I first met Bryan Hitch at Heroes Con 06. He was just wrapping up Ultimates and had no idea what the next project would be. I spent about a half hour with him as he signed thousands of books for people who had submitted them to CGC (my views on CGC will be expressed in a later article). It was a rare opportunity as he does very few cons in North America.
I was doing my Youtube interviews at this point but it entirely slipped my mind as I was stunned that the man who was responsible for redesigning the inside of the TARDIS ( which I only recently was told) was chatting to me about technique and how he was influenced by outside media.
When I saw he was a special guest at this years New York Comic Con I thought he would be placed behind a glass booth where you slide your book underneath and he would sign it. I was thankfully very mistaken and he was situated in artist alley. He was amongst the people. He was also Sketching.
Understand something- when going to cons, hot artists do not sketch all the time. Many reasons for this but certain artists you almost expect to never sketch in public. LET ALONE FREE.
Thats right: Bryan Hitch was Sketching For FREE.
For those of you new to the convention experience and are bewildered as to why this is an epic thing allow me to explain.
In Europe, artists sketch for free. No matter who you are, it is a cultural thing that you are looked after and the fans are rewarded.
In North America: (artists pay for tables, hotels, meals. this is their job)
Artist just trying to get a paying job- Sketches for free and quality varies ( this guy is perfecting his craft and while nice to receive, sometimes you may find a diamond in the rough).
Artist with his own book (independant) - Will charge cheaper rates as he wants you to buy his book and realizes other people will see your sketch book and if he's lucky may swing a gig out of it.
Artist working for the big indies- Charging a little more as they often are on their way up or are trying to pay for the con and make deals to land a big book.
Artist from the big two- rates can be higher ( between 60-100 for a sketch of varying size) Here's where you should be careful as some independent guys get big heads and charge for what they think is nice work, but does not hold a flame to caliber work.
ICON Artists -These are your hot artists on uber popular books. This also includes your ultra artists from the nineties. They more then likely are 100 dollar minimums or sketch for charity's like HERO. Charity sketches are more fulfilling in my eyes, and I don't mind loosing out on one because I know either way the money is going to an excellent cause.
You'll notice I have not named names in prices. This is out of respect because artists can need to alter their pricing depending on their needs at the time.
The point is when you hear my guests name you think and you know Icon. Now there are some rare exceptions, a future guest was a notorious free sketcher. That is until he saw a piece he did, for what he thought was a friend, available on the artists enemy.... EBAY.
I shall continue the discussion on Ebay and its effects on the industry later, until then...
Ladies and Gentlemen