“If you want to be a successful runner, you have to consider everything. It's no good just thinking about endurance and not to develop fine speed.” - Arthur Lydiard
Final tally from the event - seventeen people checked in on the official sign-up sheet: six folks successfully completed their 24 pages in time, with eleven sticking it out to the bitter, bleary end. Fancy certificates of achievement were handed out during closing ceremonies; gold, silver (acknowledging valiant effort) + a special pearl (that one was for Heidi Atkinson's 3rd-time participation for which she scored a gift-certificate to the Comic Shop). Not that there was a panel of judges or anything, that's just what happened to come in the pack of paper picked up at Office Max...
After a last-minute supply run for miscellaneous tools and munchies, we shooed out some gamers from the tables in the back of The Comic Shop (we overlapped a Magic campaign again) and folks began to set up for what would be our homes for over the next twenty-four hours. Turnout was very good, about what we had last year if not slightly better, and still there was plenty of room to physically spread out as the evening progessed. The shop had received lots of phonecall inquiries + increased traffic from drop-ins and curious bystanders, along with everybody's respective support crews, friends & family stopping in to offer encouragement and snacks. Word about the event was also spread by posters, fliers, word-of-mouth and the fabulous coverage by the newspaper piece that had run the day before. Then again, some of the best exposure comes about through serendipity - lots of people just happen to stumble in and are always pleased at discovering the mecca of talent that exists here in the Interior. Along with being one of the most visible events in Fairbanks, it's a chance to catch up with many peers and people all interested in promoting comics, or just to do something crazy and fun.
It was also super to see some young ones stop by for a bit of sketching (how cool of a mom is that), including my personal favorite, posted here, by Elias. There were some intermittent waves of side-traffic from interested observers throughout the evening, including a couple of kids that had just recently had a classroom experience on cartooning. Given the particular nature of my chosen content, I got to interact more than usual with the clientel, which probably weirded out more than a few of my random and impromptu "volunteer models." Note - I'll be putting up a more detailed description of my contribution after this post with some sample pages. Probably after another nap, especially seeing how editing and correcting typos in this post has taken way too long.
“Use your brain, not your endurance.” - Peter Thomson
Once the halfway mark was hit and the shop was "closed" people seemed to knuckle down and retreat into their headphones. There were almost as many techniques as there were creators: some folks went at it methodically in sequence - thunbnailing panels & pages, penciling then inking. Others went right to ink without any preplanned ideas, and there was even a couple teamed up together as writer/artist. About half the closing participants were repeat attendees and the other half were first-timers. A full spread of occupations, ages, gender, styles, tools, techniques and abilities were present, reaffirming the wide spread of appeal for comics whether traditional or alternative. There were students and teachers, and amateurs and professionals - everyone there to do the same thing the best they could with the tools and skill they had at hand.
"Oh my god - how do you draw a cat licking its butt? PLOT CHANGE!" - Anonymous overheard cartoonist
Folks started to peter out and bail as the early hours began to stretch thin, with a few taking temporary leaves of absences so as to grab a few hours of catnap, others just planting their faces right on the floor. One of these days on top of being the annoying schmuck who lurks around with a camera I'll have to record some of the awesome "24 hour soundtrack" theme music that would occasionally float up from under a table (zzzz), or even better, the serious case of the giggles that hit over the weirdest things. Even the volunteer employee finally succumbed to sleep after being abandoned by her co-workers, and we also lost our very own embedded reporter after his herculean effort. It's always important to recognize that this isn't a competition and that there are no losers - part of the process is discovering one's limitations along with hidden reserves. This is an opportunity to also crank out in one sitting a project that maybe you wouldn't normally get a chance to otherwise - for myself I tend to slowly get wound up in the routine of everyday life and fall back on habits, and keep pushing the "oh that'd be fun to do" concepts that seem to simmer away on the back-burner for far too long. Plus afterwards it is rewarding to see the end result and in turn use your accomplishment as a way to nullify any creeping excuses to not get around to those other ideas.
"Sure pays to ink as you go!" "Sure pays for you to shut up!" - Anonymous overheard cartoonistsFrequent breaks become crucial inbetween the hunkered-down sessions, and it was spiffy to wander around and preview the works by some really talented artists, many of which I was completely unfamiliar with. Visually eavesdropping on the tremendous inner focus and drive many people have is sometimes almost as inspiring as the works that are produced while in such an intense zone. It's an interesting balance between what is usually a private endeavor and the contrasting change of venue to be out in public. One of the benefits of this gig is the chance to hang out in comradery with others who share the same passion for drawing comics, and to see what and how others go about creating their own pages. Quite often I find myself picking up on little tricks of the trade and the occasional insight over how to resolve a sticking point in my piece, not to mention the amassed talent on hand which to tap for ideas. Another consideration was the dozens of cartoonists that couldn't make it from this community, which means that next year it'll be even bigger & better!
A few outings were made for food like pizzas and breakfast sammiches, angels descended with bagels and brightly colored candy, and there were many, many coffee runs to supplement the in-house supply of energy drinks.
All tolled, another outstanding achievement on the part of all attendees - thanks to all and to our host for a third year participating in this annual insanity!
UPDATE: Here's linkage to the 24 Hour Comic Day event in Anchorage.