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Clickburg report

Well, it's a day later, and I've recovered a bit from the convention, which was fun but hard work for me. I won't do a full report because after reading other people's reports on the Clickburg forum I can no longer be arsed, but I do want to say a few things in no particular order (just like I did at my presentation).

  • It was hot. This is the most important thing you could possibly know about the day. It was the hottest first of May in Dutch history, and this hurt attendance a lot. Less than 100 paying visitors showed up.
  • René and the other organisers did a heroic job getting the thing organised in the face of a myriad unexpected difficulties, but in the end, there were quite a few difficulties still. Especially the lack of equipment, ironically. It was lucky that Mithandir of Chasing the Sunset had brought more laptops than he needed.
  • Still, it was a bit of an inconvenience that I had to use Powerpoint without the benefit of a mouse. What we ended up doing was telling the laptop operator (the laptop was connected to a beamer in the PA box with a short cable) to move to the next slide whenever I said "Click".
  • Not that I was properly prepared for the presentation anyway. It ended up being a bit of a mess. If I were to do it again, I would do a better job because it was only by having the talk in front of an audience that I figured out what I wanted to talk about in the first place.
  • Clickie winners: Hotel by Han Hoogerbrugge, Poepoe by Jean-Marc van Tol, and Geza Dirks's cartoons.
  • Best new discovery: Bot and Cam, a hilarious office/geek comic made in 3D rendering software. I don't usually like 3D comics because they often seem lifeless, but because the main characters are a robot and a webcam, the style fits the mood.
  • Dark Horse: Evert Geradts (warning: Link has sound). Geradts is a veteran of both the underground of the late 1960s and early 70s, and of mainstream comics in the 1980s and 90s, as an artist and writer. His latest work is very different from his older work, because he has switched entirely to vector-based digital art. Usually when artists discover technology late in life, they do so warily and clumsily, staying well within the confines of their earlier work, but Geradts has embraced the technology whole-heartedly, claiming in the program that he spent first part of his career waiting for computers and vector programs to be invented. And it shows in his work. (Another exception, by the way, is Joe Zabel, whose 3D work is outstanding and ahead of its time. However, I still find it lifeless and can't get into it.) The reason I didn't discover it before is that there is much less material on the website than Geradts brought in his portfolio, and what I saw in the portfolio at A3 size looked a lot more impressive than what it does at screen size. He had a cool tutorial on his table as well.
  • Speaking of things that looked more impressive on paper than on screen: Liz Groenveld's originals may look pretty good on her website but the originals on display were so much nicer to look at that I couldn't believe they were actually the same material! I thought she must have adapted them extensively for the website, but it's all scan-and-post. Her sketchbooks looked very nice as well.
  • David de Rooij had a nice gimmick: he'd brought a coloring/drawing contest where people could complete a cartoon featuring the characters from his old parody comic The X-Fools and color it. I did, and couldn't resist listing my age as 33 1/2; but it was CTS's Alien who won. Interestingly, it hadn't really clicked with me that David was the guy behind The X-Fools, a comic I remembered from when I was still subscribed to the zine De Stripper. Back then, his style was very crowded whereas now it's very clean, but the sense of humour is very much the same. David's 24-hour comic, also available for perusal at his table, got many laughs out of an unoriginal premise: it shows David gathering with other artists working on the 24-hour comic and fighting sleep and artistic blockage. David paced himself very well during the 24 hours, and remarkably the last page was as well done as the first. This guy's gonna go far.
  • Because I shared a network with the CTS crew, I hung out with them a lot. Alien spent most of the time drawing, while Mithandir was more active mingling with the other artists. I split my time doing both, though in retrospect I would have liked to do more of the hob-nobbing. Next time, at the Small Press Festival in Groningen.
  • One reason I shouldn't have spent so much time at my stand: I didn't sell a damned thing! Only two copies of Jeroen's new mini De Ballade van Kittepoes. My luggage was as heavy on the way back as it was when I headed for Tilburg, and financially it was a dead loss. So I should have taken more advantage of the non-financial things the convention had to offer.
  • One of those non-financial things was an interview I did with Omroep Brabant. I have no idea how much of it was broadcast, bit it was fun to do.
  • I disliked two of the bands, including the project that Marq van Broekhoven and JP Arends had put together in which they beat old PCs to smithereens to back simple looping samples, but loved The Mono Tones (who need a new name if they ever want to get gigs through Google). Lovely raucous surf rock. Marq's a nice guy, by the way, nothing against him, but I thought their music was a joke that wore out its welcome in five minutes.
  • Biggest non-technological gripe: the room was too dark! I didn't realise this until I started trying to draw sketches for visitors, but it did make drawing harder, and it may have affected people's buying behaviour.
  • Weirdest moment: at his presentation of the new zine De Swasbeer, absurdist cartoonist Bandirah spent 10 minutes reading from a list of random words, in a careful monotone, with a perfectly blank expression! I liked it although it went on for a bit long, but I know that it annoyed one or two people.
  • The atmosphere was very pleasant throughout. There were plenty of free drinks and buns for cartoonists, and the convention people were responsive to requests. Very friendly, including the people who worked for the venue rather than for Clickburg itself.

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