Waking up at 2PM today, I realized two things: long nights of sleep are still good, and Otakon 2009 is over.
3 and 1/2 days of madness ended all too quickly, and honestly, it didn't matter about how much I sold, or the totals I earned. Because I had an awesome time! It felt strange jumping right into the big leagues of Artist Alleys around the convention scene, but mingling with amazing artists and passionate fans alike made my weekend worthwhile.
Some things I've learned:
- Item and equipment checklists as well as sales records forms are more important than ever.
- I hate Maryland's all-encompassing tax system.
- On-demand printing for smaller prints works well (especially given the unpredictability of certain works selling better than others), but it requires me to man the table at all times for sales. I think sharing two tables with someone else also knowledgeable in printing is necessary next time.
- Original art sells. Fan art sells A LOT. But it didn't matter at all, because the people who appreciate original art, particularly mecha design (you know who you are!), made each day so much more relaxed. Thanks to everyone who came by and browsed through!
- Color helps broaden the audiences. I enjoy specializing in pencil and lineart, but I'll take out the colored pencils and GIMP palettes soon...
- There aren't many original mecha artists out there, probably because the assumedly-rigid nature of technical illustration scares off a lot of newcomers. I really want to find more people and help change that mentality, as mechanical drawing can be very loose, stylized, and a lot of fun too.
Some table stats:
- Most popular prints: Pointy Things and Stationary Anti-Aircraft Railgun.
- Least popular prints: Assistant Slave Drones and the Stand Tall digital lineart (not posted here).
- Stickers sold: I 'unno. About a couple dozen?
- Business cards taken by congoers: all
- Commissions requested by congoers: none
- Number of times my dry-erase board sign nearly fell off its stand: 3
- Number of times my dry-erase board sign actually fell off its stand: 0
- New serious mech designs started: 0
- New non-serious mech designs started: many
- New friends made: many, including some below...
- Hannah (Ryaven.com, or ) and Maggie, you've been wonderful neighbors and friends in keeping me sane over the weekend!
- Catherine , it's no problem letting you use the scanner and my other tools, and you're faster than ever at making great original commissions. We're all in it together, right?
- Bill , thank you for stopping by often to check up on me; I hope it didn't take away from your time too much. I will try to get that "Pointy Things" print trade going again (gotta find time to head to the shop!). Looking forward to seeing you again in the fall, and definitely bring Mike along when you can.
- Mike , I should've done a print trade with you! Your inked original works are fantastic, and this is just another reason why I find traditional pieces to be a direct proof of hard work and imagination paying off.
- Thank you, Phil , for introducing me to the members of Aborted Creativity and making "Mecha Avenue" happen for real. Glad I could meet with you on the Otakon forums beforehand, too. You did an awesome job on the mech sketch battle Saturday night, and don't forget the crabs!
- Matt , no matter how much of a Guyver fan you are, I finally could put a face to a name and have a great time working with you as an Alley neighbor.
- Eli , your chibi mechs were amazing! I really appreciate you and Matt running out and getting food for me while I ran my Saturday evening shift. I'm also glad you got the Alley situation sorted out after Friday; people loved your works, and I'd hate for a few legal bits to hinder you from sharing your passions.
- Thanks, Rick , for not only showing me your proficiency at mecha design, but also for letting me stay at your place the last night of Otakon. And thanks for accepting my Friend the Business Card Holder ; hopefully it'll be all right with your giant robot collection.
- Lee , I had a great time learning about your awesome cosplay props and artwork, and I definitely hope you're feeling better after that photoshoot mishap. Keep in touch if you can!
- James , thanks for the (Accurate! Fast! Makes-me-look-older-than-I-really-am!) caricature on Saturday night's sketch-off, and keep up with the freelance work!
- And to Paul , for accepting my own rendition of yourself; I sure hope IMMA FIRIN' MY LAZERS and INTERNET MEMES LOL just once more won't hurt...much.
- Nathan , you put up with my constant talking, in-and-out moving, and tight space next door all weekend long without a complaint, and you did an awesome job with your SSB Kirbies (I still can't get over the toaster oven full of them, LOL). Hope your commission list gets smaller over the next few days, and I also hope to see you again next year!
- Grace and Bing , it's been wonderful seeing you two again! Grace, thanks for the sketch compilation book, and I hope to meet up with you again and do a sketch jam like Saturday night's!
- Kevin and Jinny , not seeing you guys since Tekkoshocon 2009 felt a little too long! Well, we'll meet again, and I'll definitely have to learn some coloring advice from you two! Kevin, keep cycling and art-ing; you're quite the versatile person.
- Jamaal , I found your colored original works to be impressive and eye-catching. Thanks for stopping by my table so often and for the great print trade. I'll look forward to seeing you again soon, if not at latest next year, and do show me your updates on Dark Blood.
- Josh , I really think you solidified our "Mecha Avenue" quite nicely. You made some tight traditional fan mech drawings! Thanks for the print trade, because it describes exactly how I'd feel if I got myself a giant machine. Keep the art up, and I'd definitely want to see more of your original works like this one.
- Jay , you are the man! Thanks for coming over and accepting my print trades in lieu of your "I <3 Giant Robots" shirt. I'm gonna have to frame it or at least mount it on my wall...somehow. But I shall find a way!
- Studio Aborted Creativity and Annie (SingedCatStudios, or ), I have no problem on sharing the electricity all weekend long; whoever knew it came down to just the power cord gauge?! I think we know how to save ourselves some money for next year...
- The guy carrying the two 2' x 2' drop ceiling tiles around the Alley on Saturday afternoon: many, many thanks for getting me out of a brief drawing hiatus that day! I still can't get over realizing that I drew a mech bust on, of all things, a ceiling tile with Sharpies! Please, if you get the chance to do this again, DO IT! Catherine and Phil seemed to have a blast with this too (Mudkip and Panda Power Rangers?!), and I'm sure everyone else you met loved the idea. And if you can, tell me your name so I can tag you in the photos of us doing our thing!
And more shoutouts:
- Dom (Firaxis.com), you've put on an awesome comeback for Club Otaku, one of the best programming sectors at the convention ever IMHO. Those Yamaha acoustic drums and Meinl cymbals were awesome to play on, sounded great (when was the last time I ever played on a set without having to tune it first?), and were much better than last year's Roland V-Drums. And jamming to an improv'd Underground Theme from Super Mario Bros. was gold! Tell the convention head for next year that Club Otaku should be a permanent staple at Otakon.
- Dan , Jason , Adam, Anita, Chelsie, Chris, Christine, Evan, Mark, Matt, Mike, Phil, Ryan, and anyone I missed from PSAO/Penn State/etc., I'm glad to talk with all of you again after a couple of months of no-sees. Definitely gotta hang out again in the fall!
- Jason ("lightningxce") and Eric ("darkchao56"), I hope you got your Pump it Up machines back to base safely! Keep refining the PiU Protocol themes, Jason; and Eric, I don't recall the last time I dropped a hold on those great pads!
- Eric ("Mr. Gundam Wang"), please stop staying up so late while making your mecha cosplay next year. Yes, you did a great job, but keep your sanity straight! And on the free mech print, you're very welcome. We should definitely meet more often.
- Matt Balaban, you've done a fantastic job this year at organizing the Alley. There were a few kinks that I'm sure the other veterans have already addressed in the Otakon forums, but that's always experience for next year!
- Above all, thank God for this weekend of wonderful times, because I know I can put my talents to use for You! I pray that through You I may focus on what I need to do in light of the coming months and years, while using the gifts and talents You've given to me, including art and engineering.
Well, that's about enough for now. Otakon 2010 is officially July 30 to August 1, so mark your calendars and let the countdown begin again!
- Listening to: Unknown Artist - Track 2
Not many original mecha designers around? It's fun to at least try the art though, given the fact that there are actually no rules in mecha design. Anyway, kudos to that last shoutout. Pretty few people do that you know. ^^
It's great to hear you had an awesome time Otakon!! You must do more !!
Kevin, it was nice seeing you at Otakon 2009! Definitely should all get together in the fall
Hell yea you'll see me next year, I wonder if I'll have the vol1 of Dark Blood done lol
Next year I'll make a change in anime!
I was swamped with work and 65 bucks wasn't worth me being able to be there for like, three hours. Sorry I couldn't show up.
:shakes fist in air: NEXT YEAR!!!
:shakes fist in air: NEXT YEAR!!!