SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — And to think it all started with a small comic book exchange. Now, San Diego Comic-Con International is well, international attracting people from near and far.
After the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the 2020 convention, this year's event returned for a smaller in-person version called Comic-Con Special Edition 2021.
Among the crowd were classic characters like Captain America, Power Rangers, and Storm Troopers. But there were also some new ones like characters from Netflix's hit show 'Squid Games' and Marvel's Shang-Chi.
RELATED: PHOTOS: INSIDE SD COMIC-CON SPECIAL EDITION
12:00 p.m. - Artist Gallery
The first thing everyone notices when you walk into the artist gallery is the open space. In year's past getting from one end of the gallery to the other was similar to an obstacle course.
Some attendees said they love the smaller version of Comic-Con because it creates more intimate moments with artists.
I got a chance to meet a talented caricature artist named Rory Christiansen. He and about ten other artists are drawing superhero caricatures at booth 2619. You can check out more of Christiansen's work here.
The talent at Comic-Con is unmatched! This couple says it’s good to be back at their favorite convention! And hey @MarvelStudios if you’re looking for a female sidekick in the next #BlackPanther movie give me a call lol! Check out @SketchedInk in the artist gallery! @10News pic.twitter.com/tvw9vxim46— Krista Summerville (@LIVEWith_Krista) November 27, 2021
Ever wanted to look like Iron Man or Superwoman? Today’s your chance!— Krista Summerville (@LIVEWith_Krista) November 27, 2021
Check out booth 2619 for your own superhero caricature! #ComicCon2021 @10News pic.twitter.com/t9AnllnnwM
1:00 p.m. - The Women's Color Code Panel
Two women of color — Alissa Smith and Cheyenne Shotton — are dominating the video game industry and shared their experiences working on titles from big and small. From Race with Ryan Roadtrip to DreamWorks' Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia.
Smith is a game designer for Heavy Iron Studios and Shotton is a publishing producer working for Outright Games.
The duo is hoping to inspire game lovers, women, and people of color to pursue their dreams of creating video games.
"Its not just production or game design. If you can do anything there's a place for you in the gaming industry," said Smith.
It was in high school when Shotton decided she wanted to work in the gaming industry.
"When I was in high school I was like you can make money making video games?" said Shotton.
Smith said she enjoys making video games that younger girls can see themselves in a video game she crafted.
"Girls aren't someone you have to talk down to in the game industry. You don't have to make the levels easy for them," said Smith.
When Smith was 7-year-old the only character option she had was Princess Beach from Super Mario.
Confidence is key when it comes to being a woman in a male dominant industry.
"Let's face it the industry is a boys club," Smith said. "It's not always going to be easy, but you have to speak up to leave your mark and earn the respect."
3:00 p.m. How to Promote Yourself and Your Work Online Panel
As we know San Diegans love living here, but it’s expensive. Content creator Denise Vasquez spoke to aspiring artists, writers, and photographers about how to find your niche, how to promote and showcase your content, and how to attract clients online.
"Believe in yourself, believe in your art, if you don't believe in what you're creating nobody else will," said Vasquez.
Vasquez said there are three components to focus on when building a following.
- Your Creation
- How does your product make your audience feel
Remember when Facebook and Instagram went down earlier this year? The outage left content creators that use social media to showcase their work in the dark.
Vasquez says having a website is crucial.
"Your website is your home base, it's where people can find you. Only showcase your best work on your website," said Vasquez.
The fully packed audience at Comic-Con Special Edition left with a new appreciation on how to create opportunities for their work, and eager to enjoy the rest of the convention.
“It’s small business Saturday and we must support each other in this industry.”— Krista Summerville (@LIVEWith_Krista) November 27, 2021
It was a packed room to listen to Denise Vasquez on how artist, writers, and photographers can promote themselves online. @10News #ComicCon #MakingItInSanDiego pic.twitter.com/N1w8vjxWpn