Angry Artist Alley: My table’s OUTSIDE!

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blog question

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

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

First thing’s first: PUT ON SOME SUNSCREEN.

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

Issues with the weather and how to prepare:

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

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

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

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

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

Things that can aid you:

CLAMPS:

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

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

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wind tunnel

(click image for larger size)

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

Random story

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

…and there you go. Hope this helps :D

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One thought on “Angry Artist Alley: My table’s OUTSIDE!

  1. nice article.. you know how you hing a photograph/drawing etc to mat & frame, etc. it’ll be useful to use tape a T hing or +(poll)+ rather than a line of tape, it’ll be stronger that way

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