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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 theartslave.deviantart.com/jou…

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ARTIST ALLEY 101

Part 2

Planning What to Sell/Pricing

:star: PLANNING WHAT TO SELL…
:star:

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 before applying, 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, where 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! Take my money!" So when thinking of what to make, keep in mind how you react to other people's work! There is also quite a lot to be said for people who look for unique and original work and want to support aspiring artists and their original properties! 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 representations from a diverse array of geek culture, and just about anything else you can think of that fits into the geek/quirky/kawaii/etc box! 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! As long as you are mindful of intellectual property/copyright infringement when creating your fan work (such as avoiding using official logos or borrowing too heavily from already existing images when referencing characters), most conventions will let you display and sell it. Just make sure to read their policies regarding restrictions on specific fandoms, such as if a creator has chosen not to allow others to create/sell fanart of their work, so you can make sure you are in the clear. If you are unsure whether a design or fan piece you created blurs the lines in any way, it's probably best to avoid selling it for now.

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 cute fashion, adorable food items, mustaches and much more! I've seen so many innovative ideas for items that people sell over the years, chances are if you can think of it, you can make it happen!

: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 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!

Buttons
Scale
This is a very small-scale item.
Traits
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!
Time
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! Although recently I have seen artists make custom buttons using traditional media like Copics, thus creating a one-of-a-kind work of art in button form!
Cost
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.
Quantity
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 design. Pretty soon you'll have over 100 buttons to work with! And you can keep building up your range of characters/designs, 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 around the con!

Stickers
Scale
This is a small-scale item.
Traits
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. (Just make sure to double-check with artist alley policies for your specific convention to see if these are allowed. It has come to my attention in recent years that due to past problems with vandalism, some conventions have banned the sale of stickers altogether. So be sure that the con you want to attend will allow these before you invest in making them!)
Time
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.
Cost
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, but the quality of the final result might be worthwhile. There are a lot of new printing services that offer a variety of sticker paper options (such as holographic/vinyl, which have been really popular lately) so you definitely want to shop around to get the best price for your budget. 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.
Quantity
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 design 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.

Keychains
Scale
This is a somewhat small-scale item.
Traits
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 designs for buyers to choose from.
Time
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. But if you do an online service, you will also have to factor in their estimated manufacturing/delivery time when you order.
Cost
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. If you decide to go the printing service route, they may have other options regarding durability such as acrylic, which will be a lot thicker than a laminated keychain. But again, shop around for pricing first!
Quantity
Because these take a little bit more time to produce, I would start by making maybe 3 or 4 of each design. You can build on that in the future, and even with that amount per design you can still end up with a lot to sell!

Prints
Scale
This can vary from a small to a large-scale item.
Traits
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 or unique aesthetic to them.
Time
Like I said earlier, these do take time to make. If you want to make many different prints, I would suggest starting with a full-body character with little to no background. You will thank yourself later. That being said, if you are a more seasoned artist who knows roughly how long it takes for you to make really good quality illustrations, factor that in to the number of new pieces you want to make. If you are starting out and aren't exactly sure how to do that yet, just look at your best/strongest drawings that you have made so far and think about how long it took for you to make each of them. That should give you a good idea of how much time you will really have for these. A good rule of thumb is, if you're concerned about time, think quality over quantity. Having a few prints that look amazing will speak volumes to customers who might pass by a table with a ton of work but all of it looks just meh.
Cost
These aren't very costly to make, as all you really need is a printer or a good quality 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 size. For this (and everything else), I would stay away from Kinko's. Their colors usually don't turn out very good (almost always I would end up with prints much darker than my files, thus running many colors and details together creating a huge mess), 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 for their print quality and have good service. To be on the safe side, I'd run a few test prints using different quality paper so that you have a good idea what your final results will be when you make your stock to sell for real.
Quantity
I would start out with only a few, but really well done prints. I find that it doesn't really matter if it's a fan work or an original piece, but what really sells prints is their quality. 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. What I've seen a lot of at tables recently is artists having print designs in a variety of sizes. So if you're not keen on getting a huge version of a print, you can opt for the smaller one and buy more of them since they will probably be cheaper anyways!

Jewelry
Scale
This may look small in size, but I define it as a larger scale item because it takes a lot of time to make.
Traits
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 geek culture and fandoms.
Time
It will take some time to make jewelry, because like prints, you want to do a good job on them and not slap them together at the last minute. Focus on quality over quantity here as well! 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.
Cost
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.
Quantity
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.

Plushies
Scale
This is definitely a large-scale item.
Traits
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!
Time
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 to start with.
Cost
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. In recent years there has been a rise in printing services for "pillow" plushies, i.e. you create the design for the plush or pillow, and they will print it on the right fabric for you. I am not very familiar with how this works or how much it costs, so others can certain weigh in on this. The way I'd see it is like if you make various designs for t-shirts and decide to sell those by ordering the shirts be made through a printing company. Either way it's something you'll definitely have to do more research on to see if it'll be worth the up-front costs.
Quantity
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 5 to start with. 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, cats, squids, sushi, tofu, if you can think it, you can make it into a plushie!

Other common items similar to these listed above are cellphone charms, magnets, paper children, T-shirts, bags, pillows, mini comics, badges, hair accessories, bookmarks, stationery, character-or-fandom-inspired soaps and perfumes, amigurumis, hats, one-of-a-kind items such as sketches, on-the-spot commissions and original drawings. 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 more general 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 results!

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 since they might be waiting to hit the larger cons with larger wads of cash. So don't spend too much money on too much merchandise that you won't be able to sell. 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? Is it a family-oriented event? Or have you found there's a broad 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:

fees to get to the convention + fees to attend the convention + cost of materials to make your work= Cost of participating in the alley — Your gross profit (what you made during the entire day/weekend) = Net profit (what you actually take home with you at the end of the day)

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 or it's a custom button.)
Stickers (can be as low as $1 to $3. $4 is also a bit high unless it's a big sticker, though if you sell multiple stickers in a set then you can price them for a bit more.)
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/phone charms.)
Prints (small scale can be $5 on the semi-low end, and large prints should probably not exceed $30. 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 more than $20 on a 2-dimensional item is difficult unless they absolutely love it. This is not counting commissioned pieces, since those are one-of-a-kind custom items.)
Jewelry (rings and earrings can be about $4 to $5, bracelets and necklaces can go higher, up to $30 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 or more. Why higher than $30? 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. I recently did this when I bought a plushie of a character I really liked, and did not regret it!)

:bulletblue: The Golden Rule
Whether you have a lot of old merchandise you want to get rid of that does not sell anymore, a few defective items or work that is way less popular at your table, people will buy it for a dollar. Believe me on this one. I had some really old merchandise from my early years that wouldn't sell anymore, as well as a few 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, "Oh, it's only a dollar? 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 it is a requirement for that convention.

One last thing that has also come up in recent years: being flexible with how customers pay for items can also be to your benefit. What I mean by this is having the ability to accept credit cards for attendees who are either hesitant on carrying large amounts of cash on them, or who have ran out of the cash they took out for the event but still want to buy things. To my knowledge it is free to sign up for the Square app and not that expensive to buy the little card reader that you insert into your smartphone, so it might be a good thing to advertise that you accept both payment options. Just remember that at the end of your event, don't forget to add the credit card purchase amounts to your total profit numbers. This was something I kept forgetting to do in the last few years, but then again there were only a handful of Square purchases per convention so it wasn't a huge margin of error. But still, just make a note for yourself in your inventory to check that if you do accept them.

Hope this has continued to be helpful!

CLICK HERE FOR PART 3 theartslave.deviantart.com/jou…
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwolfygoesnya:
WolfyGoesNya Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
I did the biggest leap of faith in my life and signed up for the next con in my city. I was accepted and already paid for the table but I am absolutely frightened that I am no where near as good enough as I should be. I feel dumb for partaking
Reply
:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
You know, when I signed up for my first table, I didn't feel ready either and it showed! Besides, there were no tutorials on how to set up your table properly, what kind of art to sell, etc. so I just winged it in the very literal sense of the word!

It's easy to compare yourself to other artists selling work, and I think these days the quality of art being sold at cons in general has changed significantly. But what's great is that by being among other artists for the first time, you can learn from them and be inspired to keep improving, so my advice to you is to just keep your eyes and heart open to the experience! :) Glad you took the leap! Best of luck!
Reply
:iconwolfygoesnya:
WolfyGoesNya Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you fren! This whole message means a lot to me !
Reply
:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
You are very welcome! :) Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions!
Reply
:iconcassjcossette:
CassJCossette Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This is SO helpful!!! THANK YOU!!! <3
Reply
:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
You are so welcome, and thank you for the favorite! :)
Reply
:iconwhisperspirit:
Whisperspirit Featured By Owner May 24, 2018   Digital Artist
Hopefully this journal isn’t too old to get feedback still… 👀

My friend and I are wanting to market our webcomic at a convention one day. We’ve never exhibited before so it’s hard to determine how much inventory we’ll need for, say, a larger convention where we might get more attention. We’re absolutely planning to sell paperback copies of our first volume, no more than five types of small-medium prints or wallscrolls, and 4-pack character cards. But we’re not really sure if that alone is enough merch regardless of where we go. Other things we’re considering is making our own buttons or ordering some acrylic charms (although doing DIY keychains sounds like a more budget friendly option). We understand that expenses play a huge part of deciding what to bring, so we’re kinda flip flopping back and forth on what and what not to do. 🤔 We definitely don’t want to do anything too ambitious and risk wasting a ton of money, but we don’t want to look too sparse or potentially run out of stock too early.

Thank you!
Reply
:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner May 24, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi there Whisperspirit! I know I've posted these journals a while ago, but I'm always popping in and out of Deviantart to answer questions, so you're in luck! :)

That's great that you want to start promoting your webcomic! (I'm kind of in a similar boat right now, but I'm still working on said comic that I'd like to promote soon XP) I think it's also great that you have a few ideas for types of promotional materials you want to have at your table. Honestly I don't think that you would have a spare table space if you brought in your comics, prints/wallscrolls, cards and charms/keychains, those are a good mix of items to have in case interested readers don't want to invest in something too large and want a smaller option to go with the comic they just bought :D I've done DIY keychains and phonecharms for a while, so if you're planning on keeping your stock relatively small these might be a better option to start out with. Then as the comic gains popularity you could invest in some nice acrylic charms that would be affordable if you get them in bulk. Do make sure you have a banner or large poster of some kind to promote the webcomic, those are always nice to see and can attract potential customers from far away. I know of a few folks who go out of their way to look specifically for original stuff, so that would definitely give you more traffic in a larger convention space.

I hope this helps, and if you have any other questions feel free to send them my way! Best of luck! ^^
Reply
:iconwhisperspirit:
Whisperspirit Featured By Owner May 24, 2018   Digital Artist
Our webcomic is still in progress too, but we like to think way ahead in advance. XP
Cool beans! Knowing that definitely gives us more confidence about what to bring. We'll absolutely look into doing DIY keychains in addition to the books, cards, and a few print options. The banner is in the plan. ;3

Thank you so much for the tips and insight! And good luck to you on your webcomic as well! ^^
Reply
:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner May 26, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
That's not always a bad thing, hehe! You are so welcome, and thank you! ^_^
Reply
:iconchara2194:
Chara2194 Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2017  Student Filmographer
question, what about handmade clay figures? I figure thats not done often, would people buy it you think?
Reply
:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hi there! Clay figures have risen in popularity from what I have noticed. Not just clay, but those knitted/felt ones too. I think if you make a handful of really great quality figures to start with, you'd be surprised at how people might respond! Hope that helps :D
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:iconchara2194:
Chara2194 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017  Student Filmographer
Great thank you so much!
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
You are very welcome! ^^
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
I see your point. Either way, you are still having to consider all of the factors that I listed, and that was the purpose of the formula. I can see where it might have gotten confusing though.
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:iconkevintracy:
kevintracy Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2017
lol, my college algebra professor made me anal retentive about order of operations.  Great article/series otherwise though.  It gave me a lot to think about now that I'm getting ready to hit the circuit again after 10 years.
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Glad to know it's still helpful! And good luck! :)
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:iconjccatstudios:
JCcatStudios Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Great article!
What would you say mini comics should go for? My mini comics are in full-color and range from 3 to 30 pages.
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hi there! Glad you liked it! Mini comics can be tricky. Depending on where you get them printed, you might have to compensate for the cost in your pricing. I've seen 10-page mini comics go for $5, and I used to sell some that were about 30 pages that ranged in price from $10 to $15, but that was at least a few years ago. More recently I've seen 40 page comics get sold for $15, so I apologize for not having as much information but I hope that helps!
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:iconjccatstudios:
JCcatStudios Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks!
It's good to have a pricing starting point at least.
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
You are very welcome, and good luck! :)
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:iconfanatic-comics:
Fanatic-Comics Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Do you know if they usually have rules for the artwork you're displaying/selling like hentai or mature artwork? 
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hey there enragedphong! They will typically list that in the rules and regulations, yes. For instance, our local convention allows you to display such work but it must be clearly labeled and in some cases, not easily visible but ours is a family-oriented convention so there will be different rules depending on the type of audience your con gears itself towards. Hope that helps!
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:iconkiwihime00:
kiwihime00 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2017  Student General Artist
How much would you say is a good price for a 1-1/2"/37 mm button?? I just bought a button maker and I'm trying to budget for supplies too, for simple chibi designs how much would you say is a decent price?
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Hi kiwihime00! I think pricing them at around $1—$3 a button is probably a safe bet. Especially if you don't plan on making too many the first time around, it's a good price range to get a feeler for how well you do. Hope that helps!
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:iconkiwihime00:
kiwihime00 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2017  Student General Artist
Ahh, alright perfect!! I was planning on making mine around 1.50 or 2 but I was worried 2 might be too much. Thank you so much ~!!
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
No problem, and you are very welcome! Best of luck to you! :D
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:iconcyransaysmewf:
Cyransaysmewf Featured By Owner Edited Dec 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm, interesting post. I do think there's some things that could be added

Such as badges and if you're making custom keychains.

For instance, a custom keychain can still go for $10 easily. If not more if you buy holographic stickers to use to make it shiny and expensive looking or if you're using tiny perlor beads to make the keychain.

Prints I find are a bit different than what you've said. I've not seen too much problems selling small prints for $20. Part of it is also what you're having it printed on that can make the difference. Are you using a cotton carbonite border on thick stock paper? Even more. A friend who is much better than I sells a select stock of prints at $50 a pop because of the 'cheap' border she puts on, yet it looks nice AND the paper allows the use of holographic printing which while the prints cost just a tad bit more per print, she charges $20 more for these over the other 11x18" prints she has.

Also, I've dabbled in a bit of sculpting and made a killing at it at the cons when I've sold. Unfortunately, I was a bit stupid my first con selling them (same friend and I were onlY bsing around after I came into a literal large tote full of sculpey. Found it at a garage sale where the former owner who was a professional sculptor had mass bought out an art store before they went under for $5 after her death which.. sad to say I benefited from. I still have half of that clay left) where I sold the statues at a measly $25 a pop because it didn't take me much time to do, and based it on that rather than my product and how much people would be willing to pay for it. After the first batch ran out (20 statues in an hour) the next time I went to a con, I just kept ending up setting out a few at a time rather than all and the price went up first to 45 and then to 80 and then 100 and one of the sculptures I put for auction went for $350. then I started to also make smaller sculptures so I could rationalize selling some at $25 again (as they were about 1/5th the size of the other sculptures). Just not sure if you'd like to include some additional information to tackle more things to sell.

Also, I've noticed for some people when it comes to prints, for the smaller less talented artists (I hate to say that since I know art is subjective, but you know, you CAN say someone is... not as advanced as others) try a method of smaller prints that go for $5-10 a pop. For instance, an artist I saw at an anime convention sold these small... MLP prints for $5. however, because they were hard to sell ontheir own, she made a 'buy 5 for 20' and it instantly became more palletable because people started to think now  you can get that extra print to give to someone else.

That friend who does the really amazing work who sells her prints at $50 also tends to do things such as on sundays if you buy one of her $50 prints, you get one of her small $5 4x8 pictures free and if you buy one of her $30 prints, you get a bookmark free. The really cheap stuff being offered like that is a really great way to get rid of the inventory over just offering them at a dollar. Give them incentive to want to also buy something more expensive.
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks a lot for the suggestions! It really has been a long time since I first posted this information, and the convention/artist alley scene was a lot different back then. Nowadays a lot of higher quality methods for printing/creating designs is available, so I have seen the value of independent artists' goods go up, hence getting away with pricing things a bit higher than when I first started. 

That is a good idea to include badges and sculpted items, those weren't things I saw in abundance when I first made this post. Perhaps I will sit down and add to it in the future to make it fit more with the way things are going in the artist alleys today.

I appreciate your insight and welcome any other ideas you might have to make this series of posts better! :)
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
To which I say, you do you. :)
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:icongirlykitten:
girlykitten Featured By Owner May 31, 2016
Hi, I'm not sure if you are going to read this, but if you do, I was hoping you would be able to tell me the stats (SCALE || TRAITS || TIME || COST || QUANTITY || ECT) For some items I am thinking about doing for my first AA.

Those being: Small books of original comics, Paper children, T-shirts, character inspired soaps & perfumes, hats, and anime-inspired bath-bombs.

I have a lot of options of what to make for my first con in AA, (And I eventually want to do all of them) but I think just having a few different ones to start with would be best, so I want to weight my options. :)

I apologize if this stuff should be obvious or if I am bothering you, and thank you for taking the time to read this.
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Hello girlykitten! Stats for items can vary, so it's a pretty valid question. It's great that you are aiming for variety, too. That's always a great place to start!

Small comics that are printed in a limited quantity can be inexpensive but take a lot of time to make, and especially hard to sell if they are not doujinshi or fan comics. Therefore, they have to look really good in order for people to want to purchase them, and marketing/promoting them on social media can also take a great deal of time.

I have had experience with trying to sell paper children, and honestly they didn't really work out for me. You can, however, make paper children-type stickers, which would basically mean you sell them on sticker paper, and that would probably make them appealing for people to buy and stick them on fun/random surfaces ^^ These are also great to have in a medium to large quantity, since you can price them low and sell a lot of them.

T-shirts can be successful too but they are a more expensive item to produce. Contacting different printing companies to find out their rates and their minimum required print amount can help you gage whether or not you want to invest in them. There's also the pricing of each individual T-shirt, which can run kind of high if you don't make very many and they cost a lot to print. Example: I tried looking into T-shirt printing myself but what I found is that the minimum amount that many printing services will accept is kind of high, about 100 or more. So I'd have to price each of my shirts at $15—$20 or more in order to get back the amount I put in. I can ask around to see how other artists have fared with these, since I know a few that have just started printing T-shirts for their table :)

Bath-bombs and soaps/perfumes that are anime inspired are always really cool and unique! Not many artists sell those and so I think that'd be a really great item to have at your table. Unfortunately I have no clue how much time it takes or how much it costs to get all the supplies you'd need to make them, so I might do some research to find out how to get started.

Finally, hats are always awesome. Depending on whether you are sewing them or making highly decorative top hat/head pieces, they can take a lot of time to make but the pricing will never be questioned since they will be a one-of-a-kind item. To start out, I'd make a few of these but really take your time with them so you may have only a couple at your table but they'll all look really good.

Hope that answered your question! If you have any more questions please feel free to ask! :)
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:iconyusmila:
Yusmila Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2016  Student General Artist
what would you say about phone cases?
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I think you could definitely make those to sell! I've seen really great handmade deco ones, as well as custom art printed ones. Is there a specific question about them that you have?
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:iconyusmila:
Yusmila Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2016  Student General Artist
>.< I was wondering if you knew a place where I could get them custom printed at a price where I wouldn't have to sell them at ridiculous prices in order to make a bit of profit out of them, and also what type of phone case would you recommend I sell? like what material, the rubbery ones, the heavy duty ones, etc...?
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Hmm, that might be a bit tricky...The websites and printing sites I know do charge a bit steep for phone cases. I would ask around some more and see if you know somebody who sells them on Etsy or Designed By Humans for more recent info. Sorry I can't be of more help there!
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:iconihnky:
Ihnky Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Student Digital Artist
This guide is amazingly helpful! I just have one question though, how much prints should I print lets say, if I'm tabling at a bigger con like Anime Expo?
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Hi there, so glad to hear it! :D I think with prints it depends on what they are. For a bigger con I'd say make about 10—20 of different sizes, that way you give people a range of prices to choose from. For original art, I'd make the same amount but stick to smaller sizes, in my experience I've found that people really like buying multiples of original art if they are postcard or standard paper-sized vs. really large formats. Hope that helps! :)
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:iconihnky:
Ihnky Featured By Owner Jan 29, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Thank you! Hmm, just one last question, what kind of paper should I be using for the printing? Something heavy like cardstock or is that too heavy?
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Not a problem! If you want good quality color and sharpness, you should look for matte or glossy papers, those will usually give you the best finish. I have found that card stock tends to dull out color a lot, but you can do a bit of experimenting to see how you like it!
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:iconjosephine143:
josephine143 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2016  Student Artist
helloo! I hope you could still read this. So I really am planning on selling some bookmarks on my classmates, but i don't know if it's allowed or not. What I mean is that is it allowed to use anime pictures on the internet and edit them on the photoshop and sell them? :^)  I've read a lot about copyright and stuffs, but i also read about something that Japan Anime doesn't really mind people doing this because it also makes them earn more money or something? >,< it's been like 3 days searching if it's really okay or not. 
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Hello josephine143 and thank you for your question!

While that sort of thing is commonplace, it always looks best on you if you don't just photoshop/doctor existing images from the internet and sell them as your own. This looks especially bad if you use images that contain copyrighted logos or the logo from a series/game/etc. Also for the record, companies don't earn money when you sell their images. They might get exposure and people will see their brand/franchise/etc, but they definitely don't earn money for that unless you are contracted to officially sell their licensed merchandise. And while many people do sell copyrighted images without much trouble (I've even had a few companies try to sell T-shirts with my artwork on them on Amazon without my even knowing about it!), it is usually frowned upon when that happens.

Although it sounds like you are only going to make a few of these and sell them among your friends, and therefore nobody would really be the wiser since you wouldn't be bringing them to a convention and selling them there. However, to avoid any future confusion I would simply exercise caution. Back in my early days I used to print and sew images of my favorite anime onto bags for school, but I never sold those. And while I did sell images of existing characters at conventions, I always drew them myself and never included official logos on the artwork.

I hope this answers your question, and if you have any other inquiries about this don't hesitate to ask! :)
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:iconrose-star:
rose-star Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
You can't sell copyrighted images you didn't make, no. If you wanted to draw anime characters and make those into bookmarks though, you totally could! But tracing an image and selling that isn't okay either, so it'd have to be something you drew yourself.
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:iconerlance:
Erlance Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm not 100% sure, but it doesn't sound to me like it would be allowed. If you're drawing fanart of a character, that usually is. But if you are taking a picture off of the internet and just editing it, I'm pretty sure that would not be okay. Also, keep in mind that most pictures you'll find of anime drawing are actually created by deviant artists or similar. The only actual artwork you will find from an anime is a screenshot from the movie, or the cover of a DVD or book or some other type of promotional art. So I'm sorry to say that I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work.
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:iconkhfan12:
khfan12 Featured By Owner May 25, 2015   General Artist
Thanks so much for this, it's very helpful!!
I'm going to be trying to get into an artist alley at a con in October, so if I get in, this will definitely help me out!

Thanks again!!
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:iconmystodraws:
MystoDraws Featured By Owner May 26, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You are so welcome, I'm glad these journals have been helpful! And good luck applying for a table! ^_^
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