Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anime St. Louis Review for Artists

I’ve been an artist for Anime St. Louis 3 times now and I just love the show. The staff are well mannered and organized and the show is one of the most logical shows I’ve been to.

Dealer/Artist Space: Smart People Set Up Here

The artist alley has always, in my experience, been in the same room as the vendors. However, the area is distinctly divided between artists and dealers. This is great because all the artists are together and we can chat during slow times. Another advantage is no one gets overshadowed by the enormous vendor displays.

The tables were also 8’ and I will tell you now, I don’t know a single artist that didn’t appreciate the extra space. Also, there was plenty of room behind each booth (6-8 feet!) so you don’t have to store all your boxes and stuff under the table. We set up a little work station behind us with all our tools out for commissions and fixes.

The only complaint I have, and this is more the fault of the venue than the show staff, was the our spaces were divided into 8 foot sections with 8 foot tables. All the booth spaces were sectioned off with blacks curtains and railings and we had to crawl under the tables to get in and out. >_< Pretty hilarious, but totally worth it for the extra room behind the table!

As for the venue, ASTL was, is, and will be hosted at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville. It’s not hard to get to from Hwy 255 and the place is very big. The center staff are very polite and a few even brought their kids in on Sunday to walk by.

Variety: You Can Find Anything

ASTL is the biggest anime show in the St. Louis area (even though it’s in Collinsville, IL). I think* ASTL is a juried show. Basically they don’t accept on a first come first served basis. They review the applicants to try and diversify what they have. There were comic artists, print artists, button makers, t shirts, knick knacks, plushies. I was the only jewelry artist that sold solely jewelry. It was fantastic!

I noticed there were no major plushie makers or lolita items but that’s ok. You could find a few of those items scattered about the other artists’ tables. Last year there were badge artists, bead sprites, and quite a few other tables so maybe next year will have even more variety.

Sales and Attendees: Best Show Yet

I’m not speaking for everyone, but this (2012) was my best show I have ever done. From chatting up the other artists, it seems almost everyone broke even by Friday evening as well. Sales were amazing. Most shows have several slow periods when big panels or events open up, but not this time. I think the only slow periods were 10 minutes here, 5 minutes there. Other than that, someone was at least stopping by to talk and it was great.

In fact it was so busy for most artists that I didn’t get much chance to talk to them for too long. I might stop by for a few minutes and then move on because a small horde was descending on that table.

As the biggest show for St. Louis, it attracts a larger crowd with a larger age range. More adults come to the show, as well as a greater diversity of fandoms. Aside from anime fans, comics and scifi fans were aplenty. I think I sold more Star Wars and video game fanart than anything anime related. One thing I love about ASTL is every year there’s a nice guy who brings his life sized remote controlled R2D2 (moves, beeps, lights up). It’s my personal favorite part.

Staff Attitudes: 5 Stars

As I have previously stated, I’m extremely judgmental of show staff attitudes. Bad staff makes for terrible shows. Fortunately, this is not a problem with ASTL. I have NEVER run into a convention staff member that has been rude, ignorant, unprofessional, or just terrible. Actually the staff are so great they take an extra step. This year and last year, artists were given a small gift bag with snacks or art supplies. Really. No other show has ever done that before.

I’m not even sure what else to put here because there was nothing but excellence here. 5 stars.


So if you’re interested in ASTL and you think you can handle the excitement, I’d say go for it. It’s my favorite home show of the year. Just make sure you have enough stock because things will sell fast!

Now I know this article is badically about the artist situation, but even if you aren’t an artist, ASTL is a fantastic show to go to. Their prices are more reasonable and you get your money’s worth. They had the 501st Imperial Legion serving warrants to arrest your friends. That was some serious fun!

All sorts of guests and events made a great show with lots to do. I really enjoyed myself last weekend and I hope to be a part of it again next year.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Wrap Up

Well, ASTL was a great weekend. We broke our own record for best show yet. We met tons of new people and saw a bunch of... old people ^_^. Just kidding. We appreciate all of you. Anyway, I will have a convention review for artists up in a few days.

We did surprisingly well with both buttons and bullet jewelry. Not that they were our biggest sellers since I'm technically a polymer clay artist, but they did a lot better than I was hoping. I expect to have a lot more in the near future! Make sure you checkout Etsy for new items out of a convention.

I came home to a heck of a lot of homework, including my Criminal Law term paper that I've put off for weeks. Yay for procrastination!

Also, our schedule this year is looking shorter. We will not be attending ACEN next weekend. Instead, I'm going rappelling with my fiance on Saturday. We also haven't heard back from Natsucon yet. I might attempt to do a few shows in TN, KY but it's not looking like it currently. I'll update the schedule as it changes to check back.

Alright so aside from restocking in some supplies (everything) I need to get on that paper.

Friday, April 20, 2012

First Day at Anime St. Louis

Granted I'll write a more in depth review about the convention overall but I wanted to say that today was FANTASTIC. There are so many artists and vendors that it's almost crazy. Conveniently, no one else does jewelry like me so there's not much competition.

My bff was able to come up today and spend a majority of the day with us. She and I searched for a cute guy cosplaying as Ezio (and failed) but managed to find a super cool Batman!

Also today, I completely sold out of over half my button designs. I mean I have over 50 designs and POOF! Gone within hours. It was great but at the same time I'm sitting there trying to remember whether or not I even have the image files to print any more. Not only that, but where am I going to print them? I'm not much of a fan of inkjet printers for my button images. They come out duller than laser printers. Unfortunately, no place is open until 9 on Saturday and I need to be on the highway by then!

Anyways, I have plenty to do before waking up tomorrow so... off to work!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Share Time: Schin

Today I received an ACEO (art card editions and originals) that I've been eyeballing forEVER. The artwork is by Schin, an extremely talented painter and artist. Her artwork is fantastic and can be purchased as prints or ACEOs (and mousepads, stickers, and originals). The cards are a bit pricey and I was hesitant to buy one because of that. $8 for a print card. Hmm. Well I sucked it up and shelled out the money and boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Even her handwriting is gorgeous. I did find it odd that there was no return address anywhere but that's totally unrelated.
 Sealed with a sticker! Pretty cool.
 So inside the big white envelope there was a free post card as well as another green envelope. I would be lying if I said I was expecting anything more than the card folded inside cardstock.
I flipped the envelope over to tear that sucker open and I swear I almost squealed like a fangirl. She wax seals her envelopes and even has a traditional name stamp. The amount of work she puts into packaging is already blowing my mind. It's just so... fancy.
Tada! Not only did I get my card, it was tucked inside a beautiful thank you card with a handwritten message. The two little cards on the right are her business cards. Isn't that incredible? YES IT IS.
Yup, I got me a Princess Luna. I didn't even like the movie where she turned into a human to take her dying astronaut crush into space but this painting is so gorgeous I couldn't resist.
Talk about professional. I plan on buying a few more cards from her (addicted). The way she packages everything is incredibly impressive and well worth the money. I've never seen anyone do anything so thoroughly before.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pokeballs and Grab Bags--ASTL

So I finally started prepping jewelry for Anime St. Louis. It's only a week away, but I had so much stuff that didn't sell at KawaKon (read about that experience here) I didn't have too much to make for this show. That's really sad actually.

Anyway, in anticipation of my favorite STL show, I made 20 pairs of pokeball earrings this weekend. That probably sounds like a lot, or maybe not, but I normally bring about 12-15 pairs each show and they're always gone by Saturday. Hopefully the 20 pairs will make it through the weekend. Other things I finished include the button packs, bobombs, companion cubes and a few other little things. I have a few more on my list for this week but I'm pumped!

One other thing I'm getting excited for is GRAB BAGS! I love grab bags like it is nobody's business. For ASTL I've made 10 bags filled with random items. Here's the breakdown:

6 x $10 Bags (Orange and Blue) will include $20 worth of items
  • Polymer clay pendants* (some earrings/keychains)
  • Headbands
  • Coloring Art Books
  • Buttons
  • Plushies*
  • Soot sprites
  • Paracord items *

4 x $20 Bags (Green and Pink) will include $50 worth of items
  • All of the above
  • Bullet jewelry [earrings, bracelet, or pendant]*
  • Polymer clay earrings*
Items marked with a * are guaranteed. The $20 bags are full of stuff. Most of them have multiple pairs of earrings, pendants, plushies, etc. The only different is there is no bullet jewelry in the $10 bags and only the $20 bags are guaranteed polymer clay earrings. Also, all bags come with a free gift of cute stationary [2 sheets of kawaii stationary, 1 envelope, 1 full sticker sheet].

Monday, April 9, 2012

Share Time: TinyDreamerz

For those of you with pets, you know what it's like to want to buy them EVERYTHING. My ferrets are so spoiled that more of my paycheck goes to their toys and beds than my toys and beds. (See what I did there?) So a few months back I ordered a very neat hammock from an Etsy creator. She even upped the size for me since most of her things are for rats and smaller critters.

I decided to ask her to make me a new FN142 cage set. I only have one, and it was one I sewed myself. Not terrible but it needs replacing. Most places want over $100 to make the cage set and another $20 to ship it to you. WHAT?

TinyDreamerz offered to make the set for $60 and free shipping. She even threw in another hammock that I was eyeballing. Want to know the best part? It arrived in a week. Oh yes, one week. I loved it at first sight. The ferrets loved it at first sniff :D I wasted no time replacing all the old mats and stuff with the new and SHABAM! (Also, the yellow hammock on the bottom was made by her.)

I had to move the toys and other hammocks out to take the picture but it's pretty crowded once I put it all back together. Granted it's pink, which I don't really care for but I think I may order a few more sets from her once my wallet stops hemorrhaging.

Anyway, if you're a critter keeper, please check out her store HERE.

Her prices are great and she doesn't cut corners.

Want to see more great stuff for your fuzzy ones? Check out my treasury: The Comfy Cage. I'll try to keep it updated with new items as others sell.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

UNoriginal Artwork

One thing that really bothers me is stealing artwork and calling it your own. This happens to a lot of artists, especially those who paint, draw and sell prints. I'm not saying ideas are completely untouchable, especially the vague or popular ones. You can glean inspiration off another artists. What I'm talking about is downright copying or, for f*cks sake, selling the exact print as your own.

While perusing Etsy today, I stumbled across several very familiar paintings for sale by Sam315.

Pretty cool. Great concept, very unique, Heck in the Pocahontas painting, the skull she's wearing on her belt is a 3D medium sticking off the canvas. NEAT! Oh wait, what's this?

Huh, well this is a suspect situation. I'm not saying that one artist can't redo another artists idea better, but I think it's pretty obvious whose pictures came first. The bottom pictures are by an artist by the name of Jeffrey Thomas. Aside from being amazing, he has an entire collection of other Disney Princesses being creepy and scary. Granted the first paintings are very different mediums, they are copies nonetheless of someone else's art.

Art theft seems to be a problem for DeviantArt users since your art is just up there on the web. It drives me insane but I hate watermarks. If someone wants to use another's idea, at least make some attempt to alter the image. Never paint the exact same thing or copy every detail for the matter. Artistic representation is much more flattering than flat out copying. Fair use and Creative Commons were written for a reason.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Little Pony Buttons

After quite a few requests (which seem to be the only non-video game inspiration these days), I draw some MLP graphics for buttons. They'll be compiled on a small print later too. Anyway, I somewhat chibified them since I don't like the original cartoon style (PowderPuff Girls anyone?). That being said, they're going up on Etsy once I have some time to add buttons to my store.
Also I didn't watermark these out of good faith that no one will steal and use them commercially. I don't like watermarks.