Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jumping In: Our First Craft Fair...Sorta

Monkey + Seal get a lot of questions regarding what it was like to show at our first craft fair. Believe it or not, we started out very humbly, with only two zines and two comics. Monkey had a little comic called "Comic Shorts," the first issue of "The Bad Date Zine," and his "True Ghost Stories" zine. Seal had the beloved "The Story of Seal." That's it. Oh yeah, and we had lots of 1" pinback buttons.

However, even though the SF Zine Fest where we got our humble origins was all the way back in 2007(!), we constantly have had "new experiences" at craft fairs. We had our first Alternative Press Expo, our first Bazaar Bizarre holiday show, our first anime convention, etc. etc. Each time, we find a new audience, new vendors, and new experiences in terms of setting up our booth, new product, signage, and all the other stuff that we think about when we sell someplace.

One thing that we have never done before, however, is do an out of town show. All of the places we've sold have been in the city limits of San Francisco. This is mainly due to the fact that we don't own a car, so we haven't been very keen on racking up transportation costs to vend elsewhere. However, during the summer of last year, Monkey heard that Spectrum (a very competitive illustration/concept art annual) was going to have their first conference, and were looking for vendors.

Monkey jumped at the opportunity, and the two of us decided to throw our hats in the ring and see if we'd get in. We did, and now we're busy preparing for what is easily the biggest show of our lives. It's a three day event in Kansas City, Missouri, where we will be vending next to some of the biggest names in the fantasy art arena. If you know anything at all about fantasy art, we're down the isle from JP Targete, Chris Rahn and Jason Felix, and we're about 8 booths away from James Gurney. Also vending will be people you just might have heard of: Dan Dos Santos, Stephan Martiniere, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo, Todd Lockwood, and just like a bajillion other awesome artists who we look up to and are inspired by.

Suffice to say, it's hard not to be intimidated by the competition. Not only that, we're having to learn how to manage booking airfare and hotels, getting our goods over to Kansas City, etc. etc. However, we're doing our best to set ourselves up the best we can for success and even though we're "not ready," will we ever be ready for this type of competition?

Although it's terrifying, expensive (more on that later), and difficult, no matter how tight our portfolios are, no matter how prepared we might be, it'll always be a new type of event, and we will never be truly ready. So, we can just do the best we can and go for the gold. Just like everything else in life, sometimes you have to make that deadline for yourself that you can't escape and just go for it. Sure, maybe your first mini comic might not be very good. Sure, maybe your first convention experience will lose you money. Sure, maybe the first gallery you submit to might turn you down. However, if you constantly wait until you're "ready," you'll have missed your opportunity. Better to live with no regrets, than to wonder "what if?"

So, here's the part where you can help us "totally pwn" (Seal just stared blankly at this phrase) this Spectrum Live! event. We're bringing a bunch of new products, and since this is easily the most expensive event of our careers (with travel and lodgings, shipping, etc., we're at around almost two month's worth of rent), we're offering you all first dibs on some of our newest stuff to help offset our costs. We weren't really going to launch any of this until after we "tried it out" at Spectrum, but you all are our supportive fans, and we wanted to let you get it before anyone else did.

So help send us to Kansas City, and check out all the new stuff here. As a preview of what's to come, we've got a brand new tie design, two new Monkey prints, two new Seal prints (one of which is being released before the show that it's in even opens!), and our Create or Die shirt, re-released in a classic black and white version.

Live with no regrets, and grab some great stuff while it's on sale here!