DesignerCon 2018 kicked off last night at the Anaheim Convention Center with a special "VIP Night". Turn out was strong, and this night was especially important for anyone with an interest in picking up DesignerCon exclusives. My wife and I didn't go with the notion of picking up any exclusive merchandise—we're trying hard not to be collectors—but we did come away with one piece that was exclusive to the convention. (More on that, further down.)

DesignerCon 2018 program and map, a card from Denno Daiku, and a flyer for Shag's Mahogany Monsters.

I feel like I should make clear that there were some fantastic works at last night's event that we couldn't afford—not because they're overpriced, but because we're budgeted. I didn't feel comfortable asking designers I didn't know for permission to take and publish photos of them, or their displays, so a lot of those fantastic works won't be shown here. One of the things that I regret not buying last night is a round fox by Denno Daiku, whose card is pictured above. The same can be said for Peter Santa-Maria's linoleum block prints and a foo dog by Miss Monster (Melita Curphy). The Mahogany Monsters, pictured in the flyer above, are my favorite Shag pieces, ever.

Veronica at the Sharptooth Snail booth, which she shared with Critical Hit Shop.

The Sharptooth Snail booth came together nicely, despite a few logistical hiccups along the way. Veronica has a nice collection of t-shirts, enamel pins, button, prints, and resin figures—some hand-painted—on-hand for the convention. Her booth partner, Critical Hit Shop, has pins (possibly more limited than usual), wall hangings, door signs, and pendants, with his Cutethulu tentacling its way into my favorites.

Sloth, tardigrade, and anglerfish pins from Sharptooth Snail, along with a Tako Taco button.

As predicted, I picked up one of Sharptooth Snail's angelrfish pins, and the wife bought a sloth enamel pin. Veronica didn't have any mitochondria t-shirts on hand, but I supplemented with a wicked awesome Rainbow Black Tardigrade Tough pin. For more detailed information on Veronica's art and products, you can check out her blog at (Don't forget to peep the comics while you're there!)

Zine, sticker, and card from Lady Beaver, along with a book and card from HoraTora Studios. The zine and book are autographed.

Erika Lipkes from Lady Beaver and Christie Shinn of HoraTora Studios were some of the friendliest, funniest, and most entertaining people at the con! You can check out Lady Beaver's music on Soundcloud, videos on YouTube, and purchase her zines, comics, and coloring books via Etsy. Christie Shinn has a few articles published at Buzzfeed and Off Shoot Comics' interview with her is available via YouTube.

Book, postcard, sticker, and business card from Man One. The book is autographed.

My wife is a long-time Roy Choi fan, and now we're both Man One fans, too! Man illustrated the book pictured above (Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee), and has another in the works where he takes on both writing and illustration duties. We know this because, along with his wicked use of color, Man One brought both enthusiasm and approachability to his booth at DesignerCon. Meeting him was one of the highlights of my night.

Limited edition print from Kelly Johnson, Christmas card and business card from Monuni, and pin with four mini-cards from Corgli/World of Zhen.

The larger print pictured above is the only DesignerCon 2018 exclusive that we brought home with us. It's actually a misprint of the Cut Wolf Print by Kelly Johnson, and it's number four of only five that were available last night. The card from Monuni is one of the most unique Christmas cards I've ever seen, and if you stop by the booth, you should ask about the characters' backstories! The artist behind Monuni is Pei-Chen Chien, and you can see more of her art—paintings, sculpture, and prints—at The mini-cards above are from Corgli & Co, with products available through Corgli Store (my favorite is the Eggsplorer print), and the fish pin is from World of Zhen, which features Little Fox Girl comics.

There are lots of cool things at this year's DesignerCon, but the coolest of those things is the willingness of the artists and designers to spend time with both customers and wanderers, talking about what they do. If you want to go, and can afford to go, but aren't sure that you can afford to spend much once you're there, go anyway. Go for the experience of connecting with people who are passionate about their work, and—if you aren't an artist—to get a glimpse into how much work goes into building a career out of putting ink to paper, brush to canvas, sculpting tools to wood, linoleum or clay.

No matter what else you do while you're there, wear good shoes!

Pro-tip for artists and designers: Let's Encrypt!

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