spx 2013

How To Break Into Comics

This weekend at SPX I had a very nice fellow come up to my table and ask me if I had any advice on breaking into comics.  As someone whose only been in the game since 2009 I felt a bit unqualified to give him an answer, but as we talked I realized I do have some ideas in this department, and I wanted to share them and invite your feedback and thoughts.

1.  Forget about breaking into comics.

There are no gate keepers.  Or rather, there are so many gates that there’s no way someone can keep you out of comics if you truly want to participate.  As long as you are producing work and putting it out there you will find an audience and a place in the community.

2. Start small.

This may be stating the obvious, but if you don’t make comics you’re not a cartoonist.  Draw a bunch of short stories and FINISH THEM.  Once you have some short stories under your belt, maybe try some longer ones.  There are a lot of cartoonists out there with chapter one of their magnum opus.  Don’t be that guy.  If you can’t finish a short story, you won’t be able to finish a graphic novel.

3. Success doesn’t equal money.

Or rather, money is just one way of measuring success.  Absolutely artists should get paid for illustration work and comics drawn for clients, but if you are working on your personal projects and not making money it doesn’t mean you’re not succeeding. 

This year I made the decision to stop pursuing paid work in order to focus on my personal projects and I feel really happy about it.  There’s no shame in having a day job as long as you are doing work you feel good about.

4. Go to conventions.

Bring a bunch of minis and trade with people.  Don’t be hurt if they say no.  If they won’t trade, just give them your comics.  Give your comics to people who you admire so much it scares you.  When you go back next year, give them your new comic.  Repeat until death.

5. Work hard.

You can’t control how much natural talent you have, or how good your luck is, but you can control how much time and elbow grease you put into your work.  It’s literally impossible to not improve if you work hard.  This thought has gotten me through many nights of self-doubt and despair.

That’s really it.  This may seem incredibly obvious to many people, but I really wrote it for that one guy, new to comics, who was kind enough to think I knew how to break into comics.  Thanks dude.

The SPX Haul!

With the exception of maybe 4-5 books I’m noticing a running theme… .

And this is the only one I’ve had time to read so far … It’s officially my new Favorite Thing, and have been carrying it around with me like a security blanket.

A hardcore …pornographic . .  security blanket. I regret nothing.

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OOSA at SPX

Alright, folks. Last post about SPX before we hit the road for the show this weekend. Here’s what you can expect to find at our tables in the back corner (AKA: “OOSA Island”).

Alexis Ziritt will be bringing prints, t-shirts, sketch cards and will be doing commissions. He may also be bringing a brand new ashcan comic he’s been working on (if he can get it finished in time).

Liz Suburbia, who will be splitting her time with us and Kevin Czap at table I1, will have her new Cyanide Milkshake zine along with some of her other comics. We’ll also be selling the OOSA shirt she designed.

Andrew MacLean will have copies of his self-published and widely acclaimed first issue of Head Lopper. He’ll be taking commissions, as well.

Toby Cypress will have prints, books and we’ll be selling the OOSA shirt he designed. FYI: SPX will be Toby’s only convention this year so you better take advantage of the opportunity.

I’ll be there helping out, too. I’ll have a bunch of original art including pieces from Alexis and Toby, as well as some from Greg Ruth and Paul Maybury.

Come see us!

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Aaaahhhhh you guys! SPX was super great! Despite being bigger than last year I was able to not freak out so much! Yay! I’m getting better at this!


Saw many great artists and did my best not to embarrass myself. I left inspired with a tote full of goodies and an empty wallet. Thank you SPX. Can’t wait ‘till next year!

Just wanted to share my SPX haul again. I’m still really impressed I took this picture without falling off my bed/bookcase and breaking my face. At least if I had it would have been for a good cause. Comics!

Later I separated what I bought and what lovely creators donated for review. Now I just have to catalog it all…

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Hey, Just wanted to throw up a post with everything I’m exhibiting at my table L7 this weekend at SPX.  Stop by and say hey if you’re visiting :)


1. SNACKIES 2 - 24 pages of gag comics, $5

2. SNACKIES 1- 24 also 24 pages of gag comics, $5

3.  ROFL - 16 pages, silly ROFL options, $1

4.  Hi_RES - 28 pages of fashion illustration, $15

5.  Digital Devil Print - 11x14 2 color riso, $5

2013 was a year filled with a lot of ups and downs for me. I think my style has improved, but I’m nowhere near as prolific as I’d like to be. Some of my most memorable highlights this year included:

-Getting my driver’s license at long last!
-Clearing out my undergrad student debt!
-Visiting the West Coast for the very first time (Seattle was most beautiful)
-Reconnecting with old friends!
-Cosplaying for the first time!

However, the most memorable experiences came from this year’s SPX, which was the BEST SPX experience I’ve had.

-“Weapon Girls” got asked to be donated to the Library of Congress collection!
- Got interviewed!
- Had a wonderful time tabling with Desmond, the writer of “3:16” which I illustrated, and getting to know our table neighbors from Pittsburgh including juniperfloor!
-And my mom attended :-D.

At the same time though, I’ve struggled a lot this year financially and emotionally. It’s been rough juggling three jobs, a long distance relationship, and finding time to make artwork consistently, to learn new skills such as programming, and saving and studying to go back and get a master’s in teaching.

Recently, I lost my job as a nanny and therefore my main means of paying the essentials. And I’m about to move again in a few weeks! So the start of 2014 is already gonna be draining and crazy on my end. However, I only have one real resolution in terms of art:

To draw something everyday even if it sucks and I want to throw-up on it.

Have a Happy New Years! I’ll be back after the move :-)

youtube

Hall Full of Geeks (SPX 2013) (by Paul Roth)

I vlogged about enjoying SPX 2013, which I did! There was so much great art there! I encountered tons of cool artists, exhibitors, and attendees. I found tons of amazing comics and tried partially successfully not to buy them all. I found old friends and made new ones! SUCCESS!

SPX 2013 was last weekend. I ran around for two days buying art, discovering art, and talking to the minds behind that art. It didn’t feel right to just throw everything I got into a pile and post pictures of that, so here are some nice bookends to adequately present all this sweet stuff. Pardon the mini Clyfford Still here – I couldn’t help myself.

(published in reverse order to appeal to dashboard users and tag browsers)

I raked in a stellar haul at SPX this year! I had such a wonderful time. Thank you to everyone who came by my table and bought a book and stopped to chat and introduced themselves from the internet! This weekend was completely worth the wait and the next 362 days can’t pass by quickly enough!

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Owltober is coming to SPX 2013!


Last year, I gave myself an art challenge to draw one owl for each day in October. Now you can get all thirty-one-plus sketch cards in one handy little field guide! And I have a limited number of glow-in-the-dark buttons, FREE with each purchase of an Owltober book. Wow!!!

I’ll also have copies of Elephants Don’t Play Piano, my collab comic with Toby Fox (who will also be walking around this weekend!), Evening Blend, Caper Con Carne and Lizard Chase, and some postcards.

Find me at tables W73-75a, right as you stroll in through the front door! I can’t wait to see you there!!!

I will be at table E14!

The print proof for Keybound: prologue arrived!  I will be taking pre-orders for the book at the expo, and since the proof is here you can properly check it out before you buy!

All of the other books will be available for immediate buy (though I won’t have a ton of copies of Storm Warning or An Anthology of Coffee, so if you’re interested in those you should stop by early!), and bookmarks are free!

I’ll also have prints, cards, buttons, and necklaces, but you’ll have to come to the table to see what I have.  If you miss out on a book you were hoping to pick up, I’m happy to mail you a copy after the show.

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Doodle Challenges From SPX 2013

I kept forgetting to upload these from SPX last year. I also kept forgetting to take pictures of them as I did them for folks who came by (they scribble a thing, and I transform it into another thing), here are the ones I actually remembered to photograph. I’ll be doing these again at Smudge Expo at Artisphere in Arlington this Saturday, so please drop by!