Part of being a commercial artist is running a business. While there are aspects of this that I’m horrible at and procrastinate on (accounting, marketing) and parts that I very much enjoy (comic book conventions, book fairs, meeting fans and showcasing my latest books, and art), I still have to do all of them. This series of my process blog will talk about different aspects of the business.
I love going to comic book conventions. I have been attending them since I was a young teen. In the last decade I have been on the other side of the table, as an artist. It’s been a big learning experience for me, as each con is very different from the last. And after each con I take note of what worked and what didn’t and tweak it for the next convention. It’s how I’ve been able to grow, both as a person as well as financially. There are many different aspects to being at a convention and over the following weeks I’ll go over them in this blog. Here’s a list of them- display, products, sales pitch, location, the con, organization, neighbors and lastly fans. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, so don’t be surprised if I throw in one or two more as we go.
The first one I want to talk about is the last one I mentioned-my fans. I’m very grateful that people seem to like my art. As an artist, I am in my head quite a bit, thinking about a new illustration, or book that I’m working on. I sit at my desk for hours in a day, and use all of my skills and imagination to create the best art that I can. As I’ve documented in previous posts, but I feel it needs to be repeated, it’s all about the process for me. However I’m human and I like to get feedback for what I’ve created. I can look at a piece that I’m working on and try to be objective, but often I’m too close to it. So having others look at it and let me know what they think helps verify some of my own thoughts, as well as give me incite on how I can improve for the next time.
Getting that feedback can be done through social networking, but I find it to be not as gratifying as seeing someone’s reaction in person. And the best way I can do that is at a place with a high volume of people- conventions!
It’s very intimidating to share your work with the world, especially when you’ve put so much of yourself into it, so having people look at what you’ve created and heap positive praise on to it is an amazing feeling. Hey, as I said before, I’m human and love a bit of attention! And I’ve been very lucky, in that lots of people seem to look at my work and like it. And I really love that! The fact that some people even buy my work is beyond words for me. And to have them come back at each con, looking for what’s new and chat with me has helped a slightly socially awkward guy make new friends.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that while I love the process, I really also love sharing my work with people. And those people could be labeled as fans, but really they are my friends. I look forward to seeing them at each con, or book signing, and sometimes at social gatherings now. In turn they share with me there art, and life, and really make it all worthwhile for me to do what I do. And for that I feel like I’m the luckiest guy in the world!