UP! Fair will be held in the The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington. Along with me and my husband, Shawn, of Branded in the 80s, this event is being organized by an amazing group of artists and writers. Sara Turner is one-half of Cricket Press, the other half being her husband, which specializes in custom screen-printed posters, letterpress, illustration and design. She has published titles such as File 49 and Boys in the Den as well as collaborated on The Replacements, Silver and the Periodic Forces, and Equalizers of the Divide with Jerzy Drozd. Jerzy is the proud papa of his graphic novel The Front, along with being contributing editor of Sugary Serials, an anthology of all ages comics which you can find online as well as buy both the single issues and collected editions. He also co-hosts the Art & Story comics podcast with Mark Rudolph and Kevin Cross. Mark is the author of Closing Doors, a graphic novel about the decline of a record store. He publishes Thrills From Space, a series of short-form sci-fi stories through his CV Comics imprint, as well as illustrates for magazines, record albums and music-related merchandise. Kevin has his hand in illustration, cartooning, and animation. He is the creator of the Monkey Mod webcomic. Anne Drozd is part of Tiny Astronaut Press, along with Jerzy Drozd and Mark Rudolph, and collaborated with her husband on mini-comics such as Rocketosaurus, Dino Love and Tiny Hamilton. She also collaborated with Mark on the mini-comic Dino West.
Last year, Jerzy co-organized the Kids Read Comics Convention which Sara, Mark and Anne also attended. They were so jazzed by the honest feel of the convention, the turnout, and the camaraderie between fellow artists, creators and independent publishers that they all decided to create their own convention. By combining the best aspects of a comic convention with the heart and soul of an art fair and throwing in those extra touches that only their minds and outlooks can provide, UP! Fair was born. It's going to be a great place to celebrate creativity, find new people and works to enjoy, and just be a wonderful way to spend your weekend. I hope some of you will come join us in the fun!
Some of the organizers of the UP! Fair used their creative talents to make our website visually appealing and fun. It is, after all, what they do! I truly enjoyed looking at the different drawings everyone did. (Above are just a few.) It was a showcase of various styles and subject matter, all carried out with the simple idea of going up. I couldn’t help but be inspired by all that inventiveness and started wondering what I could think up in the same vein. One idea I considered was a huge vine going up into the clouds with tools of the comic book trade as well as comic books themselves sprouting from it like leaves or branches. However, my lack of any true drawing skills hampered me in making that any kind of a reality……..at least one I would be happy about. I realize how much hard work has to go into learning how to draw. As much as I hope to one day learn how and gain some skills in that particular endeavor, the thought of producing something right now that in no way would live up to what was in my head hurts me.
So, I ditched that idea and thought some more about it. I can’t tell you what made me think of a spaceship (I wonder if that happens a lot to creators), but as soon as it popped into my head I could see it. A blanket of snow covers the ground, making the landscape hushed and peaceful. A small cluster of trees stands off to the left, bare, lower trunks reaching high and filling out with bristling needles of green. Out of this stillness, in the woods where nothing stirs and no one is aware of what happens in this little part of the world, a small spaceship rises into the nighttime sky with only the tiniest of sounds. My mind was captured by the picture, enjoying the idea of spectacular things happening not with a bang but simply and quietly. I felt that image would be what you would only see if you were there at the right moment, if you turned your head at just the right time. It was exciting and I wanted to do it!
Again though, lack of drawing skills get in the way of executing it so I decided to “crop” the drawing and focus that inner lens in so it would be more on the sky than the whole scene. It was harder than I thought it would be to draw cartoonish trees! It took me awhile to decide on one I liked, and then that much longer to enlarge it and do it for keeps. I sketched out the spaceship until I had something that I was happy with and then had to struggle through doing it again and larger. That messes me up every time! However, I do have to say I’m extraordinarily pleased with my little spaceship. I think it is so utterly cute, and it feels like me in a way if that makes any sense. It’s something that would appeal to me if I saw it somewhere, and it feels like it belongs in a cartoon.
At one point, I traced over it in ink and then decided that I would really like to continue with the whole process by coloring it. I adore black and white images, the stark contrast between the two colors, the dynamic between light and dark, but I wanted to do more with this one. So, finally one weekend I asked Shawn to show me the basics of Photoshop. I had used it long ago in college, but it had been years so it was like learning it all over again. Once he set me up with those basics, I worked on it that same day and completed it. My drawing wasn’t that complicated so that’s no great feat, but I was proud that I had done it myself and made the color choices on my own.
It somehow seemed anticlimactic though, like now that it was finished it should be more, should be better than what it is. But, having said that, I’m still glad I did it and pretty happy with the results. Hopefully, I can come up with another drawing idea so I can try my hand at coloring again.