Angry Artist Alley! Your Customer should NOT….


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!


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:

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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5 thoughts on “Angry Artist Alley! Your Customer should NOT….

  1. I think you forgot the most important rule.

    Don’t Steal!!

    It only happened at one con 2 years ago. But it truly annoyed me that a few young punks actually had the nerve to steal my smaller prints I had on my table. This happened at a smaller con that was using a community college cafeteria as the cons location.I’m probably sure you could probably guess what con this was.

  2. Also, it’s super annoying when a group of people have a conversation right in front of your table. As in, not buying anything from your table, or even looking at your merchandise, just parked right in front and talking to their friends, preventing customers from coming to the table. >_>

    Oh, and I agree with the not-asking-about-discounts one wholeheartedly.

  3. I think it kinda gets on my nerves when people try to look for a deal on the first day at a multiple day convention because its pretty unfair to the rest of my customers who pay full price.

    I really hear you on people talking bad and/or blocking the view of your table. I cannot even begin to tell you the number of times that has happened to me even when I started out there’s been these people who just flat out insult my work right in front of my table. It’s like wth? I’m doing the best I can, I’m putting in the time and money to run this table. If you don’t like it, walk away. Don’t tell me it is bad in front of my face, it aggravates me and nothing is achieved. Would you like me to insult your costume or the way you look? or perhaps I’ll mention that BO that you have been reeking of. The answer is no I would not mention it, artists have to put up with a lot and there needs to be a certain degree of respect both for the artist and the customers.

    Also the people who block your table, get the hell out of the way, I take a major issue with this especially when the space in front tables is pretty small. Great you met your friends from X city but take notice that you are creating a lot of traffic, people are unhappy that they have to form this messy line, everyone is going really slow, everyone is cramped together, some people are sweating like crazy. Please move off to the side or relocate to a open space area.
    Moral of the story: Be aware of your surroundings.

    Now I can appreciate, them wanting to talk to me about certain anime/games/etc. Hell I’ll welcome any and all new ideas and just kick back but if I see a potential customer, I’ll remedy this by saying “excuse me for a minute” to the person talking to me and address the potential customer. I think I’ve actually run into a lot of artists with this problem. I was at stockton-con today and as a customer, I was pretty annoyed having to wait a fairly long time just to make a purchase. =/

  4. People who say “oh I can make this.” Or “my buddy can make this for me for free.” I had someone critic my technique then tell her friend 1. How she would make it better than me 2. How she would teach her friend how I made the peice and make her one for free. The technique she mentioned would have looked terrible and lose all the detail my work has. They didn’t even leave my table they were actually looking at the peice in their hands and saying that.

    I have also had people park their strollers in front of my booth space.

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