I'm retiring from conventions but before I go let me tell you why.
Okay, so... another weekly update another reminder that physical copies of How to draw Black People began shipping out February 1st and will continue to do so throughout the month. If you have not received your physical copy by March 1st please contact me and I will find out the whereabouts of your book if I can. Most people follow me through Facebook so I understand if you have been catching these updates. I just wanted to reiterate.
All of us or None is now open!!
My art forum is now open for business!! and by business I mean you can now post and interact there just like you would be able to on any art forum. I talked about it in last week's update and while there are 35+ members it's still something that's gonna take time to grow. I am posting the majority of my art here and I hope you join me. :)
Okay, so first I wanna say thank you to anyone that was hoping to one day catch me in an artist's alley at a convention. I appreciate that you think I am worthy of meeting. Unfortunately, conventions are a lot of work and very expensive. For artists like myself (I only sell my work) it's a bit of a losing battle every time. The experience is great and it is awesome to meet people and I don't want to leave out how hard it is for the people hosting the conventions.
On the other side of the table, however, things are really frustrating. My first convention was Anime Expo. I was an abashed comic book creator not exactly a mangaka, and there I was selling my prints next to seasoned pros both in the entertainment industry and at conventions. It was really cool to feel like I was part of the attraction and it felt great to sell both my prints and my books. I learned really quickly what sells and what doesn't and me being me I immediately started trying to make the things that didn't sell, sell. I made fan art of the things that I loved that happened to be popular rather than the other way around. I impressed a lot of people but I didn't sell nearly as much as I would have if I had ever deigned to draw Deadpool.
And that was the rub, I became more concerned with sales, making a profit, LOOKING like a professional artist. It took a while for it to sink in for me exactly how deeply my worth as an artist was attached to my ability to table at cons. To be fair, there is a way forward through Artist Alleys at conventions. It CAN be profitable if you are prepared and create a demand for your presence at a given convention. Also if you are plugged into what's trendy you can create the right kind of content to match the demand.
My personal issue is that I am not the type of artist that can succeed in the flea market setting. I'm a storyteller much more than I am a businessperson and the more my art feels like a business the interested I am in creating. Artist alley, for me, feels more like I am fooling myself into thinking that either:
a) I am going to make so much money that the hundreds of dollars I just dropped on a table are going to come back to me
b) I am going to get discovered by some hotshot editor and sign a multi-million dollar comic book deal and move to Paris and act like I don't know nobody
c)The people buying my work are so interested in my work that they are going build me a shrine and from atop of it I will rule over all comic with an iron yet gentle fist.
d) some combination of the three
Seriously tho, I was fooling myself into thinking that AA's were a step along my path when really they're kinda like a rest stop.
Truthfully, I want more for myself and my career than an artist alley can ever legitimately offer.
No shade to those folks still up for it, and no shade to the people hosting the cons. I am mainly blogging about this because I think there may be some artists out there that are in the same place I was and this might just be the perspective they need to get out of a particular rut.
Does this mean I am never going to a con again?
Of course not. If the right situation presents itself I'd love to vend again or do a panel and I regularly attend cons with my kid and with a friend or two. It's just the artist's alley that I can't fuck with anymore. I am in a uniques situation. I live in L.A. a place a lot of people in my line of work are desperate to visit, let alone live. There are a lot of opportunities for me here but I can't be prepared for them if I am still in the whole table hustle. I'm also in a place where I can make the stories I want to make and I have a big enough audience of people that going to places I am relatively unknown to sell my art seems... backward. So that's it. That's the update. It's been fun Artist Alley patrons and...patron-ees? I think you get what I mean...