hello! uhh i saw u @sabo last yr n i was digging through old photos and i saw ur table so hopefully this isnt too out of the blue? (if this question makes u uncomfortable pls just ignore) would you mind sharing how you make your prints and such? im tabling for the first time this september @ sabo and i dont realy know where to start.. ive never had to deal with printers and such before especially not like buttons/stickers/prints without (1/2)
“without investing in a better printer or button press or something? i feel like something is bound to go wrong considering its my first time doing something this big but any advice would b really much appreciated..! sorry about the sudden msg i hope u have a nice day !! :) 2/2”
HI absolutely not a bother at all!! And I’m sorry I’m only just responding to you!! But here is a comprehensive post in re: CONS because AA stuff is hard when you’re just figuring stuff out, and I’m still working on it myself. But I can definitely prevent you from making the same mistakes I did (like getting 11x14 prints for $9 each for my first con OTL)Everything below the cut!!!
Sooooo here we go!!
First off, let’s talk prints.
Prints should always be the main event of your table, especially if it’s your first con. If you showcase your art style on a large scale, it is more likely to attract people to your table. You want to build your stock around the prints you choose to make.
Since saboten is the biggest anime con in AZ, you’re going to want at least a few (I would say at least 6!) 11x17 size designs for print. The less designs you have, the more of each print you should have. I like to have 12-15 print designs for each con, so i buy 8-12 of each depending on popularity. For really popular things, I like to have an upwards of 20. But since this is your first con, I would suggest you start with a smaller stock with about 10-15 of each one, 15 being for your most popular fandom!! A total stock of about 75 prints should be good, and I don’t think you would need more than that.
And while it’s a good idea to choose subjects that you like, it’s also important to choose popular fandoms and subjects. Voltron, Yuri on Ice, and Sailor Moon have been among my best selling subjects over the last year! I know people are also interested in Breath of the Wild, Overwatch, Final Fantasy, and MP100. Do your research in what’s up and coming in the next few months so you know what’ll have traction. It takes practice to understand, but also talk to friends, look on instagram to see what people are planning for cosplay, etc. For example, Voltron will have a lot of hype because of SDCC in July, so people will be excited for season 3, whenever it comes out in the next year. Cater to those people! The point is that you have to balance what you want to sell with what people want to buy. Also, it’s worth noting that generalized/group images sell VERY well because they appeal to more people.
Postcard sized prints are ALWAYS up to you, and feel free to make them individual characters or popular pairings–and how many you have is sort of just up to you. In my opinion, they don’t sell perfectly well. People are more interested in things they can either put on their wall or on their bags, so they aren’t as popular. Between 5-10 of each design should be acceptable. It’s also okay to make a smaller version of one or two of your anticipated larger best sellers (you can usually assume).
Now, where to order them from!
Catprint is absolutely the best place I have ordered prints from, and I prefer it to having them printed at Kinkos. They do absolutely any size, with different paper stocks, finishing options, and coating options. Holy customization, Batman! Plus, it’s cheap (especially if you manipulate a little. Not in a bad way, of course, but in a way that suits your needs). I like to order 11x17s on Matte Lightweight cardstock because they’re only $0.65 each and are sturdy and beautiful! For postcards, I arrange 5x7s/6x4s & 5x5s on an 11x17 file and cut them out with an industrial cutter when i print stickers and buttons at Kinkos, rather than ordering them (because for some reason they severely overcharge on postcard sizes). This is also a good idea if you want an irregular shaped print but want to save!
Also, make sure that you follow the file requirements that Catprint lists on their website–it’ll save you time and money!!
If you like, here is my referral linkfor catprint that will save you (and me!) 10$ when you order.
On to buttons and stickers!!
These are GREAT for first cons, especially because they are cheap for buyers and they can buy all their favorite characters or pairings!
For stickers, it is cheapest and easiest for me to buy unscored, matte label paper on amazon or ebay. And lots of it. I am still hacking through mine, even after using them for my stock, shipping labels, and freebies. I make all my stickers circles because I’m hard enough on my hands as it is and… uniquely shaped stickers sell exactly the same. So I own a 2.5" circle punch and make all my stickers 2.44" so there’s a white boarder. You can always fill them to be exact (and go over to about 2.6" for the design file), but i think they look finished this way, and if you miss the mark a bit, you won’t have any added whites on your design.
Buttons are certainly more complex, and it depends on whether or not you already have a machine. If you have one, don’t buy one unless your current one breaks. If you don’t have one, WAIT until you’re making good figures to buy an American made button maker. Chinese made machines are cheap, but pricey to fix and replace. American Button Machines are FANTASTIC (they’re what I use!) and use all metal fixings so that they’re basically guaranteed to last. But until you are making 2-5k per con, it’s not really worthwhile to buy a nice machine.
BUT! You CAN team up with other AA people local or otherwise (LIKE ME) who are willing to make buttons on their fancy industrial button makers and cutters (if you’re interested in this, I proof files, print them myself on no-bleed paper, and assemble the buttons myself. I also do proofs for $0.50 a button with no minimum and there’s flat shipping fees for under 100 buttons! I can set you up with my pricing for labor and materials if you like). This is very much so your cheapest option for buttons if you don’t already have a machine, as most companies charge more and have higher minimums per design.
My recommended size are 1.25" buttons. They’re not too small and they’re not too large! This is the only size I offer, but if you’re feeling specific I know places like PureButtons have great options and pricing.
You will certainly want to have lots of each sticker design. They sell very well, and people will even buy original designs of stickers if they’re cute enough! Buttons are a little more tricky, and it’s better to have less if you are ordering them, and better to have more options if you make them yourself. I don’t really sell more than 30 buttons at any con since it’s not my main focus. So choose wisely for button designs!
I know I went overboard with this answer, so please feel free to ask me more questions on ordering prints. This is mostly my process, but I hope I was able to help you at least a little bit!!! Let me know if you want help with displays, business cards, packaging, or con commissions. I’m happy to help !! ♥️