Sunday, September 8, 2013

Cincy Comicon Recap

Might have to change this to the convention recap blog. Next post should have some more work for my personal project. During this convention I made some thumbnails for landscapes and...gasp... I like some of them. This is amazing because environments are a weakness of mine

Anyways.
The Good
The convention staff was amazing. It was super easy and fast to unload and setup. There was a goodie bag waiting at my table with food, water, tylenol and hand sanitizer. Yes. It's as if the planner, Tony Moore, has gone to a few conventions. The staff were constantly asking vendors if they needed anything and would do their best to get those items whether it was food,water,information,etc. When they heard my booth neighbor had a long long long bus ride ahead of him, they provided him with an entire bag of snacks. We were basically pampered and doted upon like we were celebrities.

Which brings me to the other amazing thing about the convention. There weren't any TV celebrities. The celebrities were the artists. That's the very opposite direction many comic conventions are headed and that's awesome. Internet high five to Tony Moore. There were some really talented artists at the show which I'm always happy to see. I only wish I had more money to buy more of the comics in that art show.

There were several events to raise money for the Cincinnati Museum Center and other charities. Big thumbs up for that.

I made enough money to cover my expenses and next years table. So not really a big profit maker but it's better than I should probably expect for a first year of a convention.

There weren't any other vendors carrying my playmat.

My neighbors were great.

Artists all had name placards that could be reverse to show a "be right back" type of message. Some of those BRB messages were customized. That's pretty cool and handy.

Metallic prints all day every day. People really flip out about the colors on the metallics. I don't think I can go back to printing non-metallic prints for the larger stuff.

Almost forgot. Several particularly awesome individuals tipped me. That was pretty amazing. People are awesome.

The Bad
VIP Friday was kind of a waste of time for vendors. I think we all knew that going in. I still showed up because I feel like signing up for a convention means I agree to be there during their show hours. Many people didn't set up  or didn't set up in time for opening on Friday. I'm not even mad. Usually VIP tickets get you in the door an hour early to get into lines for signings or limited items. It didn't appear there was even much of a reason to purchase a VIP badge. A VIP attendee told me that it allowed some sort of special privilege at the Drink and Draw so maybe it is worth it.

Apparently there isn't as much crossover between gaming nerds and comic nerds as I thought. I'm a rarer breed than I anticipated. VERY few people knew what a playmat was. This kind of spelled trouble for me since that's how I made a large sum of my money at GenCon and hoped I would here. Lesson learned.

Apparently comic fans aren't used to seeing digital art at their comic shows. Most people seemed baffled by the digital thing which in retrospect makes sense as most of the vendors are there drawing in pen and ink and selling their raw pages. There aren't colorists sitting there trying to sell their colored pages. Digital art is still very taboo for many people. I really should have brought out some of my prelim sketches as I think they would have been more well received there than at the gaming conventions.

Convention staff would not allow any food stuffs into the exhibit hall that didn't come from the concession stand (super fucking long wait) or from Starbucks. Both options are pricey and this is the first time I've seen vendors not allowed to bring in some lunch for themselves. If they want to have us by the balls like that, at least roll it into the cost of having a table and bring vendors lunches during lunch time. I know that I would at least be less grumpy about it and it would keep me at my table during that hour rather than going elsewhere for food which is good for the convention.

The Ugly
Here comes Joe's controversial statements of the recap.
I've gone to a lot of comic conventions and gaming conventions and this may be more of an accumulation of experiences. This could be the contrast between a gaming and a comic convention or the difference between a large and a small convention but...how to put this...the artists seem less professional. It seemed like an awful lot of vendors rolled in pretty late and packed it in early every single day. It makes the show look lower quality when there are so many empty tables. The higher the quality the show looks, the better I look. I swear the fewer booths that are just shooting blanks,the slower people walk and that's a boon to a vendor trying to stop attendees from rolling by on the conveyor belt of the convention isle.

 On Sunday, the website states the hours at 10-5. The show was basically over at 4 with everybody breaking down their booths. I believe GenCon will fine you if you empty out your booth during show hours. The result is a much more professional environment and customers genuinely shop up until the last minute. I always feel like at comic shows that many attendees are caught by surprise. This doesn't lead them to suddenly purchase something. This leads to them feeling unwelcome and trying to rush through and see as much stuff before it's all taken down.

I'm not saying my booth was a masterful display of my works and I'm a little embarrassed that I still haven't purchased a wall or vertical banner to put behind me but..... damn some people weren't even trying. You can't regulate against this and the big names will do what they want but I was shocked. It wasn't just little guys on a shoe-string budget but some of the artists who have been doing this for a while hardly had a thing on their table.

Prices. It's well known that comic artists charge next to nothing for their prints. That just continued here. I don't think it affected my sales much. Attendees think of the comic art as meant to be used like posters and pinned to the wall with a push pin or thumb tack and attendees interested in my prints seem to view them more as pieces of art. It may sound crazy but I think that has to do with the prices rather than the actual quality of the artwork or prints. I think part of  It's pretty frequent that people mention framing the pieces or matting them or asking if I sell them matted. So I don't usually hear any complaints about my prices since they're only a fraction of what framing would cost in most cases.

Morals/Ethics; I still struggle to understand the vast gulf between what the comic industry and what the gaming industry considers right and just. I won't go down this road publicly because frankly I would piss off people from both industries and some of them are likely friends. Let's just say that indy comic artists often look at gaming artists and say, "that's not right to do X" (and sometimes I agree) while failing to acknowledge their own breaking of those taboos but in a different way. The issue is particularly apparent at comic conventions. Whatever. Probably shouldn't have brought it up.



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