Saturday, October 25, 2008

Anime Banzai 2008 - Day Two report

Anime Banzai 2008 Report - Day Two

By Kris

This report is available at J LHLS and Manic About Manga. Feel free to check them out!
I feel really lame saying this but with today's stretch of Anime Banzai I was unable to attend. I woke up really sick this morning so I had to stay home in bed. I was looking forward to attending many of the panels today, but my health is always more important.

Seeing how I missed today, I'll focus this report on the artists that I had the opportunity to meet yesterday. There were so many talented people that I chatted with in the Artist's Alley. Not only were the artists selling beautiful fan art, but they also had a lot of insight into anime conventions as well.

The first artist I spoke with Samantha Wagner and friend. They were selling plush sushi, Kingdom Hearts heartless plush, onigiri, cat ears and tails, and other plush items. They gave me the lowdown on the deal with cat ears and tails in Japan, the other conventions they've participated in, and gave me a great website to check out anime. They were really helpful and really fun to talk to. Next up was Howard Tayler. He created a webcomic called Schlock Mercenary. He talked about how many of his fans tend to be former military servicemen. He also talked about how he gave up a six figure a year income to become a cartoonist and that he hasn't had any formal training but got hours and hours of practice to get better. He was very interesting to talk to and he even parted with a Schlock Mercenary book for review (I'm reading it right now and will provide an official review later.) I stopped and checked out Naruru's work. I didn't get much of a chance to visit with her but her fan art drawing of Axel from Kingdom Hearts II was gorgeous, it stopped me in my tracks.

The next artist had some great craft items like Christmas decorations, candles and the like. She and I had a great conversation about Gravitation, which was my first foray into manga and my introduction to boys love. Jessica Douglas and Jenny Lundin were up next. Jessica told me that Jenny is an artist who resides in Sweden and so she sells both Jenny and her own work. Jessica has beautiful fantasy style prints that are so full of rich color. Jenny's work features a lot of very hot men. I was very impressed. The two became friends online and try to meet once a year. She also told me that she travels to around five conventions a month as well as working on books and commissions. Wow! She is one busy lady! I chatted with the representative from the Japanese Consulate in Denver about the JET program. For those who don't know, it’s a knowledge exchange established by the Japanese Government. It is something that sounds very interesting to me and I want to something like it as soon as I earn my Bachelor's Degree.

I visited with David Hall. He has created comics that are featured on his website. Not only that, but his comics are being turned into a video game. Next up was the Ybarra's they are an artistic family that show work at anime conventions. I was very impressed. Susan's husband not only does fan art and commissions, but he creates new works and wants to create his own manga. Susan claimed that she wasn't artistic like her husband or kids but she crochets scarves and the like. They even had one that looked like Domo-kun. The next artist I was very excited to talk to. She only shows her works at Anime Banzai and she created handbags out of old Shojo Beat magazines. How clever is that! She also talked about out of the entire genre's of manga and anime out there her favorite by far is Shojo.

I spoke with Chris Hayes. He is a phenomenal artist that draws his inspiration from both manga and American comics. Not only did he have beautiful work but he was a blast to talk to. He was a veritable fountain of information. He talked about buying Gundam kits at conventions, to learning to sew so he could create his own costumes to wear at conventions. His desire is to create his own comic series and video games. I wish him the best of luck; he definitely has the talent! Sterling Eventide was the only Gothic Lolita artist. He creates one of a kind Victorian hats to go with all your Gothic Lolita wear that you get from Japan. These hats were stunning. They were so detailed and gorgeous. He also is creating comics and beautiful art. The art reminded me of the Italian artist duo Dany & Dany.

By this time in Artist's Alley it was very warm and the crowds were getting larger. So I only talked to a couple more artists. Mad Mouse Media (I failed to get her name) not only created fan art, originals, and commissions, but she also hand knits beautiful scarves. Two of the most beautiful scarves I've ever seen, she created. One had a cherry blossom and the other had bamboo. Gorgeous! She was one of two artists who weren't locals. The final artist I visited with was Jez Sellers. She also creates new works as well as fan art and commissions, but what really drew me in were her original comic strips. They were very funny.

At this point I was exhausted and hot, so I headed up and bought a couple of small bags (one of which has the saying "I love yaoi" embroidered on it, how appropriate) and headed home. I found that Anime Banzai was a great convention to attend for a newbie like me. It was located close to my home, there were a lot of friendly people, and they all gave me such great advice on how to get into anime, manga, and cosplaying, and how to handle conventions. Seeing how the large comic book and anime conventions are held on either coast, having one here in Salt Lake is great for those who don't want to travel hours and hours and hours to get to a huge convention. The hard work of the convention organizers definitely shows and you can tell that they really care for the attendees as well as the medium that they are celebrating. So if you want to attend an anime convention that isn't one of the large coastal cons, check out Anime Banzai in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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