Sydneynova 2014

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Back from a trip to Sydnova 2014 representing the ACT Comic crew with the Emma and Alice.

photo 1Friday: It was an extra half day – we finally managed to get away early so the ride in was smooth and setup quick. The Supanova space was expanded this year and all the little independents and fanclubs pushed to the back but on the plus side the space behind the table was a bit more. It was a fairly quiet day with some sales. While many people did pile in that day the majority seemed to be there to get in early for pictures with celebrities…. including me. I have never been interested in getting a picture with a celebrity before but this time was exception. I stood in lines for a long time for an ever so brief picture with Stan Lee. While awaiting in the photo line we was told ‘do not kiss Stan, do not hug Stan, do not try and make Stan pose, do not make Stan hold props’ – managed not to do any of these things and stood beside Stan for the shot and the Photographer told me to put my arm around him…. if you insist! I said thanks to Stan and that was it. It’s a weird experience having such a brief meeting with someone that was so involved in creating characters that affected your life.

Saturday: Many more people! Many strange cosplays and lots and lots of people. Many thanks to Alice for her help that allowed Emma and I to escape to see a few things.

Sunday: Sunday was commission day – Emma and I scribbled a few free sketches for kids. Kids are strangely extremely pleased with very substandard drawings. It’s very weird. Otherwise a bunch of drawings was created, from little girl ‘Death note’ cosplay to a request for ‘Deathstroke vs Azog’. The day went much faster drawing – I think we would do well to push drawings early on. The end of the event was dinner out with other comic peeps.

Overall fun was had but the sales experience was much reduced for us then last year. We would have certainly made more photo 2pushing cosplay/commissioned sketches then selling comics. Possibly due to a number of factors sales was not as good as last Sydnova 2013 – I don’t think we managed to push showbags lin the same way and missed opportunities for up-selling -possibly signage needs to be bigger and more in peoples faces. We was also up beside someone was selling prints of comic book movie characters.

This year the small table section was now relabelled as ‘Exhibitors Alley’ and marked as different sections: Supa-stars, Indie press zone, created collectables, fanclub central and supa-market. This did seem to help a good deal to separate out the blatant printing of popular characters on paper, prints, buttons and pillowcases to the indie comic people. Despite this we did get stuck beside someone who was selling digital art prints of movie comic characters which was frustrating as this was meant to be the ‘indie press zone’. So we had the familiar drawback of people immediately attracted to pictures of movie stars and crowded around and often blocked the space in front of our table. Strangely the people who had titled themselves ‘illustrators’ was spread out in the different zones. I guess how they perceive themselves is the area they chose to be in.

photo 3The usual complaint for indie comic people is lack of sales which the cause of I’m conflicted about. On the one hand I heard of one or two attendees that did well and many that did not. On the other side I watched someone try and literally give away some comics for free and struggled people to take one. I think a comic that most matches the quality and style of what you would find from the major publishers or something of a niche is the most likely to get attention…. or maybe not.

Well it was exhausting weird kind of fun. We brought a few sketch requests home with us to finish off and I think thats all for conventions for a while.

-Gavin THE tired Thomson

 

 

 

Comic making dreams – Is there a program that does this?

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Is there a program that does this?

Like always I am looking to technology based solutions to the finicky slow nature of comic making… that or I’m just a lazy bastard. I am looking at a way to construct and alter the pace of comic panels across pages easily and organically.

So what does that mean? Well imagine opening up a program where you create lots of ‘wireframe’ boxes that can hold images in a grid on a page. The document has many pages. So far so good – many many programs can do this. You go along plotting out your story by placing images in each box until you find you don’t like panel 3 on page 1. You delete that panel. Now what I would like to happen is that the following panels after the one was removed would fall back into its space. So each panel would have a weight. Also I would like to be able to move a panel to another spot and have the other panels shift out of the way when it is placed. This would also happen if you altered the dimensions of the panel from a landscape to portrait for example.

I thought at least there might be an iPad app for creating photo albums that might have the feature but again no luck. Many have grid like layouts that you can insert images but none where the layout changed to the alteration of the grid.

Is there a way to do this with the various publishing programs that I have not found? I have poked Adobe Indesign and had no luck. Maybe Manga studio can do this ?

Please tell me if you know some application that could do this or even some kind of tricky hack? Or if I’m not making any sense?

Thanks
Gavin the searching for the impossible Thomson.

RESULTS of the Australian comics convention sales survey !!!

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Hi peoples,

Well here it is – the findings of the surveys I posted regarding ‘Comic book sales at Australian Conventions’. Firstly thanks to all respondents. I would have liked more respondents to be sure of trends /averages but I have posted here what I have. While the surveys are separated by event the information presented here is amalgamated into one data set. My goal was not to find the best venue but what’s happening overall. So do you like pie?! Your do! Awesome – cause here come the pie graphs!

The kinds of comics on sale - the majority are selling a single title which is creator owned – which is nice to see. Only a small amount are involved in selling licensed properties. We have about the same amount of people banding together under one table as we have titles gathering under a publisher.

potco-kocos

kinds_of_comics_on_salev4

Genre of comics: We have a very pretty broad selection of genres by Australian comic creators with Anthologies, drama and horror being the most common.

genreofcomicsHow many comics are for sale? Most people seem to be gathering together to sell comics. The typical table has about  4-6 books for sale (titles and issues). If we compare this to ‘titles for sale’ about half of the books will be from a selection of 1-3 titles.

How-many-comic-books-for

The Price of the average best selling comic: The average price of the best selling comic is not surprisingly between $2-$5 – which is a bit below what is considered normal from the major publishers (DC, Marvel etc) whose monthly comics are between $5 to $7. The next most common price point is $6-$10.

averageproceofbestsellingcomic

What other items did you sell?: The most common items people sell other then comics are ‘prints’ followed by ‘badges’ and ‘sketches/commissions’. otheritemssold

How many comics sold: If you sell comics at a convention the most common question you will get from your fellow exhibitors is ‘ so how’s sales?’, to which the answer is ‘umm good.. yeah… I think’. So just what is good? What is normal? Normal amount of sales appears to between 20-59 comics. If you are selling over 59 comics then you are doing very, very well – have a pat on the back. You are also almost certainly selling licensed work as part of your offering.

total_numberofcomicssolattheevent

What costs did you have to cover?: To attend the convention everyone has to cover food, table hire and insurance. A bit over a third of people had to cover additional expenses the most common being travel from interstate.

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Did you recover the costs of attendance from sales?: I received some blank answers from this question so it is not as clear as I would hope -or possibly I should consider the answer to be ‘no’? Most people responded with ‘no’ or ‘not sure’. Of those that did recover costs the only ones to succeed while selling 100% creator owned work only had to pay for table hire and insurance. Only those selling comics with licensed characters as part of their table offerings was able to cover any other costs.

Recovering printing costs: A strange result from this question hitting a broad selection of responses. The largest response was 38% of people are needing to sell between 50-75% of the entire print run to recover the cost of printing. After that 28% of people need to sell 76-99% of their print run to recover costs. Responses for other values are spread out evenly which also included the response ‘I cannot recover the costs of printing, even if I sell all issues’.

How do you price your comics? This question was open ended so I got a variety of interesting responses. The majority responded in the terms of what they thought people would expect to pay, by gut instinct and by what other people are selling their comics for.

“…what I expect fans to reasonably spend.”

“What I would pay for things crossed with what I expect fans to reasonably spend.”

“What I thought was fair and what I thought people would pay. “

The next largest group seemed to have no intention of recovering costs or do not seem to think it’s possible:

Making money doesn’t interest me. Making comics does.”

The smallest group was people who responded in terms of cost. The common approach people took was to figure out the cost of producing one comic and doubling it for sales price. Or as one responder put it:

“Cost + 100%.”

A portrait of the average person selling comics at a convention: So from all this information lets have a look at what the average exhibitor selling comics at a major Australian Convention looks like.

They will be selling comics in the genre of Anthology, Drama and Horror. They will be selling them as part of a group or a selection of comics under a publisher. They will be 4-6 comics from 1-3 titles on offer. The comics are likely to cost between $2-5. They have about a 50% chance to have sell 20-59 comics need to sell 50-75% of their entire print run to recover the cost of printing. They will be selling prints and badges. They price their comics by gut instinct and/or by what they think customers are likely to pay. They will be covering the costs of food, table hire and insurance to attend the event. They will not recover these costs or be unsure if they did.

And thats all there is. If you think have not filled out the surveys then you still can at the links below. If I receive a large amount of additional information I will make another post of findings.

Supanova Sydney 2013 Supanova Perth 2013 Ozcomic Con Melbourne 2013

Thanks !

Gavin THE pie graph making Thomson.

Australian Comic Convention Sales Survey

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Hi people,

So first you start making comics. Then you try and sell your comics… but where? At a convention you decided! Awesome! You get to go to a crazy convention and sell all your things! What an awesome wonderful time you had.

Now the convention is over and questions come to mind. Did your things sell well? Was the price what people like to pay for? Was the number of comics sold a normal amount? Was your comic the only horror romance comic around? Does selling a single title work better then a selection of books?

To find answers or at least least gather vague info I have created a few surveys for the biggest recent events: Supanova Sydney 2013, Supanova Perth 2013 and Ozcomic Con Melbourne 2013.

If you sold comics at these events please fill out the forms. The purpose of this survey is to find how well original comic books sell at the major Australian conventions. My interest is in what mix of creator owned and not creator owned work is for sale, how much is being sold and for what price.

Once I have gathered enough feedback I will post my findings in a future post for all to scrutinise so please share this post. The more responses I get the better the data we can all enjoy looking at.

The surveys:
Supanova Sydney 2013
Supanova Perth 2013
Ozcomic Con Melbourne 2013

PS – This is my first attempt at using Google forms so if you find any issues please let me know!

Thanks

Gavin THE information gathering Thomson.

 

Supanova Sydney 2013

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Once again it was the journey to there and back again. Not to Mordor but to rainy rainy Supanova Sydney to setup and man a table for the ACT Comic Meet collective. My partners in crime included and the ever delightful Emmajeans, the Steampunk pirate Katie, the snazzy salesman Sam Cavanagh, the Magic card addict Rob, and the cosplay counting Ben.

Friday Bump in  This year we wisely avoided having to deal with the loading deck and instead had a system of snazzy boxes- SO much easier! Upon arrival our table was covered with pillows decorated with MLP characters’ faces spilling over from the stall next to ours – it’s amazing how ordinary young people are able to get the licence to sell copyrighted characters! After bump in I got to attend the George Perez Masterclass which was fun. George drew his examples of comic book storytelling which was projected onto a big screen behind him. Always love to see people drawing. I especially loved the moment where he explained how he approaches drawing unique faces. He demonstrated drawing the ears of Captain America and Hawkeye as examples. I am now super-sensitive and conscious of drawing ears!

Saturday: On sale amongst the collection was our new Anthology comic ‘The day I destroyed the world’ which is an awesome fun comic of two page stories which turned out to be the favorite comic of the weekend along with ‘Liedekjin’, the sequential exhibition art book . We also sold ‘showbags’ that people could get prints and badges with a collection of books. (It’s amazing how well value-adding works!) Emmajeans also got a bunch of cosplay portrait orders. Saturday night we got to hang out with random comic peeps and then crash into a sleepy sleepy coma.

Sunday: A quick photo of myself in front of a TARDIS then more selling! More craziness!!  We sold out of the stock we had brought for ‘Bob’, ‘Cafe’ and ‘The Lesser Evil V1′. In the afternoon I got to go to the panel draw-off of David YardinMark Brooks, and Jon Sommaria which was fun. Three versons of a steampunk Gandalf was created and then 3 lucky people got the original art. Sadly I was not one of those lucky people. The day ended with a the quickest pack-up time we have ever had (yay again for new boxes!) and a quick pic of myself with Gollum.

We wisely decided to extend our stay overnight and then got to have Tea and Toast with Tim McEwen and Bruce Mutard where we had much discussions of conventions, comics and how one makes a tumblr blog.

And back again: After escaping the oncoming Sydney storm we arrived home for some exhausted laziness.

On reflection I am still of the position that being placed beside people selling what appears to knockoffs of license characters printed onto anything is a losing battle. The pull to a known brand that the customer has already spent time investing in is far too great. The amount of times someone would literally interrupt their friends and pull them away from a comic they were holding was painful. I hear that some conventions actually have a review where you have to show examples of artwork to get into ‘Artists Alley’ but then I guess that would suck up a lot of man hours sorting that out when ‘Artists Alley’ is far from being the big drawcard of the event.

I’m not sure what the solution is – maybe separate artists from licensed character ripoffs, maybe ban ripoffs altogether, maybe artists should just have to deal with that kind of competition as that’s how life is? It just still seems all wrong to me.

Apart from that – Supanova Sydney was exhausting frantic fun. I think we sold more things then we had at any other con and was fun seeing other crazy creative people.

I am eager to get back into a new project and how to wrestle time from the rest of the day for it.

Enjoy some con pictures!

-Gavin THE all-tuckered-out Thomson

 

 

 

 

 

Old Sketch Sale!

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Hi people,

Supernova Sydney is coming up I am selling off some fan art stuffs I did over the past year. Namely all the things I drew for Ozcomics drawing challenge that wasn’t drawn on scap paper or completely digital. They are all done with Copic Markers on comic board paper. You can pickup from Sydney Supanova at stall number J1 as I will be there as part of the Act Comic Meet crew or I can post it to you! Selling for $20 a pop plus postage if required.

First to contact me HERE with what you wants gets a pretty picture.

Bigger versions of the pics:

Deadpool - Ironman - Batwoman - The Dark Knight - Thor - Alien tummy

- <3 Gavin THE sellout Thomson.

oz-sketchs

 

Thanks Gavin

Gammacon – a crazy adventure.

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So there was a pop culture convention in Canberra called Gammacon (yay for another convenient place to go to). Emmajeans and I went to represent the ACT Comic Meet peoples. We arrived early and eventually found the place. Signage was unfortunately lacking but we had a good general idea where it could be due to our exposure to the ANU campus. Our table was all pre setup with  ’ACT Comic Meet’ stuck to it – we also had a backing board and chairs all ready to go which was nice. The Artist alley seemed to have it’s own assigned caretaker who was very friendly and helpful. We also got a quick security and safety talk that I thought was very clear and professional. Beside us we had Spae and Jin so we had other crazy art people to keep us company. There was board games, video games, cosplay, drawing and trinkets.

We had people of various sorts pass our table-  the cute enthusiastic little nerdy kids that were very proud of their cosplay, the painfully awkward teenagers, the boisterous students and some friendly jerks (hi Adam ! ). Not much comic stuff around to speak of besides us and friends. We had a strange vibe at this con where there seemed to be a higher amount of people acting inappropriate and generally more like hyper children then the actual children…. who were nice. I’m not certain why but my theory is it’s due to people who are used to mucking around at the University. It’s like this is their stomping ground and they believe their behaviour did not have to be altered for the setting. This was meant to be a public event that people are paying to attend not how you would act at home with friends. Apparently Gammcon has been around for a while but this year they are trying to push the event away from a purely Anime event to a pop culture event. I had a sense the primary event organisers had a good idea of how the event should be run but a few instances of particular events run very badly tainted it considerably.

I think I would be interested in giving the event another go next year – there was a lot of feedback forms filled out so this will lead to better things. It was certainly a day that we took away many crazy stories from.  It was also the 1st time I actually put up a sign saying I would do commissions…. which no one purchased but still it was there and will be ready to stickup next time :)

Gavin THE really really tired … like Con tired Thomson

 

 

Crazy Horse thing!

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Hey people who like drawings of horses wearing suits and screaming as their arm turns to ash….,

Here is a picture of a crazy horse turning into ash. WHAT THE FUC?…you might say. This was drawn for a Scissors Paper Pen Event  to be held on the 22nd of May in Canberra. The night will involve writer/slammer Aaron Kirby reading of his some funny, obscure little vignettes, and the display of accompanying illustrations. My contribution was drawn with Copic markers which seem to be my ‘quick colour picture making medium’ of choice.

So go have a viewing and a listening…. I don’t seem to have any more details of the event but pester Scissors Paper Pen on Facebook. Pictures will be sold on the night featuring other fab artists from the Act Comic Meet.

Thanks bunches

Gavin THE crazy Horse Thomson.

mad-horse