CLALLAM BAY, WASHINGTON - The Fourth Annual 2015 Clallam Bay Comicon was small in size, but intense in spirit.
Held in the Lion's Club hall in Clallam Bay, Washington, July 11-12, with free admission, the convention was constantly abuzz with fans and newcomers talking directly to and buying from authors, or attending round-table panels and art classes.
All of the panels were well-attended, and most of them were interactive.
Linda Medley, whose classic and beautiful comics series "Castle Waiting" has continued for many years, graciously allowed other artists and fans to play with her selection of jewel-like ink pens and nibs.
Roberta Gregory, beloved author of "Naughty Bits," offered her "True Cat Toons" book at her table, and taught children and adults how to draw cats.
Donna Barr, known for "The Desert Peach" and "Stinz," did an instructional on the correct drawing of horses. This panel and Gregory's were filmed by Pierre Richard, for later sharing on the internet.
Dara Korra'ti, of the band "Crime and the Forces of Evil," bravely used the comicon to launch recently-composed songs - "I wrote this one last Thursday!" - much to the enjoyment of the whole hall.
She also offered a panel on starting the kind of geekmusic festival she launched at the long-running sci/fi/fantasy convention Norwescon. This very busy and energetic woman added a third panel on writing music, specifically the very entertaining supervillain songs.
Angela Highland taught a fun and informative panel on how to self-publish a manuscript.
The show-goers enjoyed events at Clallam Bay/Sekiu Fundays, including a fair, parade and Saturday's spectactular annual fireworks in Sekiu. They also enjoyed fish-n-chip feasts at the Clallam Bay Inn. Attendees even bought fresh-caught salmon at Jack Mackerel's Fish Company, to take back home after the show.
The Sunsets West Co-Op offered health-conscious foods for attendees with health concerns. Unique Junque sold inexpensive and warm and fashionable sweaters and jackets to attendees who had come in from much warmer places, and needed cozy clothes on this rainy summer weekend.
Comics authors and artists spearheaded self-publishing long before it was popular and respected, and were the original knowledge base when Amazon expanded its Createspace music print-on-demand system to include books.
Before the movies discovered comics, comicons were all about artists/authors and their fans and friends. They were more like friendly parties with books and toys. The Clallam Bay Comicon concentrates on independent productions of books, music and film. It has hopes that a small independent film producer may have DVDs at the show in 2016.
Steve Strout's comicon, known as the Comic Book Swap Meet, in Chimacum (Washington), and the North Olympic Library System's free mini-con on July 24 in the Port Angeles library main branch, are just two examples of small conventions that are building what is affectionately known as "geek culture" on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.
Portfolio review by industry professionals helped new artists channel their future work and polish their work habits.
The entertainment industry is a growing center for independent entrepreneurs and jobs. Movies, comics, sports - anything that needs art and writing to add to the enjoyment - offers a way of making a living. Entertainers and their support industry not only buy from each other, they sell to each other.
Comicons are the best place to go to learn how to make a living in this future. Industry professionals are happy to help amateurs and newcomers, as well as redirect and network with experts in other fields. As just one example, construction people are not only paid to built sets, they're paid to renovate them for new projects or transport and store them - or even just to pull them down.
The 2016 Clallam Bay Comicon is already in the works. Details available soon in full at the link at www.donnabarr.com - which encourages people who would like to run the same kind of show to use this model. There is no charge for using or sharing the model.