Hey there! Time for another entry to my blog. Things have been pretty busy around here, which is good. I'm looking forward to a great closing of 2016.
Anyway, I'm sure you already read the title of this blog entry, and I hope I didn't mislead you with it... or at least not much. Thinking of doing conventions? With the term "conventions" I'm also referring to trade shows, which are pretty similar. An event where many vendors (be it artists, models, salesmen, businessmen, etc., depending on the actual convention), gather together to reach to the public or other vendors. Sometimes these conventions are not open to the public, but the interaction is the same. You go there to pitch your idea, your product. It is a very, very exciting and rewarding experience.
I personally do like attending conventions as a visitor, but even more to attend as a vendor. There is nothing that compares to meet in person with new and old customers. The level of feedback, in my humble opinion, is something that you cannot find anywhere else, at least not at that level. As if this weren't enough, you always get to learn something from fellow vendors. In my personal case, as an artist, I get to learn mostly from other artists. Not only I would learn new ideas or techniques related to painting, but also related to other conventions as well. This information can be very very useful: how to display your stuff, how to transport it, how to do it quicker, cheaper, better. It is an ever-evolving process, and it's good when you count with help along the way. In my personal experience, I owe a whole lot to the fellow vendors with whom I interacted at previous conventions.
I remember my first year of shows. The first one I did was a local convention here in Las Vegas, and the second one in Los Angeles. Both shows are now defunct, but I will always remember them, mostly because of the excitement... and also because of how awkward it was for me at the same time. I can honestly say that for my first show, Xanadu, I was not ready at all. I didn't even bring change for ongoing sales. None. That might seem like a no brainer, but that's the thing: I didn't have any experience whatsoever. Fortunately, my neighbors at the show was Theresa Mather, an extremely talented artist and also extremely helpful. Along with her was her husband, Barry Short, who is as helpful as Theresa. Both of them were absolutely nice. At the end of the convention I left filled with tips and ideas for the next one. By the way, if you like Fantasy artwork, please visit Theresa's website by clicking here, you'll be amazed.
Later that year, I had my second show: Erotica LA, in Los Angeles (kind of obvious, right?). Even though I was a bit more prepared, some things went on an awful direction. After all, it was my second big show, so there were many many things I still had to learn. In this particular show, my main problem was planning ahead. I ended up printing more merchandise than I needed, renting a much bigger vehicle than I needed, and paying for more services than I needed. As you can imagine, my expenses went up the roof. But at the end, I managed. It's all part of the experience. Now I can look back and chuckle or even laugh about all the mistakes that I did. By the way, those mistakes never end, they just change their shape: I'm still screwing up at almost every show :)
So, with this in mind, you can imagine why I say: "Thinking of doing conventions? Think it twice". However, with this I don't mean for you to forget about the idea. Not at all. In fact, I will always encourage new artists in the field to try it. So, when I say to "think it twice", what I mean is that there is a lot of research before doing a first show. Or any show, for that matter. From how much the front fee is, additional fees, parking lot, to the area total of your booth/table, setting up time, tearing down time, etc. All this research will help you to avoid as many mistakes as possible. Note how I say "as many", because trust me: you'll always screw up on something, no matter what. But, don't let that stop you. Try to do your best research and then go for it. I also want to mention that you can spend all your life doing research, but it won't be until you actually do your best show that you'll understand how everything works. So, do your research, but don't expect to be prepared at 100%. Build up your confidence and just do it! :)
So, if you are thinking of doing a convention, I hope this will help you a bit. I am not an expert, but I am more than glad to share what I've learned. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have further questions. On that note, I want to thank everybody for their support. You can be sure that I will keep going forward... and hopefully you'll ride along. See you next!
Pin-up artist by day… and also by night. Well, mostly by night, because night time is my favorite time to paint.