John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey
the_gneech

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Further Confusion Con Report, #2 of 4

SAT --

Another day, another Starbucks breakfast. Unfortunately, with the late night, things began to get a bit fuzzy in my memory. The first big priority was to get my sketchbook to Michele Light before the dealer room opened, to get her to draw Tiffany.

Wow, did she draw Tiffany. 0.o Time for the day's first attack of Artist Inadequacy ... the first of many.

After MFF was so exhausting, I had a policy at this con of only taking what sketches I could do at the table, and no "homework." That was also because I had commitments in the evenings, i.e., the room party the previous night, and Iron Artist Saturday night. That policy served me well, I think ... it certainly kept me in a state of "only slightly over tired" rather than "dead Gneech walking." As it was, I found myself less-than-happy with the results of most of my sketchbook entries, partially because I wasn't firing on all cylinders.

Fortunately, my specialty isn't the beautiful artwork, it's the clever idea, and I think for the nost part that I managed to deliver on that. My favorite gag of the day was inspired by the sketchbook theme, "In Repose." Most of the artists who'd drawn in the book had done cheesecake pics of furry gals in various states ranging from "sleeping kyootely" to "presenting pornographically." About what you'd expect really. Wanting to be "Mr. Different," I drew a picture of Tiffany in a classic fencing pose, with a doodle at the bottom of Tiff saying, "Um, that's 'in riposte,' not 'in repose,'" and me looking down at a sketchbook and saying, "Aw, CRAP!" (Trivia note: Thomas K. Dye of newshounds was kind enough to pose for that particular sketch ... who says webtoonists don't stick together?)

That evening, I had a "writing webcomics" panel with Walter Crane (the art GOH), graveyardgreg, and Tyrnn. (Tugrik of purrsia.com had been scheduled to be on the panel, but felt like he had nothing of value to add, and since Tyrnn wanted to be on the panel, Tugrik stepped down to give him a spot.) Of course, most of the big web cartoonists at the con who weren't on the panel, came and sat in the audience instead ... kevinjdog, genecatlow, and pocket_entropy were all in attendance. Thomas in particular was acting almost as an ad hoc moderator from the floor and did a great job coming up with leading questions. (GG and I also entertained the audience with our usual buffoonery.)

A large party of us went off to dinner to "Su's Mongolian BBQ," including the ever-abusive krag_carbine, who pounded rather hard on my arm several times for having the timerity to not let him know I was coming so he'd know to bring me his sketchbook to draw in. Thankfully, when I dropped into my KF stance, he seemed to back away from that whole pounding thing. ;P We had fun harassing Albert Temple, chatting with Kris and Shawna, and making jokes about the content of the food, then I had to get my keister back to the con for Iron Artist.

I was the first of the judges/artists to get there, so I hung out with Nicodemus and Higgins a bit, or more accurately, I waited in the greenroom while they frantically got ready. In the headless lounge, I ran into T'Chall in his fancy new fox suit, and asked him to do me a favor -- at some point during the Iron Artist to step into the show and start cheering "Gneech, Gneech, Gneech" to help liven up the show.

I found a large, prop dollar bill (probably left over from the masquerade or the furry variety show) and worked out a little bit of "bribing the judge" business as well. But the main thing that I did to Bring the Funny (as Websnark would say) was to have the Big Bag O' Materials. This was inspired by the Iron Artist rule that artists could bring their own materials to supplement the Mystery Medium, and so Kerry had filled a tote bag with all kinds of craft supplies, including yarn, tape, duct tape, a tape measure, an iron file, needlenose pliers, paper clips, post-it notes, and business cards. I added more business cards (I didn't realize she'd put them in), my mascot Kero plushie, a SOG tool borrowed from Kris, and a bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream.

Mmm ... Bailey's...

I asked Nicodemus to introduce me first and give me time to do the stage business of pulling all the materials out one-by-one, making each piece I pulled out sligtly sillier than the last. I kept on going as the other Iron Artists were introduced, finally culminating by turning the bag upside down and dumping the cards and paper clips all over the place in a spectacular, confetti-like display.

Truth to tell, I figured I was going to lose the competition, so I wanted to go out in style. ;)

The Mystery Medium turned out to be stained glass, or in this case, acrylic steets, faux-lead paint, and colored glass-staining paint. It was a cool idea but one fraught with peril because the faux lead took 10-15 minutes to set as it was, and there was a 30 minute time limit. The medium wasn't hard to work with ... in fact the colored paints blended beautifully, but it took some getting used to. (At least, it took ME some getting used to! OceLoT and Marci McAdam took to it like a fish to water and just sorta slapped down these frickin' gorgeous tableaus. Man, there's nothing like standing next to genius to give you an incredible sense of Artistic Inadequacy.) But once again, my specialty is the clever idea, not the beautiful picture, and so I decided to take the "Furries On the Nile" theme of the convention and create "Leonapatra," or as an unidentified audience member put it, "Queen of DeNile." ;)

My challenger rather hurt his score, I suspect, by going for a very abstract image -- as in, so abstract that the judges had a bit of a time making out what it was. Why he chose to challenge "Iron Artist: Cartooning" with a watercolor-looking creation called "Soldier," I don't know, but that's part of the "art under pressure" nature of the competition I suppose. Of the two pieces, I think the other fellow's was actually a nicer piece of artwork, but mine was more readily accessible and had a touch of humor ... and for Iron Artist, that gets a better score.

The big fight for this one was between Trixi and reigning Iron Artist: Cute, Marci McAdam. The difference between them was 1 point, but Marci managed to cling to her title by her fingernails. She is now the reigning queen of Iron Artist, having won four times. (Vince, despite what they said at the competition, has won three times, not four. I suspect he's much happier as a judge anyway!)

Once Iron Artist was over, I lurked a bit afterward to talk and schmooze a little with herbietoons_art and the writing GOH, Alan Dean Foster. I didn't get Mr. Foster to sign my badge, but I was pleased that he'd immediately recognized "Gneech" as being derivative of "gneechees" from his books. From there I got totally ditched by Herbie, which amused me since it was Herbie's suggestion that we should hang out some ... but all convention plans are tentative and after a while I've taken a "take what comes" attitude toward these things. (Or as Bill Murray would say, "It's an honor just to be nominated!") Instead, Mako took Thomas and me over to Kerry's place, where we hung out for a while and had a nice chat. :)

Bed, come to me now!

Sunday and Monday to follow later, I still have to write them up.

-The Gneech
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