I was quite reluctant about joining the CairoComix festival this year, but now I can definitely say it was one of the best decisions I've made. I was only uncertain because I felt I'd be a little out of place seeing that my book isn't really a comic per se so I didn't know if it would be well received. Thankfully, I was wrong.
I learned a lot from this experience. You get to meet so many people who are genuinely interested in your work and scouting out for pure homegrown talent. Putting myself out there helped me know which proverbs people liked the most, which categories or illustrations they leaned towards, the type of merchandise they wanted, all this information just kept on coming and I made sure to take note. Also by handing my business card to every passerby, I got a few work opportunities here and there, so I felt like my hard work was paying off.
It's important to always take pride in your work and be confident with what you produce, no matter the compliments or criticisms people give you, but seeing your work being appreciated first hand really is an experience like no other and it motivated me to produce more, especially now that I know what appeals to people in my work. It's like conducting a focus group, but on a bigger scale.
10 hours everyday is a long time but it was definitely fun for me because I had my talented and not to mention, award-winning friend Deena Mohamed next to me the whole time. Below is a little video I put together to give you a more visual idea of my experience. Along with some photos.
Photos Courtesy of Mohamed Ezz Aldin