Angry Artist Alley: My First Time Making Acrylic Charms

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Note: This article isn’t about ‘Artist Alley’ per se, but more of an article about something many artists make at artist alley. I put it in Angry Artist Alley because it could possibly be relevant to some people.

Chilly Pig Creations
is an independent company that prints acrylic and wooden charms. This article describes my first experience with making acrylic charms, and working with this company.

THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL GUIDE TO MAKING ACRYLIC CHARMS. I REPEAT. THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL GUIDE TO MAKING CHARMS.

It’s a beginner’s perspective on making charms. If you’re a noob who wants expert advice, go ask an expert on it. Heck, if I wanted expert advice I’d be asking my other friends on this (which I did). I’m just writing this article based on my very first experience making them. I just have a LOT to say. I’m sure someone on the internet probably wants to read a personal article about me struggling and crying in agony. Here you go. 

I couldn’t find a good article that puts making acrylic charms into a beginner’s point of view. More like an expert’s point of view, that describes quality, perks, and etc. with these things. This is more like the process of making them. If you’re looking for expert advice, I’ve just warned you now, this isn’t the article you should be basing all your opinions from.

Continue reading

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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: One order of Table Plz

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So lately some hassle happened with an artist alley registration that led to a lot of heat over whether or not the convention should do a ‘first-come-first-served’ registration system over a judge panel. Not to get into detail, but I decided to write this list to describe other kinds of registration.

Note: this is bias from both ANIME and COMIC conventions, so opinions and experience may vary. There’s a ton of conventions that can combine one or more of these together, and different methods are used, but they usually fall in these categories.

Types of registration:

First-Come-First-Serve

Process: Simple enough–the convention declares a date and time, and during that time you will refresh your computer screen like a mad bastard until the website updates with registration and then you let auto-fill do the rest of the magic and type the rest of the info in there. Then, depending on the registration, you’ll be informed either immediately or in a week or two.

Tip: If the convention has a group for their artist alley on facebook, keep this window open, and while you’re refreshing the page, refresh this page occasionally too. Tons of people are anxious to get the table, but sometimes the table  signup times aren’t precise, and people will post ‘did you get the table yet?’ and stuff like that. It’s a good cue to calm you down. I was once fortunate enough to get a table at Sac Anime due to a link error, where someone noticed the link that was given wasn’t working and posted the correct link to the signups on the facebook. whew!

Pros: Anyone can get in, as long as they have a good internet connection. Signups are usually much easier, and information is processed faster to the convention. If someone didn’t get in, you have the valid excuse of going ‘well you weren’t fast enough when you registered’

Cons: When the site doesn’t upload on time, people get anxious, VERY anxious. And when these are conventions where hundreds of people are trying to log in at the same time, the website often crashes. Since anyone can get in, artists can range from very professional to very amateur, and sometimes the art looks like it doesn’t belong anywhere in the convention. It gets harder to register year after year when conventions increase reputation more and more.

Tip: Get your credit card ready and your Seller’s Permit ID number right in front of you.

Fun fact: PMX 2014’s Artist Alley tables were sold out in exactly THIRTY THREE SECONDS.

Judged Panel

Process: There is an open submission time period where you send samples of your work, and sometimes they ask you if you’ve been published in other things and such before. To keep it simple, you’re trying to dazzle the judge panel.

Pros: When you get to the con, there’s some amount of quality check (either by the skill level of the artist, the topic/theme of their work, or something else). More committed artists (weak hearted ones won’t register at all and so you weed out some of these people). Sometimes themed conventions strictly require themed artwork and nothing out of that norm, so you have more uniform work. You will find these often in very professional conventions, or themed conventions such as furry cons, brony cons, steampunk cons, etc.

Cons: People who were rejected may find it ‘unfair’ and become very angry. Especially artists who enjoy having their ego stroked (most people who don’t work in a professional environment tend to be like this). Rejected angry artists also don’t understand that conventions who have a judging system also have a LIMITED amount of tables and may feel like some of the artists who got accepted shouldn’t belong there. Judging panels may also be very selective, and you may notice a trend with what artists gets selected. Also, after the selection, sometimes you may get artists that try and harass other ones who got in whom they think didn’t deserve the table.

Tip: prepare all your portfolio stuff AHEAD of time. Like WAY before it’s announced. Hell, I shouldn’t even be telling you to do this. If you’re an artist, you should always keep your portfolio up to date! Also, if you get rejected, do NOT get discouraged. That just means the judge’s decision, so try harder next time. Pouting won’t get you anywhere.

Another Tip: Think of it this way: just because they didn’t want your work in the show doesn’t mean every convention or every person doesn’t want your work in ANY show. Still, don’t hate the convention or staff purely because of a single decision; they’re still human, after all. 

Pioneer Registration

Process: Having had a table at the convention, the convention will give you priority on ordering a table. Sometimes next year’s registration begins in the same day as the convention itself!

Pros: As long as you have tabled at that convention, you’re pretty much safe to table there, forever, and ever, as long as you table there every single time. Pioneer registration sometimes has a cheaper registration as well.

Cons: You miss one convention and you no longer have pioneer registration. Usually after pioneer registration, when normal registration begins, only a very small select tables are left. The conventions may have the same ‘regulars’ attending.

Tip: Table once, and you’re all set! First time usually is most expensive though :(

Random Lot

Process: You sign up, and then you cross your fingers. The names are then randomized and the random lot will be selected to table.

Pros: ANYONE can get in, as long as they’re lucky enough. People complain less when they get rejected because it was randomized.

Cons: ANYONE can get in…which means it does not discern skill level or background/reputation or personality of people. There are some people whose work stick out like a sore thumb (imagine a horror science fiction book company surrounded by anime fanartists), and sometimes you get random insane talented people you have never met before or wondered where the hell they came from, etc. After artists are announced, rejected artists will find their desperate methods to try and share tables with other artists or buy dealer’s tables and squish in.

Tip: And I know this is kind of like cheating. I swear I’ve only done this twice, ever, and I was the one who got the table, not the other person. You basically get your friends who want to table, or even THINKING about tabling to just sign up. The more people you know who sign up, the higher the chance that at least one of you gets in. Now if you BOTH got a table, don’t be a dingus and both keep it. Because random lots often have a LOT of people signing up, you should be courteous enough to SHARE tables with your friends if you can, so more people can get in. I recall my table partner and I both getting in a table in one random lot, but we decided to drop one table and share to make room for another artist that would want a table.

Fun fact: Some people have suspected that the random system may be rigged, so some are more ‘guaranteed’ a spot at the convention, after seeing the same artists have a table year after year. Conspiracy theory?

“BUT IT’S NOT FAIR!”

If you think a registration for artist alley isn’t fair, maybe it’s not the right place for you. The world can’t revolve around you, and sometimes you can’t get what you want. But don’t let that ever stop you. Try again next time, because a rejection the first time doesn’t guarantee a rejection the next time :) 

Also, nowadays there are so many conventions happening that some overlap each other. You can always try and go for the other, if you don’t get into one; it’s not the end of the world ^_^’

Professional Registration

This isn’t for getting a table at artist alley, but if you’re an established or published artist, some conventions allow you to sign up for a ‘pro badge’, which is basically like a free ticket to the convention. This is intended for artists who are trying to get a career and network. If you can’t get a table but you want to attend a convention, you can always try this. I would also like to note that you should take advantage by bringing your portfolio anyways and showing to any top tier artists or publishers, in case they may be interested (that’s the intention of a pro badge).

Note: These badges usually only apply to large industry  conventions, especially comic conventions. Regarding anime conventions, I’ve only heard of Anime Expo giving them out. But if you ever want that one-in-a-million chance to go to San Diego Comic Con, and you have proof of published work, it doesn’t hurt to try!

Conclusion
In the end, you shouldn’t HATE a convention because you couldn’t get in the artist alley. Nor should you ever harass anyone because THEY got in and you DID NOT. Sometimes your computer didn’t refresh fast enough, or you didn’t type in the information quickly enough. Maybe you just weren’t the lucky one at the table raffles.
If the judges didn’t like your work, it could also just mean that there were too many other artists. I know this sounds harsh, but yes, sometimes your work isn’t at the quality they want, so what do you do? Practice, practice, practice, and prove them wrong next time!

Although this article was pre-written about a month ago, there has been some recent news about Fanime artists overreacting. Without getting into detail, if you were ever rejected from AA at a convention because of a judging panel, do NOT harass people that actually did got in. That’s really immature >:0

Featured Artist: Foxberry Studios!
Tumblr/ Deviantart/ 
Facebook/

(unfortunately, I did not take a good picture, and asked the artist to send me one instead. I’ll replace it the next time I see her at a con)

foxFox’s work is unique, in that she does a lot of World of Warcraft OC commissions, which I find very fun to check out on my facebook feed (well, it’s way cooler than the political stuff that goes in my thing). I find it rad that she does OCs for commissions more than straight up fanart. For me, it’s one of my favorite commissions, albeit one of the rarest ones that ever actually approach me. So go Fox!

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EnterVoid Anthology Vol. 2

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Some months ago in my frantic comic book phase where I made lots of comics for personal and whatever reasons, I made this one shot for the Entervoid Anthology Vol.2. The story was called ‘Origin Story: Lady Vanity’, based off of someone else’s original character called Lady Vanity in Entervoid. It is an eighteen page one shot about her childhood which led her to be who she is now, head  and dean of the ‘Vanity Academy’ for Magic Girls. Anyways, this is an ad:

And so if you’d like to read the comic, and MORE by some top awesome artists, click on this link and purchase!
The digital copy is only $4.99, and the hardcover is $20
I hope you guys check it out and tell me what you think!

This is the best damn comic achievement I’ve ever accomplished that I can show off  because unlike other projects, this one is published. Best achievement since I can claim that I have a piece of work published in the same book at Heather Breckel
But seriously, everyone else is super talented in this book. GO GO BUY IT! :D

 Creators of the project include: Frank Cvetkovic, David Brame, Heather Breckel, Fern Logan, Garon Rossignol, Crystal Kirk, Ahmad Fitri Bakhtiar, Jackie Lo, Kevin Birtcher, Alberto Rios, Dan Dieckmann, Joe Tinalgia, Gabriel Bautista

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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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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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Angry Artist Alley: My table’s OUTSIDE!

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blog question

(artist link: http://yamihp7.deviantart.com/)

So they put  the tables out side and you’re a drawing artist eh?

First thing’s first: PUT ON SOME SUNSCREEN.

Dear, you’re gonna feel more like shit than you will normally do indoors. Unless the weather is not too hot, not windy, not raining, and slightly cloudy, it’s likely you won’t get much business or feel like doing much either. Well for me, I’ve never had good experiences going outside doing it.

Issues with the weather and how to prepare:

Sunny/hot: Sunburn, and blinding light. All I can say is slap on some sunscreen and wear some sunglasses. The downside is that sunglasses are tinted so your drawings might not have the colors you wanted in the first place. It might get hot and sweaty as well, so make sure to freeze some water bottles overnight for the day.

Cloudy: Of all possible weathers, this is the greatest. No blinding sun, no wind, no crap falling from the sky.

Windy: All hell will rise. Please make sure to secure your work very very tightly with extra binder clips and tape. I’ll explain later.

Rainy: Well, depending on the kind of work you’re selling, you’re in a lot of deep shit too. Hope it’s not windy at the same time. If the place didn’t have a tent cover for your booth, you’re in some really serious trouble.

Craft fairs are taken outside for many reasons, like cost, convenience, etc. But their work is ROOTED DOWN on their tables a lot heavier than flimsy paper. When you hang your paper onto a pole, the paper creates a sort of  ‘wind tunnel’ around the thing, making it so easy to flip off the thing. It’s hard to explain. The best analogy I can think of is when you walk in a narrow alleyway and the wind suddenly bursts into your face–wind that traveled from the side of the buildings build up in the alleyway and it feels very strong.

Things that can aid you:

CLAMPS:

These things are used from holding down stands from the table, connecting pvc pipes to the sides of the tables, keeping table cloths from flying everywhere, and hanging signs off the table. They are affordable and come in insane industrial strength. Industrial as in you can toss it against the wall or hang over fifty pounds without it having a scratch. It’s a great investment that can last for decades.

A beautiful young lady reminded me the wonders of clamps. Genius!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here her stand is set up. A four tier wire shelf frame stacked vertically, held only by two clamps for each stand. As you can see, it’s pretty strong. If it was a windy day, it’d probably keep, but always be safe and add another extra one or two if you’re going outside ;)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image Courtesy of ScuttleButtInk: [link] and [link].

Tape: Something like masking tape might not do. You may need to go one grade up to ‘artist’s tape’, find stronger scotch tape, and go heavy duty with duct tape or packaging tape. If you use the super strong stuff, make sure not to use too much, and make sure your images are lined inside something like mylar bags, so the inside won’t be damaged if you ripped the tape apart.

WEIGHTS: A can of soda might work. Actually depending on what you’re weighing down, you might need a six pack. Or binder clips, or something like duct tape.

FOAM: This is more for the artists who sell crafts. You’ll usually see them sticking things like rings and necklaces in them. Not really for drawings. But excellent for jewelry and buttons.

PINS: For me, I actually pin all my pinback buttons on a piece of cloth when I sell it, so if you have something that can be hanged, something simple like pins are ok. Safety pins are so great too (especially if a cosplayer needs emergency help too)

Anyhow, here is a diagram of problems with windy weather:

Wind tunnel

(click image for larger size)

Since this is just for guidance, know that these things can’t save you from tornadoes, thunderstorms, or anything of the like. If you check the weather a week ahead and find out there’s pretty bad weather and lose hope, I’d recommend you cancel your table/refund/transfer to another artist with the guts to do it.

Random story

Once it was quite the windy day. Really hated it. Me, my tablemates, customers….I’d say everyone sitting there were in hell. It was seriously WINDY. So as the tape was very weak on all our work, the wind would literally blow our crap away. I think it was me or someone near my table, but we were literally chasing after some artwork that ripped off a stand and flew away! When I hear about tables being outside, I don’t bother buying a table at all. Not because of customers (hell, tons of people walk by because it’s outside in public), but it’s because of that tiny chance of intense weather. Here in the Bay Area, it’s starting to get unpredictable too. 

…and there you go. Hope this helps :D

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Angry Artist Alley! What do THEY want to buy?

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So someone asked me on Facebook: Juri Renee  What cons do you sell your comics at that you have found successful?

Juri’s Deviantart: [link]

answer: Many, many years ago it was at anime conventions. As work changed, I did not really fit in to those cons anymore, as demand for original artwork was very low. One of my best experiences was at Hypercon or Kinyoobi Con (i forgot which one). It was one of those conventions that didn’t have much of a reputation but I ended up with more commissions than I could handle in the same day. I decided to pursue my art in another darker direction though, but it didn’t fare too well with my audience. The years after, it was not so great anymore. In fact, I saw a lot of moms dragging their kids away from my artwork telling them ‘not to look’. Sadly, either I had to changed my work, find another convention, or leave. It was a dumb move for me, but I decided to change my work to fit the crowd better. Fast forward years later, where I had a talk with Anthony. After that talk, I reverted back to what I loved to draw and just not care if other people hated it, and appreciate the ones who did like it.

I would love to mention a guy called Anthony Leano for my change in work. He is in charge of finding panelists in Sac-Con and Sac-Anime and I see him all the time. Actually I didn’t know that he was in charge of anything at cons until last year, but I am quite aware that he is more experienced at this than I am. He gave me a small talk:

“The cons I found successful weren’t about how many people were there. Nor was it how well done your work was either. They were the ones where the people who liked your art bought it.” 

Why would I say this? No matter how professional your stuff looks, if consumers at the convention weren’t looking for that, they’d turn their heads and walk away. As my work strayed farther and farther from generic anime-style like artwork to what it is now, the less my work was looked at in anime conventions. Fast forward about two years, when Attack on Titan gets popular for gore and intense action was the new hype for animation, people became more tolerant of my work.

Anyhow, here’s my timeline of work. If I sound sarcastic when you read this, I am not. But take it with a grain of salt, because everyone’s work has a different impact on other people.

.

Examples: (early drawings like this got me hundreds of bucks by end of the day) (then my work started to change ‘style’) (what my work looks now) This was one of the far more popular pieces. 2009. This was when Gurren Lagaan got very popular. Probably the prime years of my wallet cash, when people would actually start asking me to draw for them. Key Ideas: Find out what’s ‘hip’

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.This piece was done in 2011. At the moment, Deadman Wonderland was an underground kind of series. I’d say it’s a decent work of inking, but when people saw it, it looked a bit ‘dark’. People pretty much glanced at it. Around this year, I started noticing a decline in sales. Parents were dragging their kids away from my table because the work seemed a bit too ‘dark’. From earning around a hundred to only fourty dollars at a convention (despite going to bigger ones)

Key Ideas: Drawing an unknown series is risky because people almost always want  the popular generic fanart at anime conventions. When someone really DOES see it and know the series, you can grab attention though. HOWEVER it can also be a double edged sword, as many other tables would be thinking the same. So sometimes having some obscure stuff can allow for better audience for certain niches. In the end, the best way to think about it is to do what you love, and the right people who love it will come.

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A year later, when I only earned forty bucks, I took a short hiatus to reflect on what the hell I was doing. I think this was the time when I just stopped caring what other people expected from my work, and just do what I like myself.

 

 

 

Sakura

 

 

 

I think this was about 2013, when I decided to find inspiration from other artists. One of the artists that I look up to was colorblind, and he introduced me to Pentel Brush Pens. I took inspiration from people like Jonathan Wayshak, Barron Storey, and Mike Mignola, then I played a whole lot of Street Fighter, and watched a shitwad of action anime, and and stuff just kind of brimmed into this mashup.

 

 

set2a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast forward to 2015, where I realized that illustration never came easy for me, and I loved my nitty gritty comics more. Literally, zero f*cks given that it’s not anime-style, that it’s dark and gritty, there’s almost never color, and it’s a comic. If you don’t like it, well I’m not sorry it doesn’t meet your standards (lol I’ve become so salty).
tsumugi

Food for thought: I stopped selling at conventions around February 2015 to rethink some of my work, toss out most of my old stuff, and also received some very insulting comments from several people online. Although I walked out of conventions, immediately afterwards, projects and commissions opened up. So sometimes, if you need a little break from conventions, it might just be more rewarding to just work at home instead for a while.

 

 

But…WHY DIDN’T I EARN MUCH AFTER 2011?
(Read this article for even more detail)

You need to make sure you’re sitting behind the right convention to sell your stuff.

The reason I wasn’t selling very well at big conventions was that they were all practically ANIME and indie conventions. Some old conventions actually started off as comic conventions, but because the world of Japanese media grew, people lost interest in my work at those particular conventions.

Specific conventions attract different customers who actually have something else in mind. Of course, sometimes an artist that has completely different work will pop in and grab a ton of attention, but for myself, through experience, it has never happened with my own work, personally. Here are some ideas:

Comic Conventions: Tables here are the most expensive of all other themed conventions. Beginning artists, professionals alike. These conventions celebrate more of the professional/self published, and artist and customer understand each other far better. If your work is unique, and you have a decent knowledge of comics, this is a good choice. You can often meet professionals here if you have questions or you find a hard time with getting into the business. I would like to mention Tone Rodriguez for really bringing my hopes up as a comic artist. Great for the ones who want to break into comics. But if you’re not ready to earn back that hundred fifty for that table (some are more expensive), it might not be the best idea. Commissions are often based on popularity and skill of artist

Regarding crafts, I have seen so much variety (from clothes, masks, steampunk, toys, mugs, etc) that even I can’t tell you about this one. I usually go to these things to shop for comics. But in regards to that, comic conventions are definitely better to sell comics than anime conventions in my opinion.

On a personal note, I find the atmosphere at these conventions much more positive, and I often find myself going to these more to shop for comics and meet artists than actually selling, since opportunities to meet world famous artists are more common here than at anime conventions. My overall experience was that business is just average, but the people I meet is above average. I end up walking out with new knowledge of some sort to apply to my work, and/or just a LOT of swag. 

Anime-specific Conventions: I say ‘anime-specific’ as in the description of the convention IS  an ‘Anime’ convention. Some are not called that, but happen to have a lot of ‘Anime’ artists. I know that word means ‘comic’ in Japanese, and the style can mean a lot of things. But why do I call it ‘manga’ or ‘anime’style? Think about that for a second. Okay you can stop thinking for a second. Or keep thinking. But what’s the first couple things that just popped up in your head? Naruto? Bleach? EXACTLY. This genre of art, this demand. Don’t expect too much commercial exposure here anyways. Few are professionals walking around a convention like these looking to hire people. Places like these are loaded with hormone-rushed teenagers and adults in love with a fictional character a bit too much (I’m one of those as well). There are lots of moms dragging kids there too, so you have to watch out. The first thing that pops out to a consumer is the fanservice delivered on your artwork. Draw Kirito with no shirt and his sword+jacket, the girls AND guys will be flinging at you. I use the word ‘fanservice’ but I also mean very dramatic moments in the series which bring back emotions to the viewer. For example, a death scene, or a character rising up from the ground. Second is if they recognize the series. A picture of Sakura kissing Naruto on the cheek would grab far more attention than a drawing of Gasai Yuno kissing Yukiteru(Mirai Nikki). Also, when you’re asked to draw them as an anime character, slap some ‘anime’ eyes on a circle, put the same color shirt and hair on it, and you’re done (sarcasm). I’ve never seen an unsatisfied customer staring the most pathetic attempt before . Not at my table, not at others. Nope. The whole concept of them being an anime character seems to blow their mind. None of these concepts requires a Da Vinci to handle it.

For craft artists, I can simplify it to this: ‘Kawaii is the way-ee”. Cute stuff is awesome. Nerdy cute stuff, even cuter. I don’t think I need to say more here.

Exception: Yaoi-Con is a 17-years-or-older convention. Because moms don’t bring their kids, and the people are old enough to understand the effort we put in this, original art is a bit more celebrated here. Also, you can put more adult stuff in front.

In my personal experience, my work used to sell really well at anime cons, but the more my work changed, the less business I was making. I’ve tried fanart vs. non-fanart, and for me, fanart definitely sold much better than non-fanart, but when I did art trades, a lot of the time the artists would want my non-fanart prints. I’d still say that my highest business yield are anime prime conventions, just because the fanart usually revolves around anime series or cartoon series often seen by anime fans.

Indie/Craft Cons: These emphasize artists the most. They vary from professionalism to really indie. I will explain the ones that are ‘Indie.’ These are usually handmade work, self published, or hand crafted. Because they’re varied, here is just one idea I picked up: Make sure your work looks ‘hand-made’ and/or ‘unprofessional’. It seems, from my experiences, that things that have been set into online printing presses are barely looked at, while comics that have been hand made/screen printed and stapled sell MUCH faster. Quite a number of them look like shit to me actually (not the art, just presenting it). Even more are the black and white printer paper copies that look rushed. Also, making it unique and artsy helps. It’s hard to interpret that idea, you just have to figure that out on your own. Do not expect many commissions at all here. People are as broke as you, lurking at tables. Unless the customer is aware that they can ask for commissions, don’t expect much from here.

Regarding crafts, these conventions are the most erratic, so I can’t give any specific advice here, sorry. All I can say is that I like buying homemade soaps :3

This is all speculation from my experience and some experience from other artists who have gone to these small ones. 

Exception: LARGE indie comic cons, such as Alternative Press Expo has been regarded more for very serious individuals trying to get into the art world, although it is for indie artwork. These should be regarded more as ‘comic conventions’ and not ‘indie’ conventions even though the intention is for indie artists.

Cultural Events: These sucked for me the most. All I can really say is to keep your work unique. Because it celebrates a culture, there are many other people obviously selling the same thing you are, or can also see a professional company/business/store that has it right in front of the window for cheaper. I can’t say more to this, because I’ve never had a positive experience with it. They’re usually boring anyhow, since people walking by are just there to browse and not buy.

So there you have it. Don’t buy a table where you’re not sure you can earn back enough money to hit the green zone. But it doesn’t hurt to try it at least once in your life to have that experience. Click for article.

Some food for thought:
This is just a personal blurb, but I think if you want to sell fanart themed work, you should like what you make. It shouldn’t be art that is forced on to you because some random person online really wanted you to make it and you didn’t even feel like drawing it. I think artists should make up their mind on doing their favorite things instead of doing something they don’t even know about or even care about. So make something from the bottom of your heart. It may not be the most popular character from the most popular series that you don’t even like, but it’s something you put your heart into, and those are the ones that build friendship bonds between customer and artist. 

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Angry Artist Alley: Health?

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As some artists, we sit behind artist alley to get pocket cash, exposure, you know the stuff. From budgets, to transportation/living, horrible customers, and well…if you never sat behind artist alley, you have no idea. And if you have…ever feel frustrated? You’ve got stories? Concerns? Questions? Ask away! I know there have been people who have sat behind cons before me, but I’ve started around 2004, and I walked in with absolutely no guidance (aka. i screwed up a LOT). So I learned through my mistakes, acquired more than just a handful of stories, and I’ve seen my peers and table mates go through it all too. I don’t mean a convention a year, I mean an average about six a year.

I am introduced to new convention artists every year, either online or in real life. I’m often asked about what to bring, and you should consider the following:

1) BRING A BOTTLE OF WATER. For anyone who says ‘it’s my first time’, I will ask them ‘hey did you bring a bottle of water?’ I didn’t notice it in the first couple times I went or saw someone experience it. But about six hours later, people would feel like they’d get a headache, or woosy or well….seemed more tired than normal. It’s because of DEHYDRATION. This is an incredibly simple but important rule–drink water. A gulp or two every hour, make sure to do it. I have seen people pass out, leave early, terrible headaches, etc. And when you’re done drinking that water bottle, make sure to refill it afterwards. You’re practically selling yourself and talking for hours, you need to quench your throat. Don’t want to end up mute the next day.

Tip: Fill up an empty gallon bottle (the ones that fill up milk) with water. On a hot day, freeze your water bottle overnight.

story: I went out to dinner with a bunch of friends after a heavy night of artist alley. During the meal, she really felt like crap, and when we left the place, someone was helping her out to the hotel, while one arm was over their shoulder, pretty much passed out reaching the hotel. Apparently she didn’t drink water all day until dinner. The next morning, a few hours after Artist Alley had begun, she came back to the table, and still had a headache.

2) A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER. I love to tell this to people. Mostly girls. And this one sounds really odd, and not everyone needs to bring it. But I would recommend it. See, imagine that this place has about 2,000 people in one day, and there’s only three bathrooms in the building. Now imagine that each building has 10 stalls, and there’s a line of people waiting for each stall, in every bathroom. Imagine how many times the janitor walks in to refill the toilet paper in that 10 hours. Get it? Besides, there’s always the watercolor artist who accidentally spills too.

story: Actually, there have been tons of moments where the bathroom ran out of toilet paper and I had my own roll in my hand. I remember one time someone asked for some toilet paper from me too. BOO-YAH.

imagine finding a bathroom stall here with toilet paper after the first hour.

I’ll also note this photo was taken OUTSIDE of the convention too.

3) ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL. This isn’t something to bring, but something to consider. This is a very easy way to get lunch without everyone having to get off their table to get some grub. Get a lackey table helper to buy the food for you. But it is very polite and helpful for the other table mates next to you to chip in the money for everyone to get some grub too. With chipped in money, you can buy bulk and split the food for everyone (pizza is great). Anyways, in this method, you can sit on your ass a little longer and someone will get you your food. But this is only if your table mate is a sweety pie.

tip: Don’t forget to take tons of napkins before you leave the food store. And forks/spoons if you need it.

story: Wonderful table mate asked me what I’d want for lunch. I gave them some money, said I didn’t care as long as there was meat, and the four (was it five?) of us just chilled out eating lunch. Ever since, when it was my turn to buy lunch, I will always ask the people sitting next to me if they wanted anything. Of course, we’d take turns buying food for each other ;)

4)SNACKS. Despite sitting all day and just talking to people, you’re still going to end up hungry if you’re not careful. Bring a healthy snack like nuts (assuming you’re not allergic). They’re good for you, and it’s a good snack for energy.

story: I’m so surprised at how some people are super prepared for snacks. One time I had a bag of almonds, and I offered some, and my table mate was like ‘Oh don’t worry, I’m prepared!’ She uncovered a crapwad of Japanese snacks and other stuff, and we just munched of that stuff ALL DAY.

5)WHAT DO YOU SMELL LIKE? Make sure you are wearing deodorant, and hopefully keeping up with making sure gunk isn’t in your teeth and your breath is minty fresh. And if you have to fart, make sure you don’t do it like crazy behind your table.

tip: If you want INSTANT fresh breath, you can use breath sprays. They sting like hell but work immediately afterwards. They have pills like GAS-X to prevent farting too, if you really need it.

And that’s it for this week’s topic of  ‘ANGRY ARTIST ALLEY’!

EXTRA! There are places that have very…nasty tasting water. Or maybe water that’s not good for you if you drink too much. Getting a water filter can do MIRACLES. Not enough space space for a giant water filter? Get a water bottle filter! Not enough room for that? Get a water filter straw! Just bring that around when you need to drink water from tap :)

Bottle form:

Straw form:

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Angry Artist Alley: Why do people use markers?

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As some artists, we sit behind artist alley to get pocket cash, exposure, you know the stuff. From budgets, to transportation/living, horrible customers, and well…if you never sat behind artist alley, you have no idea. And if you have…ever feel frustrated?

You’ve got stories? Concerns? Questions? Ask away!

I know there have been people who have sat behind cons before me, but I’ve started around 2004, and I walked in with absolutely no guidance (aka. i screwed up a LOT). So I learned through my mistakes, acquired more than just a handful of stories, and I’ve seen my peers and table mates go through it all too. I don’t mean a convention a year, I mean an average about six a year.

 

You will see it everywhere at artist alley-those copic or prismacolor markers…yea you know what i mean.
But why? They’re not too pleasing to smell, and they’re expensive!

I will point out, people use watercolors. But you know…the dreaded SPILL of hell (trust me, I’ve seen it more than a few times). I’ll also note that some of these reasons are better not to be told to a noobie who decides to sit behind the table for the first time. A mistake investment in markers can be very sad. Nor should you force someone to buy it just for the following reasons. If you decide to explain it to them, make sure to give them the cons of having markers as well.  A better explanation of any material in general is better than immediately buying and trying it out. Please try any art tool out yourself at a store or ask questions at a demo first.

 

Here are some reasons:

1)Everyone else is doing it-Well, got to fit in, right?

2)I look so boss with it-If the pros got it, having them will make you seem a bit more professional too. You don’t have to know how to use them properly or draw very well with it, when people see you using it, they think you’re pro.

3)Quick to use, quick to dry-draw a line-DONE. By the time you just read that sentence it’s dried.

4)Refillable-Lots of people toss the markers when they’re dry, which is really…well…did you know they have refills? The marker refills are slightly more expensive than the marker (by a dollar or two), and each refill is about 5-10 refills worth of one marker. Ink is also mixable, so I actually mix my own colors in the markers….which also means they’re not the real colors I purchased unless it was the color of my refills….but that also means I have marker colors I’d actually want to use.

Here are cons about using them:

1)Depending on the number you have, they can get bulky-more than seventy-two markers is tricky to pack up.

2)Cost-Imagine them being about five dollars each. Imagine someone stole that 72 pack you had lying around.

3)The smell-alcohol based markers will have colors that will not fade for decades, but it also has the slight smell of rubbing alcohol. After a few years you get used to it though.

4)Mistaking your table mates’ markers for yours, or people stealing them-yea, there was this jackass once…….

5)Caps don’t snap-when using these, make sure you know where you put the cap of the marker. Other than the CIAO copics (and a select other few), the caps don’t snap to the other side of the marker, which means you have to lay it somewhere next to the table or something. When you lose it, you’re dead. And so will your marker. Until you find it, after a heart attack.

6)Mis-capping: Markers come in a LOT of colors. Color intensity/hue/etc can be SO SLIGHT in markers, you better know which cap/color code goes on top of which marker. If you accidentally miscap two markers with very similar colors, that’s well…I hate when that happens.

7)bleeds right through paper: Make sure to color over a piece of blank paper, or the paper will bleed right through whatever art underneath.

How many markers do I need My starter set was 24 sketch, which was a great number for MANY years. I would recommend buying a SET instead of individual just to save money, but don’t go overboard. Eventually, there were specific colors I only wanted, so I bought a separate copic marker wallet to stash the other markers. My collection is a little over seventy, accumulated for eight years. You can always use a limited color palate too, and that makes for a very unique commission ^_^
Don’t buy the 72 pack on your first attempt without ever trying the markers out.

But do I REALLY need to use markers?
Hey, I’ve seen some awesome watercolor artists out there, ain’t no shame in that. Some people work exclusively digitally and only do pen and ink sketches. It’s just a mental kind of thing to have, like if all the cool kids have it, then suddenly having it would give you the sense of being that cool too.

My pro tip? Do what you love. If you like colorpencils, bring that instead. Crayons? Pastels? Whatever makes you happy. Markers are expensive, and if you don’t want to ever touch them, then don’t.

 

 

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