Attending Your First Comic Con As an Artist

Nervous Cartoonist

Artist attend­ing his first Comic­Con

It was a bright and sun shiny day in beau­ti­ful San Diego Cal­i­for­nia. With print­ed copies in hand of my slick­est look­ing art, I went to the Con to speak to my favorite com­ic book stu­dios. I remem­ber being in awe of how big it was and how many peo­ple were in atten­dance. So many geeks like me in one place. This was sim­ply unbe­liev­able.

What to Bring

It is impor­tant that you have a well thought out plan before you arrive. When get­ting your arti­cle reviewed you should have sev­er­al options for the review­er. The most com­mon are pho­to­copies of your work. Anoth­er good idea would be to have a pro­fes­sion­al­ly print­ed copy of your work. Ser­vices like Lulu and Kodak will print inex­pen­sive pho­to books that can be used at the show to dis­play high-qual­i­ty images. In addi­tion, you could have DVD’s and CD’s of your work. Please note that on all your work, you should have your con­tact info dis­played and avail­able on every page, image, and hand­out. Why? Well, for the most part unless you are the next Jim Lee, they will be tak­ing your work back to their office along with sev­er­al oth­er sub­mis­sions to review again lat­er. So, your sub­mis­sion may get mixed and jum­bled togeth­er with sev­er­al oth­ers and you will want to ensure that you are still easy to con­tact if they show inter­est. Also, only show your best work. Don’t fill your port­fo­lio with work that you are going to feel oblig­at­ed to make excus­es for. Last, show work that only dis­plays what you wish to do. So, if you wish to be a pen­cil­er, only show your pen­cils even if you have the abil­i­ty to ink and col­or. You may want to have sep­a­rate books for each. The review­er may tell you that they aren’t look­ing for pen­cil­ers right now but need an inker or col­orist and that is when you can show that work.

What to expect when you arrive

When you arrive, you’ll first be over­come by the sheer num­bers of peo­ple and booths. Make sure to set aside time to get your port­fo­lio reviewed. The review booths are usu­al­ly in the back and there are quite a few peo­ple back there wait­ing to do what you are doing so be pre­pared to wait.

Pre­sent­ing your work

First it is impor­tant to hum­ble your­self and for­get what your moth­er and friends have been telling you for encour­age­ment through­out your life. Those indi­vid­u­als love you and believe in you. At the Con, these folks do not know you and are doing you a favor. Be respect­ful of their time and it doesn’t hurt to know a lit­tle bit about the per­son who is look­ing at your work.

This should go with­out say­ing, but if you are inter­est­ed in doing super hero work, don’t vis­it an edi­tor or art direc­tor who pub­lish­es hor­ror books. Choose pub­lish­ers that put out books that are sim­i­lar to what you want to do. If you have a lot of inter­est in par­tic­u­lar pub­lish­ers, you may want to vis­it them first. Any pub­lish­er that you have done research on or have a deep­er than sur­face-lev­el inter­est in should be approached. Just know that even if you find that a lot of peo­ple are not as inter­est­ed in your work as you had hoped, it is a great oppor­tu­ni­ty to get some con­struc­tive feed­back to help you improve.

Keep in mind that review­ers see hun­dreds of poten­tial artist’s work a day and may not seem very inter­est­ed in your work. So even if the urge comes to get per­son­al with the review­er, don’t! They are the inter­view­er and you should let your work speak for you. Let them con­trol how the con­ver­sa­tion pro­gress­es. If not, you will walk away regret­ting some­thing you said.Deal­ing with Con­struc­tive Crit­i­cism and Rejec­tion

When I received my first review from my dream pub­lish­er Image Comics, I received a few small tips and sug­ges­tions, but for the most part, Scott seemed annoyed and I took it per­son­al­ly. I think he may have felt that I was wast­ing his time because I clear­ly wasn’t ready to work as a pen­cil­er. If that was what he felt, he was right. I’ve learned a lot since then and I real­ly need­ed to improve. Need­less to say, he ripped me up and I didn’t feel like going to any oth­er review­ers. I felt destroyed and didn’t know what to do next. Look­ing back, I real­ized that I had a lot of grow­ing up to do and matur­ing in my skills. After that I took some art class­es like Life Draw­ing, Water Col­or­ing, Basic Draw­ing and ani­ma­tion. Along the way, I kept draw­ing and start­ed to learn sub­jects like ink­ing, Pho­to­shop, and 3D Ani­ma­tion. I spoke to oth­er artists in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions. I found that we all have to go through this and I shouldn’t be ashamed. Scott and oth­ers were just try­ing to help me get bet­ter and they require a qual­i­ty of work that makes their pub­li­ca­tions great. Now that I think about it, I wouldn’t have it any oth­er way. Would I think my work then was cool if pub­lished and would I have want­ed to by it? I don’t think so. It is impor­tant to have a bal­anced per­spec­tive and nev­er give up.

What to do after the Con

The Inter­net is great and has grown so much since my first Com­ic Con. There are com­mu­ni­ties all over the web where artists can com­mu­ni­cate and dis­cuss issues that are hap­pen­ing in their field and per­son­al artis­tic chal­lenges that they are try­ing to over­come. There are sites where you can post your art and oth­ers can com­ment on it and help you to improve and encour­age you as you progress. The most impor­tant thing is to use the infor­ma­tion you received from the Con as an incen­tive to keep draw­ing and stay moti­vat­ed to improve in the qual­i­ty of your work.

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Source by Frank Free­man

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