The past two months have seen me take the plunge and table my first three conventions, after a tremendous deal of research and planning. I'd avoided them for a while, laboring under the false assumption that my lack of much online reception to my work was indicative of how it would be received in person. I know now that that assumption was one based on fear, and that really, things work the other way around; working conventions has provided me a wonderful opportunity to connect with people through my work in the way I've always longed to.
My first show of the year was Staple!, a little local con which a lot of my friends regularly attend, followed by Texas Furry Fiesta the very next weekend, and then the local Havencon the month after.
I spent the better part of the month leading up to the first con crunching to finish my mini comic Sever to have it ready in time for Staple (since independent comics and zines are the primary focus of the show), and pulling together everything I had learned. I wanted to go in with a solid setup that I could adapt to different table situations down the road, but I didn't like the look of the grid walls that are so common. So I built my own solution, creating a wooden stand to hang prints on.
Though my location wasn't ideal for the setup I had designed (I was in a rather shadowy area, and my stand only cast further shadows on the rest of my space), everything came together well! And I had barely a week to recover before packing everything back into my car and driving to Dallas for Texas Furry Fiesta.
This was the moment I had created my stand for, actually; Artist's Alleys at furry cons don't allow you to use the space behind you (except for perhaps a banner) like a lot of other events do, so I built the stand exactly to the allowed table specifications to make as much use of the space as possible. On the whole, TFF was a tremendous success; I made three times my goal for the weekend, gained confidence, and got to meet some great friends, new and old. But being in the Artist's Alley was way too stressful; table spaces were given out on a daily lottery, which meant that day to day I didn't know if I'd have a spot, and hauling all my stuff up and down each day was draining. Lesson learned: Furry cons can be great, but I'll definitely be doing Dealer's Den from now on!
The last show of the spring was Havencon, which is a local LGBTQIA Geeks & Gaming con in only it's second year. I was nervous to go, but it honestly wound up being my favorite of the lot-- I'll be doing a separate blog post about it soon, but suffice to say, it had a great atmosphere and everything came together really nicely for it! The issues I had had with lighting at the two previous shows were not at all a problem, and I felt really good about the reception when talking about my trans paintings project.
Honestly, I can say that my experiences tabling thus far have been positive beyond my expectations, and I feel I can credit a lot of this initial success to all the time spent soaking up knowledge from One Fantastic Week, both watching the show and attending the workshop. But I've been piecing together my own concepts along the way, to mixed results, and I want to pass these learnings along as they come, just as others have done for me. So once I work out a couple more kinks in the design, you can expect a blog post going over how to construct a stand similar to my own, for those interested!
In the mean time, my next show is the Fan Expo Dallas, which will be a significant step up in terms of show size! But after how things have gone thus far, I'm really looking forward to it. I hope to see some of you there!