Thursday, December 4, 2008

If there's one compliment I get from the average comic convention attendee, it's "That's a really great idea," referring to my portable mirror set-up. If I get two compliments, the second is usually, "You're a strikingly handsome and well-mannered young man. I'll bet my daughter would love you!"

Today, we'll concentrate on the mirror, which allows people to see my work in progress right-side up. I got the idea from a larger version used for demonstrations in science labs and cooking shows.

Pictured above is the attendee's point of view (albeit with nothing on the drawing board).

It attaches to the table using a pipe clamp, which you can pick up in any hardware store. The only problem I've encountered is when conventions use the newer, plastic tables which have round, soft edges, making clamping nearly impossible.

Once broken down, all of the parts fit nicely into my suitcase (wrapping the mirror in paper keeps it from scratching too much).

Here's a list of the components you need to make one of your own:

2 x 3/4" black pipe, 18" long

1 x 3/4" black pipe, 12" long

1 x "pony" pipe clamp, 3/4" model, example

1 x double female coupling

1 x "L" coupling ("T" works too)

2 x conduit clamps, wingnut adjusted, example
(I use an optional third clamp so I can attach things like postcards to the main support.)

1 x Erector Set "L" shaped brace, 18" long (You could use something else as well. The important thing is that you can screw into and clip to it.)

2 x small binder clips

1 x 12" x 18" plexi-glass mirror (I had mine custom made for pretty cheap at Canal Plastics in Chinatown. I also rounded off the edges with my Dremel tool.)

This is a close-up of the Erector set piece.

And finally, here's the mirror (and me) in action at the Big Apple Con last year. Several people have asked me about this in the past, so I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask in the comments section.


  1. So now I know the one thing that science labs, cooking shows and Comic Conventions have in common... your mirror.

  2. Dude, you're like the MacGuyver of comic book artists...

  3. a lot of times, classrooms in art schools also have these for teachers, but they use some sort of shiny elastic or plastic vinyl thing. i imagine because it's dangerous to hover a piece of glass above your head. you should look into that too.

  4. Now, that's ingenious!

  5. Very cool tutorial, it's always made a big impression on me every time I've seen it. But now I can make one of my own, but I think I will attach a laser beam to the top. Maybe that'll grab some attention at the conventions! HAHA.

    Thanks Paolo,
    Manny M

  6. That's not only a great idea, but it shows how much you appreciate your fans. I hope to see it in action some day!


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