Check out Ben Bishop @bishart and check out his upcoming book The Aggregate
TLP: How do you decide which Cons you are going to?
Ben Bishop: The list tends to grow. I started with the big show right out of the gate, in 2008, NYCC, before I really had anything to even show. it was easier to get a table those days, and since then I’ve always loved that show. Although this will be my first time back in the Artist Alley since 2010… Took some time off to make new stuff.
As far as choosing which shows- I suppose lately I’ve been hitting as many east coast shows as possible, it all comes down to travel and table cost, as well as if they actually have any big names going. At least then I can assume it will be a decent show.
TLP: What is the process for getting into Artist Alley?
BB: It has changed a bit, and it’s different for every show. But for NYCC and SDCC now, you basically fill out a form and have to choose just 1 image that best represents what you’ll be bringing to the show. That’s hard, and it’s tempting to pick a big name character, because then you might look more successful than you are, which I’m guessing is why you sometimes see a few people behind the tables that really shouldn’t be there. I’m guilty of that too though, haha I name dropped my TMNT cover which has yet to come out and included one of my pin ups as well. It worked! Plus they sat me right next to Eric Talbot, so they must think I’m the real deal.
TLP: What is a day as an artist in the alley like?
BB: Non stop. Fun as hell. Loud. Holding in piss. Hungry. All those things. It’s great, at the end of the day it’s like you just went to war though. I’m never more exhausted than i am after a convention, especially NYCC. My skin usually hurts from smiling honestly.
TLP: What is your biggest pet peeve at cons?
BB: Cosplayers that stand in front of my table. “ Move along.”
TLP: Is there a lesson you learned from being on the other side of the table, as a fan?
BB: Hmmm. I don’t know. The biggest thing i took from being on the other side was that I didn’t want to do that anymore. I wanted my own space. It’s nerve wracking walking around the floor with a portfolio as so many artists know. It’s also weird showing or pitching your work to someone who is there to promote or sell their work. They are working. Nice guys will take a look but I don’t think a lot of jobs come out of that approach. I think if you have a spot it’s much better to either let them come to you, then you know they are interested, or go to them and tell them where you’re at! it’s pretty great having a giant monolith or artwork to show all at once if an editor or publisher comes by. Plus you can’t put a price tag on having a place to sit down and drop off your crap.
TLP: What is the most rewarding thing at a con for you?
BB: Meeting those fans that just go bananas for your work. It’s awesome. You’re like, “ Really?! Ok, buy it all!” And then even better that those people keep in touch, I’ve made many really really serious friendships at cons. That is always great.
TLP: Do you have a favorite con story?
BB: I guess just my first trip to NYCC. Back in 2007. I didn’t have a table or anything. the show wasn’t even close to as big as it is now, and it still seemed enormous. I remember the line wrapping around outside and there was a charred corpse of a taxi cab that I guess had recently burned to death. That was a great first NYCC. Also inside I went full fan boy on Olivier Coipel, I was an enormous fan of his work on House Of M and I knew he was moving on to Thor soon so I commissioned a Thor sketch from him. I was gushing so hard he moved me to the top of the list. That sketch was $75 – I can’t believe it, i charge more than that now. One of my most prized possessions and now Olivier and I keep in touch online and are hopefully finding time to get beers this weekend.
TLP: If you had a thousand bucks to get a commission from someone who would it be?
BB: Olivier Coipel. smile emoticon