(The Stumptown 2009 Flickr pool is already up! Add your photos or browse through others'! :D That's Ainsley, my table mate, on the left!)
I woke up at 6 on Saturday morning practically buzzing with excitement. First convention jitters!! I had time to finish most of my final preparations, such as assembling my tool kit and packing a lunch, before hitting the road at 8:30. I got to the Lloyd Center DoubleTree at 9 and had an hour to set up my table. The floor was so full of excited, talented comic folk! It was inspiring just watching everyone set up their tables. (And sadly, the set up and take down hours were the times I saw the most tables, because I hardly got a chance to walk around during the day.)
I was really nervous (shaking, really...) for the first couple of hours, but talking with Ainsley (cool as a cucumber :P) and forcing myself to crack my sketchbook helped me hit my stride. A bunch of friends stopped by my table throughout the day, including my good friends Carrie and Andy, Jamie Rich, Periscope friends, and even friends from school. They were all really supportive and it cheered me up every time they stopped by.
I like imagining all of the people that might have my comics in their hands now. It's a wonderful feeling!
Blogger ate three paragraphs of this post, but I'll try to rewrite them!:
I tried to find a friend's party after the fest Saturday, but it was epic fail. I am from the west side, and Portland's east side confounds me miserably. I drove up and down the last street I could find on my direction sheet for 10 minutes, but never found the next one. x___x
I went to the Cosmic Monkey after party next, where I was finally able to see the awesome comic book store everyone raves about! What a place! They had an entire section for local zines, and another for locally published books. :D It is a truly awesome comic shop. I plan to return. :) The Trophy Awards show and Comic Art Battles were fun to watch, and Jeff Parker cracked up the whole audience for several hours in his MC alter ego. I met the new Periscope intern, Emi, and the old one, Sarah. New friends, yaaaay! xD We danced and shouted at the stage late into the night.
I went to the portfolio review table late Saturday, and got some time with Bob Schreck. I went in with a thick skin, but he was nice. He did tell me I should go to art school, which sounds harsh out of context, but I agree that I could use basic training in some areas (perspective, anatomy, and color theory most of all...). He said that my expressions and faces were good, but I should work on backgrounds (don't ink with a ruler) and character details from far away, esp. hands. I'm in such a frustrating place between 'hobbyist' and 'employable artist'. I don't have the money for art school, but I'll try to take at least a single class at PSU or AI this summer.
I got out the door pretty late, and arrived at the fest with only half an hour before opening. However, I had left all of my stuff under my table over night, so I was able to set up pretty quickly. Though activity was down, sales were up. I think it was people exploring the fest Saturday and buying Sunday. My family came through, which was very sweet, and even took pictures of my booth (BLUSH). I met even more cool people, and enjoyed the more casual atmosphere of the day.
At 6, I made the decision to go straight home instead of out to celebrate, and gave my family some attention. We made burgers and watched LOST. Bliss!
THINGS I LEARNED FOR NEXT TIME:
- You need super, SUPER sticky tape to hang anything on tablecloth
- Pack a lunch you can eat with one hand
- Don't smile with unbreaking eye contact when someone approaches you. In fact, I found that my most effective attitude for making people stick around was sketching in my own little world, and only looking up and smiling if someone stayed at the booth for half a minute or more.
- Business cards. Bring them all.
- It may seem pompous to put your pricing sheet at the front of your table, but that is where it needs to be
- Print out driving directions the night before and put them in your car before you go to bed
- Do not drink caffeine the first morning--the excitement more than does the job!
- Only pack merchandise that you think represents you well. Each item could be the only one a customer takes home with them!
- Wear a bright color
- If you think it's time to get a table and a con, sign the frick up today!!!! I wish I'd started doing this a year or even two years ago!!
Next post: review of all the minis I read at the end of the weekend!!