Cartoon Convention Do's and Don'ts

Do: Have a sign or banner that tells who you are. Have your website address somewhere in plan view. Have something free for people to snag with your contact info (business card or flyer). Have offerings tailored to the attendees (Manga at a Fine Art event, not a good mix). Have offereings with several price points ($5, $10, $20, $2000). Have tubes or other materials for shipping available for sale. Upsell folks! If your not a "people person" then consider bringing someone that can work the floor well. Bring an helper or someone that can help in your booth while you are eating lunch or taking a break. Consider lifestyle goods (t-shirts, mugs, and if you have artwork that works well in that medium). Start small if it is your first foray. Do go broke trying to do everything. Bring lots of change for that $3 purchase made with a $20 all day long. Consider having the ability to take credit cards (iPhone add-ons offers a cool solution). Don't: Make your sign with sharpies. If you don't respect yourself, neither will they. Cover every inch of your table with goodies. Allow space for customers to set down items, to be able to sign cards/prints. Eat or drink at your table, unless it's okay for your customers to do the same. Be a bad neighbor. Loud music, unruly crowds, and profanity are a great way to piss your neighbor off and get yourself barred from future events. Respect your neighbors space and the experience of all customers, not just your own. Stalk art directors or editors that are in attendance, or worse yet, have a lackey stalk them. Leave your space unattended. Aside from the fact that you can't sell something if no one is there, expecting a neighbor to protect your stuff while they are trying to earn a living is a recipe for disaster.

Bare Minimum. Gut check time... There's a lot to consider when you are going to a show for the first time. Don't panic. Breathe! Before you drive yourself crazy, ask yourself a simple question, why am I going? Give yourself a goal, and afford yourself the opportunity to be successful. Noah Bradley got into the IlluxCon showcase for the first time this past year. He went with a very simple goal, get his name out there. He went with a cool website and a very simple and effective strategy as well. He had some really nice large prints made of a limited number of images (4 or 5 if memory serves) that showcased his skills and talents. He gave (yes, gave for free) a print to each person that visited the showcase. Art Directors got additional images (I love mine)! It was amazing to see the buzz it created, and the fact that everyone that attended the Showcase was walking around with an 11x17 business card of Noah's. Should you do that? That depends upon where you are going (remember IlluxCon is a small con with a very limited attendance), the depth of your pockets, and your goals. Find a strategy that hits your goal(s). A bare minimum convention kit should include the following: A sign. Some prints. A portfolio for the customers to flip through. Business cards, post cards or flyers, some kind of free take-away. Tubes or sleeves to protect pieces for consumers. Change. Markers to sign cards, prints or draw on items. A great attitude and a really big smile. Last but not least. Every event is an opportunity to learn. Don't forget to learn as much as you can, every chance you get. Oh yeah, and have fun!

Is the Universe Simply Geometry

I must confess that I subscribe to and read Scientific American each and every month. I especially enjoy the theories of cosmologists and nuclear physicists. It's not that I understand what they are talking about. It all seems so like some kind of eerie surrealistic fantasy. They seem to be getting further and further away from what we who live in the normal world consider reality. It would not be so bad except that not only do their ideas get wilder and wilder, but each month a new theory of everything appears. None of the new theories seem to actually mesh quantum mechanics with Einstein's theory of relativity, which seems to be their goal. In other words, theories of the microworld and macroworld are in conflict (as I understand the problem).

The latest one was entitled: A Geometric Theory of Everything by Garret Lisi and James Owen Weatherall. The subtitle was: Deep down, the particles and forces of the universe are a manifestation of exquisite geometry. This confused me right away. What could they possible mean by "deep, down"? And why exquisite geometry? Is the geometry I was taught in school now considered ugly, or maybe just plain. As I read on, I read this: Many physicists share an intuition that, at the deepest level,all physical phenomena match the pattern of some beautiful mathematical structure. What? Is that how we do science today? By intuition? This sounds as though it were written by an occult theorist. Is it good science to intuit what the outcome of our discoveries should show with absolutely no reason or evidence to support our intuition? Why in the world must physical phenomena match a "pattern of beautiful mathematical structure"? In my world the universe in general seems pretty chaotic.

Why should the "deepest level" whatever deepest level means, be different? The more I read, the more confused I became. The authors wrote about string theory (which I almost get), muons, electrical charges that are fractionally negative or positive, and a lot of other stuff. There are sentences like this one: An electromagnetic wave is the undulation of circles over spacetime. What in blue blazes does that mean? And exactly what does the geometry of spacetime really mean. The universe is mostly nothing. How can it have a geometry at all? I suppose the authors really mean the geometry of all the different forces generated by particles. My New Years wish is that physicists would have the ability to explain this sort of stuff to dummies like me. Maybe that's impossible. Their thinking is too different from the rest of us.