It's actually been a few weeks now since my trip to Paris and I'm sure everyone on the entire Internet has been waiting with bated breath to know how my trip went? Well un-bate your breathes because it's time for my full Comic Con' France report, complete with photos and my commissions! Plus I have an extra bit of something as a bonus. So strap on your strap-on's and lets get this party started.
First things first, my fight to Paris was shit. I had a layover in Atlanta, GA. that went from being three hours to being twenty four hours when the plane wasn't working. I won't bore you with my airport woes. It happens. But instead of having an extra day in Paris I got to spend a day in the Atlanta airport, and I don't know if it was because it was a holiday or something but that airport is crazy.
So I arrived in Paris only a few hours before the Convention began and I hadn't slept on the plane. I have real trouble sleeping on planes. It's not because I'm scarred of flying. It's exactly the opposite. I've flown in planes countless times but I still am excited to be flying. It's still fucking amazing to me. Anyway, so I'm completely exhausted. Turns out my luggage didn't make the flight. It was on a different flight and wouldn't be arriving for another 2 hours-- maybe. They weren't sure. So I took a chance and I hung around. It did come, even later than it was supposed to, of course. I was supposed to meet my ride but I didn't see them, I thought I was too late, and my phone didn't work. I ended up getting to the hotel on my own, and by the time I did, I felt like I was loosing my mind. I quickly showered and called the organizers of the show to send a car to get me.
I will say that the Comic Con' France is the most organized convention I've ever done. They had a whole team of people in artist alley in case you needed coffee or water or food or to act as a translator. They had guys who's job was too just take the guests out for diner after the show each day. They had cars always ready to go for getting you around. It was great.
So on that first day I got to the show and I was in a fog. I wasn't sure how I would make it through the day, and the first thing they had me do were interviews. I did three back to back interviews where they mike you and have a camera on you and everything, in a room with chairs and a little table. I have never done an interview like that. I would have been more nervous about it if I wasn't so worn out. It was actually not bad at all. Each group that came in to interview me was really nice and felt a good rapport with each of them. I might have been rambling but I think it went alright.
After that I was encouraged to get some lunch. They had a whole restaurant dedicated to providing food for the guests. So I did that. All the while I was getting more and more concerned about my commissions. As anyone who's seen me at a convention knows, I do my commissions while I'm sitting there. I don't come to the show with any finished commissions. I'm counting on my time sitting at my table to be able to get done all of the commissions that I have agreed to do. So the longer I'm not at that table, the more afraid I am that I won't get my commissions done.
When I did finally get to my table there was a group of people who had been waiting for me all morning and several of them wanted on my commission list-- the list that I had filled up before the show even started. But how could I turn these guys away? They had been waiting for me... I ended up taking on four extra commissions!
On that first day, as I put pencil to paper I saw my hand shaking like I've never seen it shake before. It was probably all the caffeine I was running on.
I learned this about French conventions. Apparently the idea of paying for commissions at a Con wasn't a thing people did until just recently. Before that it was expected that anyone could go through artist alley getting free sketches from the artists. But artists started saying that that wouldn't come to the shows if they couldn't make money doing commissions. So as a compromise they ask artists to do an hour each day where they will draw sketches for free. This is a fine idea. I don't mind it at all. The only problem I had with it was that my free sketch hour didn't start till three and people would start lining up at the beginning of the day... I should have just figured out how many I could do in that hour and then have the people put there name on a list so that they wouldn't have to sit there the whole day. I guess I'll do that next time.
How bout some commissions? Here's what I did in the first two days.
On the second day I was on my first panel ever. Here's a photo.
Check out how big that scene from SHIELD is!
So this was a panel all about Marvel Now. The guy all the way to the left is Xavier Fournier who is conducting the panel. The next guy is Jeremy Manesse, who I believe works for Panini translating Marvel comics to be published in Europe. The next guy is me. After that are artists Mike Deodato Jr. and Steve Epting. Then at the end is our translator.
It was an interesting experience. Having to do everything through a translator made it all feel disconnected. You couldn't read what people were thinking of what you were saying as you were saying it. Ultimately I think i did alright, though it made me really wish I could speak French.
On Day three I had my ART BATTLE with Mike Deodato! I was pretty nervous about it. Mike was really nice and seemed just as uneasy about it as I did, but he was totally game for having some fun with it. We pretended it was like a boxing match. He played the part way better than I did.
Here are some pictures followed by the description Comic Con' France has on their sight.
"Dustin Weaver, the challenger, and Mike Deodato Jr, the elder, clashed during a draw battle you may not have seen on the Comic Con' stage. Too bad, but here is a follow-up session!
A bit younger in the field, Dustin Weaver himself confessed that he was quite nervous about challenging Mike Deodato Jr. And indeed, once the theme unfolded - which was Wolverine in Paris - Mike Deodato Jr. quickly tackles the task and directly places some shades after only a few strokes! Then taking the time to make some cutting remarks to his opponent, he observes Dustin Weaver's level-headed work. And thus starts to take fright.
The nice thing was once I started drawing it was like "oh, this is just like drawing. I know how to do that." Then it was easy.
Here are commissions from day's three and four.
That last one I actually finished up at home. I tend to want to do a little extra for the people who have to wait for me to mail it. So I added some color. I still actually have a few more commissions to get done. So look forward to me posting those.
Yes I did see the Eiffel Tower. Walked under it, got a good look at it, but I didn't get to go up it because I was to late. I also saw the Arc De Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, which was particularly cool to me because I've had Moebius's drawing of it on my wall for so long it's burned in my mind. I only had time to do a kind of superficial tour of Paris. We drove around The Louvre but didn't go in... Some other time, I suppose. One thing we did was one of those boat diners on the river and that was really great. I really recommend that. It made me think of the movie Charade. Also, yeah, I had escargot and it wasn't bad at all. I liked it even.
Here are some photos.
So there you go. That was my trip. I do have some observations about my internal reaction to being in Paris and being around almost all French people. As someone who's barely been out of the U.S. it was a new experience and one that revealed some things to me about myself. Perhaps I'll get into that some other time. This entry is long enough....
Actually, there is more!
You know how I mentioned that I can't sleep on planes? Well, about a half an hour into my flight out of Portland I decided that i would use all my time in the air to draw a comic. I had nothing prepared. I just started making it up almost a panel at a time. Between my flight there and my flight back I ended up with 12 pages.
The comic is called AMNIA CYCLE. I'm going to start posting it here on this blog, two pages each week.
See you back here next week for the first installment
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