Hey everybody! I just slept for a good 9-10 hours and thought I'd get up and write a review! (at 4 in the morning lol)
So! Overall I had an okay time. I would have to say though, that this is not the best Natsucon I've been to.
But first, there were a lot of nice people who came and looked at my table and bought somethings, and I want to thank you all for being so supportive and nice > m < !!!
If it weren't for you, my "okay" would have been an "awful".
The con itself was pretty disorganized this year. After I finally packed up my stuff on Saturday and stuck around for panels it seemed like there was never any staff person around to turn on or off the locked lights in the panel rooms between panels. During the day, people kept making huge lines right in front of the main event room, and the line continued into the artist alley where it blocked a lot of tables for 30-40 minutes at a time. After I and some other artists complained to the staff, they did start redirecting the line towards the other end of the hallway that was completely empty. That was nice.
My bad experience wasn't entirely the con staff's fault though. Most of it was probably from the negative experiences I had with some con goers. It's not everyone, but there were quite a few instances that made me sad. Like, after I packed up my stuff, I left my table cloths and my wire cube setup on my table. I walked by after a panel, and there were a group of people hanging out at it. Which is fine, but one of them was sitting in the chairs and had their legs propped on the table and their boots on my table cloth. I just kind of sighed and let it go. There were also several extremely obnoxious people who don't seem to know anything about con etiquette. They mostly didn't visit my table though or pay attention to the artists in general. My guess is they either didn't realize these were all artists selling their own works, or didn't care for the artist alley via lack of experience with it. It was really different from the feeling I got at Sakuracon, where everyone
knew what the artist alley was and actually had respect for artists. I think this is largely because all the local cons in St. Louis are pretty small and really new. And for some odd reason we have 3.5 anime cons around here, and all of the same crowd usually goes to them all. So maybe to them it seems like they have a lot of experience with conventions, even though they've never been to a large, well organized, convention? idk.
The things I listed above are just little things though, that probably wont stop me from going again next year. I just wont get two tables or bring quite as much stock next time. I have to say though, that I did have one particularly strange and off-putting experience.
On Friday or Saturday when I was setting up a few last things, this guy came up to me and started asking about my mini comic book I had out. I printed like 5 copies of the first chapter of Gen X, full color, to try to promote it. I was pretty excited at first that someone was interested in it since it IS
my baby. But what followed was weird, awkward, and unpleasant.
He asked how much they were, and I said $4. (Which really only covers the cost of printing it
: I wasn't planning to make any money off it but I wanted to get it out there.) And he proceeded to tell me about how he was some hot-shot on youtube and how he had this great idea for a story he always wanted to make but he just needed someone to draw the art for him.
I've pretty much heard this a hundred times before. Everyone thinks their story is the next best thing and all they need is some underpaid artist to eat it up. But honestly, unless they are extremely dedicated to it and actually know all the work they and the artist will have to put in it; it's never going to happen. This means you're probably going to have to PAY the artist upfront to do your work for you.
(Wow what a radical idea!)
It's just how it works.
Anyway, he gave me his business card and kept talking. Up until this point everything was pretty normal and checked out. Usually I'd give the person the benefit of the doubt and follow up to look into their story even if I don't have the time to actually do the comic. But here's where it got weird. After he gave me his card he said,
"So, why don't I take this and you can write your name/email/phone number down and if I like it I'll contact you about working on my
I was just kind of like "uh okay", because I was confused about the situation.
And I was hoping really hard that he wasn't about to be a dick and just take the comic for free.
But then he was like "Okay thanks! Bye!" and walked away without paying.
I think I just got played.
The rest of the conventions I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Did he just forget to pay me? Did he really think he was such a hot-shot that he didn't have to? Should I say something? I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt though and stay with thinking he just forgot, but something just didn't feel right.
I felt really used and it didn't sit well with me. Normally I would've just let it go, I mean it's only $4, but he was just so arrogant about it and I wanted to know for sure.
So on the last day, I saw him again walking by with his friends and I put all my courage together to confront him. I called him over and at first I think he didn't hear me, but his friend pulled him back because she did. And I said:
"Hey, are you the guy I gave my comic to?"
Him: "Uh, yeah?"
"I think you actually forgot to pay for it. You kind of walked off and I didn't realize it until you were already gone. So, can you pay for it now?"
He kind of made this sad looking face, I think I caught him off guard and he didn't want to look bad in front of his friends.
Him: "...I thought we had a trade?"
What exactly did I get out of this? I was about to snap at him but I stopped because I didn't want to embarrass him in front of his friends.
So I just shook my head and said "mm, no. I'd still like you to pay."
So the next two minutes of him getting his wallet out were really awkward, but he did pay me and then he left.
There was still a lot of stuff I wanted to say to him but I think it ended alright.
And HEY, if YOU ARE THAT GUY
AND YOU'RE READING THIS: HERE IT IS.
Do you really think I give a shit that you cosplay and make pokemon fan videos on youtube?Oh man, you play Ash in a bunch of fan videos and I guess you wrote it into the script to make all the female characters faun over you.
What a hot-shot.
I guess you can just take whatever the hell you want because you're SO ENTITLED.
If you want an artist you can expect to work for free, YOU
go and spend 5 years vigorously training in art.
YOU go and learn how to use all the adobe programs.
YOU go and spend $200k on art school.
YOU go and create your own original style.
And then YOU can have fun spending 10+ hours on each page of your comic and hoping anyone will actually care to read it.
If you're legitimately interested in having a decent artist do that FOR you, then learn some professionalism.
Unless they are coming to you and looking for any cool-story you conjure that they somehow can't just make themselves, these are probably some things you should consider:
1. I barely have time to work on my own comic, why would I want to take up yours?
2.WHAT IS THIS? i691.photobucket.com/albums/vv…
It literally looks like you took a screenshot on powerpoint, printed it out on copy paper, and called it a business card.
It was also sweaty when you handed it to me. If you want to impress an artist, giving them this low-tech crap isn't going to do it.
If you don't know how to use photoshop or illustrator, go pay someone to make your business card and go pay to get it professionally printed.
3. Why should I give you my comic, which I've invested a lot of time in and I'm not even selling for a profit, for free? How much does that show about you and how much you care about an artist's work?
4. Have you ever considered how little self published comics actually make? Or how hard in general it is to make money off of them? If you have and artist you want to make a comic for you, you pay them up front. And for a ballpark on a price to pay:
If they spend 10 hours on a page, which for a standard page gets you inked lines and some flat colors, that's already $72.50 A PAGE if they're getting minimum wage.
A 20 page chapter would be $1450. Dedicating time to making a successful comic is the equivalent to a full time job.
The artist could probably make more working at Walmart on minimum wage. And for a 50 hour work week, they would be getting health benefits too.
5. The majority of artists who make comics and have actually trained in comic making have their own ideas for stories they want to do. The reason they spend time on them is because they want to see that their own stories get out there. And that's something you can't buy from them, so you can probably expect for your project to come after theirs.
6. And don't you dare try to tell me, "Oh, but the Japanese artists can make 40 page chapters a week". Yeah, that's because they literally spend 3 hours a WEEK on sleep and the rest of the time working non-stop to get their work done. They also have dozens of assistants working under them and a professional publishing company backing them. They are also treated like rock stars and celebrities and their manga makes millions of dollars. If you think you can give all of that to an artist, be my guest. Though, that 160 hour work week would probably be considered exploitation in the USA.
7. If you still manage to find some poor artist who is willing to help you, you have to remember that it's not their job to see that the entire project goes through. That's your job. You have to be on top of everything and write out clear scripts for every page. You have to be the driving force in the project, because they're not going to be. Even if you make the website for it and do all the promoting, they'd still be doing 90% of all the work.
Unless you're going to draw it: without the artist you don't have a comic.
And no, I don't treat every person who proposes a comic idea to me this way.
In fact, only one other person bought a copy of my comic this weekend. He asked me to sign it, just like you. But the difference was he actually cared that it was a copy of Genocide X
and it was signed by it's creator. He actually drove all the way up from Texas to go to this con, and spent half the time sitting with me and helping out at my table. He is probably my comic's biggest fan. And we've actually become really good friends. When we first met a little more than a year ago, he also proposed a comic idea to me. We never ended up working together on it, but now he's planning on going to school for art and learning how to make it himself. And I'm more than willing to give someone like that advice and help.
So think about that the next time you walk up to someone and ask them if they want to make your comic for you. Because the answer is "no", they don't want to do it for you. You have to give them a reason to. Learn how to not be an arrogant asshole and actually give them some respect.