Small Press Expo 2013

I had to stop reading a comic so I could write about this. All I've want to do all day was read but this is all worth it. 

I have been amped and ready for SPX 2013 since last year. As soon as the convention was over and I was in my car hearing Gangnam Style on the radio as I drove back to Norfolk I was dreaming of coming back. I was ready and inspired to work on my comics and I was ready to read all types of new, weird and wonderful books, stories and minis. I really don't think a week went by where I didn't think about SPX, wanting to go back to the magical world of comics and fun that the weekend was and wanted to go this year. I got to work reading and working on my books, riding the wave of inspiration and enthusiasm I got some books made. 

Jump to this year, I'm scrambling to get new business cards and my books reprinted so I can sell them, trade them and give them out at the show. 2 of them come out perfectly, I failed the third one a little, but it still looks good. But I was humming and ready on Friday for the day to hurry up and end so I could get to Bethesda to mingle and catch up with people. 

I wasn't able to meet up with the SPXers from last year, but I did star making new friends and talking with people about all types of things as I hung out for the evening. I met Terrance (TheBlackNerd) and hung out with the Draw Friends crowd first. I got to meet Josh PM and Tony Breed and some other wonderful people before I wandered to the bar to see if some alcohol would help me feel less weird and less alone (spoiler alert: it did).

I met Montogmery Goose, Nick Sumida and Davis Fowl in the bar, I recognized Nick and told him he was adorable, because he is and I'm really honest when I'm drunk. I almost literally bumped into James Kolchaka at the bar which was crazy. I'd gone up for a drink and was just going to politely say excuse me to the person to my left when I realized it was him. I told him I'd just started reading American Elf in September before he announced he was ending the book, it was bittersweet but nice to be on the same page but for different reasons. (I forgot to find his table or signing and buy one of the volumes, but I'll get the other books eventually :D). I ran into Darryl Ayo and that was great chatting for a moment, it's still flattering for me that he follows me on twitter. (this gifset on tumblr represents pretty much everytime I met someone at SPX and they liked me)

Outside I met Seth and really didn't think anything of it until I turned around on Sunday and saw a drawing of his in the map. After talking about racism and something...I've forgotten what (three drinks in and I hadn't eaten anything in 7 hours.....) I went in for another drink and met Danielle Corsetto who was absolutely delightful and nice to me. I was just going to compliment her on the comic and then I took out my sketchbook - I really wish I could remember why - but she wanted to see it so we flipped through. I sobered up enough to trust buying McDonalds and  driving home, which was still  mildly questionable.

Saturday: 

Offical Day 1 of the convention I have breakfast with my best ladybro, Bianca, who couldn't make it and we discussed the possibility of working on a story for Smut Peddler. I get to the convention center later than intended but it works out because the line has died down by the time I get up there and my wait is pretty short. I find Lee Cherolis, Christopher William, Lynn Andrews, Jeremy Bentley and Samantha Kyle, my 2012 SPXbros first before walking around the convention. I spent much of Saturday buying printed books from webcomic artists, but people remember me which makes me feel special. I grab a Girls with Slingshots book from Danielle and trade my minis for Ballad of Laundry Cat with Yuko and Ananth (Johnny Wander) which was really cool for me. I wander around a bit more and find Nick Abadzis and let him know I'm incredibly flattered that he has liked some of my sketches on instagram. I bought Laika and Hugo Tate from him and gave him the oversized Cinema book. 

I was surprised to stumble upon Michael Bracco and Phil Kahn sharing a table, last minute entrants this year, along with Jamie Noguchi so it was great seeing some Super Art Fight frandz around. Speaking of Super Art Fight, I was sad there wasn't an event at SPX, and I did re-meet Carlos whom I had met at last week's show at Ottobar.  

I met Dave McKenna on Friday in a group of established indie creators, I traded books with him. I feel as if my hubris annoyed him, if he reads this, I'm sorry. I should I given him one of my books and bought one of his, the daring of youth... 

I'm sure I've skipped over a ton of people I met and bought things from, but I have books, business cards and memories. I spent some time Saturday afternoon going through my 3ds streetpasses before catching up with the SPX2012 crowd (and some new-to-me buddies) at Chili's for food before we hung out at the Ignatz After Party. Lots of drinking, talking sharing, bumping elbows after a while. I wandered from group to group not having any one group or person to return to, which is both nice and sad. It was nice to meet so many different people and different groups, but it would also have been nice to not spend time standing by a wall watching other people socialize. 

I drove home just as late as the night before, but a lot more sober.  

Sunday: "Day 3, no day 2...fuck it, Sunday" 

I posted this photo flaunting my new hair cut, more for people not at SPX.  Bianca did it Saturday, I received a lot of compliments on it which was awesome. I picked up Nora, a high school ladybro and drive to Bethesda for breakfast and the tumblr meet up. It was cool meeting MDT (who runs SPX?), Mike Mitchell, Diana Nock and everyone else I greeted downstairs and gave or traded books to and with respectively. Upstairs I beelined Smut Peddler and had a mini mission of getting the book signed by as many of the creators as I could so I could give it to Bianca who missed out on SPX all together. It took all day because Spike was on a panel when I bought the book and Dechanique was walking the quieter floor but I think I got everyone who was there. 

I met Kori Michele who does Prince of Cats before meeting John Allison and embarrassing Nora. That was fun, I was calm. I mean, I was excited but she was in superfan mode. We wandered and shopped. Nora bought Kate Leth's second to last bag and I was proud of her for buying something she'd never heard of. 

We ended up running into someone we knew from high school which was weird, especially because we kept bumping into one another.  

In the afternoon we went to the Queering Mainstream Comics panel, I thought it was interesting and enlightening. I was there because I'd met Northwest Press's Rob the night before and was invited to check it out. I didn't go to as many panels as I'd've liked but I did enjoy the one. After the panel I was able to buy their anthology so that was cool. 

A slight change of plans happened and Nora left early. I went out to dinner with Mario "Santiago" Gonzales, Monica Ray, Lee, Dern, Phil Chan, Samantha Kyle, Adriana Blake and Jimena Sarquiz Look at their blurry-lovely faces eating pizza! My Sunday ended with just hanging chatting and meeting Mitch Clem before having to drive home for work Monday.

I bought a ton of comics including a non-yet-released Art Spiegelman collection, Nedroid, Seth's book, Phuzzy Comics, Little Guardians 2, Intrepid Girlbot and so many more. I'll snap a picture to share, but it was a great weekend for me. I think I'm going to try to table next year which means I need to get serious about working on my new books and some minis for next year's show. i think I might be ready, and i have plenty of friends and acquaintances to ask for advice about how to table, so I will use my resources wisely.  

If I missed your name here, it's nothing personal, so many people were everywhere. I had a blast and I can't wait to get to another convention and to be around that excited energy of comic, creating and possibility. I love you all, you're wonderful and thanks for reading. I'll add a photo of my purchases soon, I have a lot...

 

(in other news, SPX was huge this year, the floor a third larger than in the past) 

 

Depression thoughts then Friendsgiving

I have a depression thing that has been wrecking havoc with my life for years now and I just went through a bad patch last week. I wanted to write and share it but I was just so happy in my birthday post that I didn't want so much joy to be knocked off the top of the front page. Since then i have gone back and posted a blog from before my show that I never got the chance to upload. But it's not as important to me that people see it immediately. 

Last week I went through that thing where I felt unloved, like no one cared about me. I was able to step back and understand that my life isn't all that bad. I had just gone to the grocery store, I have heat, I have clean clothes, I have a car that (mostly) works, there are people who will respond to my super vague, incredibly passive aggressive whining on facebook where I don't explain a damn thing that's been wrong, because I can't. 

I'm very particular with the attention I want, who I think I want it from but the response I want. I kind of explained it and why I next to never mention it on Facebook because the only people who I feel understand what I need are people who have been depressed, which is a sad state of affairs. People who haven't been depressed always just say 'be happy' and the response I want to give is 'fuck you. It doesn't work like that.' i spent days just laying on my bed. Not listening to music, not really thinking about much of anything other than all of the reasons why I don't think people should like me and at the same time stressing over not getting compliments over a drawing I posted. 

One of the least healthy things I do is craving and seeking validation from other people and not being satisfied with liking myself or my creations. actively needing people to tell me my work is good, it's awful. I didn't get that last week and it's all that was on my mind, I just wanted the validation that I had done good until I had to remember that it was one piece out of hundreds I've done this year alone.

I don't keep track or count of the things I draw and create but it has to be in the low hundreds. All of the comic pages, the long poses in figure, sketches and preparation in print. And i'm sure I create a lot less than the average for an artist of my education, I sometimes try.

Part of me still wants to be told by the person I drew that they like it, but whatever. I'm drawing other things and trying not to be got awful at watercolors now. It'll take a while.

I don't really know what happened to get me out of my depression last week. On Friday I started a watercolor painting of a new 'character' i have and I cleaned the apartment a bit and I felt better than I had in days. Maybe because I sat down to create and try something different, I don't know. My glass class which is usually a source of relief wasn't as much as it usually is, which is sad. Maddening actually. But i got to the end of Friday and was set for Saturday.

Saturday was a great day, one of my favorites from the year, Friendsgiving. It was the second Friendsagiving at Jay and Tatum's Rise and Shine Farm. It's a night of food, drinking, friends, bonfires, fireworks and in general a good time. I got to see people i haven't seen since last year, like Jay and Tatum, but I also met/saw again John John, John, Jon, Jon, John, John :P (So many jon/johns!) but also Trey, Mckenzie, Sarah, Cole, Sager, Riaz, Shannon, and a lot of people. I'm waiting on flickr to upload the photos I took at the festivities but it's being a slow butt. 

Queuing for food at Friendsgiving

Saturday morning i shuffled out of bed and started making a macaroni and cheese to take, it was actually ready 2 hours earlier than I thought it'd be, so it got to just sit for a while before I drove out. Before leaving I stopped at the store and bought some sweet potatoes and foil as we could roast them in one of the bonfires after it cooled off a bit and then drove out. I got there a bit early and just hung around as people showed up as evening rolled in. The bonfires were lit and there was music as people stood in groups and huddled in conversation as the liquor flowed and conversation outside of initial groups grew. The mac and cheese went fast, I'm glad it's a simple recipe, i might make 2 next year, i don't know yet. I'll see what sales I can find on cheese.

It was just a fun time walking around and just being around people. My phone was off, to save battery, I was just there in that moment of being. That doesn't happen often. More important to me, I felt wanted and appreciated. People didn't want more out of me than my presence which was nice, i was shown, not just reminded but actually shown, that people do care about me and like me even though they barely know me. I often forget that I can influence people without thinking about it, that there are people who care. There are a lot of people who care about me, we're just spread out and rarely see one another but they're still important. 

Good morning start shine, the earth says hello!

Good morning start shine, the earth says hello!

I made new friends, saw some old friends,  had the rummiest hot cider around and it was a good night. I woke up the next morning around 7 and after unfolding myself from my car I took some photos of the other side of the farm where the animals were. (Flicker full album) There were a lot of creatures just running around having a ball, it was nice. Out side of the guard geese who stalked me and the roosters who couldn't help the answer their never ending existential question of whether or not they're roosters by loudly declaring that yes, they are in fact, a rooster. Every one of the roosters is a rooster.

I drove around to the front and took a nape of unknown length and woke up and people were stumbling around cleaning up trash from the night's festivities. We drove out for breakfast and that waitress deserved every penny of her tip dealing with 13 people at 10 Sunday morning who ate off a split check. We were raucous and polite but still. I drove back and crashed and had a quiet sunday in and thought of the night before and reminded myself that there are people who like me, I'm not a bad person and I need to remember just how much fun Friendsgiving is. My car has earned another dead glowstick on the rear view mirror for surviving the there and back. 

I have a short week of classes and i'm driving back to Reston tomorrow night after glass, I'm hoping to go the the Dc Kid Koala show, it's cheap I just need to buy a ticket and figure out where the fuck in DC the show is (U Street Music or something, I don't know). I should have something to say next week, we'll see. i thin I'm going to try to write here more often, I was just busy last week. That's okay, i'll be depressed again and need to talk about it so it's not like it's a path I've wandered once. 

Let's go out on a rock star.

Bella is a rock star.