I can't believe it has been about a month since Wondercon! I had been to a couple of comic cons, but never had the seller's perspective of watching the sea of people go by for three days. Before I sold my art at Wondercon, I had a hard time summarizing what “Panda and Me” was about. By the 3rd day, I had my pitch down:
“Panda and Me is about a Panda spy who travels around the world and all the beautiful women that keep him in line. It's a mashup of Mad Men, Austin Powers and Hello Kitty.”
It was so nice experiencing all of this for the first time with my college friend Andy. Our friend Mike walked around the entire convention spreading the word about our booth!
Some thoughts about the selling process and whether I want to do this again:
Have a showstopper piece, especially if your characters are unknown: My Hello Kitty Wonder Woman print drew people to my booth and sold out. A lot of moms on Saturday pointed out this print to their kids. Teenage girls and young adults too were drawn to this. My Melody and Kuromi cosplaying as Thor and Loki were big attractions too. I got the sense that women were reconnecting to their childhood when they saw my Hello Kitty print.
If your characters are unknown, see what current trends you can adapt your characters to: People really liked my Zombie Panda and Werewolf Panda artwork.
Find out the shopping preferences of your audience: Three of my necklaces and 1 tiny painting sold. Wondercon is more about affordable prints.
Take time to soak in the good stuff: It was so rewarding to see people's eyes light up as they are hearing my Panda pitch and looking through my artwork. I could see that my story telling and visuals were coming together well.
Be selective on who you interact with because not everybody is going to be interested with your art: Originally I was giving everybody a free bookmark that walked by. Quickly I learned to select and choose recipients because I was running out of bookmarks! When I could see somebody give my artwork a second's glance, that is when I “pounced” and offered them the bookmark. The bookmark is an icebreaker and opens up the conversation to what Panda is about.
God, rejection in-person sucks! Sometimes people who I thought were interested said “no thanks” to the free bookmark. Other times, people looked at my portfolio and didn't say anything. I did my best to stay cheerful and remind myself that it's not personal.
People DO want to get on the mailing list. I started a mailing list form on Saturday and continued Sunday. I was surprised when people barely looked at my artwork but then immediately sign up for the list. I wish I started this list on Friday!
Originally I wasn't sure if I wanted to do Wondercon again because the audience is more interested in prints than original paintings. My intention with “Panda and Me” is to sell original paintings because that is what I am, a painter at heart. However, selling prints is good too since it makes my artwork more accessible to the mass market. Seeing people connect with the concept of Panda was very moving. In the end, I just want to make people smile and escape into Panda's retro-cool world. For those reasons, I DO want to do this again. =)