Man, it’s hard keeping up with writing reports when there’s literally been a thing every weekend for the last month and a half. The April 9th Job Fair/SCADCon went pretty well for a seemingly very last-minute affair. I’m not really sure what to expect for next year, but it’ll be bigger.
This past weekend was Nashi-Con, a small, one and a half day convention hosted at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Actually, I think I applied to USC as an undergrad in computer science because they gave me an outrageous scholarship… didn’t go though, obviously. :o Since it’s so small, the Artist Alley had very limited spaces that sold out quickly. As such, my party for the weekend was the smallest ever. There were just four of us total: Cat, Meg, Kaysha (Eldanis), and myself. My smallest group before this was five people and we weren’t even working that con. This small group record will be broken next week though. At Kami-Con, there will only be three of us!
Since Columbia is only about two and a half hours from Savannah and since there was no early badge pick-up or anything, Friday was pretty relaxing as far as Fridays go. Cat, Meg, and I left Savannah around four in the afternoon. I slept most of the way there, though we stopped for dinner at a Ruby Tuesday around six, and I had delicious steak. We pulled into Columbia around seven and after butchering “Gervais Street” into “jer face,” checked into the Clarion, which was a weird mix between a swanky nice hotel and a run of the mill inn. Normally, con hotels are very obviously con hotels because of the number of crazy people running around in cosplay or whathaveyou, but this wasn’t obvious at the Clarion. Not surprising considering Nashi-Con probably had an expected attendance of 1,500-2,000, but this weirded me out a bit.
It also weirded me out that we had a nice hotel room with two queen beds and there were only four of us. This meant that everyone got a bed! And I wasn’t tripping over people and bags and suitcases left and right! And there wasn’t crap strewn all over the bathroom! And there was space! Seriously, it was weird! It was weird that I wasn’t as insanely stressed out as I normally was, despite having a ton of work to do over the weekend of the con. Kaysha showed up a bit past ten and we kind of just chilled in the room working. I was inking pages for my Senior Project. Cat was working on pages for class as well. Meg was sewing scarves. Kaysha was working on commissions. We watched some terrible shows on TV (what is all this live action crap they show on Cartoon Network these day??) and remarked about how none of us really watch TV anymore. Lights were out by one?
See? Insanely relaxing, as far as Fridays go.
Nashi-Con’s Artist Alley wasn’t supposed to open until around noon Saturday, so there was no real rush to get there in the morning. Nevertheless, set-up began at nine and we wanted to be there by then, so I was the first one up at seven. With some time to kill, I decided to go down to the Clarion’s breakfast buffet, despite knowing it’d probably be expensive since it was a fancy-looking hotel. It cost about as much as I expected, but as I always eat my money’s worth at buffets, it wasn’t that bad. Besides, I spotted a few con-goers at breakfast. They weren’t cosplayers, but they were still obviously out of place because they weren’t wealthy-looking Southern gentlemen or tourist families, lol. All of us were also sitting alone for breakfast; there was some lulzy eye contact going on where we all acknowledged each other as fellow con-goers, but no one said anything. Can’t speak for the rest of them, but I was busy stuffing my face with biscuits.
Rest of the party was up and ready to head out by 8:30. The hotel was seriously like two blocks from the con building, which was great, but parking was slightly confusing. It was free though, so no complaints there, even though dragging our heavy set-ups from the car kind of sucked. I say it every time we go to a con on a college campus, but man, I really miss being at a school with a real campus and everything. USC was really pretty, though I’m sure part of that is just from the fact that it’s spring and all the flowers are blooming. Nashi-Con’s staff told us that the Alleys weren’t unlocked/didn’t have enough chairs/not ready when we got there, but this was rectified quickly enough. Like with MomoCon, there were two rooms for Artist Alley, but thankfully, they were at least in the same building. Kaysha, Cat and I were in one of them; Meg was in the other.
All of the tables in our room were of the long and thin sort — probably 8′ by like… a foot and a half, rather than the standard 2′. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it makes a big difference when you have a lot of crap to display. There was ONE table that was the normal 8’x2′. As the first ones in the room, Kaysha and I fought over it briefly before we settled that Cat and I would get the bigger table and Kaysha would get the table directly across from the door since her display gave more focus to vertical display over horizontal display anyway. Set-up was further complicated by the fact that one of our PVC connectors was stuck to a pipe that it really needed to come off of. (This is because we change out pieces of PVC depending on the size of the table we get; the last con our set-up was used at was MomoCon, which had weird 5.75’x2′ tables or something.) In the end, Cat shattered the connector off the pipe and we borrowed one of Kaysha’s spares to set up our table. <_<
It might be a little boring, but I like continually taking pictures of our table set-up because there are always little changes from convention to convention. This was taken before I got all my prints up and before Cat put up her commission sign, but yeah. I guess it was good that we had ample set-up time ’cause we sure used it up, lol.
Kaysha setting up her giant wall of prettyboys. The first other artists in the room besides us were some Hetalia cosplayers.
The first trickle of con-goers started coming in before we were officially open, I think, but no one was really keeping track, so it was all good. And really, most of the artists weren’t there yet either… I don’t think we had a full room at any point the entire weekend. I’m not sure if the people that were supposed to be at the left of Kaysha’s table ever showed up? It’s too bad ’cause if they’d known how easy it’d be to snag a wait-list table, I think Chewi and Mukki would have definitely come with us to Nashi-Con.
It was slowish for the first hour or so, but things picked up pretty quickly. I was very, very surprised at the number of commissions I got over the weekend because it was more than I’ve ever gotten at an anime con, regardless of size. In hindsight, it was probably because the total number of artists at the con was small and though I never did get around to tracking it down, the Dealer’s Room was likely also tiny. Less competition all around!
My first commission of the weekend was for a pair of ACEOs by very awesome Rocket Grunt of herself and an Absol without its horn thing, which I never liked anyway (all scans were generously provided to me after the con!). :P She came back later to commission a badge of her character Clover (and for her friend to commission similar ACEOs of himself and a Dewgong) and I remembered to get a picture of her this time.
There were actually like six or seven Rocket Grunts running around that afternoon, which was really freaky, especially since they weren’t all part of a group or anything… there were just a bunch of Rocket Grunts! Unfortunately, by the time I realized this, all but two of the Grunts disappeared (or changed costumes) and I never got to get pictures of most of them. There were definitely more Pokemon-related cosplayers than usual though… even with HGSS’s still recent-ish release, this was kind of weird. Nashi-Con also had some Pokemon tournaments and shenanigans that were pretty cool — apparently they had four staff members designated as Elite Four members that you could challenge for points or something. Two of them hung out in the AA rather frequently and I would have loved to have battled them if I hadn’t been so swamped with commission work. Oh well, having commission work isn’t anything to complain about, right? XD
This was the only other Rocket Grunt I got a picture of. After lamenting to him about how I didn’t have pictures of the other Grunts, he set off to gather them for a group picture. It was in vain though and he came back a few hours later saying that they probably ran off because of Officer Jenny. :(
I was also surprised at the number of badges I sold at Nashi-Con, but it seems it’s always one way or the other with badges… at some cons, I’ll sell a bunch, and at others, I won’t sell any. And which con doesn’t seem to mean much either. I mean, I sold a bunch of badges at MomoCon last year, but this year wasn’t so hot? The Axel badge I had sold early Saturday afternoon and not long after, someone came along looking for the same thing… so she just commissioned me for a different one. :o Around the same time, some other folks commissioned me for badges of King Thief Bakura and Japan. Yay, badges!
Speaking of Axel, it’s always a treat to see an Axel wig done right because it’s pretty much what makes or breaks the cosplay for the character. There was also a pretty awesome Roxas with Axel, but she ran off before I could get a picture.
I’ve noticed that the number of KH cosplayers has gone down a bit since a few years ago. In that time, the Pokemon cosplayers took over. o_o Was expecting some kind of resurgence in KH since 358/2 Days came out and with Birth by Sleep coming soon, but I haven’t noticed one yet.
I had very few breaks in the flow of commissions all Saturday and it was pretty grand. I sold out of a bunch of buttons, though I haven’t had a chance to restock on those since AWA. I also sold out of a bunch of bookmarks, though I’d forgotten to reprint a few of those too. Late in the evening, a girl came by and spazzed out over my Hikaru and Kaoru badges. o___0; Like, seriously freaked out. She mostly wanted Kaoru, but I didn’t want to sell the twins separately since they were made to piece together. She spent like ten minutes pestering her boyfriend to buy them for her, but the boyfriend seemed largely uninterested and instead had a very long conversation with Cat regarding the fake lemons we had on the table. It was pretty hilarious. XD (They eventually left but returned later and bought the badges, lol. ♥)
I think part of the reason I got so many commissions, aside from there not being much competition, was because it seemed that Nashi-Con was a lot of people’s first convention and they just had money to spend? :O As with MomoCon, there were a lot of younger kids and parents there. There were a good number of people for which my “When I Was Your Age” Pokemon poster directly applied! Cat and I spoke with a couple of high school con-goers that wanted to get into SCAD about college and such. One particularly talented (and very sweet) kid and her mom hung out around our table for a good while while I worked on some sketch and ink commissions for her…and she fanarted Dicorn Boy for me! ;___;
Some other cosplayers I snagged photos of in between work included:
I saw this Bellossom at MomoCon, actually, but it was during my epic quest for water and I didn’t have my camera on me when I passed her so I’m glad she was at Nashi-Con too. :3
So like 90% of my photos are of Pokemon cosplayers, what of it! I love that plush of May’s Bulbasaur. x3
Who’s that Pokemon?! (It’s Kirlia, you first-gen-only people.)
Combo breaker! I don’t really like Kimbly much, but I am fantarding over FMA: Brotherhood so hardcore right now, it’s hard not to like this. x3
Fourth Doctor~. Back when screwdrivers were still blue. D;
Traffic in the Alley came in weird waves. For short bursts, the room would be completely crowded and there’d be people all around our table, then they’d all disappear and there would be no one around at all. As more of the evening events started up, less people came in, but those few that did wander by spent more time looking at stuff? In general though, I was super pleased with the activity levels in and around the Artist Alley.
Near the end of the AA hours at 10pm, I finished up my commission queue and spent some time inking pages for Senior Project. Of the two Artist Alleys, ours was the only one with an actual door that could lock, so after re-verifying with staff a few times, we were reassured that our stuff would be locked in so we could leave our stuff set up and all that. Since Meg was in the other room, she packed up her stuff and just dragged it over to our room so we didn’t have to bring it back to the hotel. We left the con pretty much on time and reconvened briefly back at the hotel before heading out to dinner.
A girl sitting across from us in the Alley had spent some time talking about her job at Applebee’s earlier and since we knew it was one of the few places that’d be open late, we hunted down the nearest Applebee’s (which was actually pretty close!) on Meg’s GPS and went there. I didn’t feel tired or hungry when we sat down, but I got super, super hungry as we were ordering. And after finishing my appetizer and a mixed drink, I was dead tired. So tired, I could hardly stay awake through the rest of the meal. It was pretty ridiculous how sudden and hard the exhaustion hit me. I think everyone else must have been pretty tired/out of it too though considering the incredible number of Gervais/”jer face” jokes we made on the drive back to the hotel.
Got back to the hotel, showered, passed the hell out at like, 1:30am. ~_~
Nashi-Con only recently expanded from a one-day event, so programming on Sunday only lasted like three hours. Artist Alley was open from 10am to 1pm. Sunday morning was weird because, again, there was no running around making sure everyone had their crap out of the room, etc, etc. With only four of us, check-out was no issue at all. We were out of the hotel and at the con at around the same time as the day before. And despite the short hours, con-goers were there and ready to commission more stuff Sunday morning. x_x
Got an awesome commission to do an inked drawing of Eevee and all seven of its evolutions. *___* I liked how it turned out so much I asked the commissioner to get me a scan so I could color it digitally though I probably won’t have time to do so until June or something.
A colored 4×6″ card commission of a catboy OC. I like bobbleheaded chibis.
Unrelated: Chibi Mad Hatter! :3
In the last hour, a small KH group came by, including a Zexion who wanted a badge. I had a hard time figuring out the hair, but thankfully, I remembered I had my copy of Days on me for reference, bwaha! I have a nearly complete Pokedex on Pearl for Pokemon reference and Days for KH reference! I only own six games playable on the DS: four of them are Pokemon (Sapphire, Pearl, Platinum, SoulSilver) and two of them are Kingdom Hearts (Chain of Memories, 358/2 Days). How handy that these two fandoms are both insanely popular! ;D
As I was working on the Zexion badge, the Xion from the same group decided she wanted a Saix badge (well, it was between Saix and Demyx and I voted Saix because his hair is less annoying. <_<). This had me down to the wire. Xion and her father were waiting on me to finish so they could leave the con and AA was just about closing as I was finishing up the badge. I FINISHED WITH ONE MINUTE TO SPARE. Not that anyone was about to kick us out or anything. XD
It was a pretty epic end to a pretty awesome weekend though. Seriously, Nashi-Con was a lot more fun than I expected it to be. It was super active and well put together for a small con and I had a good time hanging out and chatting with fellow artists, con-goers, and con staff. Many Pokewalker parties were had. It seems like small cons might be the best cons after all? EXPCon kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, but I think the issue with EXPCon was that it was a small con at a big venue and that didn’t really work out for it. A college campus works really well for a con of that size, especially if the event doesn’t have to be split into multiple buildings. EXPCon just seemed really scattered at a big hotel resort, but Nashi-Con was perfect.
I also think I’m starting to like Artist Alley split into a series of small rooms. I would prefer that the rooms be closer together, but the fact every room only has a small number of artists seems to help with general interest and sales…? I think it also makes it easier for artists to talk to each other, network, and just hang out. With the much larger Alleys like with AWA, it’s much harder to just hang out and talk with the people around you. Anyway, I really, really want to come back next year. I hope it’ll be possible.
We packed up immediately after Saix was done. I went over to the other AA to help Meg pack up. We parted ways with Kaysha (though she’ll also be at Kami-Con this weekend, haha), then drove off back to Savannah to do massive amounts of homework. D;
This weekend, Meg, Chewi, and I will be heading to Kami-Con in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Kaysha will also be there, though she won’t be staying with us this time. Kami-Con will probably be my last con of the season, though I’m considering Oni-Con in Houston in October. I do look forward to the con, but I gotta say, these back-to-back conventions are bloody killin’ me. ~_~