ellsmere, so I can't wait to hang that on my wall.

Saw Ross Campbell for about 2.5 seconds and bought the last copy of his Mountain Girl comic, which I've not yet read but I'm sure will be full of the bizzarro world of Ross. He was very nice, and already had a copy of Ellsmere, which kind of threw me for a loop ... always surprised when people actually buy my book. X) Anyway, his original comic pages are tiny and perfect and I am jealous of that. I covet tiny perfect original comic book pages.

Douglas Wolk gave me a mix CD, which I was appreciative of, as I know little about music and am always happy when someone takes the time to educate me. He asked me twice who I'd recommend checking out at the show, but both times it was before I'd had the chance to go look around, so sadly I was not in the know.

Lovely British duo Marc Ellerby and Anna (didn't get the last name), looking incredibly gorgeous with their accents, stylish hair and British accents. Did I mention the accents? They were British. I would like to draw them. *_* They stopped by to buy some comics & commission a Delirium drawing, and we all got to talk about how great Andi Watson is. I saw an original Delirium drawing by him as well, so that was just aces.

Got the chance to meet up with a handful of First Second creators at a nice breakfast on Sunday, so I sort of tried to be a little quieter and get their opinions on comics. Nate Powell was lovely, and I'd just read his book (Swallow Me Whole), so got to ask him about that bizarre ending. I didn't introduce myself to Scott McCloud at the breakfast because I am dumb, so he came by my table later to say "you had longer hair when I met you" and I said "in that picture I took at San Diego we kind of look alike and I've decided you may be my long lost uncle" (okay, I didn't say that but I almost did) and then I gave him a copy of Ellsmere. Hope he likes it! I got to say super quick hellos to Ray Fawks, Jim Zub, Diana Tamblyn, and Steve Rolston (loved your little sketchbook, Steve!), but the sheer busyness of the show kind of prevented me from talking to as many people as I wanted to. Next time I will have to budget my time much better ... and spend more! I only bought a couple things, and regret it. Wish I'd bought more stuff.

But I had such a nice time, and thank you to the lovely volunteers and showrunners and The Beguiling lovelies who put on such an amazing show. It was a great way to start out convention going as a professional, and as much as I stressed about "WHERE IS MY PLACE IN COMICS??" and "WHERE DO I BELONG AMONG ALL THESE AMAZING CREATORS???" I truly had a fantastic time.

And now, PICTURES! Taken by either Tim or my Mom. Who apparently kind of freaked out when I was late to the show on Sunday ... Chris Butcher found me later and asked "Did your Mom find you? Because she thought you were dead." lolmom. She worries about me.



This was taken Sunday, and Saturday was busier. You can just imagine. Can you find the back of my head? :D



Tim and I plot to have the Immonens take us home. That's Kathryn Immonen's lower half behind us.

I made adorable ZC standees! Kids kept trying to take them.

To my right, and Eric Kim's half of the table (hi Eric!).

Me drawing in books that people actually wanted to buy!!

Looking down on my table.

A commission of "any character" doing the Batusi. I did Joss because I was too tired to attempt anyone more complicated. I also was commissioned to draw Batgirl and Delirium, both of which turned out really nicely. I have a copy of the Batgirl drawing, and hopefully I'll get a copy of the Delirium one later... fingers crossed.

Whew, that was long. Time to get changed and then head out to watch the season finale of LOST. Woo!