Angry Artist Alley: Prepping your health BEFORE the con

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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!

 

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Angry Artist Alley: Health?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bottle form:

Straw form:

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