While sharing photos of new sketches I had added to my book, Usagi basically asked what the deal was. I thought I had done a post about my sketchbook but maybe I’m wrong! I probably just wrote one talking about them in general and how they work. It’s simple really, instead of buying a ton of prints, or having sketches done solo, I have them placed in a sketchbook. It helps save space and keeps all my art together. At the moment I have two different books. I have one that is Hawkeye themed and the other is basically whatever I want. There’s really no limit on the number of books or themes that you can do! Melinda has an anti-hero theme, Deidre has a Gambit book, and Manda has a theme that centers around the style (chibi) instead of a character.
As far as what book I use, I have a Moleskine Art Plus Watercolor Album. It’s 5 x 8.25 and is pretty great for any medium (ink, water color, markers). I’ve had numerous compliments on the quality of the book and it’s what I recommend to all my friends. It’s a smaller book which again helps with storage and sometimes helps get me a deal when it comes to artwork. Plus it’s easy to throw into your con bag and won’t weigh you down!
Now onto the fun stuff! Here’s what I currently have in my Hawkeye sketchbook. There’s a few quick sketches from Skottie Young and Phil Noto plus tons of amazing stuff from other artists.
And this is my “whatever” book:
I wasn’t kidding when I said it was “whatever.” I have Jurassic World, Jessica Rabbit, Marvel, and other random stuff thrown in. Honestly, if you aren’t super in love with one character, I suggest having your first book be a very loose theme. That way it’s fun and not stressful. But I’m sure you’re wondering about costs. I have sketches from free to $100. I think $100 was the most and that was the Skottie Young Winter Soldier. The Katie Cook Hawkeye was only $10. The “secret” to a free sketch is to take advantage of signings at booths like Marvel. If Marvel has a booth during a convention, they’ll normally host signings by writers and artists. This is where you might get lucky and be able to score a quick sketch for free. Now, it’s easier to do at a show like C2E2 that isn’t super crowded. I don’t know how it would fly at say, SDCC or NYCC. Of course the artist could always say no, but it never hurts to ask! Some of the bigger artists like Skottie Young only take X amount of sketches a day. If you want to make their list be sure to head to their table ASAP and on the first day if you can. Some artists might take 10 the first day, but if they overbook or end up taking longer on commissions, they might not take any or even a more limited number the following day. As far as how long they take, some might keep your book until the next day, others might be done within a few hours. Most of the time the artist will ask for you phone number and they’ll send a text when it’s ready to be picked up. It’s good to keep a little list of who has your book, and if you’ve paid yet. Some ask that you pay when you drop off, others might wait until you pick it up.
And I think that’s it really! Always remember to have your contact info inside your book in case you misplace it. I just have a label that has my name, phone number, and address. As far as how to ask for a sketch, the best thing to do is to check out their style. Are they fun? Do they have a certain look they go for? When the Roller Derby artwork caught my eye at a table, I knew I needed a Peggy version. Sometimes it’s as simple as what catches your eye when you’re strolling around AA. If you start a friendship with an artist (I’m now good friends with Michael Duron), you can sometimes request something really out there but still be confident in knowing it’ll work. I try not to give too much instruction since they’re the artist and I want them to be comfortable and confident in what they’re creating. In most cases artists will offer different price points depending on the medium (B&W vs. Color, Pencil Vs. Water Color), type of sketch (head shot, full body), and how many characters you’re asking for. Honestly, there really is someone who will fit every budget in Artist Alley. You just have to take your time and look around.
If you have any other questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer!