Angry Artist Alley: Prepping your health BEFORE the con

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

This will be a pretty amusing topic, as recently my topics have been more and more serious about the exact same thing (but cut up in three different articles for clarity)

It occurred to me that I have so many articles about customer relations, sales, and materials that I forgot one of the most important topics to mention: Prepping your body before the convention.

I’ve explained that there are things you need to do DURING the convention to stay healthy, but there’s a little something you can do extra BEFORE the convention to make your life much more relaxing!

Note: this process should be done a few days before the convention, not the night before. It may take more or less days to do it, but trust me, once you get accustomed to this regime you will thank me for a much more stress free experience.

1) Hydrate yourself BEFORE the convention. Make sure that you’re constantly drinking and peeing a few days before the con. The extra hydration will ensure that you won’t go to the convention with a migraine. Also prevents dry throat, for a morew pleasant voice~

2) CHECK AND CONTROL YOUR STOOLS: I got to emphasize that this topic sounds absurdly hilarious, but it’s soooooo useful.
Have you ever gone to a convention constipated? Diarrhea? Or just had the urge to fart all the time? YOU HAVE, RIGHT???? Well, most of you I bet.
These are all problems because you don’t check and control your stools. I’m not going into the nitty gritty details of how to do that, but just look it up on google yourself. Make sure you are pooping regularly, and that you are getting enough dietary fiber. About three days before a convention, I will drink a bottle of Odwalla or other brand fruit-vegetable smoothie. That stuff makes your stools erm…crazy, but once it’s out of your system (literally), your tummy will feel much more relaxed. Then it’s all up to whole grains and the like.
When your stools become normal, the chances of poop problems at a convention are drastically decreased :)

3) Control your diet-If you have food allergies or lactose intolerant, avoid them entirely for the next few days. You don’t want to agitate your tummy in ANY way. Imagine drinking a cup of milk the night before, and the next day you want to puke and you’re farting all the time! NO!

4) Force your sleeping habits to be accustomed to the convention’s hours. Artist alley often begin at 10am and end at 6pm. If you usually wake up at 10am and sleep at 2am, then you need to make sure you can handle the sleep schedule for the convention. This can’t be 100% applied to every person, but try your best on this. Days before the convention, adjust your sleeping schedule as close to the convention schedule as possible. That way, you can wake up and sleep properly at the convention without waking up super groggy in the morning, or dosing out towards the end of the day!

  • Melatonin is a natural way for people to try and get a good night’s rest. It doesn’t work for everyone, so no guarantees. Ask a pharmacist or doctor before taking though, just in case it might coincide with another drug you’re taking.
  • A cup of tea, or a cup of coffee might be enough to get you through the day. If not, you might want to try some sort of energy drink.
  • Now, if you seriously don’t think you can get through the day without passing out and sleeping in the middle of the con, caffeine is a good option. A cup of tea, a cup of coffee is a good start. If that doesn’t work, you can convert to a caffeine pill, or an energy drink. Some energy drinks contain twice as much caffeine as the typical over-the-counter caffeine pill, so you really need to watch out! Before you take a caffeine pill or energy drink though, you may want to talk to your doctor just in case (especially if you’re pregnant/breastfeeding)

5) Practice your art pitch. Aside from your body being healthy, your mind needs to be ready too. Remember that you’re trying to sell your art, so make sure you have a good pitch to entice people to sell your art. Don’t just practice ‘please let me know if you have any questions’. Practice ‘oh this? This comic is about so-and-so doing something-something’. Make sure you know exactly what you are going to say if someone eyeballs one of your art pieces. That way, when you’re at the convention, you’re not trying to fumble over what you should tell your customers.

6) For the Lovely Ladies: check your  menstrual cycle. Did you have it last week? Haven’t had it in 2 weeks? On it? Well, make sure you are AWARE AND PREPARED. I am going to assume you know the regime about this–bring the stuff if you need it.

  • Okay this might be a LOT of TMI (please skip this link if you’re a guy cos this is personal girl stuff) but a few months ago I discovered the wonders of a menstrual cup. You can do the nitty gritty research of how it works on your own, but this thing is amazing for cons (and everything else). You don’t have to think about your period for the entire day, it’s much less stressful than checking the clock all the time. Plus, you save a TON of money because it’s reusable!

aaand there you have it! My secret tips for a slightly easier time at the convention!

Artist Highlight!
Boomslank
(image courtesy of Boomslank, because i was so entranced by their work I forgot to get a photo of them)
I met these two cool dudes at Sakuracon. LOVED their work! One of my favorite tables in the entire con! I initially mistook them as a game studio because their work looked THAT professional. The artist has very vivid, imaginative illustrations, which all have stories behind them. It’s not often I see original art like this put onto graphic tees at conventions, and they’re really well done too.
Currently I own two shirts, and one has been in the washing machine every week since i got it. So far, no fading or color ripping, so ya those are some quality shirts!

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: One order of Table Plz

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: Where ‘da Conventions at?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

So if you’re starting out at conventions, you’re probably wondering “uh….so where do I find conventions?” That’s a pretty legit question. I’ll tell you where I find mines: on the internet.

There’s a bunch of ways to find out when and where conventions are, but there’s no guarantee ever that you’ll know every single one. After you go to a few conventions, you’ll get used to it.

Because I only go to conventions in the SF Bay Area, not everything I say will apply to EVERYONE, but I hope it will help you decide how to look up and prepare for conventions.

Tips:

  • ‘convention season’ is when a lot of conventions happen back to back during the same time of the year. In the Bay Area, the busiest times is around December-January, and April-May. In So-Cal it’s more around the summer time.
  • Conventions often happen during holiday weekends.
  • Conventions often occur in bigger populated cities. One exception for this are the conventions that take place in colleges.
  • If someone already posts something saying ‘I’m going to be selling at ____ con’, the chances of buying a table there are slim. A lot of conventions sell out on their tables very quickly due to a first-come-first-serve basis!

One time I contacted Big Wow! a few months before the convention because I didn’t know tables were being sold, but apparently were quite some left even though tables opened up two months prior. So it never hurts to ask if tables are full or not ;)

So how do I find out where the conventions are?

 Look them up online. There are websites solely dedicated to comic and/or anime conventions, facebook pages, etc. Try this one for anime conventions. Or even this one for comic book conventions. You can even try sites that posts local events to see if anything else suits your taste.

Know the heads of the conventions. I don’t mean ‘know’ as in know them personally, but if you have facebook, you should watch their facebook pages for updates or anything of the like. People who run conventions or are affiliated in some way (such as guests or artists) will often post updates on the project when the time is coming up.

When you find the conventions you like, look for an email contact and ask them to be on their mailing list. The moment there’s any news about artist alley tables, they will start emailing people about the news. This is the most efficient way to keep track of conventions in which you’re interested in or have gone to.

Featured Artist: Toshio Maeda
He’s not an amateur artist, he’s pro. Author of La Blue Girl, he gave me a very powerful speech that has helped give me a drive to keep drawing when I first met him at Big Wow! Con. When he was giving me motivation, I started crying tears in front of him, it was nuts. Anyways, he’s a really great guy, and I recorded a panel at Sac Anime that he was in (warning, some adult language).
If you have known me long enough, and saw a giant leap of improvement at one year, it was because this guy told me to never give up :)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: Partnering at a table

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

**I’d like to thank Ashly Tahilan: [Tumblr] and Terri Litz: [Deviantart] [Livejournal] for their excellent input on this topic. Thanks you two!

One of the best ways to reduce your convention costs is to have a table partner. Usually sharing a table allows you to share transportation, housing, and tabling costs. It’s amazing, but the downside is that you’re cutting your selling space by half (and sometimes thirds).

Still, depending on what you sell, these are great outcomes and sharing tables can lead you to buying more costly tables at bigger conventions, knowing you’re likely to be sharing hotel/housing with your tablemate.

But just having someone else at a table isn’t the ONLY thing you need to be concerned about. This part flies through peoples’ heads very easily, and you really won’t get it unless it’s happened to you–you walk out of your table, and suddenly people are walking at your table. Can you handle it? Can THEY handle it? WILL they handle it?

I’m egging at the fact that SOME TABLE PARTNERS ARE NOT GOOD TO PARTNER UP WITH. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean bad as in their drawing art skill, I mean bad as in they’re not interested in helping you out. By bad, I don’t mean they won’t do your money transactions either–that’s easy peasy. I mean bad as in they are trying to sell their work and their work only at your table. Or take it a step further, and sometimes just not enthusiastic about selling anything whatsoever. And well, standing at a distance, you can tell if they’re doing it or not.

First off, choose your partner carefully. Please consider these questions:

1) Can you get in contact with them? If they can answer your emails every two days or earlier, than it’s okay. And make sure you get their number.

2)What’s their work look like?

Be honest. If your work isn’t amazing, and you’re sitting next to an insanely talented person, where do you think all the business will go to? You want to have an artist who is struggling as hard as you trying to get better. Or at least, a balance of skill between both artists. Or you both mutually understand the situation and accept it.

3) Is your work going to COMPLIMENT theirs, or CLASH with theirs?

One thing you want to avoid is selling the exact same stuff the same series. If you’re selling stickers and pins from one series, and your partner did the exact same thing, it’s going to CLASH. It’ll feel like a shitty competition of whose will sell better.

“OH YA. if anything avoid selling the same things as well. It’d be total butts if both of you were selling charms of pokemon.. THE SAME POKEMON. DOING THE SAME CUTE THING. AS CELL CHARMS.”-Ashly Tahilan

One trick/tip when doing tables is to sit next to someone who isn’t selling your stuff. For example, if you’re selling prints, try and get next to someone selling crafts.

Also, I sound like an ass, but if the convention gives you the option and asks for your seating preference and you know there are some artists that kind of bang on your style or you don’t like them, just leave a note saying ‘I don’t want to be seated near [insert artist’s name]’ Better safe than sorry. On the contrary, if you don’t have a table partner but trust another artist who also has a table, consider asking the convention to seat your table next to theirs so when you leave you can entrust your money to someone you know.

It’s all on judgement of the artist’s style whether or not it compliments your work. If you have something that’s very vivid and colorful, maybe you should consider tabling next to someone with very dark moody artwork. If you’re selling headbands, maybe you should table with someone selling hair clips.

4) Do you know the person?

At least talk to them a few times before immediately trusting.  Also, it MIGHT NOT be a good idea to partner with someone you know who is very attached to you as a friend without considering it very hard. This is because if for some reason you don’t want to partner with them (either because they just ruin your business, art is bad, or attitude), and you tell them you don’t want to partner with them anymore, it can feel very very bad. So you want to have a mutual understanding with your partner that neither of you are obliged to share ever again if you ever do it in some other convention. A good table partner won’t feel butthurt if you tell them you want the table for yourselfor are sharing tables with someone else.


 

So, what constitutes as a good table partner?

DSC_1208 (2) (1)

(left, Louie Hidalgo (http://leadapprentice.deviantart.com/) and right is me, Jackie Lo (http://www.jackieloart.tumblr.com).  Photo taken by BlizzardTerrak. While his work is amazingly well rendered from the computer, my work is almost entirely drawn by hand. It’s hard to compare completely different styles of art. 

-You inform each other what you’re going to sell/prepare AHEAD of time. Not at the convention. If you’re going to have a stand or prop, you tell your partner that or you’re going to have some conflict the day it happens. If you brought a red tablecloth and they brought a black, you better be able to settle for either splitting the color in half or fighting over one.

-You know your limits to your space. Don’t just shove as much as you can on your side to the point where people can’t see your face, and you’re going to be squishing yourself sitting next to them on their side because of that. If that’s the case, it’s likely that table sharing may NOT be the best option for you. If you don’t have a lot of stuff then let your table partner put some of their stuff over the other half of your side.

Don’t be annoying. They bug you? Tell them politely. You bug them? You better stop it.

Don’t ignore them. Dude, you are standing next to them for eight hours. But don’t bother them too much if they’re drawing or you see that your talking is distracting their commissions.

You guys know how to deal with food. Seriously, if only one of you just get food for yourself that’s selfish and too much work. Get food for both of you at the same time, and know where you’re getting it. Also be aware of your friend’s food preferences and allergies. For tips on food, check out my article ‘how to do the food’

-if you think there’s something they can fix up, like helping you sell your work, or something like that, feel free to tell them. They may or may not do it, but at least telling them will inform them of your concern. If you get butthurt because they told you something, it’s probably not a good idea to table with them if you couldn’t handle the criticism.

They don’t jack your money. Stealing your partner’s cash is a no-no. If you’re anxious, take some of your money with you.
In some instances, they might not have change, and you will have to give out the change. It’s your judgement whether or not you want to do the money transaction and tell your partner later.

And here’s one of the biggest flaws in table partners….

-If you or your partner walk out the table, that does NOT mean you lose half the work on the table. That means you work hard and help them with their side of the table while they’re gone! I don’t mean go commando and only sell their work, I just mean that if someone looks at their work you keep their attention at the table and if they want to buy something then you should know how to exchange money. That may sound ridiculous to some, but imagine if someone walks at your table but only looks at your partner’s work but not yours. I bet you that if you just made light conversation with them, they’d at least take a glance. If you just sit on your butt and ignore the crowd, no one is coming to look at EITHER you or your partner’s stuff. So there should always be someone actively trying to engage with customers. Engaging customers is a very important key to good business! Even if it’s their work people want to look at, sharing tables is a team effort. Also, ignoring their sales with customers is not cool.

Here’s an instance of why you need a table partner that will help sell your work when you’re gone. Imagine you leave to go to dealer’s hall for half an hour. Your table mate says ‘okay’ and sits there. Then, when you’re done, you come back and your table mate tells you, “oh yea, three people wanted to buy some of your work but I didn’t know what to do, so I told them to come back.” What if they forgot and don’t come back? You just lost some business there because your partner didn’t know what to do. Having a partner you can trust with handling money and knows all the prices of your work will help you out a LOT.


 

Tips about sharing tables:

-At least one person is trying to engage customers. That usually means one person always standing and waving their hands at the art. The other person can be drawing a commission or out shopping. But always one person is getting people to the table. If your partners leave, don’t just sit lazily on your butt; that rarely attracts customers. Stand up and engage.

-You both know exactly how/when to get to the convention, and you know exactly how you’re getting food. No conflicts or problems. If you both take the train, it’s a good idea to meet at the exact time so if you plan to take the taxi, you can share the fare getting there.

-If someone buys your partner’s stuff, you know where to get the change from, and write down what you sell to inform them. Forgetting to do so or being unable to handle money is not a good idea when sharing tables.

-Don’t take your sweet sweet time outside the table. Don’t leave all the work to your partner. That’s not cool. For me, one hour is tops. However, at bigger conventions it could be longer. But don’t leave for half the day and not tell your partner.

-If you can’t do a commission or something, why not tell them your buddy can? That’s a plus!

In the end, if they’re friends, strangers, lovers, or family members, if you think they’re not helping your table when you’re sharing tables, just tell them no; no hard feelings, not everyone is good at it, but it really does suck when you feel obliged to share because you did it once. Do you have a story about a positive or negative experience sharing tables at a convention? Please share by leaving a comment below!


 

Featured Artist(s):

Rachael Ann Miller

2014-12-06 10.54.50

At Fanime, I was standing in front of her table staring at a picture because it seemed familliar. I asked her if it was on tumblr at some point, and she said she posted it a while ago. I told her it looked amazing and recognized it and she gave me a postcard print (it’s the black on on the table), and on the back she wrote ‘thaks for tumblr creepin’ LOL. No, she meant it in a good way, because she was really happy to see a follower recognize her art. I feel the same way when people come to my table too :3

site: http://rachelannmillar.com/illustration

tumblr: http://rachelannmillar.tumblr.com/


 

 

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: How to DO the FOOD

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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

 

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

Here are some tips:

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

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

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

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

The table next to me who bought the food:

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

Name: Deyanira Babcock

Site: http://www.deyanirababcock.com/

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

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

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

What’s a good time to eat?

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

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

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

 

AWESOME advertising: Revolt Komics, Volume 1

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

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Just another ANGRY artist alley day

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Facebook | Deviantart | Tumblr

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.

 

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: Time Killer

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

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

Time Killer #1: Stretches

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

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

stretches

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

And don’t forget to check this youtube video out too: http://youtu.be/hUyMNyrOHJQ

Time Killer #2: Conversation

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

Time Killer #3: Take a walk

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

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

Time Killer #4: Food

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

Time Killer #5: Entertain yourself, Entertain others?

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

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

Time Killer #5: Bathroom Break

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

PLEASE AVOID INTENSE ENERGY DRINKS. 

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: Toughen up you muther!#@$#!

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Based on something I heard from Trisha (aka. Ratgirl Productions), and the entire intention of writing this series, this article is aimed entirely for the newcomers in artist alley, and the ones who are thinking about it. Last post was very happy, so I’m going to balance it out with this one, just so you don’t get the delusion that every small-press/artist alley is so freaking awesome. And yes, I have cried myself, or wanted to cry so many times I lost count.

Not all of this applies to every artist now, but I guarantee you that at one point in time sitting behind artist alley, you’ve felt this way before. 

But if you have the guts to do it after reading this article, I’d say you’re pretty set to table at artist alley.

Because I care. We all do (?). This crazy aggressive post is to make sure you sissies don’t hurt yourself behind artist alley. Prepare for the worst, and the best shall happen. 

Prepare for sarcasm, because this is the internet.
(if you didn’t get the hint from the above sentence, this article is mostly sarcasm)
if you didn’t get the hint from the two sentences above this, I guess my sarcasm skills are too powerful.

The first thing I’d probably say about artist alley: ARTIST ALLEY IS A BATTLEFIELD.

From the moment it is announced by the group, the battle has already begun. You’ve got to get enough money and register, since it’s almost always a first-come first-serve basis. Nowadays, there have been ‘random raffle’ ones, but for some very odd reason, every year they have that, out of the 100+ people who register, it seems like some of the same few people are there every year. So the battle has begun.

Will you, or will you not join the battle of the table-grabbing?

Tables can go out like hotcakes in some places. There could be 30 tables that go out in a week, or even 50 that go out in seven minutes. Trust me, not kidding. If you have the opportunity and you’re 100% sure you want it, get it. Don’t wait last minute.

Now, suck up your gut soldier, because it doesn’t get better!

It’s about the gold. Well, not entirely, but the reason we bought a table is so we can earn money from selling stuff there. If your reason for going behind artist alley is ‘to get better at drawing’ it’s easier to do that online and tons of people will ask you to draw stuff for them for free as you ‘improve’. People over the internet fawn for free requests, you’ll get plenty of experience until you feel confident enough to sell at a convention. If your ‘excuse’ is to gain experience, I’m writing this article to prepare you for what you’re REALLY going to experience (although it’s not all negative). Another ‘excuse’ is to gain exposure. If that’s the case, go to a comic convention or craft fair instead of an anime convention because the ‘bigger people’ looking for potentials are walking around there. An art director walking around at anime conventions are nearly non-existent (but there have been a few). You go to a convention TO SELL YOUR ARTWORK. And also, to have fun ^_^

note: If you really want exposure at a convention though, try industry comic conventions, because the chance of an artist/writer/art director wandering around is MUCH more likely.

Does your art suck? I don’t know. Do you think it does? What do other people think?

If you want an honest opinion, it’s hard to get it. People don’t want to insult an artist by telling them their art isn’t at their standards. Best way to find out is to post it on an anonymous board like 4chan, make a rude comment about it, and let everyone build to the fire. They’ll point out all the flaws, and you can learn from that.

Don’t get your hopes up. You think buying 10 prints and selling it for 10 dollars each will get you one hundred dollars? Well, kid, have you ever considered that not all 10 prints would sell? Maybe only two would sell at a convention. I printed about 25 new prints  and over two hundred postcards for my last convention,. Guess how many I sold? I sold one postcard.

My first time making prints, I printed 10 of each design. That set of prints lasted me about five years until the point where I took a pair of scissors and cut it into shreds. It felt AWESOME. My second round was much better, so if you think your prints are dragging you down, then start all over ^_^

 You think they’ll all like your work? Well, somewhere out there, you might see someone give a sour look, or not even look in your direction. It could be unintentional, but the moment you see that face near your table, it’s like a blow to your heart. And imagine more than one person doing it. Imagine sitting there for eight hours seeing these things. Can you handle it? There have been SEVERAL cases where moms and young teenagers would look away from my table either from disgust of my artwork or because it’s too ‘dark’. I’ve seen them glance at my work, barely looking closely. I’ve even heard mothers drag their kids away from my table saying ‘don’t look!’. I am absolutely not kidding.

…then again, you have the opposite, where they will adore your work :3

Just because your work is decent doesn’t mean you’ll pick up the most business. Some people get a LOT of business doing things that seem mediocre to us (artists). But as I’ve once said to a group of people “as artists we can see what real skill is, but to customers, even the dumbest things can be the coolest thing ever”. You can see really untalented people farm the gold and you’re not. There are ways of attracting attention that is really stupid and you can’t say a word or it’ll ruin your reputation. Or even….if they’re your friends sitting next to you.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 Brian Wolf:  Actually I’d be the one with my head down if he was selling next to me 0_0

Your reputation is on the line. Do one stupid piece of shit like complain to a customer, they tell a friend, who tells a friend, posts it online, and you’re screwed. Sometimes you need to lick their goddamn shoes just so you don’t seem like a meanie. Or sometimes you need the excuse “oh uh…I need to go to the restroom real quick!”

Hint: if you react the opposite way (not a douche) it’s likely this won’t happen to you. Treat people nicely, be polite. I know it can be hard :(

Sitting next to ANYONE will end up having you comparing business with them. You might be earning more than them and end up like a cocky f_ck. Or you might not be earning anything compared to the person sitting next to you. Or you’re comparing and worried if you’re earning enough. It’s a shame kid. For me, as long as I hit the green zone and earn at least three times the amount that I paid for the ticket to sell at the con, I’ll stay sane. Try and be humble.

You will have a lot of customers you won’t like. From people who are hitting on you, to the freaky perverts that want to request something that…well, I’ve had interesting drawing requests. There may be people who would walk to your booth and photograph your work and walk away, and there may be people who just tick you off. If your fans adore you, you get respect. And if they’ve never heard of you, you usually get treated in an entirely different way.

You might draw something you might not like. There are things people ask that you might not like, but still want the money. But there are still boundaries. If you do not have the guts to refuse a drawing you don’t want to draw, then this is definitely not the place you want to go to. Someone wants you to draw a picture of two characters you don’t really like kissing? Well it’s your decision, but either way you need the bravery to do it, or the willpower to do it. By the way, IT IS TOTALLY FINE TO REFUSE A COMMISSION. Sure you won’t get paid, but at least save your sanity. I’d rather not draw two #$! on a !#%@ doing $%#@#! to each other.

I’ve been asked to draw yaoi on a few occasions, but some of those requests can get really….intense. Oddly enough, I’ve never been asked to draw hentai. Yuri, once. Maybe twice. I don’t remember. But if you are uncomfortable drawing it, just say no. 

You gonna cry like a little baby? If that’s the case, don’t go. It’s not that you suck, it’s that you might end up hurting yourself in a way that will scar you for life :( I would rather see an enthusiastic artist celebrate and appreciate their hard-trained talent to others in a happy way than have them beaten down where they’re in a mental state crying in the bathroom.

…..and if you think you can handle all of this without shedding a tear all the time, then be my guest. It’s not as happy-go-lucky as you might imagine. It’s more like the customers don’t understand any of this, and so if you’re beginning artist alley, you start to understand what it really feels like behind the table. In fact, I broke down and sobbed on a pillow once too in front of my friends. But when you’re a beginner, you should be prepared for everything I’ve just said. Crying on your first day is awful. If you can’t handle it, then you should hold on to your pocket money and invest it in something else.

So pray you’re not on the bottom of the food chain at a convention, and if you are, suck it up and make sure you learn from your mistakes. You’ll climb up for sure.

If you table the first time and enjoy every moment of it, it truly is an amazing experience.

But you know, there are very fun moments. From the adrenaline rush, to making new friends and remembering old customers, and even learning and meeting new artists. Sometimes just the small moments where kid’s eyes widen when they see something on your work and compliment you even though they don’t know anything about it really warms your heart. You might be looking up to an artist sitting next to you, or it could be them that respect you. Maybe introducing a series you absolutely love to someone who’s never heard of it, and having them come back the next year to tell you how they loved it too. Maybe it’s the incredibly rare times someone recognizes your artwork and calls you by your screen name. There’s a lot of great things in artist alley too. I may have gone through a lot of the wrong plots of artist alley (thus, the name of this blog series), but you know, I’ve had incredible moments too. I just don’t talk a lot about them because the best way to know these experiences is going through them yourself :3

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

Angry Artist Alley: Health?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

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:

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail