Con Report: AWA 2009

I tend to write obsessively detailed and long-winded con reports, but this is only about 3.5k words! New shortness record?? Besides, there are lots and lots of pictures to break things up!

Cat setting up Thursday evening. By Sunday, we had considerably more crap hanging all over the place.

Cat setting up Thursday evening. By Sunday, we had considerably more crap hanging all over the place.

Thursday

Cat and I both got out of class Thursday at 1:30 pm. I specifically scheduled my classes so that I had Thursday afternoons off so we could leave early for AWA. Kind of sad, I guess, but it works out. We had packed the car that morning, picked up Rachel and Seana right after class, and headed straight off to Atlanta. We were hit with periodic rain all the way up — it was kind of ridiculous because it’d be clear and sunny for a few miles, then we’d hit a dark cloud and it would be pouring for another few miles. Listening to my awesome bipolar mixtape all the way there, we made it into the city right as the sun was setting. After making a few funky U-turns, we made it to our cheap La Quinta Inn, checked in, and dumped most of our luggage before turning right around and going to the convention center.

While Rachel and Seana went off to pick up their pre-reg badges, Cat and I checked in at the Artist Alley and proceeded to set up our table. In a stroke of impromptu genius, we decided to string the banner onto the PVC before we stood everything up which not only made it five billion times easier, but ensured that the banner was stretched all the way out and didn’t curl in weird when we did put it up. In another stroke of awesomeness, we figured out a nicer way to string up the cranes so they didn’t hang so low — at MomoCon, they were so low people kept hitting their heads against them and blocked our vision. I also clipped up all my character badges along the banner and crane string, which gave them more visibility and cleared up some table space. AWA’s tables were bigger than they were last year, or at least, bigger than I remember, which was great since all my bookmarks couldn’t fit on their ghetto duct tape stand. Anyway, I think our set-up has continually improved. :3

After setting up, we went to the Cracker Barrel next to the La Quinta right before closing like a bunch of jerks. I had ice cream in a frozen mug because I’m cool like that.

Friday

We got up around seven or something Friday morning. After packing up and grabbing a bunch of danishes from the complementary breakfast in the lobby, I checked out of the La Quinta and we went to check into the Renaissance Waverly (the con hotel). It was really nice being there so early — we could see the first trickles of cosplayers, but the elevators were still actually usable and there was no line at hotel check-in. It was awesome. Leaving Rachel and Seana to change into their cosplays in the room, Cat and I wandered down to the Artist Alley to re-set up some things we’d stowed under the table Thursday. The Alley opened at 10am but was pretty empty for most of the morning, and many of the artists didn’t even show up until mid-afternoon.

AWA2009_03

For some reason, the first cosplay I take a picture of at a con is Misty-related again? (At MomoCon, it was an oldschool Ash and Misty, but at AWA last year, it was a Lelouch.)

I was surprised to see several Neptunes and at least two Uranuses over the weekend. Also saw a Chibi Usa from a distance, but she never came to our table.

I was surprised to see several Neptunes and at least two Uranuses over the weekend. Also saw a Chibi Usa from a distance, but she never came to our table.

Business was pretty slow most of the day on Friday, so I made a round of the Alley at some point to look at other people’s stuff. I also made my single trip to the Dealer’s Room, but not without leaving my wallet at the table first. Good thing too, as I saw a bunch of crap I wanted to get but neither had room nor money for. I saw a bunch of really awesome wallscrolls I don’t have wallspace for and apparently there is now a Halloween Town version of Square’s Kingdom Hearts Play Arts action figures… BAWWWW. The dealer only had one left when I found it, so undoubtedly, it was gone by the end of the day anyway. I just don’t shelf space enough for another Sora and it’s hard to justify $30 on a toy when you don’t even have room to display him. He was so awesome looking though. :( I also saw the new 6-8″ Totodile plush from all the HGSS promo. He was adorable, but plushies are even harder for me to display on the shelf right now. Baww, Pokeymans. I want them.

But I wandered back to the Alley and sold my own Pokemon instead. And then a Cheetara wandered by, which was awesome because Cat was selling Thundercats bookmarks that everyone liked to go “Whoa! Thundercats!” over.

No school like the old school?

No school like the old school?

Later on, I saw a small Code Geass group including a Nunnally in a wheelchair! The first I’ve seen, I think. There was also a Rivalz, which is fairly rare. It was awesome though because they saw my cranes and wondered if they could have a plain one or something since no one in the group knew how to make them and obviously Nunnally needs a crane. :o Luckily, I was making a crap ton of plain cranes to give away free on Saturday, so she got hatful of them to choose from.

I wanna know who the person with the boa is in the back, lol.

I wanna know who the person with the boa is in the back, lol.

Pokemon gijinka are the new "in" thing to cosplay, but come on, this guy is adorable. (And Jolteon is awesome, so there.)

Pokemon gijinka are the new "in" thing to cosplay, but come on, this guy is adorable. (And Jolteon is awesome, so there.)

Guilty Gear cosplay is always a treat to see, but it's even better when people have the right genders and bodytypes to be certain characters.

It's always nice when people have the right genders and body types to be certain characters. Even when the characters are kind of confused themselves.

I didn’t get that many on-site commissions on Friday, but I did do a badge of some girl’s dog which was kind of interesting. She had a photo with her, which was super nice because I probably only get references for 30% of the on-site commissions I do. Luckily, the girl came back to the table a few times after I finished the commission because I forgot to get a photo of it more than once — I’m really crappy about remembering to take pictures of things when I’m done. But most of the photos I do take kind of suck anyway…

The girl came back once so I could add the mole on the dog's left cheek. I was amused. XD

The girl came back once so I could add the mole on the dog's left cheek. I was amused. XD

I also did a colored sketchcard of Budda for someone on Friday. Most random thing I've been requested, but it was interesting? :o

I also did a colored sketchcard of Budda for someone on Friday. Most random thing I've been requested, but it was interesting? :o

After the Dealer’s Room closed for Friday, there was an increase of traffic in the Artist Alley including a lot of last-minute sales in the half hour or so before the Alley also closed at 11pm. Yes, we were open from 10am-11pm. Longest hours ever! It’s no wonder our AWA Comic ended up being about not getting any sleep because it sure as hell was true. Originally, I had hoped to go to karaoke sometime between 9-11pm, but since traffic picked up during those times, I didn’t really get a chance to. Bummer. I like watching other people sing even if I’m apparently too self-conscious to go up there myself. After packing up for the night and shoving everything under the table, I went back up to the room to shower and get ready for bed as Saturday kept the same long AA hours… But I also had to get the comic thumbnailed. Meanwhile, Cat and a good portion of our room hiked over to Waffle House for some eats since no one had eaten all day? (I had some of the danishes I took from that morning?)

Saturday

There was a lot of confusion as to when AA was open for artist set-up at the time, so we were getting up early again. Two of our hotelmates, Chewibunny and Mukki, who were also in the AA also had to get up early to hike to Office Depot to get some more prints made. Cat and I were back in the Alley by 9:15 or so and just piddled around straightening things and working on our comic until the doors opened at ten. Saturday morning was still fairly lax, but things picked up more in the afternoon and definitely in the evening. I got sold a surprising number of cranes and a good half of my older character badges, which I had been trying to get rid of. Also got more commissions, though I think I forgot to take a picture of most of those, lol.

I think more people should cosplay psycho!Nia. She was such a badass.

I think more people should cosplay psycho!Nia. She was such a badass.

This was an awesome, DOUBLE K-inspired, Gurren Lagann group. They were quite entertaining to talk to and Kamina's glasses were being held up by drill power.

This was an awesome, DOUBLE K-inspired, Gurren Lagann group. They were quite entertaining to talk to (especially Kittan) and Kamina's glasses were being held up by drill power.

I am always impressed by Emperor Lulu costumes. ;_;

I am always impressed by Emperor Lulu costumes. ;_;

Funny story time. So Cat was drawing sexy Pokemon pinup girls. One of them was a Pikachu. Later on, we spotted a Pikachu cosplayer who was pretty much like her drawing. It was freaky and amazing.

I think I saw 6-7 different Pikachu gijinka over the course of the weekend. This was definitely the sexiest though. She ended up buying Cat's Pikachu pinup drawing.

I think I saw 6-7 different Pikachu gijinka over the course of the weekend. This was definitely the sexiest though. She ended up buying Cat's Pikachu pinup drawing.

These Eevee girls (and their brother (?) the Goomba) stopped by a few times before finally buying some of my Pokemon buttons, lol.

Speaking of Pokemon gijinka, these Eevee girls (and their brother (?) the Goomba) stopped by a few times before finally buying some of my Pokemon buttons, lol.

Shiny Espeon gijinka! This is actually the lovely kefanii from the PKMNCollectors LJ Comm. She was a Sandshrew at MomoCon. :3

Shiny Espeon gijinka! This is actually the lovely kefanii from the PKMNCollectors LJ Comm. She was a Sandshrew at MomoCon. :3

This photo's actually from Sunday, but since we're doing Pokemon gijinka. :P This is my ex-roommate Growly (yes, that's what we actually call her) as Growlithe. ;D

This photo's actually from Sunday, but since we're doing Pokemon gijinka. :P This is my ex-roommate Growly (yes, that's what we actually call her) as Growlithe. ;D

And this is Rachel as Shinx.

And this is Rachel as Shinx.

And here is a Moogle! C-C-Combo breaker??

And here is a Moogle! C-C-Combo breaker??

I actually felt sales were pretty average on Saturday also, though I guess the wide, roomy space of the AWA Artist Alley just felt a lot less crowded than the tiny room we were in at MomoCon where I felt like we had an endless stream of customers pretty much all weekend. Still, everything this year was better than last year’s AWA, so I guess I can’t complain. The consensus around the Alley was pretty mixed; a lot of people seemed to agree that this year was  better than last, but afterwards on the AWA forums, a few people mentioned that this was one of their worst cons ever as far as profit, which kind of surprised me. The Artist Alley guy for EXPCon came by at some point to advertise his con, which I’d never heard of but is apparently in Jacksonville…in three weeks. Cat and I were both excited about the prospect of a con even closer to Savannah than Atlanta, but the short notice was kind of surprising. Still, we were seriously considering making the trip since it was so convenient.

I made my second round of the Alley sometime Saturday evening after I’d given away all 40 or 50 of my free paper cranes. I bought a dozen or so buttons from other artists and then on a whim, got a quick commission of Julie-Su from Matt Herms, one of the current pencillers for Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic. I mentioned that I don’t really read the Sonic comics except when Knuckles-centric storylines are present, like the Enerjak thing back around issues #181-185, and he mentioned that they’ll be continuing that storyline in an issue coming sometime soon? Awesome. :O

I really feel like Julie-Su is super neglected these days, and I kind of resent that she's been turned into such a damsel in distress since her early days.

I really feel like Julie-Su is super neglected these days, and I kind of resent that she's been turned into such a damsel in distress since her early badass days.

I had also wanted to commission Coey for something, but I wasn’t happy with any of the references for my characters that I had with me and ended up not. Maybe next time.

I didn't notice this girl was Ginko until she turned around and I saw her box. It was kind of awesome even if I couldn't convince her to buy my Ginko badge. :3

I didn't notice this girl was Ginko until she turned around and I saw her box. It was great to see some Mushishi love even if I couldn't convince her to buy my Ginko badge. :3

I've seen a lot of Suzaku, but I think this is the first Arthur.

I've seen a lot of Suzaku, but I think this is the first Arthur.

I was surprised to see my friend Kyle there (Mamoru) along with his fiancee (Amy) and some friends (Usagi and Melvin). I've never seen anyone cosplay Melvin so that was kind of awesome?

I was surprised to see my friend Kyle there (Mamoru) since he never struck me as a huge anime guy, along with his fiancee (Amy) and some friends (Usagi and Melvin). I've never seen anyone cosplay Melvin so that was kind of awesome?

Bowser girl was awesome.

Bowser girl was awesome.

One of the best Yokos at the con and a random candy loli?

One of the best Yokos at the con and a random candy loli?

This guy was great just because he looked so confused. :3

This guy was great just because he looked so confused. :3

At some point on Saturday, a girl spotted my ever unsold Tsume badge and commissioned a Toboe badge from me. This was great except that I had no references for Toboe and couldn’t remember a lot about him. She helped me with some basic details, but I pretty much just winged it. Usually, if they don’t have a ref, I ask commissioners to either hunt down a cosplayer for a photo or find something in the Dealer’s Room to take a picture of, but Wolf’s Rain isn’t popular enough of a series to really see much merch of. We both did see a Toboe cosplayer at some point during the weekend, but she was never around when we needed her. Oh, well. All things considered, I guess it turned out okay. :P I forgot to take a picture of this at the con, but the commissioner was nice enough to send me one afterwards.

Having a limited number of browns made doing his wolf form kind of hard even if I could remember what it looked like.

Having a limited number of browns made doing his wolf form kind of hard even if I could remember what it kind of looked like.

Also on Saturday, Tigsie came by with her super amazing collection of ACEOs for trade. I was surprised to see a whole slew of comic!Knuckles-related cards including Lara-le, Enerjak an Dr. Finitevus. She also had a ton of adorable Pokemon ACEOs. I was sorely tempted for a lot of them, especially Finitevus because he has such a badass design and Misdreavus because she was so cuuuuute, but I had to get Enerjak because the recentish Knuckles!Enerjak arc endeared me to him. :x My selection of ACEOs wasn’t nearly as awesome so I offered to do a custom card of her fursona in return for Enerjak. Blurry picture is blurry, but I think it turned out okay.

Tigers are fun to draw. You can see the Enerjak I got in return here (top right) along with Lara-le, Finitevus and a bunch of other random characters.

Tigers are fun to draw.

By the time we packed up Saturday night, Cat and I had finished about four of six pages for the AWA Comic. We had intended to finish things up that night to avoid a huge rush on Sunday, but we soon as we got back to the room and lay down, it pretty much was not going to happen. The beds at the Waverly are so comfortable. x_x

Sunday

Sunday morning involved a lot of hectic shenanigans. We got up pretty lateish around nine and had to get the room packed up so we could check out. Of course, one of our hotelmates had crap all over the room from putting together her last-minute cosplay on Friday, but the rest of us managed to get our shit together fairly quickly. Unfortunately, it was pouring outside, something I’d forgotten about since the drive up because I was pretty much trapped in the Artist Alley all day with no view of the outdoors. After running most of our luggage out to the car and getting rather wet in the process, we set up again in the Alley. We suddenly realized how little time we had left to finish our comic and started working hardcore. Sunday seems to be the most popular day for commissions though, so pretty soon I was back and forth juggling commissions and the comic.

Just before ten, I ran back over to the Waverly to do a last sweep of the room (since most of the other folks have cleared out of the room by then) and then check out. A girl came by who wanted a commission of Tamaki and Haruhi from Ouran Host Club so she could have it signed by Vic Mignogna and Cailin Glass later that day. This wouldn’t have been nearly as stressful if 1) I didn’t have a comic to finish by noon and 2) I had a reference for Tamaki. A girl a few tables down had had buttons of the twins so I assumed she’d have one of Tamaki — she didn’t. So I ran around the Alley a while trying to find someone with Ouran merch so I could reference it. No luck. Soooo, I made something up and did the best I could. As noted before, we managed to turn in the AWA comic with three minutes to spare, but that really set me back for the Ouran commission. I think Vic’s signing started at one.

The girl came by about half an hour before the signing to pick up the unfinished product because lines had already started forming. She said she’d bring it back by afterwards for me to finish it. I kinda felt bad for not having it done in time, but what can ya do.

Here is a random bee girl.

Here is a random bee girl.

Mid-afternoon Sunday, I became aware of the fact that LittleKuriboh was running around the con. :O Vic Mignogna and Rikki Simons (I think?) were both making random, harassing messages over the intercom directed at him and it was pretty amusing. I might have actually spotted him in his ridiculous Bakura cosplay at some point, but I never approached him. I kind of regret that now because it would have been nice to at least say hi or something, but oh well. :< I was always pretty bad about to “go out and meet people you admire” thing. As the afternoon waned on, I was worried about Ouran girl coming back with the commission for me to finish, but she did eventually show up citing that the autograph lines were pretty ridiculous.

I really don't feel like this is my best work, but considering the constraints, I guess it could have been a lot worse? It is pretty neat seeing the voice actors' signatures up there, anyway.

I really don't feel like this is my best work, but considering the constraints, I guess it could have been a lot worse? It is pretty neat seeing the voice actors' signatures up there, anyway.

And with that, AWA soon came to a close. I went up to collect our comic from the AA Director as we packed up, and since we wouldn’t be attending the closing ceremony, he went ahead and let me know we won! :O Nice thing to end the hectic weekend with. It was still pouring on and off on the drive home, but we apparently escaped the floods that came Monday, so that was good?? x_x

All in all a decent enough weekend. Like I said, it was a lot better than last year. I really like how the Artist Alley was set up this year, though I do think the room could have been advertised to the con-goers a bit better since we’re kind of out of the way now. After calling around for enough people to fill a hotel room, Cat and I decided we’ll be attending EXPCon after all. It’s super short notice and I’m really, really hoping I don’t have any huge assignments to do over that weekend (since it’s awfully close to midterms), but whateverrr~~. EXPCon is hoping to net 2500 attendees this year, so it’s a quarter the size of AWA, but small cons seem to be nicer for business, so hopefully it’ll be worth it. I guess we’ll see.

1 Comment

  1. Awesome 8D

    Think the green haired dude with the boa is a character from One Piece. You need to read that ._.

    lol at confused Guilty Gear character designs.

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