Artist Alley, Should I?

As an artists we tend to expose our work and find many ways to expand our connections for more accessibility, experiences, allies and resources. One way to do it is by attending conventions as artist alley, of course there are other categories to choose from like Mini Press, Craftsman and more.

Is the price worth it? Do I have enough time? What type of event or audience would be?

Choose Wisely

All conventions have rule and limitations, which most of them don’t operate the same depending of the place or town. Read carefully the terms and conditions as well as the contract. Always have the legal papers on hand inside and outside of the event (an emergency could strike). Plan everything beforehand and establish some deadline to finish you merchandise, artworks, etc.

Whoever doesn’t get the message or seen the movie, SHAME ON YOU!

Cons Are Not Your Typical Tooth Fairy

These events run in many categories (Video-games, comics, movies, animations and so on). You have to study them on what they specialize, what other sections are running all together and what type of audience they are aiming for. They are not responsible of your sell flows or the audience that doesn’t have a taste for your art. It’s a 50/50 situation, you are responsible to promote your attendance and they are responsible to promote their event. When the Con promote their client (artist alley, kiosk, companies, etc) it’s a plus!

Are you having a bad day or are you in your period…?

Having A Bad Day?

  • If client keeps passing through or looking at some items many times, ask him what caught his attention and convince him to buy it.
  • Try to negotiate by lowering the price if she is tempted but hesitant (but only to that client).
  • Lower the prices if your business is suffering.
  • Try to spark some conversation, it might make him buy something from you (as a memento).
  • Offer freebies or discounts if your customers refer you more people to buy at your booth.
  • Making bundles can make things easier (Ex: 1x sticker, 1x print and a pin of your choice for $5).
  • Make friends with vloggers or youtubers spectators, they will maybe boost your exposure for your next con.

You are your own competition, tired of saying that shit!

You Will Compete With Others

By no means you will compete with other artists (old-school thinking, it should be eradicated). Now there might be an opponent that could affect you sells and those are the kiosk, in my opinion. They can sell miscellaneous items (toys, jewelry, apparel to art too). For this I always try to sell variety of products to increase my chances of earning more money. Ask for suggestions or help with other artist nearby and help each other. The kiosk can help too like money exchange, shoutouts or mutual services.

Tips for Attending Cons

  1. Business card is a must!
  2. You can try your first con as a spectator.
  3. When people approach your tablet greet them.
  4. If you’re attending as an artist alley keep your expectations moderated.
  5. Having a buddy to help out is not a bad idea.
  6. Cons don’t guarantee anything, so be prepare and have a backup plan.
  7. Make allies with your neighbors, they might help you out.
  8. Try to sell miscellaneous items (stickers, pins, charms, prints, bookmarks, etc).
  9. Instant commission help you boost your earnings.
  10. Promote your booth with all the details once your attendance it’s confirmed.
  11. Calculate your earnings and expenses and compare them with previous cons.
  12. Make your table as you, that has certain characteristic that stands out from the others.
  13. I find it more effective to be standing in front of my table rather than be sitting on the back of it.
  14. Accepting other types of payment and making it visible somewhere in your booth is a lifesaver!

I had fun in my last con!


Try to enjoy it to fullest, make new friends and allies. Learn from the experiences, be careful and thoughtful of your decisions and calculate the earnings and expenses; but most importantly don’t let any convention mistreat you. This happens a lot by idiots who don’t know how to work with clients. Sometimes these events won’t give a care for you except your money. Demand respect if these conventions consider you as a priority client.


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