Angry Artist Alley: Where ‘da Conventions at?

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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 :)
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OPEN CALL: Comic/Anime Convention Resources Needed

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Are you head of a department in comic/anime conventions or you’ve been to cons for over five years?

I am doing a personal comic project that will bring awareness to what proper convention conduct is.

What am I doing?

1

I am creating a comic that will be open for the public to read online that talks about proper conduct at conventions. What is OKAY to do vs. what is NOT OKAY to do and why it affects the rest of the con and their reputation. My hope is that conventions/forums can link to this comic, and people will read it. Few read the ‘proper conduct’ section or take it seriously at cons unless strictly enforced. How about we already know it’s bad and shouldn’t do it in the first place? I hope to make a comic that can do that. When the majority of con go-ers agree with the same ideas, that is when people begin to understand that what they’re doing is not acceptable. In a comic format, it will be fun and easy to read and understand with visuals.

What will the comic look like?

  • Black and white, about 30-40 pages (I don’t know the odds of it ending up being longer than that, but it’s possible. Probably not shorter though)
  • With enough funding I can spend my time making it into a full color
  • I haven’t determined a specific ‘style’ to draw my comic in, but check out my art portfolio page if you’re curious of what I’ve done.

What will you do?

I just want to strike a ten minute conversation on Skype/facebook/meet in real life. It could go longer if you have more to say. That is all.

Who can help out?

I would like people from every department: maid cafes and food vendors, panels, game room, head staff, finances, artist alley, photography, cosplay, event planners, etc. –you must have at least five years of experience or you’ve been the head of the department/staff for at least two years. That’s because that’s a good time gap to compare what used to be a convention experience to what the experience is nowadays. I am looking for people from themed conventions like comic, indie, anime, furries, bronies, steam punk, scifi, toy, etc. I want the staff’s perspective a lot because they TRY to enforce a ‘please behave’ thing to conventions, yet not everyone really understands that it’s their own responsibility to just act in a good manner instead of doing it and just wait for some other staff member or police to stop them.

Added note: I’ve been getting requests from friends, and I’m going to clarify-If you’re an attendee I’m looking for someone who has devoted many, many years doing one thing. I’m pretty sure everyone can give me their two cents about what the hell is wrong with a convention, but if you’ve stayed devoting only to one or two things and have been super serious about it, you know better than just complaining. I’m not talking about if you were in a ‘crowd’ or ‘met people’, I’m looking for someone who understands that rules have changed yet trying to enforce them is difficult. You know the tiny details and reasons that newer convention people had no idea.

Why can’t I find the info online?

Articles online are too biased, and I want to talk to a number of different people (around the country/world) so that certain opinions aren’t just specific for certain places. I’ve noticed a clash of ideas about the attitude of ‘homestuck cosplayers’ from my side of the country to the opposite side of the country, thoughts on photographing cosplayers, tolerance in rowdiness, etc. Everyone’s perspective is different, especially if they’re only going to specific conventions or only go to them at a specific area. You could say this comic might be biased as well, but I want my own personal research from more than one person before i make an assumption.

Everything will be anonymous unless you say it’s okay to write out. 

If you have something sour to say about it, don’t worry I won’t write your name out.  I’ll take responsibility for what I say and draw for this project unless you say you want credit for it. If you do, your name and site (if you have one) will be credited. Also please don’t tell me information that can get me a lawsuit, that’s a no no.

Do I get paid?

You get a thank you postcard print.  No cash, the cash is donation funding so I can actually go to conventions and college and other things that require money. Yes I like drawing and it makes me happy, but I still got to eat and stuff too you know? If you want to help me though, I’m starting a Patreon to support myself. Just ten cents will let you read my research on this project.

How do I get in?

Please email me at jackie[at]jackieloart.com with the subject ‘LET’S TALK ABOUT CONVENTIONS’ in it. Please tell me how long you’ve been at cons, and approximately how many conventions you’ve gone to and where they’re located, and what departments you are representing as a professional representative (in the email). I will get picky if there’s too many people and I’ll be lenient if there aren’t enough. I hope to get at least five different opinions in each department. You don’t need to only go to the big cons to talk about your experience.

DUE TO LACK OF RESPONSES, THIS IS CURRENTLY STILL OPEN

apparently a bunch of people found their emails in the trash can, and so I had a hard time catching up with a lot of interviewees and some ignored my response :(

(interviews will be conducted during and after this period, no rush)

  1. Send an email to Jackie@jackieloart.com with the title “LET’S TALK ABOUT CONVENTIONS” stating your name, how long you’ve been at cons, and what your ‘expertise’ is that you’d like to discuss. If approved, I will send you a followup email which link to a survey to schedule a future time in which we can chat online
  2.  NOTE: If you have a con during that time it is OKAY. The scheduling is just to know when I can talk with you for the following few weeks, so no rush. 
  3. Once the schedule has been set, I’ll email you a time/confirmation as well as a list of questions I’ll ask. You can type the answers to as many or as few as you want. all answers will be considered during the interview so conversation can go faster. 
  4. After the interview, I’ll have another survey out to make sure I know if you want what you say to be open to the public of completely private and just for me. 

2

Can I help draw the comic too?

No. I recently worked on a group project as leader and failed to keep the team, so I am not going to risk something this big to fall apart on me. In addition, having a personal conversation is easier to understand than interpreting others’ comics and opinions if mines aren’t the same and I have no idea why. I want to keep all connections anonymous so to make conversation with a single person (me) will be the safest and most convenient way.

I’m not qualified, but is there any way I can help too?

Yes, you can spread the word :P

My Goals

  • Digial Copy up before Fanime (realistically speaking, will probably take another month longer but I will try my best)
  • Less harassment, drug abuse, and inappropriate behavior in the future cons, cosplay meetups, and game tournaments (or make it more aware)
  • Set up a Patreon and get enough cash to pay for Fanime, Anime California, and Sac Anime hotel rent, transportation, food, and make up for ticket cost (it’s over two hundred dollars!). Also pay for a college course in which I could not afford last time.
  • Representation of voice from other people who feel the same way.
  • Show my comic work to the public ;)

 

 

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I’ll be at Animation on Display 2014!

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If you haven’t heard the news about me going to this con, it’s likely that you don’t follow my tumblr or facebook, where I got super psyched for two weeks and made new prints. Time doesn’t allow me to make much more except a better layout for my table, but yea, I still have things to show.

Anyways, with any upcoming convention, I have a self promotion video!

So of course, it mentions my blog, and this is it, but the directory for Angry Artist Alley is here.

And if you want to order a sketch and you can’t make it to the convention, check out the brown paper sketch form here and the light paper sketch form here.

I love brown paper sketches because they’re more fun and unique, but I know some people want to stick with white. I always hate when I buy a flimsy print and come home just to find it bent on the sides, which is why I will always include a backing board with my commissions. Sorry, not prints, because backing boards cost a bit unless you cut them all by hand!

contact: jackie@jackieloart.com

Price:

Before convention (and pickup at the convention): $17, 8.5″x11″, and backing board–payment first

At convention: $20, 8.5″x11″, and backing board–payment first. I have a credit card reader this year. But please, cash would be best.

After convention (for some reason I need to mail it to you): add $3. Large envelopes can cost a bit.

After convention/Online: $25, plus $3 shipping,  8.5″x11″, and backing board. I concentrate the most time on these, and you can request on a more NSFW basis if desired. Nudity is fine to some extent, but no porn. I’m not good at drawing porn.

And I guess here are some things you should know while considering a purchase:

  • I don’t do pencil sketches because they smudge and you’re going to screw it up in a few weeks anyways. Also, my sketches are so dirty and unfinished I’m pretty sure you won’t be impressed with the giant graphite smudges.
  • I would never consider an inking commission for ten bucks. People take TIME and years of PRACTICE to draw at our pace, and so I feel that people who under price that low for their work should think a little higher than themselves. Support artists, make us feel good about ourselves! Artists are paid thousands of dollars to make a  cover pages for books or design a logo, this is already insane.
  • noncommercial use only. Give it as a gift or on the wall, but don’t you dare scan and sell it on merchandise!
  • I hate when I order something flimsy and when I get home they crinkle on the edges. All my sketches will come with a backing board to prevent that.
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Angry Artist Alley: Great for you, not for them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Things I find are OKAY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Artist: Ray Chan

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

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

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

Extra!

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

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

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

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

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

Why you should NOT get a table:

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

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

Why you SHOULD get a table:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Something to consider:

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

Does everyone deserve to table at a convention?

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

aaand our feature artist at artist alley is………

Melissa Pagluica

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

EXTRAa

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

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

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

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

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

And today’s featured artist is:

Murphy Milburn

facebook: www.facebook.com/murphymilburn

Deviantart: www.m-milburn.deviantart.com

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

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

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

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

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Angry Artist Alley: THEY WON’T GO AWAY

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

Sometimes the people on the other side of the table are just so………er….and you got to be friendly to them.

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You should be able to deal with the people you’re staring at. I was an antisocial nerd in highschool, but when I hit behind artist alley, I was totally different. You have to TALK to people (I know, *gasp* the horror), you need to interact with them, and sometimes you need to pretend like you care or know what the hell they’re talking about. Even though they may be a dick to you, you shouldn’t be a dick to everyone.

Fun fact: Speaking of dicks, there are a few guys that go to cons with a giant binder full of ‘dickbutts’ and asks for people to draw one and they pay you five bucks. I was probably seventeen or something when I met them in highschool at Fanime, and holy smokes they’re still at it, coz I saw them at Kinyoobi con and I drew them a Rocky Horror themed one. I was really horrified when I met them, but they’re pretty chill now. So some people you may think are really scary and gross and immature, but years later maybe it was just a misunderstanding.

There are a ton of annoying people, and sometimes you really really just can’t handle it. That makes sense, even I want to shove some people away from my table because they’re keeping customers from walking towards my table. Hell sometimes I wish I never met them. But you know what? Suck it up. You can’t be the happy angel forever, and there are some things even I can’t talk about in these blogs that have scarred me. But you can’t be a dick to them. But…what do you do?

Be smart. If all they’re doing is loitering and  talking to you because they want attention, and you need attention from other people, then do it. This is why making friends at conventions is great, because they get you out of sticky situations like this sometimes. Easy peasy–just say hi to your buddies walking by.

I know, you’re like ‘whuuuuut?’. You need to grab your friend’s attention for about five seconds, and hopefully that time will be enough for that person to lose interest, stop standing around, and go hang out somewhere else.  Didn’t work first time? Do it again with another person. I know tooons of people passing by at cons today (wasssuuup you guys reading this blog *waves*) .  Wait, but if you keep doing that and it’s not working….uh oh!

My emergency procedure: They are likely standing there because they think they’re having a long deep conversation with you. Just break their concentration. Tell them you need to go to the bathroom, tell the person next to your table to watch it. Then, you either go to the bathroom (recommended) or walk away for about five minutes and come back. That is usually plenty of time for someone to get too bored and walk away and go ‘yea I’ll  come back later’…they usually don’t :P13a

…and there you have it. This is emergency only, and this is like sacrificing five minutes behind the table, which could have been a number of sales. But hey, that person isn’t blocking your table anymore, so that’s good, yea?

Featured artist for today:

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This dude’s table looked very badass, and with some original art laying around. Got to thumbs up for thing thing sitting on the center of his table :3

Name: D.J. Welch

Deviantart: www.darkkenjie.deviantart.com

Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/darkkenjie

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Kraken Con 2013: Preorders are open!

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Right now, juggling two different tumblrs, two different facebooks, three different emails, and trying to update two different blogs on a consistent rate is tripping me up, but I’m slowly getting accustomed to this. Why so many? Well, I’ll tell you in a few days when I post about my new project that I’ve been busy on for a month now.

 

I feel I should just do one of these videos every time a new convention comes up, since I always try something new. And pre-orders are way better to keep me on task than doing them after the conventions.

Convention: Kraken Con, 2013

Location: South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 S Airport Blvd S San Francisco, CA 94080

So basically, you preorder a commission, come to the table to pick up. Simple, yes? Preorders have a better deal, either in quality and/or price.

Brown Paper Sketches: $15 each (it will be $20 at the convention)

Hand Drawn Stickers: $10 each, BUT if you order more than one, they will be $8 each.

To order, send an email to jackie@Jackieloart.com with the topic “Kraken Con Preorder”

So where is my table?

This should help out a little:

krankencon

 What’s so cool about the maid and butler cafe?

It’s cool because you’ll notice every single butler and maid has a unique name tag, customized with their outfit design. Yep, I designed them. Check them out, tell me what you think. If you visit it, you might get a nifty little folded origami butterfly, courtesy of me, who folded over a hundred of them. There is a little note folded inside every single butterfly. I hope you all read the note, and support what it says inside :3

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Just another ANGRY artist alley day

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

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

Artist: Jason Bastos

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

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

So, on to my day to SacCon:

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

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

Preparing for Artist Alley:

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

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

Setup….and breakdown?

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

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

Setup….can I get a refund?

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

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

Getting my table…….

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

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

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

You are so clever, aren’t you?

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

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

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

 

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Angry Artist Alley! Your Customer should NOT….

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Okay, so this post is regarding is about *them* and not you. They can be rude, obnoxious, trying to hit on you, or nice. Well, I’m an artist and I’ll voice my opinion here about it and maybe give a few pointers. Once again, not EVERYONE is like this, but the thing is-I’m an artist, but I’ve walked around conventions too. I can say I may have been one of the obnoxious people at one time of my life too, so don’t feel angry or too guilty about this. And I’ve been an artist and saw what other people have done. We all have to realize these things first.

Customers come in many shapes and sizes….and some of them do rude things. Most of them not knowing it at all. So let’s examine….

This article is actually pointed to you customers, and not the artists. Please be aware, please be thoughtful. Unlike you, the customer, we, the artist spend practically the entire convention sitting there. So be mindful about how you treat us-we’re human (or furries), and we need some respect too!

customers1

Eating over the table: People buy coffee, eat cookies, fatty french fries, you name it. And then they bend over to look at your artwork while you’re munching. And they pick up a piece of your work. You may want to consider covering your work with mylar bags to prevent this.  If, in the incredibly rare circumstances, that they coffee or even water on your artwork, you should ask that they pay for the damaged piece.

customers2They are telling their friends how they don’t like the artwork. At least don’t do it in front of the table. I’m sure people need to voice their opinion, but do it when you’re not near the artist. As artists, some of us suck. But you know what? We are sitting there trying our best to make business. We spent time and effort doing the art that you see on the table. At least give us that respect.

customers3They’re taking photos of your work. Please ask the artist and include reference. See link here: http://jackieloart.com/blog/angry-artist-alley-let-me-photograph-your-artwork/

They ask you every possible secret to your techniques of drawing. This isn’t just for artists. There can be complete random people trying to pry out what the hell and how the hell you’re doing stuff. I made a huge mistake one time trying to push a guy into how he drew detailed rocks in his comics even though he said no (I’m so sorry!). If they don’t want to tell you how they do it, don’t push it. Sometimes we artists don’t like to give out our secrets. But I do enjoy asking people where the hell they print their paper. I don’t think that’s a huge issue at all.

customers4They are pressuring you to give them a discount. I hate assholes who don’t understand the concept that drawing art does not cost the same amount as the paper you draw on. It costs the amount of time, effort, concentration, and skill of many, many, MANY years of practice blown onto a piece of paper, and at the same time, very likely spending more than an hour on something where we’re being paid ten bucks to do. Sometimes we artist just need to charge MORE for the effort we’re spending on a piece (gundams take forever!). If you think the price is insane, then don’t buy it. But don’t haggle something that is less than twenty five bucks. And DEFINITELY do not go for ‘if you draw this for free, I’ll post it online for exposure’–that is a stupid scam.  

customers5Leaning on the table, touching everything roughly. It may have been my imagination, but I vaguely remember me or someone else rubbing against the table so much that the cloth just jumbled up and the table had to be re-organized. Very small nitpick, but these things are really annoying, especially when you set the table up and your body is on the other side of the table doing it. Touching and dropping something is very….just don’t do it. You can lean a little on the table, but one slip on that table cloth and the artist will get very aggravated  Make sure to keep your balance!

customers6Hitting on you, and won’t stop hitting on you. Now this is freakin hilarious, and I’m not joking with this one. Basically, every once in a while a guy will walk up to my table, and we make a looooong conversation about nothing I care about, and they just won’t leave. Just talk, and talk, and talk…..I mean, it’s fun for a while but at some point it gets very aggravating and other things. It’s not the boredom or awkwardness of it, it’s the fact that having someone talk in front of your table for long periods of time actually drives customers away because they think you’re busy on the table or the other person is covering your artwork with their back.

Fun story: I had no idea guys were hitting on me at conventions until my more-social friends pointed it out. Judging from what and when they tell me this happens, I can’t believe I never picked it up at all for years! But yes, I would get into stupid conversations with guys for loong periods of time thinking they wanted to buy a commission or something (so I’m friendly), and then at some point they walk away not getting a commission and with their head down. Here’s the thing guys–if you want to hit on a girl at artist alley and you tell them you love their art, try getting a drawing from them first before going any further.

customers7Why? Why? Why? Why? WHY?! I really hate answering this question over and over. Basically, when you ask someone ‘Why’, they will give you an answer. Don’t keep prying with this question. It’s just a personal peeve, because I once had a friend who wouldn’t stop asking ‘why’ so much that when I went home I just sat in front of my computer crying wondering WHY I couldn’t answer him…and it made me feel stupid. If you keep asking someone this question, at one point they’ll answer ‘I don’t know!’ or something, and at that point, you’ve aggravated the artist too far. If you don’t understand this, here’s a light sample:

Artist: So here I have these drawings, feel free to look at them.

Customer: What kind of media did you use for this?

Artist: Well um…they’re mostly digital.

Customer: Why?

Artist: What do you mean?

Customer: Why are you using digital instead of traditional?

Artist: It’s just preference, I like it, that’s all.

Customer: Why do you like it?

Artist: Because it’s easy to use.

Customer: Why is it easy to use?

Artist: It works well with my hands and I can erase easily.

Customer: Why?

Artist: Because you can press the undo button.

Customer: Why?

Artist: ………..

[never end.]

Extra: Kids with grubby hands. I was at Big WOW con today, and although not sure if my table partner was aware, but there were some very…tactile children. They would stick their little agile fingers up their mouth/nose/?? and then start touching the stickers on his button and stickers. LOL. Their mommies and daddies would stop them, when they catch the kid, but I would never attempt to stop them physically. I might get in trouble for that.

Be courteous and think about the artists too!

Featured Artist:

Lolita POP!” – When I saw this table and their cute outfits, I could not walk away. I had to try on a hat :3  I can’t believe they pointed out who I was from the Facebook page for Artist Alley, my heart warmed up a little. So this is for you, my featured artists!

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And if you have more to add on this list, feel free to post!

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