Hot on the heels of my three day YAYA Conference gig, I rolled right into the two day comic book extravaganza that is MSP Con (formerly SpringCon).
In a nutshell, it was probably the most highly attended comicon formerly known as SpringCon that I’ve ever attended. In the two days of MSP Con I made more money than the three day Wizard World Minneapolis, without the table fee. I sold out of my Minecraft Activity Book, most of my 10th anniversary collection, half of my sketch cards and even a couple copies of ‘Body Language Secrets.’ It was a record Saturday AND Sunday for my sales. For Sunday, I decided to try a promotional tactic via Twitter that went something like this: “Come out to MSP Con tomorrow and find me! Share the code words ‘big dummy’ and get a free sketch!” Well, it worked! A handful of people came by and while I was drawing up little sketches, they were buying my books. What made the weekend, especially on the historically slow Sunday were a couple of full color commission pieces. One was for a fellow that looked me up on the comicon website and sought me out because my cartoony drawing style ‘spoke to him.’ Another commission was for a regular customer that wanted a color sketch of The Human Fly. Finally, one of our TC3 colleagues and friend Cory Fox asked my buddy Doug Kallberg and I to design a two page spread of Ghost Rider vs. Ghost Rider. It was a blast! My rendition is the one on the left…
and Sun Boy…
I worked on a few custom sketch cards as well as filler cards for my binder…
And met a lot of new fans…
I attribute the success of the comicon to the folks running it…They were on top of the promotion, creator communication and smooth running of the event. I look forward to FallCon!
Thanks for reading,
One of my goals for 2015 was to participate in giving presentations about cartooning. Speaking in front of a group was a fear of mine, the thought of preparing materials and delivering a cohesive, comprehensible presentation made my knees knock. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity when I found out that my friend and colleague of the TC3 was involved in giving such presentations through the Young Author Young Artist conferences. Over coffee at Victory 44, he forwarded all the contact information for the conference coordinators, and that was that.
That was in January. Since then I went over my creative process many times, distilling the basic concepts down into a packet digestible by 3rd to 6th graders. It wasn’t easy.
Eventually, I designed a five page packet outlining the process from brainstorming ideas, creating characters, establishing the setting and layout designs. I was pretty proud of myself.
Out of three conferences I was able to secure a speaking spot at two. The first was at the College of Saint Benedict. It was a three day conference where I would present my class three times a day all three days. The first class was, of course, a struggle. My timing was off and there was a lot of down time after teaching the concepts in my packet. For the second class, I added a few more interactive elements that the children really enjoyed. First off, after introducing myself, I went around the room and had the children introduce themselves. That being done, we went through the packet and started off with a “one, two, three…let’s draw cartoons!”
Having their attention now, I expanded on the comedy concept of taking two totally different things and throwing them together to get silly ideas. The kids loved it! I even had them come up with their own…it was a hoot! I then rolled into the ‘ideas’ segment and had them brainstorm or ‘mentally vomit’ their ideas onto a blank sheet of paper. Then followed the characters, setting and layout. For the last part of the class I turned them loose to create their comic strip. Here’s what it looked like:
And this was the response:
Overall, it was an amazing experience. To have a class full of kids that WANT to learn how to draw comic strips was pretty awesome. Even better, there were some that were placed in my class because their preferred class was full…and I got them to participate and have fun! How rewarding!
As I write this I’m in a hotel in Fergus Falls, MN in preparation for a one day conference tomorrow. I’ll let you know how that one goes.
Thanks for reading!
If ever there was a buildup to a comicon, it was for Wizard World Minneapolis. Held on May 1st-3rd at the Minneapolis Convention Center, it was a very poignant show. First off, it’s the first really big show that I’ve done outside of the Pittsburgh Comicon, which is no longer happening. At this show were movie and t.v. celebrities, comic book celebrities and the TC3. Yes, Wizard World Minneapolis was the first comicon where the members of the Twin Cities Comic Collective reserved a bank of creator tables and arrived en force at comicon. It was quite impressive.
There were several comic debuts at WWM…most of the TC3 guys had new comics to share with the world. There was also Alpha X (sound familiar? Well, it should…,) our first collaborative effort where every member of TC3 had a hand in creating it. Again, it was quite impressive. Weighing in at 44 full color pages, Alpha X is a true feat of collaboration, right down to the successful Indiegogo campaign that was used to fund it. I have to give a lot of credit to fellow TC3′rs Lucal Munson, Jeff Kulisek and Doug Kallberg…they sure as hell know how to make things happen.
As for me, it was my pleasure to debut my 10th anniversary collection of ‘Best In Show’ comics called: “Ooh…Look What You Did!” I’m very proud of the finished product…it was worth all the time and effort I put into it. Much to my pleasure, it was very well received at the show, too. Along with the 10th anniversary collection, there were several other products that debuted at the show. (Not really for the) first time I sold 11×17 prints…one of a beer maid and the other a TC3 sketch week design honoring the Avengers…Nick Fury! I also sold off some comp copies of the Minecraft Activity Book that I designed and offered copies of “Body Language Secrets” that I illustrated for Michael C. Anthony. The real experiment was my sketch card trading cards…For Series One I made copies of nine trading cards and created a back side, like a regular trading card. I sold them in packs of five…and the kids loved them! It was very exciting for them to have them signed…
We had some cool celebrities sit across from us…most notably were Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead) and Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob.) Though I didn’t get to meet or chat with them, rest assured some of the guys did…
It’s funny how each day of a comicon works…different items seem to sell on different days. For example: Friday the show ran from 3pm-8pm. I sold a ton of 10th anniversary collections. Saturday, historically the busiest day, I sold a ton of sketch cards, many of which to a couple of cool young men named Ben and Tsenguun:
Sundays, typically, are the slowest day of the con. People have already made their rounds and spent all their money. There are fewer events and celebrities around. Quite honestly, it sometimes feels like a waste of time BUT there I always get to meet a few new fans, so that makes it worthwhile.
Speaking of fans, here are some of the awesome people that I met this past weekend…
Like any other large event, one had the opportunity to pose in front of the event’s graphics/photo op wall. Needless to say, I took advantage.
Finally, my humble table set up…
Overall, it was a very good show. I made a nice bit of money, sold a bunch of comics and got to draw for people. My only concern was the table fee, which really ate into my profits. Will I do it next year? We’ll see…
Thanks for readin’!
I’m going to make this as short and concise as I can, leaving the beautifully written description of the project to better writers. Long story short, my colleagues and I from the Twin Cities Comic Collective worked together to produce a sci-fi comic called ‘Alpha X’. Almost every member of TC3 had a hand in some way in the creation of this book…writing, pencilling, inking and coloring(I was responsible for pencilling page 26 and inking pages 30-31.) Our goal is to introduce the finished book at Wizard World Minneapolis, on May 1-3. Again, I defer you to the beautifully written description on the campaign page.
If we reach our goal of $2000, that means all printing, promotional and table fees will be covered, leaving us to the pleasure of sharing our creation with all of you. Below is the link for the Indiegogo campaign page:
And here’s a sneak peak at the cover art:
If this doesn’t make you want to get your hands on a copy, nothing will! You can donate as little as $5 and you would get a pdf copy of the 44 page, full color comic. Now that’s how you spell AWESOME.
Ok…You’ve heard the spiel…now go support.
I’m sure every professional Cartoonist has a story like this…where an email out of the blue leads to a surreal experience, right? Well, it happened to me…
Sometime around last Christmas I received an email regarding a beer comic I drew. The author of the email said that this particular cartoon caught the attention of his good friend Alaska Matt and that he’d like to purchase the original art. He’d also like to commission me to recreate the cartoon featuring Matt. Oh, and he’d like me to present it to Matt personally.
“Sure!” I said. “Do you live in the Twin Cities?” The answer I received was unexpected. “We’re in Colorado Springs” said Matt’s friend. Needless to say, I was a little incredulous. I was even more incredulous when Matt’s friend offered to fly me out there to present the original art and commission!
The conversation continued over a few more emails until we finally agreed to a video chat. It turns out the Mark, Matt’s friend and the initiator of this adventure, lives in Colorado Springs as well. Mark and Matt and several of their friends get together on Friday nights to taste different craft beers, take notes and geek out over the stuff. Also during our video chat I found out that Mark had several other friends that wanted to open breweries, needed beer labels and various other illustrations. So, what does Mark do? He went about arranging a beer tasting and cajun-themed potluck dinner to hide the fact that he’s secretly arranging for an artist from Minneapolis to come to Colorado to present a beer cartoon in person.
I’ll admit it, I was skeptical. I mean, this stuff doesn’t REALLY happen, does it? I was nervous about traveling to a stranger’s house but excited because hey…who knows what could happen?
Things started to get more real when Mark booked my flight and made arrangements for me to get from Denver to Colorado Springs.
True to his word, Mark made everything happen. I flew out of Minneapolis at 5:45am and arrived in Denver at around 6:30am. I took a shuttle from Denver to Colorado Springs where Mark picked me up. He then drove me to breakfast and started introducing me around. It was a long day…early flights sure can take it out of you. We ran errands and bought groceries for the potluck. We went to a huge beer store and picked out the beers we were gonna sample that night. It was all great fun. After dropping off my bag at my hotel we went to Matt’s house.
Once everybody arrived, about twelve people, we started eating. While eating I chatted with all these strangers, who turned out to be very nice and accommodating. After telling stories about my impending fatherhood, my crazy visit to the Lars Tetens factory in Schuyler, NY and my appreciation of booze and cigars, we were all led to ‘Alaska Matt’s Bar and Grille’, or in other words, Matt’s garage. There we tasted several different beers and I showed my portfolio to those around me. Everybody seemed to enjoy my work and contact info was swapped. Then, after midnight, it was off to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
The next morning, Mark picked me up and we went to breakfast. I got to meet his wife and eat an amazing breakfast of chicken fried chicken. An aspiring author friend of Mark’s also joined us and we discussed character concept art. I look forward to hearing from him soon about getting to work. After breakfast, business was through. Mark and his wife took me on a sight-seeing tour of Colorado Springs…especially the Garden of the Gods, which wrapped up my adventure. At 1:30pm I was dropped off at the shuttle stop and off I went back to the airport and home.
It’s not very often that this type of thing happens. I’m very glad that I was able to take advantage of Mark’s offer, meet a bunch of wonderful people much like myself and of course, make it home safely. Thanks for the adventure, Mark!
Hopefully, I can get some business out of it, too.