So, for the last few days I was running a table at Emerald City Comic Con. I was selling my original art, the merchandise I have featuring my art and doing the occasional sketch. Not being the typical superhero artist, I never know quite how my art is going to be received, but this is my third year and I feel like I am finding some of my fan base at ECCC. I do anthropomorphics, or animals with human characteristics, in fanciful costumes. It’s not to everyone’s taste and that’s fine, but I do get quite a few people who are very enthusiastic. I had a head cold, so I felt under the weather but pretty much had to soldier on.
Friday was a bit slow, and I really wasn’t feeling very well, so it was even slower. It’s the first time they had Friday hours and the room was open from 2:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. I didn’t dress up, and really didn’t feel that it was very useful. I was hoping that things would pick up.
By Saturday, I was feeling better, so I dressed up to feel more in the spirit of things. Unfortunately, right off the bat a complete jerk came to my table and began to inform me exactly how he felt about the genre I work in. He grabbed a comic book off my rack, turned it towards me and said “How ugly is that!?” His tone was jovial as if I would share in his glee of tearing down my own genre. The book he picked up had someone else’s art on the cover, but his message was clear. I nearly leapt across the table to throttle him. Luckily my husband calmly took him aside and suggested that everyone in the entire room had their own particular tastes and he should perhaps be a bit more tolerant, the very topic of a recent blog of mine. Glass houses! You all live in the same neighborhood. He left soon after, but I was now quite perturbed, but also feeling a bit gun shy. Maybe I should just pack up and go. If pimply faced, pencil necked geeks like him feel that they can just attack my work, maybe I didn’t want to wait around for more abuse. However, in for a penny, in for a pound; I had paid for the space and I was there for the long haul.
Things picked up, and I had lots of friendly, encouraging folks come by and admire my art. Even some people, who admitted they didn’t necessarily like the subject matter, told me that I had talent. It was quite heartening.
A few hours later, the jerk came back, acting nice and asking to speak to my husband. He asked if he could video “this” for his podcast, waving his hands at my display rack. I was livid. I told him no, and that if he didn’t leave immediately I would call security. Did he really think I would let him have fuel for his moronic tirade on his podcast no less? The nerve! I’m sure he will go ahead and make his infantile rant no matter what I do, but I was certainly not going to help him. I went for a walk to cool off. I told the incident to several friends and they were all stunned that someone would be so insensitive there in the midst of a comic book convention. Talk about a glass house.
Me with some friends at the table
I was determined to put on a smile and cope. My postcards, magnets and mousepads were selling. I did a sketch for a girl of a pirate mouse that came out quite well.
An African man came to the table and looked through my work. In a very thick accent he told me it was very beautiful. Then he asked “why animals?” Good question. I showed him some of my game card work and said that it wasn’t because I couldn’t draw humans. I just enjoy drawing the anthros more. A dancing gypsy bear, a pirate fox captain are more whimsical, more fun for me. I have always been a Disney fan and Robin Hood is one of my favorite movies. I love The Rescue Rangers and Tailspin. Pepe le Pew is one of my favorite characters. To this day, I will watch almost any animated movie that comes out. I didn’t go into all that for him, but simply said I find it more fun. He smiled broadly and said “Keep young.” I nodded happily. Indeed. I guess that is the crux of it. Colorful, whimsical animals help me stay in that youthful mindset.
The rest of the weekend was good. Sales weren’t as good as I would have liked, but they were decent. The amount of folks that came by and enjoyed the work was so encouraging. Working from home and doing things online can be deceptive and anonymous. One can feel overlooked. It’s really nice to get personal responses.
I tried to figure out if I had a specific demographic this year, but it was really not specific. Whole families would come up and debate which postcards they should buy. Men, women, young and old all seemed to be equally appreciative. Last year I was pleased to discover how many young girls delighted in my work. I never really saw my work through their eyes before. My favorite customer this year had to be the child of some friends. I came back from a break and he was clutching my Cleopatra postcard. He had been too shy to talk to me earlier. I knelt down and we chatted about the pictures. He said he liked my Queen of Hearts and I asked if his mom had read him Alice in Wonderland. Yep. But, he confided in me that Dad didn’t really like Alice. We agreed that she was pretty neat.
One of the things that makes me really happy about living in this century, is the technology. I used to do production work on comic books and it was tedious. Also, you had to make a minimum order, store it and ship it yourself. Such a hassle! These days print-on-demand services are a godsend. I can make postcards, stickers, mousepads and it’s so easy. I have even realized a dream of mine and made a little book of my art. It’s 40 full color pages and I can order just a few copies at a time. Also, the print quality is fantastic. Being the typical starving artist, I was strapped for cash before the convention, so I could only afford to order one copy to use as a sample. I told my friends who said they wanted one that they could go to the site directly. On Sunday, a nice gentleman came up and spent time looking through everything, then said he’d like a copy of the book. I explained things and said that I’d be happy to sell him the display copy if he didn’t mind. He agreed and asked me to sign it. It really made my whole weekend. I sold my book! I know if I had had more copies I might have sold more, but just the fact someone wanted it made me feel successful.
To add to my successful feeling, I have some of my designs coming out as rubber stamps on Wednesday from Queen Kat Designs!
I want to thank everyone who came by the table and showed me some love. Self doubt and fear are always in the back of an artist’s mind, but nothing dispels them better than getting to see someone’s eyes light up when they look at your work.