Alternative Press Expo Part 1: Overall


This will be a three part blog entry, each highlighting a different topic. This one focuses on the over pros and cons of the event.


So I went to Alternative Press Expo this weekend. Glad I didn’t get a seizure from over excitement. And I kind of regret not shoving my hand into all the ‘free candy’ bowls. Still, incredibly experience as always. Lots of more serious artists than other places. I barely bought a thing on Saturday, and barely spent much on Sunday. One reason is because I already had a lot of things that were sold from last year. Second is that I haven’t really had much of a chance to save any money. Third is that quite some people I wanted to see….weren’t there :(

above: ARCH Supplies was one of the incredibly few merchandise tables that didn’t sell comics. I didn’t even see that sign that said ‘ARCH’ on it when I ran to the table, and the guy was like ‘HEY!’ I had that usual blank face when I was staring at him for a minute. It took me a bit to realize it, but wow even the art store guy recognized me!

Things that happened:

  • meeting/seeing people I know: Walking down every row at APE, someone would make eye contact and wave, or tap me on the shoulder and say ‘HI!’ Soooo many people were from CCA (California College of the Arts). Classmates, teachers/faculty. In fact, I don’t think I knew half their names, and I think I’ve never seen a few in my life. I have this really funny feeling that the MFA comics department knows who the hell I am after the Phil Jimenez show.
  • Classmates with tables: Stuff to buy, stuff my classmates were selling. I feel a bit guilty for not just lavishly spending money on my classmate’s stuff, but I call that ‘pity buying’, where I buy things I don’t seriously seriously want from someone I know so they can make profit.  Maybe something minuscule, but nothing big. I mean it always cheers me up when someone buys my stuff, but it also disappoints me that they end up never being hung on the wall and often stuck in some dark corner or tossed. I sound really harsh, but with more than half my room covered in OTHER people’s’ work, I think I know when to stop doing that, and that I’m sure my CCA buddies understand the other way as well.
  • People look at my work: This year was a bit more supportive than last year. I’m glad I wasn’t completely rejected by a guy who already saw my art half a year ago. I do this to every comic convention–not to just flaunt my work (there are many with better portfolio), but to see if groups are interested, have commercial media companies tell me what they like in my work, what to focus on, and what direction might be good to head to, and make sure my improvement is constant. My work may have started in one direction last year when someone at APE told me to ‘work on backgrounds’, and so I started improving, and now that led me to a better understanding about how to ink them in pencil drawings.
  • Comic Creator’s Connection: Very interesting event. Kind of like speed dating with script writers. I’ll have a blog entry about this soon. Let’s just say that it came out incredibly positive.

NOW, let’s start with the cons, at this con (get the joke?)

  • Biggest issue I had was THE NOISE. Hoo boy it was so loud that  many times I’d literally be shouting at the other person’s ear or repeat over and over to say what I’m trying to say. It was freakin insane. Even upstairs when I was doing the Comic Creator’s Connection event, it was still just as loud, PLUS all the talking across from us with the lecture/event.
  • Not enough time. Usually conventions start at least 10am for artist alleys. I had Comic Creator’s Connection, and that already killed two hours.
  • “Walls”: For anyone whose table was set up on the sides of the building or along the bars, you are one fortunate motherf*cker. That is very rare, but because you guys all had that, it was SO much easier to see what people were selling instead of staring at the table. I feel very uncomfortable making eye contact with artists, and by pretending like you’re staring at the wall, it’s much easier for me to concentrate on whether I should buy it, instead of that crazy guilt I feel when I see the artist’s near-crying eyes begging me to buy something, or have them say ‘HEY CHECK OUT MY SWAG’
  • Stupid name tags are too delicate. Even before the day ended my tag fell off its necklace thing, and I literally had to shove a new hole through it with a pen and stick it through again. That is bullshit. But at least they are saving that extra plastic. However, next time they do this, they should have those donut-shaped stickers  you stick on line paper when it rips.
  • No bags upon registration: I mean…it’s not a HUGE deal for me anymore because I know it’s San Francisco and I knew there wouldn’t be much about plastic bags when you registered for APE, but I think they should have noted that on the site earlier, just in case.
  • Anime Destiny and New York Comic Con were on the same weekend as well.
  • That map they provided was INTENSE. I had no idea how to read that thing!
above: Fuji Dreskin (red hair) sitting behind table. Seeing as tables costed so much, I hope everyone who had a table at least broke even :(

And now for things I liked:

  • The registration took less than a minute, even when Laurel and I were a bit late.
  • The tickets were quite affordable for two days
  • Advertisement: Okay you’re probably thinking this is the most goddamn annoying part of cons–all those extra postcards and papers you’re never gonna read that they put in your bags at cons. Well, they didn’t have any bags, and they laid everything on two tables. So you could CHOOSE what ads you wanted to keep. I looked for ones that were offering opportunities/publishing/printing….things I might be able to take advantage of. Very nice. However, Sunday the table was a shit pile because people just tossed them everywhere.
  • People and artists: As always, there were plenty. And for the record, there may have been a LOT of people, but I’ve seen way more hectic ones before. If I can super-walk-dodge across a row with a bag in each hand without bouncing into anyone on Saturday, I will say it wasn’t too crazy.
  • Toilet paper in the stalls, and water in the water fountains

above: Tone Rodriguez actually caught me when he said ‘didn’t I see this portfolio before?’ Damn. Well, at least this entire portfolio was full of comics and not my usual cg drawings), so he read my stuff. WHEW. But then comparing what he saw at Big WOW and now, I’m improving, at least. Even I get aggravated if the same person hands me the same drawings and ask what I should improve on, so I completely understand. 

Overall, loved the thing. Even if I said there were a lot of cons, the fact that there were so many serious artists who were here makes it way better.


2 thoughts on “Alternative Press Expo Part 1: Overall

  1. Pingback: Alternative Press Expo Part 2: Comic Creator’s Connection » Artwork from Jackie Lo

  2. Pingback: APE and Beyond | Fuji Dreskin Illustration

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