1 -About getting a table
2 -Sharing a table
3 -Popular tables
4 -Getting people to your table
1 - Do you know how to get a table?
So how much do tables usually cost? Around $15-$35, something like that, although it depends on the convention. One day cons could cost less, while 3 days cons probably cost more.
What about signing up? well of course you can sign up for a table on the convention's website, when you do it though will either guarantee you a spot, or you just won't get one :(
How many months in advance? well if you really want a table for a con watch the website around 1 or 2 months in advance. Usually conventions put up the registration around 1 month before the actual convention, of course it depends.
Also be careful with really popular conventions like Otakon because you'll need some fast fingers to get a table there.
If you don't get the table you can always try asking someone who did to share with you although I wouldn't recommend doing that with a perfect stranger..
2 - Sharing a table
Have you ever shared a table with another artist or your friend? I always share a table with my cartoonist boyfriend Joao.
Sharing a table is a really good idea, whether it's with another artist, your friend, or even your parent. although it's probably not a good idea to bring your rents to a convention in the first place..
sharing a table has a lot of benefits! first of all you've got someone to watch the table for you if ya need a food or potty break, or just want to look at all the other pretty arts :)
plus sharing a table makes the day less boring at dead time!
sharing a table is fun but if you're sharing it with another artist can also be kind of a hassle.
since both my boyfriend and I are artists, sometimes he steals the spotlight :(
luckily our drawing skills are both around the same level and I also sell crafts so I have things to offer that he doesn't and vice versa so we both get customers. But if you're not careful about who you're sharing a table with, then you'll probably lose customers.
For example, if you're an amateur artist with work that kind of sucks, and the person you're sharing with is an expert and went to art school, guess who's gonna get more customers? yeeaaah
in other words, sharing a table with your friend = great company, watchdog for the table and money :)
sharing a table with another artist = be wary of skill sets, they might steal your customers.
3 - Next to a popular table?
Has anyone out there ever had their table next to a popular table? Well our first year having an artist alley table was at a convention called Castle Point Anime Convention. And what do you know, we were set up right next to a table that proved to be very popular. The artists at this table were none other than JJ and Vilsy!
JJ and Vilsy call themselves Geek Mythology. Isn't that clever? I think it is. well they don't do prints, stickers, buttons or jewelry. Nope these two do something else. Bead sprites. That's right have you ever did those things where you put the beads on the peg board and then iron em together? no? well check these two out at their website and you'll see what I mean!
Anyways back to my main point. Instead of ranting and raving and explaining stuff like I normally do I'm gonna tell you all a story.
So here we are, Joao and I, at our very first convention in the artist alley. CPAC is a one day convention but it's still really fun! so we had our table all set up (very crappily) and the table right next to us just happens to be JJ and Vilsy. Upon seeing their wares, I mean art, I thought it was really cool! I had done the bead thing before but I never thought of doing it with sprites like they were. I wanted the Sonic one, the Zelda one, the Tingle one, well you get the picture.
We made friends with the duo and everything was good. They got a lot of customers and in turn those customers ended up coming over to our table. I even heard JJ sending us customers, telling them to go and check us out! That was pretty awesome. So we ended up doing well for our first time all thanks to our new friends :)
Needless to say we enjoyed sitting next to them so much that we requested to be seated next to them the next year. So this time we had a better display, complete with those ikea stacking cubes! ok it was a bit too much but we still stood out A LOT..
We were seated next to JJ and Vilsy again and we still did pretty well for ourselves but this time Geek mythology wasn't exactly giving us customers..
They were a very popular table of course and a lot of times during the day there was a big crowd around their table. Sometimes the crowd would get so big that some of the people would be standing in front of my drawings :(
Not only that, but once in awhile we'd lose a customer to them because they would look at our table then notice, hey that looks cool, what is that? and then wander over to their table..
I don't have anything bad to say about JJ and Vilsy because they're cool peeps and they make cool shit. I also wouldn't mind sitting next to them a 3rd time just because I think they're good friends and I don't mind losing a customer to them once in awhile because there is a benefit of us getting some customers to our table as well.
But of course what my point is, sometimes sitting next to a popular table can be a curse. Especially if they have artwork that's different from yours. At the same time if you have an artist friend you see at a convention, that's pretty cool and I think that should be treasured :)
4 - Getting people to your table
Wondering what's a good approach to get people to come to your table? Are you bored with no customers? Are you some kind of shy quiet artist person!?? Well hopefully this very insightful blog post will help you get some people attracted to your table..
ok so first of all, you might want to have a nice pretty display. Nothing too bulky but not too plain either. If you refer to the pictures page up there you can see our table both years at Castle Point Anime Convention. Here's a link for you. Pictures If you looked, you can see that the first year we had a bland table, sure it had some posters hanging up but it just looked boring :(
The next year we went we had the right idea, those stackable cube things are really great! Although we kind of overdid it and it looked kind of cluttered. It's up to you what you want to do but in my opinion you want to have those cool stacking things, probably two towers on each side and only put up your best work or work that you can see well from far away!
Well ok so you've got your table set nice and pretty, but you're still not getting that many customers... what now?
A good way to draw people over is to be active at your table. If you're going to do commissions all day then you won't seem very active, or friendly to some people. You might want to bring a friend along that can stand up behind or in front of the table and greet people, and socialize.
When we went to the convention this year I wore a Princess Peach cosplay and Joao dawned a Mario hat. I decided to stand out in front of the table (not blocking the artwork of course) and wave and smile at people. Ah, just like royalty :) well needless to say I got a lot of pictures, and those people who took the photos of me then took a look at our wares. Anyone that walked by our table I would say hello to them.
It's also fun to call out the name of a character someone else might be cosplaying.
So if you see Morrigan walking past your table, don't just stand there gawking, yell out something like, "hey it's Morrigan! Morrigan come over here and kick my ass!" The person cosplaying might not come to your table straight away but they'll see you and your table, and probably stop over later if not at that moment.
If you're shy, cosplaying can also make you feel more self assured. You're not simply putting on a costume, sure you might look silly but you'll also FEEL like the character you're wearing. Most cosplayers know this feeling. Therefore when I had a princess Peach dress and crown on, I felt like I could reach out to people especially other cosplayers. Because I was a famous character that everyone knew. So if no one knows who you are personally, they'll know the character you're portraying and feel closer to you!
If you're not comfortable with cosplaying, at least dress to impress. No don't show up wearing a prom dress or tux, just put on your coolest most badass clothes B) or at least wear a funny shirt or something.. and if you don't want to stand out in front of the table, try standing up behind the table or if you sit down, do something like tidy up the table cuz a lot of stuff will be getting shuffled around anyway.
So what have we learned? if you want to draw more people to your table stand up and shuffle around or pretend to be doing something. Try to cosplay as a known character, but still a character you like, or bring someone who is cosplaying so you can show em off in front of the table. Dress in cool clothes if you're not going to cosplay and remember to HAVE FUN!! I think that there's nothing better than just chilling in the alley, talking to other artists and whatever cool people show up at your table. and of course the best part, when someone buys your art because they genuinely love it :)