Tea & Automatons

Diana Vick's corner of the interweb

Jet City Comic Show

This weekend is the Jet City Comic Show in Tacoma.  I will have a table in the Artists Alley, #65.  I will be selling my wares and signing things, so please drop by if you can!  If you can’t be there in person you can always support me by visiting one of my online shops: Steamporium  or Art by Artvixn.  Thanks!


Where Do I Go From Here?

What should I do next?  With no convention to devote 80 hours a week to, I am finding myself rudderless.   I thought I’d pick up my art career, but I am finding that things have changed too much.  I was bumped from the furry convention that I thought would always be my staple.  The main stream market only seems to want the familiar; Batman or Harley Quinn etc. , so those of us that don’t want to do other people’s characters are not all that popular.  Comic cons have all become media circuses that leave us, small artists with no audience.  Thousands of people shuffling past my table, who look, shrug and continue on their way to meet *insert name of star here*.

I have some writing projects that I could do, but without a specific end goal in mind, I can’t seem to find the motivation.   I will try to do some of that for myself, but I don’t see it as a vocation.

They say “do what you love”.  Dressing up in costume is not a job skill and I am getting to old for it these days.  No, I am not saying you can’t look great at any age, but let’s face it.  No one really wants to see less than perfect people.  Fact of life.  And again, it is most definitely not a vocation.

So I thought about what I enjoy doing the most and digital collage seems to be the ticket.  I’ve done a lot of it in the past eight years, but I am entirely self taught, so there are thousands of people who can do it and do it better.  And I haven’t a clue where the market might be.    Also, being self taught and not very technically ept, I always run into problems, so I can’t really work for someone else, even if I wanted to.

I find myself feeling irrelevant, adrift and lost.  So probably TMI, but there you go.

Emerald City Comic Con 2013

So ECCC was good.  I am so tired today.  Bone weary.  Dry air, hard chairs and concrete floors for three days are hard on the old bones.  My ankle hurts where a moron ran into me with a cart when we got to the car after packing up the table.  Luckily I managed to not fall on my face into the glass display case I was carrying, but my ankle is still complaining.

We made many children and adults happy with the bin o’ cheap toys and the bin o’ stuffies.  Met a lot of pin and action figure collectors.  Overall we did pretty good.

My art got some notice, but not as much as I would have hoped.  It can be so disheartening to watch thousands of fans pass you by for all the big name artists, but every now and then someone would stop and look appreciatively.  I did get to meet a few of my very enthusiastic fans.  I even signed a Magic card, which I don’t think I have done in years.  I only painted three ever and one was cut from the deck.  One person had an odd moment when he realized that I was also the person responsible for Steamcon.  We did manage to promote Steamcon a bit and it’s amazing and worrisome how many folks still have just not heard of it.  Short of wandering the streets in costume, handing out flyers, I am just not sure how else to reach them.

I wore three different purple steampunk ensembles and they were well received, but as usual we only managed to get pictures of Saturday’s outfit.    I know that my picture was taken on other days, but I doubt I’ll ever find the photos.  Overall I think there was less costuming this year, but it could just be that they never got back to our table.  The show floor doubled this year and it was very difficult to get through the bottleneck on the Skybridge.  There were lots of attendees but there was even more stuff to buy so it’s hard to say if that works in our favor.

I bought a few cool things, like Brian Kesinger’s Tea Girl Calender, a pair of gorgeous goggles from Blonde Swan, and a couple steampunk appropriate necklaces.  I managed to resist the urge to shop like mad, which at ECCC is a superhuman feat.

I reserved my table for next year, so I need to make notes about what works and what doesn’t.  I am glad that I don’t do this too often, like many others do. It is fun, sometimes rewarding, but so much work.

The rest of my photos are here.

2013 Steampunk Events

There are a lot of fun steampunk events coming up.  Here is a list of the ones I know that I am going to do so far.  More may be added to this list in time.  I hope to see you at some of these events.  Feel free to drop by and say hello!

Emerald City Comic Con – WA State Convention Center – March 1-3

While this isn’t technically a steampunk event, there will definitely be steampunk art, merchandise and costuming.  I will be at table L- 20 in the Artists Alley with my Steamporium merchandise as well as my other art.

Steampunk Exhibition Ball – MOHAI – March 9th

A good excuse for steampunks to dress to the nines.

Norwescon – Seatac Doubletree – March 29 – 31

This is a general science fiction convention, but there will be some steampunk content.  Steamcon will have a promotional table in the main hallway and we will be doing raffles and selling Steamcon memberships.

Steampunk University and Store – All Pilgrims’ Church – April 6th

This is an excellent opportunity for anyone curious about steampunk to find out what it’s all about.  Even if you don’t want to attend classes, the store is a wonderful shopping opportunity.  Admission is Free.

Abney Park/Steam Powered Giraffe Show – Historic Everett Theater – April 13th

This should be a fabulous concert.

Brass Screw Confederacy – Port Townsend – June 7-9

The second annual steampunk festival held in picturesque Port Townsend.

Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale – All Pilgrims’ Church – June 15th

A wondrous market filled with art and wares from many of the merchants that will be at Steamcon.  It is a great opportunity to get your ensembles and props for the next steampunk events.

G.E.A.R.con – Portland Doubletree – August 5-7

Portland’s annual steampunk convention.

Time Travelers’ Rummage Sale – All Pilgrims’ Church – August 17th

One more shot at the great shopping opportunities before Steamcon.

Steamcon V – Bellevue Hyatt Regency – October 25th – 27th

Once again we present the Northwest’s premiere steampunk convention.  This year’s theme is Around the World and we plan on bringing you steampunk from many lands, exploration of the Victorian world as it never was and much more.  Professor Elemental has kindly offered to drop by and join in the fun as well as artist Brian Kesinger and author S.M. Stirling.  It will be a grand show!

Quick Update

Sorry for my prolonged absence.  Another Steamcon has come and gone and I needed a break after all the work of putting it on.  I think it was successful.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  You can get a glimpse at the fun in our Flickr group pool.  We will begin work on the next one in January and I’ll be putting up the details as soon as we have them sorted.

I am also trying to work on some of the projects that I have neglected in the past year, so hopefully I’ll be linking to many new things in the next few months.

As many of you are getting ready for the holidays, I thought I might mention a few of my creations that would make good gifts.


This is a small book filled with pictures using the idea of archetypes to figure out some interesting and different steampunk costume ideas for the ladies.





This is a full color book of many of my whimsical animals in colorful costumes.



This is a design I made in response to some of the comments about  my quote “Steampunk needs historical accuracy like a dirigible needs a goldfish”.  You can get a mousepad, or several other things with this design.




And lastly a steampunk themed Christmas card with an old fashioned feeling for your favorite steampunk.

Give us some credit!

These days, the internet has made it far too easy to find fantastic works of art and repost them anywhere with hardly a thought.  In the past I would occasionally trawl Cafepress or Zazzle for people selling famous fantasy artists’ work, like Boris or Olivia and report them.  It was unconscionable to me that people thought they could profit off of someone else’s creativity.

I do see a lot of people reposting work that is not theirs.  While I completely understand the desire to show your FB friends these wonderful little gems, please realize that …  you are still stealing. You may not be trying to earn money off of the art and your motives may be completely innocent, but oft times people assume you are posting art that you created.  FB does ask you if you have the right to post it, so you are at the very least perpetrating a lie when you post a picture that isn’t yours.

I’ve often seen a  piece of steampunk art posted in a group somewhere and thought, “Nice.  I wonder who did that?” but the person who was so impressed with the piece that they felt the need to post it didn’t bother to see who did it.   Seriously?

As an artist, I realize that by putting something on the internet, I run the risk of having it copied.  I know it’s nearly unavoidable.  So, how about you do me a favor?  IF you feel the overwhelming compulsion to repost my work somewhere, you give me credit?  Tag it with my name.  Maybe put a link to my website or the site you got it from.  If you like the work enough to copy it, take the time to credit it at the very least.  We really do appreciate that you like it and promote it, just give us some credit?

My table at Emerald City Comic Con

So, for the last few days I was running a table at Emerald City Comic Con.  I was selling my original art, the merchandise I have featuring my art and doing the occasional sketch.   Not being the typical superhero artist, I never know quite how my art is going to be received, but this is my third year and I feel like I am finding some of my fan base at ECCC.  I do anthropomorphics, or animals with human characteristics, in fanciful costumes.   It’s not to everyone’s taste and that’s fine, but I do get quite a few people who are very enthusiastic.   I had a head cold, so I felt under the weather but pretty much had to soldier on.

Friday was a bit slow, and I really wasn’t feeling very well, so it was even slower.  It’s the first time they had Friday hours and the room was open from 2:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M.  I didn’t dress up, and really didn’t feel that it was very useful.  I was hoping that things would pick up.

By Saturday, I was feeling better, so I dressed up to feel more in the spirit of things.  Unfortunately, right off the bat a complete jerk came to my table and began to inform me exactly how he felt about the genre I work in.  He grabbed a comic book off my rack, turned it towards me and said “How ugly is that!?”  His tone was jovial as if I would share in his glee of tearing down my own genre.   The book he picked up had someone else’s art on the cover, but his message was clear.  I nearly leapt across the table to throttle him.  Luckily my husband calmly took him aside and suggested that everyone in the entire room had their own particular tastes and he should perhaps be a bit more tolerant, the very topic of a recent blog of mine.  Glass houses!  You all live in the same neighborhood.  He left soon after, but I was now quite perturbed, but also feeling a bit gun shy.  Maybe I should just pack up and go.  If pimply faced, pencil necked geeks like him feel that they can just attack my work, maybe I didn’t want to wait around for more abuse.  However, in for a penny, in for a pound; I had paid for the space and I was there for the long haul.

Things picked up, and I had lots of friendly, encouraging folks come by and admire my art.  Even some people, who admitted they didn’t necessarily like the subject matter, told me that I had talent.  It was quite heartening.

A few hours later, the jerk came back, acting nice and asking to speak to my husband.  He asked if he could video “this” for his podcast, waving his hands at my display rack.  I was livid.  I told him no, and that  if he didn’t leave immediately I would call security.  Did he really think I would let him have fuel for his moronic tirade on his podcast no less?  The nerve!    I’m sure he will go ahead and make his infantile rant no matter what I do, but I was certainly not going to help him.  I went for a walk to cool off.  I told the incident to several friends and they were all stunned that someone would be so insensitive there in the midst of a comic book convention.  Talk about a glass house.

Me with some friends at the table

I was determined to put on a smile and cope.  My postcards, magnets and mousepads were selling.  I did a sketch for a girl of a pirate mouse that came out quite well.

An African man came to the table and looked through my work.  In a very thick accent he told me it was very beautiful.  Then he asked “why animals?”  Good question.  I showed him some of my game card work and said that it wasn’t because I couldn’t draw humans.  I just enjoy drawing the anthros more.  A dancing gypsy bear, a pirate fox captain are more whimsical, more fun for me.  I have always been a Disney fan and Robin Hood is one of my favorite movies.  I love The Rescue Rangers and Tailspin.  Pepe le Pew is one of my favorite characters.  To this day, I will watch almost any animated movie that comes out.  I didn’t go into all that for him, but simply said I find it more fun.  He smiled broadly and said “Keep young.”  I nodded happily.  Indeed.  I guess that is the crux of it.  Colorful, whimsical animals help me stay in that youthful mindset.

The rest of the weekend was good.  Sales weren’t as good as I would have liked, but they were decent.  The amount of folks that came by and enjoyed the work was so encouraging.  Working from home and doing things online can be deceptive and anonymous.  One can feel overlooked.  It’s really nice to get personal responses.

I tried to figure out if I had a specific demographic this year, but it was really not specific.  Whole families would come up and debate which postcards they should buy.  Men, women, young and old all seemed to be equally appreciative.   Last year I was pleased to discover how many young girls delighted in my work.    I never really saw my work through their eyes before.  My favorite customer this year had to be the child of some friends.  I came back from a break and he was clutching my Cleopatra postcard.  He had been too shy to talk to me earlier.  I knelt down and we chatted about the pictures.  He said he liked my Queen of Hearts and I asked if his mom had read him Alice in Wonderland. Yep.  But, he confided in me that Dad didn’t really like Alice.  We agreed that she was pretty neat.

One of the things that makes me really happy about living in this century, is the technology.  I used to do production work on comic books and it was tedious.  Also, you had to make a minimum order, store it and ship it yourself.  Such a hassle!  These days print-on-demand services are a godsend.  I can make postcards, stickers, mousepads and it’s so easy.  I have even realized a dream of mine and made a little book of my art.  It’s 40 full color pages and I can order just a few copies at a time.  Also, the print quality is fantastic.  Being the typical starving artist, I was strapped for cash before the convention, so I could only afford to order one copy to use as a sample.  I told my friends who said they wanted one that they could go to the site directly. On Sunday, a nice gentleman came up and spent time looking through everything, then said he’d like a copy of the book.  I explained things and said that I’d be happy to sell him the display copy if he didn’t mind.  He agreed and asked me to sign it.  It really made my whole weekend.  I sold my book!  I know if I had had more copies I might have sold more, but just the fact someone wanted it made me feel successful.

To add to my successful feeling, I have some of my designs coming out as rubber stamps on Wednesday from Queen Kat Designs!

I want to thank everyone who came by the table and showed me some love.  Self doubt and fear are always in the back of an artist’s mind, but nothing dispels them better than getting to see someone’s eyes light up when they look at your work.

Emerald City Comic Con 2010

Emerald City Comic Con was bigger and better than ever.  Last year, I shared a corner of a booth with friends, and it was alright, fun even but less than lucrative.  Getting a space in artist’s alley didn’t seem like a great idea at the time, but I took a chance.  This year, while I still didn’t make a lot of money, I made back my investment, which is a start.  I was worried that my art isn’t really the kind of thing that ECCC attendees are looking for.  I don’t draw superheroes.  I don’t draw renditions of other people’s characters, preferring to do my own thing.  But my whimsically dressed up anthropomorphics seem to appeal to folks.  I got my share of fans, and some were downright exuberant about it.  It was heartening.  I dressed both days in steampunk attire and it got lots of notice, which I used to promote my convention, Steamcon II.   For the most part, I’d say it was a success on a personal level and very fun.  Much thanks to Pell for helping me with the booth since my husband was needed elsewhere.

In the two days worth of sitting the booth, I had a few rather odd and/or wonderful moments.  I was asked to sign a guy’s cell phone.  I signed a lot of other things as well, but they were to be expected.  The phone was a unique thing to sign.  I talked to a lot of young people, mostly girls about my art.  One old friend brought his daughter and we chatted about what I do and what she might do in the future.  She was quite enchanted, I think.  Another man stood with his little daughter for a long time looking, and then said “You see.  If you keep drawing, you can do this someday.”  She nodded.  He went on to say “Do you see how pretty she is?  You will be that pretty too.”   *blush* I guess I’m a role model.   Who knew?

I got my picture in the Seattle Weekly slideshow for the con.  And there’s this nice shot of me on Saturday from a fan.  So maybe spandex isn’t necessary to get noticed?  I’ve already got my table for next year.  Can’t wait!

About The Author

Diana Vick

I am an illustrator, writer, costumer and steampunk enthusiast.
I have done illustration for comic books, animation and collectible card games such as Magic the Gathering and Legend of the Five Rings. Currently, I do art for my own line of cards and gifts in my Zazzle shop.