Hey Toronto, it’s time for Fan Expo Canada! I’ll be at Table A389 in the Artist Alley September 1-4 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

I’m also opening up pre-commission slots today! I’ll open 10 for now, and if there’s more availability I might open more. Prices for a single character ink drawing and minimal background start at the following prices (in Canadian Dollars):

  • 5×7 – $35 CAD
  • 8×10 – $60 CAD
  • 11×17 – $120 CAD

 

Below are some samples of commissions from last year’s Fan Expo Canada.

To sign up for a commission slot, please email me at punchingpandasart on Gmail. Please send me your name, your commission request, and the day that you’re planning on picking up your piece. Once your request has been approved, I’ll send you my PayPal info and will start work once I receive payment. For more details, visit my commissions page. Look forward to seeing you all!

I’m back from my week in Toronto for Fan Expo Canada 2015. What a week!

Overall Fan Expo Canada was a lot of fun, and I plan on signing up again. The parts I enjoyed the most was catching up with old friends, making new ones, and the conversations that I got to have friend friends and fans alike.

This was my first time at Fan Expo, and it was by far the biggest one that I’ve tabled at. Overall, things weren’t as stressful as I thought they’d be, and I actually felt pretty relaxed while I was there, much more so than the commute. After this weekend, I feel pretty good moving forward and applying to other large cons.

I got a good share of commissions, a couple of them were pretty wacky, but I had fun.  Seemed like the theme for Fan Expo was pandas and girls, but I enjoyed making each and every one of them. I mean, I get to draw a Hellboy and a Furiosa panda, how cool is that?

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I also got to meet a lot of talented artists and see some of their work. Sorry if I missed anyone, there’s just so much talent out there! Thomas AuMaruti Bitamin, Kyle James Smith, Gabe Sapienza, Genevieve FT, Nneka Myers, Melvin Yuen, Amanda J. Martin, Lee Ann Dufour, Chris Uminga, Matthew Fletcher, Mike Brodie, Kalvin Kulz, Derek Ho, Kenny Whaa, Glen Specter, Nathan Alcee, Ian Herring, Brian Hoang, and Gillian Newland.

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Now that I’m back in Seattle, I’m getting a little moment to breathe, but not for long! Rose City Comic Con is coming up fast, see you soon, Portland!

Cheers,

Nolen

Hey everyone! It’s time for pre-commissions! I’ll be attending Fan Expo Canada at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, September 3-6. I haven’t received my table assignment yet, but check back to this post next week for an update.

You can sign up for pre-commissions by emailing me at “punchingpandasart” on Gmail. Please review my submission guidelines here, and make sure you follow the directions otherwise I will not accept them.

As a special promotion for Fan Expo, all prices for pre-commissions for Fan Expo Canada will be in CAD. This will only apply to pre-commissions that will be delivered at Fan Expo. Here’s a rundown of the prices:

  • OPTION 1: 11×17 color giclee print on matte paper – starting at $100 CAD, additional characters – starting at $30 CAD each.
  • OPTION 2: 9×12 BW sumi ink original with wash on watercolor paper – starting at $50 CAD, additional characters – starting at $15 CAD each.
  • OPTION 3: 5×7 BW sumi ink original with wash on watercolor paper – starting at $30 CAD, additional characters – starting at $10 CAD each.

Please contact me at “punchingpandasart” on Gmail. At this time, commissions for Fan Expo Canada will take priority over non-Fan Expo commissions. If you are interested in a commission but are not attending Fan Expo to pick it up, I will get to those as soon as I return to the States. I will also have a follow-up post for those of you attending Rose City Comic Con in Portland. Stay tuned!

Looking forward to seeing all you Torontonians! It’s gonna be fun!

 

Cheers,

Nolen

Caught the Blazers game on Saturday, flew out to Toronto for Low-Dao’s 60th birthday on Super Bowl Sunday, and just got back to Seattle today.  Go Hawks, and time for bed!

On Friday after having lunch with one of Olwen’s friends, Cheryl, we dropped by Paintlounge in Markham which was owned by another friend of Olwen’s, Norris.  Olwen thought it would be good for me to try out some traditional painting before we met up with another friend that evening.  When I started out, I had no idea what I was supposed to paint.  I started with a recollection of Olwen playing with Caitlyn in her mini-jungle gym in Jeremy and Olga’s newly turfed yard amongst a backdrop of trees.  Eventually, those details proved to be precise given the the brushes I had so the painting ended up having a life of its own.  In the end, I think I was happy with the result.  There’s just something about the experience of using traditional media that you can’t quite duplicate with digital; the lack of an undo button, the mess, and the smell of the paint seem to enrich the experience since the final product is a lot more tangible than a bunch of pixels.  Alright, enough of the romantics, moving on…

Saturday was wedding number THREE starring our friends Apple and Darrin who live in Hong Kong but celebrating their wedding in Toronto with friends and family.  For their reception, they had a costume party along with photographers.  I thought I was the only one who had a full-sized bear costume for his own wedding…

Sadly, our trip was just about over.  We did get a nice surprise in the morning when we were awoken by a squealing mini-batgirl.  I’m gonna miss that terrible two-year old…

On Wednesday, Olwen and I met up with a couple friends who became recent baby mama’s.  Later that evening, we went over to Olwen’s uncle and aunt’s, Dai-Bak-Yeh, and Dai-Bak-Leung, house for some hotpot. Also there was Ah-Ma, Low-Dao, Olwen’s eldest aunt, Goo-Ma, Olwen’s cousin Rosa, and her son Justin.  Justin was working last-minute on his French homework and was getting frustrated.  Surprisingly, I was able to help him a little bit with what I knew from English and Spanish.  Of course he had to translate his homework for me, but still…  I helped a Canadian cousin with his French homework, and I DON’T SPEAK A LICK OF FRENCH. ‘Murica.

Thursday was a pretty chill day helping out Jeremy with installing some turf in the backyard.  After grabbing some gelato with Jeremy & Olga after dinner, we met with more friends for more dessert.  While we were chatting, I was trying to draw Phil, but for reason, I couldn’t seem to get his likeness even though I know he has some prominent features.  I drew a couple more frustrating pages with no success.  Maybe I was tired or it was late, but I was getting a bit irritated not getting the sketch down right.  Eventually, I was like, “I don’t get how I can’t seem to draw you!”  to which Olwen replied, “That’s ’cause you haven’t given him a big nose!”  So I drew a big nose, and… well it worked.

Sunday afternoon, I tried to catch the Toronto Subway Sketch Group that meets on Sunday afternoons at Union Station.  Unfortunately, the website didn’t specify which end of the station we were supposed to meet at.  Granted, I was a couple minutes late, but I tried to find by dashing in and out of the cars in between stops.  In the end, I gave up and went about my own sketching endeavors.  I did find a nice bowl of ramen over at Santuoka Ramen.

Tuesday morning, I went to do some work downtown at a cafe before we were to meet up with Olwen’s friends for dinner.  After I rendezvoused with Olwen for lunch, we stopped by Sugar Beach near the George Brown campus.  It’s an artificial beach constructed adjacent to a sugar refinery, hence the name.  While there, I had a nice chat with a student named Rose.

In the evening we arrived at Sushi Inn on Cumberland.  I made the following sketches during our conversations. Overall a fun and enjoyable night for all.

 

Lots to update on, so I’m going to split this up into separate posts.  Just got back from a week in Toronto visiting friends and family.

This is my fifth time visiting, but this was the first time that I was bringing a sketchbook.  There was a moment when my mother-in-law, I call her “Ah-Ma”, asked me why I sketched all the time.  At the time, I told her that I was doing it for practice, and trying to get better at my craft, but for some reason, that answer didn’t feel quite accurate to me.  When I later reflected on that conversation, I realized that the real reason was because it helped me to have a new outlook at what was before me.  I never thought about how sketching forces me to be more observant about the things in front of me, how it causes me to sift through the vast amount of visual information in front of me to get to what Walt Stanchfield calls the “first impression”.  And it helps me to see the story that’s behind every seemingly insignificant gesture or moment whether it be someone stirring their coffee, a couple having a conversation, or a weathered shipping yard; there’s always an individual backstory to everything and everyone.

So here were some of the moments that I managed to capture, some accurately, some not so great.  Regardless, what I would’ve expected to be a routine family visit turned out to be rich with enjoyable moments and little surprises.

 

I had over a month left until the proposal.  The most difficult task now was to keep it all a secret from Olwen.  My main concern was with her parents since they’re the ones that I probably would have the least control over.  It turned out that leaks were coming out elsewhere.

After I picked up Olwen from the airport, we headed over to NewGen, my church fellowship.  I had to give Olwen back her car, so I had her drop me off at the fellowship.  We were hanging out on a couch when Christine spotted Olwen and walked up to us.  She welcomed Olwen back and asked about her trip to Rwanda.  And that’s when she said, “Wow, you guys have been doing a lot traveling.  Nolen just got back from Toronto.”

She did not just say that.

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I got about 5 hours of sleep that night.  I usually have a habit of hitting the snooze button a dozen times before I get my day started, but I resisted and got up.  It was around 9am EST, and no one else in the house was up yet.  Candy had instructed me the night before about how to let myself out in the morning.  As I was making my way to the garage, I bumped into her mom in the laundry room.  She smiled and said something in Chinese that I couldn’t understand.  I tried to act natural, smiled, and mumbled something incoherent as I headed to my car.  I guessed she figured I was one of Candy’s friends.

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