A very late blog post, but better late than never.
UK Games Expo in Birmingham is a huge games convention with nearly 6,000 people attending across the weekend! I was honoured this year to be the guest artist, marking not only my first year as a guest, but also my first time trading at the convention, though I had attended it for several years as a regular attendee. This was also the first time with new stock from Nemesis Now, a new order of my t-shirts with The Mountain, a selection of prints available on canvas and, freshly collected from customs on the way, playmats and dice bags from my newest licence with Inked Playmats.
This was also the first time I had such a big backing board of my own, put together with my husband, there were a few teething issues getting it up, but in the end it made for a wonderful display. The Saturday morning also marked my first participation in a seminar in which I joined fellow artists, Gillian Pearce and Vicki Paull, in a panel discussing art in the gaming industry. The seminar was filmed and the room was very hot, luckily we were the first lot there, before it became a sauna later in the day. Regardless of the heat it was great fun though being able to yap away with the ladies about art in the industry and our different experiences. Our host, Paco Jaen of G*M*S Magazine, was very welcoming and a lovely guy to meet. It was nice to be approached afterwards by people in the seminar with follow on with questions regarding the industry from both publishers and aspiring artists.
There were a number of exciting guests attending the convention also, but the one I was particularly keen on meeting was Chris Barrie, having met Hattie Hayridge and Danny John Jules at Cardiff Comic Con. There was loads of fantastic costumes and I got to try some tasty muffins and wonderful lemon drizzle cake made by the Third Doctor!
With myself only a month away from our second child’s due date, I was limited in what I could do physically and it was so busy, my husband barely had a chance to sit down while Morty was his usual good-looking lazy-bones self. On Saturday, we were busier than most of our other cons over the whole time and Sunday was nearly as busy, though with time to breathe once in a while. It was really great meeting fans of my art, especially people discovering it for the first time and seeing their reactions to my work, and chatting with some really nice people. It’s what really makes these conventions worthwhile for me.
My art also graced the cover of the program, which was really cool! The organisers are really big fans of the roleplaying game, Call of Cthulhu, based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft. While I took the time to add some extra art onto the cover, the main image is taken from a commission I had with the game’s publishers, Chaosium, for their forthcoming Investigator’s Handbook, a supplement for the game, who were kind enough to let me use it as an advanced preview. Some fun trivia about the picture: the blonde in the bottom right is me, featuring for the first time in one of my own pieces. The other three people are my friends — Miriam, Alan and Adam — who form my regular gaming group along with my husband, the evil cultist holding the dagger to the left of the image.
I was also asked if I would help with the treasure hunt they organised for the kids. It involved several of my cat images dotted about the location into which I had hidden a letter. The kids had to find the letters and work out what word they spelled out and there was a prize in it for the winner. It was very nice being visited by the families with the kids who had been spotting and liking my cats.
Hot and exhausting as it was, it was all loads of fun (even though I barely got to see anything else of it beyond my stand) and it was a very worth while convention. With many thanks again to the organisers for having me along.