Return From APE – 10 Lessons from my First Convention

I apologize for lack of updates. Winter is here, and with it hibernation. It’s been nice taking a break from my online persona while I reevaluate things and discern direction.

Tabling at Alternative Press Expo got me down a little, and has made me take a step back. I learned a lot at APE, but financially it was disappointing. It wasn’t just me; I’d say at least half, perhaps even 2/3rds of attending artists didn’t earn back their booth fee. For an artist in my position (first time tabling, limited merchandise, hasn’t built a following) I was told this could be expected. Seeing artists who have been doing this for years struggle, however, is just another level of demoralizing.

I’m not doing it for the money or fame, but the experience has caused me to reexamine my priorities, and ask: How do I define success?

But enough with the heavy stuff. How about a Top Ten List? Everyone loves a Top Ten List! Here’s a dose of reality for all the young starry eyed cartoonists out there.


10 Lessons Learned From My First Comics Convention

- Have low expectations, then you can only be pleasantly surprised!
- It’s hard to stand out in a crowd, and helps to have spent major $$$ on your booth presentation.
- Take credit cards, you’ll get more sales.
- Your new girlfriend won’t enjoy helping you sell comics about your old girlfriend.
- People love caricatures. Do caricatures.
- 3/4 of convention attendees are there for superheroes and zombies.
- Competing against an airplane-hanger sized room of artistic talent can be demoralizing.
- Dog Grooming would be a more profitable career.
- No, seriously, there’s probably more money in Seashell Jewelry.
- Only create art for the love of it.

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Table 927B


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Dallion’s First Comic Convention

IMG_0110By the frequency of these blog updates it must look like I’ve given up on art, or at least scaled back my ambitions. But I assure you, dear reader, things are moving slowly yet surely towards some inevitable conclusion.

As you know, Life is a delicate balancing act involving dream chasing, money making, responsibility maintaining, friendship sustaining, family visiting, relaxing, grooming, and dating. That’s right, lonely ‘ol Dallion ain’t been so lonely since May, when he started seeing a lovely lady who’s been very patient and understanding with this goof. Turns out this summer has been one of growth, more often in areas less-related to art, but important nonetheless.

Yet even artistically, things move forward.


I’m excited to announce that I’ve snatched a table at Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco on October 4th & 5th! It’s a comics convention put on by the same people as the San Diego Comic Con and will be my first experience displaying and selling my work publicly. It has lit a fire under my ass to make merchandise, and lately I’ve been collating and binding my two comic books as well as creating prints and hand painted greeting/thank you cards.


Having no idea how many copies of my books will sell at APE, I’ve decided to horde my limited stash until after the event, but soon afterward, you’ll have a chance to purchase goodies when I open my online store. Start saving your pennies!

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The Future Cradled by the Present


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Three Desktop Items


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Guilt Monster




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Children in the Garden


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Projects at the Print Shop

Progress on my new graphic novel has been coming along, but before I totally depart into that fertile land, I’ve been diligently transforming past projects into tangible tokens. I’d like to announce the forthcoming release of two mini-comics — one, a collection of romantically themed break-up comics, and the other a self-contained, short, experimental story. I’ll release more info on these soon, but in the meantime, here’s the covers:



I’m really happy with how these came out, particularly the cover for Catharsis Comics. If I saw it at a convention or comics shop, I would be be intrigued and want a closer look.

These mini-comics represent my first foray into self-publishing, and I’ve definitely learned a lot — namely, how time consuming it is! Just formatting the files for the printer was a huge task requiring making little prototype books using scissors and glue sticks, then dismantling it to see what page each piece gets printed on (it’s not a linear process like you might think). Not including time spent creating the content, it probably took an additional 40 hours to create the covers, layout the books, and prepare the files for the print shop.


When these are printed I’ll be collating and staple-binding them myself — another time consuming task. All told, from this printing, I’ll have 60 copies of BIRTH/DEATH and 70 copies of Catharsis Comics. With the $260 spent on paper, printing, and supplies, if I sell these for $5 each, I’ll be lucky to make $1/hr for the time I’ve spent producing these comics. Clearly, I’m not in it for the money. I see these books as a sort of business card; you lose money having business cards printed, but hopefully, they go out into the world and bring back the goodness.

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