AtlantaCon was this past weekend and my son [Mike] and I had a blast! It was my goal to try and get sketches from Adam Hughes, Cully Hamner, Dan Brereton, Phil Noto and whoever else the budget would allow.
The con was scheduled to open at 1PM on Friday and we wanted to be there by 11:30 so that we wouldn’t be rushed. We got to our hotel before 9AM and I was surprised to find out that we could go ahead and check in. As we were checking in, Dan Brereton walked up and began to check in as well. He looked a bit tired so we decided to wait until the con to say, “hello.” As the elevator doors were closing to take us up to our room, Mike Kaluta came on board. He is always so friendly.
We decided to eat some breakfast before heading o ver to the convention center. Dan Brereton had the same idea, but since he was with a couple of friends we didn’t want to bother him. After breakfast, Mike and I headed over to the convention center. There were already other people there and the con wasn’t scheduled to open for another hour and a half!
I was talking to a couple of guys also hoping to get a sketch from Adam Hughes when I heard someone yelling, “Craig Zablo, you lied!” I looked up to see John Higashi coming down the escalator. “You said, you wouldn’t be here until Saturday!” John continued yelling. John is such a fun guy to be around. He collects Star Wars art and his collection is one of the best I’ve ever seen. He has art by almost everyone. Who else do you know that has several pieces from Drew Struzan? John came down and showed us all where the line would start so we could pick up our con passes, and then entertained us with pieces from his collection until it was time for him to go in. John had a lifetime membership to the show, which meant that he would be allowed in to the dealer’s room an hour before everyone else.
Once the lifetime members were allowed to enter, the regular paid attendees lined up at the door. Mike and I were fourth and fifth in line and so I felt my odds of an Adam Hughes sketch were pretty good. Cully Hamner had already put me on his list [thanks to an e-mail from Big Beatty — thanks, bro!] so Adam would be my first stop when the gates opened. From where we were standing, we could see the line for Adam was already nine deep and growing… The crowd was allowed to enter and I ended up 13th in line for an Adam Hughes sketch. When I spoke to Adam about what I wanted [a drawing of Sylvester Stallone], he seemed to like the idea. I left him a book for reference and hustled over to see Cully.
Cully remembered me and we discussed what I wanted. I thought that Cully would do a very cool Jack Carter. Cully hadn’t seen the movie but I had reference. I explained that Carter was a Vegas enforcer, a low level mobster. Cully looked at the pictures and said, “nice suits, right?” Yep. Cully said to check back later in the day.
Mike was already walking around checking things out. I caught up with him and we walked the convention center. Dan Brereton was setting up and I spoke to him about a commission. He said that he would definitely be interested. We agreed to hook up later in the show to work out the details. The first day wasn’t even half over and I had basically set up three commissions. I was loving life.
Jason Alexander‘s art is really cool. I spoke to him about a commission and he agreed to do a Rambo for my sketchbook. It turned out awesome. Watching Andy Lee paint was amazing. I spoke to him about a commission. We agreed on a Rambo. It also turned out great. i decided to check on the progress of Adam and Cully. Cully asked if it would be ok if he gave me the Jack Carter drawing in the morning which, of course, was no problem. Adam was still working on his first drawing. Gulp!
Saturday was the busiest day of the show. Kent Williams showed up [he shares a studio with Jason Alexander]. I told John Higashi that Kent was there [he wasn’t listed on the guest list] and John commissioned a really cool Star Wars piece! Mike spent the afternoon in a HeroClick‘s tournament. I walked around talking to more artist’s. Cully finished my Jack Carter piece. Whoa! I couldn’t be more thrilled with it! Adam said that he would have my piece for me on Sunday. Yes!
Believe it or not, the day was going to get even better…
[I’ll post the rest of my con report soon. Scans of my commissions and pictures from the con will also be posted soon.]