What’s in my bag?
Editor's Note: Each month Wayward Nerd will ask a nerdy someone what they bring to comic-cons or generally can't travel without.
by Drew Brockington
When I table at a con, I hope that 95% of what I bring I won’t have to carry home. Boxes of comics, art prints, and zines make up most of my arsenal, but what I carry in my bag is a different story. It might be brutal slugging around a convention center for 3 days as an attendee, but staying within the allotted 3' x 6' Artist Alley space and talking about Cats and Ewoks for 72 hours is a true test of will.
1. Pen Pouch
This pen pouch is just as important as my sketchbook. If I lost this, I don’t think I could draw anything until I found it again. It contains:
Pocket brush pen
2 brand-new sharpies
Staedtler Non-photo Blue pencil
Pentel Finito Ink pen
Cool Grey markers 50%, 30%, 10%
6 inch ruler
2. Lego Minifigure (or other small toy)
I like to pick up a little figure pretty early at some shows to have with me at the
table. Often it is a Lego man or a strange creature. That way, if things get really
bad, I can always play with some toys.
3. Square Reader
Every artist should have a Square or a card reader for credit payments! You are a goofball if you do not. No excuses. I think 50% of my sales are through plastic. And, if anyone says, “I’m out of cash,” you can reply, “No problem, I take cards.”
If things get slow, I like to doodle out ideas for upcoming projects. Plus it keeps
me from looking like a slug just sitting at my booth.
Walking around with a metal clipboard that has all your sales info on it makes me
feel more official. Plus, there’s paper if you need to write someone’s info down or
make a sign that says, “I JUST MADE THIS SIGN!”
6. Bristol Pad for Commissions
One of the first shows I tabled at, someone asked if they could pay me to draw
something. I was not prepared and felt like such a rookie as I borrowed a sheet of
paper from someone else. Never again.
7. Emergency Blinker Reflector
I’ll put this on my backpack if I’m walking at night. Safety First!
For pre-con warm-up and post-con recouperation.
9. Spare Earbuds
Just in case!
10. Headphone Splitter
Just in case you want to watch a movie on your phone with a buddy after the
11. Water Bottle
Why would you not bring a water bottle?
12. Mini Maglite
Another “just in case” item. (I’m starting to think I’m paranoid.)
13. Spare Phone Battery
I use my phone for taking cash and looking up reference images for doodles/ commissions. Power is key, and this gives me enough juice until I can recharge at the hotel.
14. Granola Bars
Sometimes it’s impossible to sneak away from the table and get some food, and
gum can only help so much.* On those days I eat about three granola bars and call it even.
*See Item 15.
Chewing a piece of gum can stave off hunger until you get a chance for a proper
16. Ricola Cough Drops
Having a cough drop at the ready has saved my life multiple times. Tabling at
cons is an endurance sport. I did three shows back to back, and I was sucking
these down like there was no tomorrow.