Now I've been to a few Comic Conventions (Fan Expo Toronto, MEFCC Dubai, Kapow! London, Delhi Comicon and Angouleme Band Desinee) as well as some art fairs (Kensington Market Art Fair and a Toronto Xmas Market) and these are the things are feel are important to keep in mind!
I took part in this year's even in Dubai and had a table at the artist alley. The artist alley here is the best I've been too so far in terms of space and accessories given to the exhibitor. By accessories, I mean the backing board for displaying your art work. What's great about it is that you can even draw on it, giving you even more opportunity to customize your space. The tables are not arranged edge to edge, rather there is at least a meter or space between each table. This is just amazing, its one of the more expensive artist alley tables but certainly worth for these luxuries. I hope they maintain these sort of things.
The crowd was also quite interesting. The first day, Thursday was excruciating slow, as is expected, but it gave me an opportunity to fiddle around with the stand and arrange it to perfection for the big busy day, Friday. And busy it was on Friday! What's interesting as well is that the crowd at comic con is not an accurate representation of the population of Dubai. In Dubai only about 20% of the population consists of locals, at Comic Con though it felt almost like 90%. It helps of course that they are so easy to spot visually (males in their white traditional robes and women in their black). There were also many people from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The cosplay was also really entertaining. The most interesting costumes are always those that are mashup of different characters or just plain original. The funniest were the groups of characters all dressed the same that would go charging through the crowds. One such one was carrying a rubber boat around. I never see these 'groups' in the north american ones, and wonder wha the reason is? I guess its cultural?
Another thing that amazed me was the lack of excitement and awareness around legendary talent such as Adam Kubert and Bob Layton! I was able to go have a chat with these gentlemen and even exchange prints and get some feedback. I really felt that there was not enough awareness of who they were or what they represented. I also got to get to chat with and get a great print from Otto Shmidt.
It's great for me to come back to Dubai, the place where I was raised, and show people how I've developed. I also still have family here, so that's a wonderful bonus. I hope to return next year, or perhaps even get invited if I can reach that sort of status!
This is my second year submitting to the TTC Sketching the Line and I realized in my first year I didn't pay much attention to the requirements. So I'm trying to be more aware, have some more fun, and do some fresh stuff with variety!
King Station Fantasy
I was standing in front of the King Station Ticket booth (on the inside) and just planning on sketching the booth, then when I turned the booth operator into a King because of the station he was at, one thing lead to another and a whole fantasy bloomed out of it! Next came the wizard with the 'Presto' card (i think thats a magician phrase or a wizard phrase.. not too sure, but it seemed to fit the joke). Then you have a humpty dumpty character strolling in, poles turned into trees, birds arrived along with structural elements of a castle... and ofcourse grass and rocks. What I'm most proud of is the logo which I changed subtle things to make it seem like it fits the picture, with the shield shape, the banner turning into a ribbon and the royal staffs...
This way! That way!
My next stop today was Union station and I wanted to get a good angle on the booth attendant, and first thing I noticed was how many people he was showing directions too. This way, that way, this way etc... He had moments of rest, but mostly he was showing people the way. I tried to get a little bit of background in as well to get some context.
On the way to Pioneer Village
My original intention was to get to the new subway station up north on University Line and find something interesting there. However, sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination, and this gentleman was in from of me for most of the journey so I could do a decent study. He got off, and I was done drawing him at York University Station.
Couple at Osgoode
After drawing for a while what always happens is that I realize that I'm drawing too many people who stay still and not enough of lively interesting moments taking place. So this is what happened here where a couple were getting cozy and engrossed on something on the tablet screen. I like the contrast between them and the very angular gentleman sitting in front of them.
Dieufaite Charles Live at Yonge and Bloor
I wasn't planning on doing any drawing but when I saw Dieufaite playing and a seat in a very strategic location the stars aligned. It's great drawing musicians because they have so much emotion when they are playing and of course hearing the music adds so much rhythm to the lines as well. I added in a passer by who started dancing to the tunes.
Sometimes just be walking around on the streets, watching the ads, reading the news, looking at street banners and listening to people you get a general sense of what the vibe is about. I felt for me personally, there were two prevailing themes this Canada Day. The first was idea of the Indigenous people (what is really being celebrated here?) and the controversy behind that big expensive rubber ducky. And so this cartoon came together! Canada is a great country and is a world of opportunity for many who have been lucky enough to immigrate here and I feel that whats needs to be celebrated.
After the first Kensington Market Fair, I really wanted to create something local to Toronto and specific to the neighbourhood of Kensington Market. I sat down for two sessions on the cracked streets of Augusta Avenue as Macho Longboarders wizzed and crashed by me, and drew ideas for how I'm going to represent this area. I've been exposed to a lot of Sesame Street recently as my son is an avid fan of these eccentric creatures. Here is my explanation of this drawing...
Note, to avoid verbosity I will constantly refer to Kensington Market as KM.
BIG BIRD - BELGIAN TOUCH
This is a reference to the Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles place in Kensington... its a big bird eating a waffle... and has a dirty pigeon on his head.. he also munching on my favourite Moo Frites. And you can also tell by his eyes that he's been 'ingesting' something that makes him hungry. An important aspect of Kensington Market ofcourse.
COOKIE MONSTER - LATIN FLAVOURS AND COFFEE
I wanted to represent the cookie monster wearing a poncho, and representing on the Latino food in Kensington Market, he is stuffing his face with empenadas, tacos, churros and burritos and ofcourse a coffee in on hand.. so many cafes in KM.
GROVER - REGGAE VIBES
There is definitely a strong presence of Carribean culture in KM and there is always reggae or dancehall music pumping loud from someone's speakers. Also there is a hint to the Rasta Pasta restaruant, as he munches on spaghetti...
ELMO - PUNKS
I always see these guys around KM and I don't really know what they are all about, someone told me that they are 'punks' so I'm going to roll with that for now. But they are definitely a distinct and interesting looking group.
OSCAR THE GROUCH - FRUIT AND VEGETABLE MARKET
Just thought this would look funny, I'm not trying to relate these markets with garbage as I shop there all the time, I just though it would be a nice hiding place for him and suited the spirit of KM.
COUNT DRACULA - RANDOM CHARACTERS AND COMMERCIALISM
KM is after all a market where goods are sold, and it can be suprisingly expensive for how things look in general. And so I have the count counting money and just dressed in a bizarre outfit. There are all sorts of interesting characters over here, and most of the time they don't fit any category.
SNUFFY-INDIAN/TIBETAN SPIRITUAL VIBES
It was easy to put Snuffy in this category as he is an elephant. I noticed there are a few trends almost anywhere you go in KM. There is Insence and there are Buddha statues. One of the main stores that has inspired that magic carpet is Dancing Days
KERMIT THE FROG - GAS MASKS
One of the wierdest things you can buy in KM is gas masks from this army surplus store. They are apparently children's gas masks from Russia. Wouldn't it be crazy if there was some sudden outbreak of some gas in Toronto and only people in KM scrambled to this store and survived?
ABBY CADABBY - VEGANS AND ORGANIC STORES
I felt like Abby's dress was really easy to covert into leaves or vegetables, so there you go! I also noticed a lot of ladies in KM had that hair style where it was really short at the sides and longer on top. One girl during the Kensington Market Art Fair actually came up to my stall and was vegan and dressed in the same colours!
BERT - THE HIPSTER
I can't tell you how many people saw this character and said 'hey, i now someone just like that'. The beard, the glasses, the napsack and the bike. Can't get any closer to the hipster uniform.
ERNIE - THE LONGBOARDER WITH A FOOTBALL SHIRT
There are lots of these vintage football shirts in KM, and also longboarders, so I decided to combine the two. 77 Nassau is the location of the KMAF and the first place I every displayed and sold this piece, so it made sense.
ZOE - THE VINTAGE CLOTHES AND FLOWERS
Vintage is a bit theme in KM, specially dresses from the 50s....
OTHER TINY DETAILS
There are blue bananas next to Oscar, and this is a reference to one of my favourite stores in KM, Blue banana.
Also there are all these electric poles, and in the summer the greenery and vegetation is wonderful. And ofcourse to remind you that you are in Toronto, there is the CN Tower in the background.
Note, this is by no means an illustration meant to promote or market stores in Kensington Market, this is just how I experience the Market, and my observations of it!
The TTC is taking in submissions for their on train gallery of work, and I'm going to be submitting the following sketches that I have made over the last year or so. Initially I was travelling for work everyday from Finch to Union station and so I got a lot of sketching time in... here are the five I'm going to submit. (You can see more of my subway sketches at http://daneshlifesketching.blogspot.ca)
1. The North York Station Jungle
I chose this one as I liked the parallel between monkeys in trees and how they grip on to branches, with people in subways and how they grip on to the bars. Also, I wish I had done this in more drawings, and that is write down names of stations so it places them better.
2. Hands in Transit
I'm submitting this one because it's different and unusual and I don't think many people will submit just hands. But hands are very expressive and on the TTC its interesting to see how they are constantly interacting with the environment.
3. TTC composition
I really liked how this composition naturally fell into place as I drew and this doesn't happen so often! I'm glad I drew the guy reading the metro newspaper so then at least you know where it is.
4. Rambling on technology
Having been riding the TTC for at least 20 years now I've noticed some difference as technology has taken over the scene and people have internet connections underground. I get frustrated with it after a while as I got tired of just drawing people on their phones!
5. The Scene
It's quite rare that I'm able to compose a whole scene of people on the train, but this one worked out that way as we had some extra time with signal problems on the ttc. I like that everyone is in their own world have their own unique expressions.