Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

How comic creators really feel about convention commission sketches

Sometimes, the pressure (or choice of subject) of a con sketch can prove to be too much

Artist Alley at ECCC 2024
Image credit: ReedPop

Popverse's top stories of the day

If there’s one particular draw to conventions, it’s the ability to get your favorite artists to draw sketches just for you. But… what do your favorite artists feel about that part of con-going? Popverse asked two artists how they feel about this particular tradition, and if one particular con commission stood out for them.

“All convention sketches kind of blur into one big con commission for me, and I hate doing them. I hate every single one of them because I hate drawing at conventions,” Becky Cloonan admitted. “I get super stressed out. When I'm drawing I have to be in my spot. It's got to be comfortable and nothing ever comes out good because people are watching and I hate it.”

Don’t take it too personally, anyone who’s ever asked Cloonan for a con sketch; it’s a recurring theme when it comes to her approach to artwork. “Art for me is a constant struggle. It feels like I have to beat the art into submission. It's not a pretty process for me. I love doing it, but it's also an angry process. I always end up doing one or two drawings for people because I can't say no. And if someone's like, ‘Please,’ and I'm like, ‘Okay, fine, I'll do it,’ but I always hate it. I get a big list [of requests], and I can never get through them all, and then you're trying to draw them at the table, and people come up and you can't get them done at the show, and then you got to get them done in your hotel room that night. But there's no downtime. It makes conventions so difficult.”

Related: If you're going to a comic con, you'll need this (and this, and this)

Laughing, Cloonan added, “A lot of people like doing them. For me, they’re the worst thing in the world. So I just don’t do them.”

Other creators, however, find joy in how… specific some commissions can be.

“One year at San Diego, somebody asked me to draw Supergirl, but being weakened by Kryptonite,” recalled Jeff Parker. “I did the drawing and then he came back. And [fellow Portland artist Steve] Lieber and I kept talking about it, just speculating on, ‘Why does he need Supergirl to be weakened by Kryptonite?’ I just asked him. I said, ‘Okay, why do you want to see her weakened by Kryptonite?’ And he said, ‘…Does it trouble you?’

“‘Well,’ I said, ’it hurts her. She's in pain,’” Parker continued. “In my mind, that's what Kryptonite does, it hurts! He said, ‘No, I just like a damsel in distress sort of thing.’ I just let it go. I just went [brusquely], ‘That's great, here's your drawing!’”

So, now you know: don’t ask Becky Cloonan to draw anything at a show, and if you’re going to ask for something related to your, shall we say, niche interests, then just bear this in mind: everyone will know exactly what you’re asking for, and why you’re asking. Remember both those lessons, and you’ll do just fine when getting a commission of your own!

Re-live the majesty of C2E2 with our the C2E2 2024 Main Stage panel videos on-demand, all the major things Popverse found at the Chicago show, and C2E2 2024's best cosplay.