You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks and my excuse two weeks ago was prep for Wizard World Chicago 2016 and my excuse last week was recovering from Wizard World Chicago 2016. Now we are a week removed from the Comic Convention and I’d like to reflect on my experience of being a new person on the Artist Alley Scene.

This was my first Wizard World, and my Third Comic Convention ever. Let’s pick it up there:

So last week was Comic Con and I was very excited to get a table in artist alley to help promote Spectre Comics. You never know who is going to show up. You never know if you’re going to meet some people excited about your work. So before the show starts, you are all jacked up and ready to go.

I live in the West Suburbs of Chicago and the Annual Wizard World Convention is in Rosemont, IL which is about 35-40 minutes from my house. The doors opened to the public on Thursday at 3pm. My goal was to get to the convention center about 12:30 pm and start setting up my table. The easy access garages closed at 1pm, so I thought that would be plenty of time to unload the car, get my stuff to my table and park. However, being married, you never really make it anywhere on time. My wife and I got there a few minutes after the garage doors shut. Now I had to wheel my bins full of comics, books and art through the front entrance, through the lobby and to my table like an amateur and feeling like a complete idiot.

I was not happy.

Although I got there in plenty of time to set up my table, I was embarrassed that I had to unload from the front door. Not to mention that the trek from the front door to my spot in artist alley was about 12 par secs. Anyway, I brought my stuff to my table, had my wife wait there and I drove the car to the parking garage and ran in. Luckily, with my artist badge, I was able to get through the check line quickly. I like the special treatment that exhibitors get.

So by now it’s a little after 2pm and I still have to completely set up my table. I start pulling out all my books, assembling my display crates and covering my table with a black table cloth we got to make the table look clean and dark. Just as they announce the doors will be opening, I finish setting up and I’m ready to rock and roll.

Now, when I got to my table, the artist on my right was there setting up. I introduced myself. He was from St. Louis and selling a lot of prints he made with popular characters from the nerd shows we all watch. He had a very unique style and it was a lot of cool stuff. The artist on my left had not yet arrived. He had dropped his stuff off the night before. It was partially set up but nowhere near ready to display. He rushed in a little after 3pm, scrambled to finish setting up and introduced himself to my wife and me. He seemed like a good guy. His art was amazing. He was selling a lot of prints of paintings he did of popular characters. He had paintings of the Avengers, characters from Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Suicide Squad, Walking Dead and more. He explained that he was a high school art teacher and he rushed out of school after his last class to get down to the Con.

Now I looked up and down my row and noticed that I was the only one really there to sell comics. Everyone else was there to sell art. This would become significant as weekend went on. All of these other tables were selling their art prints at a pretty good rate. I, on the other hand, was watching people walk by my table. Now I had a few pieces of art I created, but the bulk of what I was selling was comics and books. For the Con, I created prints of BB-8, Boba Fett, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Stormtroopers, Minions from Despicable Me and a couple of prints of the Inside Out Characters. Although some people stopped to look at my fun images, all of the dollars were going to my neighbors. After Day one, I hadn’t sold a single thing. My ego was a little bit crushed, but I was hoping that Day 2 would be better than Day 1.

To Be Continued…

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-Mike