Imagining the Fantastic! (day1)

About a week ago I noticed on Facebook that there was going to be an event, within easy driving distance of Chicago, that would feature some of the biggest names in children's picture books and fantasy art. Dr. Ari Berk , Brian and Wendi Froud, Tony DiTerlizzi and Charles Vess were coming to Mt. Pleasant, MI to give a free lecture and do a Q&A with the public.

After a 4 1/2 hr drive I arrived in Mt. Pleasant, found the campus where the talk was being given and after much wandering, found a parking lot within walking distance of the auditorium.

The auditorium itself was smaller than I expected but I was pleased that the whole event would be more intimate. Each artist gave a brief 30-45min talk with slide show of some of their most famous pieces and some of the process behind them.
Tony DiTerlizzi gave a comedic, well thought out talk that was somewhere between a pitch to a publisher and walk down memory lane. It was pretty amusing.
The event lasted until about 6:30 and then all of the artists wandered into a small gallery space to sign books, prints, dvds, and even a t-shirt or two.
A friend from Chicago had brought her camera and was kind enough to snap a few pics of me with each of the guests.

Tony DiTerlizzi, who was super nice with his time not only to take a photo with me but also to look at my portfolio and give me some great advice about the biz.

Me and Charles Vess. A super nice southerner full of jokes and smiles.
And then there's this guy. I never thought I'd meet the legendary Brian Froud but here I am shoulder to shoulder. Brian is a stereotypical Englishman from the country. He's a bit on the quiet side but once he gets talking he mumbles, shuffles, smiles and eventually becomes quite animated (when talking about Faeries).
I somehow managed to miss getting a picture with Wendi Froud but I did talk to her briefly and like all of the other guests, she was a real pleasure to meet.

It was an honor to meet all of these icons. Day 2 starts soon. I'll be back with more.

*Expect edits. I've had little sleep and am pumped up on coffee until this weekend is over with.


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