Some Sketchbook Tips & Advice!

Geek Fun

We really do have some of the best followers on Twitter! @Hanselthelost was nice enough to put this post together about starting your own sketchbook! I had a ton of questions of my own and thanks to him, BavarianErin & Mario’s Erin (Erin 2.0), I had a great idea of where and how to start. But why should I keep all that information to myself? If you have any tips or advice of your own, be sure to add them to th comments!

Sketch Guide! Do’s and Dont’s
By: Hansel Moreno

Hello fans of SDCC Nerds Attack. After a small conversation with Barb on twitter I was asked to make an entry about collecting sketches. I recently caught the art bug after a friend of mine kept showing me his original pieces. There is nothing wrong with a poster or print, but there is a great feeling that comes with having an original work that no one else has. Sketches can be tricky to get at some cons and a breeze at others. It all depends on the demand of the artist. Hopefully these tips I have learned will help ease you into the sketch collecting hobby. As we go through this I’d like to share some of my favorite pieces and how I got them.

Dead Man: This piece is by Matt Kindt (@mattkindt on twitter) from my first theme sketch book in 2009. Matt was nice enough to use watercolors and give it some real definition.

Book
I’ll be direct with this one. Choose a medium size book for better pricing. 11” x 17” has that awesome space to work in, but artist will charge you for the work they are putting in. 5” x 8” or smaller is a good size and might, just MIGHT get you a discount. I’ve seen it happen once in a while. Some artist do charge a flat rate but more on that later. Through several friends I’ve learned that moleskin sketch books are the best because a) the paper quality b) the binding. You want to get a book that is going to last a few conventions traveling and years on the shelf. Shop around and find the color/size/shape that you like but try not to sacrifice quality. There are so many to choose from.

The large book at the bottom is one I draw in. The smallest book (the pink one) is my sisters and because of its size and her age she was able to get a few quick sketches for free. The black books are my convention books. Their size allows a few to fit comfortably in my back pack and handle with ease. If you have several artist you want to get a sketch from it helps if you bring more than one book. Depending on the artist you might not get your book back the same day. Be sure to write your name and contact info in the front and maybe a reward if lost. I lost a book once. It is the worst loss at a convention I have ever had.

This is a very quick sketch Tradd Moore (@TraddMoore on twitter) did for my sister of Ryan Gosling from Drive. Because it was done so fast and the book is so small in size Tradd was nice enough to do this one for free. Free sketches are welcome but try not to expect them.

Theme
One of the many fun things you can do with your book is to pick a theme. What are you into? Avengers? Wolverine? You name it! Take a look at a Sketchbook of Dinosaurs collected by Nancy Amaro, amazingly all of these were collected in one convention! That was her theme and she ran with it! Fair warning: For some creators you will have to bring some sort of visual reference. It only happened to me once but that was an awful experience. The artist had no idea what my request look like and I tried to describe it delaying the line behind me. For cases like this I recommend having a book that is artist choice. Whatever they want! This works for the artist whose style you love no matter what they draw.

These two sketches are from my theme book of Avatar the Last Airbender. Charles P. Wilson (@cpwilsoniii on Twitter) drew the Appa (on the left) and Dave Wachter (@DaveWachter on Twitter) drew an especially savage Platypus Bear (on the right). These two artist were not at all familiar with my theme but were nice enough to take a shot at drawing these. C.P. Wilson had no list and a short line. With Dave I had preordered and prepaid online. I am happy with both of these commissions.

Artist
Firstly, be polite. Look up your artist before the convention you are attending. Look at their style, their likes, dislikes and prices. If you have a feel for their art this might help you choose what you’d like to see drawn by them. Keep in mind some artist do not like to draw characters that are licensed or they are not familiar with (remember to bring some reference). Some artists have a pre-con signup list on their websites. A good place to keep informed is their twitter or website. Visit these a month or so before the con you are planning to go to. Other artists do not have a pre-con signup list. Oh buddy! This is where the excitement comes in. If the artist you want does not have a pre-con list and you have to, have to, HAVE TO get a sketch from them, go to their table first, as in, as soon as the con doors open. You are not the only one hunting down great art. I can recall speed walking to my first artist of the day only to find that he has a line 15 people deep. Again, be polite to the artist. They are here to promote their work and in fact are at work. If they have list, confirm the price and (if you are willing to pay) ask to get on it if there is still room. Haggling is always tricky. I’m against it, but approach it at your own risk. Once you ask for your sketch don’t ask them to do too much or direct their art. Make a simple suggestion like say “Hawkeye” as opposed to “Hawkeye falling backwards from a building shooting multiple arrows, and can he be in the movie costume?” Keeping it simple lets the artist do their thing. They’ll be happy and your sketch will be better for it.

This Morbius was a complete surprise. I paid Rob Guillory (@Rob_guillory on Twitter) and just said surprise me.

Last minute Tips

Don’t forget your art! Remember who has your book and do not leave it lying around.

Don’t hover too long! It’s really cool to watch an artist draw… as long as you are not in the way. Play this by ear.

Be Polite! Say Thanks! Feel free to tip! Artists appreciate the appreciation.

Find the artist that makes you happy!

Thanks for your time. As a parting shot I leave you with this amazing double spread that Kevin Mellon (@kmellon on Twitter) that is from my Monsters Theme book.

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