How to Get Noticed at a Comic Con

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How to Get Noticed at a Comic Con

As a graphic designer, illustrator and event planner for creative professionals, I endeavored to objectively walk the floor of Boston Comic Con 2012 and take in the sights and sounds. And just because I can’t keep my opinion to myself, I pulled together some tips and suggestions to pass along to the artists displaying their work to the slightly overwhelmed fans/fellow creators so that they might improve their return the next time they attend a show.

In this post I’ll offer my suggestions and then in my next blog post, What I Saw at Boston Comic Con 2012, I’ll let out my inner Fan Boy and talk about some of my artist-meeting experiences (and share lots of pictures).

My 2 Cents:

Joe Sinnott draws The Thing with a Sharpie

Joe Sinnott draws The Thing with a Sharpie. More photos on FLICKR (see link at bottom)

Boy, were there many artists showing off their work and selling books and art! There were, of course, the names: Wrightson, Sienkiewicz, Maleev, Stephanie Buscema, Bisley, Jaffee, Feldstein, Coker Jr., Sinnott, Eastman, Bagge, Epting, Texeira, Golden, Sale. And then there were many lesser-known and not-at-all-known artists trying to get noticed. How does a blade of grass get attention in a field of grass?

Some Ideas For Artists to Get Noticed:

Make your name known! Make sure it’s emblazoned on a banner behind you and on your table. There were far too many exhibitors without a name I could find without reading the credit line on their book. A banner behind your table with your name towards the top is ideal.

• If you put your name on your tablecloth and nothing else then I’m afraid you wasted your money.
• If you put your white paper comic book printed with black ink flat on your white tablecloth with no other signage, then you need to rethink your methods.
• If you‘re trying to sell your book full of characters, be sure to use a visual (as in signage) that grabs attention and differentiates your characters.
• Try to look comfortable and easy-going. Not easy when you’ve been sitting for hours and hours.
• Stand, rather than sit, as much as you can. You’ll look more engaged and more approachable.
• Smile. But not in a creepy, salesman way.
• Small talk. You’re not just selling your work- you’re creating a connection that may pay off down the road.
• Give away a promotional postcard and make it ultra-clear that it’s free. One site I checked has 1000 double-sided postcards for 75 bucks. And don’t pounce on people when they take a card. One exhibitor stood in the aisle and passed out small leaflets and said a few words without pressuring anyone to walk over to the table. Nicely done.
• If you’re selling original art or prints, make sure you have a sign that says so or a price on each page. A portfolio on the table doesn’t automatically mean you’re selling the work inside.
• Trade your books for the books of fellow exhibitors- many will be interested in doing this.
• Tweet and/or Facebook throughout the day. Include pictures.
• And finally: Look around and talk to your neighbors and see what they’re doing and how they’re selling. You’ll be inspired.

One Thought For One Retailer:

• To the guy selling prints (of questionable quality) of Sci-Fi and comic images he stole from artists on Behance and other sites- get some morals.

Some Thoughts For the Organizers of Boston Comic Con:

• Signage. The only signage that identified the convention were two thumbtacked 11 x 17s that were randomly placed in the hall. Where were the overhead banners at the entrance? Why was there no large sign in the hall to welcome attendees? Why nothing at the base of the escalators?
• Signage and equipment. The check-in and registration people were working out of cardboard boxes. No signs. No prices. For all I knew, I gave my money to an entrepreneurial passerby (I’m exaggerating, of course).
• Badges. Mr. T at the door did not look like an official employee. I expected an easily identifiable badged person. I had no idea if there were any other employees/organizers working the floor.
• The costume contest looked extremely disorganized and there wasn’t enough room for all who wanted to watch.
• The announcements were clear and not intrusive. Nice job there.
• The table of freebies was a gold mine but was not clearly marked or well thought-out.

I hope this was helpful to you. Perhaps you have more suggestions or ideas to help out those artists (and some writers) who deserve to get more spotlight. Please leave a comment below.

To see the Fan Boy side of my day, click here for What I Saw at Boston Comic Con 2012.

• Go to FLICKR to see the whole set of photos from Boston Comic Con 2012.

• See the list of Comic Cons around the US (and some in other countries).


  1. Pingback: What I Saw at Boston Comic Con 2012 « Creative Relay – Resources for the Evolving Creative Professional

  2. Kim Bateman says:

    This is a great article., Ed. I am definitely taking er linking this to our next enews

  3. Thanks Kim. Glad you thought it was helpful. I saw a lot of exhibitors who just need to up their game a little bit and that will help them stand out next time.

  4. Danny Nichols says:

    Bite the head off a dove, that will get you in the papers

  5. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks,

  6. Scenario: I’m probably in over my head. Someone mentioned our local comic con in September 30th – October 2nd and I’m pretty new to selling my art. in all honesty, I have nearly no art and no prints. I plan on selling 10 different prints and 15 originals. (10 of the originals will be what I make prints of) I’m obviously a no name artist and was wondering if this seems feasible. I think I have a very fair price and plan to break even but that is only if I can attract customers. My only plan for attracting customers is having an interesting sign, being vibrant, lively, and some of the prints may have some popular characters. (all original art though) while I do not expect this to be easy I feel that this is too simple. what do you think? (I’ll be taking all advice you have mentioned here, Just wondering you think I should expect)

    • Mike,
      You have the right attitude. It’s all about getting yourself out there and engaging with people. You don’t need to have a huge number of items to sell (but also don’t have too few), rather you need to keep your table approachable. Don’t come across as desperate (as in pouncing or standing when someone nears). Engage people in conversation (remark on something they’re wearing or something they have already purchased elsewhere) and be authentic. Put your business cards out front and put a little sign that says “FREE! Take one!”

      During the show, tweet and Instagram your work and use appropriate hashtags which should include the show you’re attending. And then look around you and see what others are doing right (and what they’re doing wrong can also be helpful).

      Now go have some fun!