OK to whomever submitted this … “I don’t want to sound mean” - but you do sound mean, and you are being mean.
I do get the sense that you are wanting to set some sort of realistic expectations for people who think they can make a lot of money at artist alleys. I also get and agree with the sense of frustration for people who complain about sales/how “good” an artist alley is when their work is not the most appropriate for the audience of a particular event.
But your phrasing comes off as elitist, and worst of all, discouraging to the people who have the most to benefit from the artist alley experience.
We all had to start from somewhere. Artist alley is great especially for amateurs. You get to interact in a (more often than not) welcoming, positive environment with other people who love doing the same things you love doing, in the physical world! You get to see in-person consumer reaction to your work! You get to meet and make friends with other artists who can support you as you all grow! You get to learn! This isn’t a professional art gallery for the established or something. I can’t think of many better opportunities than an artist alley for a young artist.
What’s more, people have a hard enough time building self-confidence in their own work. You hear this over and over and you can see it over and over in social media everywhere - artists are their own worst critic. The attitude given in the message above is one of the most disheartening things, another voice in the back of your head wondering if you will ever be good enough.
What is your definition of ready? How do you know when you’re ready? It isn’t a black and white answer. For god’s sake, you will never know if you are good enough. You will always have self-doubt. This happens to professionals who’ve been doing it for decades too.
I have events that I do well at and events I don’t. There are artists whose work sell better than mine, and artists who don’t, and it’s not always immediately obvious who they are based on the subject matter or quality of their work.
Sales happen or don’t happen for lots of reasons - the perception of your art skill is certainly a factor you want to consider. But it is also one of many factors.
So yes, be realistic with your expectations, but at the same time, don’t forget: You will NEVER know if you’re ready for something until you do it.
Also, this is a whole other rant, but people really need to stop selling/buying the myth that original work/OCs don’t sell. I know quite a few artists who sell mostly or exclusively work of original characters (including those with no story behind it). Heck, I probably count as one of them.
Sure, depending on the event, most people may be looking for fanart, and fanart definitely has higher visibility and accessibility to most of the audience. Yes, if you want immediate, short term return, fanart is an easier route to go.
What people for some bizarre reason don’t seem to understand is that when you create and sell original work, you’re building an audience for your own art independent of someone else’s established creation. Building an audience for original work takes longer, so you need to commit more time to it - but it is how you get beyond simply drawing fanart forever and being at the whim of whatever next new thing hits the street. (Also it’s probably a much more acceptable way to build a sustainable art career. :p)
I have a whole other long post in me about this, but I’ll save it for another day. I don’t rant often, so not sure if I will regret posting this later, but this is something that bothers me a great deal. Anyways, had to get this out.
A rant response I had posted a short while back. Some things to keep in mind when you approach and evaluate your own artist alley experience!
I think this topic brings up an interesting question:
When do you think you are ready for the artist alley?
My first convention experience, as an artist, was Heroescon 2010. It was the Friday after my second semester at SCAD was over, so I had no time to prepare anything in advance. I was attending with three friends, all of which had ordered banners, and there I was, smack in the middle of all three, with half a table, a ratty table cloth from my fabric stash, a mini comic and an ashcan. The only reason I even had those last two things was thanks to my friend, Heidi Black, who helped me put them together in InDesign, take them to Office Depot, and assemble them AT THE LAST MINUTES (she’s a saint). I definitely wasn’t ready, but I’m glad I took that plunge.
My second convention was Otakon, about a month later. I’d learned a lot from Heroescon, and while Otakon was still sort of a bust for me, I saw marked improvement in sales and was able to apply what I had learned.
The moral is, you’ve got to have a first con, and you probably won’t be that prepared. It probably won’t be a hit for you, but none of that is really important. It doesn’t mean you’ll never be good enough, it just means you’re going to learn the ropes. Every convention you attend, every con you table at, you can learn something about being an artist, about engaging an audience, about selling your merchandise. You’ll make friends, earn fans, and continue to grow as an artist.
What was your first experience as an artist at a con? Did you feel like you were prepared before you took the plunge? Do you have any advice for artists tabling for the first time?
Reply via ask or reblogs!
No one should worry about whether they’re ready or not. There is no gatekeeper other than yourself. You make a comic if you want to make a comic. That’s it. That’s the test. That’s the hurdle. Yes, it’s more fun if people like or buy your book. In the end, though, all that matters is whether you do it or don’t do it.
I have had a hand in making some really ugly comics but I don’t regret a single one. If you want to make comics, make a comic. Make another. Then make another.
As far as exhibiting, you’re ready to exhibit if, surprise, you want to exhibit. Sell your bad books. Give them away. Draw awful pictures for unsuspecting attendees. Sit there for hours and don’t sell a single thing. You can still make tons of new friends. You can still have tons of new experiences.
Let yourself do what you want. Let everyone else worry about the rest.
This is amazing!
Little comic about how to make zucchini bread in these trying times. Dedicated to CB Cebulski, Mike Hardin, Ming Doyle, and anyone else who sunk my zucchini bread deep within their bodies.
Becky Cloonan is something like a Phenomenon.
This is wonderful.
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK #13 by Mukesh Singh
Holy crap I haven’t seen the black night in years.
You come at the Hulk with a horse?!
Yesterday, in the span of about 8 hours, I started a publishing company and tentatively signed an author for the first book from Portend Publishing.
I hope you’ll follow along and find out about books that make you say “Huh, that’s neat.”
Can you do one quick thing to help SPX?
Sign on for our Thunderclap <————«
Wait, What’s a Thunderclap?
Thunderclap is like SOCIAL MEDIA VOLTRON. When you join up, like a giant super robot space lion, all our powers combine.
One simple message. One specific moment in time.
On the eve of SPX, Friday September 12th, across Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter, our Thunderclap (thunderclapit) will let everyone know you support SPX, creative freedom and independent comics.
We pack SPX to the rafters, every creator in attendance goes home with full pockets, fans go home with great books and thousands of additional dollars are raised for SPX’s charitable programs.
The thunder DOES NOT ROLL until we hit our goal of 250 supporters.
This is one and done, there’s no bugging you in the future or further messing with your stuff. And it only takes seconds to do.
So give us a hand and join the SPX Thunderclap!
Guys, we’re doing a new thing this year to get the word out. You should do this so we can be Thunderclap buddies.
I don’t mean that in a dirty way.
This has gotten out of hand.
Hey here is my full 2299 comic in a more readable format, I feel like with the Robin Williams news it’s particular poignant and timely and I wanted to share the whole thing.
2299 is full of awesome comics and it’s only $2 and all profits are going to the Heroes Initiative and it includes another Kyle Starks comic i did with Cool Bro Dylan Todd. So, please, support your indie comic makers and get like 80 pages of goodness. It’s available now on Gumroad.
Please, don’t let them break you.
This was was so good. Oh man.