Angry Artist Alley: When they got no cash

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If you’re new to artist alley, then you might not understand this. And it happens a LOT more often at conventions now, and well, it’s kind of hard to solve it. I have a lot of solutions, most of which are inconvenient or lack of trust with a customer makes it difficult. I have my methods, other people have other methods, but altogether it’s not a sure way to solve this issue. What’s the issue?

When someone has no cash but a credit card, how do you approach this?

and also: If there’s no wifi, how do I handle the payment?

SAFEST OPTION: Do NOT do transaction without the moo-lah.
However, they might give you the cold shoulder (oh well, it’s not like they could buy it if they didn’t have the cash).

FIND THE CLOSEST ATMS (wifi not needed)

1) Find out if there is an atm in the building where you are selling art. Find every single one. Find the closest banks too.

2)Print out a map of the floor plan of your convention and mark the areas. This is a safety precaution in case the convention does not provide a good enough map. Many conventions take place in hotels, and there are usually one or two atms nearby because of that. Mark all the areas where the atm is on the map on the floor plan of your convention, or local ones. ALSO take note if there are nearby banks at walking distance and write their address.

3)When someone has a credit card, you can do direct them to an atm. If the convention provides a free map in their freebie bags, mark the area where the atm is on the map so they can find it for the future.

CARD READER (wifi needed)

Now, this is if you have a cellphone that has internet service. Otherwise, you will have to pay the hotel area money to use internet (and that usually costs about $60 per person). NOTE: Card readers take a percentage of your transaction. It’s wise to add an extra twenty five cents just to make up for it.

Square: https://squareup.com/reader, transaction fee: 2.75% (and $3.75+$0.15 for manual entered transaction)
This is your classic reader. It’s the first and most popular.

Paypal Here: https://www.paypal.com/webapps/mpp/credit-card-reader, Transaction fee: 2.7%

It looks like a triangle, and actually takes a smaller percentage of a fee than square. The advantage is that people can use their paypal account, BUT it’s not restricted to that. You can also use normal credit cards if you want too.

CARD READER-OFFLINE (wifi not needed)

Square has the option of doing cellphone transactions offline. They keep the information of the credit card in the system for a day and when wifi is attached, the transaction can be completed. You need to take the chance of having a successful transaction for this to work-hopefully the credit card isn’t busted, or bank suddenly has issues, etc.

Check transactions via. cellphone (wifi needed)

There are some companies, like Chase Bank that has a cellphone app that allows you to photograph the front and back of a check and send it to the bank for the payment.

I don’t like to leave the house to the bank, so when I ask for payments that I want to put in the bank, I request that my clients send a paper check to me. I don’t go to the bank, I just immediately use the Chase app and do the transaction via smartphone. Very nifty. 

If you trust your customer, you can request payment AFTER the convention (wifi not needed)

This is pretty simple: Both of you exchange information about what you want for the commission and the price and a contact, and then wait for them to send you the payment via. paypal. When you receive the payment, you start on the convention and voila! It is up to you if you request for extra money for shipping or if you want to keep it the same price.

Nowadays I only get about two or three commissions a day. So usually for my customers, I will tell them I’ll mail it when I’m done with no additional cost (or give it to them the next day if the con is multiple days). I order a lot of things on amazon, so I have a lot of padded envelopes and I use those to mail my commissions out, and so shipping costs less than two dollars. It’s very helpful for me because I can concentrate on grabbing customers to my table instead of sitting quietly drawing. 

And there you have it. Do you have any other methods? Do share!

Featured artist: Me! (and BlizzardTerrak)

blizzardTerrek

Photo courtesy of BlizzardTerrak, one of my sensei for camera stuff. He’s a great cosplay photographer and has a lot passion for doing it. He came by my table at KrakenCon and snapped one real quick.

You see all that stuff on my table? If you want any of it, it’s likely on my online shop so you can get it there or message me. 
Websites:

My next article will feature a LOT of artists, so be prepared!

And a list of the EXACT supplies bought on Amazon that I used for my table in that photo:

Whitmor 6070-1723 Wire Storage Cubes Set 4 Black
4-Pack 6AC Gibson Holders – 3 Wire Display w/ Deep Edge – Black
MyCraftSupplies 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 A7 In Resealable Clear Cellophane Plastic Packaging Set of 100
Pack of 50 5×7 Picture Mats with White Core Bevel Cut for 4×6 Pictures Various Colors
100 EcoSwift 8.5×11 Chipboard Cardboard Craft Scrapbook Material Scrapbooking Packaging Sheets Shipping Pads Inserts 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch Chip Board

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Angry Artist Alley: Printable ‘Do Not Photograph’ Signs

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Okay I admit I did this in a jiffy, but I mean I REALLY need to do it for Fanime this year. Oh, did I mention?

Back to subject, in this post, I’ve attached a few files that ANYONE, including you and your cat sitting next to you (if you have one). Just print it out and put it on your table.2014-05-16 10.45.53

This is a tiny promotion piece, as the character that is drawn on that sign is actually one of the main characters to my comic ‘The Dark Side of Conventions’. I’m drawing a comic about proper behavior at convention, misconceptions about conventions, and more. PLEASE READ THIS AND SUPPORT MY PROJECT IF YOU CAN. It’s my Patreon site, and even though this comic will be free to read when completed, I need a lot of funding for me to get enough time to work on it efficiently (PLUS the perk is that you get to see every page when it’s done instead of waiting for each chapter to be completed).

So here are the directions:

  1. Download the file.
  2. Print it.
  3. On your convention table, just tape it to the front.
  4. If you’re nice enough, take a photo of your table and tag #angryartistalley and possibly my tumblr (jackieloart.tumblr.com). Not mandatory, but I’d LOVE to check out the photos when tagged to see people actually using it. Or feel free to message me with a photo of your table :3

Tips:

  • Printing on colored paper makes it stand out more20140516_105012
  • Laminating or covering it in a plastic mylar bag helps make it last longer and waterproof. Also prevents people from straight out ripping it in half. 20140516_113646
  • Don’t like my picture on the side? That’s okay, I made one of the templates empty on that corner so you can draw your own doodle there :)
  • Feel free to shrink it to whatever size you want
  • 20140516_105309

Anything Else?

  • Did you make your OWN design? Feel free to post it here, I would like to share it on my blog, rip off your awesome idea, and implement it into a better sign for everyone in the future.
  • If you have any tips to improve my poor graphic design skills, feel free to help me out on that.
  • I will have more designs in the future, and they will all be available on another page on this site (have not made link yet)

HERE ARE THE FILES

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD ENTIRE BATCH OF ALL OF THEM

….or look below and choose which one you like.

Below: Black and White

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

CLICK HERE FOR HALF-PAGE VERSION

Sign_BW
Below: With Color

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Sign_COLOR

Below: Black and White version with empty areas so you can decorate the sign on top and draw in your own character on the bottom right area.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

CLICK HERE FOR HALF-PAGE VERSIONSign_FILL IN

 

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Angry Artist Alley: Set it up, Break it down

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Personally this is one of the more frustrating topics to deal with. And you have to realize, I’ve been doing this for over a decade, and I’m STILL not that great at it. It’s most likely that I keep changing my table to fit what I sell, but it gets worse every time. Still, a good topic to know since doing it well gives you brownie points. So what’s the topic?

Setting up your table, and breaking it down.

Composition wise, that’s up to you. Usually whatever you stick vertical on your table is what catches the viewer’s eyes, and what’s flat down on the table is what they see when they walk up to your table. It’s good to have a higher balance of vertical things than horizontal. People have pipes, people have wire racks, people have photo backdrops, just get creative.

note: There might be height restrictions because stuff do occasionally fall down. 

another note: Don’t laugh at someone if their stand falls down. It happens a lot more often than you think it does, and setting up any stand that tall is very tedious.

One VERY important skill you need to know is how to set up your table and break it down efficiently, TIME WISE. If you’re late to a convention or you only have five minutes to set up, you better make the best of your time. I take public transit, so I am often set at the very last ten minutes before the convention opens, sometimes I’m even late to the convention entirely so I need to speed it up. When you take public transit to practically every convention you go to, many buses don’t begin really early in the morning, and it can take over an hour just to arrive.

note: There are conventions where you will lose your table if you don’t sign up twenty minutes, sometimes an hour prior. When that is considered, it’s called ‘forfeiting your table’ and you usually don’t get a refund on it. YOU BETTER MAKE SURE YOU CAN MAKE IT.

What’s so great about setting it up fast and breaking it down fast?

Artists and artist helpers get the special priority of walking in that room at least an hour before any convention people come in. That means there’s no crowding, you get the very first peek at everyone’s work, AND you can talk to some artists before you know they’re going to get busy. If you break down quickly, you can do the same (but those artists might have left by then or are about to leave so you can’t hang too much). Artist alley in the same room as dealer’s hall? SCORE.

By speeding the process, it gives you a few more minutes of brownie time with the other artists. Of course, if they’re late then it’s not good either. You can also scan the entire vicinity to see where the ‘good artists’ are to check competition or navigate certain customers to your other friends who may have tables elsewhere. Another important thing is trying to figure out where the bathroom is early so later you don’t get lost finding it and wasting time (trust me, this is VERY helpful). And when you pack up early, it really helps the people who are locking up the room and stuff, because they’re pretty much standing there waiting for you to finish.

 Practice doing it somewhere else

  1. Find a 6″x2″ area (that’s usually the norm for the tables, although some cons have bigger ones).  It’s good if it’s a table area, but you can always just use the floor. Conventions often say 6″x4″ but that usually means about two feet of that room is actually where your chair will be sitting. Don’t be deceived!
  2. Time yourself on how long you take setting up. DON’T RUSH THIS PART. Just do it like you’d normally do. This will gauge how long/short your setup time should be as well as how you might set up certain things on your table as well as not cluttering stuff all over the place. It may also determine what things you should set up first, in case customers are already walking in.
  3. Time yourself on how long you take BREAKING IT DOWN. Most cons give you an hour at most to break down. It’s wise to take less than half an hour so you can leave earlier and do you last-minute talking to the artists you most likely did not talk much to because you were at your own table. If it’s taking too long, you might consider doing it the night before (many conventions offer a late-night setup time to make it easier for the next day)
  4. Repeat after you figure it out. Depending on what you sell, it will take longer. Just try and keep it under thirty minutes if you can. Over, and over. In the middle of the day, at night. It’s not a thing you do one time and assume you are awesome at it.

If they can stacked, fold them: If you plan to have prints standing side by side from each other and they’re the same size, you can put them in plastic mylar bags and fold them in a zig-zag accordion. When you just take it out to hang, unfold the accordion–no need to individually tape them all down!

Pre-make it before you make it: If you have a stand-alone sign, or the objects on your table are most definitely not going to move anywhere, you can pre-make the stand so you don’t have to constantly tape stuff on it. This is especially true for buttons: just pin them all on a piece of cloth or tape them on a board and never have to touch that thing again. It saves a LOT of time and effort.

Left, right, up, down: It’s good to know exactly where you want stuff to be BEFORE you stare at that blank table. Prints go on left, buttons go on right, etc. Sometimes just putting separate objects/prints in different bags/binders to distinguish groups will help. I have a separate binder for the prints I hang up so it doesn’t get mixed with the other things

Peek A Boo!: Even if you have a LOT of stuff at your table, make sure to leave a nice space so people can see where you are! You can’t buy a print if you can’t talk to anyone, right? If you’re hiding in the back, that’s no good. Remember, the more stuff you’re going to sell, the bigger the table setup will be. This is when people start stacking vertically with pvc pipes  or photo backdrops.

People walking in already? Show them something: This happens to me a lot lately because public transit can only bring me so far. When customers are walking in the room and you’re just starting to set up, find something you have that can easily be put out that they can see. So if you’re in the middle of setting it up at least people can see what you do.

Staying more than a day? Leave it there: I used to be really cautious about this, but it really saves time for the next day. Also, nowadays they have a setup time where you can go and set it up the day before the convention actually begins to save time. Just remember, ALWAYS bring your cash box and your prized belongings when you leave. Prints can be left untouched, and always leave some business cards on the table. If you’re selling stickers or buttons, only leave the minimum number on the table top, and if you’re nervous about someone stealing it, position the stuff flat on the table and pull your tablecloth over the artwork so it covers everything. Another reason why there’s a designated time for breakdown is that when everyone is done breaking down at that time, they lock the room up.

If you’re late, consider putting up certain items before another: If you’re late, but know some of your setup can be put up very quickly, go for that first. For example, your portfolio binder can be put on the table, or your sticker/button stand, while you are setting up your prints in the back. At least people walking by can see *something*.

Rules that should be followed

There are rules set by conventions, and although some sound absurd a number of times it’s actually not the convention’s policy but the hotel or building policies. Sometimes there are zero tolerance policies that are strictly enforced. If you have questions about the rules, then ask the person in charge. Don’t just start flaming on your facebook about how strict the rules are if you 1) paid money for the table, and 2) signed the contract for artist alley saying you already agree to the policy and rules.

Size, width, and height: Yes, everyone gets a designated spot. Yes sometimes there are height requirements. That is because when you have a super high stand, and it falls over a kid, you want to minimize damage and you don’t want to start any problems with the roof top. And no one hates table hoggers that take up other people’s’ spots or put a bunch of stuff forward from the table. That includes a musician sitting in front of the table.

No wall, table, or chair climbing: Doing so has a chance of falling down and getting an injury. If possible, ask staff people or some artists next to you for help. Make sure not to bother them if they’re in the middle of setup, but if they’re sitting there and need help or ask you if you need any help, might as well get some extra hands. The proper way to set up is to prepare everything that needs to be hung on top, and then with the help of a partner or nearby artist, both of you prop it up and secure it in one shot. The wrong way is to set up the vertical stand, get on a chair, and tape each piece one by one.

Pinning stuff or tape on the wall: Conventions borrow a public space. So it is not their property, thus, you cannot screw with it in any way. Tape might leave residue or even damage the walls in some way. Poking holes through the wall is no good either.

Set Up and Break Down: The convention only rents out rooms at certain times. Lagging the time by taking forever to break down is really un-cool. Staff people are waiting for you to finish packing so they can finish their job and eat.

table setup

My table layout around me from Kraken Con 2014.
Left: Magical Mangaka, Right: me

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Angry Artist Alley: How do I order a commission?

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This article is pointed more for the consumer and not artist (although i recommend both of you read it). I get asked this quite a bit at cons, and some people are too nervous to ask the artist even though the sign is in plain sight. So be brave, because you may never ever get the chance to request whatever you want next time you go to that con ;)

You might think it’s really obvious people will want a commission. But why the hell do you always see signs on everyone’s table that says “Yes, I do commissions!” I’ve got two hanging on my table, and one inside my portfolio. Do I really need that many? Hell, I don’t think people really pay attention to  my table but it’s there. Usually people just ask. Or they don’t know it at all. Or too scared to ask.

But uh…what’s a commission?

The quick answer is that you can ask the artist to draw something for you, for a price. Your request will determine the price, and the artist will execute it for you. Approximate time varies between artists and projects.

Is it just for drawing?

Nope. Crafts and even services (like music) can be requested as commission. At comic conventions, drawing just happens to be the biggest thing around.

To the consumer:

  • Before you even CONSIDER ordering a commission, LOOK AT THEIR ART. If you LIKE the art, THEN YOU ASK. Not the other way around. If you are staring at the price tag and not even the art, this is very poor conduct. At least glance at what you like before you choose whether or not you want a commission. Often there are samples in portfolio binders on the table, please check those out too.
  • Please do not ask the artist drawing behind the table ‘hi, did you draw this?’ It’s kind of a given, but you have no idea how many times people ask me that when I’m doing a commission behind the table. It really grinds my gears, but you know, it’s the same feeling when people ask you how much something is on the table when there’s a freakin price tag right next to it. And sometimes when the person didn’t draw the work they are flattered that you think they did. Now, if they’re not drawing behind the table, that’s when you have reason to ask.
  • If you see a sign that says ‘I do commissions!’ or ‘ask me to draw anything!’ or ‘I do requests!’ or any other similar sort, please ask “hi, can I order a commission?” instead of “do you do commissions?” The latter is when you can NOT see a sign on the table. This is because not all artists will do requests, and that when there’s a sign on the table, you don’t want to have the artist constantly repeat themselves.
  • Don’t just blindly ask ‘how much does a commission cost?’. This confuses the artist many times, because it can cost anything. Instead, point to an example, ask about an inked piece, or pencilled piece, etc. Give some sort of direction before you just ask that question. This clears a lot of things up. **to the artist: this is why you need a portfolio or set examples on the table so people can see what you’re capable of.
  • Pay beforehand. Because if that artist drew it and you forgot to pick up your commission, you practically wasted the artist’s time to do other commissions as well as have them hanging with a piece of work they have no idea what to do.
  • Remember to pick up your commission. No seriously, if you forget don’t blame it on the artist.  I still have a Heart no Kuni no Alice bookmark from five years ago, person never paid for it or picked it up yet.
  • If you’re an artist, avoid asking ‘how do you do this?’ Artists have trade secrets and sometimes aren’t really comfortable talking about it. Not everyone is very open to how they execute things.
  • If you are going to use it as a website logo or company work, you must inform the artist. That kind of work should require a contract or document, most commissions at comic conventions are more for non commercial purposes only (like a souvenir or gift, not like a resale or company mascot thing).

To the artist:

  • Customer should pay FIRST. The half and half thing is too much of a hassle, and you should be responsible for working your best on a commission. To make sure your customer gets the commission, please read this article.
  • Don’t half ass it. No.
  • There will be times where you have absolutely no idea why someone in their right mind asked you to draw something, but you don’t mind drawing it. I’ve had a kid come to my table asking for Shugo Chara when my entire table was infested with drawings of people jumping in the air, punching the paper, or slashing a weapon at the viewer. She was ten and her dad just told me she liked my work. Well, hope she liked it. 
  • If someone is going to use it for their website/company, you should charge much more, as you are literally giving them commercial rights to use your design on everything they’re using it for. It’s completely different business, and should be dealt with more professionally.

How do I order a commission at a convention?

1) Look at the artist’s work first. Hopefully there’s a portfolio, and a stand with lots of prints or whatever. If it’s crafts, you can often pick up and touch the stuff (but make sure there’s a sign that says it’s okay to touch, because sometimes it’s not). If you like the work, THEN ask for the price.

*if you ask the artist for the price and THEN ask a request, it’s like paying someone to draw something for cheap without caring how good or bad it looks. This is VERY poor conduct, and I am really against it. This situation is often caused by people who under price their commission work, and often upsets the balance of everyone else’s commission prices.  When I see a booth selling sketches for under ten dollars, it makes me sad, because I feel the artist feels that they aren’t worth more than that.  Pricing my own drawings for twenty is already low (I don’t sell sketches I sell inks and colors), but because of the ‘competition’ of prices, it’s probably going to stay that low until people consider selling their sketches for more than ten dollars.

2) Politely ask the artist about a commission. If their table has a sign that indicates they will draw requests or do commissions, then just ask for a request directly. You don’t have to first ask ‘did you draw this?’ and then ‘do you do commissions?’ Just ask ‘Hi, can I order a commission? How much does it cost for ________?’ This gives the artist a peace of mind when they know you are somewhat committed before asking the price. Also tells the artist that you respect their artwork before asking how much it would cost. Of course, sometimes budget is not good, but the fact that you liked the work before you thought of the price is a better feeling for the artist than asking for the price and walking away.

3) Tell them what you want. Remember, this is a comic convention. Be mature about what you want. There’s a line between asking something ridiculous just to piss off or make the artist uncomfortable, and asking the artist to draw something you like but not sure if they’re okay with it. If you are really asking something absurd, highly detailed, gundams, added background, or pornographic, prepare to pay extra money.

4) Give them the payment, leave your name and number for them. Also, remember where their table is located. Artist will contact you when they’re done, or in some other way (depending on artist’s preferences). For you artists, check this post out.

5) Come back to the table and admire it. Upon receiving, regardless if you like it or not you should thank the artist and be happy. If you didn’t like it, then pay the artist AGAIN and ask. I’d hate for that to happen, but hey, at least you will be given ‘another chance’ with a little extra cash. Don’t toss it. Think of it like this: the artist probably spent over an hour for you, you should be happy for that.

Someone once asked me to do a bleach commission, and although I admit it wasn’t the best thing in the world, when he saw a picture of it (because i had to drop it off for him), he told me to ‘just keep it’. I was so heartbroken :(

….and there you have it.

This guy pre-ordered two color commissions from me and picked it up at Animation on Display 2014. Of all the things he requested, I have not been asked to do a color commission in about two years (although i constantly do color stuff on my own for my prints). Like I said before, sometimes you just get that art request that seems to be really out of place, but sometimes is really fun because of it. Here’s my happy customer:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Rebecca and Nami, One Piece. Color commission, Marker. Each was trimmed and came with a backing board (which is why he could hold both pieces like that). I got so excited when I got this request, I hope that guy feels the same too.

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Angry Artist Alley: Can you draw me a…..?

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This is an article is to point out what might or might not be a sensitive topic for artists and consumers, hope to bring empathy to both sides of a nonexistent argument.

One thing I want to tell everyone is that as an artist, we have the freedom to draw what we want. Whether or not you like it, we’ll do it for ourselves. Sometimes we draw it for you too. And you have the freedom of liking what you like too. Everyone has their own little fetish. That’s the wonders of internet. Just don’t get caught with child pornography videos on your computer though.

And another thing is that yes, people have their likes and dislikes, but you shouldn’t hate someone just because you don’t like something they like.
This happened twice recently, and I am concerned about this kind of….behavior.

In my most recent two conventions, someone asked me ‘H…hi….d…do you d-d-draw f-f-furries?’ I’ve never been approached with that thing, but I said ‘Sure, although it’s my first time I don’t mind’  Well, I didn’t get to, probably because I said it was my first time, but yea. Here’s my point:

We’ve got people who like furries, people who love moe, people who love yaoi, people who love BOOOOOBs, you get it. I’ll be honest here: I like blood and guts. It’s pretty obvious from my table stand. I’m not embarrassed (okay maybe when little kids get nervous, but that’s what their mommies are for). I’ve got a number of nicely built women on the pics. Yes they have four packs, what about it? But don’t be too shy. We all like something not everyone else does, it just gets REALLY extreme that’s all. The internet is full of wonders, yes?

I mean, I think it’s great you walked up to my table and even decided to ask me if I could draw something. But don’t be too shy (it makes me uncomfortable too!), what’s the worst someone can do to a complete stranger they don’t know in that situation? They’d just say no (well there could be worse but don’t argue with this). And if they joke about it with their friends, it’s not like they know who you are and if you’re scarred forever. Hell if that’s the issue, this blog would be flooded by some seriously ridiculous requests.

In my comic drawing group, I used to think people who did the kind of art where girls had quadruple FFF cup sizes and people who drew women with unworldly amount of muscles were really freaky people I should never associate with. But you know, they’re pretty much as normal as anyone else. Like sure, they’re not ashamed of liking it, but do I hate them because of that? Nope, and I think they’re really cool people! We draw on google hangout, and of course, one person is courteous enough to turn off his screenshare when he is doing NSFW stuff. What a gentleman!

donthate

So I’m talking as an artist behind artist alley: You don’t hate someone because they asked you to draw something specific. Sure I can see how you might think they’ve got a few loose screws in their head, but if you don’t want to draw what they like, don’t do it! And if you want to challenge yourself, then be my guest. You set up an artist alley table at a comic convention, what do you expect? But here’s the thing–don’t hate your customer because they like a certain kind of art (i.e’ i hate that person coz they like sasuke, or I hate that person because they’re a brony). That is, unless they’re pushin your buttons and trying to make you very uncomfortable, and communication sucks. Then you have my permission.

And I’m going to talk to the consumer here: Have some confidence in what you want. Just ask ‘do you draw yaoi?’ or ‘do you draw furries?’. Don’t be too hesitant, some of us get it. Some of us might not look like we’re into that stuff yet turn out to do it secretly and then secretly get excited they got a chance to do a commission of it for someone. Here’s another thing: you just walked into a COMIC CONVENTION, and you don’t think some of us understand you?  What’s the worst that can happen? They don’t know you.

Last convention there was a boy who made a slight argument about one true pairings and how he doesn’t get how people would be interested in Yaoi pairings. I just answered ‘boy, you have no idea’ and giggled. Too cute. 

Be confident.

For anyone who is interested, I have never drawn furries in my life because no one has commissioned me, and if you do, yes i can do it. Hell, if  it’s yuri, yaoi, loli, shota, guro, any of that stuff I’m completely fine with drawing it, as long as it’s not extreme NSFW stuff. One thing I do NOT draw are dead turtles, or kids shooting other people. Many artists have things they’re okay with drawing, and some have things they don’t feel comfortable drawing. If you’re curious as to what the artist might like drawing, LOOK AT THE ART ON THEIR TABLE. And if the artist you’re commissioning isn’t comfortable with drawing what you want, don’t push it. Peer pressure is horrible at a con. Please request responsibly :)

WAIT. Whatever you do, avoid drawing highly religious figures: I don’t want to get into the specifics, but there have been instances involving shootings. So be careful, don’t push it THAT far.

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Angry Artist Alley: How to DO the FOOD

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This is a small series made from a powerpoint presentation back in Fanime 2013, where I did a lecture called “Artist Alley: Survival Guide”, in attempt to weed out the weak who were unprepared for conventions. Each one of these is a short article of one of the topics dealt with from that panel. In the panel, I tried to make it a ‘midevil’ theme, and tried to sound as mean and blunt as possible, trying to make artist alley seem impossible for the weak. Unfortunately, at the end of this panel a number of people were taking notes on paper, and I think I gave them hope. Well shit. Anyhow, anyone in artist alley should still be aware of this stuff, even if it sounds or feels awful. All the drawings were the exact same things I used for the powerpoint.

 

Getting food at artist alley is such a bitch. You know you’ve had that feeling where you have to un-glue your ass off your seat, walk out and hope you don’t lose customers, find a place you wanna eat AND can afford, and run back asap. And somehow when you get back the person sitting next to your table goes ‘oh yea, someone walked by and was interested in a commission and I told them to come back’ and you’re like @#$%!

Here are some tips:

  • Find ALL the closest places near your convention in a three block radius. You can do four, but I love being lazy and usually one or two is the best for me. Write the address on a piece of paper.
  • If you know what’s on their menu (or you’ve looked it up and you know what you want), write down their PHONE NUMBER. Before you leave your table, phone them up and order over the phone. When you go to the place, all you have to do is pick it up.
  • If you have someone who can help you get the food, take advantage. See number five.
  • If you have a convention with multiple days, you can discuss with the people next to you if you would like to switch off days. For example, one day you will buy lunch for yourself and your table partners, but on the next day, they will buy lunch for you.
  • Party up: The wonders of having one lackey helper is to have everyone in a group (either table mates or buddies or something else) do the entire shopping. Everyone puts in five to seven dollars, they go out and buy something like two giant ass pizzas and everyone goes wild. Pizza is great for this.
  • *note: I demand you give respect to the person who buys the food for everyone. YOU ARE AWESOME  >:I
  • Packaged foods. I’m kinda shady about quality of packaged sandwiches and stuff, but hey if it works it works.
  • Pack your own lunch: Make sure to put an ice pack if your food needs to be cold. It’s gonna be a looooooong day.
  •  List of things that can last in your lunchbag WITH an icepack or in controlled temperature: Sandwich, salad (not recommended because it makes a mess), yogurt, cheese, bagel/cream cheese, etc
  • List of things that can last in your lunchbag WITHOUT an icepack: fruits, nuts, granola (not super recommended because it makes a mess), energy bars, junk food, fruit

*note: you got to be careful with bananas. Probably should get a banana holder if you wanna bring it, but it’s worth it.

I recently went to Animation of Display 2014 and met some really great people. The first one I want to mention, unfortunately did not get a photos, but his name was pronounced as ‘Gus’ (will research and post later). Anyways, to the beginning of the story, I met these two young lovely ladies, who said this was their first con, and we had small talk conversation stuff. Anyways, let’s say hi!

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Name: Carolyn something. I think it’s actually two people…or one…yea I need to contact them :T

sites:  www.freakyladydoll.tumblr.com and http://www.aliceeveningchild.deviantart.com/

Food was indeed really tricky, and I brought my own lunch but boy I wish I had warm food. Anyways, these two wanted warm lunches as well, and the day before I was drooling at the In and Out smell from the table next door. So I asked the table next to me if it was okay that we contributed money so they could buy us lunch. And holy smokes they were angels! The guy who bought lunches for them helped us get some In and Out burgers as well. It felt so good…so delicious….THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU GUYS!

The table next to me who bought the food:

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I believe it was a set of three artists or something, but I only have contact to one:

Name: Deyanira Babcock

Site: http://www.deyanirababcock.com/

*note: That’s one goddamn sexy rack there. Wait, were you thinking of something naughty just now?

When you eat, please be courteous to others, so please try to avoid:

  • Eating something stinky. No one wants to smell your nasty smelling food and table. Bring a duran to artist alley you’re gonna get kicked out I bet. Or I’ll kick you out.
  • Eat granola and salads carefully. I’d actually just recommend you not eat it at all at a con, because you’ll be dropping it , stuff flying on the carpet (even if it’s not convention staff’s job, someone still has to clean it). Also takes forever to eat
  • Use open cups: Please have closed waterbottles or tops on your cups, and always keep it closed if you’re not drinking. Again, if you spill it, someone needs to clean it.
  • Wipe your hands before you touch your artwork. That’s dang nasty as hell. If you can’t wipe your fingers, please hold paper towel around the work to give it to someone
  • When buying food, get an extra bunch of paper towels. Who knows how many times you’re gonna have to stop eating, wipe your hands, touch the work, get back to eating, and do it all over again.

What’s a good time to eat?

When you’re hungry as hell, or when the tables look like they’re dying. Usually ‘down time’ is around 2-4 pm. Another way to seeing if you can take a break is if you look at the row closest to the entrance (or if it’s next to dealer’s hall, look for people along the aisle closest to dealer’s hall). If there are a LOT of people hoarding the area, traffic is going to come. Check the amount of people between your table and the exit/dealer’s hall side as well, if there’s also a lot of people there, stay put. However, once you notice rows between you and that area are sparce, go take a bathroom break or whip out lunch. Most people walk from one side (entrance/dealers hall) down to the other side of artist alley, row by row, down to up, left to right. Not a 100% thing, just my own observation. Or get a table partner :T

And lastly, the two things I make sure to bring at every convention:

  • Breath mints: Stinky breath sucks ass.
  • Wet Wipes: No need to go to sink, just wipe your hands. It’s amazing. AMAZING.

 

AWESOME advertising: Revolt Komics, Volume 1

Like ‘Shounen Jump’, this is a published monthly serialization by various indie artists around the world. They all got together to create this series, and their first volume is out! It’s a monthly publication featuring various artists, with their own series and one shots (if you’re interested in contributing please contact me). This is an incredibly amazing effort by these people, I’m happy my friend dedicated so much for it. Please support it by purchasing or sharing it with your buddies!

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Angry Artist Alley: Take what you need, get what you can

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This is a small series made from a powerpoint presentation back in Fanime 2013, where I did a lecture called “Artist Alley: Survival Guide”, in attempt to weed out the weak who were unprepared for conventions. Each one of these is a short article of one of the topics dealt with from that panel. In the panel, I tried to make it a ‘midevil’ theme, and tried to sound as mean and blunt as possible, trying to make artist alley seem impossible for the weak. Unfortunately, at the end of this panel a number of people were taking notes on paper, and I think I gave them hope. Well shit. Anyhow, anyone in artist alley should still be aware of this stuff, even if it sounds or feels awful. All the drawings were the same things I used for the powerpoint.

 Take what you need, get what you can

In personally felt this was a huge mistake when I worked this out, and hope no one ever does something as idiotic as I’ve done for years. Sometimes being thrifty is good, and sometimes you need to sacrifice what little money you have to make it better. And what’s up with now? Shit cost more, and shit you sell costs less. Article about that here: http://www.jackieloart.com/blog/angry-artist-alley-my-art-is-worth-too-much/

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Anyhow, not that I’m super pro at it, but as always, I have something to say about it.

Don’t over purchase for preparing

If you’ve never sold stickers or buttons in your life, don’t overdo it. What if people don’t like your design? Where will these little buttons go? You spent twenty bucks on prints? What if only one sells? Be prepared for a LOT of issues like this. Don’t spend more than you need. When you buy a stand, make sure you need that stand for a purpose. For me, I have no branded name yet (well, I’m trying ‘Paradox Punch‘ works, but I just started). My alias is Pineapple Pocky, but since I have no unique art, no mascot, nuthin special about me, I have not invested in a $40 banner. So same for you–if people don’t know you yet and you just started, it would be wise to start small and go up. Remember, there’s always a chance that all your money to make awesome stuff goes down the drain. I’ve gone through it a LOT of times. Very sad.

Bonus is incentive, not an obligation

Now, sometimes people love your stuff and they buy a button or a sticker. Please for the love of your own dignity don’t just start giving out free stuff just because they bought one little thing. Give free swag to people who are your buddies or deserve it. Just coz they paid you ten bucks for a print doesn’t mean you HAVE to give them a button, a sticker, and I dunno, another print. You’re not forced to give it out. You CAN if you want to, but I’ve just warned you. People might take advantage of you in future conventions. I used to ask my buddies for stuff  like this, and when my friends do it to me I can see I just lost ten bucks (and of course, if you refuse your buddy you’re an asshole). Also, don’t just ASK to have a print for free from a fellow artist, it’s more polite to either art-trade or BUY it from them. When the time comes, and it is for every single one of you artists, other artists will give you a print–at that moment, you will know that you have become enlightened as a good artist, friend, and comrade. But before that happens, please PLEASE don’t go kissing other peoples’ feet because they gave you five bucks for something and you *only* gave a print for them. They get what they pay, you’re not obliged to give them anymore than what was on that price tag.

And as a note about my own experience, nowadays I do get the occasional love of free art, but I find that taking a photo of them is worth more for me. I have a very hard time remembering names and faces, and although I can pinpoint an artist and their work, I cannot remember their name or face. When I take a photo, it’s like a happy little piece of me where I can remember who they are. So if you’ve ever heard me refuse your art but see me take a photo of you, think of it as giving me a ‘free print’ :]

Bargaining your price can be good AND bad

Another thing about licking your customer’s shoes. If they don’t like the price, don’t feel it’s the end of the world. I mean what–someone looks at your thing, you say it’s $20 and they walk away? Sure, you can lower it to $18, but you should never go down to something like $8. Just because someone LOOKS like they want to buy it, and they bargain, doesn’t mean you have to give them the lowest price ever. It’s OKAY to be a little stubborn. I mean, you’re trying to earn money here, it’s a very tedious method. Of course, don’t make the price insane as hell either. Man, I’ve seen people look at my buttons and stickers and go ‘omg two dollars?’ because other tables sell them for fifty cents or something. I mean, I’m not gonna hate them, if they don’t want it, then I guess my button was not worth two dollars to them. Pretty simple. And then sometimes, it’s nice to know that people like your work, but can’t completely afford something. That’s okay to lower the price, you know they want it, so give them a discount. There’s no set price, but you should never go overboard with every single person at the table.

Be smart, and respect yourself. Not that you need to hate everyone who doesn’t buy your work, and you can’t please the entire crowd. Just do what you can, be confident about your prices. Sometimes your ‘slightly higher’ price is bad, but you’ll notice people who buy it will actually buy it because they like the art, and not just because it’s ridiculously cheap (It’s a different feeling when they buy it). That usually makes me happy when I sell my work.

My two cents: I was given some rude comments online about how my art wasn’t ‘worth the price’. Look, I am an artist, and I have the right to charge however much I want. It’s absolutely not affecting your sales whatsoever, I honestly don’t see the problem. If you’re jealous, you have just as much rights as I do to raise yours as well. 

Featured Artists

Names: Alexis and Justin Hernandez.

Websitehttp://www.glowingraptor.com/shop/

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Their art is really cool, but I actually went to that table to get a bar of soap because I needed it to wash myself before Friday (This was Alternative Press Expo 2013 on Sunday). Thank goodness they had that table. Really nice smell, it’s handmade, and it made me squeaky clean.  You can purchase here:  http://www.glowingraptor.com/shop/product-category/bathandbody/. I bought the one called ‘Rejuvination’, but the tiny sample of ‘From Beyond’ would probably be my favorite scent. Anyways, great table, and a very happy couple. After that bar of soap, I’ve switched from liquid body wash to all natural soap bars now :D

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And another note, I’ve updated my online shop with a number of new kawaii-ness: http://www.zazzle.com/crazyapples*

And if you have a kind heart and would like to help me raise money to keep a friend alive in Portland, please donate here or request a commission

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Angry Artist Alley: Great for you, not for them

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This article is very subjective, because it’s my personal opinion. It’s not like what I say is always against the rules, and somehow these things end up being broken. I want to tell you, that yes a lot of these rules ARE written in your artist alley contract, but you usually don’t give a crap and they don’t enforce it, so you might not know what you’re doing is right. Hell, you might think it’s so genius and awesome, but have you thought of the other people around you?

There are a number of things that attract customers to your table, which is great, but there are reasons why they’re written in artist agreements. I think this article will bring the super sourness out of me, but I’ll tell you if I’m offending you I’m not the only one who is thinking this. In fact, it might just be everyone except you.

And remember, PLEASE RESPECT CONVENTION RULES ON ARTIST ALLEY. Many artists do not, and some think they’re strict. But please consider that some conventions take place inside large hotels and that you must respect the hotel’s rules (which the convention does not make). Some may be way too strict, but I’m sure they have reason to do so.

1. Putting food out for customers: One of the worst mistakes you could ever do. Yes, it is very delicious, yes people may walk by to eat some. But what’s so bad about it? Allergies. You have no idea if someone is allergic to nuts or gluten or anything else like that. I mean, it could have been a wandering kid who didn’t know he had allergies and eat that M&M. Yes, you might have sent some kid rushing in the hospital with some serious issues, but is that the last of it? Think a little further-are you paying expenses for that little kid’s issue? Maybe, maybe not. What if the blame was put at the convention’s heads instead of you? Bad rep for them? What if they aren’t obliged to pay for it, or have no money to do so? It is some chain reaction because of something so minor. And if you’re wondering how it is impossible, I’ll tell you that I once went to a large convention, and paramedics were in the building because someone ate a piece of candy and was allergic to peanuts but didn’t know. I’m not going to name the convention because of bad rep, but I’m telling you, this is VERY SERIOUS.

Also, if you want to go through the ‘are you allergic to anything?’ don’t bother. It will annoy the hell out of you and it’s likely they’ll eat it and walk away.

2. Playing instrument in FRONT of the table: This is extremely annoying and very unfair to all the other convention artists. First off, when you paid for that convention table, you only paid for a designated spot. You paid for a 6×4 foot space, not a 20×6 foot area. Usually musicians are blocking someone else’s table. I don’t mean blocking because they’re standing in front of your table, I mean blocking that people AVOID your table and walk around the musician. A walking hazard. That time the people’s’ eyes are glued on to the musician is distracting to not just the people sitting next to the table, but also across and several tables away. So the artist is getting ‘free space’ while playing their music. Okay. What else? Well, there’s a very clear reason why tables at artist alley are set up the way they are. The term is ‘fire hazard’, that there are policies that conventions must follow to keep it safe for people to walk by the alley at conventions. Some cons are really good at handling this, but some conventions are very limited to space, and squish as many tables as they can properly, and when you’re taking up a chunk of that room in the hallway, you’re really distracting people from walking around the tables near you. Imagine an earthquake and your goddamn cello is in the way and people are rushing at you.

Also, if you think you’re clever enough to say ‘oh, but I’M not the one selling the art, I’m just here to play and I just happen to bring my instrument and be friends with that person’ I’ll put it as bluntly as possible: get out.

And sometimes people just really aren’t that er….they’re not ready yet.  If you feel you are, ask the convention heads to perform on stage. I will root for you every year like I did with my friends who do it now at anime cons. I’m proud to say they get better every time. 

The exception to this thing is if you can play your song for less than five minutes or you’re a passerby trying to impress people. Entertainment in small increments is quite enjoyable, but having it happen for seven hours is not. 

3. Walking out of your table, and dragging people to your table: Just don’t do it. It’s annoying, and you’ll tire yourself. You can do it to your buddies though. Also I hate people who walk to your table, give you their business card, tell you to check out their table at [insert number of table] and walk away. You know who you are, guy at Fanime 20010, no one cares about you.

4. Play music (from speakers) in front of your table (sometimes): You think you’re a great DJ because you’ve got your iphone hooked up to some speakers, and you’re playing Love Hina or something. Well, not everyone loves to listen to what you like to listen to, and usually the music has some static. I know I listen to adrenaline eurobeat, but I mean…what if the person next to me likes Myley Cyris, and is only polite when they say they’re fine with what you are listening to, and even if they said they liked that music you don’t like it yourself? Please be respectful about this. I think it’s OKAY to play music that all the tables around you agree with, but you always have to consider the situation you’re putting people in when you do this. They might just be polite when they’re telling you that they don’t care what music you’re playing. But if they say turn it off, please turn it off.

Exception: I went to Alternative Press Expo 2013, and holy shamolies, THIS WAS AWESOME:

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This was a group who hooked up a TV set, vinyl records, and and quality speakers that are  not as crappy as the ones you hook up with a iphone. You see, the artist’s comic is called ‘Rappin’ Robot, and the ‘music’ they played goes along with the comic (so if you hear the song you can read along in the comic). Even came with cd, sung by Smoov-E. You can see the music video they played in the background here. The theme was perfect, there was reason to play music, and they totally went all out.

 

Things I find are OKAY:

1. Quick gather of attention, as long as there is reason and is not frequent whatsoever: I am absolutely fine if it’s only a few times you do it. I mean, everyone wants to hollar for attention, just don’t annoy everyone else because you’re doing it every hour. Years ago, have you ever heard a girl scream “MAGIC TRICK! MAGIC TRIIIICK! WATCH A LIVE PERFORMANCE AT THIS TABLE!!!” Hehe…that was me. I think they have strict policies about climbing on tables and chairs now, but I personally think this was okay to do just because it was only once-per-convention, and only if my magician buddy was with me. But if I did this every hour, I’d slap myself in the face. However, screaming random things to attract attention is very rude to everyone around you, so don’t do it. Unless you’re saying ‘hello’ to the person across the table. I hate walking out of my table to walk across and say ‘what’s up’. Usually I wait for a more quiet time, wave my hand at them, and then raise my voice. But not scream. You get it?

2. Playing instrument behind the table (but only sometimes): This, I can tolerate to some extent. Yea it’s sound, and sometimes the person’s not the perfect, but you should still respect that they’re doing it, and doing it BEHIND the table. What i don’t like sometimes is that tables are bunched behind the wall or that the musician is really close to the person sitting next or behind them. Someone’s going to get hurt. Be careful about this, warn people before you whip out your violin. And if it’s a cello, make sure you have enough room for people to walk behind you. Sorry to say though, when I’m sitting next to you guys, people can barely hear you through the crowd noise. Just wanna give you guys a heads up.

3. Tip jar: I don’t think it is legal in some cons, but I think it’s still a happy way to say ‘i like your work, i think you deserve more than this’ kind of thing. It’s not attracting bad company or keeping company away from others. I think it’s fine.

4. Crawling under the table: This might sound random, but I hate walking through artist alley tables where you have to walk down the rows to slip in and out. I think it’s totally fine to crawl under your table, and out. As long as you look both ways to make sure no one is coming before you do that. and you don’t take your sweet time and quickly roll in and out. As long as you don’t trip people, it’s a more effective way than trying to squish through a bunch of tables.

4. Bubbles: I can tolerate this because bubbles attract people beyond your table. And when you’re bored out of your mind, it’s relaxing. It’s not life threatening, and enjoyable. HOWEVER, avoid blowing bubbles at little baby kids.

5. Videos: Playing videos or slideshow of images on a laptop is fine. Just make sure to ALWAYS keep your eye on it. Very easy to get stolen.

And there you go, quick etiquette and safety precautions. Sell safely, don’t piss off everyone around you.

Featured Artist: Ray Chan

Deviantart: http://ethereal-mind.deviantart.com/

Illustration: http://www.behance.net/illustraytion

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One of the few artists in Fanime 2013 I’d praise for having more than one ORIGINAL piece on his stand. More than pure fanart. You go man! Also, super talented. I personally think his prints are worth way more than just $10. If you’re an artist at artist alley, I urge you to try to put out at least one or two original pieces. To show something out of your own imagination instead of building off fanart is a different refreshing feeling. Even though my table is maxed out with fanart, if you’ve seen the setup, all my original pieces are set up in front of the table. Not that anyone really buys it, but I feel proud that it’s there.

Extra!

And another note, I’ve updated my online shop with a number of new kawaii-ness: http://www.zazzle.com/crazyapples*

And if you have a kind heart and would like to help me raise money to keep a friend alive in Portland, please donate here or request a commission

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Angry Artist Alley: Why you should NOT get a table vs Why you SHOULD

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This is from a series of topics made in a powerpoint presentation back in Fanime 2013, where I did a lecture called “Artist Alley: Survival Guide”.

This was a huge misunderstanding I had for years at artist alley. This time I’m not going to apologize for what I’m going to say, because you know it’s true but you just don’t want to admit it, and I am going to sound like a bitter old woman. As usual, I’ll start with the negative.

Why you should NOT get a table:

  1. You THINK you suck-if you think you suck, why the hell are you paying for a table to sell your work? Selling while self loathing is just…. :(
  2. You want practice drawingIf you just want to practice and get better at drawing thinking people will request for art, why don’t you do it online? People LOVE asking for free art online, am I wrong? And you get more requests anyways. You don’t need to buy an artist alley table to improve your drawing skills. 
  3. ONLY make friends You can do that outside the table more efficiently. Also, Pro-badges make it even easier and are FREE *hint hint*
  4. Sit at the table and draw for free. This is just a personal peeve, but when talented people get a table to draw for free without any purpose, it feels like a waste of a table. Well…also makes other attendees feel like the people charging money are greedy. If you have some really damn good reason to do this, then I guess it’s okay. Like I said, this is more of a personal peeve.
  5. You’re not in the right mood-maybe your sales have sucked. Or maybe customers are just making your ego get down. Or possibly, you know that there are a number of people in that convention who may harass you or don’t like you. You’re just not in the right mood to table.
  6. You need a break- Very similar to #6. It’s ABSOLUTELY OKAY to take a break from conventions! Some people get really stressed, or need to refresh artwork. No one is making you go to every possible convention. Just take a breather. Sometimes it’s better to only go to one or two conventions a year instead of five or six. There was a point where I’d go to nine convention/events a year, and now I just go to four or so. I feel waaaay less stressed out now.

To clarify, getting a table for only one of these top reasons might not justify getting a table. I’m not stopping you, but just think wisely before you buy that table.

Why you SHOULD get a table:

Because it’s all about the gold. Face it, you know that’s so true. You’re trying to earn some pocket money to buy whatever the hell you want to buy. I mean, why are you paying money to buy a table to SELL STUFF? Well, it’s so you can earn more. Very simple. Hell, I would have never been able to afford my copics or camera if I had not been in artist alley for so long. I wouldn’t be able to buy my cool reference books, or take classes in college.

Exposure/ advertise yourself. You want some company to look at you? Well, this may be one of the more passive ways, but it happens. If you’re trying to advertise a game, a comic, kickstarter project, etc. you should get a table to bring attention. If you go to more commercial conventions full of art directors, and don’t get a table, it’s still a good idea to try and get a Pro Badge to get in for free and push your work to them instead of waiting for them to come to you.

Backstage pass. I’m sort of kidding here, but I’d like to mention it anyways. Artist alley and helper badges allow you to get into the artist alley hall (and sometimes dealer’s hall) earlier than the actual attendees. So after setup, artists would walk around to check out tables without the worry of attendees walking towards their table. It’s WAY easier to see stuff, and no need for crowding. However, you  *should* be behind your table at artist alley hours or helping your artist alley teammate during convention hours.

Some sort of phobia with crowds is preventing you from being able to socialize, but the only way you can really feel free from those shackles is selling at AA and communicating. Alright, I’m half kidding here. I say half because I did drag someone into this situation (but he asked me to help him first) and I’m glad he’s able to communicate to strangers behind the table a lot better now. The other half is that if that’s the only reason, it might be better to go to a cosplay meet (not convention) and socialize, since cosplay meets are a lot more civil than conventions and much more stranger-friendly. Still, artist alley really does push you to the limits, in some sense.

You want to try it out. If you wanna do artist alley, it’s inevitable that you table first. And so, doesn’t hurt to try out, right? I’d recommend a smaller local convention than the massive huge ones, because they’re not as stressful and probably cost way less. If you did awesome, then sure, why not go a second time? If it sucked, and you wanna try it again, go for it! But if it sucked, and you hated it, and don’t think you can handle it, take a break until you think you’re ready, or maybe tabling’s not for you.

Because it makes you happy and completes your life. Hmm..that sounds like a legit reason to me.

Something to consider:

If you’re sitting at artist alley so you can practice and get better, and charge at ridiculously low prices, you’re underselling yourself and you’re probably pissing off a lot of nearby artists who are trying earn money at a much higher rate than you.

Does everyone deserve to table at a convention?

I’m just adding this tidbit here, if you’re new or want my perspective on this. I have two views on this. One is that I believe that everyone should have the OPPORTUNITY to table at a convention. Especially if it’s their first time, this is when they need the most support for everyone around them. However, this will determine whether or not they should table next. If they don’t want to table, then they shouldn’t (nor should you pressure or force them to). If they want to table, then they should at least have the opportunity to sign up though. However, in the end, it’s up to the convention’s final decision to really determine if it’s okay. If you even have the hint or desire to table, I encourage you to try it at least once before judging.
Oh yea, I don’t think art thiefs deserve a table at a convention. I’m just sayin’

aaand our feature artist at artist alley is………

Melissa Pagluica

deviantart: http://darksunrose.deviantart.com/

illustration: http://www.mpagluica.com/

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I met her at Kraken Con. A LOT of the work at that con was underpriced (I have a bit of disrespect for artists who charge almost nothing for their hard work). But when I saw her work, it was beautiful and at a more ‘reasonable’ price compared to other tables. I wish there were more artists that followed in her path–don’t under charge, charge what you think you’re worth. Thumbs up to you Melissa, wish there were more artists like you :D

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Angry Artist Alley: What kind of experience will you face?

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This is a small series made from a powerpoint presentation back in Fanime 2013, where I did a lecture called “Artist Alley: Survival Guide”, in attempt to weed out the weak who were unprepared for conventions. Each one of these is a short article of one of the topics dealt with from that panel. In the panel, I tried to make it a ‘midevil’ theme, and tried to sound as mean and blunt as possible, trying to make artist alley seem impossible for the weak. Unfortunately, at the end of this panel a number of people were taking notes on paper, and I think I gave them hope. Well shit. Anyhow, anyone in artist alley should still be aware of this stuff, even if it sounds or feels awful. All the drawings were the same things I used for the powerpoint.

 

A lot of time, especially for people who just started or consider starting artist alley ask me “so what’s artist alley like?” I can answer with two words: awesome, and shit (but sometimes there’s no comma between them). Haha….okay nevermind. I’d say more than half the time it’s not the happiest thing in the world, but actually the part that’s really great, I never want to forget :)

I’ll start with the DOWNSIDE. Because this is often overlooked if you’ve never asked anyone about artist alley thoroughly, at the end of the day you’ll end up very sad, screwed, maybe worse. You have to get ready before you even sign up. Be prepared before you walk in.

One experience you’ll face is that it’s a lot harder to earn money than you think it is. Okay for some of you ridiculously talented and popular people, I’m pretty sure you aren’t even reading this blog anyways. But back to point–you will see a TON of people look at your work and walk away. it’s inevitable, don’t assume everyone who looks at your work will buy it! Most people just want to look but don’t want to buy. 

Another experience is conversation.  Both good and bad. Usually, if you have fanart of a series you like (instead of just drawing it because it’s just popular and you don’t give a crap but you know it will sell), you will have a fun conversation. But sometimes, they get to insane tangents. It starts from topics about anime to talking about really horrible sexist and racial crap and I dunno, animal penises or something (it’s happened), you just need to suck it up. There are ways to go around this, but figuring out patience is key. Eventually, all of this will give you a better personality. For some people though, that personality only shines when you’re at cons and nowhere else. But hey, this is a great skill you get from doing it for years.

EXTRAa

Another experience that happens DURING conventions, is you make friends. Good ones hopefully. It’s what I call ‘the crutch’. You help them, they help you. They can be more talented than you in sales and skills and whatever, you can learn from them. You bring connections. But for me, I really mean friends as in people who share the same interests as you, have as much enthusiasm as you do about what you love, and just keep you rolling. I think if I had table mates that hated me on all sides, I wouldn’t want to even sit at the table. Making friends keeps me going at cons, it’s a positive experience.

And lastly, the other experience that follows up on making friends is you build admirers. Not just people who admire your work, maybe you admire theirs. You begin to appreciate other people’s’ work. And you know, people will appreciate your work too. Well, for me, this doesn’t happen super often, but you know, when the people walk up to you and go ‘wow I’ve seen your work for so long, you’ve gone so far, and you’re so great!’ You know…fuzzy feeling that’s stronger than the comments on the internet. And just to tell you, this happens the least out of everything I just said. EXTRAb

Another experience is you learn to deal with money.  Hell I suck with a cash register, but I can count my earnings and taxes and stuff now. I don’t think I know anything past algebra anymore, but you know, keep doing this you’ll figure out how to give back change in exact combinations of fives, tens, ones, and change. And the last experience I’ll talk about is when YOU FAIL.

Just kidding. It’s not failing. If you didn’t earn any money, and you worked like shit and you felt like shit, don’t feel like you should kill yourself. Make it an EPIC failure. This is a good experience, it’s happened a ton of times for me. You learn to get back off the ground, and don’t give up. Actually I gave up for a year, and came back writing this blog, but aside from that, this experience will keep your head high even if you’re low on the ground. So you failed, you didn’t earn money, and you think everyone on the other side of the table is an asshole. Well guess what? It might actually be your own fault and you’re stubborn. FIGURE IT OUT. Why did you fail? How can you improve? Think positive after negative. And yes, you might really thing ‘I failed because my art sucks’ and it’s a completely reasonable answer. Hell, that’s what happened to me two years ago, and I practiced and practiced. Make it an epic failure.

And so there you have it. There’s all sorts of other experiences, like what the hell people ask you to draw for commissions, or what food you eat, awesome people you met, all sorts of stuff. If you have an experience about artist alley you want to share, go ahead and comment here. There’s always a ton of really hilarious or scarring events at cons. I love making conversation with people behind the table about these things.

And today’s featured artist is:

Murphy Milburn

facebook: www.facebook.com/murphymilburn

Deviantart: www.m-milburn.deviantart.com

This guy, I knew for a LONG time since my very early years at conventions. This dude never gives up. Independant comics on the table, working on his own comic while waiting for visitors. Very dedicated dude. Anyone who has gone to bay area conventions must have seen him at least once. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 …..and don’t forget, my online store has been updated with actual stuff I sell at cons!

.……and also, please support this cause, I’m trying to help a friend out: http://www.destinylimit.net/donate/

I drew two of the designs, I am working on this game, and we’re trying to help this guy. Just five bucks will get you a cool sticker and help him out!

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