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April 22, 2007
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Now I probably shouldn't be one to write this up or anything since I've been to ONE artist alley in my life-time and will be attending a second one at the end of the year, but I have been going around asking other artists about the artist alley and what should I do or what should any artist do to better prepare themselves for the anime convention's artist alley.  After much much research and questionings I've compiled a list of things that have been suggested to me and others that have asked the similar question, "What should I do for the artist alley?"  Hopefully this will be insightful to those artists that are attending any convention that wants to be apart of the artist alley.

Do your research for the Artist Alley you’re attending.
Yes you decide to go to an anime convention and also have noticed that they have an Artist Alley.  So you decide you want to attend the Artist Alley too.  Here’s where you need to do your research on the artist alley. Read the guideline for the convention and the guideline for the Artist Alley at least three times.  This is so you can understand what is expected of you for the convention and artist alley.  Then figure out your cost to get the convention badge, a table at the artist alley, flight cost and hotel room (if you are going to a convention out of your area or state.)  Remember that attending an artist alley at a convention isn’t going to be 100% profitable.  You man break even on the sales you rake in at artist alley or you may not or you may pull in less than how much it cost you to attend the convention.  If you’re a popular artist you may break even and OR pull in extra cash.  

What should you have at your table/booth?
Free flyers. Make sure they have an interesting example of your art, your name, your website and/or email address. A lot of the time con goers are already so bombarded with purchases that they might not jump right away on your art and buy right there. This helps when you have a crowded Artist Alley the people that maybe interested in your art will just take a flyer, leave and may come back later when the crowd dies down. Make them readily available at your booth for a quick grab-by. Also personally hand one to anyone who buys or even talks to you. Business cards may also be a good substitute for flyers.

A list of prices of what you are selling.  It's probably not much of a hassle to print out a page of prices of the items your selling.  Such as pre-made prints, plushies, buttons etc.  This will cut down on the question "how much it this print?" or "how much is that plushie?" etc...  Of course if you are offering commission you might want to price that also that is if you are accepting commission at the convention.  If you are not going to accept commission then at least put on the pricing paper that you aren't available for commission.  

Put out a sketchbook or a binder that you can let the visitors view while they decide to buy or not to buy your works.  If you have a binder out with adult rated artwork be sure to check the viewers ID, but I guess that goes without saying.  I know that I like to go through other artist work and see how much they've done and improved over the years.  This gives me time to think about buying their works or even commissioning them.  

Having the your items/works ready to be shown or sold.
At least a day or two or three before the convention have your stuff ready.  If you are hoping to sell prints at your table or booth make sure you have some prints to sell.  At least start off printing 10-20 prints of any images you are going to sell the first day.  Then when you return home or to your hotel room you can print more for the next day and so forth.  However if you are selling plushies or stuffed dolls you may spend a whole long month or two or more to prepare them for sale at your table.  At least if you are considering to sell plushies you should be prepared with them a few month ahead of the convention date depending on how much you want to sell.  Buttons, stickers and posters may be done a week a before the convention or earlier if you are going through a printer.  

How to Commission
Well we all know three day isn’t a great time frame to do twenty or so odd commission request unless you are a SUPER ARTIST with super fast hands, which is why I and many other suggests having a commission form out and readying for anyone that is ready to commission you.  This will make your days at the artist alley a little easier since you can work on those commissions when you get home.  Although I would suggest to have them pay their commission requests at the time of filling out that way when you get done with your commission you don’t get ripped off for a free commission work.  Or have them pay half and get them to pay you the other half when you are done with the commission through mail or paypal.  

GET TO KNOW OTHER ARTISTS IN THE ARTIST ALLEY
Oh come on you think Artist Alley is about showing off your work and making a sale?  To me I think the main reason for Artist Alley is to get to know other artist and make friends with them.  It is fun to make friends and enjoy the company of other artist in the alley.  Who knows they might one day want you to join them in another conventions artist alley or even want to collaborate with you on a project they’re working on.  

These are some helpful hints for your time in the Artist Alley and how to better prepare yourself.  I’m pretty sure there’s more and if I come across more I’ll make another post about it to help inform you guys better.  Or maybe another artist that is experienced in Artist Alley my post more information.  I hope this helps you guys.
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:iconsunabuna:
SunaBuna Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a question! I know this is an old journal but not sure how to find the answer to my question

When selling prints and keychains, etc, where can you get those thing plastic bags to hand to the custmers? So they don't have t carry their prints around. I hope I'm making sense.
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
www.4imprint.com/tag/103/Plast...|6256|custom%20plastic%20bags||S|e|18997574402&gclid=CN6p3a2Ej7gCFbTm7AodQxAAaw is one site I've looked at.

If you're looking for plastic wraps for prints, you can check Hobby Lobby shop.hobbylobby.com/search/?ke... if they have one. I saw a pack of 25 for 11x17 for $9 though I don't think that would be enough for all the prints unless you think smart and if people by 2 or more prints stuff them all in one plastic.
I've also checked www.clearbags.com/bags/clear-b... which you can get more for nearly less. Just have to pay shipping. There are plenty of online stores out there that can sell them. Just google "art archival bags" and see what is best suited for you.
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:iconsunabuna:
SunaBuna Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
omg thanks so much ;v;
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
no problem.
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:icondamatris:
Damatris Jun 9, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks a lot for this! As a first time goer I'm pretty much bursting with questions...
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:iconaeirue-chan:
aeirue-chan Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Hello! This is really helpful! But I have a few questions.... 1) do you think there's a proper age to join the artists alley? 2) is it ok for me to do commissions only(no prints,keychains)? 3) when doing "on the spot" commissions,do I have to give the drawing within the day? Or can I just send it through e-mail or dA in case I didn't finish? Thanks :3 and have a nice day !
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Jan 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
1) do you think there's a proper age to join the artists alley?
Most conventions don't have an age restriction, but it is in your best interest to find out from that specific convention if there is. Each convention will have their rules on what is the proper age to join the artist alley. Generally I would stick to the at least 13 years of age to be apart of the AA.

2) is it ok for me to do commissions only(no prints,keychains)?
Of course it is. You don't have to be selling items. Most artist will start off doing commission only to get their name out there. Some will just have a donation jar or a tip jar and do sketches for free.

3) when doing "on the spot" commissions,do I have to give the drawing within the day? Or can I just send it through e-mail or dA in case I didn't finish?
"On the spot" commissions depends on the person that is commissioning you to do the work. If they want the work done right away you may want to prioritize that commission. However there are some people that will understand that "Rome wasn't built in a day" and will be willing to wait for quality commissions and will expect to get the finish product through email or whatever means they desire. Just do not take on more than you can handle. Once you get a commission that you can't finish within the three days of the convention be sure to give your customers updates about their commissions, through email or whatever website you are active on. Having the updates where they can surely see it will help as well.
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:iconaeirue-chan:
aeirue-chan Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
thanks so much! this is really helpful for me :> take care!
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:iconemishly:
Emishly Oct 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Super helpful! I'm a traditional artist, so how much should I charge for original works/commisions?
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Oct 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I also meant to link you to a blog that answers a similar question. It's more for traditional paintings but the whole idea is around the premise of your question. [link] Check that blog post out and hope it helps you.
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