Angry Artist Alley: Time Killer


You know what I mean. You’re sitting there, it’s been about two hours, people walk by and say they’ll come back to your table later. It’s a pretty repetitive routine. So what do you do? You just sit there….waiting……….waiting……


(Above) Rachel Dropp from Raw Elements Jewlery. A couch just happened to be right behind her at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival event :3

You might have heard stories about how your butt will get big if you sit too long, how some guy cut off most of the blood circulation from his legs playing Diablo 3 and died, and well, numerous other ones. I mean, your ass is on the chair, you’re pretty much doing no business (unless you’re drawing a commission), you might as well stand up, stretch, and sit back down.

Here’s the breakdown: When you’re bored, you’re tired. Then you wanna sleep. At that point, you’re not at full capacity to do commissions or make conversation at all. So here are ways to keep you slightly more energetic.

Time Killer #1: Stretches

note: I am a fatty ass at home and I don’t exercise. If you don’t believe any of these exercises work, let’s say if you DID do it, you just killed twenty seconds of boredom, which is good enough to refresh.

The thing is, your arms and legs are part of your circulatory system, which means you need a good amount travelling through everywhere. Sitting down can cut off a little circulation. When your circulation is poor, you begin to feel tired. You might even feel things like numbness in your legs, or ‘pins and needles’ on other limbs. You’d feel stiff, your back might hurt, all that stuff. So when you’re done drawing a commission or it’s been about an hour, make sure to do some stretches. Here’s a diagram that will help you out:


(note: if you knew me in real life, I barely exercise and sit on my butt all day drawing. Somehow even I’m able to do this, which means you can too for twenty seconds of boredom)

And don’t forget to check this youtube video out too:

Time Killer #2: Conversation

A great way to make friends is to engage with a topic you two are interested in. So uh, you’re sitting next to a person who draws (and hopefully isn’t mooching all the business), and you can tell them issues about your table. Where did I learn about some of these tips and tricks? By the people who sat next to me! To start off a conversation, offer a snack or a mint, and just talk and talk. I mean, this is if they’re not busy drawing and stuff.

Time Killer #3: Take a walk

You’re wondering something like “wait if I’m out the table, then no one will buy anything!” You might and might not be right. In the instance this event is a full 9 hour event, I’ll tell you there are times of the day which I call ‘dead time’. Basically people are done buying what they want, or are just walking around browsing/killing time. Or it could be lunch time, or it could almost be the end of the day. Who knows.

In the occasion there’s a panel going on, just go! It might be the last time you’ll ever see the panel.

Time Killer #4: Food

Fruits and nuts keep without having to refrigerate them, and nuts are a really good for energy. A handful of almonds is enough for me to last an hour, and tangerines smell oh-so-yummy when you peel them open. Beef Jerky is also a great source of protein. Especially on conventions with multiple days, you do NOT want to be deprived of your daily diet essentials. If possible, eat a vitamin pill each day just to be safe.

Time Killer #5: Entertain yourself, Entertain others?

I’m pretty much deprived of handheld games and smartphones, but it’s everywhere. Check your email on your phone, play Legend of Zelda on your nintendo 3ds, just name it. You can crochet and stuff behind the table too.

Music is sort of a personal peeve of mine. Sometimes even convention rules indicate ‘no loud music’. I’ve seen violinists do it nonetheless and never get in trouble, so I might be wrong. But it really bugs me because no one can really hear them, and they would play the same song over and over. And another thing is when they decide to stand in front of their table, and then play their instrument or get their friend to play the instrument. It obstructs everyone’s path, ‘expanding’ their booth several feet in front of their table, and then soliciting for money afterwards (some conventions prohibit that in the first place). Anyways, just a peeve. If you’re going to do it, do it for ten minutes behind the table and I won’t be bothered. But not over and over for hours, please.

Time Killer #5: Bathroom Break

Some people just completely forget to let it out. I know I forget all the time, but doesn’t mean you shouldn’t either. Basically, you walk to the bathroom, do your business, and walk out. A refreshed bladder will help you uh….well it feels better than a full one. It’s better not to wait till you’re about to explode, just in case there might be a line in the bathroom. Especially at cons, when people are dressing inside the stalls for cosplay.


I would say go for it if you were trying to stay awake for work or class, but when you’re sitting for eight hours drawing and it’s not like some crazy energy task, you’d probably feel more like crap than you did before in a few hours. And that isn’t good when you need to be on game-mode for eight hours straight (and caffeine makes you urinate a lot more too). Something light might be okay, but a heavy energy drink that would make you even more tired later is not good. Especially when you drink it early in the morning to stay awake and then feel tired in the afternoon when it gets busier. But you know…some people can do it. 


CarlyFornia here (left). I see her at practically every con I’ve gone to in the Bay Area, and I always say hi. She ALWAYS has her game face on. Never tired, always prepared. When she doesn’t have anything to do, I can see her sewing behind the table. A real soldier!


2 thoughts on “Angry Artist Alley: Time Killer

  1. Usually I have my regular artist buddies to talk to to kill the time but whenever I meet new artists. I think the hardest part is just the ice breaker, like some artists I’ll click immediately with them and we’ll talk for hours but others it’s almost like there’s a wall and further effort only proceeds to reinforce that wall.

    For #5 I would add cosplaying while at your table, it gets you up every once in a while and entertains customers as well. From my experience, especially at events like the Cherry Blossom Festival or smaller conventions where customers maybe unfamiliar or new to cosplay, you’ll be getting up many times to take photos or wake up your sleeping leg.

    #6 definitely, go as often as possible, there is no shame in asking a neighbor to watch your table while you go to the bathroom. I also find that it helps to splash a little water on your face or clean yourself up a bit. Gives you that slight feel of refreshment, I tend to bring a clean dry towel in my backpack just for this. Since bathrooms run out of towels every once in a while.
    This goes double if you are wearing a cosplay. During the Cherry Blossom Festival last year, I was wearing an Auron cosplay and I was tabled directly in the sunlight and man I was burning up. Going to the bathroom wash up often was what kept me strong and energetic.

    • Very easy tip: Open a box of mints or gum, eat one, then give one to them. Or offer them a bottle of water :]
      Conversation goes something like this:
      “want a mint?”
      “Oh, thanks, but no thanks”
      “oh yea, forgot to introduce myself, I’m [name]”
      “oh, my name is [name]”
      and so, you start there. Lol this is so rhythmic to me.

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