Sunday, February 26, 2023

A year to wait on...

It’s the end of February.

And the year already seems like it’s flying by.

This year didn’t start out like I thought it was going to. In fact, it has a feeling similar to this last year continuing.

For those of you that follow this blog, you’ve probably realized that I’m still missing a few entries from last year, and that I didn’t post it all in January or the first part of February.

I'll cut to the chase. Burn out is real. I have immense burn out.

It was brought on by a lot of things, but the point is that I am almost completely and utterly burned out.

It serious enough that it's been something I've spoken to my therapist about.

What does one do when burn out is the case? 

In the movies, a character might out of the blue win the lottery, or maybe they've suddenly struck on an inheritance, or they cash in a seemingly endless savings account they've been holding onto for a rainy day.

But when one isn't in any of those positions, what can one do?

On a couple of other places in social media I’ve already mentioned that I didn't get accepted into NakaKon this year.

The more time goes on, the more I realize that this is all working out in a way that I had not expected.

I have been struggling to complete volume one of my latest graphic novel, a by product of the burn out.

I’m also on the downward slope of a combination of, and I kid you not, a bout of COVID-19, and either the flu or a case of bronchitis, that knocked me out of the productivity position for now two weeks.

I mean it seems like it's all reinforcement of the the decision I made shortly before the end of 2022, that this was not going to be a good year to attempt to do any shows, especially considering how bad last year went for me financially.

I want to preface what I'm about to write out with the fact that I'm not currently depressed, nor am I trying to have any sort of pity party. But I do feel that honest and open thoughts can hopefully help others.

I’ve barely been functioning, even on social media. Yes, in part because my voice is shot right now, and I can only go a few minutes without having a small coughing fit.

Some days seem aimless, even more because I'm not pressured now to prepare for shows.

The feeling of connection to wanting to either create videos, artwork, or practice any of my hobbies, is a very weak one.

Over the years through various jobs and during this last year especially, I had that feeling growing deep down inside. One that made me want to just put things to the side.

But it’s also been a lot of self reflection, critical, thinking, and moments of meditation and mindfulness.

Which thankfully has been a good thing.

I have found myself questioning what I want to do with the rest of my life. Was I ever happy on the paths that I have been following prior? Did I proceed down professional paths because I thought they were the right thing to do, or was it because it was what everyone else expected of me?

Honest questions that I think a lot of people never take the time to really ask of ourselves. I know I really don't. Not as much as I should.

All of that has been some extremely heavy weight to bear.

I had started the year with a small video journal project that I thought would help keep me proactive.

And it did. At first. I would cover my thoughts, and eventually my creative processes.

Losing my voice when I was sick absolutely wrecked the continuity the of that project.

Normally I would’ve been overwhelmed by a feeling of self defeat and would not have wanted to carry back on with it. But thankfully to the contrary, as soon as my voice recovers, I plan on jumping right back in but instead doing it on a weekly basis. The daily aspect was probably too ambitious to start with, but it was cathartic and very eye opening, so for that I am very grateful.

That’s very much how I’ve decided to address a lot of the circumstances I find myself in. I mean I got sick from the very first convention I attended this year.

I’m going to take it as a sign that I just really need to stay the hell away from shows this year. Never mind the fact that I have an overwhelming amount of things from freelance to my website, to all sorts of personal projects and organization efforts that seriously need real attention. It’s quite frankly why I haven’t finished the other three last blog posts from this last year. They just haven’t been that important.

And when I get this sick, I am keenly aware, as macabre as this sounds, of my life spent. It's a look at my own mortality, and what is really important in life.

I don’t know what form the rest of the blog posts are going to take this year.

I feel that I need to make a real deep dive into re-introducing people to the fact that I am a working artist. I’m not even joking.

I had a few real honest conversations with people last year that opened my eyes to a few things that I have never considered.

There were people that have no idea that I am an illustrator or graphic designer, really, a visual artist of any kind. There are people that know me for my spoken word performances, or poetry reads. There were other people that knew I did video production, and even some that had no idea what I do

Yet all last year I was fairly prolific on social media, showcasing everything that I created, art shows I was a part of.

It was a frustrating revelation to say the least.

I’m not sure why this is the case. But it is one that I am absolutely dealing with and it’s made me wonder if my own assumptions are the reason for this problem.

I rarely talk about my Etsy store, I don’t post many in progress, art images, or upload art videos to my YouTube channel as much as I used to. I also feel that because I’ve not released a comic or a graphic novel in sometime that people forget that this is something that I am working on .

It sounds like I’m throwing a little bit of a pity party, but I’m not.

I simply am trying to understand how I was able to spectacularly fail at 86% of my marketing and show efforts this last year. I know that there were variables outside of my own control, but I am unable to comprehend why my performance was so bad, unless I taken to consideration a few factors, that, after a year of blogging and talking to people, I have been able to extrapolate.

In no particular order, these are a few of the things I found:

  • I rarely say anything I make is for sale.
  • I always forget about price signage at shows
  • I never talk about anywhere to purchase my artwork whether it’s online or at a location
  • I take a long time to create books and art reproduction releases
  • I don’t do a lot of fan art
  • I may come off to some people as either egotistical or standoffish, as I’ve come to understand

There are a multitude of other things I’ve considered, but these are the most predominant ones.

Because of this, I’ve decided to really honestly take a look at who I am as a creator, as an artist, as a person. It made me ask questions that I was not comfortable answering at the time. Maybe it just seemed redundant since these are the same things I've had for years in my head.

So I hope you all bear with me as I begin to try some new things and expand upon other things this year. I am extremely grateful for any one and everyone of you that have ever given me back feedback, critiques, or praise for any of the things I do . It really means a lot more than you know.

I know that’s a lot of odd or uncomfortable stuff for me to put out there, but I’m being honest. I simply want to be able to take a look at where I’m at now and where I’m headed for the rest of my life and I would love to be able to know that I did the best I possibly could as an artist.

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!

Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-

Saturday, October 22, 2022

QuadCon 2022

So the next show I was attending was QuadCon, located over in St. Charles, Missouri.

I placed an order for brand new issues of my comic through Kablam printing, and they came in the same day. I was going to leave for Saint Charles.

This is a show me and my brother love going to, and the reason we went the very first time was to meet YouTube personality and toy enthusiast, Pixel Dan.

After so many shows, it’s just nice to get out, and just relax, and maybe find some cool things to add to my studio collection.

Saint Charles is out near St. Louis, so from Kansas City it’s about a 3 to 4 Hour drive. Which means an early departure time.

We pulled in right around 10:30 AM, and cover was five dollars entry, I believe there are other discounts available

Lot of families attend this show.

For those that have not been to QuadCon, it’s a pretty defined toy, Collector event, with some comic book, dealers, and a few local artists selling things.

Always nice to see what sort of transformers and robot sort of items show up.

If this sort of show is in your wheelhouse, this is thankfully one of the shows that still caters to vintage items pretty religiously. 

For the life of me, I don’t know where I’d seen this before, but I know I never owned it.

There’s kind of a rush doing the shows because the earlier you get there the better the selection. I made my first purchase of the day within the first 15 minutes of walking in the door.

Seeing carded Rock Lords, in person is a rarity indeed. But also seeing carded M.A.S.K. and Dinoriders items really surprised me.

I never had this Horde Playset as a kid, but seeing one still sealed in the box with a little shelf wear, and encased in acrylic for about $1200 was pretty astounding.

Occasionally, you’ll see something so rare you can’t help but stand and stare at it.

The cosplayer you see below was hands-down, the best cosplay effort I have seen all year long. It’s a pretty impressive, Batman costume, but my brother and I quickly noticed he was carrying some thing. I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud because as you can see..

He had applications for a new Robin in hand. Take a good look. THIS is perfection.

Batman was carrying the skeletal remains of Jason Todd and was holding applications for a new Robin. I’m not much of a DC fan, but I think like anyone who is into comics and pop culture, you can’t help but not know about the series arc, "A death in the family", when Robin dies at the hand of the Joker.

This cosplay idea was so well done on many levels, I sincerely hope he won the cosplay contest. If anyone reading this knows the name of this cosplayer, please let me know so I can add it to this blog update!

Quite literally a shop that sold fantasy themed items.

After a few hours there we decided we seen everything we could and had bought the items we really wanted. So we decided to see what else was in the area, and also wanted to scout out a food location. For food we found a Smash Burger’s restaurant. Pretty good food, but little bit pricey.

In the same shopping center was a comics and games store simply named "Fantasy Shop".

It was an impressive store, filled with miniatures, sculpting tools, role-playing items, action figures, graphic novels, and a good handful of people playing war games. They also had some sort of painting competition going on, and we were asked if we’d like to put our vote in for the best painted beholder miniature.

I think my brother picked up a couple of graphic novels, I immediately went over to the miniatures, and found some excellent sculpting tools to purchase.

After leaving the store, we noticed a nearby half price books, and decided to check it out. I’m a bit of a bibliophile, and I’ve never been to one of these bookstores before.

Out of my budget items, but still cool to have found these!

There were a lot of used books, that covered a wide range of subjects, but they also sold DVDs, records, music CDs, a few random video game systems, and some odds and ends in action figures.

For some reason it reminded me of an alternate dimension Hastings.

Show Overview.

QuadCon 2022 was held October 22nd, 2022, from 10am to 4pm.

Location: Olympia Event Center - St. Charles, Missouri

Entry Fee: $5 (free after 2pm)

Is it worth it?

As a vendor? If you’re a toy or collectible vendor, and you’ve got items that are outside of the well-known intellectual properties from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, I have no doubt you’d have a killer show.

If you happen to be one of the visual artists set up at the show, I imagine unless your work specifically caters to toy, or pop culture in general with a retro aesthetic, you might not be as successful. I haven’t done the show myself, so I’m only speaking to what I’ve witnessed as far as interactions at the show.

As an attendee? Yes absolutely. This is now my fourth or fifth time attending the show, and I plan on coming back next year.

Again, as you can see from the photos above, and the videos on my TikTok account, this show is very much a toy collectors event, and there is a wide range of prices on everything.

There is a cosplay contest, and I believe some sort of gaming contest/competition held as well. But this is primarily a shopping event. It’s extremely family friendly, and thankfully, because the price points range from dollar items to upwards of thousand dollar items, there is literally anything for any family member to possibly find. I would recommend getting there early, as each time we’ve done the show I’ve managed to find items that I feel would’ve sold fairly quickly.

  1. Show Entry Fee: $5.00 (Free after 2pm)
  2. Fuel/food: $60.00
  3. Purchases from vendors and other artists: $70.00
  4. Parking: Free
Total Expenses: $135.00

  1. Just attended the show

    Total Earnings: $0.00


  • There's a lot to see and do for attendees.
  • Show floor layout was large and spread out.
  • Attendance is good.
  • The vendors so far have had a wide range of items.


  • Nothing comes to mind.

The Final Evaluation

I’m going to approach this as an attendee/collector. QuadCon is not a large show, but it is a good show.

I’ve never been disappointed with the quality of the vendors that show up, and I have my favorites that I consistently look to buy things from. You will find vendors who understand the vintage aspect of what they are selling, and may genuinely understand the history, scarcity, and modern state of an item. There aren’t too many shows that you’ll find that.

This is one show that happens twice a year in this location. QuadCon holds a multitude of other shows, that I imagine fall within the same sort of show organization and feel as these, at least according to what I’ve seen posted online.

I’ve managed to find finishing pieces for my collections, and I sincerely have been collecting since I was 15 years old so I have a lot of lines to complete. I would recommend a budget of no less than $50, and if you can help it shoot for around $250.

I can speak first hand to the fact that there were items I saw the first couple of shows that had I had an extra hundred dollars, I’d be in possession of some really unique and hard to find items. I’m not saying having a lot of money is necessary to attend the show. I am saying that you never know what you’ll find, and that’s an exciting prospect for any pop-culture or toy collector, especially in a day and age of a lot of shows having the same old run-of-the-mill items consistently showing up for sale.

QuadCon 2022 Show Haul

This was probably the lightest grouping of items I picked up at quad con. Not because there weren’t other items, but my budget was still reeling from all the other shows I’ve done. So I gave myself a spending budget of no more than $150, to cover purchases, food, and fuel to get up there.

I picked up a vintage 1982 Hercules Remco figure, a GoBots "Crasher" figure, and a cobra Hiss III tank.

The drive back home was nice and pretty relaxing. It helped take a bit of the edge off of how shows have been for me. I’m glad the Kansas City Japan festival turned out as well as it did, but to attend a show just for the hell of it, was cool.

I have two weeks until I have to be in Wichita for my next convention Air Capital Con. Gotta get to bagging the new Ardor comics that came in, and check to see what new art reproductions I need to make as well.

There’s two more events coming up this weekend that I will review.

They aren’t normal shows, but they are artistic style events, of them are late night light events, one held at the Kansas City zoo, and the other one at Powell Gardens.

Looking forward to both of those, hopefully they'll be cool!

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!


Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-

Saturday, October 8, 2022

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival 2022

Doing the Kansas City Japan Festival turned out to be phenomenal for me, but I was beginning to drag quite a bit after all these shows. 

I was now falling behind on a LOT of things, just trying to keep up. But there wasn't time to dwell on all that. I had to get ready to put forth my best foot at this new show.

The main entrance archway.

I knew the show existed, but I didn’t know that artists were involved with the show. A few weeks back I received an email from someone at NakaKon letting me know about it, and asking if I’d like to be a part of it. The booth fee was $150, and I still had a large backlog of items that I could sell at a show.

I think this was my fifth week in a row doing a show. But I was pretty excited to see how this was going to play out.

The show is one day, so I showed up the day prior for set up. In my haste to get to the show, I had forgotten any way to transport my displays into the venue, but thankfully the staff was able to find me a cart for all my items. Which is really good considering that the room I was set up to be in was on the third floor. I was instructed to come in through the back entrance and take the elevator up to the third-floor for set up.

Ever so thankful the staff found me a cart. The room I was in was up on the third floor!

The way the rooms set up worked, was that whatever tables were in there you could lay claim to. I set up my walls and my banner, and then moved three tables situated around me. This was easily the most display space I’ve had at any show. It worked out to essentially be $50 a table, that’s one heck of a deal. Throw in great lighting, carpeted floor, and a great green background that matches my overall aesthetic, and I was a very happy dude, indeed.

Product wise I brought everything I had to previous shows and then some. I’m glad that I over planned for the show. As you can see in the photo below, there’s also a small reading kiosk that showcased concept art for board games that helped me possibly get some future commission work. I can’t explain it, but maybe having run the gauntlet of all of the rest of the shows made me determined to throw myself into this show with renewed energy and as much positive thinking as I could muster.

While I was setting up, I wondered what Otaku Gardens was. Turns out they were really cool group of dudes that sold some really kick ass stickers. It was a win-win as anyone that came into the room got to see a plethora of artwork across five or six tables.

From what I understand there were things going on on all three floors. I know there was food, martial art demonstrations, history display booths, and other hobbies and interests involving Japan’s culture.

Once again set up for world domination and ego stroking.

During the early morning and right around 2 o’clock. I had time to work on some sketches and post to social media.

Mind you I was still pretty tired, but as long as people were talking to me, I was fine. The moment it started to have a lull, I was in trouble. An urge to take a nap was strong.

Thankfully, I had a few friends stop by who watched my booth, and I was able to make a few quick rounds while also hitting the restroom. I needed content for TikTok, and for this blog post, so I took more vids and pics while out in the hall.

For the first time this year, I actually started to run out of things that I was selling. That was a jolt of excitement that is hard for me to put into words, even as I type this, without getting a little emotional.

If you’ve read the previous blogs, you understand just how much money I’ve thrown at this year's efforts, and how little the return on the investment has been in many circumstances. Thankfully, the upswing started in the show previous to this one.

Showing off concept work for boardgames.

The accurate numbers are below in the expense and earnings area but I knew I had done pretty good considering I ran out of comics to sell, received an email commission, and sold out of a bunch of my larger, art reproductions. It felt damn good.

The crowd in attendance was amazing, and this show above any of the rest, had the most amount of people that followed me on TikTok come and meet me and purchase things. Real talk, I never thought that was gonna happen. For years, I’ve struggled to gain ground on everything from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram, and it’s been a clawing and dragging experience the whole way. It looks like I’m well on my way to hitting 2000 followers by the end of this year. Having kept count, 78 of them have come to my shows, and 32 of them purchased things I made. That goes a long way toward rebuilding my wounded pride, and damaged ego from so many shows prior.

Finally, in the last hour sales begin to dwindle, as the attendees began to thin out. It was weird, because being isolated in one of the classrooms, I was unable to get a gauge for the overall attendance like I can doing any other sort of show.

There were events all over the building.

I seriously had a blast doing the show, and not just because I made money, but because of the incredibly awesome people that came out to the show. A lot of them were there to shop, define new, art, and books, and so much other stuff. if you’re from Kansas City, you may understand when I say, it’s a vast majority of the population says they support art, but rarely do.

That’s not a dig, that’s just what I’ve experienced. Not just for my art work, but in many other circumstances, with other artists, I've known. that said this was an event that did work out well.

I only got a quick glimpse of the bonsai tree area.

[Left] Sketching at the show. [Right] I think it's a cosplay from Dragonball, either way, it's cool!

The gaming room was full!

The first hour was pretty light, but the rest of the day was waves of people.

Any show that I can talk to people is a joy, and so many of the people that came out provided me with great conversations.

I started running out of some of the art reproduction editions.

As the show close down, my roommates Otaku Gardens quickly gathered all their items packed up, said goodbyes, and were out. My teardown was slower, I was sincerely so tired by this point it wasn’t funny. I took the time to carefully re-pack everything and did a quick inventory so that I know what else I still needed to make more of for future shows..

After show donut from the staff who waited on my slow self to pack up. I'm seeing a pattern of happiness with donuts... 

And a funny coincidence, when I came back in to get the last of my items, one of the staff members asked me if I wanted a doughnut. If you read the C2E2 blog entry, you’ll recall that on Sunday I was given a doughnut. Donuts for me or a rare and exciting thing, because I try not to eat too many of them. But every time I see a donut, I am reminded of Mitch Hedberg. And I think he’d be the first person to tell me. “Hey man I see you got a donut. Any show is automatically better with a doughnut. It’s like the circle of life except it’s a doughnut. It also means you came back full circle. So stop listening to me and eat the donut man.”

Let me take a moment to think Mitch Hedberg for his comedy, and allowing me to look at life and laugh at both the good and the bad.

Loading out late that evening.

Show Overview.

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival 2022 was held October 8th, 2022, from 10am to 7pm.

Location: JCCC - 12345 College Blvd - Overland Park, Kansas


Is it worth it?

As a vendor? I would have to say hell yeah it was! I can’t speak for any other vendors, but I know that our room specifically was doing well.

As an attendee? I think so the friends that stop by told me that the show was a lot of fun for them, but there was a lot of people. If I don’t get a chance to vent next year, I am certainly attending it. It’s not an expensive event. You can see the price points down below..

  1. Show Entry Fee: $150.00
  2. Fuel/food: $24.00
  3. Purchases from vendors and other artists: $0.00
  4. Parking: Free
Total Expenses: $174.00

  1. 36 - Comics: $90.00
  2. 1 - Commission: $500.00
  3. 16 - 13"x19" Art Reproductions: $400.00
  4. 7 - 8"x8" Art Reproductions: $70.00
  5. 1 - Mug: 15.00
  6. 3 - Button Packs: $15.00 

    Total Earnings: $1,090.00


  • There's a lot to see and do for attendees.
  • Show floor layout was large and spread out.
  • Attendance seemed to be really great.
  • The crowd in attendance was there to buy and spend.


  • Nothing I can think of.

The Final Evaluation

This paragraph is probably just gonna be a heap of praise, but I mean every bit of it. I was hesitant to try the show because of what happened prior at the others. But I’m glad I did. It’s a well-run and well organized show. The people that came to the show were interested in what I had to offer for sale. even without the people that came there to visit that I either knew first, or from TikTok, the crowd in general was in a great mood, and very personable.

If given the opportunity to be in the show again in 2023, I will absolutely take part.

Greater Kansas City Japan Festival 2022 Show Haul

The show was insanely busy, and thankfully I had friends that stopped by to give me a break, but I didn't get any real chance to buy anything.

Thank you so much for reading, I am Mario, the Artisan Rogue, and until next time, remember to support artists and local businesses. And if you liked what you've read, and want to support the blog, there's a donation button just below.

Be kind to your fellow beings and always take the path less traveled. We all may live in times uncertain, but kindness, understanding, and believing in the good that is in most each and every one of us is what can bring about better days!


Mario, the Artisan Rogue
Illustrator, Voice Actor, Writer, Animal Rights Activist
-All photos, editorial content, created by me. One dude. Thank you for reading.-