Britishfest 2015:

tardis2015_3If you recall, last year I attended Britishfest in what would have been its first year. I raved about it because despite being its inaugural outing it was the “Little Con That Could.” They started with reasonable expectations that they might have a few hundred people turn out and wound up more than doubling the attendance they had expected bringing in more than 700 people. This year they did it again! They upgraded their space, they upgraded their vendors, they upgraded their guests, and they upgraded their team of staff and volunteers… Guess what else was upgraded? Attendance. They nearly doubled the attendance from the year before hitting around 1300 in registered attendees!

On the surface it’s a pretty self explanatory niche style convention. British themed props, vendors, guests , panels, and events. The theme just gets folks in the door, that’s the hook. The really cool thing about this con is the vibe you feel when you are there. Everyone is there prepared for anything and ready to have a good time in a weekend full of their favorite elements from across the pond.  That fun, that heart, that vibe? It’s contagious and it’s felt throughout the building. For myself and my conventioneering partner in crime Axton Kahler that means a very lucrative weekend in the dealers room because people who are genuinely having a good time are much more likely to want a custom piece of artwork to help them remember the con and we are so happy to be of service. That meant that Axton and I were quite busy locked behind our table in the vendors room drawing furiously trying to bust out commission pieces for folks of varying sizes complexities and subject matter. I was still working on commissions right up to the last 30 minutes of the con. We got so many great requests. If you’ve never stopped by our table at a convention let me tell you we especially appreciate the bizarre requests. We build custom Daleks and we love Minions can you draw our Daleks as minions? Yep! Can you draw the Tenth Doctor as an Alligator for me? What What?! AND YES! Can you draw Claptrap from Borderlands as a human?! AND HOW! You bet we can! Can you draw Disney’s Stitch as a Kaiju and the Iron Giant as a Jaeger (Mech) ala Pacific Rim? YES YES YES! We did all of this and more!

Britishfest Mike HornerIn that final 30 minutes I turned to Axton and said Dude we gotta get into that prop room before they tear it down we only get this opportunity once a year and this year I want a picture INSIDE that TARDIS console. We got there just in time as they were actively tearing things down and quickly had our geek outs while the Britishfest staff patiently indulged us (they were tearing other things down in the meantime so we weren’t totally slowing them down but I’m sure we weren’t helping them much either, like I said before everyone was such a good sport all weekend long. I don’t remember anyone looking particularly cross that wasn’t totally pretending to be cross).

Britishfest

Britishfest Dealers Room

It was just such a good time, I can’t possibly name everyone that was awesome that’s not possible but some of the raddest people were Chris Moose Mendolia and his team (including Melissa Ryals who gave us a the incredible idea of donating prints to folks who were doing panels as giveaways Melissa you rock!) James Hodge who always stops by the table and geeks out with us giving us a mini panel experience before running off to run several panels a day! The guest artists Fredd Gorham, Arden Nixon, and Jared Sloger who were like the spirit animals of the vendor room constantly upbeat aware of the room and so fun to talk to a genuine pleasure to be around as always! Mike Horner of The Timey Wimey Puppet Show and Paul Mesner Puppets! He swung by the Tank-Zombie table twice and let me talk his ear off and answered my questions. Such a cool guy, Mike remembers me when I see him and just generally knows how to interact with his audience what an inspiration he is! He even bought one of my Gaston/Cyberman prints what a class act! The Schmidt family (Andrew of Clay Creations and his children Luke and Delaney) they are the most fun to be around and this year we got be table neighbors instead of having to criss cross the room in order to talk. Speaking of Andrew, he surprised Axton and I with some of the most unique and generous fan art I’ve received so far! A hand sculpted Tank-Monkey Magnet! Andrew consistently creates awesome you should definitely look up his work on Facebook and Etsy. Delaney tried her hand at selling some of her own original artwork and even booked a few commissions including a Greatest American Hero card for me! She’s a talented young lady and one to watch! Stacy Solomon and family, they practically sponsored our table with their pre-con commissions they challenged us and they make each con we see them at so much fun to be at and we so appreciate the repeated trust you have in us that you keep coming to us to draw your awesome ideas.

DisneyBritishfest2015There’s so many great folks though there’s no way we can name them all, we spent most of our time around vendors so I could really list off each of them one at a time but you don’t have time for that so suffice it to say if you ever get the chance to attend a Britishfest DO and visit the vendors room because it’s probably the coolest bunch of dealers I’ve had the good fortune to vend with… plan to bring some money with you because it’s really hard not to spend it. Thank you again to everyone who stopped by the table whether it was to book a commission or just to talk Zombies and Doctor Who you made the weekend a non stop blast! If there’s a Britishfest 2016? Wild horses couldn’t keep us away. In the meantime be watching the Britishfest website for news, photos, and the like. Also join the Britishfest Facebook Group which is like Britishfest all year long!

Osfest 8

The week since Britishfest has been one of reflection and recharging which is necessary because we will be preparing to table once again at the upcoming Osfest 8! We attended last year and my excellent Grawlix compadres were even able to make it out I was able to enjoy the con vicariously through them and still go back and listen to the awesome Osfest special episode that they recorded on location and enroute.  I can’t wait to table this con with a better understanding of the con and to again see some of our favorite people. July 31st-August 2nd! Come see us and get us to draw your awesome ideas! (Contact me: jesse.kiefer (at) gmail.com if you’d like to line up a commission or to get pricing on your special project!)