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Monochrome Aristocrat
Sometimes...we only see life in black...or white...
A F T E R M A T H . 
13th-Jun-2012 01:44 am
.HACK//Sign: Life is a road...and I wann


Well it's been two weeks, May has come and gone. Now it's time for, a very special...Livejournal Convention Report Special! In order to make this entry special, there will be links to music on youtube, rage comics and internet memes for maximum comedic and entertainment value. Before I launch head-on into this entry, I just want to extend a big thank you. Thank you for all the people here on livejournal and elsewhere that supported me in my Artist Alley aspirations over the years, thank for pointing out what things I need to improve upon art wise, what things I needed to tweak as I added the finishing touches to art that was printed(I'M LOOKING AT YOU entropyx♥!), and for all the people who were excited about me doing this. If I'm to be fair, I'd even give some of my coworkers an honorable mention in this regard. Nice people still exist...They really do!

Anime North Day 1: Friday

Now to start things off, we need to be in a relaxed mood, so pretend this is a tv show and this was playing as soon as I woke up. That faithful Friday, I was in an absolutely perfect mood...well, crazy excited but otherwise perfect! I have to admit, I was walking with a little extra swagger as my suitcase, prints and other equipment was loaded onto my mom's van. As we drove off, I hooked my iPod to the radio and just blasted every upbeat song I had(mostly video game and anime themes for effect), to keep that excited mood going. I went to AN with a work buddy of mine, a fellow named Francis, so we were feeding off of each other's excitement and mom was wondering if we really were in our 20's with the way we were going on kept reminding us to not get into..."mischief". When we finally arrived at the Marriott where we'd stay, we were seen off, I demanded a good luck hug from my mother and the promise that she'd pray for me to not make an ass of myself my success. If I remember correctly we arrived around 12-12:30ish, so we got a little lunch from a nearby Subway after dropping our bags down and unpacking a little.

Then at 2:30 we head over to the Toronto Congress Centre(where half of AN's events, the dealer's room and artist alley) since I had to check in and start setting up the table for 3. Now about walking to the congress centre, where our hotel was located is a 30 minute walk from the centre. When we actually arrive, despite wearing comfy running shoes, I was certain that my toes were bleeding if not rubbed raw! Added to that, walking with my cooler for all the water I took with me(lol water on rollback!), my money box, portfolio case for the prints, banner and all the other little doodads that I need to secure things to the table...it definitely doesn't make for an easy walk. Something I'd pay for in the following week, with a bruised nerve in my left shoulder, that I'm still healing from right now!

Around 3:15-3:30, my table partner, the lovely kinopia and we got to work on the table stand. I have a new found respect for the artists who go to multiple conventions throughout the year, setting up the bloody stand alone is a job and a half. But...I was prepared! Over the months from learning I got a table, until that faithful weekend, I bought enough supplies for setting up a table, and all those supplies were in my little tool box that got stares. Why do you ask? Well it went something like this...

Me: Can I help with anything?
Kinopia: Yeah just keep joining the pipes together and we're good 8D!
Me: Okay, let's do this!
Kinopia:...why do you have a hammer out?!?
Me: Making sure everything is secure*whack*! STAY SECURE PIPES ARJOLWDJOQAJSO AOJS A! *hammers like she's angry*

After a while though, other artist kept coming by to borrow tape, my scissors, my sharpie...I'm thinking I need to walk with extra tape and charge a small fee to use it. By the time 5 o'clock came around, when the Alley officially opened, I was all out of tape and had nothing to hammer! As people started to file in, something wonderful, magical and stupendous happened...my first print sale ever. In the two hours we had to setup before con-goers started filing in, convention staff and other artists were looking around the tables sizing up the competition and the fresh meat, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a few guys pointing out my stuff. Remember, all of my current print stock is video game related, and the games I chose to make fanart of, have a larger male following. Not going to lie, it was a nice little ego boost to hear people talking about how they'd come back for specific prints I had. But the actual first sale...man, when that guy came up to the table, I couldn't believe it. When he pointed out the prints he wanted, I was professional...but still couldn't believe it. When the money was handed to me...it...was...AMAZING. Like really, really, amazing! Amazing like...HOLY CRAP SOMEONE ACTUALLY BOUGHT SOMETHING I MADE!!! HELL YEAH!! The initial sales stage was clear and I felt like a million...no, a trillion, zillion, kajillion bucks. Ironically, my mother called a few minutes later to see how things were going, and I'm sure you can imagine that phone call...

Mom: How are things going, honey?
Me: I SOLD STUFF AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
Mom: What? You sold one of your pictures?
Me: I SOLD STUFF! I SOLD STUFF! OH MY GOD! THIS ISN'T HAPPENING I SOLD STUFF!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

And then we both screamed on the phone, then I heard people in the background screaming for me...my family is awesome! The rest of the afternoon was spent with me grinning from ear to ear, with shakey hands. One thing I noticed, around our row of tables, the row in front and behind me, didn't really sell much. It seems like for these 3 days or more conventions, the Friday is where people look out for their favourite artists, and keep an eye out for things they'd want to buy. Either way, I'll remember that first sale for the rest of my life...

Anime North Day 2: Saturday

My day started off at 6:15 in the morning. Why so early you ask? Well, for one I was starving hungry! By the time Francis and got back to the hotel room, it was after 11, the lobby restaurant was close, and my feet were killing me, and I was just too tired to look for an open restaurant. One the bright side...I SOLD STUFF!!!!!!! So we had instant noodles he brought with him for dinner, also courtesy of Wallyland! So that morning, being starving hungry, and having forgot to fill out the room service form for breakfast, I pulled on my dressing gown, pulled off the stocking I had on my head, to keep my hair tidy(yes, I sleep my pantyhose on my head, so sue me!), slipped on my running shoes and headed to the lobby restaurant again. No one seemed to mind that I was walking around in my pj's, it wasn't like I was walking around in anything skimpy. And these were some damn cute pj's! I learned there was the option of ordering from a menu or going for the buffet, I chose the buffet...and went to town. Asked for a two sunny-side up eggs, couple slices of toast, got two plates of sausage...8 pieces of bacon, a banana. I figure if I'm the one paying for all of this, I was going to get my moneys worth, and I was hungry! One thing most people don't know about me, is that I love, love, love, traditional breakfast foods. I'm not even kidding. If I pass by one of those all day breakfast places and I have a little money to spare...I will purposely not have breakfast just to enjoy the all you can eat stuff. So while eating half my weight in sausages and bacon, I imagined what kind of adventures I'd have today and how my mother would kill me for all the salt and remind me that I come from a family that has high blood pressure problems and the importance of smiling and selling my work and making friends!

Met up with kinopia at quarter to 10, we brought our stuff out that we hid under the table the day before and it was show time! Another thing I notice about these 3 day events, Saturday is the day people really dress up in the alley. If you weren't in cosplay, a lot of the female artists just dressed up in their best casual, semi-formal gear. Now I HAD PLANNED to do the same...I had packed my dressy skinny jeans and 3 plaid, tunic tops. Problem was, it was hot all weekend and those outfits just weren't right...did I mention how the temperature in the alley would fluctuate between being really warm, to freezing. So instead of my tunics and skinny jeans, I just work capris and a top. I definitely am going shopping for a few nice outfits to wear in alleys in future. And I'm determined to cosplay again, just that I want to get into better shape and either commission someone to make me something or coax my seamstress mother to make some kind of gothic lolita outfit or something nice...Around lunch time things really started to pick up and I got the digital camera out and took photos of any cosplayers who came buy to look at stuff. One cosplayer, dressed as Franken Fran and I got into a nice, little chat. Then, she asks me to draw something in her sketchbook, saying she likes to collect drawings from the artist alley people. So, I calmly say, alright, I'll do it! Not sure what exactly, she'd like me to draw, I ask her if Fran is okay and she was so happy for that. She pulled out her cell that had Fran as I wallpaper and I went to work. 20 minutes later, she gets a chibi Fran, asks me to sign it, which just made me feel so professional, and the swag...it just turned on! Humble swag...mind you! The hours marched on with trips to the bathroom, walking around to stretch the legs, then the sales got slow...like really, really slow. I was wondering, what happenend? Why aren't people buying my stuff? Is my art...that bad? Am I going to be the only one who only a couple prints? Despite having all these questions keep turning over in my head, I kept a straight face, pulled out my sketchbook and started to draw. And people came back! So I then, out comes miss iPad, open up my youtube channel, play a couple colouring process videos and bingo! I don't know about you guys, but it seems like people, really like collecting business cards. I don't know if it's because they saw me drawing, or the videos, but one of those two things, or both of them, made people take a card...some took two of ours at a time. One person, felt moved to take six cards. It was a good thing that I had 500 of them made for this!

Afternoon comes along and I'm really starting to worry about my lack of print sales, and starting to think I should have made little trinkets or offered to do on the spot commissions. It's funny how things just fall into your lap sometimes...this asian dude comes up to the table and he's eyeing my work, and Kinopia's pokemon art, she happened to be busy drawing chibis for someone. He looks up at me and yells "DRAW ME 8D!!". Now livejournal, I'm not a fast sketch artist in situations like this. I have to plan out what it is I'm going to do and nine times out of ten, a rough idea of an image forms in my head, and I try and draw it out. But this...this...was new. I tried to talk the guy into letting me take something home, let me lovingly ink it digitally or traditionally, go all out with my digital painting and make something pretty. After all, colouring is my strong suit, as I've been told. But he wasn't having it, and I was having, reservations as it were. A few people around me just said go for it and so I did it because people told me to ahhhh! So I slipped on the ol' smudgeguard, whipped out the electric eraser and bam! Started drawing like a madwoman! I was really worried though, about the anatomy, not making the sketch all polished like I usually try to do, but when I actually showed it to him, he was so happy. Seems like I had nothing to worry about! Don'tcha just love it when things turn out nicely like that? I sure do! From that experience, I've learned that I need to make myself available for comissions somehow! Most enjoyable ten dollars I've made! Saturday night ended with a lovely fettuccine alfredo pasta, with shrimp and garlic bread, taking in the Really Lame Anime panel, and finally finding and hanging out with labcoat and her friends for an hour and a bit before finally going to bed. Good times!

Anime North Day 3: Sunday

Another hearty breakfast! This time...WAFFLES!!!! They were these, itty, bitty ones where you have to eat a couple to feel full. So I got a couple of those, lots of syrup and butter, bit of scrambled eggs, sausages and FRUIT. It's important to eat healthy and not a total glutton, and have a warm cup of tea. That Sunday, I was hell bent on not walking all the way down to the alley! I just wasn't going to kill my feet again! Satuday, I tried going on one of the shuttle buses that takes you to and from the congress centre, only to learn, from a somewhat rude bus driver that only convention staff can use the shuttles. I have a mind to email them and ask if that's true or if this guy was just being an ass. I sure hope it's the former...So Francis and I waited for the bus and saved our bodies from melting in the sun. Unfortunately, the ice in my cooler melted so it looked like someone peed in the seat. And as I'd walk, there was a trail of water. Nice impression to leave my fellow artists with...but I assure you, I HAVE NO BLADDER ISSUES! I was potty trained by a very capable nurse, who happens to be my mother, so there :P!

Another slow day sales wise, and no one asked me to draw them or draw in their sketchbook! Poopy! So I took more photos, played videos on the iPad, and gave out a lot of business cards for some reason. I guess it's good that people like the design and how glossy it is. Made another sale and then labcoat came by, and gave my 11x17" Etna print a good home. Having done that, I had to give her the friend discout ;D! Yes ladies and gentlemen, discounts exist if you know where to find them. Things were pretty quiet in the alley, as quiet as they can be with thousands of people coming and going. A few of my favourites on dA came by and asked how things are going the day before, so I returned the favour. Bought an artbook, a print, complimented people on their outfits and did the whole networking thing. I thought there rest of the day would remain quiet, until...

MY FAMILY CAME TO THE ALLEY!!!!!


Now, my mom and older sister said they wanted to go to this, but I never took them seriously on it. For one, neither are into games or anime. Mom keeps calling anime art "those 'chinese' characters Leah draws' and I think my sister's exposure to it, would be whatever my nephews and niece watch at home. But there they were, with my little niece...and I hid under the table. Actually, I didn't hide, I was just really surprised. As for my niece, well she's going around telling people about her aunt who is a amazingly famous 'cartoonist' XD. Feeling generous, I gave her a print(d'awwwwwwwwww!), and now, I have to give my nephews prints or they'll be jealous LOL! After a while, I marked down the prices of everything and only managed to get a bunch of looky-loos and people who collected cards. Got up, stretched my legs, tried to buy a hotdog but they were out, so I was a sad panda bear...but my family got my Swiss Chalet haaaaaay! As things wound down, I went around, introduced myself and exchanged business cards. I even traded or gave out a few prints to a couple people. When the alley finally closed, I gave kinopia a huge hug and said we need to do this again next year. And next year I'll have more stuff to sell and I just might do commissions on the spot!

Summary

o1. I would have liked to have sold more than I did, but the fact that I did it is just as important. Actually, money wise, I made about the equivalent of a week at Wallyland in 3 days. Further proving how deplorable that place really is!
o2. Met some awesome people, including deviantart's shilin, my table partner kinopia, ka-ho, ikeda and chowdown among others!
o3. I'm so inspired to draw any improve like you wouldn't believe!
o4. I can safely say I have a lot of support with this art thing now.
o5. There are a lot of people who want to buy prints from me o____o!

So what happens now...?

Well seeing how buttons and other small trinkets seem to be what people are gravitating towards, I went down town and got a button maker with my AA money. I have a list of things to make buttons out of on my iPad but if you have any suggestions and ideas, PLEASE post them here! Also as suggested by entropyx, I'm going to try making a little comic, perhaps about my experiences at work or with retail in general! Also, I have another convention to prepare for in September, so I better get to work! Would I ever go to a big convention artist alley again? Ya damn right I will! But I have to make revisions to how I transport my art and equipment(I've actually bought one of those hand truck/cart things), how the art is presented, how I dress and other things, but yes, I want to do this again. I need to do this again...if this could be a new tradition for convention season, outside of just taking in panels, I totally want to do it. Am I happy I did it? I SURE AM! I guess it's true, if you put in the effort, and believe you can do it. Great things will happen. So long as you...believe!




Any artist worth their salt will do whatever it takes to make their table display jump out at congoers! So what does Leah do? MAKE A GIANT BANNER WITH BLOODY PIGS ON IT...of course :P!


Here you have it ladies and gentlemen, nearly a year and a half of work, sketching, inking, colouring and rendering. Now all printed, laid out and mounted on SHINY CARDSTOCK.


Ladies and gentlemen, this youngin' in cosplaying as Ness and he is adorable at it! I think this was his first con and he was so happy that I and a couple others were taking pictures of him. I almost blurted out that I wanted to adopt him, but I think his mom was with him, so the adoption idea wouldn't have worked. Dangit, why can't I have a cute baby brother like this guy D:?!


Souji, Souji, Souji...Man this guy was so in character, it wasn't even funny. He saw my Yousuke Hanamura print and was like "Why'd you draw him? He's so damn useless!" and so I had to counter with, "LISTEN, YOUSUKE IS MY BOY...A'ITE?"...yeah he was good!


Had a great chat with miss Eureka, about Eureka 7 of course and got her to read the current Eureka 7 AO manga and watch the anime. I also led her to my dA page ;D!


KANU UNCHOU MY WAIFUUUUUUUUUU! One day I will cosplay as her, one day!


Our business cards, feel free to take one!


There was this family, consisting of a dad, a son and daughter and they kept coming in with their ferrets. I'm surprised they were allowed in with them. You'd think a big venue like that, with small animals would cause a real safety hazard, and the only animals you could get in, would be a service animal. Either way, mister ferret is taking a little nap, despite all the excitement!


Tiger, why you so fine? Ooooowie!


Tokiomi, why are you so fine bro? Seriously, do I have some radar for detecting attractive gentlemen in cosplay...n-not that I stare or anything...heh...ehehehe...


Here's hoping to AN 2013 artist alley!
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