Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Heroes Con Aftermath

I returned home from Heroes Con to find these commissions already sitting in my email Inbox. Thanks, to everyone who has already sent along scans/photos and those who've promised to do so. I should have some more to post in the next few days. I don't know that there was a single commission I did this weekend that I didn't have a blast doing. Everyone I met was incredibly nice and I thank them for their patience. As was pointed out to me by my table neighbor (Laurea Samnee, wife of Chris), the most common refrain from me was,"What am I drawing for you again? Yeah, it's not done yet."

I did learn a lot about how to handle commissions in the future. I was not prepared for how many commissions I would be getting and, because I'm so slow, I ended up drawing through the day (at the con) and into the night (in the hotel room).
New Rule #1: I'm going to be bumping my prices up a bit. As I said in my previous post, I do more than just a pencil, or even a marker, sketch. I ink every commish with a brush and also add ink wash. This tends to take quite a bit longer than a standard commish. I figure if I bump up the price (somewhere around $50--little more a little less, depending on the show) I can afford to take a little more time with the piece and I really feel that folks will be getting there money's worth. As it was, at this show Chris and I had the least expensive commissions, by far. So much so that other artists where coming over to tell us we need to raise our prices.

New Rule #2: I will start taking advance orders. I had several people contact me in advance asking if I would be willing to do my commissions in advance of the show. I turned them down due to my heavy workload. Big goof. In the future, I think I will probably offer a discount to anyone who pays me to do their commission in advance of the show. That'll clear me up to take a few extra pieces from the casual, or "impulse" buyers at the show.
New Rule #3: Set myself a (very) modest daily limit. Say, four or five commissions a day (yes I'm that slow). Have a list each morning--first come, first served--and stick to it. This past weekend I had most of my commissions taken within the first hour on Friday. Anything I added after that point I struggled to get to.

So, yes, I feel like a total ass after my last post where I whined about not getting enough commissions at shows and here I am, in effect, complaining about having too many commissions to handle. I'm a boob.

One of the downfalls to working so much last weekend was that I wasn't able to walk around and enjoy the show. It wasn't until my last 45 minutes at the show that I was able run around and try to catch up. There were plenty of people I would've liked to introduced myself to but I had to limit myself. I had gone to the show with the intention of meeting Mike Wieringo--I'm a big fan of his work (and his blog) and it was his advocation of the show over the years that actually brought me there. I did get to talk with him briefly, and he proved to be an extremely nice guy (no surprise). Watching him doing free sketches for folks was humbling--he makes it looks so effortless.
While I was at the show I also discovered that Cliff Chiang was attending. I love this guys work! Again, I got to talk to him all too briefly and I hope that I run into him at some future show. He's one of those artists that other artists love. His work is deceptively simple, kind of in the Alex Toth mode, and his use of black is extraordinary. He's one of those artists, who when looking at their work, I get depressed about my own progress. I understand that this is a common malady of artists--I have this reaction everytime I look at artists I like.

image from Toth Doodle Book

Speaking of Toth, one of the highlights of the show came at the very end when Chris Samnee and I went to this table to purchase a real find-- Dear John: The Alex Toth Doodle Book. It is very hard to find a decent Alex Toth sketchbook and this one is a treat. The first two-thirds of the book is filled with short hand-written letters and doodles to a fan and eventual friend, John Hitchcock. There is also an interview conducted by mail and a section where Toth discusses and analyzes some of his own work. An all round great book. After talking to the man behind the book, John Hitchcock, he let us in on a treat. Out from under the table he pulled out a portfolio binder filled with Alex Toth original doodles and a couple pages. We were both pretty dumbfounded! We leaned as close as we could looking a every stroke of a brush, pen or marker--it was awe-inspiring.
And just plain inspiring--gotta get to work!


Anonymous said...

It was great meeting you too, Brian. Man, those sketches are awesome! It's no wonder you feel a little overwhelmed. I'd definitely charge more for them. Be careful about advance sketches, because if you're anything like me, you're scrambling to get 20 different things done before a convention. Hope to see you soon!

Cliff Chiang

Aaralyn said...

You did that Canonball for my friend, Dr. Fantastic. It's beautiful.