Purple Ruby Red

Why Not?

More thoughts on SPX and some Advice for Artists

I woke up this morning really inspired by SPX. I drew 5 inked drawings today in my sketchbook and it was a fun experience. It’s not like I don’t have fun drawing, but I worry so much about being disappointed with my art that I kinda dread doing it. This particularly happens when I draw my own characters. I like them and I don’t want them to look like shit, which ends up happening anywhere when I over-think it. Yesterday showed me that it’s okay to draw from where I am right now and enjoy drawing them.

There was an obvious difference between artists who were worried about their art and those who were proud of having a table! The proud ones had more carefree drawings and enjoyed talking about their art. Those who were excited about showing off their art made me feel good as a customer. I tend not to buy from people on my first round, unless I already love their art. These people didn’t take it hard when I looked at their art, talked with them and then left with their business card. I wanted to return to these tables because of their attitude and confidence. A mistake that some tables made was taking the first round “rejection” really hard. While looking through their art, all I could feel from them was “omg, please buy my art, please tell me it doesn’t suck, please buy from me because I’m not making my money back!!!!” I felt chained to their table, but not in a good way. I had to force myself to walk away or say something encouraging even though I didn’t want to buy anything. This is sale killing. On my consecutive rounds past their tables, they were almost always without customers. The whole table experience can be really jarring for creative types and most of us do not know how to sell our work or promote it. But, from my short table-holder experience, no matter how shy you are, you can appear confident. 

1. Even if you don’t feel awesome about the art you are displaying, be okay with what you have chosen to sell. You’ve worked hard to create the art and this is what you’ve settled on. You can’t change what you have this time around. You can’t redraw everything once you are there. So, be okay with it! Take notes on how and what you can improve on, but don’t judge yourself while you’re there. It will show in your attitude.

2. Look busy. I have written about this in one of my older artist alley posts, but i think it is very important to repeat it. Draw, talk to your table mates, organize your stuff, whatever. Look up once in a while to say hi to passing patrons, then go back to what you’re doing. Whatever you do, don’t sit at the table looking  bored or worse, staring at the passing customers and pleading to them with your gaze. I walk by these tables really fast because I know I’m going to feel sorry for them or obligated to buy. Doing something while remaining attentive makes you appear interesting. It looks like you’re either working on another idea or sketching up commissions. This tells me that you have some customers or that you are confident in yourself enough to create more art!

3. When a patron stops to look at your art, say hello, introduce yourself and your art and maybe show them around a bit. Make sure they know where everything is that you are eager to answer any questions they might have. Then, leave them alone to look at your art. Go back to drawing. I feel really awkward when the artist is starring at me while I look through their artbook. Some artists know how to talk their customers through the book without being intrusive, but if you’re really uncomfortable with doing so, let your art do most of the talking. There’s a fine line between looking interested in the customer and appearing desperate. Learn how to read the customer so that you can take the appropriate action. Some like to be talked through while others like to just look and blend back into the crowd. The second group of people are silent and may seem uninterested, but they may come back later. I shop like this. I look, leave and make notes about the tables I would like to return to. It takes practice to read customers and if you’re attentive, you’ll get better at it.

4, Don’t take silent “rejection” too hard. This happens when people stop by your table and leave without buying anything. Unless someone tells you that your art sucks(which is super rare), all patrons are potential customers. You just never know if they’re going to be back later or recommend you to someone else.

  1. miguelele reblogged this from purplerubyred
  2. clairewatchestelly reblogged this from purplerubyred
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  7. merakimou reblogged this from purplerubyred and added:
    Great advice! A lot of this applies to other kinds of vendors, not just artists. But yeah, ESPECIALLY artists :)
  8. cmbeckett reblogged this from spx and added:
    This is some great advice about exhibiting at conventions. Particularly #2. -chris
  9. dronemasters reblogged this from spx
  10. imaginetheending reblogged this from spx and added:
    I over time have actually sort of stopped browsing for the same reason. Pleading and desperate attempts to get sales can...