Once again this past weekend I packed up my art materials and paper, caught a flight to Chicago with my girlfriend Mary in tow as my lovely assistant, and appeared at the second annual C2E2 Convention (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo) at McCormick Place where I spent 30 hours on the floor recreating an Ivan Reis illustration of the Green Lantern in chalk. Why do I do things like this you ask? Because it is fun, darn it…. and I love a challenge. And boy what a challenge this was; not only was the original art amazing and therefore hard to live up to, I also had moved to a new apartment since my last show and now didn’t have the room to fully roll out my paper to draw the sketch. In fact, I never saw the completed outline as a full image until the first day of the show!
I also got bumped around a little bit. My original location was supposed to be next to Newsarama, and for those of you who attended the show and received programs you’ll notice that is where I am indicated on the map. However there wasn’t enough room after Newsarama set up (no hard feelings) so I ended up being relocated next to the autograph area… which turned out to be an awesome spot. Some of the cast of True Blood stopped by throughout the weekend including Kristin Bauer who was very nice and visited several times to check my progress. Also actress Mary Pat Gleason was just wonderful to talk to and about as nice as anyone can be, and I was so glad she took the time to say hi.
Once the show began I got right down to business. As always, I was nervous as to whether or not I could finish on time and overwhelmed by the scale of the work I had undertaken. I was also suffering from some pain right from the start due to back and shoulder stress I received from New York Comic Con last fall. I had made a Yu-Gi-Oh! chalk mural at that show that did a number on me. But my fears were soon put to rest as my back loosened up and I found my flow. Strangely enough I barely touched the color green for the entire first day of the work as I only colored background elements and never got to the character.
Mary was wonderful fielding questions while I worked, and took a number of the progress and costume shots you see here. Best of all, the original artist Ivan Reis came by the piece a few times over the course of the weekend. He seemed thrilled to have me recreating his work. At one point I asked him if I had missed anything, and his response was “nothing.” Then he looked down and changed his mind as he indicated the spot where I had recreated his signature, but had not yet added mine. I smiled and let him know that I never sign the piece until it is completed. I was honored that he thought my signature was the only thing missing.
As day two passed into day three I made progress down the length of the mural, my hands stained green as the convention continued around me. From shouts of “Zombie Truth Now! Your government is lying to you!”, to the exhibitors touting their sales, to a constant parade of distracting and AWESOME costumes, I still managed to focus on the task at hand. An early 7 AM morning start on Sunday gave me the final push I needed to complete the piece and add my signature just after noon. It felt wonderful to see the completed work, and the positive response from the fans made it all worth the effort.
I want to thank everyone at Reed Exhibitions for another incredible show, the fine folks at DC Comics for letting me play in their world for just a little bit, Ivan Reis for his incredible art, the guys at panelsonpages.com for a never-ending stream of entertainment, and for all of you who stopped by as I toiled away, you are the reason I make these in the first place.
Keep your eyes peeled for my time-lapse video of the entire mural, I should have that online by the end of the week, and I’ll see everyone at the next show!