Did you know that for a limited time you can buy AIM Comics's publications at DriveThru Comics for 25% off during their Christmas in July Sale?
Well you can, so get over there and grab some deals before the "season" ends!
22 July 2014
20 May 2014
|Reporting live from the convention floor!|
This past Saturday, I attended the second annual East Coast Comic Expo in Moncton, NB. This ought to be a post telling all about what a wonderful time I had there. It ought to be, but it isn't.
Now let me say right off that none of what follows is the event's fault. In fact, I would say that as far as comic conventions go, this one appears to have been very well handled. It was well organized, and all the necessary information was communicated clearly and in a timely fashion. Costs were minimal, and we were given plenty of space in a clean, well-maintaned facility. Attendance numbers appear to have been around what was promised, and there was an excellent variety of work on display, with representation from artists both known and unknown. People seemed to generally be having a good time, and that's kind of the point of the thing.
However, my own experience was different, and I think I have only myself to blame.
I put a lot of work into prepping for this show. A LOT of work. I had a selection of prints, both large and small, available for sale at the table. I had a special sketch cover edition book printed just for this event. I also had two sets of limited edition prints that were "semi-originals", meaning that I'd printed just the color layer of each one and inked each print individually, making each copy a unique work of art. Like I said, a lot of work. Perhaps too much.
Having put in that much work, it raised my expectations somewhat. I had actually expected to make some money from this event. I know that for someone like me, the main purpose of an event like this should be self-promotion, taking the opportunity to meet potential fans and introduce them to my work. And that's how it's been for me at past events.
This time, though, I figured that I had enough work of sufficient quality that there was no way it would not sell, and I would be guaranteed to walk away from the day in the black.
That's not quite how it worked. Granted, a lot of people came by the table, looked over the artwork and had some very nice things to say about it. A few people even bought things, making sure that I wasn't going to go home empty-handed. By and large, however, there was more looking than buying.
I still don't think quality was the issue. I am convinced that the work was and is good, and I'm sure it will do well in the right context, if I can find it. If I was a more bitter man than I am, I might even say that it was the crowd's fault, for not recognizing the quality of work I put in front of them. I don't think that's the case either.
I think my problems were two-fold. First, I set my expectations too high. At any other event, I might have been happy to take away as much money as I did, given the number of connections I made throughout the day. I would (and should!) have weighed the value of the day in the great conversations I had with other artists and fans. By seeing the attendees as customers, it changed my approach to the whole event, and set me up for disappointment, thereby removing some of the pleasure I should have taken in the day.
Second, I don't think the work I had available was right for this crowd. The prints I had available were more illustrative than comic based, with a definite tendency towards Lovecraftian and pulp fiction inspired content. The fans in attendance were more interested in superhero and branded content such as Doctor Who, Pokemon and the like. In short, my work just didn't fit. I failed to accurately gauge the interests of the crowd I would be approaching and as a result, the work just didn't take off like I'd hoped.
So I think the takeaway from this event is, be prepared to play to your crowd, but don't expect too much from them. Concentrate more on building relationships, and less on making the sale. Engage, and after engaging, adapt according to what you've learned. Most importantly, relax, have fun and enjoy the day.
All that being said, there were some definite highlights to the day. I met a promising young artist whose webcomics work I will be looking forward to. I got a chance to speak with Kate Leth, whose work I have found inspirational lately. I got the chance to catch up with Sandy Carruthers, currently doing work on a Charlton revival. And for the first time, I got to share a table with one of my kids, who was also presenting work in the form of postcards, buttons and custom Gallifreyan (it's a Doctor Who thing) sketch cards, and who seems to have gotten a very positive response.
So, there was a lot of good to the day, and thanks to the ECCE organizers for putting off such a good event. If I decide to do another one of these, I think I will put in less work...but come better prepared.
07 April 2014
In the wake of the beautifully nihilistic TV series "True Detective", there seems to have been a renewed interest in Robert W. Chambers "The King in Yellow" and Ambrose Bierce's "An Inhabitant of Carcosa", and deservedly so. As predecessors in weird fiction to internet darling H.P. Lovecraft, their work is deserving of much more attention, and this month, the Lovecraft EZine looks to deliver that.
To be fair, Mike Davis and his EZine were there first. They waded deep in the swamps of weird fiction long before Mssrs. Harrelson and McConaughey ever set their toes in the water, so that dedicating an issue to "The King in Yellow" is just a natural progression for the magazine. In the tradition of so many great past issues, they present issue # 30 - The King in Yellow Tribute Issue.
I'm always pleased to be able to contribute something to an issue of this magazine, but this time I'm proud to say that I get to tackle one of the grandmasters himself. This issue features my illustration for the iconic tale "The Yellow Sign" by Robert W. Chambers. This month's contribution is a creepy black and white piece depicting the disturbing watchman from Chambers's story, with a few interesting design touches. Astute observers may be able to pick out several uses of the seal of Hastur (the "yellow sign") incorporated into the piece.
I'm also excited to be able to say that this month's illustration is the first of many to come for a planned illustrated edition of H.P. Lovecraft's "Supernatural Horror in Fiction" that I hope to release under the AIM Comics imprint within the next year (i.e. as soon as I can get the illustrations done). I have been planning for some time to do illustrated versions of public domain works, and I can think of no better starting point than Lovecraft's essential essay on the history of horror fiction.
While you're waiting on that, go now and read Lovecraft EZine issue 30. It's free to read online, but can be purchased in mobile and print editions.
But watch out for that yellow sign.
Oh..and meantime, here's my illustration from issue #29 for Eric Ian Steele's "The Groaner in the Glen".
22 March 2014
Here's the deal...I have a large comic collection, about 2000-3000 books. I've sold off a fair number of them in recent years, but these holdouts haven't sold for one reason or another, mainly because they don't all feature Batman, Superman or Wolverine.
I've been wanting to do something creative for some time to get these books out my door (aside from putting them in my Halloween give-away box, which I do the tune of about 100 books a year). I've also always enjoyed doing my own drawings of the characters in these books. So, I hit on the idea to combine the two interests, in what I'm tentatively calling "Comic + Art" via Etsy.
Through my storefront, I'm offering original drawings of comic book characters combined with the issue from my comic collection that inspired the drawing. Most of the drawings will be done on 8 1/2 x 11 110 lb. cardstock, rendered in India Ink with marker grey tones. Each is selling (for now) for $10 plus shipping, and all orders will be mailed flat and polybagged.
It's a chance to own an original drawing of some of your favorite comic book characters, and maybe fill in some gaps in your own collection at the same time, or at the very least get some good reading material.
I have a wide variety of books left in my collection, and will be adding a lot of different character drawings to the store as time goes on. Drop by often and see what's new, and maybe snag a drawing or two.
Hope to see you there!
18 March 2014
For anyone who's interested, my art for the cover of "Making the Cut" from Lovecraft EZine is now available as a print and on several other products via my DeviantArt page. Go check it out, won't you?
06 March 2014
Out right this very minute is "Making the Cut", the latest collection of tales from publisher Mike Davis, editor of Lovecraft EZine. This collection features nine stories from the magazine given "Honorable Mention" by Ellen Datlow in "The Best Horror of the Year Volume 5", so you know it's going to be good.
The cover, a brilliant bit of design by Leslie Harker, features an original piece of art I created to this volume. This piece was inspired by the W.H. Pugmire story contained in this book, and was my first finished piece done entirely in Corel Painter.
Be sure and check it out. I'd love to hear what anyone thinks of the cover, and I'm sure Mike Davis would love to hear your opinion of the book.
24 February 2014
Now available on my DeviantArt story is my interpretation and portrait of Great Cthulhu himself. Reworked slightly from its earlier versions used by the Lovecraft eZine, I will be selling copies of this print at East Coast Comics Expo in May. If you don't want to wait, you can get Lovecraft's baddie in all his squiddy goodness in a variety of sizes and formats through my DeviantArt page.
Grab one now and maybe...just maybe....Cthulhu will devour your soul last*. No promises.