January 18, 2018

State of the Artist Alley 2018




2018 EDITION

(aka all the stuff that happened in 2017)

NOTE: This is mostly in regards to Anime Convention Artist Alleys (as those are the shows I am most familiar with). Comic Conventions and other Niche Conventions may vary in products and issues.

A Booming Business

The Artist Alley (referred to as AA or Alley from now on) has grown a lot from its early years. Table set ups are larger, taller, with a lot more products within them. There have been a growth of companies which help provide products for artists to offer more than just prints, and thus have increased the types of products being sold.

Products that Gained Popularity

2017 seemed to be the year of Enamel Pins, Plushies and Zines. Enamel pins used to be a very rare occurrence in the Alley and this year and the last have had an increase of companies that are helping make Enamel Pins easier to get. They tend to act as the middle man, and it's less troublesome than having to navigate all the manufacturer sites. Many of the enamel pin creations are also funded through kickstarters, many of them successful!

Plushies continue to be a staple, but have not been as successful this year. I've seen kickstarters for many plushies, but less of them coming to tables officially. I think there have been some difficulties with manufacturers?

Zines are short for magazines, and are often composed of multiple artists providing artwork, comics, writing and more in regards to a singular topic or fandom. There's been an healthy increase of Zine offerings (or at least, the ability to find said zines), and has been a nice new add to products!

Problems with Sign-Ups

Due to the massive increase of the business of Alleys this year has marked the first very difficult year for artists to find spots in conventions. A lot of conventions are having to switch from the usual First Come First Serve (FCFS) sign ups to Juries or more often, Lotteries. Shows that are FCFS are "easiest" to sign up for, and let you feel in control of your destiny, but there's so many artists signing up that servers are clogging and shows are filling up in seconds. A convention I was signing up for, which has 130ish tables for artists and there were over 800 applications. 800! No wonder it's getting difficult to get in, egads!

How will this affect alleys from here on out? I know that many Department Heads (DHs) work on a volunteer basis, so having them take so much time to go through hundreds of apps for a small amount of spots is nigh impossible. Will we see more lotteries show up? Will this cause a burst of the AA bubble? Only time will tell.

Other Products and Booths

Grid Square Cube Shelving
Some things never change - we've still got a plethora of printed bags, charms, prints, hand-made plushes, and clay items. A few newer things I've seen pop up over the past couple of years are more along the lines of soaps, bathbombs, and other "nerdy-based" crafts.

Booths have gotten more streamlined, and taller. Many shows were instigating a booth height restrictions due to this. The more popular items to set up your booth are Photo Booth Backdrop Frames and Grid Square Shelving (the kind that snap together with little clips).

My personal favorite of the photo backdrops
(I use this one!)

A lot of packaging in AAs have increased to more professional bagged/boarded items (a topic I am conflicted on myself), along with the companies that are helping provide these products for us. Set ups for booths have gotten much more professional looking as each year passes, and can make starting out very expensive and difficult.

General Outlook

The general theme amongst artists seems to be a bit of unease at the start of 2018. With the uncertainty of placement at shows we've been vending at for ages, let alone the gamble of new conventions, a lot of artists are expressing concerns on being able to keep doing what they enjoy.

I hope that 2018 goes well for the artists, and I'll be back with another State of the Artist Alley next January!

Keep on creating!

January 15, 2018

General Updates of the Art Kind

Greetings! It's our favorite Social Media Monday, so I'm here with another post about more neat things I'm releasing into the internets.

If you've been a part of the Patreon, I released a link last week, that I'm now showing off here:

I have a YouTube Channel!


Certainly that's one heck of a link, but don't worry just yet - apparently I can get a custom name after 30 days or I get 100 subscribers. Subscribing is totally free - and if I'm remembering correctly, you'll get email updates when I add videos to it!

My first video (which egads took me a while to figure out Adobe Premiere Elements), is just a peaceful, watch-along video while I color in an Artist Trading Card of Princess Peach!

I've got some pleasant music, and I make sure to list what markers I'm using when. As always, I would love to know if this is a kind of video you'd like to see, or if there are other types of videos from me you'd like!



UPCOMING CONVENTION APPEARANCES

This weekend I have a small local convention coming up - WASHI CON! It takes place at Eastern Michigan University and is just one day. I'll be there this time with my art table, and I'll be a judge for the costume contest!


This may or may not be a set up of my booth. Items are same though!

THE RETURN OF TALOS

Yeah, you read that right! I have a big ol massive post I need to write about my comicking problems from last year as I had an accidental hiatus for Way Too Long. But! With my current output of other arts, I'm set to having pages up and ready around January 29. 

Gonna get through this fight sequence! Gonna get exciting!

January 8, 2018

Patreon is Finally Up!

I had decided that 2018 was gonna finally be my year of "Honeybadger Don't Care" and go and start the things I had been holding back. It seems I'm not entirely alone in this, because a lot of the creatives I've been following in various social medias have been also taking plunges back into their own creative endeavors!

First off, I want to say I'm proud of you. It's hard pushing yourself to do the thing that's had you scared.

And I was scared too! BUT I DID THE THING.

What thing?

I finally created my own Patreon, to help with supporting me in making even more arts, and in a way giving me deadlines and keeping me honest about my own schedules! Not that I'm not honest, it's more that sometimes deadlines will woosh by if I don't have people other than me kind of looking over my shoulder. (I'm sure we're all familiar with the woosh of deadlines going by!)


https://www.patreon.com/karmada

I had been rolling around back and forth on what I wanted to do with Patreon, and I'm sure we've all heard of the kerfluffle that went on late 2017 about Patreon working to change it's fee structure - but that had a happy ending and they went back to the way it was before and while it's not perfect, it's definitely more ideal than what they were trying to push through.

If you too, are interested in helping support my artworks and comics, please - drop by my Patreon! Every little bit counts and I wanna know what YOU, the audience, wants to see!

You can find me at:

Keep up the good work y'all, and get out there and CREATE!

January 2, 2018

Welcome 2018!!

Hello on the New Year, everyone! I'll have you know I'm already having problems remembering that it's not 2017 but 2018 (and I almost messed up the title to the post - okay I did mess up the title, but I ended up fixing it before posting this so, in a way, I was using the correct date the whole time!)

The nice thing is that it's only January 2, and I feel like that gives me some leeway on my year mistakes. Two weeks from now I'll have no excuse other than I AM A VERY CONFUSED HUMAN so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anyway, wanted to pop in here and see what I can do to spruce up the old blog. I've been getting a lot of stuff under my belt, and let me tell you - having a calendar hasn't helped my sense of schedule at all. Husband messaged me wanting to know the convention schedule in case he needed to mark time off and so I started compiling an actual list of shows I'm either vending, guesting, or just visiting.

I had 12 up through November, and that's not including the extra 4-5 I'm waiting to hear back on.


Don't get me wrong, I enjoy doing the convention thing, I am just trying to figure out how, even with a calendar of months I manage to overbook myself and now I'm already getting anxiety thinking about how little time I'll have to do things.

I also told myself one of my new resolutions for this year was to cut back on the amount of conventions I'm vending so I can actually focus on my artwork rather than just products. *stares at camera*

I have a host of neat ideas I want to work on - as I want to focus more on my artwork and have my cosplay still continue to be the fun hobby that it is! And with that, I also prefer doing educational panels over ANYTHING else, so hey, if you need somebody to come in and teach about cosplay *wink wink* lemme know.

And without further ado, here's some items on my checklist:

Ideas for the New Year


  • Go back to updating TalOS
  • Start my Patreon
  • Upload Art Process Videos / Start a YouTube Channel
  • Review some more how-to-art books here
  • Update the blog more (AHAHAHAHAH)
  • Update my Conventions List on the pages
  • Do more drawings for me!
  • Remember to post more on FB/Insta/Twitter

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*looks at list*
*checks off update blog more*
*nods sagely*
Welp, that's one thing off the list!


Let's make 2018 a better one than last year (it was really rough for a lot of us).

A Proverb for 2018: "Don't get jealous, get INSPIRED!"

September 19, 2017

Book Signing Event in Grand Rapids!


Greetings, all! Been working on a whole bunch of stuff, but thought I'd update with a cool event I'll be at this FRIDAY!

I'm going to be doing a book signing Friday night at the Barnes and Noble in the Woodland mall (where the Pop Culture Event took place). 

If you've ever been interested in seeing me in person, or more importantly picking up a copy of the book (and getting it signed!), FRIDAY IS YOUR DAY!



Here is a link to the facebook event if you'd like to remind yourself when it is!


July 19, 2017

*brushes dust off the blog* Oh hey! A POST!

Greetings! Long time no post - and nobody is surprised by this point, I'm sure, haha! Anyway, I wanted to at least try to get back on the horse again as I try to figure out just what I wanna put on here these days. I've missed like a bajillion convention reviews, so I may just consider them Lost to the Aether and start anew with future conventions.

Speaking of conventions and things - I'm back up and doing artist alleys again this year (it's a slow opening), as well as still promoting book stuff!

Things I'll be involved in very soon:

SOYCON

JULY 22

Out in Shaumburg IL this year, is the 10th (and final??) year of SoyCon! I've been invited to be a guest presenter talking about How To Masquerade! If you're in the area, stop by and say hi!

facebook.com/SoyCon/


BARNES AND NOBLE BOOK SIGNING - POP CULTURE CELEBRATION



THAT'S RIGHT KIDDOS! I am gonna be at Barnes and Noble signing books in the GR area on Saturday July 29! Like, I get to be legit author and I'm super pumped, so come see me talk about how to make cosplay things!

facebook.com/events/721267178059452

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After that, things kinda cool down a bit for me convention wise and will let me get back to talking about artist alley stuff. I've been wanting to talk about updated pricing, selling, set ups and more - the State of Artist Alleys has changed a LOT since I last did tutorials so I'd like to take the time to review and update those posts! :)

March 15, 2017

Shuto Con 2017 Approaches!

This weekend is Shuto Con, a lovely little convention up in Lansing, Michigan - I think it's in it's 7th year (oh jeez where does the time go, seriously I remember vending at the first one of these...), if I'm reading the website right.

ANYway, it's a cool little convention (okay by little it's like 5,000, but you see, my frame of reference are ACen - 16,000+ and Gen Con 60,000, so don't judge me okay). They have all sorts of neat things to do, and this year I'm just going as a presenter (I'm hoping to vend next year, I realized I actually have enough stuff to fill a big booth, and will have lots more by next year).

So just what am I presenting about? COSPLAY and ART, of course! I'm always open for suggestions on other types of panels people would want to see, so feel free to send me ideas.





Saturday 2 - 3 pm
Her Legs are HOW long?
An interactive drawing panel on how to draw properly proportioned people


A popular panel of mine - Come and join me in a learning experience for basic body proportions, with a follow-along drawing session at the end. Sketchbooks recommended, but I always bring extra paper and pencils with me for those who need them. ALL SKILL LEVELS are welcome here!

Saturday 4 - 5:30 pm
Tales from the Tabletop


Another favorite panel, this one is based on Tabletop RPGs where my Husband and I are here to talk about gaming experiences and help answer questions from the audience! We have a whole host of interesting stories of stuff that went Horribly Wrong (but Hilarious), to Super Great Times - come and chat with us about RPGs! NEW: Extra Half Hour added at the end!!

Saturday 5 - 6 pm
Intro to Cosplay Sewing


My basic introductory course about making your own cosplays! This panel is designed to get you started on your journey, introduce some techniques, as well as basic vocabulary for the fledgling cosplayer! All skill levels welcome, but this panel is definitely geared towards beginners. I will have a few book available if anybody is interested!

Sunday 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Cosplay Level UP!


The follow up to my Introductory course - here I will introduce some other techniques that you can use to embellish your costumes, including things like applique, paint, and using textures and fabrics you might not have thought of. Ideal for the intermediate/beginner, but ALL skill levels are welcome! I'll also have whatever extra books I've got left over at this seminar, so if you're interested in one, I'll have em on hand!

Sunday 1:30 - 2:30 pm
Time in a Box: Tips for Comic Panel Layout


Come and listen to me gush about comics! I love drawing comics, and I love examining what makes them TICK. (no pun intended, okay probably intended, don't give me that look). I go over a lot of the basic "anatomy" of what's in a panel, and how you can set up your pages and panels to get the effects your looking for - and keep your comic readable!