I hadn’t intended to go to FC. I hadn’t gotten a table. Hadn’t negotiated for a room with anyone. But there I was, going down to the airport, with a con ticket and room share I’d set up maybe a month before on impulse. “What the hell am I gonna do without a table to give my con structure?”, I wondered.
The day before I’d been doodling some Parallax stuff, and had found a loose, storyboard-like look that I was considering doing it in as a comic while spending most of my energy on Absinthe and Drowning City. And somewhere on the way to the airport it hit me: one of my younger comics friends had been muttering about how she really missed working on her own comic, but did not have certain mental prerequisites for that at all right now, what with the political situation and her own situation. What if? What if I did quick Parallax page layouts and scripts with Nick, and had her finish them? What if I paid a few different people to do this, put them online for free, then set up a Patreon for the project?
I fired off a message to her, and started pondering who else I’d make this offer to.
On the plane, the Magic Sketchbook passed the “can I do comics in an airplane seat” test with flying colors. I’ve got one more panel of Absinthe drawn than I did last week, and I’m pretty happy about that.
Got to the con, hooked up with my roommates, dumped my stuff, had food, hit the Thursday evening dance, went to sleep. Somewhere in there I looked through the schedule and picked a few panels I’d maybe want to hit up. That’s what people do when they’re not at a table, right? Panels? Sounds okay, I guess?
Friday. Breakfast at the crepe place I usually visit at least once during FC, then I wandered into the first panel I wanted to check out. I mostly just sat there doodling Parallax and half listening. This would, it turned out, be the only panel I would attend this convention.
I wandered through the dealers room, starting to take notes on who I wanted to commission to do what. Some people I just wanted to pitch the Parallax comics thing to. Others I wanted art from of… well, I guess Parallax, sure, why not? This year the dealers room is in two rooms, of fairly equal size; I started with one side, looped through it, looped through the other one, then went through again writing my intentions down.
Somewhere in the middle of the day I also pinged a certain dragon I’d been flirting with on IM a few months back. We hung out for a bit chatting while getting intensely stoned. She and her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s boyfriend had a thing to deal with, and I had all this Parallax business in my head, so we parted ways.
I started going through my list. And managed to get through about half of it before the dealers room closed; I visited the people I already knew and pitched them commission ideas and the whole comics-from-our-roughs/scripts thing. Both went well, I am a few hundred bucks poorer because of this. I also took a couple of commissions from people who wanted one enough to seek me out, so I guess that balances. Still gotta finish one, I should probably work on it tonight.
Normally, when the dealers room closes, I hook up with some friends for dinner, do commission homework, then go dance my ass off for several hours. It works out the kinks left by sitting in one place all day. This time? Well, sure, I went out to dinner with some friends who working the con, I’d just come back to their table and pitched one of them on Parallax comics when the room closed, so it was pretty easy to go out for sushi burgers with them and some other friends of theirs. (We retargeted when the sushi place was packed.) But after, I took… a different path.
I’d cracked wise about this panel description on Twitter when I was looking through the con book. I did not expect to discover that apparently there is something really amazing that happens when one person who calls herself “a dragon” and is generally acknowledged by everyone around her to, indeed, be “a dragon”, crawls into bed with another person who “is a dragon”. Especially when one of those dragons brought some really good weed to the con. I had the kind of sex I always thought was an exaggeration when people describe it. I want to babble a lot more about this but I will have some semblance of decorum about it. Ego death during sex is pretty amazing, is all I’ll say.
Two instances of the class “dragon” finally crawled out of bed and went to the crepe place for breakfast. One of them temporarily misplaced her ego and spent several very happy minutes as an art film about a pretty girl eating her breakfast. Or: I was still super fucking stoned, and high on endorphins/oxytocin, and just blissfully watched the person I’d slept with eat for a while. Then we shared a crepe called “Lovers”, full of Nutella. It was amazing.
And then she had to leave town for a wedding. Because of course life is like that. Beautiful cosmic sex one night, watching an old buddy get married the next. We parted ways reluctantly, and I got down to business: bouncing around the con commissioning art and getting distracted. Hit up some more people on my list in the dealer’s room. Ran into Jon and “finished” one of the abandoned drawings in their sketchbook.
Also I told Jon that some of the stuff in there is FUCKING AMAZING and that they should finish some of it and put it in the fucking art show, I mean look at this gorgeous-ass elephant dude carrying a wise man on a throne.
Then we went to the art show and HOLY CRAP FURRY ART IS SO COLORFUL AND POP AND WONDERFUL NOWADAYS, I wished I’d put some stuff in there because it wouldn’t have felt anywhere near as out of place as it used to. I was glad to see my friends looked to be selling enough to make their cons worth their while.
I think this was the point where I also took one of these commissions I mentioned, ended up playing a game of a furry version of Cards Against Humanity (I lost, which is always a good thing in that family of games), dealt with all of the rest of the “I want to pay X to draw Y” list (including a dude who does some fabulous 3D models who was taking commission inquiries – crossing my fingers he’s interested in sculpting a Parallax character), and watched part of the fursuit parade.
Later on I joined the entourage of the Last Great Newspaper Cartoonist, and asked her protege – the younger cartoonist mentioned in the beginning of this entry – if she was interested in Parallax. She was, quite enthusiastically. We devoured several pizzas. I always seem to end up at Pizz’a Chicago when I see that group. I don’t know why. I’m not complaining.
I went back to my room and decompressed for a while. Then I decided to see if what happened last night was just me and that one other dragon girl, or if it was me and any other person who says “I’m a dragon” and gets me to agree on that. And there’s this one dragon guy I have been dancing with at the past few cons… I was tired, and wasn’t sure I was going to have the energy, but I wanted to try. So I put on the black spandex bodysuit, the rubber dragon head, the tail, and another layer of clothes on top of that, because i am not the kind of lady dragon who goes dancing naked.
I turned out to not have much energy. Especially when I tried dancing in all that for a while. I slept alone that night. But not before talking to him about my interest. Which was appreciated and returned. Maybe next con. One dragon per con is probably enough. Also neither of us had condoms and I realized that I am having unprotected sex with enough people already at the moment. Is that TMI. Probably.
Crepes again, this time with one of the other people I ended up taking a commission from. And flirted with. Afterwards we hung out a while while I worked on my first commission some, and roughed out his. I love my job: this weekend I got paid to draw a very gay bird boy dancing sinuously with a cross-dressing raptor boy, and to riff on the infamous Celery Problems pinups of Art Frahm with a chubby raccoon lady. I giggled with delight numerous times while doing this.
The rest of the day is a blur. I think I mostly chilled in dark corners of the con and poked at those commissions. I’d been intensely social and I needed a break. I chatted on and off with the dragon gal from earlier about crazy things happening at the wedding she was at, I drew, I had a quiet couple of slices of pizza, I put on the costume and tried dancing more and still didn’t have much energy for that. Managed to dance with dragon boy some more at least, despite the DJ kind of dropping every beat on the floor after about six bars. The next one was better but I was out of spoons. Bed happened.
Monday. The roommates had an early flight. I had a late one. I said my sleepy good byes to them in the morning, then went back to sleep. Got up an hour or two later, slowly packed. Hooked up with dragon girl, who was back from her wedding. We hung out lazily and chatted a while, including me delivering a very stoned lecture on Sigil-Crafting 101, then parted. Eventually it transpired that dragon girl and company were going to stick around another night; I changed my flight and spent the night hanging out. There was a lot of cuddling. It was good.
Tuesday. Lazy hangouts in the morning. I slowly got to know dragon girl’s girlfriend and girlfriend’s boyfriend a little. Ended up sharing a four-way hug before they drove off in the afternoon. That was amazing. Also hung out in the lobby and did a little Parallax doodling, marking it as officially begun. More on that as it happens.
On the way from the flight home to the luggage pickup, I ended up helping another furry: their ride from the airport to their home in Tacoma had fallen through, and they needed somewhere to crash for the night. Which ended up being the giant beanbag chair in my living room. Turned out we kinda knew each other, too. I’m afraid I was not very good at being social with them, somewhat unsurprisingly given how much social energy I’d burned through this weekend!
Wednesday. Alone at last. I’d had a social engagement planned but it ended up falling through on the other end, and after all of that craziness I didn’t really care much. I also had advance copies of Rita 3 and the omnibus waiting for me; I flipped through them and was filled with delight. The full print runs are on their way to Amazon as I type this, and should get there with enough time for me to get a few boxes sent to me to sell at ECCC.
Then later that week Trump was inaugurated and I went to the massive Womxn’s March against that the next day and don’t think I finally unpacked my bag until like Monday. That was a hell of a week.