I spent the last week or so in Orlando for Megacon 2019 and had such a blast! Now I am here to tell you about my experience and kind of review how it is being an artist in their Artist Alley.
Orlando is a little under a 14 hour drive for me. So, while the con is 4 days long, I had to dedicate a day to driving there and driving back. As an artist, you are only allowed to set up on Thursday, the day of the first day of the con. I personally try to avoid this as much as I can because for me it just stresses me out and puts too much pressure on me to set up and sell in the same day. However, load in was a breeze for such a big convention center with so many artists and vendors setting up. The first day is not over until 9 pm. I personally did not enjoy staying that late because the con starts at 9:30 AM the next morning. By the time you walk out of the convention center (it's HUUUUGE!!), get some food, get to your car, get ready the next morning, and get to the convention center by 9:30, you're lucky to get 8 hours of sleep. I swear, I'm getting to the good stuff!
They moved the con to a different side of the convention center this year. While you have to walk about a half a mile from your car to your booth (not even kidding - my phone tracks my steps!) the exercise is nice and there is a TON of parking right in front of the entrance. I definitely prefer the con to be on that side of the Orange County Convention Center, and I hope they keep it there for years to come! Parking is $10 for attendees and vendors, so you're looking to spend about $40 in parking unless you get a hotel within walking distance. I did not do this because I could get a hotel 20 minutes away for half the price. I have done cons in the past that give you parking slips for the their vendors and artists to give them free and discounted parking. I wish they would start implementing something of that nature to help their artists and vendors out! While there is plenty of parking right in front of the entrance this year, traffic can get VERY congested right outside the pay booth and about a half a mile or so in front of the convention center. Just plan to leave 15 minutes early.
As always with a con of this size, the foot traffic was continuously heavy with no slow periods. While foot traffic was good, the flow of foot traffic was not. The layout was wonky and I feel like a lot of people missed going down multiple aisles. The aisles to the artist alley were not labeled, so it made it very difficult for even those looking for my booth to find my booth. However, there was a large overhead sign that read "Artist Alley" that helped a bit. Even with the flow of traffic not being the best, the foot traffic in general was constant from the minute the con opened to the very last minute.
The food in the convention center was solid and only slightly overpriced. They have various food vendors set up and you can choose from your traditional convention center food (think pretzels, chicken tenders, hot dogs, etc.) all the way to Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and so much more. While it is a little overpriced, the food is actually good.
Load out was pretty simple for me because I did not use the loading dock. I just left a half hour early Sunday morning, parked as close as I could to the entrance, and loaded out through the entrance in one go. They did send out an e-mail stating that you could not enter the limited space in the loading dock until all of your things were packed up and ready to be loaded into your vehicle, so hopefully it was a painless experience for those who needed to use the loading dock.
As an artist, it is definitely a con where you might have to do a little more talking and sales-person-ing than normal. It is so big and people are rushing around trying to see every single thing, that they might miss your booth. I definitely spent a lot of the time standing vs sitting behind my booth, and I made sure to greet and interact with anybody that so much as glanced my way so that my booth stood out and did not get lost in the sea of booths.
All in all, it was a good con. So many fun cosplays and so many people to talk to, so there was never a dull moment. From a business perspective, sales were good and I made back all my expenses and then some. The profit margin wasn't huge because my expenses were so high (table fees are $350 for a 6 foot artist alley table), but I did make my money back and then some. I was also able to give out a ton of business cards and network with far more people than most cons. I do recommend this con, but I must warn you it is not for the faint of heart. It is four days long, very crowded, and and energy must be exerted to socialize. This was my second year in a row selling here, however I will not be returning next year due to a small con starting up in my state I'd like to support next year. There is a high chance I will return to Megacon Orlando in the future as an artist in the artist alley because it is such a fun con!
Finally posting a review for my 3 Rivers Comicon experience as an artist in the artist alley! 3 Rivers Comicon is probably in my top 5 favorite comic cons to vend at, and this year made no exception.
This con used to be held at the Century III Mall in West Mifflin, PA. However, due to unforeseen circumstances with the mall, they had to change the location in a short amount of time before the event. Even with short notice of changing the venue, the staff still managed to pull off an amazing and well put together event.
The staff is more friendlier and helpful than any other event I have work, table prices are inexpensive, and they provide refreshments for the artists and vendors. Load in was a breeze and parking was free with plenty available. When I got there, I was surprised and delighted to see that I had a corner space. I talked to some of the staff and was able to buy an extra table from them ($25, and I knew they charged extra for tables so I brought one of my own) so I could maximize my table space.
Hours are not too long, so I was able to skip the hotel, drive back and forth for the event, and still manage to get sufficient sleep. In my opinion, foot traffic and sales were slightly lower than in previous years, but with being forced to move the con to a whole new location on a different side of town with very short notice, it is to be expected. The new location was in an old Macy's building. I have done a few other cons that were in old department stores that did not execute layout well causing the flow of foot traffic to suffer, and I was nervous that this might happen here. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was not the case. While it was easy to get a little lost among the booths, because traditional aisles could not be formed, I feel like the flow of foot traffic was just fine.
My only complaints are that if I knew I was going to have a corner booth, I would have been more prepared and have packed another table(which is half my fault. I should have known better at this point in my artist alley career to have packed an extra small table just in case) and the number of vendors. I think the number of vendors increased from previous years, which isn't always a good thing because when you increase the number of vendors and not the amount of attendants, sales will drop. With that being said, I still think I did well even with the drop in sales. However, if you had to get a hotel for this event, I might reconsider because there may be a chance you will not make enough sales to make up for your hotel costs.
All in all, it was a solid event and I do plan on returning next year. I'm excited to see what the folks at New Dimension Comics are able to do with this event in the new space, and I am excited to see this event continue to grow over the years!
Below Between April 26-28 I traveled to Beckley, WV to attend Causeacon. This was my second year here. Since I did surprisingly well at 2018's event, I decided to give 2019 a shot! Once again I was pleasantly surprised with how well it went! While attendance might not have been crazy, I was surprised by the number of people that were there and how steady the foot traffic was. Foot traffic and sales were steady even on Friday and both were consistent all the way through the final minutes Sunday evening. They have tons of events going on throughout the day to keep guests entertained, busy, and in the convention building.
Parking is free with a ton of spots very close to the load in door. Load in and set up was a breeze. They also provide free electricity with multiple power strips (I do recommend bring a small extension cord as you share the power strip among other vendors/artists and it might not be quite as close to you as you'd like. I take my own power strip and cord as I need multiple outlets to craft while I'm at the con!). The best part was, they had Qdoba and a small locally own Japanese restaurant there giving out free samples!! As an artist this is AMAZING!! Between the free hotel breakfast, the free generously sized sample portions, and the food I packed, I did not have to purchase food once which is so amazing to me!!
Booth costs are relatively inexpensive. I did not get an artist alley spot because I wanted the space a corner booth vendor booth provided. While those spaces are slightly more expensive than a regular artist alley space, it was so worth the price. I do plan on returning for Causeacon 2020, and I highly recommend this con to any artists, vendors, cosplayers, or comic con fans that live within 3 or 4 hours of the Beckley area! Below is a photo of my booth set up for the weekend.
I sold at Lexington Comic Con on March 21st through March 24th, and it was my fourth time selling there. I was SOSOSOSOSO excited for this because it is one of my favorite events to sell at! I had no idea what to expect this year because the building was under construction and they expanded the con to Thursday this year. When I got there, it was difficult to find the load in dock due to all the construction. Once I found the load in dock, everything was a breeze! The convention center's staff and the con staff were very sweet and helpful. The con staff even provided free parking passes for the lot across the street since we could no longer park in the free lot behind the building due to the construction. This right here is why I keep coming back to this con! The con staff actually cares about their vendors and artists and other cons should take note of this (lookin' at you Megacon, Wizard World, and Supercon, ha!).
Anyways, this is what my set up for the weekend looked like.
I was so excited to be beside a pillar that I could put my fourth dry erase board of magnets! Foot traffic was surprisingly heavy on Thursday night and honestly went better than Friday.
Foot traffic was was very steady all weekend. Saturday's foot traffic was not quite as busy as past years, but tickets for Saturday was sold out and my sales did not take a hit due to the ticket sales cap. I highly recommend this con to anybody in the business of selling at artist alleys! It is $150 for a 6 foot table space which is not bad at all for a con of this size. I'd LOVE to expand to two 6 foot tables next year, and I have sent an email about it, but have yet to get a response, so we will see what happens.
The whole convention center is converted to fandom heaven for 4 days and it's absolutely amazing! Not only that, Lexington as a city is so much fun to visit. I got dolled up for the con on Friday and went to an adorable macaron bakery called La Petite Délicat. Saturday we went out for sushi at a place called Red Bang Bang Sushi before going out to a barcade called The Burl Arcade. All of these places were a blast, and I highly recommend if you are in the area. Can't wait to come back for Lexington Comic Con 2020!
My spring event schedule is well under way, so I am a bit late posting about this!
First things first - WOW! For a first year con, the staff and volunteers blew it out of the water! The event was well organized and foot traffic was constant. If I remember correctly, artist booths were $25 which is fabulous! The event was free for Marshall students which helped with the amazing foot traffic. They had a fabulous range of vendors, artists, music, panels, and FOOD TRUCKS(my favorite)! I arrived to set up on Friday evening, which was a breeze. There was a small amount of parking in front of the building to use for set up which was full, but there was a small lot right before you get to the building which is where I unloaded. The next day the little lot was full, but they made sure there was plenty of free parking across the street. Foot traffic was slow during the first hour, but once things started picking up they did not slow down! Foot traffic and sales were constant throughout the day. Tear down and loading up my car was also easy. Overall, I was very impressed with this first year con. Really hoping it comes back next year!
Here is a photo of my little set up for the day. They provided plenty of space around my table for me to have had an extra table. There was also plenty of space behind my booth so I was never cramped. I highly recommend this con to artists and creators!
This past weekend I drove to Parkersburg, WV and set up for the Classics Plastic Toy Expo. I had a blast selling my artwork in person and talking to fellow artists, crafters, and toy collectors!
For those interested in potentially selling at the con, it is a wonderful con not only first time con sellers but also for those with more experience! Table fees are relatively inexpensive and you can purchase more than one space if you'd like! From my experience, you get a 6 foot table, two chairs, and two passes. Set up is a breeze with free parking right across the street and an elevator that is right on the street with a quick ride up right to where most booths are! It's a very cute, small town, and intimate con that is surprisingly well trafficked. I highly recommend giving it a shot! A photo of my set up can be seen below. I am not affiliated with this con in any way, shape, or form. I am simply blogging about my experience and providing some first hand experience to fellow artists who might be interested in setting up here in the future.
After the con, I came home and got to work on some new digital designs. I was contacted about creating some custom sprites for The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. A video of me making said sprites can be found below. Enjoy. :)
A friend asked me to make him the gang of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It took me a while, because they are each over a foot tall. It was such a fun project! I don't always get the chance to make large pieces because I only have so much space to display my work at cons. However, if there is ever a large scale project anybody would like made, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries!