I am currently installed at Mary Capaldi’s house, enjoying an extended vacation after the amazing hecticality that was AnthroCon. It is very wet and green and there are fireflies. It is nice.
This AnthroCon was both the shortest and longest weekend of my life. It was short in that things flew by so quickly, but extremely long in that I spent so much of it awake. One of the things I wanted to do this year was take more at-con commissions, which I would complete by sitting up late and drawing with the other night owl artists. Which I did. With abundance. Between Friday, Saturday and Sunday I managed approximately four hours of sleep, and twelve colored or shaded pictures. That’s not counting the numerous sketches I did at my table during the day.
The result was that, though this was by far my most lucrative AnthroCon ever, I spent much of it running on pure willpower, and by Sunday evening I was little more than a drained shell that somewhat resembled a human being.
Nevertheless, when asked what my favorite part was, I find myself so inundated with happy memories I am unable to answer. So I have done my best to compile a brief list.
1. Walking through Pittsburgh to visit the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. It was interesting to see the different sides of the city, the overgrown houses and cracked sidewalks and slick university streets and the walking paths that disappear into forests in the middle of the city. The museums were cool, too. There was a quetzalcoatlus northropi skeleton, and I found a Van Gogh original.
2. Setting up my dealer’s table with my dear friend Susan. They turn off the AC in the exhibit hall so they can open the loading bay doors and people can drive their cars directly onto the floor, and by the end of it we were both hot, tired and sweaty. So we took a break before going on to the art show and went and got ice cream.
3. Suiting as Tachyon with Graham, another Angel Dragon. It was so much fun running through the con and playing with people; Graham is an excellent companion for Tachyon and they make an adorable couple.
4. Going into the rave dance, as Tachyon. Being in suit allows you to be even more flamboyant and obnoxious, and though everything is harder and hotter in suit, getting to play with the other dancers more than made up for it.
5. Running along the Three Rivers Heritage trail. It was good to get out of doors, and Confluence Point Park was a beautiful place to go. Several times I crossed the Allegheny and continued on to where the USS Requin, a Cold War-era submarine, was docked.
6. Getting absolutely hammered in the Dealer’s Room after opening on Friday. I have never filled my queue so fast—and I’d doubled it’s capacity from last year. Having Susan to help with taking orders was a massive help. I honestly don’t know how I’ve managed alone in the past.
7. Attending 2’s comedy show on Friday night. 2 got caught in a little bit of a social media snafu right before the con, but he came out firing on all cylinders and didn’t pull any punches. It was marvelous.
8. Sitting up late drawing with Diana Stein and company. The feeling of being in a room with other artists all concentrating on drawing, drawing, drawing is one of the best in the world. How good is it? It kept me up until 5:00 AM finishing all the orders I took that day.
9. Learning about Parkour. At 7:30 AM the following morning. You’d think two hours of sleep wouldn’t be enough to allow you to go running and jumping around on rocks and things, but I felt surprisingly good and only scraped my knee a little bit.
10. Having the people who said they’d come back and commission me later actually come back. It was heart-warming and so encouraging. Thank you.
11. Ditching the Dealer’s Room briefly to go as Tachyon to the Dutch Angel Dragons meet. It was great to see so many other cute suits, and to join up with my beloved Graham again.
12. Crashing Matthew Ebel’s show and starting a conga line during “Normal is Not for Me.” It was fun last year when I went as myself. It was even better in suit.
13. Staying up until 5:00 AM again drawing and finishing commissions. I might have finished earlier, but I got into a fascinating discussion of Unschooling with another artist.
14. Getting to talk to and draw inspiration from the other late-night artists. I am particularly indebted to Brenda Lyons and Dark Natasha, who helped me more than they probably know. And of course to Diana Stein, who got everything started.
15. Getting to draw in the same room as Ursula Vernon, who was kind enough to put a dragon in my Drakendillion. Also a highlight.
16. The Sunday Charity Special I concocted, on the spot, to raise money for the Western PA Humane Society. It gave me a chance to have fun with my new brush pen, and people liked it enough I was able to raise $70 for the con charity.
17. Live-drawing 2 and Uncle Kage’s charity show. On stage. This was a phenomenal experience and a dream come true. I’ve admired 2 and Kage for years, and to be able to share a stage with them—and the main stage of AnthroCon, no less—was an overwhelming honor and one of the greatest pleasures of the convention. That I got to do it with my trusty friend Mary at my side was even better. I owe a great debt of thanks to Alector Fencer, who supplied the Cintiq for Mary to draw on, and bowed out of the show so she could participate. Vielen Dank, meine Blümer.
18. Getting invited to the security after party, and getting to sample so many different single malts. I can now say with assurance that I find Jura extremely appealing, and Aberlour is an excellent starter. Irish whisky tends to come on sharp and acidic and finish fruity, and Lagavulin is still the best thing ever.
19. Witnessing Ursula Vernon finding out she had been nominated for a World Fantasy Award. Live the dream woman, you deserve it all.
20. Getting to sleep for over five hours on Sunday night.
Despite all that, I have left so many things out. There were so many people I wanted to see who I didn’t—or didn’t see enough of—and things I wanted to do (suit as Tachyon) that I didn’t get to do as much of as I’d have liked. Yet taken altogether this was perhaps the most exciting AnthroCon ever, and I will treasure the memories I made last weekend for the rest of my life.
And for everything else, there’s always next year…