Anime & Comics

How Professional Comic Artists Make Money At Comic Con

If you’re a comic artist, illustrator, or inker, the annual Comic Con is a chance for you to spend your time sketching, drawing, creating, and chatting it up with comic buffs. It’s also a great opportunity for you to sell your work on the spot to awe-inspired onlookers.

Maybe you’ve already had a booth at Artists’ Alley, or perhaps you’re wanting to be an exhibitor for the first time. Whether you’re new to being an exhibitor or you’ve got some experience, here’s how the professionals make money exhibiting in Artists’ Alley:

They know what their fans want

You can’t show up to Comic Con with the wrong artwork and expect it to sell. For instance, you might find pencil sketches cool, but is that what your fans want? If you’re an inker, probably not. Your fans likely want a full-color print or an original piece of inked art. Unless you’re world-famous, your pencil sketches aren’t likely to be in high demand.

They market their presence at Comic Con far in advance

To generate income from their artwork, experienced exhibitors maintain an email list of fans and let them know ahead of time where they’ll be during the convention. They’ll also make sure their email list knows what types of artwork they’ll have for sale, and will take requests.

When your fans know ahead of time that you’ll be at Comic Con, they’ll intentionally look for you. If they know you’re going to be selling prints, they’ll enter the convention knowing they need to save some money for your artwork. If you don’t have an email marketing list yet, check out MailChimp – it’s free!

They make payments simple

Nothing drops a sale like complicated payments. Most people have cash, but some don’t. You’ll need to have at least one cash alternative that allows people to pay with a credit card. The easiest solution is Square. It also helps to accept Paypal payments from people who either experience a declined credit card or don’t use a credit or debit card.

They sell more than art prints

Some artists come prepared to sell more than prints. For instance, some artists sell instructional courses people can sign up for on the spot. They sign people up with a free first lesson and use automatic invoicing software like Freshbooks to bill them for each consecutive lesson.

They come prepared

Tabling at Comic Con requires preparation. In addition to marketing yourself and bringing the right inventory, you also need to consider supplies.

According to this beginner’s guide to Artists’ Alley, you should bring your inventory in air-tight, leak proof bins. You never know when you or someone else might spill a soda. A cash box is also recommended, and it’s probably a good idea to get one small enough that you can take with you to the restroom if you don’t have a partner to stand in for you.

Another cool item the guide suggests is using a photo backdrop stand to display your prints. Some stands can be extended to ten feet tall, which is the perfect height for people to see your prints from across the convention hall.

They engage with passersby

Engaging with people as they pass by is a great way to get people to stop at your booth. If you’re not great with conversations, that’s okay. Put on a cosplay outfit and it won’t be so bad. Ask people questions about a book they’re carrying, or say something funny. Some people will turn their head and laugh, but others might stop by to see what you’re about.

They do everything with a light heart

The most successful Comic Con artists approach life with a light heart. They don’t go home feeling defeated if they didn’t make their sales goals. They acknowledge their success and set intentions for doing better next time.

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