The Importance of Networking

Today, I’m here to talk to you about an important tool.  It’s something just as important as a dipping pen and a technical drawing pen – and that is networking.

I reported to all of you that on this past Saturday, I attended the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival being held in Williamsburg, NY.  I did take some photos while I was there.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel ChurchHeld at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, this annual event sees many from around the world representing the world of alternative/independent/underground comics.

Festival Sign

I attended this event – and actually had to leave because the place got jam-packed!  But I wasn’t merely here for pleasure.  I was here on business too.  I was browsing some of the tables to see what everyone else is doing.  I also talked with people, handed out my business cards, and took some of their cards.

Networking is an important tool for a cartoonist (as well as an illustrator, graphic designer, photographer, etc).  No man is an island and it’s important to meet others and make connections.  You never know you may meet.  There are many benefits to networking.  Oh?  What’s that?  You’re skeptical…just consider these benefits.

  • You can make connections with others who can help you, like give you tips about finding work, identifying potential customers, and locating specialists to help you.
  • You can stay current on trends going on; learn what is old and what is new, what’s hot and what’s not.
  • You can get referrals and build even more leads.
  • You can build up your reputation.

Those are just a few ideas to get you thinking about how networking can be valuable.  There are many tutorials about how to network and what other benefits you can get from them.  This one over on is a good place to start.

But now, what can a cartoonist do to network?  Well, start by getting some business cards printed up.  You can get these from many places such as print shops (both independent and chains like FedExOffice).  Shop around, see what deals you can get, and what options are available on your card.  Make sure you have your name and contact information such as a website and email address.  Pass these business cards out to others you meet and tell them about the comics you create.  If you’re networking with a fellow artist, then be sure to get a business card from them too.  Gathering tons of business cards is a good way to build up contacts and make connections.  As for meeting other cartoonists in the flesh, start by checking your local comic book stores.  The staff and/or customers down there may know some you can meet.

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest

Comic book conventions are another big source.  I attended New York Comic Con and the aforementioned Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest mainly to meet fellow professionals.  There are plenty going on all around the country, if not the world.  Some are small, one-day events while others are huge.  Some emphasize mainstream material (i.e. superheroes), some may be about manga, others may be all about the small press, and so on.  For a basic idea of when and where conventions are going  on, check out  Check out the convention, talk to the people manning the dealer tables, chat with the creators in the artist alley to find out about their projects, give out and exchange business cards, and so forth.

In this digital age, it’s also important to remember to give social media a shot.  You can form accounts at Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc and follow other cartoonists as well as tout yourself and what you’re up to.

Networking will be very important for myself too in helping to promote my work, especially the newly printed second episode of Sunnyville Stories.  What’s that?  You didn’t know?  Well, in case you missed the special bulletin, Sunnyville Stories episode #2 is now available in print form!  You can buy a copy of it through Indy Planet or if you are a comic book shop, you can buy it for your store through Comics Monkey.  So be sure to buy your copy today!

Well, that’s it for this week.  Join me next week for more neat stuff.

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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.
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6 Responses to The Importance of Networking

  1. mindy indy says:

    Yay for having business cards! They’re so handy. I’ve printed part of my comic in the background of the card so people can instantly get a taste of my style. A great place to print them is at Park Slope Copy Center – great quality for a low price.
    I’ve also found that for networking, making the contact is only the first step. It’s super important to follow up, and then keep following up, which may be hard to do over time but you have to keep at it!

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