I'm still reeling a little from the past couple days, and I'm pausing just a second to relax before jumping back into work. The Boston Magic Grand Prix ended up being a lot of fun. I continued to learn from other artists and talk to the fans about what was important to them regarding the artwork in their game.
I left Friday, July 31st to head up to Boston. I figured I would get there around the time Friday's events started at 2pm. As it turned out, the entire state of Connecticut and most of Massachusetts was a parking lot. I spent the entire afternoon in traffic and topped it all off by driving into Boston. It seems that John Winthrop's ideal of "a city on a hill" is now a city crammed full of confusing intersections, underground hairpin turns and ridiculously overpriced parking garages.
Eventually, once I found my way to the Hynes Convention center, I set up a little table in the room where the Grand Prix was being held. I quickly learned that Friday was largely a preliminary day before the big event, so I spent most of the evening sitting by myself; sketching, talking on the phone, sipping water and calming my nerves from the day's drive. After the attendees figured out a) who I was, b )why I was there and c) why I was sitting by myself in the corner of the room, a few people stopped by my table and bought some sketches or prints and talked to me for a while. It was a pretty quiet day, and ended with Rob Dougherty of Your Move Games putting me up in the pretty swanky Fairmont Copley Plaza down the street.
Saturday morning, I woke up and went for my scheduled 7-mile run. I used the time to try and find a cheaper parking garage (not a chance), and a good place to eat breakfast (no way). I got back to the Hynes around 9, and immediately knew this day would be different. The room was already packed. Lars Grant-West, one of the other guest artists, was already there and already had a group of fans around his table. I began setting up my table next to his. I had just flung my portfolio down on the table when someone looked through it and purchased two prints on the spot. I had been there literally two minutes. This was going to be a busy day.
The rest of the day was packed with card signings and sketching requests, all the while explaining that I was a "rookie" Magic artist who only has two cards in print at the moment. I had original art on display, which was a great move, as it definitely got people's attention. Even some of the cooks from the convention center cafeteria came over a watched over my shoulder as I sketched images for people.
Cyril van der Haegen showed up around mid-day. Once all three artists where there, we barely had any time to talk to each other, as there was a constant flow of players coming to the table. Lars suggested we all go out for dinner after the event, and we decided to leave at 8pm. Lars and Cyril have an almost endless pool of knowledge to draw from, and I picked their brains for tips and tricks. By the time I got to bed, I was totally spent.
Sunday turned out to be the day of return customers. After I set up, people who had seen or bought my sketches from the previous day came back for more. After a few hours, I had a list of commissions, the most involved being a recreation of some rare cards: Black Lotus, Mox Jet, etc. I did as much as I could before 3pm, when I decided to leave and save some energy for the drive back home.
Throughout the weekend, in between sketches (above), I had many people ask for prints of my work. So with the money I made, I bought a high-end Epson printer. It should arrive tomorrow, and I can start selling prints through the website when I find a cost-effective way to do so. It was a great weekend, and I hope to attend more like it in the future.
(Attention GP Boston attendees: If I sketched something for you over the weekend scan the sketch and send it to me at ryanpancoast [at] gmail.com. I'd like to post a collection of sketches because I think a couple came out pretty well.)