Friday, April 27, 2012

Comic Con Dubai @mefcc-My Whys and Wows!!

Last weekend I was at the Comic Con in Dubai and I had the most over-whelming experience..I accomplished my plans-at-large which was to meet other artists with interests to entertain the Middle-eastern fans and analyze the public interests in this form of art. Though I was subject to an Artist Alley Shuffle and my table landed physically out of the area populated by Artists. The good things out-weighed a resentment if any.

At the Artists Alley I was simply amazed by the vibe of creativity and comradrie (sorry this is not even an official word but you get the idea). Although most of the artists had landed at the Con to make a unique statement for themselves, there was a great sense of bonding irrespective of which part of the world they came from, with no difference in gender, creed or color.

In the following weeks, I will be covering the following exceptional artists I introduce here whom I was so fortunate to meet and connect with. As an artist this is a luxury to treasure and nurture for the rest of my life.

So folks! do read on while I take you around to each of them.

Well as I was an Artist who was also showcasing my works.  I take you to myself to mention what I was actually doing there at my AA table.

I had a presence at Comic Con Dubai 2012 (Officially called The Middle East Film and Comic Con),  simply....

  1. To announce that I am here in Dubai and open for business and
  2. To connect with Artists especially from the region.

My intent has always been how can we as a community help make the world a better place. Having been an advocate of wanting to bring together and help grow an artists community whether traditional or digital in different parts of the world, this was a feat after living and working in and around Dubai for almost a decade. I am pleased to see that 2012 is taking me closer to my wider goals.

1. My first intro is to a group of talented young men from Pakistan who were there to promote their comic book with the first pop art comic character from Pakistan.

They were an extraordinary bunch of modern, fun and talented human beings where there was a Creative Director, the PR person and an Illustrator. Wait till I come back to the details. Stay tuned!

2. The Second most extraordinary artist I met was a lady from Saudi Arabia.

I was so engulfed with happy emotions that I did not know whether I should break into tears or laugh. I went crazy just speaking to this young talented lady which came from a land of mystery. I listened intently at every word she told me about how it is to be an artist in Saudi Arabia. Her presence and friendly demeanor defied what I have learnt from the media, my only connection to this part of the world.

3. Artists from Peru - Again! Exceptional and distinct style of work....I can't wait to get into the details as I speak about each of them.

4. Comic Artists from the Emirates!! Wow! I thought...I met a really talented duo Ahmed - the whole squared - I called them. They were there to showcase through their studio a rare site for custom comic creation.

5. A hub which promoted and encouraged aspiring Arabic Artists. All of them were such a rare find.

6. This was another big one for me. I met some Saudi Arabian Comic Artists. The men could not communicate with me in a common language. The only language we had in common were the smiles and our art. I had another Emirati businessman who so patiently translated to me and to them whatever we needed to communicate. It was a pleasure for us to exchange our works of art for viewing and appreciate them without even knowing the language. The myth about any barriers of dealing with like-minded artists from another continent just melted right there.

7. Another site for sore-eyes where the number of women artists especially of Arabic descent. Especially Character Designers (celebrity artists who have taken their next step as well as talented budding artists). I saw the same humbleness in all of them alike.

8. There were quite a few deviant art celebrity artists too. Since I am not so much of a manga specialist or even adult fantasy artist (I am into Sci Fi and Children Fantasy-that's as far as I have gone to be able to connect with Comic con). One thing is these artists like Alwin etc. enjoyed such fan-base, it was simply impossible to even get a furlong closer to them leave alone being able to speak to them. So I did not even try after watching the long files of fans waiting for hours on end to get their autographed prints.

9. Although I stood enticed watching a manga pro artist exercising the jewels in her hands. That was such a treat watching her create. I did not realize until then how I enjoyed watching another artist draw especially when their style is different from mine.

10. Then there was this artist, who simply was busy both days making live portraits of people in various super hero fit-outs....and I could tell his live sketches were being bought like hot cakes. He was so busy that it was intimidating for me to even interrupt him. But I did manage to catch him free for a few seconds to make an artist to artist connection.

 This was my first comic con though I ate, drank and slept in my art world from the age of 2, and I have been in the commercial sector all my work life (production houses and ad agencies) so much that I never had the time to actually spend live sketching to entertain a live audience. Though I have done that only on request in parties doing portrait painting and silhouette portraits. Hmm I could use this experience, if I run out of options ;o).

 Anyway as I was not there to sell any art immediately, I am so glad I had this luxury just at a time when I received a legal permit to actually practice my traditional art in Dubai. So, it was a perfect time during this time of my calling.
So though I started with all the "Why words" when I found my table for some reason moved to 2 isles away from this bubbling artists community and the signed novels with my Sci Fi designs never reached the Dubai shores on time, and a few other things I rather replace with happy thoughts, I must say there were so many things I experienced to say a definite "WOW" and to look forward to Dubai's next Comic con or even end up with a new-found goal to try and visit other comic cons in the world. Especially San Diego. Ugh although this July I just may not be able to make it though one of my Sci Fi illustrations would get showcased there.
 And while I look at this amazon-published novel "Critical Mass" with my Illustration which I just received yesterday (compliments to the author) I have a special signed copy from him, I know there is always a next time for everything. For this first event I couldn't have expected it to be any better an experience than this one. Next time I would know how to react to surprises. Other than a split-second feeling that my table was like a sliver cut-off from a nicely iced cake, I was just taken aback with sheer pleasure about everything that transpired around me. Even bumping into other Dubai artists whenever I just took a walk in the campus for some fresh air. I met total strangers who became friends in seconds for they were artists who just came up to me to simply make a conversation. That instant connection as artists is quite difficult to describe. I hope I get to meet some of them again somewhere in this enchanting city. :o) a fantasy come true?

I am proud that I did the con with a few things to take from it.
  • Got to know at least 10 new artists personally.
  • I found at least a couple of new material to showcase my traditional art
  • I found a focused group of audience interested in my kind of art and character designs. I would never have been able to reach these targets if not for the con
  • I got to see live - some celebrity faces and get a rare view of a few who wanted to look like celebrity for the simple reason I went and said a "Hello" ;o) Let me leave this here for you to connect the dots.
  • Live Pilate-run of my upcoming Picture books: I got to narrate one of my up-coming picture books based on a true UAE pet story and see the reaction of a few 10-12 year olds. It was such a great feeling to see how the kids got lured into my story.
  • I got to live-sketch some fairies for a few kids hopefully making their day brighter.

So, all-in-all it worked out perfect for everyone in the event and I definitely recommend that a comic con is for everyone to behold and experience and be in this very special energy no matter who you are - a child, a teen or an adult. There is something on offer for everyone. If nothing else, it is definitely a fun-event to take you out of any blues. Trust me!!

With this, I end with this some more pictures from the comic con which I managed to take from between my space where I sat hidden among headphone sellers and computer monitor sellers. More pictures of the crowds whizzing past and more Cosplay artists and a few of my sketches I made at and for the event and the book trailer I made to showcase at comic con will follow in a post that will follow in a bit.

Before I end I would like to thank my close friends and family who have supported me 100% to showcase at this event and the best author and associate I could ever wish for Mr. Gunnar C. Garrison - a Scandinavian-American Author who fully supported with ideas and sourcing out images for the making of his book trailer. My appreciation goes more importantly to the organisers of this event for bringing such a promising event to the people of UAE and the region. I am sure next year they would do a greater job after they have done 2012's SWAT.

So folks! I was so glad to share this take of my Middle East Film and Comic con event. I can't wait to be back with posts with details of each artist I met at comic con.

Being the weekend here, I am taking some time off to do some manga character icon requests I received during the con. I have a whooping 20 characters to create and send off. I will post them as soon as I am done.

So do watch this space. And feel free to contact me for anything you need to know about art, drawing and inspirations in art.

Take care!


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