Unreal Talent on Display at Ottawa Comic Con’s Artist Alley

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Photos by Isabel Payne

Tables and booths packed the artist alley at Ottawa Comic Con last weekend, displaying pop-culture-inspired works by artists from Ottawa and abroad. While checking out all the vendor booths at cons is one of my favourite things to do, I always prefer to purchase a one-of-a-kind souvenir that no other shop, or vendor, will have. This year there were a huge variety of unique artists on attending, selling items ranging from brightly patterned dresses, to cute buttons and extraordinary paintings. I for one, am always on the lookout for unique on-of-a-kind artwork for my home, and being an artistically untalented person, I was curious to learn more about some of the artists and what goes into their work. I spoke with three artists of different mediums about their experience at Ottawa Comic Con, and what sort of inspiration goes into creating each piece.

FrostNight Forge

Gorgeous paintings of Overwatch characters drew my eyes to the FrostNight Forge booth, which was also packed with fun t-shirts and cute mugs, all designed by artist Susan Leigh. 

Ottawa Life: How many years have you been coming to Ottawa Comic Con?

This is my fourth year, I believe.

Have you enjoyed it each year?

Yeah, definitely! It’s almost like a local con for me so every now and then I just come out and hang out with the crowd.

So what inspires your artwork? It’s very beautiful!

Oh, thank you! I only draw things that I enjoy, it’s definitely what the entertainment industry is about.

So these are all fandoms that you’re into?


What goes into setting up your booth?

After a while you get to know which ones are more popular in terms of the crowd, so I tend to display those ones in more central and focus areas.

Your art is painted digitally?

Most of it is.

How long does it take to do each piece?

I also have a full time job, so it really depends on how many free weekends I can get.

You can check out her work on DeviantArt, or purchase your own on Etsy.

Tracer artwork by FrostNight Forge. You can purchase a print online on Etsy.

Knightmares & Daydreams

I’m a sucker for all things adorable, so the Knightmares & Daydreams booth automatically caught my attention! Cute buttons and bookmarks of chibi characters from different fandoms all drawn by Beth McConville, packed their booth, all watching me with their adorable, oversized eyes.

Ottawa Life Magazine: How many years have you been coming to the con?

This is my second year.

Are you enjoying it?

I absolutely love it, yes!

What do you think about the people that attend comic con?

It’s amazing the crowd that comes. They are just so excited, so happy to be here, so it makes it quite more wonderful!

So your art is really cute, what inspired you to do this?

Actually, it started when I wanted to design something for my son’s room. We wanted to do super heroes and we couldn’t find anything other than just them fighting, and I didn’t want to promote that. So I did a few of these little inspirational cute ones, I posted them on Facebook, and people went nuts! So I made more and that just went boom and exploded.

Do you go to other cons as well?

Yes I do! I do Toronto Comic Con, Fan Expo, I’ve gone to Chicago. It’s quite fun!

ow much time do you put in to each piece you make?

Usually each design takes about 3-4 hours, and then I hand make every single one, I hand draw, hand make. All the buttons I hand press, all the bookmarks I hand-cut myself, so many many many hours.

What goes in to setting up your booth at a con?

Usually we decide based on if there’re special guests coming, so we make things specifically for them and we’ll make sure that’s first and forefront. Usually it’s just making sure that everything is represented, everything is colourful so it draws people in.

You can check out Knightmares & Daydreams’ work on Facebook and purchase them on Etsy.

Photo by Knightmares & Daydreams. You can purchase this print on Etsy.

Elkasha Arts

The first thing that caught my eye was the detailed wooden Sailor Moon that hung on the wall behind the booth. When I looked down, the child in me started screaming excitedly as wooden Pokémon gym badges were displayed on the table. All pieces are hand-carved by Ottawa artist Ben Evans, who sells his work under the name Elkasha Arts.

Ottawa Life Magazine: How many years have you been coming to Ottawa Comic Con?

I think this our fourth year.

And do you enjoy it?

Oh, I love it!

What makes OCC attendees different from attendees at other shows?

Ottawa Comic Con guests are more intense than other shows. It’s a big show.

What inspires your work here?

When it first started off I just wanted to try making stuff and see what I could make out of wood and people were like “Oh that’s really cool” so I started branching out instead of the nature stuff, I wanted to do more my style.

These are all series and movies that you’re interested in?

Yeah, or fandoms that you know, people I’ve met over the years say “oh you should make this” and I’m like “that’s actually really cool’, and I’ll try it.

Photo by Elkasha Arts. This piece is available for purchase on Etsy. 

How long does it take to make something like the My Little Pony or the Sailor Moon?

The Sailor Moon is about 23-24 hours of work, whereas the My Little Pony and that are about 5-6 hours.

And are they all hand-carved and hand-painted?

The ponies are painted, but like Sailor Moon is actually all natural wood colours, except for the blue. The Blue I had to stain, but the pink and red and the yellows are all natural woods.

What goes into setting up your booth?

You have to put the things that people are going for dead centre, but you have to make sure that the “wow” pieces are visible. If the “wow” pieces aren’t visible, people walk right by you. And it’s a combination of what’s up and what’s down because when people walk by its either looking up or they’re looking down. They don’t do both so you have to have a little bit of everything. So we usually find that Pokemon and smaller pieces do well on the table because of the fact that kids are looking down, whereas the big pieces that are the “wows” or the more Star Wars or Star Trek need to be up because that’s where the adults are looking.

You can also find Elkasha Arts at Geek Market and the Canterbury Craft Show, or you can buy his work online at Etsy.