Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cheese, Cheese, Cheese, and the Miami Book Fair

I went to Miami for the Miami Book Fair International, which is an international book fair held in Miami. It's actually an amazing event, with tons and tons of people, loads of kids, and I had a great time. I was lucky enough to be invited down as an author this year, which meant that I was on a number of panels and got to enjoy the fancy author treatment, including free cheese.  Although there were, I don't know, a hundred other invited authors there, for some reason the cartoonists, many of whom had never met, all seemed to find each other and hang out in the same places.  We were trying to figure out why this was - the initial assumption was that "real" authors go out to eat, and we comic folk flock to the free cheese.  But as more and more cartoonists ended up being the only people in the rooms designed for everyone, it became weird and uncanny.  I did a lot of sketching during the weekend - some of it character designs, some compositional exercises - but I also did a lot of from-life observation quickies.  Here are a few of them. 

The image with the couches and chairs is one of the author hospitality suites, where I met a lot of other comic folk (and some great prose writers, too).  The the fella on the right of the couch is Charles Kochman, editor at Abrams, which puts out some great comic arts books, as well as a lot of great kids books through their Amulet imprint.  One of those is by Barry Deutsch, who I had the pleasure of hanging around with a lot this evening, and another is by Amy Ignatow, who was more or less our ringleader the whole time.  The only reason I didn't draw a picture of Amy is that anytime she was in the room we were having too much fun to remember to sketch.
Here's a girl I saw at a sandwich stop, and a presenter at one of the panels. Again, I had a truly great time.  I did sketches for probably a hundred and fifty kids over Friday and Saturday, I did workshops and hopefully taught 'em some fun stuff.  I got to meet (usually briefly) a lot of folks whose work I admire, including Dave Barry, Linda Barry (no relation, as far as I know), Jaime Hernandez, Chip Kidd, and Dean Haspiel.  All in all, I had a great time.  I'll be posting more sketches over the next few days, though I think that's all I'll show from the observation end. One more cheese note - There was one evening where there were three very good cheeses - a wax rind one and two soft-ripened goats - where most everyone was already full from lunch, and the room hostess, Roberta, proclaimed that she didn't want there to be any cheese left when we were gone.  So I ate all of the cheese in order to see her wishes met.