So I survived (and absolutely loved) my very first convention! Last weekend I exhibited at Thought Bubble Sequential Art Festival in Leeds, it was an incredible experience and I have to say it was brilliant to get away from my desk and interact with real-life humans for my work.
Thought Bubble has been going for a few years now, but this was my very first time attending and my very first time tabling - so it was a little overwhelming on the first day. I'd applied for a table earlier in the year to act as a deadline for me to finish some of the comics I'd been working on (I'm a bit awful when it comes to procrastinating over my own work). I find a lot of the time I need a set deadline to make sure I equally prioritize my personal work alongside commissions.
Well, after a few late, laattee nights preparing and a lot of organising and the invaluable help of Andrew Jolly: I managed to rustle everything up, get a zillion things printed and packed it all up in cardboard boxes to trundle over to Leeds.
My table was in The Royal Armouries hall in, as I soon realised, a fantaaastic location (well lit, great traffic and lots of space) with the lovely Tor Freeman tabling next to me. I didn't really know what to expect from the festival, and I'd been a little worried about over or under preparing, but I managed to pitch it just about perfectly (although I sold out of a few prints!). I had been nervous, with classic "Oh god, what if nothing sells? What if everyone hates my work?!" sort of thoughts running through my head, but after selling a few big bundles of prints within half an hour I relaxed a bit!
It can be pretty daunting having so many people wander up to your table looking at your illustrations, but it was fantastic to meet everyone and get a real sense of live feedback on my work. It's really useful to put yourself out there and be able to take a hard look at what doesn't sell as well as you expected and what surprises you and sells out!
I was also offering live portraits for the first time. That was really a trial by fire as I'd never live sketched with the drawee watching before - but, again, I think it's all about pushing yourself to take a risk and leap in to new areas. Luckily everyone seemed to absolutely love their sketches, and I had a blast doing it!
I met so many people over the course of the weekend: long-time Twitter friends, publishers and comic creators, classic Draw North West-ers and a few of my very favourite artists! I only meant to give myself about twenty minutes to rush around the other halls before running back to my table, but I ended up taking over an hour as there were just too many chats to have and comics to buy.
|My Thought Bubble comic haul ft Matt Taylor, Natalie Andrewson, Fleur Sciorliano and Nicolas Delort!|
I also got the chance to pop in to the Joan Cornella exhibition at the Gallery at Munro House, which was brilliant (despite me having to run and dry my clothes in the bathroom after getting drenched in a fast car + puddle situation) and on the Saturday night I went to the mid-con party where Darryl McDaniels from Run DMC popped out and rapped a few hits!
The whole weekend was a beautiful blur, and I'm so relieved it ended up going really well. Hopefully I'll be able to exhibit at Thought Bubble again next year (I've really got the convention bug now) and I've carefully noted down all the little tips and edits I've learnt along the way. I think it's always worth throwing yourself in to a new experience like this, even if you're a little hesitant, because there's so much to learn about yourself and your work if you go for it.
See you next year Thought Bubble!