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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%

  • Plastic eraser

  • Pencil sharpener

  • 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.”


4. Sketchbook

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.


5. Clipboard

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!


8. Earbuds

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.


15. Gum

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.


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Drew Brockington works with pen and brush to bring his whimsical illustration style to life. His first graphic novel, CatStronauts, will be published in 2017 through Little, Brown Books. He used to participate in cheese eating contests. Drew can be found at | @thebrockart.

© 2015 Wayward Nerd. All rights reserved.

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