ALcon 2008 Anime Convention Feature – Part Two


Previously in Part One I wrote about the way ALcon was structured and what screenings went on and now we will have a series of posts focusing on individual panels that eMagi attended from myself and TaroTard. For many conventions like it, Saturday is the most feature packed in terms of activities and this was no different.

Manga Character Drawing

A recent work by artist Sonia Leong

eMagi staff member Cam (Ovii-Sama) really wanted to attend this panel to help aid his illustration abilities and it didn’t disappoint. This panel was designed to help give tips and advice about the whole basics on manga characters, learning about perspective and general base rules that must be followed. Heading this was the entertaining and charismatic Sonia Leong, a professional manga/anime artist who is a core member of SweatDrop Studios, designed the official Catgirl mascot for Wacom-Europe’s Manga campaign amongst other things. TaroTard also joined in learning some additional tips as the whole group in the Artist Alley were taking in the tips being offered. One of the opening lines I remember from the session was “Just because I’m a professional, doesn’t mean I am the best. It just means I get paid!“. Which is very true. Sonia explained that there are many artists out there that might be technically and conceptually better and she doesn’t claim to be the best artist in the world. What is important though is that the illustration she produces is good enough for people to pay her for her time and effort and that’s what the difference is between an Amateurs and Professional artist. It was a shame though that facilities like an over head projector was not on offer or indeed even a flip chart for her to help teach everyone about some techniques. In the end she had to resort in just using large sheets of paper pinned on a board to use as a display. Great for people up close nearby but less so for the people near the back because of the limited view.

Asking Cam what he thought of the whole session, he really enjoyed the tips offered and he gained a new sense of confidence and motivation to continue working on his illustrations for the future. During the session Cam drew a picture and asked Sonia for tips on how to make it more professional looking. To his amazement Sonia actually re-drew the picture for him as a comparison along with tips on achieving such a look. Hopefully later on I can get an image of it, however if not it will be available on the eMagi forums instead!

After this, TaroTard went along to the panels hosted by the lovely Akemi Solloway and the new JRock one (expect coverage of these panels after the jump!) as I took a break going to the Ouran Host Club Café with a good friend, Amy.

Ouran Host Club Café
After a small fee of £3 per person, we were welcomed into the room by our host Tara and into a seating area in the room. We arrived at a good time because it was pretty quiet with only as few other people there however we found the ambiance and nature of it welcoming, especially as we needed to sit down and have a nice cup of tea!

On offer was a selection of teas with unlimited refills and a slice of chocolate cake each, so I indulged with some Earl Grey while Amy had a nice cup of coffee (the coffee fiend she is!). After being served with our drinks Tara came over to sit with us and was very welcoming and enthusiastic. Originally born in Texas she was embracing the anime culture over in the UK and was trading notes about various animes from Mai-HiME to Gundam Seed Destiny with Amy. Soon after another friend of mine Rachael came to join us as we had a bit of a chat and more tea! Not long after though the place became pretty busy to the point that there were not enough hosts to satisfy demand and fruit juices and cake were on short supply.

In all it was a nice small area for people to relax to have a chat and a drink, however some facilities such as more cups, juice and perhaps some light music could have helped the ambiance a little more. No issues with the hosts at all as all were very warm and welcoming, with all the proceeds going to Charity as well as an added bonus. Also perhaps some more posters or decorations could have been in place to make the room more viseral but those are just some quibbles when the real focus was on the company provided.

Iron Artist
Being enthused with his earlier talk with Sonia, Cam decided to participate in the Iron Artist competition and so I went along to give him some support! The concept of Iron Artist is that a theme is given to the participants and they must complete a piece of work within a given amount of time to the best of their ability, being judged on originality, technical ability and in this instance, using green tea leaves!

Only 15 minutes was allowed per round as the contestants went up in groups of four, along with the stipulation that green tea leaves must also be used on the illustration. The judges consisted of Sonia Leong, Niki Hunter and Phil of Genki Gear. Armed with only those known rules, they sat down, ready to do battle…

Theme: “Giant Monster Love”
Contestants: Cam, Jennifer and Dermot

Quite open to interpretation would you agree? With a set time limit the contestants went straight to work after finalising the idea in their heads and off they went. Some may have noticed that I have a name missing from the contestants list… And that would be right. I didn’t manage to jot down all of the usernames/names for all of the rounds and after an appeal on the Anime League forum went a little quiet (due to the lack of responses) I am unable to fill in the missing names for this and the other rounds. However if you contact me or leave a comment, I can amend the post to give suitable credit!

Here are the results though of Round One!

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Cam’s winning entry for Round One!

The Winner: Cam!

Doesn’t he look pleased? Above is his winning entry and below is a picture of him winning (looking slightly smug) and the entries for round one. Congratulations to all though as the entries were pretty funny on what could have been quite a risqué topic.

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Cam looking smug as his entry gets the vote

I do apologise to Cam though for not filming his first win, as I thought I was in a prime location being behind the judges. Thinking that the picture would be taken to the desk for critiques I was wrong as the contestants were told to stand up and describe the their pictures instead, thus all I could salvage was this picture…

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In the wrong place at the wrong time!

What sealed the winning vote was his presentation of the image along with the storyline and quote:

“And as she gazed at the city he raised for her, he quietly gurgled ‘I love you'”

Poetry in motion my friends, poetry in motion. Soon after the winning round I managed to gather a quick interview. I apologise for my laughing though as I seemed to have found the dripping glue from the painting rather amusing…

Theme: Viking Soap Opera (bonus point if you include Brian Blessed!)

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Working hard on the Viking Soap Opera theme

Quite a funny theme I thought and the inclusion of Brian Blessed would certainly make things interested! It was particularly funny though as most of the participants for round two did not know who he was! Alas the round went underway and the winner had quite an ingenious original concept for the use of the green tea! Watch the video below for the four entries and the eventual winner!I’m sorry though that I do not have the name of the lady who won this round. Please get in touch though so I can give you credit!

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Round Two winning entry and the artist next to Cam

Theme: Cucumbers on Tour

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Cucumbers READY?! Contestants READY?! 3, 2, 1… GO!

This one didn’t seem to be as creative as others so some of them tried to make things back up with quite an in depth backstory of the cucumbers (as you can see from the video below), however the winner was a bit different!. Apologies once again for not having all the names however the winner of this round was Rhian with ‘Geology Cucumbers in the Lake District’.

Photo credit to Rhian

Theme: Destroy Cute

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The winners of the previous rounds go head to head to illustrate the best way to Destroy Cute. This one was pretty funny and the eventual winner Rhian deserved this title for certainly destroying such an image!

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Watch the video below to find out exactly what I mean!

Our man Cam came third however was extremely happy with the result by getting through the rounds and winning a very impressive swag bag full of goodies! Here he is posing with his goods.

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Job done

In all it was quite enjoyable even though it clashed with quite a few events, so much so that there was another round planned but the whole group left to attend something else! However with one less person in the finals, it meant that all three finalists at least got something for their efforts sticking with it to the end. It did go a bit quiet midway through as I felt that there was not as much buzz around it like last year. I don’t think it was any fault though of any of the contestants or the running of the event itself. It just seemed that people were either in the dealers room or perhaps at the Quay Bar for a spot of lunch.

Charity Auction
While there were not many items there ready to be auctioned off, all the proceeds went to a good cause. The Charity was chosen by the attendees via the forum beforehand so everyone can get a say where the money goes to, which was a nice touch since the proceeds were raised by the fans after all. MC Marc explained how the process went and announced the Charity where the money would go to – The Cystic Fibrosis Trust. For those who do not know the effects that this has on a person, this is a quote from the website explaining what exactly it is:

  • Cystic Fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.
  • Average life expectancy is around 31 years, although improvements in treatments mean a baby born today could expect to live for longer.
  • Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease.
  • Cystic Fibrosis affects over 8,000 people in the UK.
  • Over two million people in the UK carry the faulty gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis – around 1 in 25 of the population.

Marc went on to explain that his 3 year old grandchild also suffers from Cystic Fibrosis and how this inherited disease is not well known in the UK, so all proceeds will be going into research for what is currently an incureable disease.

Up for auction was an illustration of AL-chan (ALcon’s female mascot), original artwork by Niki Hunter and full and complete blank set of ALcon convention badges. The breakdown of the auction went like this:

  • Artwork of ALchan – £42
  • Original Niki Hunter artwork – £25 (won by Tom!)
  • ALcon convention badges – £50

After the auction the raffle was done and it was rather funny. The same group of people won all the prizes which consisted of classic anime DVDs like Akira and Ghost in the Shell. However myself and my collegues did not know about the raffle to begin with so couldn’t buy a ticket to participate or indeed knew where to buy the tickets from. It was explained later though (at the committee Q&A) that it was a last minute decision to run the raffle and it would be more publically addressed next time.

This rounds up Part Two of the ALcon 2008 feature coverage by eMagi! Part Three will include the Cosplay Masquerade, Pub Quiz, AMV nights and various panels, ending with the Closing Ceremony and our thoughts of ALcon 2008. Stay tuned!

  • MattDark

    Looking at the winning auction prices there, makes me realise even more, just how over-the-top the bidding was at amecon.

  • Awinnerwasyou

    Congrats to Cam for coming third in the Iron Artist competiion! Looks like everyone had a great time- I should try and come to a convention next year…..

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