Sorry for the delay in updating days 2-4. There were several different factors: The convention really kicked in on Saturday with multiple signings and interviews each day. There's also long European meals. Then our computer battery lost its charge Saturday evening. I plugged in the outlet adapter to charge up the laptop and blew out several fuses. It was a good thing we had two layers of surge protection! (The laptop is fine). So our outlet adaptor was shot and we had problems getting a new one we felt safe with. We finally got some help, plugged in, charged up and here is my report on Days 2-4!
The convention continued through the weekend with growing crowds. Finally, I had the opportunity to start doing signing and sketch sessions. This gave me a chance to interact with the attendees and discover the similarities and differences between European and North American fans.
In the U.S., I often have Artist Alley table space where I can sit and draw detailed commission pieces and talk with the fans. The Barcelona convention does not have an Artist Alley. But creators do sign and sketch for specific times at publisher booths and convention exhibition booths, not unlike signing at the Marvel or DC Comics' booths at a U.S. show.
The sketches I drew in Barcelona were quick and done for free. The fans were very excited to meet creators and wanted their autographed comics and sketches personalized for them. It means so much to them to have this memorabilia with their names on it.
Unfortunately, I speak too little Spanish and most of the fans spoke little English, so I couldn't have a conversation with them while I draw like I do in the U.S. But we were able to communicate greetings and appreciation and had friendly interaction despite the language barrier, and I even started to pick up some basic Spanish in my interactions with the fans.
Those who did speak some English referred to the creators as "kings" or "gods." That was a huge boost the ol' ego. After finishing a signature/sketch session that ran 45 minutes overtime, I was met with a huge round of applause by 30 fans that were waiting for the next scheduled autograph session. I was humbled and honored. To me, sketching is something I always do, but to them it was very special and appreciated.
Mind you, U.S. fans are also very appreciative, complimentary and supportive! It was just a noticeable difference in communication here in Spain when language isn't a key component.
A cool thing I noticed at the Barcelona show was the presence of at least four booths that allowed convention guests time and space to practice drawing . Some were places for kids to sit and draw, and some were booths sponsored by art schools, where people were able to draw on computers. They eve n had one area Â that allowed people to draw and receive instruction from pros. I saw Mike Mignola speaking (with a translator) at a group seminar at one such booth.
That Monday was a holiday in Barcelona, whichÂ I found out was why the convention was scheduled as a Friday-Monday event. It has been a Thursday-Sunday show in the past. I was still playing catch-up with the time zones, and I couldn't tell what day it was without convention wranglers keeping me updated!
Lastly, I found the U.S. creators invited to the show stayed as a pretty tight knit group. I guess since we all spoke the same language it was easy to gravitate towards each other. I spent a lot of time at meals and at the bar with the American creators Jim Starlin, Mike Mignola, Terry and Rachel Dodson, Jim Lee, Mark Waid, Scott McCloud and editors C.B. Cebulski (Marvel), Matt Idelson (DC Comics), and Joan Hilty (Vertigo), as well as many of our spouses. I also found myself spending a lot of time with Spanish and French fans after the show. In some ways it was the same as hanging out with American fans: We ended up talking about comics, "Lost," and American TV. In some ways it was different because we spent time sharing the similarities and differences of our cultures and countries.
I'd like to share my gratitude to the show's organizer, David Macho Gomez. He really knows how to take care of his guests. He treated us very well and was very generous. The talent handlers, German, Anna, and Guillermo were awesome and friendly. Professionals all the way!
And finally, my thanks to all the awesome comic book fans of Spain, Europe, and even those that traveled in from far off places. We do this for you. Thanks for all the support!
It's a "draw-off" arena sponsored by an art school. Pretty fun idea!
|European artist signing draws a huge crowd.|
|Linterna Verde: Negro Noche!||Grover's nose is disturbing|
|Spanish indie comic creator||Drafting tables sponsored by
mobile phone company
|Face painting. People get "anime eyes"||In Spain, I guess, I am known as
"NaucK," like Sting or Shaq
|Art tables for drawing||Spanish Web Comic character, CÃ¡lico ElecrÃ³nico|
|"Aren't you a little short to be
an Imperial Guard?"
|Spanish Silk Spectre|
|Convention entrance||I call this "nightmare fuel." But definitely
well done masks. Very professional
|Dinner after Sunday's Convention: Dawn Nauck, Mark Waid,
Jennifer and Jeffrey Brown, Scott McCloud,
Guillermo Ruiz, Rachel and Terry Dodson,David Macho Gomez, Jim Lee, Jim's fiance Carla, and myself