Chimaeracon Report: Day 1

Chimaeracon is the first convention I've attended where my travel abutted the beginning of the event. I was scheduled to get off the plane, get picked up, check into the hotel, and then get right to work.

The travel part was a little more interesting than usual. First and foremost -- the Salt Lake City International Airport is under the worst sort of construction right now. My advice to travellers departing from SLC -- use the Park & Fly service outside the airport, and get there 90 minutes early. Navigating long-term parking inside the airport is awful.

Things were fine once I finally got into the air. I got to talking with the woman sitting next to me, and mentioned that I was a cartoonist. She asked a lot of questions about that, and we had a nice conversation (about me). Then I asked what she did for a living, and it turns out she paints landscapes and still-lifes. Then the conversation got REALLY interesting. We looked through an art magazine she'd brought, talked about tools and techniques, and swapped business cards. And according to her card, you can see her stuff at nancyjhill.com.

Al Greigo picked me up at the airport. Al is one of Steve Jackson Games' "Men In Black," and is huge fun to be around. He helped me get checked in, and then we went over to the convention center to set up.

The Crossroads Convention Center appears to be an attempt on the part of a languishing shopping mall to find something profitable to do with empty storefronts. We were right there in the mall, which was wonderful because it gave us quick access to the food court, but the mall was fairly dead. We pulled in Friday evening at around 5:45, and there weren't many people around at all.

Still... quick access to a food court, plus hundreds of gamer-geeks in the same place! Chimaeracon was great for us, regardless of what the mall might have been like.

Al showed me to my table, and I realized that I'd been provided with an 8' x 10' booth with a table, two chairs, and pipe-and-drape. Usually I get four feet of table in Artists' Alley. I looked at that big empty booth and realized that I had very little with me by way of decoration. Fortunately I'd brought my two dragon posters and some binder clips. The posters went up behind me, clipped to the drape, and then I spread out my portfolio, my URL cards, and my art kit and basically set up shop.

I was in the Dealer's Area, which was low-partitioned from the main floor. The main floor was dotted with around forty hobby-gaming tables. There was a D&D game running in one corner, miniature games running all over the place, and several different card games. There were also game demos from some local game companies.

One of the most interesting was Hunting Party from Seaborn games. It had elements of "Clue," and "Munchkin," but did not feel in the least bit derivative. I was also impressed by the quality of the playing pieces and cards. The artwork was a little dodgy, but this still looked like a very solid game that you could get years of play out of. And it's from an indie startup.
I did a couple of commissions, whipped out a few free sketches, and basically hung out until they kicked us out at midnight, at which point I went back to my room for six hours of sleep. I don't have pictures of the commissions, though... the battery on my camera won't take a charge. *sigh*.

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