michael paul bowen (zap199x) wrote,

A few notes about Stumptown 2008…

Stumptown was my first con as an exhibitor. I had a Nick and Elliot mini that I drew two years ago, a star trek sketchbook, a movie character sketchbook and a free Nick and Elliot sketchbook. Calling it a con seems wrong since it’s more of an art festival for artists and DIY publishers.



While the hall opened at 8 AM for exhibitors, most people waited until 9:55 AM to arrive and get their tables ready.

I was stuck between The Center for Cartoon Studies and a group of first timers called False Colour Publishing (they weren’t Canadian or European, instead they were from Boise, Idaho).

Being beside CCS made me feel inadequate. They had books from students and alumni that made my feeble attempts look like the cave paintings of a retarded caveman.

The False Colour guys’ work made me better about myself.

Mike Richardson is tall. While I was in the bathroom, he came by my table. My girlfriend, who had no idea who he was, gave him one of the freebies. Fortunately, he was nice enough to take it.

There was a lot of dead time where no one walked by the table. I took the opportunity to draw some pictures: the Prince from Katamari, Edward Scissorhands and a chimp in a suit. A girl bought the Prince sketch; she didn’t know it was a video game. So, I think she possibly bought it out of pity.

Kristin manned the table for me to walk around. I met Jim Valentino and geeked out a bit. I stopped by Scott Mills’ table and picked up the latest Extragalactic mini. I got the Scott Pilgrim poster from Oni. I met Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman. They just might be the cutest couple in comics. And I met Craig Thompson.

Craig Thompson has attained some sort of godhood. He had the only real line at the show. And it was so strange to watch his fans interact with him. I saw a man get down on his knees to look Craig in the eye and tell him how his books affected his life. It seemed like everyone wanted to tell him a story or give him something. And Craig was gracious enough to listen to it all and smile and be nice and caring. He must be a pretty decent guy to do that. I felt out of place cause I didn’t have a story or a free gift. All I could manage to do was make him giggle a bit cause I asked him to sign a dollar bill for a friend back in SC (I was gonna get him to sign a piece of paper or a program but I didn’t have those available). I don’t think I’d want to deal with that sort of fame. It seems like a pain in the ass.

A lot of people that walked by really liked the chimp drawing. But nobody wanted to buy it.

There were a lot of people in a large room and the temperature rose steadily.

By the end of Saturday I’d given away over fifty of the free book. I’m not sure about the other books cause Kristin has that written in a book somewhere.

Instead of going to an after party, Kristin and I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall was very funny.

On Sunday, most everyone showed up around 10. It was definitely a more relaxed day. The crowds came strolling in around noon. Scott McCloud took the opportunity to wander around the floor. He stopped by my table and giggled a bit at the Star Trek book. He liked the chimp drawing. He didn’t buy the chimp drawing. I gave him a free copy of each of the books, and I curious if he actually read the mini. He seemed like a nice guy and I understood immediately why people like him.

Craig Thompson wasn’t there. Being mobbed by fans may have broken him, or a beaver could have eaten him, I’ll never know.

Since the crowd was thinner, I had time to think about improving my table for next year. I’d like to be more prepared, have more comics to go with the sketchbooks. I could print the comic cover on colored paper to grab attention. Maybe have a free comic instead of a free sketchbook. I could have color prints since I’m better with color.

And I should have a website.

I realized I never want to be a freelance artist when a woman came to me and asked if I knew how to “draw a picture and put it on a CD” because she wanted to make a bumper sticker with a cigarette character. I don’t know it was for or against smoking. I don’t want a career as an artist. I just want to make comics cause I enjoy it. Sure, I’m going to strive to be a better artist even to the point where my work could be published. But I want to do that because of the joy it brings me. It was quite the epiphany for me.

After walking around the floor one last time, I decided that a lot (or maybe most) of the people at the con didn’t know how to sell their work. There many people that tried to hard and ended up driving me away. And there were just as many folks that ignored me when I was trying to give them money. I guess I worked in retail so long that these things bother me.

Around 5:45 a guy walked by and bought the chimp picture. He couldn’t believe no one else bought it.

I gave away about thirty of the free book and sold about ten a piece of the other books. So I was pretty happy with that.
Tags: stumptown
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