Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Comic-Con Ukulele

In the past couple of years, I have got artists to draw sketches on hats at Comic-Con International. This year I switched gears and went for a ukulele. The idea was that I wanted to get all hula girls and tikis. The ukulele is a tenor-size Kamoa, a decent quality instrument, but it was chosen mostly because it had a finish you could draw on.

I had two spots where the strings go, so I took off the strings for Preview Night and put on a new set after they were done. First up was Rick Geary. Back in the day, when Comic-Con International was called the San Diego Comic-Con, before the eyeball logo, the Comic-Con logo was a cartoon Toucan, designed and rendered by Rick Geary.  I got him to do the Toucan in a hula skirt. He'd never done this before and had to sketch it out on paper first.

Rick Geary

Stan Yan is a Denver cartoonist who does among other things, zombie caricatures, Zombicatures. Stan does wonderful stuff, so I wanted to give him one of the first spots. My thought was that the ukulele had a diamond shape at the top of the neck. I asked Stan to incorporate the diamond into the eyebrows and use the machine heads for the pupils. I love what he did with it.

Stan Yan

Dave Garcia was up next. He did the Panda hula dancer. Now to be honest, I was a little bit worried at this point. I love the piece, but I didn't want this to turn into a hula drag show.

Dave Garcia
(Didn't get picture)

By the way, I was really bad about getting pictures of the artists this year, hence the icons where pictures are missing.

Mike Bennett is a guy who's been coming to Comic-Con for the last 15 or 20 years. He does these really cool hand-drawn blacklight posters. I figured he could definitely pull off either a hula girl or a tiki. He opted for a tiki, and I love it.

Mike Bennett
(Didn't get picture)

Sergio Aragonés is one of the nicest guys in the comic industry, as well as being able to draw insanely fast. He didn't have much of a line, so I went to him. I told him that I was trying to get all Tikis and Hula Girls, trying to emphasize the Girls part as much as possible and said I was trying to avoid having it turn into a drag show. What I didn't take into account was that when you go to Sergio at a convention, he is going to draw his barbarian character, Groo, so naturally, what I got was Groo as a hula girl. I think I just made my drag problem worse. Then again, it's Sergio, so how can I complain.

Sergio Aragonés
(Didn't get picture, stole this online)

At this point, I was really worried about the drag thing, so I found Chuck Wojtkeiwicz in Artists' Alley, who had done really cool things on my hats the last two years. I said, I really need a Hula Girl. He did not disappoint.

Chuck Wojtkiewicz

Next we have Paul Dale. This is the only one I'm disappointed in. This is no reflection on the artwork itself, but I think he used art pens that weren't stable on the surface. It looked great when he first got it done, but the line work got all muddy. I kept it in the bag, as much as possible, but by Sunday, the line work wasn't what it should be, a shame because it did look great when he first finished it.

Paul Dale

Ken Meyer, Jr., is better known for his painted work than line art. I told him of course that I was looking for tikis and hula girls. He said he could do it but he would need about an hour. He asked what my politics were, and I said, Liberal. It was about 20 minutes later that I started to worry. Please don't let it be Hillary as a Hula Girl. Well, it wasn't, and I'm psyched.

Ken Meyer, Jr.

My job at Comic-Con is producing the convention newsletter. One of my photographers is good friends with Billy Tucci, and he told Billy what I was doing. I found his booth, and before I could say anything, Billy told me I had a great outfit. I was wearing a kilt and a fez with a Martini glass with wings embroidered on it. He said he loved the fez and asked if he could try it on. I said sure. He put it on, and I said it looked great. Now, his wife was right there, and she's like, No. I told him I got it from a place call Fez-o-Rama. They had all kinds of designs, Tikis, Flying Monkeys, and that sort of thing. "Oh, I love Flying Monkeys. That would be perfect for me." His wife: No. I told him that they had like 50 different designs at any given time. His wife: No. 

Anyway, he was happy to do a Hula Girl for a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project, but would need me to leave it with him for the rest of the day. I had a fair amount of work to do, so I said, sure, and threw in a $20 donation. When I got it back, I was so psyched, I kicked in another $20.

My writer on the newsletter suggested I go to a local San Diego artist (George Davis), who does a comic called Tiki Lotus. He did a spectacular Tiki that works perfect with Billy's Hula Girl. I ganged the George's and Billy's pieces together, because they go so well with each other.

George Davis
(Didn't get Billy's picture)

George Davis (Tiki, left)
Billy Tucci (Hula Girl, right)

Next, we have Genevieve FT. She does these really cool, old school pinup cartoons. Her hula dancer came out killer.

Genevieve FT

The Comic-Con CTO Mark suggested I talk to Liana Hee for a Hula Girl, and wow, it came out so cool.

Liana Hee

Jacob Chabot had done Krazy Kat on my hat two years ago, and he specializes in cartooney comics. The Spongebob is simple, but I love it.

Jacob Chabot

Robert Roach is an L.A. artist and did a really great Clevon Little on my movie-themed hat last year. Everytime I talked to him, he was swamped with commissions. Finally, Sunday afternoon I caught him right as he was finishing one and not quite ready to jump into the next one. Again, not the most detailed, but Batman as a tiki, you gotta love that. 

Robert Roach
(Didn't get picture)

At this point, it was Sunday afternoon, and I had spots for six or so more sketches. There was no way I was getting that done. I resolved myself to not worrying about it, but I did catch Keith Knight, a cartoonist, I've been following for like 20 years. He said he could do a sheep in a grass skirt. I love Keef and was happy to have him take the last little spot on the front.

Keith Knight (Keef)
(Didn't get picture, stole this online)

I'm probably going to a couple more conventions this year. Hopefully, I can finish it up then. If not, I will have to wait until Wonder Con in the Spring.