Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Book Expo America

Last weekend I attended the Book Expo America in Los Angeles. It was a great opportunity to meet and great folks involved in publishing and selling books and graphic novels. As an illustrator I looked for opportunities to talk with artists, buyers and publishers. One nice thing about this year's event was it's focus on Graphic Novels.

I started the event by attending the Graphic Novel breakfast hosted by Diamond and with panel members Jeff Smith creator of Bone, Art Spiegelman creator of the Pulitzer-Prize winning Maus, Mike Mignola creator of Hellboy, and Jeph Loeb who has many hollywood and graphic novel credits, including the TV show Lost. It was great fun to listen to them discuss their careers and comment on the industry. In that regard I was most surprised by Spiegelman who turned out to be a truly interesting artist, with a very funny presentation and clever comments throughout.

At the end, I took a chance and went to introduce myself to Jeff Smith. To my surprise there weren't that many people lined up to talk with him so it was fairly easy. He was very gracious and friendly and I appreciate the time he took to look at my work and talk about self-publishing.

Another surprise came when I literally, almost ran into R.A. Salvatore in the Wizards of the Coast booth. I've been reading his fantasy novels for a few years, and as luck would have it, I picked up one of his graphic novels from the Devil's Due booth earlier in the day. I had no idea he was signing at the show and must have looked really silly when I exclaimed "It's you!" after I saw him. Incredibly I had the graphic novel for him to sign and I happened to have a tearsheet with my fantasy illustration work on it. I don't know if he understood me completely but I showed him that two of the four paintings were actually inspired by characters in his books. For example Catterbrie and Bruenor.

So after all, the show turned out to be fun for me as an artist and as a fan.

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