At some conventions there are artist-related events because literally every nerdy fandom attracts a number of artists in various stages of aspiration. One such event at Indy Pop Con was the Drink ‘n’ Draw- where we all met up at Scotty’s for brews and had a drawing session.
I didn’t really read the blurb, I just kind of wanted to hang out with other artists and talk about cats. So I did certainly not know that it was a competition- first prize gets a free artist’s table at next year’s show. Runners up get a bag of goodies with a sketch book and some nice pens. Judge faves get a sketch commission.
Now I am not a competitive person. Like… I’ll participate in friendly competition if it’s a thing I like doing, but I’m not in it to win it. So I was just like… pff whatever, I’ll make someone else look good.
But you have to adhere to a theme. And this year’s theme was ‘The Last Battle.’
And it could be anything you want within that theme. Mostly they were looking at things like storytelling, composition, and technique.
I wasted about fifteen minutes of the hour and a half that we had, trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I’m awful at open-ended themes all the time and I mentally rattled off a list of subjects that would be good to work with before I finally landed on one that I wanted to do.
Barney the Purple Dinosaur.
And I know what you’re thinking:
But literally every kid I know grew up twisting the theme song to Barney and turning it into some morbid collection of ways to end the dinosaur’s reign of terror and all of them involved tying him to a tree.
‘With a knife in his back and a gun to his head-
Woopsie-daisy, Barney’s dead.’
And I figured like… since I’m not really here to win, I’m at least gonna have a good time. So I skipped past the pencil stage and went straight for the sharpies and went to town on this piece of paper.
And I was not gonna hold back.
With ten minutes left, the event runner walks by my table and has this ‘what in the fuck is this’ look on his face.
“You know… like in the song?”
Okay so this is the first person I have met in my life that has not indulged in the honored past-time of recounting the Death of Barney through song. So I start singing the song and he’s still just a wee bit perturbed.
He walks away, shaking his head, but he’s definitely amused by it.
Time is up, drawings are in.
I’m just chillin’ over in my corner with a Pepsi and one of the other artists at my table keeps eyeing the judges because she came to WIN. She nudges me and she’s like “they keep looking at yours, man.”
“They’re probably trying to dry it off because I spilled Pepsi on it.”
“I dunno… they look intrigued.”
Intrigued is an… intriguing word to describe the faces they were making at my hot mess of a doodle.
The winners have been decided.
They get through their personal faves and start listing the runners up. The artist that was checking the judge reactions got one of the judge’s favorites prizes. My girlfriend gets a runner-up for hers. They get to the last one of the runners-up and say:
“Okay, this one came REALLY close.” He holds up a drawing. “Who did this one?”
My hand shot straight up.
“Is that… is that BARNEY?”
“OH GOD WHY?”
“What the fuck?”
I am SHOCKED at this point because what kind of a childhood did y’all have? A fucking nurturing one? “Come on guys, it’s like that song. You know… tie barney to a tree…”
So that’s how I won a free sketchbook and came to be known as the chick that ruined everyone’s childhood at Drink’ n’ Draw.
And I suspect I might have actually won the table if I’d made it clearer that the shadowy figure walking off into the sunset is Baby Bop.