An Artists Checklist for a Convention

I've been receiving lots of emails from folks lately letting me know that they will be attending such convention, and asking me to swing by and say hi. Oh yeah, and can you tell me what I should bring to the convention to be a success. Checklist For Success: Before you go dashing off buying banners, spitting out prints, and ordering a ton of leave-behinds, stop and take stock of the situation. The first thing you need to do is assess the convention/event you will be attending. No, all cons are not the same! Each convention draws a different crowd and consumer, and you need to make sure that your hard-earned bucks will be spent in a manner that will pay for the experience (and hopefully bring you a tidy little profit as well). Which con are you attending? San Diego ComicCon is a completely different beast from IlluxCon. Both have very different attendees, and the items that get bought are very different. Even if you focus in on IlluxCon and look at the differences between having a table in the main exhibit area or a table in the showcase you'll find that the artists approach the opportunity very differently. I can't overstate the importance of doing your research on this aspect of the convention. Take the time to ask other folks that have attended the event, as both an artist and an attendee. Here are a few things you'll want to consider: Who attends the event. What is the main reason they attend. What kind of product or service are the most interested in. What is the space like. What is traffic like. What is a normal purchase. What is a common amount spent. Do you do sales yourself or are they handled by the event. What are the tax and other monetary considerations. What is your presentation space like. Are there restrictions about banners or signs. Do you have walls or are you freestanding. What other artists are in attendance. How do you rank in the group. Who will you be set up next to. What vendors will be at the con. Do you have items available that relate to those vendors. What art directors will be in attendance. Do you work with them/want to work with them. Yes, it a long list and to tell you the truth I've only scratched the surface of the questions you should be asking.