Tea & Automatons

Diana Vick's corner of the interweb

The Traveling Life

For all of you that are going to be traveling to Steamcon, I thought I’d write up some thoughts about packing and such, especially in regards to steampunk gear.  A small aside, “garb” is the term used by the SCA, so I tend to call my steampunk costumery “gear” to differentiate it.  Hat, props, goggles, boots, corsets  and more!  Steampunk gear is complicated and fussy.   Here are some things that have worked and not worked for me in the past.

The biggest hurdle of course is props.  Weapons are especially difficult.  The more realistic, the harder they are to get to your destination safely.  TSA is a very suspicious organization, and probably with good reason.  I recommend not trying to transport anything that was ever an actual weapon.  They have no sense of humor and you may lose it.  So shell casings, even as decoration are a bad idea these days.

When I need to get large props to a show, I often will ship a box or two to my hotel.  This can be costly, and you are risking shipping damage, but sometimes it’s the only way to ensure things get to your destination.  Be aware, finding a FedEx office outside the hotel will save you quite a lot of money.  Hotels add on a lot of fees.

It worked very well for many years and then I had disaster strike.  One of my three boxes didn’t show up after a show in Detroit.  The identical one that did arrive, was quit damaged and it lead me to wonder if the other one had been even more damaged or destroyed.  I made a huge effort to track it down, but to no avail.  Long story short, about a year and a half later I got it back, mostly unharmed.  It does make me very wary these days.

One idea that I have found works well is to have a sturdy hatbox with a handle as a carry-on.  I put two hats nestled into each other and another tiny hat in them.  I add compasses, widgets and jewelry to the center if there is room.  Then I wrap the interior of the box with belts, goggles and such and then add a layer of squishable clothing.  TSA is likely to want to inspect anything that looks suspicious, but at least you can be there to supervise.  The last time my hatbox went through security I got a big grin from the handsome TSA agent, who then told me it was the “most interesting” assortment of things he had ever seen go through his scanner.  I wish I had had a Steamcon flyer to give him.

If you have a hat that won’t fit, simply wear it.  You will be able to store it overhead once you get settled and they never count it as a carryon.

Parasols and corsets are a bit problematic.  They can potentially read as dangerous metal or knives, so having them in a carry may not be the best idea.  It can be a risk to put them in checked luggage, but it will generally work better.  Putting a parasol in a large mailing tube and carrying it on can work as well.  You may need to pull it out for inspection.   Art supply stores have tubes with handles already attached or you can fashion one yourself.

For most clothing, my husband and I have nice hanging bag that folds up.  It is very handy to just pull everything out and hang it up when we reach the hotel.

I’m sure I’ve missed some tips, but Steamcon is about a week away, so my brain is well pummeled mush at this point.  I am so looking forward to seeing all the fabulous costumes that you all have created and sharing my own new creations.  It should be a marvelous time.  See you there!


Stay with Us at Steamcon V!

Steamcon, the Northwest’s premier steampunk convention is coming up October 25th – 27th.  The theme this year is “Around the World” which lends itself to explorer costumes and exotic apparel.  As a costumer, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t stay in the hotel.  I hate to limit myself to one ensemble so having a room means I can take a small break and change clothes when I feel like it.  And of course being Halloween weekend means costumes are a must!

The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is a gorgeous hotel with lots of amenities.  Did you know there is a fridge in every hotel room?  Eques, the hotel’s breakfast restaurant has some of the most amazingly decadent breakfasts.  Nearby there is just about everything imaginable, from restaurants, grocery stores, shops, movie theaters and even a bowling alley.

Steamcon has a special rate for the weekend, but this opportunity ends on September 23rd, so don’t delay.  Get your reservation to stay in the heart of the adventure!


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.

My Hard Rock Cafe Pins

For longer than I can remember I’ve been fascinated with cloisonné pins.  There is just something about them that makes me smile.  I’ve been collecting them for a long time, from Disney parks, zoos and aquariums and many other sources.  Eventually I had to make rules to limit my collecting.  Like most hobbies it can begin to take over after a while.

As an artist I thought that designing pins would be fun.  I designed and helped produce a few pins back when I worked for MU Press and even thought about starting a pin company.  There were too many aspects of running a business that just did not appeal to me so I let it drop.

One of the places I like to get pins is the Hard Rock Café.  I got my first HRC guitar pin in Paris in 1992.  Since then I have been to HRCs in Yokohama, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and many US cities as well.  When one opened up in Seattle, I was thrilled.  I am by no means a completist, but I go in every other month and buy a pin and trade with the staff.  The trading is very fun and I always look forward to it.

Steamcon III HRC Pin

One day when we were in, I mentioned to the retail manager that I thought it would be great to have an HRC pin commemorating our steampunk convention, Steamcon.   I knew that Dragoncon and Wondercon had done HRC pins and even the local Emerald City Comic Con had one.  She said it would take some doing and a lot of lead time, but it was possible.  I submitted a design, found a charity to benefit; the Historic Seattle Preservation Foundation and by Steamcon III we had an HRC pin.  As a pin aficionado I was quite proud.

By this point they had begun a Seattle HRC pin collector’s meetup every quarter or so.  I met some great folks and we traded and chatted.  They were extremely supportive of my Steamcon pin designs and commented on how different they were.  It was encouraging.  The retail manager decided to ask us fans what sort of pins we would like to see.  You could just write out a description or you could add a sketch.  There was no compensation or credit offered, but it was still pretty cool.  I submitted a set of six steampunk girls that I had been working on and a couple other sets as well.

When I was in Orlando, a manager there told me that corporate had decided all pins now had to have a musical component.  This complicated things a bit, but in the case of the Steamcon III pin, they added musical notes to the tail of the submarine.  On Steamcon IV’s mechanical bat, I didn’t see any changes at all.  When I submitted the steampunk girls I did not add any music, so I didn’t know if that meant they wouldn’t take them at all.  We weren’t told it was a requirement.  I did also do a set that is an anthropomorphic animal band, so I am hopeful that it will be produced.

Yesterday one of the pin collectors said that he heard that a set of three steampunk girls were coming out soon, but he didn’t know if they were my designs.  I then got an email from HRC asking if I had a preference about when they got released.  I said right away was good for me.  So, yes, they were mine!  Yay!  I still did not know which ones or what changes had been made.

My husband and I went to HRC Seattle the next night and sure enough, there they were.  They did add musical instruments and changed things, but for the most part I am pretty happy.  The staff was enthusiastic and supportive.  It feels great to be able to say “I designed those!”  A dream come true in a way.  Now to figure out how to design a Disney pin.  I am really not expecting that one to happen, but a girl can dream.

For anyone interested, the pins are currently available at the Hard Rock Café Seattle.  They are $12.00 each and are limited editions of 300.

Born Too Soon

I was born in the wrong time.  You are thinking “the Victorian era, right?” No, I actually think I was born thirty years too soon.  Let me explain.  I have been going to science fiction/fantasy conventions since the early 1980’s.  One of the things that really interested me about them was the costuming.  When I put on a costume, I felt empowered.  I had confidence.  I didn’t even do much costuming back then.  What little I did was pretty simplistic, but I was shapely, young and vivacious.  I had my picture taken a lot.  At Chicago Worldcon, I modeled chainmail and I have three grainy Polaroid’s of me in the outfit.  As the years went by, I got a bit braver and one year a friend who later went on to make props in Hollywood, made me a Valkyrie costume.  I donned a curly red wig, and my new costume and I entered the masquerade.  Long story short, I had fun and had my picture taken a lot.  I have about five pictures of that outfit.

From 1982 until about 2003, I attended hundreds of conventions, wore dozens of outfits and have a very pathetic amount of photos to show for it, most taken in front of a hotel room door before we headed out.  Somewhere in photo albums, my past is captured, but I rarely got to see the results.

In 2004, I got into doing more costuming.  My costumes got more and more elaborate.  I usually had a friend to take photos, so I at least have one or two photos to show for each new costume.  Still, each time I’d have my picture taken by strangers knowing full well, I’d never get to see the results.  Digital photography helped a bit, but most people were still putting them in random personal online albums and exhaustive searches might yield one or two if I was very lucky.  Tagging would have helped, but the photographer rarely knew your name and for the most part it is just too much work.  I get that.  Then I found Flickr.com.  Someone finally did photo sharing right.  You could not only tag, but you could allow others to tag your photos.  You could make groups and sets and galleries.  There are still some flaws, but overall it’s fantastic.  I have been encouraging people to scan their old photos and upload them.  The quality isn’t great but those of us who never saw them would be thrilled.

I still have a very hard time finding my photos, but now it’s often due to the sheer volume of photos uploaded, or improper bulk tagging of every possible tag for a set, which just obfuscates the information.  So, if I had been born later, then I would have a better chance of seeing photos of some of my earlier costumes.

So, here I am in my costuming prime so to speak, more elaborate than ever, with the miracle of digital photography and good sharing sites, but no longer being young and svelte, I am just not the photographic subject of choice anymore.  Costuming as a hobby is more popular than ever before, but it’s still the girls in the least amount of “costuming” that get the most attention.  It’s their time.  I get that.  Well, at least they will have a chance to find their photos.

——Please do not use this post as a platform to rant on weight, youth, beauty or feminism.  Take it for what it is, a lament about timing, on the lack of a technology and the hole in my past that can never be mended to my satisfaction.  ——

Gaslight Gathering’s Maiden Voyage

I went down to San Diego to attend Gaslight Gathering, southern California’s first steampunk convention.  Conveniently for me, my copy of Morlock Night arrived so I had new… well recently reprinted reading material for the flight.  I arrived on Thursday night so I could get a fresh start in the morning.  My main purpose was to run a promotional table for Steamcon III.  I also had a few panels and one talk to give.  The venue is a truly curious mish mash of former hotels, motels, convention facilities, restaurants and a spa that is now called Town & Country.  On my way there I discovered that we were going to be sharing it with a swing dance convention as well as a few others.  Luckily, it’s a big place, sort of an overly ornate rat maze for humans as it turns out.  There were many gardens, trellises and gazebos scattered about as well as lots of quite random statuary.  The room we stayed in was quite sumptuous.  I did have the good fortune to ride the elevator frequently with many curious mundanes who were quite charmed and intrigued by my description of our gathering for the weekend.  I suspect some of them dropped in on the festivities.

On Friday morning, after a very mediocre breakfast at the Terrace Café, I investigated the convention space.  The spacious merchants’ room was still getting set up and happily my Steamcon table was right inside on the right hand wall.  Registration, due open at 10:00 A.M. did not open until after 11:00 A.M. as often happens the first year, but I got tech support for my talk “Steampunk 101”, which was to occur at noon.  I feared that no one would make it since they couldn’t get registered in time, but I did have a small but enthusiastic audience, nonetheless.  It went well and I later heard a few people comment that they really wished they could have attended.  Afterwards, my roommates and I had a quick nosh and I went back to man my table and answer Steamcon III questions.  I must admit that this review will be a bit incomplete due to my table duties which prevented me from seeing the entire convention.  I bought a plushie octopus and a miniature brass diving helmet from a merchant in the room, which made wonderful table décor to go with Steamcon III’s 20,000 Leagues theme.

At one point I ventured out to get officially registered and found the door to registration closed.  I looked unsurely about and a spritely young thing asked what I needed.  When I told her that I was a panelist, she flung open the door and pranced inside announcing my status.  I was served promptly.  The program book is lovely and Steamcon’s ad is right on the inside front cover.  Sadly, there is a conspicuous absence of a map.  The membership badge is ungainly, approximately the size of a flattened paperback novel and attached to a lanyard, which I find less than useful.  I usually bring a spare clip to rectify this, but I had neglected to repack it.  My badge had a blue ribbon stating “Second Class” and a red ribbon that said “Panelist” already attached.  Anastasia, the fan table liaison came by and gave me a lovely little cloth insignia to wear.  I also purchased one of their handmade Gaslight Gathering pewter medals which are quite fabulous.  I spent the rest of the day talking up Steamcon and enjoying the enthusiasm of the attendees.

Food that night was found by walking across a bridge to the mall.  Dressed up as we were, we got a lot of strange looks and several inquiries.  People were generally bemused.  When we came back we checked out the dance.  It was up a flight of stairs.  The foyer was almost impossible to traverse due to all the photographers and their victims.  Once through, we discovered that the entrance to the dance let out into the middle of the dance floor.  This meant that the flow of traffic was blocked by new arrivals and once again … photographers.  We chatted a bit, wandered a bit and finally decided to call it an early night so we would be fresh for the day.

Saturday morning I went to the Terrace for breakfast again, and it was again fairly mediocre, but food is food.  I wore my Nemo’s Daughter admiral outfit complete with tentacle fingers for the day.  It got lots of attention for the special effects and the hat.  I sat at my table and was so busy promoting Steamcon III that I was a tiny bit late for my panel, which was down the courtyard, across a pool area, and up to the 9th floor of a neighboring building.  The lack of a map in the program book was inconvenient and since it is the most confusing space, I think it might be a very good addition for next year.  The panel was on faux finishes and it was very well attended.  My fellow panelists were quite knowledgeable and the hour flew by.  I think we could have gone on for a while, as we sort of did with random audience members afterwards.  I think that appointing a moderator might be helpful as there is a certain amount of chaos if there isn’t one.  Afterwards I ducked in to get my photo taken by “Tobias Eastman”, a professional photographer, since I was in the vicinity.  While waiting, I got an opportunity to talk to one of my fellow panelists, Arabella Benson, who is an absolute delight and very creative.

Later in the afternoon, I chanced upon the League of S.T.E.A.M. in the courtyard.  I would have chatted longer, but they are just so popular it’s hard to deprive others of their awesomeness.  I did get to chat with Baron Von Fogel for a bit afterwards and we are already scheming for Steamcon III.

Dinner was found at the mall again.  The manager at The Art of Shaving called out to us as we passed and was very interested in our endeavor.  He gave us some samples to take to our men.

We didn’t have concert tickets, so we didn’t bother to check it out although I later heard good things about Steampowered Giraffe.  The dance that evening was period dancing, which I am atrocious at, so I didn’t partake.  One of my roommates did choose to stay and dance but after chatting with folks for a bit we wandered off to find more people to chat with.  One never really lacks for entertaining people to talk to at a steampunk convention, and this one was no exception.  We found the charming Anastasia and she introduced us to more folks.   I talked myself hoarse, but that is nothing new.

Sunday morning, third time’s the charm, breakfast was better.  Or maybe you simply can’t screw up oatmeal?  Due to having to pack up, move all my things to the table and check out, I decided not to dress up.  I really hate being at a convention and not being dressed up.  I just don’t feel like me.  I had a panel on Thrifting at noon and then a panel I wanted to attend, so I knew I might be too busy to change.

Once again, I was deep in conversation when time for my panel came.  Luckily it was very close this time, so I wasn’t horribly late.  It was a full house again and it seemed to go quite well.  Arabella was there again and had a lot of show and tell, so I didn’t feel bad about slacking somewhat.

Right after my panel, there was a talk I was very eager to see, so I rushed off.  Gavin Scott, the creator and writer of the television series: The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne was going to be talking about it and showing some episodes.  The room he was scheduled in was changed, so I took the opportunity to walk with him and introduce myself.  I explained that I was a big fan of the show, had seen some of it when it aired and had done some casual campaigning to get it released on DVD.  He was gracious and seemed pleased of the attention.  The panel was sparsely attended, but it was Sunday and not everyone is aware of the show.  Rick Overton, one of the actors had been scheduled to appear as well, but had a family emergency, which I must say I was sad to hear.  I am a fan of his comedy as well as some of his past roles.   Gavin told us some of the history behind the show and then began showing episode 2.  He gave commentary and took questions during it since the sound was very faint.  To my deep chagrin, I really had to go and eat so I could not stay for the entire talk.  I debated finding something quick and returning but I also had an obligation to go back to my table, so I did.   Happily Gavin came and found me after his talk and gave me a copy of the newly released soundtrack, which I had him autograph.  He showed me his book of clippings from the show.  I wish I could have spent more time looking at it, but he did need to get going.  I told him that in many ways I felt that show was ahead of its time.  I mean think how popular it would be now, with all the steampunk interest.  I always point to that show when someone asks if there is a quintessential steampunk show.  It even has Jules Verne himself in it!  He seemed to feel that I just might be right.  Maybe we’ll see something come of it.  Meanwhile he says to write to Talisman Films and let them know you would love to get a copy on DVD.  I know I’m going to write them.  If they do put it out on DVD, I hope they take the time to create some extras and let Gavin tell the history behind it.  After all, he was steampunk before it was cool.

So that was a great end to my fabulous weekend.  I met so many wonderful people.  Saw so many interesting costumes and gadgets!  I heard that they got three times the number of expected attendees, but it never felt crowded.  It’s a quirky venue, but it works for our quirky crowd.  Well done Gaslight Gathering crew!  Book me on next year’s excursion!

My photo gallery for the event is here.

Going to Norwescon on Easter weekend?

Then you’ll want to check out my panels:

“Steampunk Art” Thursday   8pm Cascade 13

Is Steampunk art only for costuming and cool outfits and gadgets? No, we say! Come meet some artists to see how they use Steampunk influences and styles in their artwork!

“The Best of Steampunk Then and Now” Thursday   9pm Cascade 9

Steampunk is the combination of what the past is and what it means, and what the future is and what it means; like Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea where a 1950’s nuclear submarine shows up in an 1880’s fictional world.  What are the steampunk classics and what new fiction is driving it forward?

“Dieselpunk and Retro Futurism” Friday   6pm    Cascade 8

What is it, why and how you too can build your own jet pack, or at least look like you could.

“Twisting History” Saturday   10am      Cascade 8

History need not be dry and dusty. Certainly Steampunk has taught us that it can be fun and greasy! Learn to take a historical period and give it just the pinch or nudge it needs to set off a whole new fresh interpretation of ideas in fun ways, from tropical Tudor, kente cloth kimonos, Halloween houppelandes, Asian Regency, and many more. Blow the dust of the musty history books and let’s have some fun!

“Multi-Cultural Steampunk” Saturday   4pm  Cascade 13

The Victorian era happened everywhere, not just England. Come get some ideas on how to make your Steamy-wear a bit more exotic.

Also, a bit of fun at the Steamcon fan table:

Photographic Evidence Sought

Me at Norwescon 1986

Since the early 1980’s, I’ve been attending science fiction/fantasy conventions.  I began doing some costuming and really enjoyed it.  I didn’t own a camera, so I almost never got shots of my outfits.  Once in a while a friend would take a picture and give me a copy, but for the most part those images are lost in time.  This is not to say there were no pictures taken of me.  Many people would take my picture, but back in those dark days, there was very little chance I would ever get to see them.  As time went on, I would be a bit more diligent and try to get contact info, but it was still film and there was processing and a lot more hassle and expense.

Eventually we had the internet.  After a convention, I might do a few searches to see if people had put up their pictures and maybe, just maybe, there might be an image of me or my friends  that I would get to see.  It was very tedious.  I’d usually have to wade through a million pics of them having breakfast with friends and other things that were of no interest to me.  I really only wanted to see the costume shots.  Few people did any sorting and filing in the beginning.   A few places began to do galleries of costume pics from their convention, which was great.  They usually only focused on the masquerade entrants, but it was a start.

Once digital pictures were more prevalent, the photos online really took off.  No scanning required!  There were so many photo album sites that it was a hassle to search for them and then go through them.  When I first found Flickr.com, I was ecstatic.  A searchable online group of galleries!  Huzzah!  It was truly useful.  You could set up your own galleries and share your photos.  You could also set up groups and invite others to add theirs to the group pool.  I made a group called “Science fiction/fantasy convention costumes” to try and encourage participation.  I was thrilled when one person did actually go and scan in some old masquerade photos from the 80’s.  That was exactly the sort of thing I had dreamt of seeing.

I handed out cards to photographers suggesting they add their photos to the group so others could find their pictures too.  Unfortunately, most of the hard core photographers already had their own sites and didn’t want to take the time to put them up elsewhere.   I can understand that, but I still encouraged them to at least put a link to their sites in the appropriate group.  A lot of the younger folks did join in the fun and we had quite a boom.

Now the trouble is that convention groups like Dragoncon have way too many pictures for anyone to sort through.  In fact, you cannot look at the beginning of the group for long because Flickr limits how many pages you can search back through.

Me at Chicon 1983

Tagging photos with the type of costume or name of the character would help this immensely, but most people can’t be bothered to take the time to put more than the name of the convention on theirs.  In some cases the sheer amount of work it would require is daunting.  Even worse are the people who tag an entire group of photos with multiple tags, so the word “zombie” will bring up every photo they took in the batch that contains the zombie pic.  Frankly this practice is less than useless.  Sometimes, the photographer allows others to tag his work, but not always.  Recently, Flickr added the “add a person” function which allows you to tag the person if they are one of your contacts.  It’s great but only if you already know them and have them in your contacts.

I just tried to wade through photos from Emerald City Comic Con, but I found it has become a herculean chore.  Due to the ease of digital photography almost no one even bothers to edit out bad photos, leading to a sea of similar images.  Or they just add every photo; A hundred pics from the same panel of James Marsters speaking.   I know that my picture was taken many times, but the only one I saw was my husband’s.

So, we’ve gone from one lone photo we might really want to see being hidden in someone’s photo album in their basement to it being like a proverbial needle in a haystack.  I am not sure which is worse.  Famine or feast.

I make this plea to you dear reader, if you have some photos from days gone by of science fiction/fantasy convention costumes, consider scanning them and adding them to my Flickr.com group. I am sure someone would truly love to see them.  And if you are one of the many happy Flickr users already, please consider tagging your photos thoroughly and correctly so that the person who so nicely posed for you, might someday get to enjoy them.

Lost Trunk!

Me with the Suffragette for the last time.

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I attended The World Steampunk Expo in Dearborn MI.  It was very nice.  I gave four talks about various topics, so I had a good amount of my gear with me, including some of my gun mods.  We shipped a box and two trunks back to Seattle at the end of the convention, but somehow Fed Ex managed to lose one of the trunks.  As luck or Murphy would have it, this trunk contained two of my gun mods, including the one I am the most proud of.  I have worked with them to try and find the trunk, but to no avail.  I would ask that if you see this gun, the Suffragette, please let me know.  I would really like to get it back.  I know this is an enormous long shot, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask.  The rest of the contents of this trunk are in this  Flickr gallery.  I am trying to replace as much as I can, but most of it will be impossible.  I am devastated by this loss.  What’s worse, I am having a hard time planning our trip to Dragoncon now that I don’t trust shipping methods and I have never trusted the airlines.  Boots, hats, and props are all difficult things to transport.    There just isn’t any way we can take enough time to drive from Seattle to Atlanta.  These are the woes of a traveling steampunk.  I am sure at least some of you can relate.

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.