By Nolan P. Smith
Photos by Jason T. Smith and Nolan P. Smith
This past weekend, the Pasadena Convention Center became home to the first-ever LightBox Expo. Having attended just about every kind of comic and art convention in Southern California, I have to say: I was extremely impressed.
Created by character designer and illustrator Bobby Chiu, the team at Schoolism, and Emerald City Comic Con founder Jim Demonakos, the LightBox Expo is a celebration of the visual arts in sunny Southern California. This is not a comic convention; there were no cosplayers to be seen, not that there is anything wrong with cosplayers. This expo was geared directly to artists and fans of their art, and you could see the difference. Exhibitors included Sony Animation, Netflix, Warner Bros, Wacom, Adobe, Procreate, Alvin Lee, Mike Mignola, and more. The idea behind the LightBox Expo (LBX) is a way to bring together the best artists in animation, illustration, live-action, and gaming industries under one roof. Why? To hang out with fellow creators, share art with the public, meet other artists, further our skills, and educate those coming up in the various industries.
The show was exceptionally well planned, with wide aisles, excellent presentation, and demonstrations taking place in the lobby, which is a genius move. The expo reminded me of DesignerCon, which is also dedicated to artists but more in the collectible side. The exhibitors all had something unique to show the world, and it was a fantastic experience to be a part of. I have had the honor to cover quite a few inaugural conventions in my time as a reporter, and this is easily the best debut I have seen. The only thing I would suggest for next year would be to add exhibitors that sell protectors for prints. With so many amazing artists in attendance, having a booth selling something to protect your artwork would have been a fantastic addition.
I can’t recommend the LightBox Expo enough. From the check-in process to every aisle of the exhibit hall, every aspect I saw of this expo shined. Make sure to be a part of it when it returns in 2020. Next year’s LightBox Expo will take place on September 11th-13th. For more information, visit https://www.lightboxexpo.com/