With Salt Lake Comic Con less then a month away, I have been cranking out new designs in this consistent style I'm trying out this year. I absolutely love being an artist at comic con and this year, I'm trying a whole new marketing aspect.
I'll be candid, I'm usually lucky to break even at SLCC. Which has spurred me into researching and gauging my audience to see what I can do to make my art standout and be more appealing to a broader audience. This has been tough as art is so objective (particularly at comic con) and its a challenge to hit a large audience. However, I needed to figure something out or I may have to let the dream of showing at multiple cons each year go. Hence, the new consistent style.
If you are interested in knowing about what my plans are and what I have learned, keep reading. If not, skip the text and check out the new designs! Trust me, I wont hold it against you.
For the past 3 year I haven't had a plan. Well, let me rephrase, I didn't know what kind of goal I was aiming for. At first, showing at SLCC was just so fun I didn't worry about how much it was actually costing me each time. Particularly when they had two cons a year.
In my head I was just happy to be there and getting to interact with fun people and spend three glorious days with friends. This is what drove me back each year. However, this year I sat down and thought about what my ideal job would be and then it became obvious. If I could find a way to become a full time illustrator I would be the happiest little nerd in town.
This meant research, testing and a consistent style. I tested a small group of Star War prints at the last con and I basically sold out on all of them and sold no originals designs. This gave me a solid direction to move towards, and that fan art is king.
I also watched other artists. I took note of what people were saying and what they were selling the most of. This not only gave me an understanding of what people are looking for at cons, but every booth that was doing well had a very consistent and unique style. People knew that they liked the artistic style, which would then drive them in to see if their favorite fandom was portrayed in that particular style. Also, watching what people were carrying around gives you many clues as to what is popular.
I also listened to Will Terry (on his YouTube channel) and his experience at SLCC. He is a children's book illustrator and has a large following to begin with. However, hearing about his experience and the things he did and is doing to make himself more successful was very valuable.
The last and most eye-opening thing was talking with other artist alley participates. They provided a larger understand of the market in Utah. Overall, most don't do as well as they do at other cons. This encourage me apply for other conventions as a possible artist.
Somehow I got accepted into SDCC last year, but due to the fact that SLCC was on the same weekend and that I had already paid to be at SLCC I missed that chance. That being said, I may get accepted next year. One can only hope. I'm currently waiting to hear from Emerald City Comic Con and I may check out some other ones around out here. Any suggestions?
Finally, I'm going to shamefully plug my booth at SLCC. I will be in Artist Alley, booth Purple 7 on September 1-3. If you are at the con come over and say hi! You don't need to buy anything to say hi. I will have these designs and more in 4X6 prints and older large 11X14 prints on sale. I hope to see you there and I hope if you have been considering joining the con madness that I have provided you with some direction to be successful. I'll report back after the con if my drastic move worked.
Live Long and Prosper! Nerd out.