I can’t believe that the San Diego Comic Con is on Wednesday. Everything’s moving so fast forward that it’s a blur. I’ve finished 33 pages of the Conan material and need to tear through the last 9 to get it done. It would be really easy to do that with my normal deadline (the end of July), but wonderful complications have arisen.

To say that the Origins convention in Ohio has paid off is an understatement. The contacts I made there have started calling the studio and it’s rolled us directly into some wonderful projects for games that I loved growing up. The only one I can talk about at this stage is creature illustrations for a Dragonlance monster book coming out in November. Two other artists and I are ripping through them (the other guys are doing far more than I am… but I really wanted to contribute, so I’m drawing 5 of them), and the art director is loving what we’re doing so far. This in and of itself would be cool, but added to it is that I’m managing the project as well. My boss, Erik, has been so happy with the contacts and contracts I’m bringing in that I’m now managing any projects I get for the studio, acting as the schedule man, art director and contact with the client. Not too shabby for a guy who was just starting to color stuff for them 3-4 weeks ago… it doesn’t even seem real.

With that craziness, Erik wants me to go to all the major conventions this summer so we can expand the studio and their clientele side-by-side. That means going to the San Diego Comic Con from July 17th-21st, Gen Con in Indianapolis from July 24th-27th, Chicago Wizardworld from August 8th-10th and lastly the Canadian National Comic Book Expo in Toronto from August 22nd-24th. The summer just got a whole lot more insane, that’s for sure. I’m now working on Conan at a blistering pace to make sure it gets done in time, managing the Dragonlance project, corresponding with other potential clients and occasionally doing wacky things like sleeping, eating and occasionally going outside for a few minutes.

I’m adrenalized, excited and completely overwhelmed with it all. It’s an amazing opportunity and thrusts me head first into the industries that I love. I get to be social and still do artwork. I can build contacts and work on properties that I enjoy. I get to work with artists and improve my own skills as well. It doesn’t even seem real, that’s how quickly all this has happened. It’s some bizarre combination of good timing, social intuition and dumb luck.

Gal and I are trying to work it out so she can come to Chicago with me and enjoy at least one of the cons (it’s nice having a beautiful and geeky girlfriend). The other conventions are happening too soon for her to organize anything, and Chicago is a con that we’re driving to, so it will save the cost of flying and what-not. My aunt and uncle who we’ve been staying with have been super supportive and helpful, especially with the late nights and running around I’ve been doing.

Gal’s got all of her courses chosen and is slowly but surely getting pumped for school in September. She’s looking for another job so that she can make some extra money in the evenings, but it seems to be slim pickings for that so far. She’s had a really good attitude about the whole thing lately, so she’s going to keep plugging away and searching. With everything I’ve been doing, she’s been a real pillar for me, keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me on schedule.

Steven Withrow, the author of a book on digital comics let me know that the book is out and that I’ve got 4 pages of Photoshop tutorials and stuff inside. We had worked out him publishing this stuff months ago and I’d forgotten about it until he let me know that it was done. It’s available on Amazon and Wal Mart online, and should be in bookstores relatively soon. The book is called Toon Art.

Also, earlier this week I got a call from Scott McCloud. Scott wrote a couple great books called ‘Understanding Comics’ and Reinventing Comics’ that you should check out. He’s also pioneering a new way for web comic artists to sell their wares called BitPass. Venders are currently invite-only, so he asked me if I’d like to get in on the lower-than-ground floor on it with his invitation. So, in the midst of everything else, I’m retooling Makeshift Miracle for a BitPass release before I leave for the Convention on Wednesday. I need 6 more hours a day… 24 is not enough. Check www.makeshiftmiracle.com on Tuesday night to see if I actually get it done in time.

That’s the report. My next one should be after San Diego and will probably be long as hell with tons of photos.

Okay, gotta get back to the Conan stuff, approve roughs for art projects, and eat breakfast… CROM!

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