Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lessons Learned from Spectrum FAL 2014

So Spectrum FAL 3 has come and gone, and my weeks of planning worked out pretty well.

I was able to easily assemble and disassemble my table, and it looked pretty good when it was all set up. There was so much to see at the show, I know I didn't see everything. Among the artists I was lucky enough to meet were Wylie Beckert, Scott Murphy, Sarah SilkwoodWill Kelly, Abigail Larson, Cory Godbey, Wes Burt, Justin Gerard, Annie Stegg, Noah Bradley and Eric Fortune. (Among many others!)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by my table to tell me that they read my blog! Hi guys!

Some highlights of the weekend:
  • When Cory Godbey bought my art book. (!!!!)
  • When a cute girl, a high schooler I think, got all giggly and twitterpated when she saw me, like I was some kind of celebrity.
  • Hearing Justin Gerard gush about his new wife, Annie, and how wonderful she is. (awww)
  • Receiving an unexpected pep talk about being true to myself from Sarah Silkwood
  • Drawing a doodle in one of my art books for a customer:

Things I learned from the weekend:

  1. It's better with a booth buddy. I manned the table by myself on Friday, then on Saturday my dear friend Anna joined me and we shared a table. Everything was much more fun with her around. We were able to switch off running the table and browsing the show, or bringing food and snacks for the other. Despite the fact that English is Anna's second language, she was better at making small talk with visitors at our table than I was.
  2. There are two types of items: attention-getters and sellers. Beautiful, oversized prints and canvases attract foot traffic, but don't necessarily sell. I didn't see anyone in the artist alley sell a really big piece, but they did seem to stop people in their tracks and bring them over to the table. Once an interested visitor is at the table, they're more likely to buy small items. (This was my experience, anyway. I'm sure it's different if you're a well-known artist.)
  3. If you give something away for free, bring a lot of it. People will collect anything that's free. Every table had free business cards, many also had free postcards. I ran out of business cards on the last day. So if you're giving something away, bring at least three or four hundred copies. 
  4. People like flipping through books. It's something they can interact with rather than just stare at, I guess. My art book was pretty popular (relative to the rest of my merch) and people spent time flipping through it and my portfolio.
My most popular items were the postcards, followed by the art book, then the prints. My original pencils did not sell at all; in fact it seemed like people hardly even noticed that they were there. So that's something for me to consider; maybe I need to change how they were displayed.

The money I made doesn't come close to covering the cost of the trip, but I'm hoping that if I continue to attend shows I'll start see some benefits. My main purpose was to simply get my name out there and to meet some cool people - which I did! I hope to go again next year.


  1. You are too sweet! I'm so glad we got to meet this past weekend and I look forward to chatting a bit online and maybe seeing you at a future show!

  2. As I mentioned in your last post, thank you for coming! It was nice to stumble across your work and find such amazing talent at Spectrum. I enjoyed talking with you and especially the great sketch you did for me (the japanese girl...that you just posted!). Thank you!!!

  3. Your booth looks lovely! And I love the little sketch you did with your signature… ^^

  4. If Cory Godbey bought anything of mine I think I'd be a blubbering fool. It sounds like it was a great weekend! Sales are not everything when you're just starting the convention scene. You'll get there!

    1. Haha! The only reason I wasn't blubbering was because I was concentrating on not peeing my pants in excitement.

  5. I love everything about this post ♥

    1. Thanks Annie! I'm glad that I got to meet you at Spectrum.

  6. It was great meeting you, Kelley! I've been enjoying the art book :) -Eric

  7. Great post Kelley. Are you going to be at FantasyCon in SLC?

    1. Thanks Howard. No I'm not going to FantasyCon. I've only just started to look into going to cons this year, so I'm still getting to know all the possible ones to go to. Are you going/have you been to FantasyCon?


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