American Sketchbook – Part 1: World Fantasy and Toronto

General notes: These are sketches with (mostly) Pitt Artist Pens in a little Moleskine sketchbook. You can see larger versions by clicking on the pictures, which will take you through to their Flickr page. Update: Part 2 and Part 3 are now up.

Summary: I had an amazing time! It was a very busy holiday, bouncing from Brisbane to New York state, Toronto, Pennsylvania, New Jersey/New York, Colorado and California. Either I was sitting and eating a lot or walking and eating a lot. World Fantasy was my first overseas convention, Illuxcon my first art convention, everyone was wonderful, I met people I hadn’t really thought of as people, just names on consistently amazing books and art. My plans to eat my way across a continent, conduct hands-on research of how an art show operates, and visit the locations of What’s Up Doc were also successful.

Page 01

Here I am trying to sleep on the plane. I was in LAX for the earthquake and flew into Erie in a tiny little plane as Sandy approached from the opposite direction.

Page 02

American espresso is… not consistently appealing. I am, however, fond of brewed coffee, so that was okay. Also, I am inordinately thrilled to see other countries’ stationery products. Not all Halloween candy is explicable.

Page 03

After visiting family on the shores of Lake Erie, a lot of which was spent watching the weather channel, my aunt dropped me in Buffalo and I took a Greyhound bus to Toronto. It was 2 hours and 15 minutes. It took almost the same amount of time to get from the bus station to the convention hotel. In the rain. With luggage. But Lisa was there and we ate food and started to meet people at the bar – and people started to meet us – and all was wonderful. And warm! I barely left the hotel for the entire con (which is as it should be).

I spent much of the first day electrical taping cables to boards at the art show.

Page 04

Lisa and her sister gave me a bag of candy for Halloween. Here I am in the art show, demonstrating my customary grace.

Page 05

World Fantasy was… just right. It was much larger, and more full of American accents, than Conflux, but it felt homey, full of friends and fellow-workers, people concerned about the business and mystery of making things, whether books or stories or art. And the musicians got up a folk circle in the evenings.

Page 06

The scribbling on the left was while listening to Charles de Lint read, and on the right are assorted artists, writers and musicians playing and singing.

Page 07

I was not the only one drawing while listening. The art on the badge is by artist guest of honour Richard A Kirk.

Page 08

After the convention, I moved to the HI hostel, which was cosy. I went on a walking tour of Toronto, and then walked around Toronto, and reconvened with roommates at meals to dissect the day. I like the company of hostels.

Page 09

The Bata Shoe Museum was unexpected and beautiful – and down the street I was held hostage by a shoe store manager who wouldn’t let me go until he forced a boot onto my foot, and I didn’t think he’d let me go until I bought it (I didn’t, and he told me I would regret it).

Page 10

I also visited the extravagant early 19th century castle Casa Loma (it has tunnels and turrets), beautiful bookstores and cafes, and only really wished for company in Snakes and Lattes. But I drew the other people playing games instead, and all was well.

Page 11

I ate poutine, and did make it to the Merril collection before I left. The librarians took me on a tour of the stacks, and through the uncatalogued original art (paintings and scratchboard, ink and watercolour, book covers and technical drawings from 1950s magazines). They also had their own Australian, an intern from Victoria, and I went to the art gallery with him and his wife that night – a very convivial evening, and the art gallery had rooms of carvings which got smaller and smaller, until the fingers and toes were microscopic on a cast of hundreds in a walnut shell.

Page 12

Next stop, Pennsylvania!

12 thoughts on “American Sketchbook – Part 1: World Fantasy and Toronto

  1. Pingback: A Dalek in Her Hand « Errantry

  2. Pingback: American Sketchbook – Part 2: Illuxcon, New York and Colorado « Errantry

  3. I too am glad you made it to Casa Loma, and the St. Lawrence Market. Did you get to walk along Harbourfront? It seems as though you had a wondrous time!

  4. Pingback: Illustration Friday: Glow « Errantry

  5. Some of this brings back memories. I wanted to go to World Fantasy (and life didn’t permit, obviously) partly to say ‘hi’ to all my old haunts. I bought Bata boots, but they were having a warehouse sale, so there were no salespeople, just tables and tables of shoes and boots. They were perfect for my Canadian winter and later for my London winter, but I can’t think of them as anything handy for a Brisbane winter! I spent my summer studying Latin and palaeography and reading through the public library bit of the SF collection.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself – I hope you got recipes!

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