Friday, July 21, 2017

Convention Set Up

-->     I’ve wanted to do blog entry for a while now on the convention scene. For me art conventions are good way to get some public exposure, make some supplemental income, and just get some social interaction time out of the studio.
 I am by no means an expert on how to prepare for comic/art conventions, most of what I learned I learned the hard way. If I had it all to do over again I would of spent more time attending conventions seeing how other artists arrange their space and ask some questions on how their set up works.
     One thing I learned early on was not only do you pay for the table space but also the space directly behind it. I try to make every inch count. One of the major accessories I wanted for my booth was a big backdrop to hang artwork on, kind of like a portable art gallery. So I built basically a giant
modular pin board, it’s really solid but its very heavy and difficult to transport. I plan on de-commissioning it for a lighter weight telescopic stand system in the future. Another problem I had was my artwork tends to have a lot of detail and it needs to be viewed close up. So for my backdrop I usually have at least one large (2 feet tall or so) clearly designed image or character that can grab the viewer’s attention and draw them in. Doing this helped drastically with foot traffic and overall sales.
     I was a little nervous at my first comic convention because my art, being science fiction in nature, is off topic for your typical superhero enthusiast. But I’ve found that most people at a comic convention just really enjoy all sorts of
fantastically inspired imagery. This being said as I do more and more conventions I try branch out and diversify my merchandise lines each year. Right now I sell a broad range of art prints in sizes ranging from 5x7s up to 24x30s that sell anywhere from five to thirty dollar price range.
     I wanted a product range to go for a lower price budget than my small prints at five dollars so I invested in a button machine. I have a one and a half inch button press and its one of my favorite investments. I recommend the American button machine company, If you are in the US they have a fast shipping time and the buttons backs I buy are pre-assembled. There are about three hundred different button designs I’ve created over the past two years and I sell these for a buck. It’s helped immensely for lower price market. I always want to have new material for people to look at. My goal for next year is to roll out a new line of stickers and start selling card games that I’ve been working on.
    Being at the convention isn’t all about selling merchandise either, although that certainly helps. Many of the best experiences I have gotten come from Interfacing with people and other artists. It’s a good platform for showing off new concepts, upcoming projects, and generating public interest. Its always good to see what other artist are working on too and get inspiration. I love showing off my work to veteran artists to get their invaluable feedback on how to hone my craft and take it to the next level. Conventions are good for finding commissioned work too or at least getting that foot in the door you may need to stand out. I would say that around seventy five percent of my work comes from face to face contacts made at conventions.
    I recommend giving the convention scene a shot to my art friends. Just try it, see if it’s for you.  You might start at a smaller show, one that cost less for the space. You don’t have to have a super fancy set up your first time, just get an idea of what its all about. Even if for your first show all you have are some business cards and a couple of prints at least you are getting in the arena.

If you want to do further research into signing up for, setting up an event, or just some good tips check out