Gen Con 2009: The Con of 85 Zombies!
I know that in the epic fashion of horror film 85 zombies does not seem like a lot, but for me it was a horde! Let me start of by saying that Gen Con was a Blast! It was one of the best administered conventions I have participated in, largely thanks to Barbara the art show director. Let me pause here a moment to give Barbara a big round of applause!
For me Gen Con officially started at 9am Wednesday August 12th. My wife Loraine, my friend Sarah Roush, and I all pilled into my car and drove to Indianapolis, Indiana. We arrived in the afternoon and immediately set to finding the art show and setting up my booth. We hung up and arranged all my framed pieces, we organized my prints, and gussied up my table. A big thanks to my wife and her mad decorative skills and Sarah for her help! As we did at Hypericon we put up a sign advertising Zombie Portraits. Little did I know how big a difference in my weekend this would make!
By the time Gen Con was over I had drawn over 60 Zombie Portraits, which totaled to 85 individual Zombies!!! The most popular item by far, was the Couples Zombie Portrait. Geeks in love are a beautiful thing, but I also did fathers and their children, families, friends, and roommates. I literally could not draw fast enough to keep up with the impending Zombie Horde.
On Thursday, our slowest day, I did a few Zombie Portraits and also sold a framed piece. As people would walk by they would say, “Zombie Portraits… what a neat idea.” On Friday I did twice as many Zombie Portraits, discovering that key was in a camera. When I’ve done Zombie Portraits in the past, I had people sit a talk with me while I drew their portrait. At Gen Con however people were always on the move, going to their next game, or event, or shopping, etc… So thanks to my wife’s love of photography we started taking peoples pictures and telling them they could come back later to pick up the finished Zombie Portrait.
This option was REALY popular. At first I was drawing directly from my wife’s digital camera screen. My friend, Adam Doochin, came by and saw me hunched over the tiny screen and took pity on me. He happened to bring his amazing Mac laptop, and told me I could use it for the weekend. I was in business!!!
On Saturday things were CRAZY. We had tones of folks swarming the booth asking for Zombie Portraits. It got to the point where I had so much to draw, that I had to stop talking with people. Loraine (my wife) took over as my manager. She talked with people, took their photos, wrote down their information, and noted special requests (you know things like missing an eye, or licking someone’s brain). Loraine was AWESOME!!! There is no doubt in my mind that I could not have done it without her. Thank You Sweetie!
Saturday night we had so many requests that I was drawing zombies until 2 am! I did manage to find the time to spend an hour at the White-Wolf party hanging with some old friends and my other artist friends. I was able to teach my fellow artist Sarah Frary all the proper hand signals to be a werewolf, after which it was back to drawing zombies!
On Sunday I was a Zombie! Thanks to Sarah Roush I was able to eat breakfast. I continued to draw zombies throughout the day, but as people walked past the booth their comments had changed. People would say, “Oh look it’s the Zombie Portrait guy, I’ve heard of him.” Apparently news travels fast in tiny Gen Con Town. Cool!
Some of the more interesting Zombie Portrait requests included a couple who wanted Santa Hats on their Zombies because they were going to use it as their Christmas card this year, a gaming group who all wanted to pose together, and guy who collected images of characters knitting, for whom I drew a zombie knitting a scarf from the hair of a severed head.
I was truly honored and overwhelmed by the response I got from the fans at Gen Con. I had no idea my Zombie Portraits would be so successful. Thanks to each and every person who gave me the opportunity to bring them into the world of the undead!
With the success of Gen Con I am officially looking for other Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror conventions to do Zombie Portraits at. If you or friend knows of an event please drop me a line via my website: http://www.samflegal.com
However, this only scratches the surface of my Gen Con experience more to come on the awesome artists I met, my artist friends who I got to hang out with again, and the numerous portfolio reviews I went through. Stay Tuned…