For the past decade I have tried to ask at least one artist at every comic book or pop culture convention that I attend to draw me a Green Arrow or Black Canary (or both) sketch. I’ve asked this from artists whether or not they have drawn these characters before and most artists are happy to do it. Some well-known artists charge a fee for sketches and many others will sketch for free. Sometimes the key is letting the artist know your sketch is not just going to appear on eBay the next day. Adam Hughes was in the news about this a few years ago when he worked all day on a sketch for someone that promptly flipped it on Ebay for several hundred dollars. He vowed off Con sketches after that. Some people, usually guys who have been going to cons for much longer than me, started with a sketchbook—a blank art book—and hand it off to artists at conventions. These books convey to artists that this fan is going to keep whatever they draw and sometimes artists will take more time when they draw in someone’s sketchbook. I’ve never gone the book route but like getting sketches on blank paper, usually supplied by the artist soI don’t have to leave a book behind. I have featured some of this original art at borg.com previously.
So Comic-Con this year was no different and I added two new Green Arrows to my collection. First up was by Cat Skaggs, who recently created the cover for Smallville Season 11 Issue 1. Not only did I get a signed print of that cover, but she drew a quick free-form sketch of Green Arrow for me. She is not a regular Green Arrow artist, and it was fun to watch her think about how the hat and goatee look:
It makes a nice addition to my collection.
I have had some comic book artists draw sketches for me over the years many would consider industry legends, including Mike Grell, Michael Golden, Rich Buckler, Joe Staton, and Howard Chaykin. This year at Comic-Con I got to chat with Neal Adams, the guy who created the look of the Green Arrow character I am such a big fan of. He created this classic, cocky Green Arrow image for me:
I had met David Petersen at several prior conventions and he had a slot in his sketch schedule so I asked him to draw me a fox as seen in his current run of Mouse Guard:
A nice watercolor image in his unique style!
So not a bad haul for not being at the Con for a full weekend. I also picked up a few SDCC exclusives. Frank Cho was selling his new Liberty Meadows calendar:
I also picked up the new Alex Ross sketchbook:
At the Alex Ross booth I actually spent a lot of time talking with Sal, Justin and Chris, who are always great guys to talk to and deal with. They had some great sketches and painted original Alex Ross art available. As a fan of Six Million Dollar Man as early borg, Ross’s original cover sketches for Issues 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the current Bionic Man series struck me as particularly cool, especially seeing the change in logo evolve over the course of creating the covers. Look at the sketches compared to the final image on the book covers:
Featured in last year’s SDCC 2011 exclusive Alex Ross sketchbook, this sketch jumped out at me this year on display:
I love Zatanna in her magician’s box, waiting to make an appearance. This sketch was created for an Infinite Crisis card game.
Prior to Comic-Con I had connected with the artist for the current Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover series Assimilation², JK Woodward. He was at the Con with writers Scott and David Tipton. I never caught up with them but luckily my friend William got an extra autographed copy of the book. Check out these great original, painted pages from Issue #2 of the series. First, the TARDIS in the Enterprise-D holodeck:
Next, if you like Trek and Doctor Who like I do, you just can’t beat the Eleventh Doctor on the bridge with Captain Picard.
And check out that great rendering of the Enterprise-D soaring above!
Again this year Michael Turner art was available at the Aspen booth and it is always amazing to flip through the late artist’s work.
If you like seeing the creative process behind the scenes, it’s hard to beat seeing original comic art in person. And if you have the time hundreds of artists in Artist Alley are there sketching away throughout the Comic-Con weekend, and love to talk about their work and process.