Friday night was awesome.
I remember coming back to our hotel room at 2 AM and saying to Laura, "That. THAT is Illuxcon."
The evening began (after our naptime and sketchbook run) at Le Bistro, which was a new addition to the 'campus' since last year. I thought originally that no one in Altoona ate food, because last year it was impossible to find a restaurant in the whole downtown area... but really they're just hidden, and it was kind of Pat and Jeannie to reserve one.
We had some coffee and had good conversation with Scott Greig and Mike Sass- two very nice guys formerly from BioWare, who were visiting all the way from Canada. They told us stories about making video games back in the Baldur's Gate era (which admittedly was an awesome time for PC games). My favorite was the description of how models were textured in the days of yore; often they were limited to four textures per character, so an eyeball texture was sometimes stretched out over the limbs to simulate muscle.
We didn't really do much sketching, but judging from the crowd's fervor in the other room it was very very fun.
Afterward we crowded outside for Vincent Villafranca's live bronze pour:
Joe Wilson made the comment, "man, I can't even pour gravy that accurately."
The next part is always my favorite: the bar.
No, I'm not a huge drinker, but there's a lot to be said about meeting people with a drink in your hand. Fantasy artists are ridiculously nice people, and approaching them isn't hard anyway, though it's always nice to have a little extra bit of social lubrication.
Laura and I had a couple 'DS duels' where we traded her NintendoDS back and forth, making little paintings on the program Colors. Not so much a duel as a collaboration, but everything sounds better with 'Versus.' Eventually this ritual involved other artists. Laura even posted some of them on her blog!
I think the biggest significance about what Pat and Jeannie have done with Illuxcon, is that these events serve as a reminder to all of us that the community is still strong. You have the formal show and lectures, but you also have an open-format window of time to just talk to people- something you don't get every day in such a small field.