First off, I'm lame and didn't take many pictures. I took three. All outside of the convention.
My view from just outside the convention doors.
Found this gem on my way back from having lunch with a friend. It was much grander in person.
This is a sculpture made by my good friend Matt Kesler. He's a Senior Illustrator at Hallmark Cards. This piece, a beautiful tribute to M. Sendak, is now permanently displayed in the Hallmark Library.
They help preserve some good memories, for sure, so I share them above, but somehow I missed all of the great artists and art found inside the convention. I'm sure I was a little awestruck.
As hoped, I got to see or meet many of the artists that I've been admiring for years. People like Ian McCaig, Greg Manchess, Mark Shultz, Justin Gerard, Cory Godbey, and Jon Foster. But I also got a chance to meet a lot of other artists. Artists that are either a little less known or who's work strays a little from the traditional RPG fantasy genre. Artists like Cory Loftis (huge influence), Brian Fyffe, Brenna Lindblad, Drew Baker, and David Petersen. All were very friendly and put a reclusive and shy artist like me at ease right away. Most were very willing to review my portfolio and give feedback. I also had the chance to listen to some of the big art directors (Jon Schindehette, Irene Gallo, Lauren Panepinto, etc) speak and had portfolio reviews with some of them. If you're starting out in fantasy illustration, definitely follow the Spectrum Live website and look for the portfolio review signups that open up a few weeks before the event. Spots go fast, so you got to be quick. There were also a ton of great lectures going on through out the weekend. Covering things like illustration history, character design in film, and what an art director looks for in an illustrator. The convention itself is inexpensive and there are plenty of nice perks for those that get a 3 day pass. Lots of extracurricular activities going on around the event and easy access to great food and culture right outside the convention doors.
Overall, I felt Spectrum Live was a great convention! Especially for illustrators trying to break into the industry. It wasn't crazy crowded, which was nice for me, and provided easy opportunities to talk with great artists about their work and process. I didn't land any immediate jobs, which was a secret hope leading up to the event, but that's cool. The most valuable thing I got from Spectrum Live was the chance to meet great artists and develop new friendships. Definitely looking forward to next year!