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It’s another day of an email reaching my inbox, letting me know that a convention I used to attend will be held again in the near future, and that sign ups for artist alley are starting.

And yet, I don’t feel compelled to sign up.

Back in 2015, I entered the convention scene as an artist and it became a big thing in my life. Conventions meant a lot to me. Not just from the art perspective – back then, before I had the courage to come out to my family, they were an escape and a place where I could be myself.

I’ve met amazing peers and friends between 2015 and 2019, which were the years I was active at conventions. Getting to know the people who loved my art in person was special, and I’ll never forget those moments when people were especially kind and amazing. From being commissioned to draw whatever I want to having wonderful people show up at my booth with free food, or handing me generous tips and asking nothing in return – it was truly amazing to connect with the community in this way.

Ever since the pandemic, things have changed for all of us. For me it meant adjusting my life to make sure I can make ends meet without having to rely on events. Unfortunately, 2020 was especially hard with multiple deaths in the family and months of isolation where I was unable to see my partner. As such, I have not done much work on FRANTIC LIVE, and the release of the second volume had to be delayed over and over. I’m hoping to wrap the second book up this year, however I can’t guarantee it or that I will be able to put out a print version.

Looking back, I had to realize that conventions were, financially, not the best decision for me. In the two years of a pandemic, I have managed to save up simply from not having to travel and print/order merchandise. My focus is on digital products and commissions, as well as my Patreon income, all of which have served me well. Again, the focus on Patreon and NSFW work meant I didn’t have as much time for my original comic, since that doesn’t generate income for me while I work on it. Not enough people were interested in supporting the creation of FL, but Patreon has been a steady source of income since I rebranded it to be a place for my NSFW work.

As of now, I can’t imagine going back to conventions. Since I don’t drive and trains+hotels are expensive, a single convention trip can cost around 500€, if not more. Usually, I would end up making just enough to break even. As much as I valued seeing peers and fans in person, it was not profitable for me and in the end, I am almost grateful that COVID put an end to the convention cycle. It has helped my mental health as well, giving me more energy to devote to my own projects without always having to think what would sell. Being trapped in a hell of making merchandise instead of art was not something I aspired for myself.

Now, when I think about conventions, I am instantly reminded of this struggle to decide which piece would sell, what other people would like, etc. Since most of my current work is NSFW, I would have to produce new merchandise. At the time of writing this post, I am not ready for such a project. Maybe one day I will feel the itch and inspiration to return, starting over from scratch.

TL;DR: Doing conventions wasn’t doing me any financial favors, and wasn’t fulfilling me from an artistic standpoint. But I will not rule them out for the distant future.