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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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:iconibdaver:
Ibdaver Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015
I noticed the Artist Alley tables are all sold out for 7/2015. I want to get my daughter in for next year. Can you tell me what the cost is for a table? Thanks
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Tables costs varies depending on the convention you are going to. Read up on each convention AA rules and check their costs by emailing the AA directors for each convention. The price of AA tables can be anywhere from $25-$400
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:iconsunabuna:
SunaBuna Featured By Owner 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 Featured By Owner 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 Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
omg thanks so much ;v;
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
no problem.
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:icondamatris:
Damatris Featured By Owner 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 Featured By Owner 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 Featured By Owner 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 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
thanks so much! this is really helpful for me :> take care!
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:iconemishly:
Emishly Featured By Owner 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 Featured By Owner 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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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That depends on you. Though I would say traditional artworks to be charge a little more due to the use to supplies and you need to keep those supplies abundant if you are to continuously be commissioned. You can do a by hour charge or a flat rate charge, with at least a down deposit, because once you start the work and suddenly in the middle of your working on the commission the client tells you that they don't want it anymore, you get paid for some work you did. Be sure to have a "Terms of Service/Agreement signed" as well.
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:iconemishly:
Emishly Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks so much!
Reply
:iconadai-the-human-angel:
Adai-the-human-angel Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is it alright to print your prints from this [link] kind of printer onto paper like this [link] and/or this [link] ? (Not to mention idek what soft gloss is...recommendations anyone? D: )
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
As long as you set your printer settings to the correct paper so it uses the correct amount of ink for it.
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:iconelysiaw:
elysiaw Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks this has been really informative!! xx
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:iconms-pen:
ms-pen Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Student General Artist
what flyer size do you recommend? I have letter sized ones, but I feel they would be too big.
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Letter size would be just fine. Or half the letters if you feel that they will be too big.
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:iconms-pen:
ms-pen Featured By Owner May 14, 2012  Student General Artist
thanks :D
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:iconredfrosty:
redfrosty Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
thank you very helpful
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:iconzerojigoku:
ZeroJigoku Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
thanks for the info, :) Im doing my first booth at a con and wasnt exactly sure what I should be expecting let alone what I should bring. This helped alot.
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:iconfelixani:
Felixani Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2011  Student Digital Artist
Thank you this was very informative and I appreciative it.
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:iconkmbackwardsk:
KMbackwardsK Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011
this may sound dumb but whats the best way to print copies? like at kinkos or somethin idk
Reply
:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Could be from your own printer granted it's a good printer, or go to kinkos. Most people get photo paper and print their own prints.
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:iconneyola298:
neyola298 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2011
Alright. this was very informative.
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:icontheredhat:
theredhat Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2009
I've been thinking about doing this sometime in the future with a friend, and this is really helpful! But, if one is selling fanart, what sort of legal measures need to be sorted out before selling stuff?
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:iconhaiyun:
Haiyun Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
I know its kind of late to reply, but if you're still interested, here's what i read about it:

Fanart is perfectly fine as long as it doesn't get to the point where you're competing with the vendors that are selling official products. If something you make/draw (keychain, bag, etc) looks too similar to an official item, you might get in trouble for selling it. Prints/drawings should be perfectly fine though.
Reply
:iconjohnnypitstain:
JohnnyPitstain Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2009
I know this is an old article, but do you need a license or some written permission to sell you own art?
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
depends on the state the convention is in. I know like in Cali you need to get a vendor liscense to sell your work if you go to conventions in the area. It really depends so just check up the faq at the conventions websites.
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:iconthe-equilibrist:
the-equilibrist Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2010
At Anime Evolution in British Columbia, Canada, we don't need a vendor license or anything like that, unless you're selling at the Vendor's Hall instead, which is usually for local businesses.

Instead, you just give your information and such when you're booking a table, but that's about it.
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:iconphoenixcrash:
phoenixcrash Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
yes but I know that in places like California if you are doing Artist Alley and selling your artwork there you need a vendor liscense regardless. Just gotta look up the requirements to sell in at the convention website some require you to have it some don't.
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:iconthe-equilibrist:
the-equilibrist Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2010
Oh, okay~ ^^;;;
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:icongrimmy-kitty:
Grimmy-Kitty Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2008
Thank you so much for this.
My skills are medioce but I plan on improving and maybe buddying up with some friends to do a table.
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:iconmadmousemedia:
MadMouseMedia Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2008
fantastic. I'm going to be a new face to the artist alley of a local con. I'm nervious but I'm doing alot of reading and preparing. You have great ideas...i shall use your advice!
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:iconjenksotaku:
jenksotaku Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2008
In addition to all that advice I have a bit of my own (for those car based-trips.)

Keep yourself organized. I recommend plastic carts. Keep merchandice in one, personal items in another, records in a separate drawer etc. Something like this --> [link]

Have a master list of all that you are selling. Keep note of the prices, call number, discription and if you sold your item at a discount.

Tag your items individually. Using low adheasive stickers.

Have page protectors availble if you are doing commisions on printer paper.

Keep the neccesities around: Duct tape, water, sharpie, stickie notes, small first aide kit, paper, pens, pencils, safty pins ...etc.

Bring a friend along. Yeah, it really helps. Having a friend to keep you company and baby-sit your booth while you pee is a blessing. Plus they can help you set up!

Be Presentable. If you don't look friendly, you may scare off a few potential customers. Not only you should look presentable, but your table too. I recommend a long table cloth that touches down to the ground. That way no one sees your stuff looking messy under the table. Of course it won't right? you'll be nice and organized with your drawers.

Bring a dolley!!! Those are a back-saver. Really! They make moving things so much easier.

I hope you can learn from my mistakes without actually doing them. Best Wishes in all your cosplay/artist alley adventures
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:iconaoikagetora:
aoikagetora Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2008
Thanks for posting!
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:icondeathmomo:
DeathMoMo Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008
this was fantastic! Pretty much all my questions have been answered! Thank you so much for posting this, it's much appreciated. WOO! Hello CON!
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:iconvahn-malice:
Vahn-Malice Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2008
This is a fantastic guide. I'm planning to go to a con much later on this year, but now I know exactly what to do. Thanks so much!
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:icontt-tt:
TT-TT Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007   Writer
thanks for it =] my friends and i are planning to sell for next year ^^
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:iconkokorodragon:
kokorodragon Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2007
ahhh this helped me a lot :) Thank you, i'm having my first booth at ALA so I'm trying to see how many prints I should make a stuff XD
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:iconanimelore:
animelore Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2007  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
This is great. thanks for putting it up! My friends and I are in the process of planning our table for Artist Alley at Katsucon, so this is really good for us! thanks again!
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