Beth Howard, co-runner of Women of Wonder Con

Interview: Beth Howard Talks Women of Wonder Con

Behind every woman is a superhero. 

Beth Howard, 38, co-runner of Women of Wonder Con is inspiring many young girls and women to embrace their artistic abilities. She helps provide them a safe space to network with others who are immersed within the creative field. 

Residing in Denton, Texas, Howard has much prior experience with working alongside many great speakers and artists at conventions. She runs and owns an online shop called Wilde Design (2007) where she mixes different skills in digital and traditional art. 

She works as a full time graphic designer and social media manager. When she isn’t working, she likes to spend time with her family as well as her three dogs. 

A New Beginning

Women and girls cheerfully posing for a group photo at the Women of Wonder Con.
Credit: Women of Wonder Con

David Doub, writer of Dusk Comics and Halo Parr, creator of Halo Toons started Women of Wonder Con which was known as the Creative Women’s Conference. And the conference was held at the Denton Public Library in 2016. Doub and Parr were looking around conventions and realized that there were no women on panels talking about women in comics.

This is what sparked the idea of Women of Wonder Con. Since it’s hard for women to get the same level of recognition, Doub and Parr realized what was missing. They wanted to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions that women are making in the creative industries. 

The motivation

Doub’s motivation for helping create the convention was a way to help honor the memory of his passed wife. Who also shared a passion in writing as well as him. 

Since Parr was already a woman in the arts, it was already a passion for her. Which led them to create a world for women to combine their creative minds.

Check out our interview with Beth! 

Beth Howard poses in front of the doors at West Oak Coffee Bar.
Credit: Davie Nguyen/Geek Gals

What inspired you to be a part of conventions?

Halo got me involved. I was involved first as a creator. That was actually the first time I ever sold at a table, in person, to people and it was terrifying. 

And she was like, “I don’t care. You’re doing it.” Which is good and that’s the kind of friend you need. I got more involved and eventually got into the planning committee and doing all this stuff. It’s been wonderful.

What led you to start co-running Women of Wonder Con?

I do a lot of conventions and events now. But, I love it! It’s so much fun and despite my initial terror, it’s so good meeting other people who are geeky about the same things and are passionate and excited. 

Whether I sell stuff that day well or not, touching base with people and being excited about the same thing is always fun. 

Even moreso, with this, I can feel that with Women of Wonder Con, we are able to talk to people who maybe don’t realize that some creative pursuits are careers. People who don’t realize that you can do that for a real job. There’s a lot being told that it’s not a valid choice you can make. 

There’s careers out there from different backgrounds and industries. There are a lot of paths and being able to show young people, especially that there are so many paths opened to you whether you’re doing full time or as a side project. The world is your oyster and you can do anything.

What’s it like setting up for these types of events? 

The day of set up is not that bad. We work with the Dallas Public Library in terms of setting up tables. They do most of that set up. The real difficulty of setting up is the stuff we’re doing now. What we’ve been doing for the past six months is getting people for our creative corner, which is what we call our artist alley. For us, it’s not just art, it’s lots of different genres of creatives and its advertising.

Beth Howard smiles for the camera.
Credit: Davie Nguyen/Geek Gals

How do you get to choose who gets to be a part of a convention?

Featured guests

For featured people, our convention is on March 7 this year and on March 9, we’ll put up a post out in our group to throw out ideas for next year and who to invite. This year we had more budgetary constraints than we had the year before, so we wanted to be sure we looked local and people who had lower booking fees or didn’t need as much. We wanted to make sure we could take care of them and accommodate what they needed. 

Creative Corner

In terms of our Creative Corner, people apply and then everybody who’s involved in managing the creative corner usually gets together and does a Skype meeting with everybody. We go through all the applications together. We always have more applicants than we have tables. 

We’re small so we usually have about 20 tables and that counts for tables for guests. We try to switch out and get new people every year because our Creative Corner are also our guests and they’re on our panels. And we want other people to see those creatives and not just be a shopping experience. We want people to come to get to know them, their work, how they’re doing what they’re doing and make it more interactive and accessible.

What is your favorite part of helping with these types of events?

Seeing people’s reactions! Seeing people sitting in a panel being completely fascinated or getting really involved in something. Or walking by tables and seeing people’s work and getting super psyched about something. It’s those little moments of connection where it’s cool that this is working. And getting a note from someone afterwards that, “My daughter thinks this is so neat!” or that “I took my whole family and I loved that!” That makes it worth every bit of effort because it’s so cool.

Beth Howard strikes a pose for the camera.
Credit: Davie Nguyen/Geek Gals

What other projects or events have you worked on and what was your favorite?

I haven’t in terms of the planning side of things. I did a tiny bit of work with Texas Latino Comic Con a couple of years ago, which is our sister convention because David is involved with that one as well. It’s so cool! 

One of my favorites to attend locally is All Con, because it’s so fan driven, and it’s so much about community content, people getting together and having fun. 
In terms of selling, Wonder of Women Con. I know I’m completely biased but I think it’s my favorite of the year. I think the level of intimacy and connection is really cool. The conventions are fun but I really enjoy small conventions where you’re really seeing and talking to everybody. And that could be very rewarding. I also get to go back to Lubbock Con this year at the end of February. I’m very excited about that!

What are your favorite fandoms?

Oh god, that’s so hard! Everything? Probably my oldest would be The Monkees because that was the first thing I was into since I was five. But, Xena was a big one for me because it was formative and it was my first internet fandom. We had just gotten access to the internet and I was really into that. 

Currently, Supernatural. I’ve always been a big Star Wars fan. Hannibal is a show I have to rewatch regularly. I love horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And I read the comics some, but I’m more of a movie fan. 

Beth Howard gives the camera a smile.
Credit: Davie Nguyen/Geek Gals

Who helped get you to where you are now?

In terms of conventions: I owe Halo a huge debt for getting me into selling because that was a huge thing for me. I’ve been selling my stuff online since 2007 and until then I’ve been selling for about six years at that point. I’ve never done anything in person, so that was a huge leap. I was so scared to even try, but she told me to just do it.

It was me, Halo and Kristen McGuire, a local voice actress that did a panel on parenting for one year in creative industries and how you find the time to do the things you’re passionate about while having kids. I’ve known her [Halo] for forever and she was a big force for that. My husband, for putting up with it and for helping me make so many displays over the years. And helping me with coming up with better ways to do or approach things. I owe him a lot.

What are you hoping for this year’s event and turnout?

I’m hoping we get a similar turnout like last year’s. Depending, we usually get around one hundred give or take. I’m mostly hoping we have the same kind of audience we’ve always had. Which has been very engaged, supportive and excited to learn and be part of everything. That’s my main thing[goal]. If we have 50 people, I hope they are people who are as excited as us to be there and to learn things.

Do you have any upcoming projects or have any plans for the rest of 2020?

I’m planning my convention calendar for the year.  I have Lubbock Con coming up and Hill Country Comic Con. Prepping for the year of con season, making sure I have inventory, prep work involved and behind the scenes of making that happen. 

Women posing and throwing up the Wonder Woman symbol in unity.
Credit: Women of Wonder Con

Catch Beth at Women of Wonder Con on March 7 at the Dallas Public Library. You can view the full schedule on their website. In addition, you can follow them on Twitter for updates! 

Featured image credit: Davie Nguyen/Geek Gals

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