Comic Book Wife Raises Concerns Artists Have At Conventions

Denise Dorman, comic book cover artists Dave Dorman‘s wife has written a blog post on the difficulty that her husband has had making any money at larger conventions, including one in his back yard. In it, she points out the prevalence of cosplayers turning Artists’ Alley into the backdrop for their photos and in talking to other artists, realizing that the trend does not seem to be isolated.

I am an artist, albeit not a well-known one, and I have friends who are artists. Generally, I have found that talking about money is a little frowned upon. That’s not just at conventions or with artists, but in life in general. However, when we do feel comfortable enough to talk about it, trends do tend to develop, and Dorman touches upon this. San Diego Comicon seems to have been a money losing venture for a lot of people, as famously noted by Mile High Comics’ Chuck Rozanski well-publicized rant against publisher exclusives making San Diego a money-losing venture.

Let’s face it, conventions are expensive. Artist’s tables get expensive, and travel costs money, then there’s hotel rooms for an entire weekend, not to mention convention food and parking. Dorman also points out that convention time is time that artists can spend completing paying assignments, and as anybody who works for an hourly wage can tell you, time lost is money lost. Factoring all of these together, the cost for me to get a table at a convention nearby approaches four figures. This is a problem. Convention organizers can’t fix it solely by reducing the price of tables. The onus needs to be on attendees.

Buy stuff in artist’s alley. Many of those artists are paying their own money to be there. If you talk to someone for a length of time, see what you could possibly buy from them.  Afterwards, go online and share their work so that after the convention, maybe they can see a little effect for their efforts. Also, make it a point to try something new from Artist’s Alley. I’m not asking you to be the patron for everyone, because then you end up with a lot of minicomics that you just don’t enjoy. I know that you you want exclusives for your collection, but do your homework beforehand and give yourself some budget room for artists.

Because after the artists start leaving, how long will it be before the conventions have to stop?