Whoops!

The area had a little internet outage today so I didn’t get to post what I was supposed to earlier… This is definitely something that has worried me a lot since being down here. The unreliability of the internet is becoming a pretty serious problem, since my entire business is based around it! Not only that, but I’m pretty limited in technology as a whole. No data or constant wifi can really put a damper on things.

On a brighter note, I may have made a great work connection at my last convention. If all goes well my conventioning may just have just become leaps and bounds easier! My dad always told me, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I guess he was right. (queue, “I told you so!”)

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Back from the con aaaaand…

I promised a post explaining fur suits yesterday, didn’t I? Weeeell travel back home was a little crazy (early morning international flights are never fun…) and I’m bushed. Totally whipped out from the con weekend. So instead of a full explanation, for now I’ll just leave you with this:

Fur Suiting (MFF Day 3)

I really wanted to talk about fur suiting for this post, but I’ve been staring at my laptop screen for a good hour now and all I have is a title. I think I’m officially burnt out from the convention. It went GREAT though. I Did more sketchbooks this con than probably any other before, met some really wonderful people and made some great new connections. I was really unexpectedly surprised by the success of my table as well, considering I had so little compared to previous years.

I promise to do a much more detailed post tomorrow, on both the convention and fur suiting… although I think I may need to split that into two posts… fur suiting is…. yah.

In the mean time, a dollar sketch I did =)

Convention Sketchbooks (MFF Day 2)

One of my best sellers at conventions is sketchbook commissions. Everybody treats these commissions differently, but in general they are simple to somewhat complex sketches. I’ve also seen sketchbook commissions inked, fully colored with markers, or even painted! They can be extremely complex, or simple stick figures; it all depends on the artist and what they’re willing to do.

Con-goers often provide their own sketchbooks for these commissions and treat them as collections. They will go to different artists around the convention, getting artwork from each of their favorites, slowly filling the books. Some people choose to get random work, some people theme their books. I often get book that have a character description in the front and everything that is drawn within has to be based on that. I even got one book that had a random quote on each page and the artist could choose whichever quote they liked best to inspire them.

They’re great! They’re really nice, personalized collections for the people who purchase the sketches, they are (generally) a simple and fast way for artists to make money, and they are great promotions/advertisement for artists too!
I have a stack of about 8 sketchbooks that I need to complete by tomorrow soooo… I really ought to get to that now.

MFF Con Day 1

Great first day of conventioning; lots of sketchbook sketches sold, lots of new commissions for after the con. Not a single print so far! I sold one before the convention to be picked up here, but that’s it so far. That’s surprising, but I guess it’s a good thing since I’ve really been pushing.

I’m afraid this will be an amazingly boring post since I’m sitting in a room full of very excited fellow conventioners all talking over each other and amped… It’s a little difficult to focus on posting! Hopefully tomorrow though, I’ll actually be able to photograph one or two of the sketchbook commissions and maybe some of the con goers… haha, it’ll be interesting, I promise!

Conventions Badges

I’m leaving this afternoon for Chicago for that convention I keep talking about, and tomorrow it finally begins! The attendees of these conventions often have characters/designs that they like to show off, so a really popular selling item is Badges; small illustrations of the client’s character with their name or pseudonym largely displayed. They are then printed, laminated and cut out to create a tag or badge that can be worn and displayed as people walk around the convention. They’re fun, easy, and great advertisement! What better way to show off your work then have people wear it around? Here’s one that a client ordered in advance of this weekend’s convention, to be picked up in person, of a cute Red Panda girl.

So I already had this image printed yesterday to about the height of a pen. Then I carefully cut it out to a general shape, laminated it, and now all I have to do is attach a badge pin to finish it off. If you’re a little confused by my garbled explanation of what exactly these are, here’s another badge that I did for a convention over the summer, this time with a photo of the completed product.

There’s also this one that I did, where I was hired to take a photo of the client and turn him into a satyr!

Printing

Awww man, I waited to post anything this morning since I knew I was going to be doing all of my printing today for the convention this weekend. I was going to to pictures of what I had done, but I don’t have a working camera! Oops. So instead, I’ll just describe what I did… which is boring, but it’s all I got.

When I’m at conventions one of my biggest sellers is prints. They’re small, easy and inexpensive, so they’re easy to sell. Before each Con I usually print individuals of the newest images I’ve done, to add to my Print Book (a binder portfolio that customers can flip through), and I also print multiples (3-5) of prints that I expect to sell. It’s always a gamble, guessing what will and won’t be in demand. I have to keep in mind what sold from previous conventions and what images have been especially popular when I upload them online… but even then there’s never a guarantee. Sometimes it’s the popular one that sells, sometimes it’s the 5 year old doodle.

So I managed to print most of the individuals that I needed for my Book, but I had some issues with my printer. I just recently moved this summer, and while I had a great working relationship with the whole crew at my old Office Depot, I don’t have anything like that here. It took about 4 hours just to get 24 prints, and only 18 of them were usable. Some of them were cropped, most of them were far too dark, and the girl at the counter insisted there was no way to lighten them. Oh, and they were about 4 times more expensive then they ought to have been ($1.60 for just one print!). So they were busy and I was asking for a type of printing the girl wasn’t used to… so I took what I could get. Unfortunately for me that means that I have almost no extra stock for this convention, but that just means making up for it in Sketchbook commissions and coms for after-con.

The good news is, I did managed to get most of my new signs printed. All except for the big banner, which is fine since I didn’t really need it for this convention. The rest of the signs were really important, though. I’ve had this bad habit of not making my prices clear enough, and of scribbling down last minute signs at convention… which is really unprofessional! So I finally fixed that. I have a nice new price list, complete with example images, signs for sketchbook commission status, I even made little signs for “sold out” or “unavailable”, and all of them are laminated too. Hopefully they’ll be able to last me for a while!

I leave for Chicago tomorrow at five… I really ought to go pack all of this stuff up =S

 

Price List

I finally finished the price list I’ve been working on! Or at least mostly, I have a little work to do on the Illustrations section still, but everything else is up. This was long overdue, so it’s a relief to finally have that up. If you’d like to check it out, it’s in the left hand menu just below Contact Info. Or you can just click here if you’re reading this in a feed =)

I separated them out into my most common commission types: Illustration, Portraits and Character Design, plus “What Nots” for the smaller commission types that I only offer every now and then. These are all prices for “personal collectors” of course, not commercial use, so I added a brief info section on that option as well.

I’m also really excited to be working on some new Signage for conventions. In past years I’ve have a nice enough display and done fairly well at conventions, but my signs have been really lacking and I know that that’s hurting my business. I’m ashamed to say they are often last minute scribbled notes torn out of a sketchbook… Well not any more! I’m making a list of everything I need to display and I’m going to design them and mount them on foam board for a really nice look. I’m also getting two big banners for the table front. Hopefully I can step it up a level with this and really kick butt at the next convention!

Conventioning

So each year I choose several conventions to attend and it’s getting to be about that time again.

Conventions are great! No matter what the theme or source material they are always so much fun, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a few niche conventions that have an especially welcoming and art-centric fan base; they’re called Anthropomorphic conventions (also Anthro or Furry) and while I won’t go into detail on them (at least in this post), I can briefly say that they are generally not at all what media portrays them as and the fan base around them is really wonderful for a beginning artist. In fact, it was one of these conventions that I somehow stumbled into that really launched my career as an artist.

So now it’s that time of year again when I need to start making arrangements for the next year’s conventions and it’s a HUGE undertaking! I want to be able to make it to as many conventions as possible each year, but each one falls on a different weekend, in a different city, with different amounts of people (and potential profits), with different lodging and registration options. Not only that, but some of the larger conventions can be extremely competitive to get into as a Dealer so timing becomes a factor when sending in applications. Oh and then there’s the upfront costs of plane tickets. Yeeesh.

Despite all that and because of my lack of conventioning this year, my 2013 goal is to make it to more conventions then any other year, and to really branch out as well. I’ll be focusing on the West coast of the U.S. since that will be easiest for me to get to… but just researching new conventions/festivals/fairs/artshows sometimes feels like jumping in the deep-end without my floaties on.

Speaking of these conventions, here’s an image of a Kangaroo Demon that I sold as prints. It was basically digital inking practice, so here are the lines as well. (you’ll have to click on them to see any of the detail)