All right!  Continuing from last time, table setups!  Here are two different types of cons with two different con setups, and what each kind generally has.  Remember, each type of con is going to have a different audience and a different art crowd, so the same setup may not work at each one.

Many of these people unfortunately don’t know that I’m using their photo in this, as this was originally for a SCAD presentation, so I apologize ahead of time and if anyone wants me to take theirs down I will.  But here’s some input on some of these..

The big vertical banners are all over at superhero cons.  These  cons are the ones I have been the least successful at though so I can’t make a definite “what sells” at these cons, but I do see a lot of people walking around with interesting fanarts.  However, there is a definite problem with copyright there, which has been addressed other places and other times.  I do see some original content and a lot of small press comics there as well, which is always good, but I think makes less money.  Small one-off items like artist trading cards and commission sketches are a huge seller. 

Indy cons:  These cons are all about the little comics!  But nice full-color comics and good print quality are a huge draw for other artists.  Having a perfect or hardbound book can attract the attention of parents and people looking for something nice.  Staplebound minis, while attractive if you want something small or cheap, can pile up quickly in a house or on a bookshelf and aren’t quite as attractive.  A nice print or two can be something different from other artists and a nice way for someone to just buy a little art.

As for table setups, having a theme is usually a great way to draw attention.  Becca and I have done several themes throughout indy cons, and they do attract a ton of attention.  The first table setup is a great way of showing off a theme, and the guys are dressed up to match (even if they left their table people would be able to associate them with their product.)  Cuddles and rage has a beautiful table setup, with a lot of beautifully displayed vertical books and enough open space between items to let things breathe (sometimes a difficult thing at indy cons where you are hurting for space because the table was so expensive you had to split it 2 or 3 ways.)  I do find that if your table is too precise, people can be afraid to touch things, and putting an item in someone’s hand is half the battle of getting them to buy it.

Pig fish, though his setup looks very time intensive, is almost a bad example: his setup becomes so flashy (and he did have a strobe light) and intense it can scare people away.  

At some point it does become personal preference: who your audience is will dictate your setup (i.e. I get a lot of teenagers so I use a lot of bright colors and items easily recognizable from a distance.  Becca attracts kids, moms, and hipsters, so she uses a more muted palette with lots of cute and crafty items)

Again, if you guys have questions about these things, feel free to message me.  I’ve had so many years of doing cons this is somewhat second nature, so if I don’t explain something well, just let me know.

Well I wound up downloading the trial version of cs6/adobe creative cloud.  Too bad I can’t afford it.  But it’ll work till I have time to figure out why cs3 isn’t installing, I guess … . 

Or cs3 could just never install, because thats my kind of luck.

But in the meantime, some white lilies.  The only flower I can actually grow.  Probably will be a print/poster at MTAC this weekend.

skellyscribbles asked:

I love your two posts about con prep. Excited to see your table layouts post. (Gotta prep for SPX!)

whoo!  Thanks!  It is a bit old, but Becca and I regularly take photos of our setups (though my phone is currently getting repaired by sony so I don’t have pics of gem city or space.)  I’ll try to post these once a day, so with mtac this weekend I better queue them up!

Because life really REALLY hates me sometimes

Its been a month and my phone still isn’t fixed.  Thanks, sony.

Photoshop decided it needed to uninstall last night and now regardless of multiple attempts to reinstall ANY version of the design suite, I can’t  So now all my work has come to another screeching halt..  This new computer was supposed to fix that.

Well, I was going to get ready for mtac, but … 

Also, I can’t find a bunch of things that were supposed to be in certain places in the basement.  I think other people have moved them.  Or thrown them away.

If life is always one step forward two steps back like this, at what point am I going to walk backwards off of a cliff?

I think these are pretty self explanatory but just in case…

When planning for a con or even considering attending one, think about how you’re getting there, what you’ll need to bring, if you can drive versus fly (and those 50lb/$25 bag restrictions), if you’ll have helpers (you probably want SOMEONE who is a friend who can cover bathroom breaks for you), and if its even financially viable.  Also, many cons have their table registration 6-12 months in advance, so you should be thinking at least that far ahead.

Stuff to sell:  this of course was geared towards comic artists, so 2D and traditional art is the focus.  Having something free on your table, even if its just business cards is super important - how else will people be able to follow you later on?  (And you want people to see your work online too, its really the only way to keep an audience any more.)  

Too much or too little - Becca and I have run into this problem sometimes.  If your table is too cluttered it makes people skip over it - and too cluttered depends on the con.  Anime kids are more likely to look at a cluttered table than older comics fans.  Too many choices can actually make people NOT buy.  But too few choices and no choices at lower price points ($3-5 ideally) will disinterest people as well.  If people have to do too much searching to find what they really want from you they aren’t going to spend the time doing it.  

When in doubt, do a practice layout.  It may seem like a waste of a few hours sitting around at your house tweaking how you want stuff to look (especially as sometimes the tables at cons are slightly different sizes) but its really important to figure stuff out ahead of time rather than spending those hours at the con when you could be selling.  Plus it lets you know if you will need any supplies or creative solutions that are easier to obtain ahead of time.. 

Next up:  some table set-up examples