If you’re a comic enthusiast who’s passionate about telling stories on panels and thought balloons, you probably own a collection of notebooks filled with doodles and drafts about the comic you wish to publish someday. You find yourself studying different drawing and storytelling styles and trying to find your own voice, one that can make you stand out and deserve publishing.
Writing, publishing, and promoting your work on your own requires resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity. Thanks to better printing options, publishing your own work is much easier. You can make your own comics by using alternative multi-page printouts like catalogs and booklets for selling or distribution. There are also more avenues for sharing your work. Getting noticed and gaining readers is easier, thanks to social media. Take your cue from comic book artists who started small – with ‘zines, web comics, and one-pagers – and now have legions of fans lining up in comic book conventions for their autographs.
Meeting other artists in conventions and expos not only helps expand your social circle, but also gives you the chance to learn from industry professionals. Whether you’re a comic book creator or collector, the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland is the best place for you to visit on September 15 and 16, 2012.
Attending the Small Press Expo, “North America’s Premiere Independent Cartooning and Comic Arts Festival,” is one of the best ways to discover non-commercial comics. It supports independent distributors by not giving out exhibitor tables to retailers, focusing instead on this year’s over 360 cartoonists and publishers. SPX is also where the annual Ignatz Awards are given, recognizing artistic work in comics, cartooning, and graphic novels. Special guests are also expected to attend the two-day event. You may get the chance to rub elbows with the likes of Françoise Mouly (RAW), Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve), Dan Clowes (Ghost World), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth), Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets), and other artists.