Monday, 7 October 2013

Nerd Fest 2013

Saturday (5th October) saw me exhibit my art, for the first time anywhere, at Nottingham's first and only comic and art convention. To say I was bricking it would be the understatement of the year, nay, decade!

Travel issues aside, the day went smoothly and above all else was an absolute hoot.

The organisers, Kev & Kel Brett, put together one hell of an event. The venue was easy to find, the rooms looked great and everything was spaced nicely. The big name guests were dotted around the halls nicely, rather than lumped in one or two areas, something that ensured there was no bunching of crowds or long trailing lines (which I've seen before and felt so sorry for the smaller guys who's tables were blocked by these lines). I can't pretend I got to look around the tables much, I was glued to mine for most the day, but from what I did see the standard was high and with great variety in products and art styles. The volunteers were great too, they helped no end on the day.

As for my own experience, well, I could not have asked for a better induction into the world of exhibiting. My fears of not having anything to show (i.e. my comic: progress has been slower than I had hoped) were unfounded. I took six prints (plus a few randoms that I didn't put out), varying in subject. These seemed to fly off the table, more so the Earthworm Jim, Alien and limited edition Batman. It was interesting to see what sold and what didn't and something I've noted for future cons.

I always intended to offer commissions at the event and, despite nerves urging me to retract that at numerous points before the event, I actually went ahead with it. As soon as I settled down at the table I made a point of getting the paper and pencil out and just started sketching, I thought it's better to look busy and be doing something rather than sat there twiddling my grotesque little thumbs, plus if people saw me drawing I'd hoped that they'd understand I'd be accepting commissions. I didn't make a big push of it on the day, but did I did manage to take on two commissions. I don't usually draw in front of people and I was so nervous about ballsing up and taking too long. Despite some shaky inking early on, they went great. First up was Princess Leia (bikini edition), bust, on A4 and in colour. This one took a while (a couple of hours I think) but it that was largely due to greeting people at the table and selling prints. I didn't manage a decent photo, but I was happy how it turned out and, most importantly, so was the customer. Second was Heisenberg (Braking Bad), black & white on A4. Got to say, I had a blast on this one, I kept it loose, something that has nearly always resulted in my best work. I threw in some greys for tone and I think it worked well, the customer certainly seemed to like it. I didn't take a pic, but luckily the young gent was kind enough to follow me on Twitter and sent a photo (see below). All in all I found it quite liberating, it made a big difference not having the time to sit an over think a sketch and I would urge any artists thinking of live sketching to just go for it.

I have to say a huge thanks to my wife for helping out on the day, she's a far better sales person than I. I also have to say thanks to Mike Barnes (Elblondino) for being my lean on guy, he has experience of these events and travelling with him and sitting next to him really helped calm my nerves on the day. Thanks also to Dave Gaskin for helping us set up when we arrived late.

I got to meet so many awesome people on the day, loads of Twitter buddies. Great to finally meet fellow #BDW wolfpacker (sounds wrong) Chris Imber, plus the rest of the Reckless Hero boys and to drool over their work. Likewise with Dave Gaskin, his digital, traditional and stippled portraits are a thing of beauty, plus he's a true gent. Great to finally meet and chat with James Priest, Peter Raymond, Steve Beckett, Deano Peppers, Marc Laming, Amrit Birdi and Paul Cooke - hopefully get more time with all you chaps at future events. Thanks to all you guys that took time out to put a quick sketch in my sketchbook, I appreciate it and I owe you all (I will repay you in sketches or bargain shop cereal).

Lastly a huuuuuuge thank you to everyone who came on the day, those who took time to browse my work, buy prints, commissions and were just generally awesome and polite.

Oh and thank you to everyone who has supported me so far, you know who you are - I appreciate it.

Bring on 2014!


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