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How did I made that helmet!

Fri Apr 20, 2012, 6:51 AM
check the process here:…
tons of photos... hope you guys like it (· v · )

  • Listening to: musica
  • Reading: tales from outer suburbia
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  • Listening to: Falcon Jab-Ratatat
Hello everyone! Welcome to the 4th and final part of my Artist Alley tutorial!

This is meant to be a good start for those who have never been a part of an artist alley before, as well as a nice refresher to those of you who are veterans of alleys everywhere! I will try to be as detailed as possible, but make the information easy to reference and read through!

Hope you enjoy, and feedback is definitely appreciated! Let me know your thoughts, reactions, some of your own alley stories, as well as if you have any suggestions to add to this tutorial! I definitely haven't thought of everything, so if you had new ideas to share, I'd love to hear them!

Here are the links to Part 1… Part 2… and Part 3… if you'd like to take another look!




Other Things to Consider/Resources


This section will cover all those other bits that wouldn't fit in any particular section in my tutorial, but are still very important to think about while preparing for artist alley and beyond.

:bulletblue: Your packing list just got a whole lot bigger.

Along with this year's assortment of cosplays, spending cash and snacks, you definitely have a whole lot more stuff to remember to bring with you than you have ever brought before!

Below is a sample list of things to bring that I use and constantly add onto and change depending on what I am selling. I hope this is a good starting point for you and that you customize your own list for the items you sell!

Art and merchandise (add a more detailed list of items here for your reference)
$1/bargain/discount bin (for old or damaged items that can still give you some profit!)
Duct tape, scotch tape (for unexpected repairs! You never know.)
Table price list (printed legibly, and for an extra layer of OCD list prices in ascending order!)
Business cards/business card holders (holders are inexpensive and a nice way to add verticality to them!)
Index cards with commission info
(or whatever other method you prefer)
Sticky notes for reminders (for that last minute photoshoot someone may want to go to, while still able to let the other folks at the table know where they are!)
Water bottles (stay hydrated!)
Rubber bands
Cash box
(you want to make sure this is protected at all times, especially when you're not at the table)
Magnet display board (for holding magnets)
Corkboard for keychains (or whatever other method preferred)
Mirror (this is nice for your customers if you have jewelry or hair accessories, it lets them see the product on themselves first hand!)
Tablecloth (for that extra layer of professionalism!)
Spare change!!!! (and lots of it)
Envelopes for cards (if you sell greeting cards or postcards, this is a nice way to protect them)
Calculator (to add up your total profit throughout the day/weekend)
Clipboard (to hold important papers like convention schedule, inventory, etc)
Hand sanitizer (to rid thee of ye olde con plague! Keep it out on table and use it frequently between transactions)
Cork pins (to hold keychains or other items in place on the cork board)
Jewelry stands (for rings, necklaces, etc!)
Sleeve protectors of varied sizes (Also another good way for customers' purchases to be protected once they leave your table, especially if they buy prints, postcards, etc!)

:bulletblue: Be courteous to your artist alley neighbors!

Yes, they are all your competition, but you're all in it together! Good artists help each other out, so be nice and courteous! Who knows, you may even see them come over to your table and buy something, or request an art trade or commission! Kindness comes back around, so be a great neighbor and you'll have great neighbors! I've made lots of friends from neighbors that I have met, fed, helped out, or was just simply nice to in the past. And why shouldn't artists help each other!

:bulletblue: On art theft and vandalism

This was something I originally hadn't thought of mentioning, but I think it's important to do so! If the alley is in a locked room, there may not be as big a concern for this, but when the alley is in an open hallway or area you want to make sure you pack up all your stuff each night. Put it away in your car, or at home if the con is close by, or at the hotel room you are staying at. You don't want to run the risk of leaving things out and having it stolen, or worse yet, vandalized! This has happened to people, and it is not fun. So don't risk losing all that precious work, and have a place to put it after each day!

:bulletblue: On taking commissions

If you want to advertise that you do commissions, the simplest way to do this is by having a sign that says you take commissions, or you do on-the-spot commissions for a named fee. Make sure you give your customers flexible options that are also easy to understand. Lots of people have been burned in the past with paying for a commission they never received, so make sure when you advertise you're not making people afraid of the "c" word by being too vague!

The way to fix this is to have a system set up in advance. I usually don't take on the spot commissions, so this is a little easier to imitate. If someone is interested in a commission from me, I hand them a small index card that has some information I need the customer to fill out. What you will want from them is the type of commission, the customer's name, email, and mailing address. I ask for payment of commission at the convention but I can also create a receipt for the transaction so the person doesn't forget that they commissioned me, and so that they can later contact me if I happened to forget to send it or something crazy happens (believe me, you never know.)

:bulletblue: Always have a business card at your table!

This is very important, because you want people to remember you long after the convention is over! If a friend of a customer asks where they got that awesome magnet, I wouldn't want them to say, "Oh, I got it from this one gal at the artist alley, but I can't remember her name." Rather, you want them to say "I got it from The Art Slave! She had a booth at the artist alley, but she also sells them on her Etsy store!" This is the power of a business card. Encourage everyone that buys from you to pick one up, or just automatically give one with every sale.

A good trick to get more people to your table may also be to walk around with a couple of business cards on hand, even while you're getting up to eat or attend a panel. Strike up a conversation or two and pretty soon they'll know you have a booth, and you can give them your card. Be smart and creative with promoting yourself!

:bulletblue: Have fun!

This is the first thing we tend to forget to do, but it's also the most important thing. You can get caught up in the stress, the hustle and bustle of the convention, the last minute complications, and so on. Take some time to go away from your table and take a small walk around the convention. Immerse yourself in the convention environment, and remember why you started to sell in the first place. Hopefully the answer will be, because it's fun! I know from my personal standpoint that I absolutely love to go to conventions and sell my work. I love the little moments that are so unexpected and hilarious that make each year more memorable than the last. I love to meet new people and hear about what they like, what they're into, and develop friendships that span beyond the convention. I love seeing the reactions people have toward my work. All these reasons and more keep me coming back and make it rewarding for me. So whether this is your first year or your latest and greatest year, remember to take some time to enjoy yourself!

:bulletblue: Constant re-evaluation and improvement

After the convention is over and you've mailed off your last commission, do an evaluation of your experience. Did you enjoy the convention atmosphere? Did you have a good turnout at your table? Did you do as well as you had hoped? Would you do this again? And based on what you come up with, you'll see whether or not this is for you. And if you totally had a blast and want to sell again next year, great! Keep track of your progress and build on your knowledge. Maybe you didn't like the way your display turned out, so you want to change it up for next time! Maybe you want to make more stuff now that you know where to go to find things and how to make your swag more efficiently. You might have seen a booth at the alley that really inspired you, whether be in its design, its layout, the work up for sale, and you want to bring that inspiration into your own booth. If you are constantly looking for new and better ways to improve your work and how you sell it, then I guarantee you will always have a great artist alley experience.

Before I end this tutorial, I would like to give you a list of resources that I hope are helpful and can get you started into thinking of ways to make your artist alley experience great!

:star: RESOURCES :star:

Art Supplies
4 in. Nickel Plated Keychains (army_navy_tags on Ebay has a good deal on wholesale keychains)
Sticker paper (upon googling "printable sticker paper" Staples and other stores seem to have some)
Magnet paper (I get mine at Michael's. It's hidden, but you can ask for the Pro Mag brand and they should have it)
Glossy or matte printing paper
Jewelry-making materials
(arts and craft stores have whole sections dedicated to this!)

Display Materials
Jewelry Stands (Michael's has a variety of sizes and types)
Grid Squares (I hear they sell for $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond!)
Tablecloth (any fabric or craft store should have loads of colors/patterns to choose from!)
Cork Bulletin Board (I got mine at Target)
Portfolio (A nice black folder at Walmart can be good, but if you want to go for professional you'll have to check your local art supply store)

Art Supply Stores  (Online/Public/Both!)
Michael's Arts & Crafts
A.C. Moore
Office Max
Any craft or fabric store near you!

Printing Services (Online/Public/Both!)
Moocards (good for business cards, promotional stickers)
Office Max (great for prints, lamination service, mounting)
Staples (good for prints)
Vistaprint (good for ordering postcards and business cards)
Ka-Blam! (great for comics, art books and more!)

**Another great resource to check out is the Artist Alley Network International group on Facebook!!! You can join and meet a ton of artists/crafters who sell their wares at various conventions throughout the US! And, there are a lot of tips/resources lists that are way bigger than this one could ever hope to be! If you're interested in joining, here is their page:…


Thanks for checking out this tutorial! I hope it has been informative and fun! Let me know your thoughts, reactions, suggestions of things to add to any section of this tutorial, or any questions you want to have answered that I have not covered here!

See you next time!

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  • Listening to: Brand New-Daisy (Adventure Club Dubstep Remix)
Hello everyone! Welcome to Part 2 of my Artist Alley 101 guide!

This is meant to be a good start for those who have never been a part of an artist alley before, as well as a nice refresher to those of you who are veterans of alleys everywhere! I will try to be as detailed as possible while making the information easy to reference and read through!

Hope you enjoy, and feedback is definitely appreciated! Let me know your thoughts, reactions, some of your own alley stories, as well as if you have any suggestions to add to this tutorial! I definitely haven't thought of everything, so if you have new ideas to share, I'd love to hear them!

And if you'd like a refresher on part 1, feel free to go here…



Part 2

Planning What to Sell/Pricing


I decided to talk about this here because it would have been a bit too much to include it in the "things to think about" section! Naturally you would have already planned what to sell in advance, so I will go more into detail about it here.

:bulletblue: Fan Art vs. Original Art

Ah, the age-old debate. Should I do mostly fan art? Should I just sell my original work? What about a mix of both? Everyone goes through this when figuring out where they stand on the art-making spectrum. In my experience, there is that trend toward con goers making a beeline for someone's table because they've spotted a character they know and love. It's about that instant gratification from seeing something they are already familiar with, making it more likely that they will buy it right off the bat. You've probably experienced it too, whre you're walking around at the artist alley and then you see, "Oh my gosh! It's Loki! And he's on a print! And he's shirtless! I am buying it now!" So when thinking of what to make, keep in mind how you react to other people's work! There is also something to be said for people who like original work and want to support local artists and their characters! So you're starting out, I'd say go half-fan art and half-original. You may be surprised by how well you do whichever way you choose to go. If your goal is to make new work or characters from a web comic you're promoting, people may be more likely to buy something smaller like a button from you versus a large expensive print of something they're not that familiar with yet. If the investment is small and reasonable, people will definitely gravitate toward impulse purchases of any kind. I would go this route when first starting out because it is cheaper to make smaller items in larger quantities than larger, more expensive ones that may not sell as well.

If you're inclining toward making print-based work like prints and stickers, I would say the more the merrier! Include fan characters of a diverse array of anime, manga, popular culture, street fashion, movies, and just about anything else you can think of! Also go this route if you're promoting a web comic because people will be more encouraged to buy a promotional item like a button that they can then wear around the convention!

If you are mostly looking toward making original art, jewelry, crafts, plushies and accessories, you may want to include a mix of original designs with designs that are loosely based on characters with recognizable color schemes or signature details! And don't forget that original art doesn't have to be limited to just your original characters. It can be cute animals, chibis dressed in Lolita, adorable food items, mustaches and much more!

:bulletblue: What sort of items should I make to sell at an anime convention?

When thinking about what to sell, you don't have to reinvent the wheel unless you absolutely want to! And have the time to do so. All you need to do is a simple online search for artist alleys and anime conventions to see what sort of items people make and sell the most.

But before anything else, the biggest question you should ask yourself is "How much time do I have to make said items, and what are my resources to make them?" This ensures that you don't get too ambitious and end up not being able to make everything you wanted to the best of your ability! If you're a beginner, I would choose a few things to start with and build from there.  Some of the most common items you will see people make are buttons, stickers, keychains, prints of varying sizes, jewelry and plushies. So if you were starting out, I would choose one or two types of merchandise from the smaller end (ex. buttons and stickers), and one from a bigger scale category (ex. plushies and jewelry). The bigger scale category includes not only items that are larger in size, but might also be items you take more time to make. This means you may end up with only a few of them at first, but they will look really nice and attract people to your table.

I would like take some time now to break down these suggested items into more detail. The way I will do this is by listing each one and discussing its scale, how much time you should give yourself to make the item, the costs related to producing the item, how many you should generally make, and other special traits about the item. Here we go!

This is a very small-scale item.
Buttons are a very common item to sell because the investment is worth it in the long run. You can create as many designs as you want and the process of making them is almost instantaneous. They are also great promotional tools for your art, because buyers can pin them to bags and clothes!
You should take some time to make the designs you want, preferably on computer programs such as Photoshop for an even finish. You can print several designs on a few sheets of paper and be good to go in an hour or two!
To make buttons, you need a button maker! These can be found in most craft stores and prices may be on the higher end depending on the model you want, averaging $100—$200. There are also smaller versions of button-making machines that can be found online. A standard button maker machine will make buttons about 1 inch in size, but some can make buttons as large as 6 inches. You will also need to purchase the backing for the button, but most button makers come with a starter pack. If you decide to keep making more, however, you will have to buy those separately.
Once you purchase the button maker machine, you can make thousands of buttons! (Not all at once, of course!) This is a tool that you can keep going back to again and again to make as many buttons as you want! For a first-timer I would begin by making about 5 or 6 buttons of each character. Pretty soon you'll have over 100 buttons to work with! And you can keep building up your range of characters, making for an easy and fun way to make a good profit. And if your goal is promotion, what better way to do it than to make sure everyone is wearing your button!

This is a small-scale item.
Stickers are also common to see for sale because they are very practical. The buyer can stick them to almost anything, making it a versatile and fun purchase.
You can make these through traditional media or digitally. You may want to allow some time for these to be made if you are ordering them from an online service.
The cost can actually range quite a bit. Like I mentioned earlier, if you are getting an online service to print these for you, you may have to pay more, and you might take risks with the quality of the result. However, you can also do them yourself, as there are several brands of sticker paper you can buy at supply stores like Staples. The cost of each pack can average about $15 for about 30 sheets.
You can get lots of stickers per sheet of paper, depending on the size you want. So you can definitely go for the 5 or 6 of each character ratio I mentioned with buttons when you're starting to make them. You can also draw directly on the sticker paper if you want to for a "doodle sticker" effect.

This is a somewhat small-scale item.
Keychains are also common items for their versatility. They can be a little trickier to make but are also cost-effective, and you can make a large array of characters for buyers to choose from.
There is no way around it. If you want a key chain to be durable, you have to laminate it. So allow some time between making your designs and getting them to a print service that can laminate them for you. For this, you will have to pre-cut all the designs so that they will be able to arrange several per sheet.
This can also vary. To make a key chain, you can use any good printing paper (cardstock might be a good option for extra durability), a laminating service, a hole-puncher, and the actual keychains. Laminating costs can be determined by how many sheets they will need to laminate all your designs, and the last time I did this at Office Max it turned out to be about $20 or so for about 8 sheets. For the keychains, you may want to use an actual key ring for durability, although you get few of them per pack. I prefer to use the 4 inch nickel plated chains, because I can get lots of them and the cost is cheaper in the long run. I order mine from an army surplus store on Ebay, who sells packs of 100 chains for about $10. As for the hole-puncher, you can get one at any craft store.
Because these take a little bit more time to produce, I would start by making maybe 3 or 4 of each character. You can build on that in the future, and even with that amount per character you can still end up with a lot to sell!

This can vary from a small to a large-scale item.
Prints are common mostly because of the ability to produce varying scales, ranging from postcard size to a full-on poster. I find that this item takes a lot of time if you want to do it right, and if you want to do this one on a large scale you will have to give yourself a lot of time to build a portfolio for this. These items also sell mainly for their quality. If someone is going to put this on their wall, it has to be really well done or have a good charm to them.
Like I said earlier, these do take time to make. If you want to make many different prints, I would suggest going for just a full-body character with little to no background. You will thank yourself later.
These aren't very costly to make, as all you really need is a printing service. Most places charge about $1 per color print, and that is if you are aiming for an 11 in x 17 in paper. For this (and everything else), I would stay away from Kinko's. Their colors usually don't turn out very good, and you pay a lot for not very much in return. (Trust me, the first time I sold at an artist alley I spent $400 to run my prints at Kinko's!!! You don't want to do this.) I would trust places like Office Max and Staples, because they are surprisingly inexpensive and have good service.
I would start out with only a few, but really well done prints. I find that it doesn't really matter if it's fan art or original work, but the overall quality that sells prints. It will take a lot of time to build a solid portfolio on just prints alone, so I would suggest going with other items from this list for the bulk of your stock for now. And if you're promoting a comic, unless it's already well known by the time you sell them at conventions, I'd stick to smaller scale prints.

This may look small in size, but I define it as a larger scale item because it takes a lot of time to make.
Jewelry is popular because the buyer can choose to instantly wear your item around, and pair it with many things in their wardrobe. This is an especially great item to experiment with, as you can create original pieces as well as pieces inspired by popular characters.
It will take some time to make jewelry, because it is like prints, where you want to do a good job on them and not slap them together at the last minute. Focus on quality over quantity! I am not as familiar with jewelry making as I am with the other items on this list, but you can probably imagine it takes prep work and planning before you even start to make a necklace.
This varies depending on the materials you want to use. You can go traditional and buy pendants and chains. You could also decide that you're really good at making Kandi bracelets, so you will need a lot of elastic and colorful beads. And if you like those clay-based rings and necklaces, you will have to pay for clay and clay-sculpting tools. You can also do them 2-dimensionally and get a printing service to create a resin of your pieces. As far as prices and where you can find a lot of these tools, I would shop around way before you decide to try your hand at selling them.
If you're really savvy with jewelry, then by all means, make as much of it and with as much variety as you like! If you are not, however, I would start small. Make a few earrings, necklaces and rings and see how it does. You don't want to make a huge investment in jewelry-making tools and supplies if it turns out you weren't as into it as you thought.

This is definitely a large-scale item.
These are tricky to sell because the buyer's investment will more than likely be larger than if they were to purchase a bunch of smaller items. Buyers are looking for durability and good craft in a plushie, but if you work really hard on them you may gain a loyal following who will want to commission you for them later!
Plushies definitely take a lot of time to make. You may end up making only one a week, or every other week, if you want to do a really good job. While they will slow your productivity down, they will attract people to your table even if you have only a few really nice ones.
If you want to make a lot of plushies, it will cost you. The price of fabric can be outrageous these days, but with a few basic colors, stuffing and a lot of thread, you can make your way around. You will definitely need to buy a sewing machine, or get acquainted with one you might already own. The price of the sewing machine my family just bought was about $150. Get a good quality machine with a good warranty and it will give you great mileage, making it a worthwhile investment.
If you're new to this, start small. If you aren't, then I would gradually increase your stock, and I wouldn't make more than 2 or 3 of one character. I have found that although fan art plushies are cute, people are more likely to buy those in the Dealer's Room where the "official" merchandise is located. At the artist's alley, it's the idea that counts, so get creative! Mustaches, narwhals, bats, squids, sushi, tofu, if you can think it, you can make it into a plushie!

Other common items similar to these listed above are magnets, paper children, T-shirts, small comics, badges, hair accessories, one-of-a-kind items such as sketches, on-the-spot commissions and original art. The key to making any of these is to plan, plan, plan! So make your decisions based on the considerations above and you'll be on your way! And if you want me to go more in depth about any of these other items, or you have more to suggest for me, feel free to let me know!

What is safe to assume, however, is that your merchandise should appeal to as many people as you can. Having a specific audience in mind is good when you're a beginner, but as you continue to sell at more conventions, you should definitely make sure you're hitting a lot more target audiences. Once you get a good flow you'll start to notice that certain types of people enjoy your work and buy it more frequently than others. Your job is to find out who those people are, and figure out a way to entice other types of people to come to your table.

:star: PRICING :star:

This is probably one of the most obscure territories up for discussion, because there are so many considerations when pricing an item. You don't want to price your work too low, given that you've spent at least some amount of money to generate your merchandise! You want to make sure you're not just breaking even. You also may not want to price your items too much on the high end. Even though you calculate that your sales would cover your expenses with plenty to spare, you're probably not going to be good competition for the rest of the alley. People may like your work, but they won't buy it if it's not within their budget. Either extreme will leave you with poor sales!

So how to find the happy medium, where both you and the customer will be happy? Here are a few key points to consider.

Convention Attendance
Is it a one-day convention? Is it a two-or-more-day convention? This may be a good judgment of attendance. If the convention is only a one-day festival, you may get a few hundred people, and that means you should make less merchandise. The reason is because not a lot of people may know about the convention long enough to bring extra money with them, or they may have a lot less saved up to spend there. So don't spend too much money on too much merchandise that you won't be able to sell later. If the convention is a two or three day affair, then definitely make the investment because there will be a lot more people attending, with numbers sometimes going up into the thousands! And chances are more likely they will have saved up a lot more money to spend here.

Your Audience
Consider the audience of the convention you want to sell at. Is it mostly teenagers? Adults? Or have you found there's a wider range, from really young kids to older folk? This will affect the average budget that your customers will have put away to spend at the convention. Younger people tend to have less money with them, or end up having to ask their parents to buy stuff for them. Teens often bring money to spend on food and stuff at the dealer's room, leaving little in the way of a budget for art. Young adults and older will usually leave a little bit of spending money for the artist alley, and some will even save up exclusively to buy merchandise at the alley. Keeping this in mind, because you want to make sure you have something for everyone at any budget!

Your Investment

Remember the formula I made to figure out if a convention will be well worth your time? Well, we can also use that formula to determine how much you should price your work.

Here is the formula:

Net profit = Your gross profit — fees to get to the convention + fees to attend the convention + cost of materials to make your work

Based on whatever the costs are, let's assume you have an idea of how much merchandise you want to make. As an example, I will use my own personal template. So, at an average convention, I will make up to 300 magnets and 100 key chains. I know that sounds like a lot, but it's all about that building up factor! I didn't get there overnight. I'm pretty sure the first time I decided to make magnets I made less than 20 different characters. Starting small on the first try is key!

I generally price both my magnets and key chains similarly, at $4 each. I usually don't completely sell out, but let's pretend that I did. $4 multiplied by 300 sounds like pretty great profit, doesn't it? Not so much if I was attending an out-of-state convention, or a three-day convention that was far away from home and had to spend a few nights at a hotel! Usually we don't think about it, but you invest a lot in a convention! Now, if the convention I was selling at was close enough to home that I could drive there and back, and not spend money at a hotel, then the profit margin sounds a whole lot better.

Please refer to the breakdown I did earlier of common items to sell for your own version of this formula!

:bulletblue: Comparing Prices
How much are other people charging for the same type of work? Look around the artist alley or online, and you'll see lots of people have different opinions on what something should be priced as. I'll break it down by item again, as I did with the common items.

Buttons (can be as low as $1 to $2. $3 is a little on the high end unless the size of the button is larger.)
Stickers (can be as low as $1 to $3. $4 is also a bit high unless it's a big sticker.)
Keychains (should be about $2 to $4, as you want to cover the cost of getting the materials. I'd also price the same for magnets.)
Prints (small scale can be $5 on the semi-low end, and large prints should probably not exceed $20. You may think it's worth more based on the work you put into it, but believe me when I say that for someone to put $20 on a 2-dimensional item is difficult unless they absolutely love it.)
Jewelry (rings and earrings can be about $4 to $5, bracelets and necklaces can go higher, up to $20 should be the limit. If you're making elaborate accessories like headbands and hats, use the amount of time you spend per item as an estimate, as well as how much official stores or the Dealer's Room are selling them for.)
Plushies (small scale should start at $5, and depending on the detail and number of hours spent per plushie, the price could go up to $30 or $40. Why higher than $20? Because it's a 3-dimensional, tangible object that people get emotionally attached to. This makes them want to shell out a little extra without question.)

:bulletblue: The Golden Rule
Whether you have a lot of old merchandise you want to get rid of or not sell anymore, a few defective items or really small work, people will buy it for a dollar. Believe me on this one. I had some really old merchandise from my early years selling at the alley that wouldn't sell anymore, as well as a few magnet characters that were not as popular as they used to be, so I decided to mark them down in a special bin for $1. Everything sold. This is a sure way to get customers to buy at least one thing from your table, because everybody has a dollar, or four quarters, or a few dimes left over that they can get with their friends to add up to a dollar. The most common phrase you'll hear from someone if they see that one piece for that price is, "Now I have to buy it!"

:bulletblue: A final word on pricing

Notice that I ended all of my price estimations with rounded numbers. Especially when you're starting out, you don't want to price an item for $1.35 or some weird number like that. Nice rounded numbers are for your benefit, so you don't end up with a headache when you're calculating your final tally for the day, and also for your customer's convenience so they don't have to scrounge up some weird amount of change. You can price your items with either an odd or even number, but usually customers will respond better to even numbers. Just make sure you're not delving too much into the cents category.

Some people have asked me about taxes. Some larger conventions may require you to have a temporary seller ID to participate in their artist alley due to tax purposes. If you are a professional artist and you make a living selling your work professionally, you may also have to register for taxes. But if this is a hobby, or you do it on the side along with having other forms of employment, then you don't have to worry about it! Do double-check the artist alley policies for information on taxes just in case.

Hope this has continued to be helpful!

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7 Awesome Crafts you probably didn't know existed

The world of crafting is fascinating and never ending. We have been crafting since the first human molded some mud into a pot, and a seemingly endless list of crafts has been created since. Some crafts are very well known, and you have probably dabbled a bit into them yourself... but some of them are a lot less known. I put some examples together, please enjoy them and leave a comment below letting us know how many of them you already knew :lol: if you know any unknown crafts, feel free to share them with us!

Extra credits if you already tried some of these!

Note: These are NOT totally obscure crafts that are only practiced in remote places of the world or that require specialized equipment, I chose crafts that should be easy enough to pick up but not a lot of people are doing.

1. Stone carving.

Incredible works of art can be made even from the humble common stone. Precious or semi-precious stones can be used as well.
Celtic Ravens - Carved Jet Gauged Talon Earrings by DreamingDragonDesignocean jasper skull carving by tattoopink
Triskele Altar Stone by Troll-BloodFor the love of Alba by fairyfrog

2. Mini crochet.

Lots of us have tried crochet at least once (some of us with terrible results, ahem) but miniature crochet is a new world of challenges. Just imagine how tiny their hooks must be! No wonder we don't see many people trying it.
Micro-crochet Stag by KimLCrochetsMicro crochet Dragon by Ambrosial-Wolf
5 millimeter Itty Bitty Micro Crochet Whale by altearitheMicro-crochet Polar Bear by KimLCrochets

3. Terrariums.

Nothing like art that is alive and growing! These terrariums are as beautiful as practical, most of them require very little care and are a sustainable ecosystem. I can't stop admiring the care and patience required to grow the plants, put them together beautifully, and even craft tiny accents.
Totoro with umbrella under a tree Terrarium by puffterrariumsTerrarium 02 by lbenologa
Finn and Jake Terrarium by MaForetmini-terrarium with exuviae 2 by Isisnofret

4. Recycling circuits.

Technological waste is increasingly common, some artists have found a way to turn waste into treasure.
Computer Cufflinks by Techcycleblack dragon by thebluekraken
Capacitor Motorcycle by AmpOwlDazzling Crystal and Rainbow Resistor Bracelet by Techcycle

5. Feather painting.

Feathers are small and delicate canvases, it's incredible the amount of detail and realism some of these crafters achieve.
Star Wolf Starfeather Detail by GoldenwolfWNC Prayer feather by THODRAGONFIRE
Sun Feather by DraikairionButterfly Lotus Feather Pen by ChaeyAhne

6. 3D beading.

Sure, anyone can string one bead after the other and create a simple bracelet. But engineering a stable 3D structure with nothing but tiny beads is breathtaking. 
Hi, I am sitting on a rock by RrkraScyther by AgentDoppelnuller
Jade SplitSkirt Bead Dress Short Waist by pinkythepinkMask thing by Rrkra

7. Cosmetics.

Lots of people don't know that they can make their own cosmetics, and it's very easy! There's a lot of tutorials and suppliers online. It has many advantages: you can control the ingredients and make sure they are top quality, skip anything harmful (preservatives, allergens, etc) and make them perfect for you. They make great gifts too, and many people appreciate artisan cosmetics. Soap - Cat Pink by shirickiBacon Perfume by Cloudpow
HH-Candy Autumn Fragrances 2012 by A-Little-KittyFight Club Soap by SkinfullyYours

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One Week Left to Enter!

Check out the great prizes we have for this contest! :la:

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a traditional Chinese holiday. The animal representing 2014 is the horse. But you can represent any Chinese Zodiac animal in your project (one that represents your birth year for example), or the whole zodiac if you want!

Check out these links:

Playing with Lanterns Emote  Rules

Bullet; Red Only knit and crochet work is accepted. ANY type of projects are acceptable for this contest! Hats, scarves, blankets, a cell phone cozy, as creative as long as it stays within the theme.

Bullet; Red Your entry must fit the Chinese New Year theme.
Bullet; Red New entries only.

:star: Bullet; Red You must add our group icon :iconknitting-and-crochet: to your description. You can do this by typing a colon : on each side of iconKnitting-and-Crochet.
Bullet; Red Submit your work to the contest folder.
Bullet; Red The deadline is Friday, January 31st.
on right Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow You can read our Contest and Challenge FAQ here Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow 

Chinese Lantern Prizes

First Place Winner:
100 points from the contest prize pool
1 month Premium Membership from MoonyMina
35% off coupon in EmMakesStuff's Etsy Shop
Bronze Yarn Basket Pendant ( like this one ) from CatsWire

Lucky Panda Keychain from Brookette
Other Prizes TBA
Second Place Winner (only if 5 or more entries are submitted):
50 points from the contest prize pool
1 month Premium Membership from MoonyMina
30% off coupon in EmMakesStuff's Etsy Shop

Third Place Winner (only if 10 or more entries are submitted):
25 points from the contest prize pool
1 month Premium Membership from MoonyMina
25% off coupon in EmMakesStuff's Etsy Shop
Other Prizes TBA

Chinese Emperor Emote Judges

:iconbrookette: :iconaphid777: :iconthe-carolyn-michelle:
Bullet; Black We'll judge the work based on creativity and craftsmanship.
Bullet; Black Please try and submit a clear photo of your work, this helps us make the best choice.
Bullet; Black Setting a scene and/or providing a description of your project, which in may include work process and inspiration, is always a plus!

Our prizes have changed this year. Please consider contributing to the prize donations!

Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red We will be accepting prize donations for this contest! Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow 
Ideas may include:
Points! Our group prize pool is on Brookette's page.
Handmade prizes
Art work
Yarn or other craft supplies
Pattern booklets or craft magazines
Special Coupon codes/discounts in your online shop
dA Journal features

Point donors of 100+ get their own Feature!
Any prize donor gets their work in the Featured folder for that month!
Fireworks Please comment here or send a note if you can donate a prize! Thanks!

on right Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow  You can read our Contest and Challenge FAQ here Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow Bullet; Red Bullet; Yellow 
Other Questions? Just ask!
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As artists we all know that color is our friend, whether full spectrum, monochromatic, or simply black and white. But knowing just how to use this very special friend can be frustrating at times or just downright confusing (trust me, I've been there plenty before!) This blog is for those of us who work traditionally (not to worry my futuristic friends, I'll be writing a blog specifically for you as well!) Here are some terms you need to become acquainted with: chroma, value, tint, shade, and intensity/saturation.

What is Chroma?
Chroma is the Greek word for "color", it refers to the purity or intensity of a color.

What is Value?
Value is the lightness or darkness of a color.

What is a Tint?
Tinting a color means lightening it by adding white.

What is a shade?
Shading a color means darkening it by adding black.

What is intensity and saturation?
This refers to the strength of a color. An example of a saturated color would be cadmium red. A color is most saturated in its pure state.

Now that you know those terms, let's talk about some color mixing. Some basic colors you all should have in your arsenals are: cadmium red, alizarin crimson, lemon yellow (or hansa yellow), ultramarine, burnt sienna, titanium white, and lamp black (or ivory black). That basic palette can get you really far and you’ll learn about color mixing (or blending if you’re using a dry medium) better than if you were simply using a pre-mixed palette.

:bulletred: Neutrals
Having burnt sienna in your palette will help you along in mixing neutrals because it is already a warm neutral. Mixing browns and other tawny colors can be a little difficult because it’s easy to make muddy, icky colors by accident. One thing to remember is this: any color mixed with it’s compliment will result in a shade of brown (red and green, orange and blue, violet and yellow) Try to avoid tinting (adding white) when you mix a neutral. If you need to lighten it up, split the amount mixed in half and slowly fold in a yellow.

:bulletred:Flesh Tones
Flesh tones can also be a challenge, but practice always makes a big difference! Here are some basic formulas for mixing flesh tones:

Basic Skin Tone:  cadmium red>burnt sienna>titanium white

Warm Light Skin Tone:cadmium red>yellow ochre>titanium white

Cool Light Skin Tone:alizarin crimson>just a touch of viridian hue (a very cool blue green)>titanium white (this may turn out to ashen or pink depending on how much of each color you mix, if this is the case, either warm it slightly with ochre, or burnt sienna, or tint with white sparingly)

Warm Medium Skin Tone:cadmium red>burnt sienna>yellow ochre>titanium white

Cool Medium Skin Tone:cadmium red>burnt sienna>just a touch of viridian hue>titanium white

Warm Deep Skin Tone: cadmium red>burnt sienna>viridian hue>yellow ochre

Cool Deep Skin Tone:burnt sienna>viridian hue>just a hint of titanium white

:bulletred: Chromatic Blacks and Whites

One of the most common ways to get tripped up in color usage is to only use black and white for your darks and highlights. Black has a tendency to become very flat and dead looking and white has a tendency to make everything a little chalky and unnatural. To combat this, try mixing your blacks and instead of using white, use colors with white in them (such as cerulean, or yellow ochre) Also, you can add hue to your white by adding just a small amount of any color.

Some options for mixing blacks:
prussian blue>alizarin crimson
ultramarine>burnt sienna
pthalo green>alizarin crimson
ultramarine>raw umber
Super intense black: viridian hue>alizarin crimson

Now this doesn’t mean to throw out your black paint, you can definitely still use it! Just make sure to give all your other colors the same kind of love ;)

I hope this information helps you all out :D

:heart: Xadrea
These are some tips on color mixing for traditional artists, one for digital artists is coming soon! As always, if you have questions, feel free to ask!
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Hello esteemed colleagues! This blog is particularly targeted to those of you who are considering pursuing a career in an art/creative field and those of you who are in art school as well. If you're not doing either of those things, the concepts here are good general advice for anything you're striving for, so definitely hang around and read on!

These '10 Commandments' were formulated by curator/artist/designer/entrepreneur/amazinginlyawesomehumanbeing Sergio Gomez. I had the opportunity of going to a lecture of his a few months back and it was very inspiring. So without any further ado, here they are!

10. You shall be PATIENT and CONSISTENT

One of the biggest lies you can tell yourself is that you will be an overnight success. Like any skill set, developing your artwork will take time. This is the same when looking for ways to advance your career, it won't fall into your lap. You must be earnest in looking for opportunities to show and sell your work, you must be consistent in honing your skills. Take risks, and put yourself out there!

9. You shall not LIE on your resume or cv

That's basically good advice for any career choice. Just don't do it.

8. You shall take time in NETWORKING and community building

Who you know is equally as important as what you know. Branching out into your local art scene can open doors that you may never have known existed. Also, don't write dA off as a networking tool. There are many professional artists who use this website who you can connect with as well.

7. You shall not take rejection letters as PERSONAL ATTACKS

I'll add a bit more to that point: don't take critiques as personal attacks either! Rejection is something you're going to have to become comfortable with in this career, and it has nothing to do with you as a person. I've seen far too many sore losers when it comes to even things as simple as contests here on dA...and trust me folks, that attitude will not get you far. If you put yourself out there, no is one of two answers.

6. You shall have ALL your promotional materials ready

Marketing yourself is incredibly important even if you're not a self employed artist. Make sure to keep your website and business cards up to date every few months. If you don't have either, MAKE THEM. Potential employers will often want to see not only examples of your work, but an online portfolio.

5. Dry and "ready to hang" MEANS "dry and ready to hang!"

If you're submitting physical work to galleries, 90% of the time you will be responsible for making sure your work has the proper hanging hardware (d-rings, wire, french cleats, ect). Do not under any circumstances submit a wet painting anywhere!

4. You shall not assume the curator REMEMBERS all the details about your work

I've helped hang shows and it's a maddening process. Even the most seasoned curator will not be able to recall your specifications for showing your work. That is why it is IMPORTANT to have consistent contact with that curator. It's your responsibility to see that your work is displayed correctly and in the best possible manner. I tend to try to hang my own work if I can.

3. You shall be thankful for EVERY guest that comes to your solo show

Personally, I'm happy if only 3 people show up, but it can be a little bit of a let down if you don't have a huge turn out. Instead of feeling angry at the people who didn't come even though you went through the trouble of making postcards and a facebook event, be glad for those who decided to show support for your hard work.

2. You shall NOT expect a portfolio review from a curator, gallery owner or director during opening night

I'll also add: DO NOT send curators emails to meet with you either. That is very rude behavior and you should expect to be treated poorly if you decide to do any of those things. Galleries often have specific times set aside for considering new artist's work or submissions, so follow their guidelines. I will add, this also includes sending random emails to places like Disney and videogame companies. If you think you have the skills to work with them, go through the PROPER requirements to be considered for the job. Hamfisting it will just make you look juvenile.

1. YOU shall be responsible for your art career

You are completely responsible for advancing your career. Don't blame schools or galleries who turned you down for not going after your dreams. If you're getting turned down a lot, take a look at what you're doing. Is your quality of work as good as it can be? Are you limiting yourself? Take responsibility for what you're trying to do.

I hope this advice can help you along the way as you pursue your career in art!
As always, if you have any questions, ask away!
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First of all, hello!:wave: It's been almost a year since I contributed a blog post to this lovely group so I want to say hi I'm back folks! I have a lot of artsy things to share with you all that I've learned (and am still learning) so hang on tight! While I was thinking what to write as my first topic, I decided to kind of go back to the beginning as far as our thinking as artists goes in the creation process. I've come up with a short series called "Common Misconceptions" just to debunk some myths and misguided trends that are so often part of what we experience as we grow. This first "Common Misconceptions" topic will focus on traditional art.


Traditional is better than digital because it takes more talent and skill

WRONGWRONGWRONGWRONGWRONGWRONGWRONG. Did I say that was wrong, I'll say it again for emphasis WRONG! Like all mediums, digital art is simply different than traditional art in the same way photography is different than film. They are simply different. Photoshop does not "magically" give you the skills to recreate the paintings in the Sistine Chapel any more than holding a paintbrush makes you Rembrandt.


It's 'bad' to use reference images

I'll admit, I was wary of using reference images well into my second year of art school. The notion is that as artists, we should be brilliant enough to come up with completely original ideas (which is in part a completely different myth that will be covered later). Also, there's concern that if you reference something, you won't be really learning, but copying. Lastly, there's the idea that "good" artists shouldn't "need" a model to work from. Trust me, all of those ideas are flat out wrong. Part of learning how to correctly draw an apple is to study an apple! This goes for any subject you wish to draw. The area this is most debated is when it comes to drawing the figure. If you want to get better at "drawing people", by all means, study people! Beyond simply learning, having a reference image or model handy for your work is key for creating the best work possible.


This is 'my style' of drawing, so I don't need to learn anything else

If we give it a lot of thought, every artist has a distinctive 'style' of drawing, painting, sculpting, ect. However, that's a no brainer once we realize that each artist is a unique individual with personal aesthetics and reasons for the way they work. Drawing is one of the concentrations where this is most easily seen. The idea of this myth is a weak one at best. Not one person on Earth is ever at point in life when learning is no longer required or even necessary, artist or not. Don't buy into the 'my style' bandwagon. This will halt any further development in your drawing strength and creative process. Let me present a rather funny (and sad) example: I had my very first college drawing class about 5 years ago. I'll admit, I didn't enjoy it much, but I learned valuable things about the nature of light, perspective, ect. On the last day of class, we were all reflecting on what we all had learned and one guy actually said "I didn't learn anything, not one thing. I'm going to make graphic novels and comics, what does that have to do with drawing a box?" If you're picking your jaw up from your keyboard right now, you get the point.


Materials don't matter, even crayons are fine!

This is actually somewhat true to a certain point. You don't need the entire art supplies store to do something great, but it is important as you move and grow as an artist to have a look at what you're using and then see what else you could incorporate. Don't misinterpret me here, I'm not saying to go out and spend a fortune on supplies, because Lord know's even I can't do that! What I am saying is, if you've been using the same paint brushes for over a year, it's time to buy some new ones. If you've been working in crayon, check out oil pastel. Are you a painter, have you looked into mixing mediums into your paints? Working on college ruled or printer paper? Go down to the drugstore and at least buy a small blank journal to draw in.


It's ok to buy pre-mixed pigments

Learning how to mix color if you are working with pigments of any kind is very important. Pre-mixed colors have a tendency to look very unnatural and plastic, especially when it comes to skintones. Color temperature makes more natural, interesting, and exciting images. If and when you buy paint, try to buy the basics (ie.lemon yellow, ultramarine, cadmium red) and take some time to mix up your own hues, you'll be surprised how many shades of one single color you can get out of very little paint!


Because of technological advances, traditional art is dying

I can assure you my friends, traditional art has not diminished, wavered, or died since the creation of the computer, or even the internet. It certainly has changed and grown, but it is not going anywhere. One reason this myth is getting around is because how we as connoisseurs of art view it these days. Most of us see art through a computer screen, therefore, you're going to be seeing a lot of digital art because it's linked by medium. Traditional work is (and in my opinion will always be) best viewed in person. Also, the western art world is very much a bubble. Take a look around the world (and the traditional category here on dA for that matter!), and you will see quite a bit of contemporary traditional art.

If you guys have any more questions about trends and myths surrounding traditional art, just post them here and I'll try to the best of my ability and knowledge to answer them (or find someone who can)! The next 'Common Misconceptions' series will be digital art.

Thanks for reading!
:heart: Xadrea
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Journal Entry: Wed Jul 2, 2014, 3:44 AM

Two of the best pieces of advice I ever got considering art and drawings came from the very same person: A graphic designer who often stopped by at the comicshop. We spent a lot of time chatting about techniques and most of my knowledge about fibonacci and golden ratio I have because of him. :D

As for the points of advice:

One was that I should just take my time with my drawings and paintings. If I don't have a deadline, there is no need to finish it within a fixed timeframe. And I can work on it as long as I want, till it's finished. Or till I get bored with it. And never finish it and start something new. It's not like I'm bound in any way, right?

The second tip was to never shy back from starting from scratch. Whatever the reason might be. Just because I have just spent hours on that one detailed bit does not mean that the final image will look great if I build it around my initial hours of work. It can. But it does not have to.

So, I often I scrap drafts, paint over a painting or start from scratch. Just keeping everything because someone might like it and never risking anything, because it could ruin the existing parts? This is crippling for an artist and makes it very hard to try new things.  

If you're scared to mess up:
I tend to mess up a lot. I just never upload the failures, which makes it seem like I don't make mistakes normally. But I do. I often have start again, copying the whole lineart AGAIN via light table (which is... boring as hell d: ), because coloring try number one looks horrible. Or because I realized halfway through the coloring that the focus is off. Or because I was simply not patient enough and now the whole thing looks horrible. Or because I noticed a very stupid mistake and can't really live with leaving it in the drawing and I have to redraw even the draft!

It happens. But each time it happens, I do learn something from it.

So, go wild. Risk a drawing. Risk a whole bunch of drawings! Never show them to anybody because you can. And if you show them to people, don't shy back from scrapping them anyway. Because this kind of courage gives you the chance to learn and be better artist than you were just yesterday.

A few hours of work are a small price to pay for progress, if you ask me. :) No matter how good your drawing is right now, the next drawing can be even better.

And if you're not drawing yourself, keep this in mind when you try to convince an artist to not scrap a drawing. ;) (I'm especially looking at those people who charge the trash bin whenever they come to my place ;) ).

  • Listening to: Bravely Default Concerto
  • Drinking: Coffee
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Did You Know - Manage Deviations

Mon Aug 4, 2014, 11:53 PM

Manage Deviations

Especially when you have quite a lot of artworks in your gallery, it can become tricky to manage your deviations and to sort through them.
That's why we have the manage deviations page. You can either access it via the direct link or by choosing "Manage Deviations" from the Submit Menu.

04 08 2014 01 by ginkgografix

On that page you have listed your deviations & journals. The overview will give you the name, the category it was submitted to, the publishing date and it also lists your sharing options and if critiques and comments are enabled or disabled.

04 08 2014 02 by ginkgografix

:note: When hovering over your deviation title, you will also get a little preview of that deviation. This helps to know what deviation you are going to edit, when you can't remember what title goes with what deviation.

04 08 2014 02a by ginkgografix

When you click on the category of a deviation, all other deviations of that category will be highlighted as well. By clicking again, the highlight will be removed.

04 08 2014 02b by ginkgografix

The public page is the default view, but you can also switch to your stored files. Simply by clicking on "Storage" on the left side.

04 08 2014 03 by ginkgografix

The list you get there is the same, but these are deviations that are not visible for the public.

Applying Changes

To store your deviations you just check all those that should be hidden and click the store button at the top. Same when you want to unstore deviations. In that case it's an unstore button.

For changing the settings for sharing, comments and critique you are also going to check the deviations you want to modify and then choose from the drop down menu.

04 08 2014 04 by ginkgografix

:note: Keep in mind that when you check some deviations and switch pages, it will be reset. You can always only work on one page at a time.

These are the possible icons that could show up. Only when sharing is disabled, no icon will be displayed.

04 08 2014 05 by ginkgografix

From left to right:
sharing encouraged, members only and sharing discouraged
critique disabled, critique requested
comments allowed, comments disabled

Related FAQ

FAQ #299: What are my Personal Gallery Management Tools, and how do I get to them?
FAQ #307: What is the Deviation Storage Tool, and how do I access it? Can I temporarily hide deviations?

Want to learn more?

Suggest a Topic

As we write this article series for you, the community, we would like to know: What aspects of the website do you want to learn more about? Or what can you teach other deviants about? If we decide to use your suggestion we will be sure to credit you.
Thank you for your input in advance!

Let us know your ideas through our feedback page  fellallama by mintyy

Previous Articles

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