‘Arquebus Dance’ Anthology: The Conclusion of the Project (and KrakenCon Photos)

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Aye! And so, this is the part 3, the last part, of my 3 blog article revolving around my ‘Arquebus Dance’ collaborative project with my friend Kayu. And a photoshoot.

At this point, both Kayu has completed the layout and the book was sent to the printers. We’re both crossing our fingers that it will turn out great.

I thought it would be a bit unfair for every artist who contributed only to get one free copy and preorder bonuses, but in addition, I’ve printed every artist five quality prints for their own use, and a framed one to hang on their wall as a special gift. Not much, but so far the best we can manage, since this is all privately funded with barely anyone interested in preorders.

Layout design took a little over a week, which involved nightly conversations on Google Hangout, lots of file transfers over gmail and dropbox, and a crapton of swearing at the monitor.

There were some serious issues though. We expected the layout to be B5 sized (typical doujin size), but the printer we had our eye on suddenly made a note saying they aren’t picking up any more orders, so we had to find an alternate. Eventually we decided that printing on regular comic book size and trimming the bottom would suffice. I’d like to thank RA Comics for putting up with our shit, because we honestly weren’t sure what the hell we were doing. Thanks for your patience and troubleshooting!

Anyways, PREORDERS FOR THE ANTHOLOGY END AT THE END OF THIS MONTH! HURRY!

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Last weekend, there was a convention called KrakenCon, and IT WAS ON A FLIPPIN AIRCRAFT CARRIER SHIP HOLY SHIT. Like…I could go on about how it was one of the most amazing convention experiences I had in my life, but you can just ask anyone who went, and they’ll just flip out as much as I did.

In Nobunagun, Sio was a military fanatic, and it was appropriate to have this photo shoot with her admiral outfit (not featured in anime, but later in manga). We visited all sorts of places all over this ship and snapped a ton of photos. This photo shoot is pretty much like the conclusion to our project. Hope you enjoy it!

Let’s kick off the celebration off with a photo shoot of Sio when she [INSERT SPOILERS] :D

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‘Arquebus Dance’ Anthology: PREORDERS OPEN!

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So if you’re wondering why I haven’t had a new blog update in over a month, it’s because I have been wrapping up this project, and now we’ve got preorders open for it!

I’ve never spent so much time and effort in a comic in my life, and hope the results show. I contributed two comics (one one-page, one ten-page), one page illustrations, two collaboration pages, designed the ‘bonus postcard’ and made additional drawings scattered around the anthology. I also helped manage the project, and my partner and I are crossing our fingers that this goes smoothly >.<

Some history before the project: I originally watched Nobunagun to see how whack the series could be, and ended up enjoying it. I mean come on, that main character has a giant gatling gun on her arm. That’s so badass.
Anyhow, details aside, I made a friend at Artist Alley when she saw a Nobunagun fanart. Fast forward months later, and we decided to make an anthology zine for the artist, Hisa Masato.

Why did we make it?
Despite how fun and whacky the anime is, there’s also a manga. And it’s not even in America yet. In fact, this series isn’t even that popular. The artist’s art style is quite unique, and every chapter’s pacing is as fast as an episode of Kill la Kill. I am not kidding–i read the japanese manga updates but I can’t read a spit of Japanese at all. I ask my friend to help me translate some of the pages when I can’t understand it. And I love it. But man…wouldn’t it be great to just buy the translated book in America?

The entire process of making the anthology is to bring awareness of our love to the manga. Seeing as we’re foreigners compared to the fans in Japan, I guess it makes it even more special. We both want it here. We spent many, many months on this. Our goal is to show that the anime is worth the watch and if this book ever came to America, it’s worth the read as well :D
(also, please make season 2 of the anime. It answers so many questions for viewers who have already seen the anime)

So we decided to make an anthology zine contributed by the fans of the series, and then distribute it. Even the artist himself is contributing!

sio preorders

Preorders for the Sio Ogura Anthology, ‘Arquebus Dance’ is up, and includes TWO limited edition prints and an exclusive sticker set that only comes with preorders.
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(credits: far left and right: Celebistar, middle two: me)

This is a fanzine dedicated to Sio Ogura, the main character of the anime and manga Nobunagun, by Hisa Masato. It’s made by fans from America, Japan, and other countries around the globe!

If you haven’t seen Nobunagun, it’s available free on Crunchyrollwww.crunchyroll.com/nobunagun

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It includes both color and black and white illustrations, on quality 80lb paper, and is currently at a 40 page count (which means by the time preorders are over, there might be even more pages!)
We also have a Japanese version available as well.  

[Preorder here]

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Rose

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Just to let my readers know, there’s a huge imbalance of blog articles about artist alley without me actually showing my own artwork. So expect more recent projects or photography here. But don’t expect them to update every week :P

I didn’t get in the Capcom Tribute, but I submitted a piece I really like and wanted to talk about it a little. The Udon crew had an insane amount of competition, so I’m not surprised I didn’t get in (heck, a lot of people who got in that book were veterans or creators of the series). So without further ado, it’s Rose, from Street Fighter!
ROSE_mockup I’m actually really bad at the game, and there’s not a lot of fan art of her, so I was happy just making the piece for myself anyways. She is one of the few characters in the game that I can sort of get a handle on (i can’t do a Z movement on the game stick, and I don’t really know how to handle charge characters, so her limited moves help me out on that). The original illustration is actually markers, but the background, textures, and glowing are done in Photoshop. The piece took about two days to complete, and I currently have them available as a mini print in my store :D

I’m a very late bloomer, but one of the earliest arcade fighting games I’ve ever played was Street Fighter 4. When I first played, I used a game stick, and so when I begged my brother to buy the game for me, I couldn’t figure out how to use the controller, and begged him to buy a game stick for me as well. Best big bro ever!
I really fell in love with the art, and the comics that come with it are AMAZING. I want to give props to the writers of the comic series, the flow is superb.  A lot of my current work was inspired by the game. When the characters pull out their special moves, and the scene changes, it’s so dramatic, and the comic is like watching the game unfold with different characters! I love the sumi-e ink washes that happen when the characters use a focus attack. Anyways, I’m just in my own little world with this franchise.
One of my dream comic jobs is to work for Udon to make a short Street Fighter. That’s such a long shot, but I’ll keep practicing, and hey, who knows! This is my first attempt, I’m sure one day I’ll make more fan comics. 

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Arquebeous Dance: A Sio Ogura Fan Anthology

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So I’m walking out of conventions for a while to work on this project, which is called ‘Arquebeous Dance’. It is a fan-tribute anthology for a series called Nobunagun by Masato Hisa, which has a VERY small fanbase, but very dedicated fans nonetheless. Which is why I decided to join this project and contribute a small comic for it.

The project is dedicated to Nobunagun:

You can check the anime out here, but I recommend skipping episode six and seven when watching the first time around, which are filler episodes.

Also, you can’t deny this is an awesome opening for an anime:

[You can read chapter 1 and the three most recent chapters in the manga here]

Anyways, a large reason for participating in this project was that the manga isn’t sold in America! A friend lent the Japanese volumes to me, but even though I can’t read anything, I just look at the illustrations over and over to understand (although my friend does clarify some things for me). So I hope, when I finish this project, some of you would be interested in spreading the word around, and if there’s enough of a fanbase, some company might consider translating it :D

Arquebeous Dance is a fan anthology that revolves around the main character SIo Ogura. Since the anime was accurate enough to cut off at around volume 4, I decided to make my comic the branch between what happens at the very end of the volume, and what happens in the beginning of the next volume. That way, it’s not quite a spoiler, but a bridge to understand what the outcome for the future of the series will lead to.

These will be the only two ‘preview pages’ of the nine-ten page comic, but I will also be including 4koma comics, and other illustrations in it too!

(comic is right to left, and no text)

set1_finalA set2aIf you’d like to participate, please check out our tumblr for more information on guidelines, deadlines, and contacting us to be on the list! Deadline for open call of artists is June 1, but completion of art is in September! Also, please only participate if you’re a fan of the series. When you pour your heart into something you love, the work always shows, and we want our anthology to be all about that! Support the series, support Masato Hisa!

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Angry Artist Alley: My Art is worth TOO MUCH!

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This is a topic I don’t have any proof except for walking around and buying peoples’ art every year, and mass amounts of artists agreeing on it and telling me their stories. I don’t really talk about it straight to an artist unless I feel REALLY confident about it. I know it pisses some people off, but I just want to speak my mind. Well, since I’ve already made this series and few have denied the problem, I want to warn you that this article may offend innocent pure-hearted people who do art solely because they love it. Mines was once very pure. After trying to live as a freelance illustrator, my eyes on these subjects have definitely changed. Still happy and proud about it, but have seen the dark side of business as well.

Brace yourselves, this is a LONG article. 

It’s quite obvious with the economy these days, things are getting more expensive, and people are trying to earn more money to catch up with that. Heck, even artist alley table costs have risen.  But you know, people are used to paying a specific price for this stuff. But why should you work MORE to get paid LESS? America sucks that way. Just consider minimum wage here. Doesn’t mean you need to completely bow your head down even further than the rest of the people.

Even though my work improves every year, I earn less as well. I manage better artwork, way better quality stuff from many years before. But why earn less every year for the past four years? Hard to believe, but prices for work have dropped significantly year after year. Materials cost more, but we still sell the same. Consumers may just be consumers, but I still have dignity for my own artwork. There are more people at cons every year, how come you’re not earning as much?

It could be that people want to spend less money, or think your work is overpriced. Or maybe you think your work isn’t worth that amount of money, and that you should charge less because of it.

Here’s some factors regarding this issue:

1. When faced with two pieces of art, the consumer usually go towards the one that costs less–face it, the cheaper it is, the more you want to point your eyes to it even if the art isn’t as cool. As long as it has that chibi fanart, yes? Most consumers (especially at anime conventions) mostly buy things as cheap gifts or because they like the character, not really because of the skill and effort you stick into it.  No guarantee the one you spent so long making would sell at all. When they see the cheaper price, then they go for it. That is usually why artists at conventions can get away with more cash selling things for cheaper (although have to work harder and longer for it). The factor is price.

2. The one that has significantly “cooler” art- “Cooler” does NOT mean that the artwork looks better or had some skill and effort put into it. What I mean by that is that the consumer usually looks it in another way and considers it cool. They don’t see that I spent and entire week hand inking and coloring a 14×17 piece of marker, all they see is the character on the page. Say…if you had a print of Kirito that the artist spent 10 minutes on, and a print of kirito you spent one week on, they don’t see the time you spent on it. They’re not paying attention to the effort, they are looking for the result. The factor could be fanservice.

3. The content is popular. When you’ve got work involving a character you know and like, you’d point more towards this. When the art is some sort of parody or joke, people think that’s interesting. For this specific reason, this is why original art doesn’t sell as well as fanart. I’m not saying you won’t make sales, I’m saying that you could make more selling fanart. Sad, but true. The factor is popularity.

Flashback to the Past:

About 8 years ago, commissions and prints were more expensive than nowadays…which I believe this system is really messed up–even in this economy, a large part of our income comes from these things (especially comic artists). At anime conventions, most 8.5 x 11 prints were about $10 and up (I know some of you are shocked right now). And it would be normal to get an 11×17 for $20. Buttons were your usual $1, and so on. Walking around conventions in the past year, I can see prices have DROPPED. 8.5 x 11 prints are selling around the average of $3-5, and I’ve seen 11×17 prints sell at $6-10. I’ve seen buttons cost 50 cents. And etc. I’m not saying every convention is like this, but it does happen more often than it used to.

What happened? How did it happen?

I am not pointing names, because I know for a fact that I’ve met a TON of people who have experienced or did it before (hell I did it a few times)–a never ending struggle of trying to keep up with pricing compared to other extreme tables. When one table decides to sell something significantly less, the competition balance changes. The rest of the tables need to catch up with that one table by LOWERING all their prices. But what if another table decides to sell the same thing even cheaper after everyone else lowers it? The fact that a lot of artists draw the same fanart from the same series makes it even thougher. I’m not talking about if their art was a masterpiece or not, I’m just saying that the struggle hits all of us, no matter where you are on the food chain.

Awareness:

I graduated in the California College of the Arts in Illustration. I learned the financial difficulties as an illustrator, and through the life of real comic artists that have to maintain their own business as well. Freelancing is a very difficult thing, and some of us whip out our own calculator and calculate cost, time, supplies, etc for every thing we do. Stephen Silver says it like a boss, but I hope this makes sense when I say it. Check out all of his videos about living as a real artist.

1. Time is money: Just because you spent six hours on it doesn’t mean you spent six hours working on it. It means you spent six hours drawing it/making it, and what may have been a lifetime of training to do it, PLUS the time it took for you to get the materials as well. Remember, the consumer does NOT know how much time and effort it took for you to do your work (unless they ask). Therefore, you do not have to undersell because you spent less time on something. The people who DO pay attention to that are usually artists, and they respect you. But consumers are not all artists.

2. Your stuff doesn’t cost the amount of money you spent buying the supplies. It costs more. WAY more. You spent time, blood, and money to work on a piece, it doesn’t mean you should just bow down to your sellers and give them the bare minimum of cash needed to pay for your table and supplies. If that was the case, you could manage your time better by NOT buying a table, and spread 300dpi printable versions of your artwork for free everywhere. In fact, if all you wanted to do was pay back for your table, wouldn’t the wiser thing be to just not buy the table in the first place?

3. Selling something cheaper vs. selling something more expensive: The concept is that you can sell 10 buttons for $10, or 1 print for $10. Or you could sell 2 prints for $5. Each one of these products you spent time at home making separate versions of it. What are the odds of all of them? You can sell things for cheaper and they sell, but you’d need to sell more to make up for something that someone might buy for more. Think about this concept. You can take advantage of this by spending less time and effort on something and selling it more (although I do lose respect for some people who do this). It can also be your downfall.

4. We’re All In This Together: Selling for profit may be a battlefield in artist alley, but one thing you may not know is that we’re all supporting each other too. When you break the balance of selling something super duper cheap, how the hell do you think the rest of our tables are going to support ourselves? So please, by having everyone keep a somewhat consistent price on their work, we’re able to maintain a balance of profit for everyone.

 *note: if you don’t know where I got that term from, it was from a hilarious comic by e1n: http://waittcomics.com/

Fact of the matter is: This took me a bit of understanding. If you walked into a gallery (or even art museum), you will find that prints that are about 8.5″x11″/11″x17″ is at a regular price of about $25-$75 each, sometimes with a backing board and mat. Heck, I once sold two prints at a gallery, for $60 each. Even if the gallery sometimes takes a 40% cut from it, that is still completely normal–cut or no cut in a gallery. Is it a rip off? No, people just find more worth in your art there compared to other places. But at a convention, it’s absurd to have it over $15.

5. I’m just a beginner: For those who have this mentality, you may be thinking a bit too low of yourself. You already had the courage and money to get a table, why are you doubting yourself? Do you think the consumers would really know that if they look at your art? Do they know if you went to art school or that you have been practicing only a year ago? Stand up for yourself. You’re this far ahead, you bought a table, you’re a novice, but you can’t look at yourself as being lower than everyone else who has had a table. You are a confident artist who just started sitting behind artist alley. You are no a kid who is trying to tell the whole world that you THINK you suck. This entire blog is so your mind isn’t set on this problem. Don’t charge significantly less because of this idea. Be proud, stand up straight, and know that every artist in artist alley started out just like you, and look at them now–everyone is a role model for you. 

Personal Opinion Blurb: I never buy a commission that’s under $20. On a personal level, I feel anyone charging under that is doubting their skills. It takes a lot of courage to finally feel that your work isn’t worth a Subway sandwich, but instead a nice dinner at a sushi restaurant. I’m not a big supporter of $1 commissions, it just doesn’t feel ‘worth it’ for me.

6. It’s just an experiment to see if people buy it: So you made something brand new, and want to see if people buy it, so you charge less for it. Kiddo, nice thinking, but nope. If you do that, then people will think that it will normally cost that price. What I mean is that people might just be buying your ‘experiment’ just because it’s cheaper, not because they’ve fallen in love with it.  Of course I’ll buy a cute little origami pin for 10 cents! But not if it’s 25 cents, because I thought it was normally 10 cents last convention. If you really want to test out this experiment, price it normally. And if no one buys it, figure out why, and either fix it or lower it a little then. But not your first try.

Pacific Rim

This is a Pacific Rim fanart print. The original was a marker and ink piece with just a hint of white ink. It is 14×17 inch total (you heard me right). I spent approximately three days straight(from 7:30am to 11pm with food break), had to cool my hand down from arm stress, and another day. I made prints of it. How much do you think that print would be worth, personally? How much do you think the original costs? And lastly, how much do you think it was sold at for a convention? 

[EDIT (added May 16)]7. But they buy my stuff anyways: If this is what you’re thinking, you’re missing the entire point of this article. So you’re making a profit selling it? Congrats, but how much more did you need to print and how much more time did you need to work to get that far? Metaphorically speaking, it is faster to scrub the floor clean with a towel than it is with a toothbrush.
If you feel it’s unfair to print your drawings and charge ten dollars if the printing cost $1.50, consider that the burger you ordered at the joint cost about the same to make, but they charge you ten dollars too. Craftsmanship, time, service, and many other things are put into the materials as well.

[EDIT (added May 16)]–8. I just want to be showered with compliments, I love it!Don’t we all? But let me tell you a secret: THEY WILL COMPLIMENT YOUR ARTWORK REGARDLESS OF THE PRICE TAG. Whether or not someone would actually buy that kickass piece of art, that’s not up to me, you, or anyone else but that person. In my honest opinion, I feel happier when a customer says ‘oh wow, I love your work!’ instead of ‘oh wow, it’s so cheap!’, even if the person walks away from my table after saying one or the other.

What should we do?
Just price your work wisely. One thing I’d like to add is to stop lowering your prices lower and lower..and lower. It’s getting way out of hand at the past few times I’ve walked by these things. When one person sees work that’s significantly cheaper than the rest of ours, it sometimes makes us look like we’re the ‘bad guys’. None of us are the bad guys here, but it does drag us ALL down a lot. Like I said, if you spent money on a table to sell your work, and selling your stuff at almost the bare minimum, it’s like you don’t even know what the purpose of ‘buying an artist alley table to sell your artwork’ means whatsoever. Why should we have to work till 3am on a project knowing that selling it would only give you the chance of earning ten bucks? Trust me, if you want exposure, give it out for free to people walking buy, they’ll love it. If you need money to pay for something you really dream to have, please help everyone out at artist alley. Many of us sitting behind artist alley have goals we want to achieve which is why we sit behind the tables selling our art. Let’s work together!

Well, how much should I price them?
Unfortunately, this is an age old question that even I cannot comprehend. All I can say is to look around the tables, see how much they price them, and that should be your estimate. And never make your price lower than the lowest price of anyone’s work at the convention. That will just build to the already existing fire for the future. Keep it uniform, and it will help everyone. You can make it the same as the lowest price if you want, or you can choose the most popular/average price range, but never under the cheapest price at conventions.

[EDIT (added June 17)]
People are complaining my work is TOO expensive!
I’m going to assume a few things. I am assuming the person thinks their art is ‘better’ than your work, and envy the fact that you’re making money off of what they think is more inferior. And I’m assuming the person who has the ‘expensive’ art is making some amount of profit on it. And they want you to lower your price because of that. Or maybe you’re the one thinking that to someone else. Here’s the much more positive way of thinking–instead of telling someone to LOWER their prices because their work isn’t as good as yours (or so they claim) and they make money, and you could do better, why not RAISE your own prices and see what happens?  Problem solved, everyone is happy. Yea?

This is an excerpt I wrote when I responded to a facebook post about artist alley, about overpricing vs. underpricing:

“Let me give you an example/explanation about peoples’ expectations regarding underpricing and overpricing, based on real life experiences:

Say you have a commission, and you charge it $20 and profit from it. Then people are complaining it’s ‘too high’ for that quality of work, implying their work is superior. If they’re complaining about me making that much money off of drawn commissions, why don’t they just higher their commission prices if they think their work ‘is better’ and make a more reasonable price for their time?

But imagine me underpricing my work. People would complain that I don’t value my work, I have to work longer and harder to get a profit, and I’m pretty much doing more harm for myself than good. People may have to make the choice of lowering their prices just so they can match this one person’s ridiculously cheap prices. AND the customers who have seen this one person who underpriced their work would also consider everyone else’s prices a ‘ripoff’, and have lower standards.”

If you would like to flame me about this, don’t. This whole article represents my own opinion, and I do not plan to change sides. And nor will you, if you want to argue with me about this. It won’t solve anything. If you want to speak your opinion, do it at a facebook group, where you’ll get multiple opinions from multiple people. However, if you want something clarified, I bet I have some sort of life story/experience that goes along with any of these topics I listed. 

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Attack On Memes

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I rarely have a fun blog post about something more random.

Anyone heard of the series Shingeki No Kyojin?

It’s one of those surprising series that has a huge hype on the story, but I have a feeling people like it because everyone else likes it (well, that’s kind of what a hype is). I’m not even sure people really understand what it’s about entirely (it’s not just a bloody spill of despair, although I’m a sucker for that).  Surprising how such a dark series like that is popular, because most people aren’t really into this kind of genre. Trust me, when you’re selling artwork at conventions for so many years and all you sell are the darker popular genres of anime, you get quite some negative reactions. Well, hope this series breaks that barrier?

Anyhow, the opening of the series has really epic music (well the soundtrack is epic itself). I am talking about the music, and the awesome lyrics

Here’s the opening video:

Shingeki No Kyojin Opening Theme – Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon from 0-gate on Vimeo.

Lyrics:

They’re the prey, and we are the hunters!
Without even knowing the name of the flower it had stepped on
The bird that had fallen to the ground, grows tired of waiting for the wind
In the place where it prays, nothing changes
But what does change, is its readiness to fight
It steps over the corpses, and moves forward, the pig that ridicules intentions
The peace of the cattle, and the flourishing of deceptions
Can kill off, the freedoms of the hungry wolf

The disgrace that was taken prisoner, is the counter attack of beginnings
You’re a hunter, who slaughters his prey in the castle wars
As the impulses that gush out fire up your body
Your crimson arrow that slings from your bow drills a blood red scarlet hole into the twilight.

As you can see…that’s some awesome music. And well, a few weeks later, there was some meme called “Attack on [insert series]” where people replaced the video with the music. Some of these are hilarious. It’s because this song could go with anything and make it ‘epic’.


Now, Nichijou….well. If you saw how cute this series, somehow it fits so awesomely well

Madoka….somehow I don’t enjoy art too much in this series, but dubbing with this song, suddenly more badass. It’s quite surprising how many versions of this meme you can make with this series.

LOL someone made one of Coca cola?!

I want to note that animators for anime often ‘trace’ animations from other series over and over, so you often see people running dramatically, but at the same time you’ve probably seen another character from a series doing that as well (quite obvious in the Madoka Magika one). It helps clips like these to be awesomely dubbed.

And, although not a meme, here’s something I did too:

And to top it off, neat stuff I found on Amazon:

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Just another ANGRY artist alley day

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This is a personal rant about a convention I went to, with several explanations of stupid Artist Alley mistakes. I bet if it wasn’t for my medication’s ‘happy’ side effects, I would have tossed a chair at the wall. But…you know, shit happens. People can be ignorant, and my hopes for starting this whole ‘Angry Artist Alley’ was for noobies to NOT make dumb mistakes. I’ve been mentally trained volunteering at an elementary school, so I know it’s more because of their ignorance, and not out of spite.

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Photo was actually from Fanime 2013 and not Sac Con ; I couldn’t help but shove this pic in my article XD I was so preoccupied with shit that I could not take out my camera to take photos of this con.

Artist: Jason Bastos

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I feel like I should write more of these real life experiences in the future. But then that would just be a hate post (which is why I don’t mention bad conventions in my blog very often) You always learn from your mistakes, and even better, you don’t have to make those mistakes to learn it because someone like me already experienced it and taught you first. Of course, I’m sure many of you had worse times, and one of the experiences I had in this convention was so bad that I cannot open up to talk about it here  (sorry, I have my limits too!)

Also, SacCon I don’t hate you that much yet. It was a seriously shitty experience, but it was just because of the people sitting next to me and not the convention or customers (even though I barely made enough). So I’ll consider going again. Just hope that if I take Amtrak up there and not get a table until around 11:30 in that situation because of some serious misunderstanding, and you say ‘I’ll give you a refund if I call some people on the waitlist and they decide to come buy the table here………I honestly think giving a 25 dollar refund can’t possibly be too hard.

So, on to my day to SacCon:

Introduction: I took the Amtrak from Oakland to Sacramento early in the morning. Then after some trouble, I found the bus stop and took it. It was across the college campus and I decided to take a detour because there was no sidewalk for my wheeled cart to lug around. Apparently the Sacramento College only had enough money to buy a single entrance/exit fence door for the campus, and thus, I made an entire 360 and finally walked out, where I finally found the sidewalk.

My lesson? CSUS has one entrance and exit. Everything else is fenced all around except for that area. You have to walk around from one side of the campus because…there’s only one opening in that campus.

Preparing for Artist Alley:

I finally arrive at this place to find some lady who brought me to the room. I had to carry my wheeled briefcase by hand, which was quite a load. I don’t get why dollies are allowed to roll around but not briefcases with wheels here. Anyways, I I find the guy who was second-in-charge, I assume, because he had the artist alley wrist tags and sat in the same table as the guy in charge of artist alley, and was told to meet him. I got a hand tie, but I could not find any tables in artist alley that were open. He couldn’t either. EEEHH?! Seems like the trouble starts. I quietly sat on a chair nearby and waited for the guy in charge of Artist Alley tables to come back to help me out on this situation.

Lesson for artist alley staff? Don’t have a single guy memorize all the tables and not write it down for the other staff. When you leave to do your business, make sure you have someone who has the same amount of knowledge as you do before you leave. Or at least, leave a sheet of paper for your staff with the table numbers and name according to them. 

Setup….and breakdown?

And so, after what was about half an hour, this nice guy told me I could unpack my stuff at a table outside. Okay, fair enough. So I did. Later I saw the guy in charge of Artist Alley arrive at his table to sell his stuff, but did not come to my table so I assumed it was okay. Guess not.Then when I was about done unpacking, the table people next to me said they got a phone call and the artist that was supposed to sit at my spot was about to arrive in 10 minutes. Okay…so I unpacked.

Lesson for the artist alley helper? When there is a table change or issue and the guy in charge arrives, please notify them. Even if it’s minor it may pose an issue. I was ignored this whole time and then……….

Setup….can I get a refund?

Finally in contact with the guy in charge and pointed out my issue with AA and his problem, I asked for a refund because of negligence. Well, he said ‘NO’ and said that I could get one when he calls the people on the waiting list and see if anyone wants to buy the table from me. If they say yes I could get a refund. It was about 11:30 by now.

My lesson? No refunds for negligence. If I want a refund, I’ve got to wait for someone in waiting list to say “yes I’ll buy that table and come right away to sell for five and a half hours for $25”.

Getting my table…….

Oh boy, this was the the skull crusher. And this is why I write these articles, so things like this don’t happen. The person in charge of artist alley brought me to my table in about five seconds. But then I raised an eyebrow, and said ‘wait…THIS is my table?’ I said that twice and he said yes twice. The table was filled with paper, and one was a GIANT paper with doodles on it. Apparently, the two girls next to my table were so ‘clever’ enough to use my table, put their ‘draw on this paper’ thing and some other whatevers to cover the table. They claimed they came half an hour ago, which means they put stuff on the table the moment they saw no one was sitting there for ten minutes or something. Obviously I couldn’t find my table because their shit covered it. Also, my name tag wasn’t there either, so either they threw it away or no one wrote it there on the first place

Their lesson? When an artist does not arrive the moment the convention starts, you do not suddenly put your work on the table AND LEAVE IT THERE. Waiting for at least two hours would be wise, as I have experienced several artists who have arrived more than an hour late before. If you want to stick your artwork on the table, you must ask the artist alley person in charge, or you’ll get in trouble and either end up paying for that table or in extreme cases, kicked out. Sometimes you can get lucky….AFTER asking the person in charge. 

Story: I wish I knew the guy in charge of artist alley tables in Big WOW! con two weeks ago. Anyhow, first day my tablemate and I just sat staring at the empty chair.  The next day, I FINALLY found the guy in charge and told him no one was sitting at the table. He was like ‘well, since you asked first, you can have it for today’. Heh…mooched it before the guy who sat on the other side of the empty table got it :3 As etiquette  you always ask the AA director first–even the person who sat on the right side of the empty table didn’t touch it that day. And so was another untouched table on the other side of the row. It may be great to take the table, but always ask first. Be polite and considerate!

You are so clever, aren’t you?

I just wanted to make sure if these ‘kids’ were ignorant and not selfish assholes. I asked them how long they’ve been in artist alley. One girl said ‘since I was twelve (she looked like she was 17 or so)’–this girl stole my chair too, and I was standing up for quite a bit before she realized and gave me MY chair back which originally was at MY table. The other two girls said they did it for about a year and a half (or was it two years?). Anyways, I assumed they were just happy ignorant kids, so I just let this crazy shit hell go and wrote this article. I hope they learned their lesson though.

Their lesson? Well….now they know. And knowing is half the battle. No, I lied. Now they know and they better not repeat this again. 

There were a few other things, but cannot be mentioned here. To the three girls who sat next to me: If you’re reading this, I was super pissed for five minutes and it dulled down, so no, I’m not going to rip all three of your heads into shreds, but I hope you learned a valuable lesson. Just don’t do it next time, or ever.

 

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ANGRY ARTIST ALLEY: This is NOT an angry artist alley.

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I would not consider this an ‘Angry Artist Alley’ thing unless there is a reason for it. And that is that on Saturday I went to a convention called CogsCon. And I’ll tell you this convention did a lot of great things. Maybe they read my blog? :P

Cogscon was incredibly small in Sunnyvale, California, taking place in the Cogswell College. I don’t care if this was honestly one of the conventions I’ve ever been to with the worst business (PLUS this is the second time I hit the red zone), but I will give my regards and respect to this convention because I know the reason was NOT in the customers and it was more like there wasn’t ENOUGH of them. If you go to a convention like this and stay smiling and happy all the way till you get home, then you know the entire adventure was worth it. In fact, I was much happier at the end of the day. So here’s a list of things that seriously made this day worth it:

note: I am not exaggerating a single piece of information here. 

1) When I walked to the building,  they immediately greeted my friend and I. In fact, the moment I said my name they knew I was an artist and walked me to the direction of the room. There was blue tape on the floor, and all we had to do is follow it.

2) The moment I got to the room, another person greeted us and walked both of us to the tables! We saw two bags on the thing, PLUS a small nametag with our names just to make sure.

3) In the bag, we saw a bunch of cute goodies. What really opened my eyes was that THERE WAS A BOTTLE OF WATER. Okay, the moment I saw it, I just knew the staff already deserve a lot of love and respect to be so thoughtful. Why a bottle of water? Because when you get dehydrated from talking, you drink water. So this was the WIN of the day, pluuuuus……

4) Another guy in a very beautiful Link cosplay with a sword on his back said if we needed anyone to guard the table if we needed to get food or use the bathroom, he would help us out. WOW, now that’s some seriously thoughtful staff here.

5) During table setup, I was approached twice. One one stop, they asked me if everything was good, and I said yes. And another stop, one person asked if I needed help with setup. Did they do it with my table only? Nope. They approached every table and asked, even if their table was set up, just to make sure.

6) I made a slight complaint to my friend Laurel about being hungry, and guess what? They directed me to the ‘staff room’ where I could get some chips if I wanted (for free). When I walked in, there was indeed two boxes of small chips, AND waterbottles. There was staff there, and I asked if I could get two bags because I was really starving. They didn’t mind.

7) During lunch, they provided free pizza. You do not talk down on a convention that provides free food. This is the second time ever that’s happened to me. But wait, there was even a vegetarian one just in case there too! Of course I got the one with some sausage on it too, coz I love that stuff on my pizza. And another bag of chips.

8) Nice bathrooms. Although in the end of the day two stalls really DID run out of toilet paper (HA! I TOLD YOU!) Actually the other stalls had toilet paper too, so that’s cool. That’s the wonderful thing about college conventions–there’s more than one bathroom place you can go to.

9) Staff walked at my table again to make sure I was okay (remember, this is about 2pm, which means they’ve been doing a routine check just in case).

10) PHOTOGRAPHERS: Of course, I made an article a while ago about photographing without permission. Indeed there were a few, but you see, these people were incredibly thoughtful after a ten second talk with them. One guy was photographing for the school press/website, and after I gave him my short lecture, every single time he walked by my table for a photo, he would ask one more time. This was very thoughtful of him. Another girl accidentally took a photo of one of my friend’s work. She gave her short ten second speech, and even before she could finish, the photographer understood, nodded her head and deleted the photo right in front of her and apologized. Very respectable young lady.

11) After the masquerade that took place (It is a small convention so it was in the same room), the music was slightly louder. I told the staff, and in less than five seconds the music was down and they asked if it was okay. Indeed, I was finally able to hear the staff from my table, and I thanked them.

12) Customers were really nice and polite. No idiots, and even the kids were really thoughtful. I had a comic called Detergent with an ‘Adults Only’ sign on it, no one picked it up and read it without my permission. YUP. I didn’t have a sign that said ‘DO NOT TOUCH BUTTONS’ and people asked before they touched. Amazing.

13) The staff literally had bright orange shirts (not just badges on their thing). You can immediately see who is staff without reading their badges on the other side of their body or looking for a hidden black earpiece on their head. If you had a question, they had an answer, and if they didn’t have an answer, they would IMMEDIATELY find the guy in charge to answer that question. I think the head guy approached me three or four times for my concerns too! All the shirts were purposely noted with a word that describes them. I love the volunteer staff that had shirts that said ‘Minion’ on them, it was so cute. I personally think of them more as knights and bishops in a chess game :3

14) Artist Alley was in the same room as Dealer’s Hall, and some promotion for games.

15) Although I didn’t need it, THERE WAS LOTS OF PARKING. And it was free too.

So business wise, I did very poorly, but I know it was NOT because of the convention, the staff, the customers, or even me (or was it?). Like I said, I walked out of this convention happier than I did walking in it, and it was NOT because of business. I will definitely come again to this convention. Because it was truly a happy experience for me. And that’s what a great convention should be. They asked for an art donation and I gave them some old prints. But if they asked me again, this time I would be prepared and would literally work on a marker piece of a dragon tamer and their dragon if they wanted one, just for donation to this convention.

Recommendation for Cogscon? It’s small; in fact it’s the second time ever. But you know what? This is a place that has potential and deserves to be FAR LARGER than what it is now. Given another chance, I will definitely go and drag as many people there as I can. Because it’s places like these where I want to sell for the enjoyment of the atmosphere, and not always concerning about my business while at the same time sitting behind the table.

cogscon

Featuring me (left) and Ratgirl Productions (right, and omg SHE MADE THAT THING HERSELF!)

This is NOT an angry artist alley :P

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Preview for Cogs Con

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Today’s not an article about ‘Angry Artist Alley’. Nope, need a break. Since I’m going to a convention myself this Saturday.

I’m going to a very small convention called Cogs Con in Sunnyvale this Saturday. You probably won’t go, but I wonder if people know how much time and work we stick on a single piece.

I noticed my incredible lack of imagination and skills of drawing anything that fits into the anime category. As my business was terrible the last few times I did this, my hopes aren’t really up at all. But just doing it will bring me back into the swing of it all for Big WOW when it gets CRAZY.

Anyhow, my little chibi thingies have changed a LOT. But I kinda like this even more simplified style. My favorite drawings I do are stick figure representations, but I don’t think anyone would be interested in that. So, being low on bristol paper three days before the convention, I took out my ‘manga trading cards’. I got them for free and because of all the words and lines on it I never touched it. But I found my way around that issue, so here’s a little hint:

04242013067

 

And if you didn’t know, a few months ago I threw a fit, took out a pair of scissors and cut up my old prints. So I started over, but all I could do were two images. The other pics are postcard prints. I wonder if people actually know how much time is spent on these things when they ask you to do a commission. Anyhow, here’s the marker process:

Finished pieces:

Matoko In Markers

 The Little Red Riding Hood

 

So stop by to check my table out! I have a new colored tablecloth, an actual stand, and I wonder what else!

***Bay Area Artists Unite is a art group located in the Bay Area. All books are limited print and contributed by various artists in the Bay Area every year. To take part in the yearly anthology, please go to www.baau.org and visit the ‘About’ link. Currently, they’re in need for some contributing artists, so if you’d like to contribute, they’re very open to it. You can purchase the following limited-print books here too:

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Angry Artist Alley: Let me photograph your artwork!

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NOTE: This article is about refusing photos without permission. If you let them take a photo of your work, then go ahead.  Also, YES I did get permission from everyone here and even gave them a slip of paper with my contact and blog in case they’re pissed about it. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Artist: Aurelia Toscano. “Nope. Don’t think so.”

“Hell no, you cannot take a picture of my work and shove it on instagram with your stupid ass meme or whatever” No. NO.

If you’re one of these people, please dunk your head in some ice water and think about what you just did:

I don’t care if you’re a fellow artist, public media, or whatever shit. Please ask the artist behind the table before zooming in and taking a pic of the artwork. If my reputation behind artist alley table didn’t matter, I’d seriously get up and take that person’s cellphone and throw it against the wall. Of course, that won’t happen, because well….my reputation would go down the drain. So as fellow artists, LET’S STAND UP FOR OURSELVES!

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Artist: Scuttlebutt Ink. “Not on my watch!”

Photographing someone’s artwork in artist alley is very impolite. The artist  has spent so much time creating artwork to sell for cash to make up for the table and expenses, and the person with the camera takes the photo for free without even asking. I started hearing stories about people photographing artwork, and with such high resolution cameras and phones, they used those photos to re-print and sell. Copyright infringement, artist exploitation, sometimes internet harassment/cyber bullying is built from these things. When you take a photo and keep it for your own viewing or post it online, you’re exploiting the artist’s hard work and effort making it. So please support an artist by buying something that is worth the picture itself.

There’s no 100% definite way to fix this. Actually at conventions, they often have a note in their booklets or websites that already say ‘please do not take photos of artists and their property without permission from the artist themselves’ SO UH, WHO ACTUALLY READ AND KNEW THAT? Almost no one, since that’s usually an obscure sentence hidden in the ‘artist alley’ section of the booklets or website, where only artists really actually read. SO, here’s some ways to help you, us, and everyone in artist alley. It only works if we all work together on this, okay?

Things to understand about these people with cameras

  • They are usually using phone cameras, which usually also leads to things like instagram, which means an instant photo of your work posted on facebook while the convention is going on.
  • You need to understand that when they do that, they usually will never buy anything from your table. I mean, they have a photo they can look at and post and show off online, why do they need another picture?
  • After taking a photo, they usually walk off. Usually no conversation whatsoever.
  • Along with no-conversation, this means that after taking the photo they won’t know who you are, what you look like, or where the art came from, because they got the picture. I mean hey, if they have a free picture, why the hell should they care who made it? (sarcasm)
  • Taking photos, posting them online without knowing the artist, that’s not going to give you publicity–no one will know who made it :T
  • Their excuse would likely be ignorance. “I didn’t know!” Well, informing people is just the first step. Artist alley is not just a show of your artwork, it’s getting enough cash to pay back for your table and more in the first place and get exposure for your work.
  • No payment required. Just *click* and you got a picture of it.
  • Memes

So, how should we artists stand up for ourselves?

  • When they whip out the camera and point it at your work, quickly cover it with your hands and politely say ‘please, no pictures unless you’re buying, okay?’
  • Have an obvious sign that says ‘NO CAMERAS without permission of artist’
  • Straight out tell them ‘Excuse me, but why are you pointing your camera at my artwork?’ and then explain your situation to them.
  • If they ever EVER want to, make sure they take a photo of you and your sign/name. When you have a sign or name on your table, people can at least find your screenname or site from it. For example, my sign would be ‘Pineapple Pocky Productions’. Someone finds that phrase online, whips it to my website. This can be both good or bad, so be cautious on this too.

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Artist: 777Sprites. He knows what’s up. Don’t worry, I ASKED before I took this photo :P

How do the customers feel?

  • Usually, they get really giddy about the picture. I’m pretty sure you’ve seen this reaction a few times somewhere. “Oh my god check this out!”
  • Taking a photo of the picture WITH themselves in it makes it into proof that they didn’t just clip it online.
  • They like the picture
  • When you refuse, they’re angry and think you’re an ass for not letting them ‘show’ your artwork
  • Your reputation will go down because of that.
  • They walk away not buying anything
  • They don’t understand your situation.

If they don’t understand how you feel or your situation,

would you think they’d be an actual customer in the first place?

I was once ignorant and used to take pics of tables (and cosplayers, I’m so sorry). So yes, I’m guilty, and when people started doing it to my own artwork, I began to understand too. Not that I’ve ever posted a photo of these things online, but I would do it anyhow. The only time I remembered doing it was to post something about art theft. I’d like to apologize to anyone here in my earlier years with a camera that I had no idea how you felt. Hopefully other people who were once ignorant about this situation is not anymore now.

WAIT! BUT I’M TOTALLY OKAY WITH PEOPLE TAKING PHOTOS!

  • If you’re in this category, it’s highly likely that you’re one of those *ahem* successful-talented-artists-that-actually-make-a-good-profit-at-cons and people know you and you actually sell pretty well at cons. Honestly, you’re in the safe zone. For everyone else, which is like the 99%, when people take photos, they do NOT know the artist, they do NOT credit the artist, and they do NOT know their art site or will ever tag their art site.
  • Also, if you’re in this category, I’m surprised you read through this whole article.

    OH AND ONE LAST THING: NOT ALL ARTISTS LIKE PHOTOS OF THEMSELVES. 

I noticed this when I was asking for photos at Fanime for people to hold up their signs. Not every artist was compliant with photos (no I didn’t take photos of those people), but many said they’d only get their picture taken if they covered their face (you’ll notice some in the gallery). So some artists are seriously camera shy, and DO NOT want photos of themselves. Maybe they’re cool with people taking photos of their work, but not of themselves. Or maybe they want to put a prop on their head before any photo is taken of them. Just another thing to consider. Just ask first, yknow?

EXTRA! EXTRA! EXTRA!
You can now use a printable template that I designed, completely free! Feel free to print it, share it, and whatever. Please read this Angry Artist Alley article to get it

 

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