I don’t even know where to start with this one.  And I actually mean that in an awesome way!  Penguicon was easily the most fun I’ve had at a convention in a very long time!

Table Setup

We tried out a new display for this con, and rearranged the wire shelving into something resembling a tri-fold display.  It turned out to be an awesome change, as we moved the bulletin board and coasters up to the raised level, freeing up the table below for clearance stuff, and having ample space to display prints and signs.  We also rearranged everything so that all the comics would be in front of me for accessibility.  Chris and I both loved the change, so I think we’re going to keep this setup for future cons. ^_^ It occurs to me that not everyone has seen the hat.  The hat was actually created a year ago at Penguicon 2009, and had it’s first birthday this weekend.  It’s the very stylish and informative Hat of Knowledge!

Chris (or whoever my table helper is) wears the hat when I am not there, and we switch out the cards for various things such as At A Panel or Getting Food.  It’s very useful.

Panels (Attended)

I only went to a few panels this year (other than the ones on which I was a panelist) but they were all pretty damn good!  Friday night, after the Dealer’s Room/Artist Alley closed, Chris and I went to the Webcomic Beacon Live! which featured Howard Tayler of Schlock Mercenary, one of this year’s Guests of Honor.  It was really entertaining, and for some things, you just had to be there, but you can bet that the show will be a good listen once it’s released online.  You might even be able to hear me laughing my ass off in the background. Saturday night, all the webcomics creators and readers got together for a pizza party!  I wish my camera batteries had not run out Saturday morning, because I didn’t get any pictures of the event, but I did get an awesome sketch from Mark Savary, who does Autumn Lake!

Sunday morning, we got up early to get to the consuite for breakfast, and ended up with some time to kill before my Photoshop panel, so we attended “Open-Source Laser Lunchbox,” a demo on how to put together a laser light show enclosed inside a metal lunchbox.  Some of the things they did were really cool, such as pointing a red laser through a disc of glass used for shower doors, which cast very diffuse, abstract shapes onto the wall!  It reminded me of a Macintosh screensaver!

Another lunchbox had small mirrors mounted to speakers, which would then vibrate to the rhythm of the music played and make the laser trail, which was pointed at the mirror and reflected onto the wall, just go nuts all over the place. The coolest lunchbox, though, used a series of diffraction gratings to process the laser light, then pointed it up through a warped disc made of plastic.  The effect was very cool, like looking at a psychedelic field of stars that would fade in and out, and anytime the plastic disc would turn and hit a bubble or a wave, the lights would get all diffuse and it just looked awesome.

Panel(ist)

I had four panels this year, the first being on Friday night entitled “The World of Online Comics: How things have changed in the last decade.”  I was on this panel with Howard Tayler, Megan Gedris, Dave Willis, and Randy Milholland, and in between feeling humbled by the awesomeness of my fellow panelists, I thought it was a very good panel.  In a nutshell, there were a lot of comics on the web in 2000, and now there are even more!  And jokes about other jokes are always funny.

My second panel was Saturday afternoon, “Making a Living as an Artist,” and while I don’t actually make a living as an artist yet, when Dave sent around the list of panels asking me what I wanted to be on, I nevertheless told him I would probably be able to say a few things on the subject if he really wanted me on it.  And thus was how I got to be on yet another panel with Howard Tayler, his wife Sandra Tayler, and Chris Hallbeck of The Book of Biff.  I’ll be honest, it was more than a little intimidating being the ‘little guy’ on this panel, but I feel like I held my own and had some insights to share.

Sunday morning was the return of my Photoshop panel!  I colored the Angsty Garanos sketch that I did awhile back, since it seemed to be relatively simple and something I could do in the two hours allotted to me, since I actually ran out of time last year, doing Starfleet!Garanos.  I’m glad I did choose this one, because I took up all my time up to the last minute, pretty much!  But I feel I was able to explain myself better, take my time where I needed to, and I even got into some more advanced techniques like creating custom brushes and vector shapes. Immediately after that, I joined Howard and Sandra again for “Running a Creative Business,” which was in some says similar to the “Making a Living” panel, but also diverged into it’s own thing, which was pretty cool.  We talked at length on the business side of running our companies, going into financial organization and such, and even had a pretty good discussion between the panelists and audience members.

i3Detroit

We had some time to kill Saturday morning before the DR/AA opened, so we wandered around for a bit and came across a Nerf dart shooting range made by i3Detroit.  The targets would go down when you shot them, then swing back up a few minutes later, which was pretty cool.  The sign next to the machine said something about a Quick Draw game that would be up later, so we resolved to check it out again that night.

When we did return, the Quick Draw game was running, though it took about 20 minutes for us to figure out that we were playing the game wrong at first!  You see, an LED below the target would light up, so we’d shoot the target, then another target would flip up, then we’d start shooting that one right away, but the way the game actually worked was like this: LED goes on, you shoot the target.  Another target flips up, and you wait until one of the LEDs on either target lights up, then shoot that one, and so on until all four targets went up.  The game scored you on how long it took you to shoot after the LEDs came on.  It was really cool!

This girl had her own single-shot gun!

Ray’s Head

Ray returned with his can of Sharpies to get his head covered in drawings!  I drew a picture of Geilen on him this year!  ^_^

To Summarize

Penguicon was awesome.  While not as big a moneymaker as Ohayocon, I think this is my new favorite convention.  The webcomic representation keeps growing every year, and I think that any webcomicker or reader should make the trip to Michigan for it.  The company alone is just outstanding, and if it keeps getting better every year, it’s going to one day implode into a supernova made of raw awesome.