This was our 3rd year doing SDCC. Let's get to my take-aways. I followed my own advice I've learned over the years of doing cons, but I'd like to add 5 more things I've learned! If you absolutely need to get your hands on them ramen prints right now you can get them online now!
More of what I learned and pictures after the jump...
Less is more! This year in an effort to reduce my pitch time I narrowed my offerings down to only 4 different items. Books, Prints, Plush, and Wristlets. At my other Cons I'd have buttons, shirts, wallets, resin blocks, and hats...BUT I also had more help. So really only 1 person can effectively cover a certain amount of real estate and effectively pitch a certain amount of products. Reducing the variables allowed me to think about who my products were reaching more efficiently.
Imbue things with value! Artists are like magicians, they take a blank piece of paper, do something to it, and it adds value. So with this power, you can continue to do this on the spot. Things such as signatures mean something for a reason. But I found making the book out to an individual, drawing a little picture in the back, embossing the paper corner, and then applying a 'signed by the artist' gold seal on the front cover, added lots of value to the book. My ramen prints were signed with pencil, bagged, and also had the same gold seal applied on the back, but doing all that live makes it even better.
Address the haters, then move on! I had brand new experience this year, it was distracting. Someone accusing me of stealing their work. We had made our Enfu Soft Qube plushies, essentially cubed animal plushies, (cat, dog, bunny) with the distinctive enfu pattern on only the bottom. I actively did research and made an attempt to not look like the other cube plush type animals I saw out there (I did not see their plush beforehand just thought I'd make that clear). The placement of the ears and tail were to help sell their distinction from each other, and the enfu snap was on their butts. I had to address the claim, partly due to multiple posts on my fan page, and also a girl came by angry and frankly very rude taking pictures up close of the plush and walking away. I can understand protectionism and the anger that comes from that, but as an Artist that type of negative vibe isn't something I'm thinking about when creating anything, nor do I want to promote it. I was advised to ignore it, but I wanted to address it to placate those choosing to hold on to anger. I'm hoping there are less angry people taking pictures of my products, and more people just adoring them. ANYWAY, that was a thing, to illustrate my point I'll be making it by..."moving on"....
Redefine yourself! Every year I've always brought my best selling selection of prints, because they of course they've always sold well. I would always try to introduce new prints, but would still rely on the heavy hitters to sell. This year I wiped the slate clean and brought ONLY my new selection of food prints, starting with the RAMEN series. I showed them framed as well. I sold 5 of the 6 framed prints, sold out of one of the ramen, and sold double the prints I did last year. This leads to my next point.
People buy what they know! In the past, lots of my prints contained my hybrid mashups of east meets west and my straight up fan art. Despite my attempts to hybridize I still in the mind of many produced some 'fan art' and I wanted to move away from that. There seems to be some sort of artistic moral tiers that we as artists put on ourselves. Original art being on top, fan art being on the bottom, and erotic art being underground. Wherever your moral compass leads you, I think it is important to keep drawing what you love. So in my attempt to draw things people can relate to that aren't fan art, still family friendly, culturally authentic, and what I love, I drew some ramen. You can get them now online here, or at Kobo and Chin Music Press!
Comicon is big. Really big. Below is the video of the whole show floor, or you can cut to the part where they pass by my booth.
Well I hope you enjoyed my little recap. Thank you always for all your support!