A lot of people are saying this weekend’s Thought Bubble comic convention was the best there has ever been.
Even though the bar was set incredibly high last year, I agree – this one was even better. Here are some reasons why, starting with things the organisers did differently and followed by some more personal factors which improved my own experience of the convention.
1. The TB Teepee
Responding to demand from exhibitors, TB’s organisers came up with an imaginative solution: a temporary structure to act as third venue alongside the Royal Armouries and New Dock Hall. None of us knew what to expect, but it was perfect. A rigid marquee which was light, warm and enormous.
2. The Water Taxi
Adding a touch of Venice Film Festival glamour to proceedings, the free water taxi service between the official convention hotel and the venue was fun and must have saved a lot of time and cab fares.
An inspired choice of guest, the brilliant French cartoonist drew for fans all weekend, in addition to participating in the Sketching Spotlight live drawing event on the Saturday.
4. Kodama Woods
5. Emily Carroll
6. More exhibitors than ever
There’s nothing like walking into a room full of creative people. When there are three huge rooms and hundreds of creators, it’s impossible not to be completely galvanised and inspired.
7. Paris Comic Expo collaboration
Paris Comic Expo takes place one week after Thought Bubble’s convention, I envy anyone who gets to attend both. The new partnership between the two events made it possible for Tim Sale and Matteo Scalera to appear at TB. Result!
8. The Thought Bubble Anthology 2014
As a finalist in last year’s Thought Bubble Comic Art Competition I had the privilege of appearing in this years Anthology alongside Tim Sale, Richard Starkings and other luminaries. I didn’t manage to get hold of a copy until the weekend, making it a personal highlight of the convention.
9. The Holiday Inn Express
I chose the hotel next door to the convention venue and it greatly improved my experience as an exhibitor. Being able to pop back to my room whenever I needed to was invaluable and I was even able to host a mid-con party of my own on Saturday evening! The Holiday Inn staff were great and thoughtfully changed their breakfast serving times to better suit TB exhibitors.
10. Sharing a table
Having Rob Williams as a tablemate was a vast improvement on last year when I was scared to leave my solo table for more than a couple of minutes. We were able to cover for each other so we could both get to see the rest of the convention. Overall Rob was excellent company and I forgive him for bringing me a coffee with milk in it.
11. Lessons learned
Being my second year as an exhibitor I was able to learn from last year’s mistakes. The uncomfortable shoes which stopped me going out last time were left at home and I remembered to bring a float bag of coins, meaning I always had enough change for customers with large notes. I got lost in Leeds less often too.
12. More sketching
Having recently sketched at a comic shop signing I felt more confident about making drawings for people this weekend. I did so on both days and really enjoyed it.
13. More comics
Last year I only had one comic to sell, all the other items were prints or non-comic books. An absurd state of affairs at a comic convention. Partly as a result of the table allocation being curated this year I was determined to have more comics for sale and I ended up selling out of two titles.
14. Making the TB weekend longer
Instead of travelling up on Friday and going home Sunday evening I extended the trip by visiting friends on Thursday night and Sunday night. By putting some space between the long journeys and the convention itself I was fresher on the Saturday morning and less apprehensive on the Sunday afternoon. Huge thanks for their hospitality and company go to Si and Emma for Thursday and Jonathan for Sunday.
Finally, thank you to all my fellow exhibitors and creators, to everyone who came over to talk to me or buy things and most of all thank you to the organisers and volunteers whose hard work and imagination form the foundation of Thought Bubble’s continuing success. See you next year!