San Diego Comic-Con 2014 was bigger than ever in terms of attendance, and yet it was lacking the large Hollywood presence that has made the last few years unbearably crowded in the exhibit hall, which means there was plenty of room for independent artists to set up and share their graphic creations.
As usual SDCC rolled out the red carpet for indie artists trying to share their passion with fans on a personal level, and whether they were veteran exhibitors, or it was their first year on the floor, they all had one thing in common- a love of illustration, art and, of course, comic books.
I had the pleasure of speaking with some of the independent artists exhibiting at Comic-Con 2014, and even though a few of the artists I missed in last year's coverage weren't in attendance those who were nice enough to share a few minutes with me about their art showed that independent art is alive and well at Comic-Con.
After speaking to Jeremy Bernstein for just a few minutes it became clear that he is extremely passionate about animation and illustration, and his passion was shared by those who stopped by his booth to check out his works.
Jeremy is a BFA graduate of Cal Arts (California Institute of the Arts) who started out working for Dreamworks as an animator on features such as Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda, but he soon found his desire to draw impossible to ignore, so he went to work on his own projects. So far he has illustrated seven books, many of which are self published, and like all of Jeremy’s art these books are extremely diverse in subject matter and target audience.
He’s currently developing his own animated series for Nickelodeon, where he works as a storyboard artist on the series Breadwinners, and he’s looking forward to bringing more of his creations to life in the future both on screen and in print.
Jeremy’s passion is evident in everything he creates, and he’s a shining example of what an independent artist can achieve if they continue to work on projects they find personally fulfilling.
Street art comes alive in the hand drawn works of Erwin Haya, who is now considered a Comic-Con veteran since he has been exhibiting at the Con for the last twelve years.
Erwin attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, California and began his creative career working for companies such as Barra, a financial software company, and Booyah Games before he decided to go independent and work on his own artistic creations full time.
In 2003 he began publishing web comics under the name OneSickIndividual, and he continues to create street art influenced illustrative works as an independent freelancer for companies such as Mattel, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster.
Erwin’s currently working on his own graphic novel, and by the look of the works he had on display at Comic-Con fans of graffiti and animation are sure to find something they love in Erwin’s upcoming comics.
Veteran exhibitor Diana Sprinkle has cultivated a devoted fan base while selling her works at Comic-Con over the last fifteen years, and it’s no wonder- her eye-catching artworks are so visually appealing that it's virtually impossible to look away!
The Austin, Texas native is best known for her colorful critter themed illustrations, many of which have been collected in her recently self-published book called Mystery Pets, which she describes as "120 pages of puns and animals."
Her works are colorful and funny, with a touch of anime influence and just the right amount of geek, appealing to both men and women who enjoy a little LOL with their illustrated linework.
She currently releases her artwork primarily as prints, postcards and t-shirts, but if she ever gets around to creating a comic book based on her critter characters readers will be lining up to come along for the ride.
Amy and Chris Hernandez
Amy and Chris Hernandez are a husband and wife team from Apple Valley, California who are enjoying some much deserved success, and critical acclaim, with their first children’s book Jack and the Zombie Attack.
Amy is an educator and writer, and Chris is a graphic designer and illustrator, and together they formed Zombie Playground Publishing to self-publish their wonderful children’s book series starring their son Jack.
The couple wanted to create a book that both capitalized on the current zombie trend and taught children important moral lessons, and with these factors in mind Jack and the Zombie Attack, a book that teaches children to listen to their parents, was born.
They’re currently working on the next book in the series called Jack and the Pirate Attack, which teaches kids about standing up to bullies, and if the success of their first book is any indication these independent creators of kid friendly graphic content are sure to have hordes of fans dying to get their hands on their new book!
Yomi Ayeni is an extremely talented creator with a laundry list of accomplishments under his belt including working as a DJ for a local radio station in Nigeria, launching the seminal dance label Tone Def Records, and creating an award winning reality program called Global E-Missions for ITV, just to name a few.
His passion for creating interactive media, coupled with his love of the Steampunk subculture, led him to create the graphic novel series Clockwork Watch, which take place in an alternate Steampunk version of London.
Yomi creates his graphic novels along with illustrator Jennie Gyllblad and editor Corey Brotherson, and each volume in the proposed nine book series contains an interactive element where readers are encouraged to visit the real life London locations featured in the book and contribute a piece to the London Gazette section found in each book, thereby becoming part of the experience.
In addition to being an accomplished and talented creator Yomi is one heck of a nice guy, and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him passionately describe his graphic novels, stories about a clockwork machine gaining sentience and a son struggling against a father trying to play god by creating a clockwork world of his own.
Multi-talented artist/creator Scott Marcano is busy making his independent artist dreams come true both in print and on screen, and 2014 marked his seventh year attending Comic-Con as an exhibitor.
Scott attended USC where he wrote his first screenplay for a little film called Bio-Dome that starred Pauly Shore, but since he'd always loved creating his own comic books he naturally gravitated toward the medium as a way to combine his two passions- writing and illustration.
His Star Wars propaganda shirts and prints were very popular with Comic-Con attendees, and his upcoming vampire western series Rio Sangre is sure to appeal to those who like horror comics that really bite.
Val Hochberg is a talented comic artist with a natural exuberance and positive energy that translates into her artwork in such an organic way that everything she creates becomes infused with her personality and passion.
Val graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2005, and although she started out working for major studios she wanted to devote more of her time and energy to working on her own projects, so she left the studio scene and went to work on her own series Mystery Babylon.
Val’s artwork is colorful and dynamic, and all hand drawn, so you know Val puts her heart and soul into everything she creates, whether it's a print or a self-published graphic novel.
If you enjoyed reading about the independent artists at San Diego Comic-Con why not show them some love by checking out their creations online?! They all have such diverse styles and stories to tell so you're sure to find something you'll love!