Hello everyone! How are all of you doing? I hope you’re doing well! I think I’m doing quite well. This weekend was awesome and a step into the direction I want to take my life in. Now just to see me actually manifest what I want to do!
I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, but I attended a small convention called YourMiniCon in Connecticut (they have more in different places in the USA, but the one in CT is the one I went to). I was participating in Artist Alley for the first time. I’ve been excited about it since I signed up for my table! I couldn’t help but think of all the potentially wonderful things I could create and sell!
Leading Up to the Convention
My goal for the convention was to get the artwork and products ahead of time. Unfortunately, because of how life was in 2015, I was unable to focus on that (and, really any artwork) until towards the end of the year. I managed to get the chibi versions of the characters done fairly quick like I knew I would, but not the print versions. I knew the prints would take much longer to complete.
I was so fortunate that my friend, Nick, was willing to come over and help. He helped me with cutting my bookmarks and building the magnets & charms. Thanks to my friend, Angelique, as well for gluing the bails & magnets to the back of the pebbles they were on.
And thank you, Hurricane, for dealing with me. For about two weeks, we barely had any sleep. I was trying to crunch in as much as I could. I know he really got moody, but he held up. I’m glad he did too! It was worth it.
The last couple of days were really tough on me, particularly trying to get all the promotional and thank you stuff done while trying to do the prints. I did get all the promo/thank you stuff completed that I aimed to, which included:
- thank you for purchasing cards
- thank you for purchasing cards for commissions
- postcards for my friend to hand out
- pamphlet talking about TrainerKelly’s Network
- commissions form
- commission booklet
- banner for table
I didn’t get all the prints done that I wanted to and I ran out of time. Sadly, I only thought about doing the most visually interesting prints AFTER I had a flake out over my 24 hours worth of print artwork I still needed to do…
In the end though, I went in feeling good. I got 2 out of 3 of the more visually interesting pieces completed, so I felt okay. I wish I had gotten the last one done though because I really liked that piece as well.
The Day of the Convention
Everyone in my apartment — so myself, Hurricane, and our friend, Angelique, who was coming to hand out postcards and mingle with people — got no sleep. We had, maybe, a 20 minute nap. Hurricane had tried to go to sleep as Angelique and I worked our butts off to prepare everything. I had done some finishing touches to artwork, while Angelique did the finishing touches to the prints (putting my business card stickers on the back, placing them in their bags, and sealing the bags) and the magnets & charms (placing the backings on). I also put everything together so we could just go as soon as possible.
We arrived too close to the start time to the convention for my liking, but that was okay. Everything went smoothly and we got to start! Strangely enough, I wasn’t nervous. Well, actually, maybe that’s not strange because I’ve been working in retail for about 3 years straight now and that’s exactly what it is. Retail. Except I’m my own boss selling stuff that I made (and my friends helped me complete, almost entirely from start to finish).
Hurricane was there to help me out and he pretty much fluctuated between being really great at helping and calling people over to being really grumpy and hiding underneath his hood and headphones. To be fair though, we had almost no sleep for the past two weeks. The convention also had far more meaning to myself than for him, so I was able to keep (mostly) awake during the convention while he just really wanted to go to sleep.
I didn’t really know how the convention was going to go. It was great having people come over and genuinely take a look at what I had to sell. While it was slightly sad when nothing sold, I just couldn’t help but shrug it off. It was to be expected. I didn’t bring fan art; I brought original characters that nobody knows about. Unless someone REALLY loves their design, loves original characters even if they know nothing about them, or are well enough friends with me to know their stories, they’re not going to care about them and won’t buy the products.
However, it’s not like nothing sold. In fact, I sold a lot more than I thought I would! I could just tell from how people react to me on the Internet that my artwork had an appeal to it and that it would most likely appeal to somebody. Well, I was right. My bookmarks where enough of hit to make me a decent amount. I sold 3 commissions that made most of my money. By the end of the day, I made back the money I spent on the table!! Exactly…although, that was thanks to my last customer who very kindly gave me 3 dollars for $2 worth of products. So, THANK YOU! (I think his name was Devon/Devin; not quite sure how to spell your name, but THANK YOU.)
One of the most memorable parts was when this hyper girl tapped my commissions form, only to tell her blonde-haired friend that the commissions were right here. I can’t remember for the life of me if I had talked to the hyper girl before and that’s how she found my commissions or what, but they were there! So this girl filled it out and we talked a bit. We seemed to get along well. It wasn’t until she kept coming back around and stopping by my table because she kept losing her friend that we found out that we really did get along really well! We had super fun conversations. In fact, I don’t think I would have gotten my last $3 without her! If you wanna check her out on instagram, here you go.
Low point? Hurricane was grumpy and wanted to leave. I usually want to give in to him, but I felt no desire to do that this time around. I wanted to see this convention through until the end! And so I did. LUCKILY, his mood changed towards the end of it because he met NintendoFanGirl. It took a while to get him to actually GO OVER AND TALK TO HER, but after both myself and Angelique went over, we were finally able to convince him! So that low point turned into a high point!
I think one of the funny things was that there was this guy who waved at me twice like he knew me. I was confused why he would do that…only to have the table next to me talk to him and say his name. I very quickly realized I DID know who he was!! It was my old friend, Jamie! Super awesome seeing him there!
The Last Day of the Convention
I really wanted to make a lot of money for the last day, but I didn’t expect much. It was a Sunday and the last day of the convention and I know from previous experiences, those were slow days. I wasn’t quite sure how artist alley would be but…yep. Slow. Slow as heck.
Pretty much everybody was on their phones, which was a funny sight to see. It actually made me thankful that we could do that without worrying about our bosses coming around to tell us to shut off our phones…because we WERE our bosses!
Hurricane didn’t come that day because of a conflict from that morning, so he stayed behind and caught up on sleep while Angelique and I headed to the convention. I had the honour of watching her and the booth across from us awesomely dancing to music.
I managed to make more money than I expected that day. I had a least two people who were excited about my characters and to see their stories come to life. There was one person who really thought it was really cool I was selling OC artwork and wished they had money left to buy artwork from me. Someone towards the end of the convention actually bought a print!!!!
Overall though, it was a pretty good day, despite I didn’t make as much as I wish I could have for that particular day. Maybe another time.
I can’t wait for my next convention.
That’s my convention thoughts.
And oh man, the feeling leading up to and after the convention is SO different than attending anime conventions as I did in the past. That was certainly something notable.
When I used to attend ConnectiCon and that one time I went to Anime Boston, I did feel excitement leading up to the convention, alongside I lingering inner sense of…something similar to dread. Nervousness. I was heading to a place with lots of people and it was a heavily social setting. There were lots of things to do, but besides from shopping in the dealers room, cosplaying, and eventually the masquerade, I didn’t really want to do any of them. Even the masquerade was nerve-wrecking for me and involved work that really just..didn’t really pay off in the end. It wasn’t really worth it. The feelings became more intense every year until finally, in 2009, I had enough. I was sitting alone in the empty-table portion of ConnectiCon on that Saturday. All my friends had run off to enjoy the convention the way they normally do, while I sat hemming the bottom of shorts that my younger sister was suppose to wear for the skit we were going to do that we hadn’t yet rehearsed. I realized that the convention was really no longer worth it to me. Looking back, was it really worth it in the first place? Did I EVER find it worth it? Maybe beyond the amount of manga I got, probably not.
Post-Con usually left me feel depressed. I missed the convention and felt a longing to go back. There was always some sort of heaviness to it.
How did this compare to it though?
I felt excited about the convention and happy, even under all the pressure. Never once did I feel a sense of dread. I only had a sense of worry that the artwork I was actually bringing was going to be lackluster if I didn’t do the more visually interesting pieces!!
During the convention was great too. All I needed to do was sit behind a booth and attempt to call people over to take a look. It was great, awesome, and fun. I LOVED it. I think literally the only thing I wish I could have done was get up and get water, but my friends awesomely brought me some.
Even after the convention ended, I was excited. I felt no post-con depression. I only felt excitement! Excitement to go to my next convention!
Never would I have thought that I would actually love to go to conventions again. Never would I have thought that I would feel comfortable going to the convention. Actually, I never thought I would feel super comfortable going to a convention in general! I think though, this was exactly where I was suppose to be.
So, What’s For the Future?
I want to go to more conventions. I want to travel. I want to finish all the artwork I meant to do for this convention. I want to do EVERYTHING I want to do. I’m sick of dreaming. I need to make everything into a reality. Now.
I hope everyone will join me on my journey. I think it will be a good one!