Episode 14: Comic Cons & Art Fairs

  • SVS OG

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    Odds are you've been to some sort of art convention, right? Comic conventions and art fairs take place all over the globe, with almost every major city in the United States hosting one! They are a great way to transition from hobbyist to selling your work and building your fan base. Today we talk about the do's and don't's of conventions and share some good and not so good experiences.

    Episode 14 is up and ready for listening please let us know what you guys think!

  • Hey guys, I'm new to the forums and have been following 3 Point Perspective since I discovered it a few weeks ago.

    This episode is timed perfectly! There's a comicon coming up in Nottingham, UK, in the next few weeks
    and I'm gonna' take myself and a notepad and do some research!

    I did a few illustrators art fairs a while a go and found little success and kind of gave up after that. They were low key, indy art fairs in London, UK, that attracted crowds of around 5,000 each day. To give and idea of how badly it went; I paid an £75 (around $100) exhibitor's fee for each fair and spent approximately £200 on stock. Including the gear and travel, I invested around £500 in total for the two fairs, and came away with about £10, in total, not profit.

    I have since realised that this is a prime example of poor planning and preparation. I didn't really have a particular style or brand to speak of so was trying to flog cheap, poor quality prints of bad artwork that I non nonchalantly rustled up in the lead up to the event. I also didn't research the market and found my work to be enormously miss placed. It was an expensive lesson!

    There are some absolute gems in this particular episode and Will has a brilliant grasp of the challenges faced by those who are just starting out. He asks some perfectly on point questions and is mindful of the realities of those who are trying to make it.

    Anyway, I've been meaning to drop in on the forums to thank Jake, Will and Lee for doing 3PP, I have found it to be tremendously inspiring. I will be following SVS learn avidly going forward and hope to drop in on some of the courses as and when my bank balance allows for it. Thank you, gentlemen, I have found a new drive and motivation in achieving my aspirations as a book illustrator and I look forward to getting involved and learning from the community here.

  • Pro

    Just finished the episode, it was really interesting! I definitely want to get into craft and art fairs at some point and I learned a lot 🙂 Also, Lee's anecdote with the fanny pack had me bent over laughing!

  • SVS OG

    I thought this was a good episode and is one I will bookmark for later use. I have done one convention. That was earlier this year at AwesomeCon in DC. I'm in the Northern Virginia area so there were no hotel costs. I made a book of my Inktober drawings from last year and some prints as well (2 sizes: 5x7 and 8x10). I had a banner made as well for the front of my table and purchased a simple 2 tier display. I came away from the con selling 5 books, a 5x7 print after I colored it, and I did a couple commissions. Around $130 total. I spent much more than that on all the supplies.

    I want do another one, it was a great experience and I really enjoyed who I tabled next to. The fact there's a con within 30 miles of me that I can go to is great! There are another 2 cons a little closer, All-Star and Fairfax Comic Con. I'm hesitant to participate due to my work being mostly black and white. It was nuts seeing how whipping out some markers and coloring some of my prints brought a few more eyes to the table.

    For more "in the moment" thoughts you can see my post in the forum here: https://forum.svslearn.com/topic/5735/first-artist-alley

  • @jaepereira The good news with the display and banner is at least you only have to spend that money once! You're lucky having a con that close. All the cons I go to are 5-6 hours away.

    @tqcreative I made the same mistake with the lack of distinct style and brand for my first con. I was lucky, though, that I was the only one at the con doing commissions (managed to come away with (slight) profit!)

    Awesome stories and advice on the podcast. I'm slowly gearing up for con season in the spring, and I think this time I may be able to make a bit o money.


    Gonna have to buy a fanny pack... Unless I can get a cheap cash register and chain it to the table.

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  • I loved this episode! I'm wanting to get into doing larger art fairs (I have done some smaller shows). I am definitely interested in the gear and looking forward to learning more about what you guys use.

    @Lee-White 's story about the fanny pack hurt me! I cannot imagine.

  • I LOVED this episode! This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately and this answered many questions for me. I'll definitely be taking a close look at the suggested supplies list. I'm thinking of doing my first show about a year from now--there is a local Steampunk festival I feel my style could be a good fit for. Also, steampunk.

    While I'm interested in cons/art fairs for many reasons, one of the reasons is similar to why I started teaching art classes--namely, that it is something I have more control over. I don't have to wait around on some agent or editor to like my work. Its also a way I can look more "legit" and gain more fans, so I have that much more going for me (little as it may be) if/when an agent or editor is interested in my stories. Thats my thinking, anyway.

    I definitely feel like I lean more toward the "art fair" side of things--I did a lot of fan art as a teen, but I'm just not as interested in it lately. Also, the IPs that I'm most interested in are fairly obscure. Sure, I've watched the Marvel and DC and Star Wars (etc) movies, and while I enjoy them, I don't LOVE them so much that I feel inspired to make good art work based on them. On the other hand, I am really excited about creating images based on my own ideas. However, my work is definitely very illustrative, and definitely has characters front and center. This will be something for me to think about. Maybe I'll do some less character-focused work to appeal more to that market.

    My family went on a road trip this week, we listened to the podcast on the drive. Then, we happened to stop at a shopping center that included an art gallery. It was very interesting to me to look at the work as a customer would. It was mostly landscapes or still lifes without characters--barns, covered bridges, trains, flowers. There was ONE image, though, with a character--the only one in the gallery, really. I absolutely fell in LOVE with it and ALMOST bought it(couldn't think of a wall to put it on... and it was a LITTLE bit more than I wanted to spend.)

    I guess I'm just always drawn to character and narrative... there have to be customers out there interested in the same thing, right??

    This is the image:


    Isn't it fun?? I may still get myself a print of it. The artist is named Michale Sowa and I've had a lot of fun looking at his other work--surreal, weird, and whimsical.

  • @Lee-White What is the ideal paper type and weight when ordering art prints? Thanks!

  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @lisa-ngan I like the Epson Cold Press Bright Paper. It has a lovely finish and works well for fine art prints.


  • SVS OG

    This was a very timely episode as I am doing my first art/craft fair this fall. My biggest question is about printing. In the podcast you mentioned that it is can be really cheap to get prints made, and also that it is important to produce a quality product. When I am researching all I can find are fine art/giclee printers that are very pricey, or companies that primarily advertise printing things like flyers and brochures. What are some good strategies to find a decent print house for an illustrator since I am not ready to buy a printer?

  • Awesome question, @juliepeelart ! Thats something I've been thinking about as well. Will mentioned having a place close by where he lives that he uses, I think.

  • @juliepeelart When I was trying to find a local printer I phoned around and asked for some print samples/product samples. Some places as well as poster/flyers and such were also quite happy to rattle off art prints. I was able to get some cheap printed samples to compare as well as see how good their customer service was (I had one store seem angry to get the work and one forget the order twice.)

  • SVS OG

    @sarahluann Thanks for the comment! I will go back and listen for what Will said, I live in Colorado, but maybe they deliver?

    @Art-of-B That is a good idea, lots of trial and error, but I may find a perfect fit! Right now I am also looking in to printers that photographers use, sometimes they have watercolor paper to print on.

  • Thanks for this episode! I've really been enjoying this podcast. I had a few questions about selling prints at shows.

    Do you mount the prints with a mat and backing board or just put the unmatted print in a sleeve?

    Also, are all your prints limited editions? And if so, how many editions do you do?

  • I think this is going to be really helpful. Thank you for that!
    Question: for booth layout. What size do you think the booth should be if I want to do art at the table? I know I personally like to see other artists working. Is it even a good idea?

  • Guys this episode was amazing! Honestly as a new guy starting out in all this illustration stuff I feel like this is great stuff to know right from the start. It has given me the idea to work on some fun creative fan art while also developing my own stuff. I'm in Slovakia and there aren't so many comic cons in driving distance haha, but there are quite a few european ones in flying distance 🙂 Anyway, we'll see how it goes in the future and maybe by next year I'll have the skill and stock to do something!

    On another note, I overheard in the podcast you guys would put links or descriptions about what personal printers and papers and things you use for making your own prints? I know for bulk it's nice to go somewhere. I'm not really doing bulk at the moment, and I can't find any place near me that doesn't do those cheap prints that will fade within a year. So I was hoping to get thoughts on printers and paper and supplies for home.

    Thanks again!

  • Just listened to this episode, and thought it was great! Wish I would've had access to an open forum about tabling when I started doing it a few years ago. I did find Will's videos very helpful at that time though. 🙂

    We are still waiting on your gear lists though, guys! 😉

    It just says "information forthcoming" in the notes below the podcast. I've been needing some new ideas on some setup stuff and would love to know what you guys use.

  • SVS OG

    Would anyone like to share a picture their booths? I would be great to see how everyone sets up their tables!

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