The 2013 edition of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) has come and gone. It was a tidal wave of people from the get-go and did not disappoint at any level. My hat is off to the organizers over at Reed-Pop who put this tremendous show together. This was my third appearance in it’s four year history and it’s gotten better and better each year. Kinda like wine and old-fart cartoonists.
This year was a big departure for me as it is was the first time I’ve marketed myself as an illustrator. My last two appearances were in Webcomic Alley as the guy who created “1977 the Comic” and not that I didn’t do well those two years, but they paled compared to my newest strategy. I took away all of the PG-17 elements of the comic and only presented my PG commissions. On Sunday, traditionally “Kids Day” at most cons, I only tabled the Webcomics cookbooks and my Scooby Doo prints. I had sketches of Johnny Bravo, the Rocketeer and Gir from Invader Zim to attract the kiddies, and it worked like candy.
For Friday and Saturday, I pushed simple $1 or $2 sketches on my new 6×9 postcards of Lorraine and Robin as Speed Racer and Trixie. Most got the joke, but some were confused (and only one or two offended… get a life). This pricing strategy (traditionally called a “loss leader” in business) worked great and I was able to attract folks to my table to then get my pitch, which was very simple: “Hey, I draw stuff! What do you want me to draw?” Lots of business cards were taken and I did close to 100 sketch cards. On Sunday, you had to buy a cookbook or a print to get a sketchcard, but then it was free.
I’ve come a long way feeling comfortable drawing on paper again. I do all my work digitally now and it’s taken me a few years to really get back in the groove of drawing live. The biggest help was I used some Blick blue pencils so lightly sketch out my subject and then inked it in with a fine and/or thick tipped Sharpie. Where would we artists be without those Sharpie pens? I’ve gotten my caricature style down thanks to tips from Tom Richmond’s “Mad Art of Caricature” book. If you don’t have that, and you want to draw caricatures, go get it now. Seriously, helped me big-time.