#TWDFamily Part 4
“It’s not just fandom. It’s family.” If you are at all familiar with Walker Stalker Convention or Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, you’ve probably seen this tag line before. Though I’d seen it, I had never put much thought into what it meant until I experienced this family for myself. From attending the conventions as a fan to beginning this podcast with Kia, I have witnessed a fandom that supports each other with their whole hearts. I have seen people come together for each other in a way that can only be described as magical. Their one common thread? They love The Walking DeadÂ and attending the conventions that celebrate their favorite show.
In this four part series, I will be chatting with many of the people that make up this family. In this final installment, we take a look at some of the amazing vendors you may see this weekend or at Walker Stalker Conventions in the future!
Meet our vendors!
Have you been a vendor at Walker Stalker Con?
Aislinn Draws: I have been a vendor twice before, at the two London Walker Stalkers. I decided to become a vendor after hearing about WSC London too late and discovering all the general admission tickets were gone. For a while, people had been suggesting I ‘do something’ with my artwork, which was just a hobby until then. So I bit the bullet, reserved a vendor table, ordered some prints and hoped for the best! It was, at the time, the best thing I had ever done. So of course I returned the next year!
CreepynCuteShop: Yes. 3 WSC Atlanta (plus 2017, will make 4), 1 WSC London, 1 WSC NY/New Jersey, 2 WSC Chicago, and 1 WSC Orlando.
Creation 13 SPFX: Have been a vendor 2 times for Tennessee and Georgia.
Which upcoming Walker Stalker Con can we find you at? Please list your booth number (if applicable, plus any other identifying factors to help people find you.
Aislinn Draws: I’ll be at Walker Stalker Atlanta this weekend. My booth number is 119 and I’m along the row of booths facing the big entrance doors to the main convention hall. It’s a hella big place but I’m hoping that makes me a little easier to find! If you’re still stuck trying to find me, I’d recommend listening out for an excitable British accent!
MDG Art and Customs: I’ll be at booth 344.
Benny Miller Art: I attended my first Walker Stalker last year but not as a vendor. My first one will be in April at the Walker Stalker Con 2018 Chicago. I am way excited for it. It’s happening simultaneously with FanFest Heroes and Villains, but I’ll be on the Walker Stalker side. I don’t have a booth number yet, but my booth will be the one with the sweet art and the handsome, long-haired dude working it (haha).
CreepynCuteShop: WSC Atlanta 2017 and WSC Nashville 2018. For WSC Atlanta, we shall be at Booth #331. WSC Nashville booth numbers have not yet been assigned and/or released yet by WSC.
Creation 13 SPFX: My booth is 372, Creation 13 SPFX. Look for my husband standing on his soap box wearing a top hat, selling a freak show like setting zombie experience for $10.
What made you decide to become a vendor at WSC?
MDG Art and Customs: It was a moment of madness. I tend to create art that I wanna see and though I love the gore and guts and action or the lovely character portraits, I was frustrated at not finding the type of art I wanted at conventions; very specifically Richonne art. I went to 3 conventions last year and only the awesome Kirk Manley had artwork that included Michonne and Rick as a couple (that I could find, anyway) and since I’m basically obsessed with drawing the softer side of Richonne. I decided to go for it. I know there are others out there who do too, and I just wanted to share in on that.
CreepynCuteShop: We are vendors at WSC as a result of fans’ requests. We are also vendors because of our passion for all things ‘The Walking Dead’ related. We love the fans and feel we are now a part of WSC Family and WSC Fandom. We are also vendors because we love to design & gift celebrities their character and/or portrait dolls in appreciation for the best entertainment they provide for the fans!!!
Benny Miller Art: As for what made me become a vendor, I’ve been struggling for a while to find a niche for my art. I was kind of all over the place, but started doing portraits a few years back and found that I was decent at it. I started doing them mostly with oil paint on a large scale. They were very time consuming and labor intensive. I then stumbled upon the wonders of Copic markers, and decided to give them a whirl. I began doing smaller, gray-scale portraits with them on toned paper and just REALLY liked the effect. Plus, they took a fraction of the time. I began doing a lot of them, and before I knew it, had a collection. I had been thinking that maybe I could start selling them at cons, but my wife was the one that was really vocal about the idea and the driving force behind all of this. I have my first booth in Chicago only because of her support.
Creation 13 SPFX: I do it for the laughs, scares and experience. Hearing someone scream, “That’s Winslow,” answering questions on how to do make up to old and young. Talking with the teenagers who aspire to be makeup artists. It’s about the experience the customers walk away with.
How has the Walker Stalker Community helped to expand your business?
Aislinn Draws: Walker Stalker has helped me expand my business in that I literally did not HAVE a business before WSC came along. It has helped me to not only find a very focused audience for my work, but also to make friends who support my work both financially and through moral support. One friend in particular, Heather, is someone who I quite honestly would not have been able to do this without.
Benny Miller Art: Through Walker Stalker, my wife has met a number of incredibly generous and supportive people who helped us figure out the vendor process, giving us ideas for sales, how to advertise, quantity of product, how to display, and just about everything else involved with this. My first customers were also people from Walker Stalker, and the whole community has just been so supportive and wonderful. There are just some really incredibly generous people involved in this whole thing.
CreepynCuteShop: The WSC community, family, and fandom have helped expand our very ‘organic’ business by welcoming us and our “Share the Love” mission & motto. They have also helped by sharing our business name on their website, sharing social media posts, and sharing some of our doll gifting experiences where we have gifted character and/or portrait dolls to various celebrities.
Creation 13 SPFX: Walker Stalker Con has helped expand my business by letting the public see me and my magazine. I have also been introduced to new artists causing new issues for the magazine. I am able to advertise for other booths. I do it for free. Art is to be shared, not hidden. I suffer from anxiety disorder. Walker Stalker has helped me interact and somewhat helped me deal with understanding my limits and how to fight it off and enjoy the beautiful souls around me.
What do you love most about Walker Stalker Con?
Aislinn Draws: The people! Not even the celebrities – as great as they are – but the other attendees, vendors and staff. If I scroll back through my inbox, about 90% of my recent messages are from people I’ve met through Walker Stalker. I went to Atlanta last year as an attendee knowing not a single person, and I return this year with over thirty different friends to reunite with!
MDG Art and Customs: I love everything. There’s art, there’s cosplay, there’s Andrew Lincoln spending his precious Sunday taking photos with us and it’s all about The Walking Dead. If you’re lucky, you might get to tell your favorite actor how much the work they do means to you. You get to meet up with friends you might not see all year round otherwise; you make new ones. It’s like one big family reunion….with family you actually want to spend time with!
Benny Miller Art: it’s got to be the people. My wife and I have met so many supportive, creative, and just all around incredible people. I think my wife talks to her Walker Stalker family more than she talks to her real family. I know she’s made some life long friends and they’ve all extended such wonderful acts of kindness to us and our family. I remember before our first Walker Stalker, we were really unsure of what to do and needed some general guidance on the workings of it. A complete stranger, Heather, messaged my wife on a message board and told her “you can call me, I promise I’m not a weirdo.” It’s a year later and they talk on the phone daily, along with a number of other friends my wife made there. I feel really fortunate to have such a huge number of supportive and generous people in our lives. Who would have thought that such a family could be created from a mutual love of zombies!!!
CreepynCuteShop: The fans, the celebrities, the overall convention experience, and especially the hugs, smiles and out pouring of love!!!
Creation 13 SPFX: James and Robin get all these amazing actresses and actors under one roof for so many to express love to, take pictures with, and share the positive energy experience. And of course, the Walker Stalker Con fans. Watching children cry in love, not horror, when they see a hero character. The respect and love the actors and actresses give to strangers, thanking them for enjoying the work they do is great to see.