Brief Words

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L.A. County Fair writing competition

Interestingly enough, I hadn’t even seen this story prior to my daughter submitting it for the writing competition. I’m obviously proud of my little writer.

 

L.A. County Fair

My four little tykes.

Mickey Mouse typewriter

There was a really cool animation exhibit at the fair, and needless to say that Disney was obviously well-represented. Here’s a cool little Mickey Mouse typewriter toy.

Animation Studio typewriter

Warner Bros was also well-represented at the animation exhibit. Here’s a little Royal typewriter that featured in animation history.

Six-String Withdrawls

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Hamer Talladega

If I were to get another guitar – which I won’t – it would be this model from the now-defunct Hamer company.

Hamer Talladega Jazz Burst

To be more specific, it would be this Talladega with a jazz burst which is currently on ebay for the unaffordable sum (to me) of $2760. Oh, well. I can dream…

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You can visit Wild West Guitar’s website HERE.

Underwood typewriter - Jol Dantzig's studio

On another note (because I was sharing the Hamer Talladega), here’s an interesting shot of a “board of inspiration” at Jol Dantzig’s shop. Dantzig is a co-founder of Hamer guitars, considered by most to be the first-ever boutique/custom guitar shop. Dantzig is a master luthier, and you can try to spot this image in the following video clip.

Comic Con 2013 Update

iron-manOne of the perks of being a professional illustrator is getting complimentary 4.5-day passes to the San Diego Comic Con. I’m also usually able to take a guest for free, but they limited the amount of guest passes they were issuing this year. If you didn’t register within the first few hours, you were out of luck.iron man gray

Hooters

In recent years, the parking situation has been improved by the pre-selling of parking passes. This has eliminated having to arrive unnecessarily early in order to snag a spot at the convention center or at the Hilton, next door. It has also eliminated the traffic congestion in front of the convention center, since those without parking passes don’t bother to drive up to the building.

Preview night was incredibly swamped, but Thursday was a little lighter — not because there were fewer attendees, but because many were attending panels or waiting in lines upstairs or outside. This is not to say Thursday’s floor traffic was light — if you’re demophobic, you still wouldn’t have lasted two seconds. I also noticed fewer people in costumes. I suspect many attendees were saving their costumes for the weekend. I really didn’t get any great pics, but hopefully the ones posted here will suffice.

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There’s really no one I desired to see so badly that I was willing to endure spending all of my time in long, sweaty lines, so I pretty much avoided the panel discussions altogether. I’m mostly interested in walking the floor and seeing what’s new, and maybe purchasing an art book or two. I can pretty much cover the floor and see everything I want to see on Preview Night and Thursday, so I don’t make the fullest use of my 4-day pass. Oh, well. I figure I’m helping other attendees by eliminating one more body from the overcrowded aisles. Besides, you can learn a lot just by talking to folks at the booths on the floor.

I got some useful advice from Bobby Chiu on the use of social media, and other artists helped with info about self-publishing and other subjects. It’s also fun talking to well-known artists and discussing their work with them.Nautilus helmet

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Being a freelance artist in the digital age, I often work for people and companies who live far away, or with whom I’ve otherwise never met in person. A couple of years ago, I got to meet some people from a Canadian company for whom I had worked. At last year’s Con, I got to hook up with a friend with whom I’ve worked, but whom I’ve never met in person. This year, I got to meet other people with whom I’m currently working on a project for Roddenberry Entertainment. I don’t post my picture on Facebook, so one particular friend didn’t even know what I looked like. I had the advantage on him, because I knew what he looked like from his FB account. So it was interesting meeting him face-to-face for the first time.

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comic booths

The Con floor was dominated by large entertainment companies as usual (which is why this is less of a comic convention than a pop-culture convention). Such booths dominate considerable floor space and yet seem to have the least amount of content. You might find a film company hogging up twenty spaces with a giant display, just to promote a single film or television series. Even video-game companies covered lots of real-estate for a single title. I tend to enjoy the smaller booths occupied by artists who are trying to promote their work, or book dealers.

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walking dead jailwalking dead cageBromadam hughsoompa loompabatgirl robin

My must-visit booths are Bud Plant Books, Vanguard Publishing, and Flesk Publishing (and Stuart NG, if I have the extra cash). These booths usually carry any books which fit my interests.

Bud Plant’s booth isn’t nearly the size it used to be, due to the nature of the book market and the fact that Amazon is killing small, independent dealers. However, he seems to be surviving, so that was a positive sign. For those interested in art books, I would encourage you to support independent dealers like Bud Plant. His prices are not always as competitive as Amazon (for the same reasons most dealers can’t compete with Amazon’s prices). However, he often carries specialty items not found on Amazon, or he has relationships with the artists which allows him to offer signed editions and signed bookplates, for the collectors among you who want something more than what Amazon can offer. Stuart NG carries specialty import items and harder to find OOP book as well.

I only bought a couple of books this year. My bookshelves at home are literally overflowing, so I don’t know where I’m going to cram two more books. I also took a serious look at the Cintiq 22 HD Touch at the Wacom booth, and I’m considering ordering one. If you’re interested in getting a slight discount, drop me an email and I’ll share the promo code for their show special (it’s only $100 off, but a buck is a buck, so if you want to buy now, I’ll share the info). 

I had skipped breakfast and lunch on Thursday, so by the end of the day I was pretty hungry, and my feet were killing me. I, along with a bazillion other Con attendees, wandered across the street from the Con and had dinner at the Gaslamp Quarter, where the surrounding building were covered with the usual film ads.

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After filling up on fish & chips I made the drive home, a couple of hours north of San Diego (living within driving distance saves me the cost of an airline ticket and hotel). When I arrived, I didn’t bother to go through my bag of goodies or unpacking. I pretty much just hugged my family whom I missed, and which I hit the sheets and passed out.

So how about yourself? Anyone already home from the Con, or have big plans to attend this weekend?

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My Monochromatic Day

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Yours truly, checking out the lens’ focus action in the mirror.

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Balboa Wharf

This is a sign at the auto ferry to Balboa Island. I dig these fun, old signs. Nowadays, signs are so sterile and lack style.

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For fans of tiki, here’s a swingin’ tub along Balboa boardwalk.

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I shot this boiler as it disembarked the Auto Ferry.

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Balboa Ferris Wheel

This ferris wheel at Balboa also happens to be where I proposed to my lovely bride. There was no one else riding at the time, so I paid the operator to stop us at the top.

Balboa Pier

The waves at the beach were pretty high this weekend. You can get an idea how big they were by comparison to the Balboa Pier. I stood on the pier to take a few shots, and it shook every time a wave hit.

Balboa Pier

I only took this boring shot to show the narrow depth of field on this lens when the aperture is opened all the way to f1.7. The camera was sitting on the railing of the pier.

57 Freeway

I always hate the freeway drive home from the beach in the summertime. This is a shot on the 57 Freeway heading north, which we hopped on in hopes that things would be moving along briskly. Boy, were we wrong.

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57 Freeway

By the time we reached this point of the freeway, we decided to get off and take streets home. This shot is terribly out of focus.

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The long drive home afforded the kids time to read in the back seats.

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A shot outside my window while speeding past farms and dairies.

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Driving

My lovely bride sitting behind the wheel as we crawl along on the freeway. You can see this lens has nice, round aperture blades.

“STOP THE PRESSES!”

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I couldn’t yell, “Stop the presses!”, because this press wasn’t running when I snapped this photo.

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LA_Times_Lobby

The lobby of the news building had that art deco style found amongst much old Los Angeles architecture.

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Lettera Typewriter @ L.A. Times

The Lettera in this glass case was the only typewriter in the whole building (well, it was the only one I saw, and it was the only one our guide took note to point out to us).

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I’m really enamored by art deco design, and this old mailbox in the elevator lobby was very cool. I wish I had this on my porch.

L.A. Times old equipment

Being into all things vintage, as well as photography, I really enjoyed the display cases with all the retro gear used by early reporters.

L.A. Times photography equipment

Another display with vintage photography equipment and the stories which were covered with such gear.

Betty Page L.A. Times Obituary

There was one particular room were the printing plates are developed, and on the wall they had copies of papers with some old, noteworthy events. Above this clock was an obituary for Betty Page (for all you Betty fans). Betty Page lived out here in Santa Monica. Dave Stevens revived awareness of Betty for a whole new generation by including her in his comic creation, The Rocketeer.