So I’m dumb and updated ComicPress on the Distillum site and now it’s so unbelievably broken. Working on getting it fixed, but if the site were a car, I’d have just totaled the damn thing. Might take a bit.
Wow guys, y’all really came through for me! Thank so much for the HUGE list of commissions. I’m going to have to cut them off for a while just to make sure I don’t get too overwhelmed. I might open them back up later!
Also a reminder that I still have a Patreon campaign going! There will be a Patreon exclusive comic starting (hopefully soon) that will be visible only to backers, and it’ll only take $1 a month to see it. Stay tuned for details!
So arkhivez just asked me a great question about con prep, and after replying I realized I should probably post it publicly! Thankfully I tend to compose larger text answers in notepad first. So here’s how I do con prep:
1) See if you can find out what sells at that con. This can be hard if you’ve never been, so ask around. Some cons tend to favor minis, some lean towards perfect-bound books, some cons really prefer family-friendly material.
2) Google “artist alley table” and look at how others are arranging their tables. There isn’t a set formula, but see if anything stands out to you. Make a mock-up table in your house to arrange your items in a way that you like. Take a photo with your phone so you can recreate it on the con floor.
3) Label your prices clearly. Make a chart for how much you charge for commissions, etc. It’s not a bad idea to be willing to haggle a dollar here and there, but it’s good to be upfront about your prices.
4) Bring supplies to do commissions. Paper, pens, pencils, erasers, the works. These are often your bread and butter at cons. Everyone loves custom art.
5) Have a table assistant (or share a table). Someone who can watch your table when you need to eat or use the bathroom is a huge asset. Because those things happen. Sharing a table will also means sharing the cost of the table.
6) BRING STUFF. Bring a big ol’ canteen of water. Not soda, WATER. Bring snacks and gum/mints. Bring hand sanitizer. Bring a table cloth (cons don’t always provide these, and one of your own will help you stand out). Bring an extra cloth to drape over your table when you leave (the universal con symbol for “I’ve left for the day”).
7) Get something to serve as a cash box, and bring change. $30-$70 in ones and fives should do it, depending on how much you’re selling. Don’t be flashing a wad of bills at people when they pay. Even if you have a Square and can take credit cards, still have a means to take cash and make change. And take it with you when you leave the con each night.
8) Take stock of everything you have BEFORE the con starts. How many books did you bring? How many minis? How many paper sheets to do commissions? Write it down. And write down everything you sell. Keep track of it. If you have the Square app, use its built-in register feature to track it even better.
9) Take note of the cost of everything you might spend money on while at the con. The table, your badge, travel, parking, food. They’re sneaky like that.
That’s all I can think of! There’s a lot of little tricks everyone learns, but they’re different for each artist. Now go forth and TABLE!
I have experienced this a lot, myself, particularly in the early days of my career, and I am distressed to find that this still is happening.
Listen, you do not have to justify, explain, conceal or apologize for being a woman in comics. You do not owe anyone, and I mean ANYONE, a moment of your valuable life trying to reconcile your art and dreams with someone’s jaded, obsolete worldview on gender.
I have been asked hundreds of times what it’s like to be a woman in comics. You know what it’s like? It’s like being a woman in comics. The answer is both too large to possibly encapsulate and completely not their business at the same time.
I have spoken with dozens of women who felt forced to behave in a manner that was completely unlike them because they felt they had to be ‘one of the guys,’ to get along. Well, there are worse things than having brodudes think you’re not ‘one of the exceptions.’
Either you have value as a creator, or you don’t. You have to decide if you want to be liked by people who do not respect who you really are, or if you want to be truthful to yourself and others.
Sadly, it is not uncommon for women to be part of this happy horseshit. I have many times seen advice given to women that essentially equals, “smile and don’t upset anyone.” This is the world’s worst advice, and the people who say that to you? Make no mistake. They are the enemy, regardless of gender. Don’t even bother to engage them, just go around them as they try to grab your legs and pull you down.
Timid people make timid comics. If you wouldn’t want to read books from someone like that, why would you settle for actually BEING someone like that?
It’s harder breaking in, being female. It’s harder keeping your spot in line, being female. And yes, people will hate you for a myriad of reasons that have nothing to do with you whatsoever. I am not saying any of this is easy. But people do it. If they are talented and dedicated and put their blood in the game, they do it, and you get a Kelly Sue or a Marjorie Liu or Becky Cloonan or Fiona Staples or any of the many remarkable success stories of the last few years. Can you imagine any of them apologizing for being female?
Don’t feel bad about something you have nothing to feel bad about, merely because you hear some pitiful cries from the local tar pit. These people aren’t worried about their own accomplishments, they just want to make sure YOU don’t accomplish anything.
This industry, at least in terms of female participation, is finally becoming the industry I had always dreamed of, even as a little kid. There are fabulous female editors, executives, publishers, retailers, critics, and creators all over the place. The female readership is flying. There are books you can buy that actually, heaven forbid, feel like they acknowledge women in the audience.
And yet we still routinely see people trying to pretend that there’s no steamroller coming and refuse to move out of the way.
They are not your problem or your responsibility.
When someone, anyone, regardless of gender, tries to make you feel bad, or like an outsider, for being female in comics, remember that you are actually one of many, going back a long, long time. You do not need to hide yourself. There are enough people out there who want you to be ashamed or grateful.