Old Man Grumpus at the Con: How to Win Friends and Influence Sales

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Rufus Dayglo, Thought Bubble, 2014

Rufus Dayglo: a younger creator illustrating the approachability of low-level bearding

EYES ON THE PRIZE:

How to get new and youthful punters to approach your table, as an art-man working largely before the current generation could even read!

Some creators find it easy — gaining fans, treating them well, and improving the social side of the industry as they get new, excited eyes on the goods that fund their lifestyles. But some! Some get a bit crusty, and start defaming the people who have no immediate interest in them. Here’s to you, old man — how many roads must you walk down, before we call you prince of It? Here are five to try.

Anaseed Man, Thought Bubble, 2014

Anaseed Man: reflecting his design choices in art and outfit

1) Grooming is important. Try growing and maintaining a neat, minimal beard. No fancy manscaping, that’s confusing and distracting. A nice, even coverage gives you the impression of capability and warmth. And it hides part of your large expanse of “adult man’s face” — your peers value the adult male look, as it is comforting and familiar to them, but many young people may find it threatening. How’s your hair? Maybe take a trip to the salon the week before the con. If you’re bald or balding, moisturise your head! Pamper yourself and being good to others will become so easy. Every little bit helps.

ECBACC VP Akin Brown shakes hands with a child, http://ecbacc.com/wordpress3/2010/ecbacc-at-kids-comic-con-2010/

Akin Brown (ECBACC VP) demonstrates con fitness, reaching out to a fan atKids Comic Con 2010

2) Wear something nice. Bright colours, graphic shapes — you know, you’re an artist. Think of yourself as a “character” you need to “design.” What would make you look interesting? Try to dress in a way that reflects the aesthetic strengths of your work.

3) Do you work out? If you’re able, good core strength (stretch it out like Ronald Wimberly) can help with leaning over the table to shake hands, hefting big cases of art about, and also allow you to look at ease and relaxed. This makes you appear approachable! While you’re doing your pilates, maybe watch some of your favourite cartoons, films or listen to your best-loved music. Getting into a positive state of mind will allow your subconscious facial control to relax your head muscles into “a smile.” This will bring strangers over to meet you, as it will allow them to believe you might be a nice person!

Andy Suriano and fan, Sonia.Harris, Andy Suriano is hysterical, FLickr

Andy Suriano leans in and holds the pose, having prepared his skeleton and musculature for just such a purpose prior to the convention (image: Sonia Harris)

GreenStarz Morrigan cosplay with creative team, http://ramblingmoose.tumblr.com/post/99959998748/greenstarz-my-morrigan-cosplay-from-nycc-2014

It’s OK to look a little frightened. This shows humanity. Tumblr user GreenStarz’s Morrigan, with WicDiv creative team

4) Asking to take photographs with really good cosplay (after all, it’s based on the art of your peers — or even your own!) will allow attendees to see that you’re a laid back guy who’s able to converse with con-goers. This lets them see you as somebody they can approach! This give-and-take is something you can even apply to your life outside of the convention circuit. Maybe even online!

5) Offering to sketch (for free, sometimes!) anybody who comes along dressed in cosplay of one of YOUR characters — well, that’s a sure-fire way to spread some goodwill on the con floor. You can make friends, fans, and even money using this as a starting point. Talk about win-win!

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About Author

The rock that drops on your head. WWAC Chief Comics Ed. Find me at claire.napier@wwacomics.com

4 Comments

    • Maybe for strength, they can look to the bravery of cosplayers. Out in all climates, including “Facebook hostile”!

  1. Look at that happy fan, sketched by a friendly comic book artist! Surely she will be a repeat customer. It’s almost like being nice to your fans… helps… sales.