Friday, April 23, 2010

RE-Sketching at a Convention

There was a question asked in the comments section about sketching at conventions and I thought I would answer it here for everyone to read about-

yann said...

Hi Terry , does it means people dont wait while your drawing their sketches .
Well , in France we do wait religiously in front of the artist until he has our sketch done .
Very cool sketches by the when are coming to France????

Ok so is how it works and I will use the past Chicago show as my example -

DAY 1 - So Friday, first day of the show runs from 1- 7PM. I get to my table at about 1:10 (I had to find it!) and there is a line of fans there already (which is very cool!). I set up my stuff, pull out my paper and start signing books and writing down names for my "Commission" sketch list (where I charge the individuals a price for a full sized rendered drawing). It takes about a half hour to get to everybody that has been standing there and I usually write down around 15-20 names and no one pays for their sketch until I'm done with it. Now for the next 5 1/2 of the show I'm signing books, selling artwork, talking with fans and pros, remembering how to socialize with multiple people at once (it's a skill and after 7+ months away from cons I'm a little rusty and end up with a banger of a headache by the end of the day) and when I have a second I begin my first "Commission" sketch. In addition to the "Commission" sketches I do "Free" sketches for almost anyone who asks and especially for those who bring me a hardcover book and I draw a free sketch regardless (as I figure anyone who has payed this much for a book must really like it and I thank them for their patronage with a sketch). These "Free" sketches are always done for the fan standing in front of me, like at an average French convention. Now, I don't leave my seat until 7 except to stand up and stretch. By 7PM, I've had enough time to rough in a figure and ink the head and part of the body of my 1st "Commission" (VOODOO).

DAY 2- Saturday I get up and decide I'd better get a few of the "Commissions" drawn before I head to the show as I will never get enough done this weekend otherwise. So after I eat breakfast, I finish the VOODOO from the previous day and I do 3 more "Commissions" ( EMMA1, MSMARVEL, EMMA2) before Rachel and I head out to see the Field Museum (before I need to be at the show). I get to the show around noon and and sign,sketch, etc until 2 where I have to go to the Marvel booth and sign from 2-3 which ends up being until 3:20 doing "Free" sketches. When I get to my table, the fan whose "Commission" I'm currently working on is leaving today so I really start cranking on it and manage to find a little time to finish it by 6PM. Once that is done, I start next "Commission", #6. And at this point, I've drawn about 100 of the "Free" sketches.

DAY 3-Sunday, I get 5.5 "Commissions" done before I head to the show at noon so I can relax and just sign and do "Free" sketches until I have to leave to catch my flight at 3PM. I do my final "Commission" as well, a head and shoulders shot on a Blank Cover.

So that is a fairly typical convention "Sketch" recap. It's a lot of work but I really enjoy drawing for people and it's great to meet and talk with the all fans and other pros!


PS- YANN - I will probably be doing something in France again, by next spring at the latest. I'm working on another exhibition for Galerie du 9ème art in Paris, so most likely there.


  1. Thanks for the insight into your con sketch process, Terry.

    Hope you can make it to a Boston con one of these days as we have a lot of Sargent originals, including murals at the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Public Library, to see.

  2. Hi again Terry . Well i couldn't expect more than your answer . and didn't think it would take you so much of your time to answer . so first of all thanks for that .this is an insanely detailed answer and i'm looking forward
    to this exhibition .I've heard that this kind of exhibition is not that popular in the us , so i m pretty happy you have so much fans in France for the Galerie du 9 eme art to organised that kind of things .
    Once again thanks.

  3. Brian - I have family in Boston so I've been there a number of times and so have been fortunate enough to some of the Boston Sargents - BUT I do need to make it out there for a con!

    Yann- It was no problem to do a long answer as I think it clears up the process for a lot of people (hopefully!).

    Re-Galerie- It's been a really good experience and it's a good excuse for a vacation as well!


  4. Wow, you are a workaholic! I'm am extraordinarily impressed.