Saturday’s MSU Comics Forum kicked off my 2015 appearances schedule. I’m still adding more appearances, but I will for sure be at Cherry Capitol Comic Con (C4) in May. I’m waiting to hear if I got into a pair of other shows.

Last year’s MSU Comics Forum was my first real appearance, and I learned a lot over the past year. My table set-up last weekend looked very different compared to my set up a year ago.

msu comics forum table

This year’s table. That’s comic pal Jason Strutz next to me.

 

I didn’t even have a table-cloth last year (not required, but it helps your table look better).

msu comics forum hogan

Last year’s table.

I treat the MSU Comics Forum like spring training for convention season. It forces me to make new stuff and get ready. It’s a good way to ease into convention mode, as it is only one day (although a long day like any appearance) and right here in town.

Appearing at a one day show before the bigger shows on my schedule (both planned and TBA) lets me test out new items, prices, and table set-ups. It’s also a great chance for me to look at other tables and figure out any changes I should make (the next day, I went out and bought an 8 1/2″ x 11″ portfolio binder for my small prints).

What Sold at the MSU Comics Forum?

Foot traffic appeared down from last year—which I attribute to the brutal cold spell attacking Lansing this month. The weather during last year’s Comics Forum fell in the much warmer range, which brought more people out.

While I did not sell a lot—or any of my new items—I still sold something. Mini-comics and stickers were the big sellers (my cheapest items). I sold one small color print and a Chocolate Quest comic book as well.

To some, it might be discouraging to prepare new items for the last few weeks, like I did, and not sell any. But, not me.¹ Now, I don’t have nearly as much work to prepare for my next shows (I could be attending as many as four more events this season–at least).

Comic Friends Near and Far

The other big change from last year? Now I know people. Not knowing too many other creators makes a first convention season rough. The second season, and on, gets much easier because I know some of the folks around me. Conventions are a lot easier—and more fun—when you have friends around.²

Being around friends who also make comics makes any convention trip worthwhile. Yes, selling stuff is good too, but I got to see friends I made at Cherry Capitol Comic Con last May (and local friends too, which is always great).

New Items, Big and Small

I did not sell any of my new color 11” x 17” cartoon print, but I learned my lesson from GrandCon: this print was not show specific. It’s just a cartoony monster smashing a city and yelling ‘rar!’ (get one on Society6). I can take this to any other show and try again.

Per Stephanie’s suggestion, I whipped up a few watercolor bookmarks. They were fun, and while I’m still figuring out what to charge, I’ll do more in the future. The bookmarks made for a fun ‘table project’ while at the show. I could make them on the spot (people like watching me work with watercolor paint) and they don’t take too long.

bookmark

Book it! Already sold, sorry.

I didn’t sell any of the bookmarks at the show, but a friend in New York saw a photo on Facebook and bought it afterward. You never know! Share your stuff. This isn’t the first time someone bought (or commissioned) my art after seeing it on social media.

PS – I plan to write a recap of Tom Hart’s keynote address from last Friday.

¹ Not having to pay for a table helps with this.

² “Misery loves company!”

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Daniel J. Hogan is a geeky cartoonist and writer living in Michigan. Daniel is available for freelance writing and cartooning commissions (Contact Daniel). This post contains affiliate links, unless it doesn't.

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