Advice and Tips for exhibiting at an Artist Alley

So a friend recently asked for some advice since she will be exhibiting at an Artist Alley for the first time this year. And so, i wrote a LONG thing from my experience as I’ve been doing artist alleys for a while now. (If you have any further questions, my askbox is always open)

Types of cons I exhibit at most often (so my experience comes from these:)

  • Media/Comic Conventions: “comic” cons– comic in quotes since a lot of these cons are turning into all around media-type cons and less emphasis on comics. Examples: San Diego Comic Con, Calgary Expo, New York Comic Con.
  • Anime Conventions: conventions that are a celebration of Japanese anime but usually do have a crossover with similar nerdy things like video games and television shows. The anime con audiences usually tend to be younger than people who go to media/comic cons. Examples: Fanime Con, Sakura Con, Otakon
  • “Indie” Conventions: a catch-all name for more specialized conventions like indie comics or craft faires. These types of cons are usually pickier about what they choose to exhibit but are usually good for drawing not-necessarily-nerdy people. Examples: Alternative Press Expo, Toronto Comic Arts Festival, LA Renegade Craft Faire.
  • (there are other types of cons to sell art like furry or fandom-specific at but i havent had any experience with those)

General Advice:

  • HAVE FUN. Conventions are usually one of the few places you, as an artist, can meet people and make connections. I know for me, I work relatively solitary, so I enjoy sitting behind a convention table and talking to people especially those who recognize something they saw on the internet.

Keep reading

Wood and non PVC pipe/wire cube print vertical displays

Hey psynthesis! As with many of our answers - it depends! Factors include:

  • How big are your prints? How many prints do you have? What else are you displaying?
  • What kind of wood are you thinking? How custom/complex do you want to go, or can you go? What are your resources for creating the setup? (Budget, fabrication skills, etc.)
  • How modular is the display if you want to display more or less things, or if you end up getting bigger or smaller tables at an event?
  • How portable is the display?
  • How are you getting to and from an event? Do you have assistance for travelling and/or setup?

Here is an overview of other factors to consider: 

Our resident orange atorier uses wood displays and says:

I’m a big wood fan and most of my displays have been wood. Wooden dowels can make good overhangs. They are lightweight and easy to carry around. A thing to keep in mind though is that they are not as thick as PVC or metal pipes, so they have a greater tendency to get pulled in by the weight of your prints (and they can get really heavy). One way I’ve found to get around it is instead of a string for the middle part, is to use a thinner wood dowel so it’s more sturdy to hang your prints on.

Wooden table racks are great, very customizable, especially if you or someone you know knows a bit of woodworking. I’ve gotten a few keychain and postcard racks custom made in the past by my dad and I was able to get it to exactly what I wanted. I’ve usually used big C clamps to secure it to the table if I need it to. They also don’t collapse on you as easily as paper and tape ones.

I’ve never found my wood displays to be that heavy … Neither have they warped on me for racks I’ve used over several years. It IS probably easier to make a GOOD PVC set up than it is for a wood one. The pipes are ready-made practically out of the store and come with their own joints. Making one out of wood dowels will need some thinking of how to put it together and have it stay together. But a well built wood display I find looks better, of course.

A few photos showing the display with string (so you can see how it droops), and then with a dowel in the centre:

phaena notes that depending on where you live and what your environment is like, wood may require more careful storage than other materials to prevent warping, etc. In Toronto, our temperature changes are (generally) not super humid, wet or extreme. Your experience might be different … and your materials (e.g., type and condition of wood) might be different.

Similar to PVC piles, wire cubes are popular because they are more readily available/ready made solutions and are modular. That said, wire racks can be pretty heavy and require quite a bit of setup and takedown time.

I’d suggest taking a look through our displays tag - there are the usual PVC setups, but also other ones involving boards and more. We haven’t tried all of them, but it’s a great place to start!

Here’s a discussion on PVC and wire cube setups, as well as an alternative with telescoping aluminum poles by omnomberries:

Here’s another solution we’ve seen using presentation boards (note that the artist has a caution about instability with this setup) by skimlines:

You can also experiment and come up with your own ideas! There are other ways to create some sort of overhang or flat panel to attach prints to. You could consider repurposing other household items. Of course, always test your contraptions first!

Long ago, atorier and maiji experimented with a backdrop display as follows:

We combined 2 laundry racks to create a single frame, and then covered it with a black fabric hood to create a backdrop panel we could attach prints to.

In theory it was great; in practical usage, issues included:

  • If you don’t have much space behind the table or have to keep everything on the table (which can be a requirement for some events), it won’t work.
  • The fabric itself is not rigid. Our original idea to tape prints to it wasn’t reliable, so we actually took to making little tape “tabs” on our prints and then using safety pins to pin them to the fabric.
  • It’s actually pretty lightweight and sometimes billowed about a bit more than expected with people smacking into it or even the air from traffic moving through the convention, almost like a fabric sail (though it never actually fell down).
  • Though the frame could be easily taken apart, after a while we just got tired of lugging around the poles and having to return the laundry racks to our moms. lol

atorier ended up gravitating to wood displays, and maiji ended up gravitating to not wanting to bother with large vertical setups.

Displays are an ongoing process, and you’ll always come up with better ideas to do things, that work for you, from your own experience!

Any other ideas/suggestions? We’d love to hear from other artists who use wood or other non-PVC pipes/wire cube overhang or backdrop-type large vertical displays!


The time has come again: it’s Blind Date with a Book (or a Screen) time!

Try your luck by checking out our dating profiles for each title (book or DVD) and see if you end up with a perfect match.  

We have titles to try for every mood, and they’re organized by color: 

  • red = adult titles
  • teal = teen titles
  • green = children’s titles

Make sure to turn in your comment card after your date so we know what you liked, what didn’t work out, and what else you might like!  As always, you can check in with your librarian to find more matches.

vyrantium asked:

AHH YES the bit about displays reminded me of a thought that's been niggling in the back of my mind-- I'm v. attached to my wire frame display because of the storage space but I worry about it looking clunky/unprofessional outside of an anime con where wire frames are pretty common, but I'm not sure if there are ways to "refine" a wire display since a whole backdrop stand setup will probably be out of my price range for a while. Thoughts?

oh yes! your display was pretty ok! I call it THE ARCH

which i think is pretty common with wire basket displays at anime conventions (my neighbor at Fanime used it, She was a jewelry maker and it worked well for her). It IS good storage, i admit, but i’m not a personal fan of overarching displays because of “toad in the hole”

it works better for some people (and it did for you at fanime iirc), but my main beef with it is that i dont like appearing like i’m hiding behind my stuff. A good workaround using your current wire baskets imho, I call THE BREAD 

…cuz the wire panels on the side are like bread on a sandwich and you in the middle are the fillings. This uses two sides of the wire baskets while leaving the table and top of the display relatively open so you’re not exactly hiding behind things AND can see people quite easily. Here’s a different view of THE BREAD using one side:

The wire grids are at the back (always secure them!) and stuff like prints are displayed but it opens up the table to your customers. Display is always up to personal preference, however, so you totally can find your own way to combine any sorts of display styles :)

plaguey asked:

Hello! Im going to be in an artist alley for the first time and I've been doing a lot of research. One of the questions I have which I can't seem to find an answer to is how do artists store their prints? Both at home and during the convention to keep them safe?

How exciting! Good luck with your first artist alley!

There’s a whole world of information out there on storing art prints that Google can reveal to you! (Example) That said, a lot of it is targeted for high end art prints. For artist alleys and conventions, your needs are likely more utilitarian, though the same basic ideas apply.

Essentially, you want something that will help keep the prints flat and protect them from exposure (dirt/dust/water/weather elements) and contact with other surfaces/objects that could deform, dent or damage them. Ideally this form of storage is portable and relatively easy to pack - most people don’t transfer their prints from one storage container to another between home and event, it just gets too cumbersome. You also ideally want some way of organizing the prints so that you can find the right one quickly when you’re selling.

The following are a few systems we’ve used and/or seen; you can find pretty much all supplies at your local office supplies shop, dollarstore or art store.

  • Sheet protectors in a binder. Works well for letter-size prints. Another handy thing is that by putting them into individual sheet protectors they’re basically already in packaging that will protect the print from contact with other things! Slip your business card into the back and you’ll have a binder of ready-to-sell prints. (Example) Some people also use the sheet protectors+binder setup for displaying individual sample prints, a bit like a catalog.
  • Expandable/accordion folder. They come in a variety of sizes, and work well for smaller things (e.g., postcard or photo prints, bookmarks, laminated keychains). (Example)
  • Envelopes. Clear poly envelopes are quite popular, available in a number of different sizes (including ones that can accommodate larger prints), and you can separate different prints with a paper/tab insert. (Example)
  • In a box. Appropriate sizes may be provided by the printer if you have a large enough order, and may accommodate some larger sizes (e.g., 11 x 17). Depending on the material of the box, some may be more or less sturdy. Also, this works better if you have more rigid prints (i.e., on thicker cover/card stock).
  • Portfolio. Similar to the sheet protectors in a binder idea, but art portfolios will allow you to accommodate more sizes, and can also be used for display. They’re more expensive than most of the other solutions. (Example)

Depending on your print sizes and also how many you have, some may be more or less appropriate.

At home, depending on your space they could go into a closet, on a shelf or under a bed until you need to drag them out for your next convention.

If anyone has other suggestions, experiences or thoughts, please do share!

{Queer}y: Being Subversive with Displays

{Queer}y: I work in a very conservative area/community, and any time I put together a display focused on GLBTQ materials, they either get checked out and never returned, or someone makes complaints about the materials. I want to make sure that my patrons/students know the materials are there, but I can’t replace them if they’re taken by patrons for censorship means. How can I make displays with my GLBTQ materials?

Answer: First, I am SO sorry people are taking your materials and keeping them in order to make sure that they’re not available because of their narrow viewpoint. I’ve been in that situation, and it is completely miserable. You know who does it because the material is on their card, yet you can’t restrict them from checking the material out because they pay off the lost materials. And you can’t replace the materials because more than likely, the “lost material” money goes into a general fund instead of actually paying for a replacement copy.

As to how to make sure that your QUILTBAG kids find the books and materials in your library and in your displays, there are multiple ways. If you are able to, go through your ILS and make sure that the subject headings will point them to the materials. If the kids can search for them and easily find them on their own, it will make things a lot easier.

Also, since obvious displays aren’t welcome in your community, be subversive and sneaky. Instead of doing a “We’re Here, We’re Queer” display, start doing genre displays and put in QUILTBAG materials that fit in with the genre. Do a fairy tale display and along with Cress and Scarlet put in Ash and Tithe. Put up a romance display and throw in Pink and I’ll Give You The Sun. Pull together a Spring Break Happy Reading display and put in Sparks, Drama, and Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy. 

Have a {queer}y? http://genrequeery.tumblr.com/ask

ohlookshiny asked:

I'm afraid I can't seem to find an answer (probably overlooking it) but the metal building racks that I see alot in AAs that are used instead of the PVC rigs, I don't know what to look for them under. Would you happen to know?

Are you perhaps referring to wire cubes/shelves? Like the ones appearing in this post?


If you look through our displays tag, we’ve reblogged a few artists who talk about their experiences with them:

http://aatoast.tumblr.com/post/74453547230/andisartshop-this-is-by-no-means-a (wire cubes are discussed closer to the end of the video)

http://aatoast.tumblr.com/post/69390286917/aahellpodcast-here-it-is-the-intro-episode (podcast that includes mention of wire cubes - this artist didn’t like them very much; there’s a summary in our reblog)

http://aatoast.tumblr.com/post/69408741994/for-those-artist-who-use-the-metal-wire-rack-cubes-how (drawing of a wire cube configuration)


I don’t use them myself, but have helped friends/other artists with them. They certainly offer lots of display options in terms of being able to cover them with stuff (prints, boards, etc.) and stacking them to create interest and different levels/heights for display across your table. From a packing and setup perspective, I found them heavy to carry and also take quite a bit of time to put together/take apart, depending on how many you have.

I understand you can buy them from Walmart and Target, probably other organization/storage stores (Solutions?) as well. I heard that some dollar stores (Dollarama?) may have them, but I also recall talking to one artist who used them who said the quality was almost throwaway and didn’t recommend it.

Hope this is what you were looking for - let me know if it’s not the right thing! And if any other artists have thoughts/suggestions, please do share! :3

You got a Kindle, an iPad, a Surface, and a brand-new iPhone. But how exactly do digital touchscreens work?

Small, conductuctor wires and lines run right under the main glass interface. The carry charge and detectors.  Your finger also is charged with electricity. When it touches the interface, it disrupts the charge of the detector lines.

This change is found and reported at each point by a timing controller. The reported data gets sent to a processor which interprets the touches on a grid-level scale. Then, it matches the place you touched with what’s on the screen. The processor then joins this with the application code or operating system program, which registers it with an action. And, of course, it pops the balloon, moves the flappy bird up, types a letter, destroys the candy, or does whatever else it’s supposed to do.

Basically, the touchscreen detects the electric charge in your finger.

Reblog, like/love/heart, tweet, and share!


VoxieBox Displays 3D Images Just Like R2D2’s Message From Princess Leia

VoxieBox Displays 3D Images Just Like R2D2’s Message From Princess Leia

 Voxon, chosen out of the Hardware Alley to do the ‘wildcard’ pitch during TechCrunch Disrupt NY, demonstrated a truly amazing technology today. Imagine the scene from Star Wars where Princess Leia is projected in 3 dimensions recording a message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Well, Voxon’s VoxieBox product does just that. Read More

TechCrunch » Gadgets

View On WordPress