Some Thoughts on Wizard World

As has become tradition, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on my time at my last convention, Wizard World in Sacramento.

I’ll start by saying that it was a generally positive show.  It was well attended, there were a lot of enthusiastic people in costumes, and the people there weren’t shy about talking with me.

I tried something new this time that seemed to make the show a lot more fun.  Each morning before the show I’d prepare some pencil drawings, then I’d ink them at the show so people could watch.  And when I finished I’d just draw some more from scratch.  This really made the time go by faster, gave me more uninterrupted drawing time then I’ve had in quite a while, and brought people over to the table to watch.  It was a great conversation starter, and a nice ego boost because I got a lot of compliments.

Here are some of the drawings I did.

I was really happy with the way they all turned out.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt more confident as an artist.  Things were ending up exactly as I pictured them in my head, and I felt like I could draw anything.  And I was drawing things I’d actually want to hang on my wall!

Unfortunately it didn’t lead to anyone paying for me to draw them something there at the show, but there was a lot of interest and I think it will in the future.  Plus, you never know if one of the people who took my card will contact me about a commission in the future.

Here are some of the sketches digitally colored.

Oh, I put all these up on DeviantArt at http://blacksnowcomics.deviantart.com/prints/ if you wanted to buy any of them.  I think I’ll print some of them out to sell at the next show.

Beyond the sketching, the show was fun because I got to have my son with me for quite a bit of it, including on Father’s Day.  He is really starting to get into drawing and I think he really enjoyed doing some at the show in front of everyone.

Bennett drawing at Wizard World

On Sunday I took part in a free kids giveaway, and my table was flooded pretty much throughout the day with kids getting sketches.  I did about 35 or 40 of them, and I let each kid pick what they wanted me to draw.  It was crazy, but fun.  My neighbor asked if I was trying to get carpal tunnel.  He also gave me the brilliant idea of a tip jar, which I made out of a hat and people actually used.  Wish I had it there for the initial rush!

Here’s a couple happy kids with their drawings.

happy kids with drawings

And what did kids want me to draw?  Mostly Deadpool.  One sweet little boy wanted Freddy Krueger, which I thought was hilarious.  There was a pretty good variety, and if they wore a costume I draw whoever they were supposed to be.

One little girl asked if I could draw her as a cartoon.  An intimidating task.  But I took on all challenges and drew my heart out.  I’m not a caricature artist, and have never really been into that, but I did my best for this girl.  She stood frozen like a statue while I really gave it my all.  I showed her the finished result and she was so happy she teared up a little.  I caught a little of her parents’ reaction, and her mom in particular seemed touched by the moment.  That’s my favorite moment I’ve had at any of those shows, and probably the happiest I’ve ever felt about drawing something.

I also tried wearing a mask again at this show.  This time I sprung for a nice Lone Ranger prop replica rather than the homemade mess I’ve worn in the past.  People really seem to like the idea of a masked artist, and it honestly made me feel a little different to have something cover my face while I interacted with people.  It got some attention and brought people over to chat.  So I think it may become my regular thing at these cons.

The Masked Artist

Meanwhile everyone around me was really complaining about the show.  Not enough attendees, not enough sales, blah, blah, blah.  And I guess that all was true.  But I’m so used to these things that I didn’t care.  I enjoyed myself.  Sure, I didn’t sell a lot.  And I had the same old thing of people chatting and enjoying my stuff, only to ultimately thank me and walk away without buying it.  But really, what’s the point in complaining?  My experience has caused me to build up a tolerance to this stuff, and honestly I was just happy I spent most of the time interacting with people and getting my name out there.

So I guess it was a successfully unsuccessful show.

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