exhibitor hall

rune-slayer  asked:

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 !! ♥️

It’s CONVENTION TIME! Unicorn Empire will be attending GGC with tons of new stuff this year, including a few special enamel pins that just arrived! Also our friend from Fireside Textiles who helps me hand screenprint all of UE’s great shirts will have her own table with tons of geeky fun fabric~ so make sure to come say hello to everyone on the level 4 exhibitor hall this weekend!


What I Pack For a Convention Day

Most comic-cons and conventions typically have their rules posted on their website. Make sure to check ahead of time to avoid the hassle of an issue regarding types of bags allowed and what items are allowed.

First off, pick a bag you will be comfortable carrying all day. Do what you think will work best for you, maybe a crossover/messenger bag, or a tote and a fanny pack might work. I don’t like to carry a separate purse, so for me, the bag needs to have multiple compartments and room for smaller items I might purchase.

Water. Super important. I live in Phoenix so I have been well trained to always carry water with me. For a day at a convention, I would suggest freezing a bottle and then only freezing half of a second bottle, then topping it off before you leave for the convention. This is where reading the rules in advance come into play. Maybe you need to have bottles factory sealed etc. I have a friend that brings her refillable bottle and uses the water fountains. For me, I don’t want to worry about misplacing it, so I bring two plastic bottles. Do what works for you, but if you are allowed, you should pack water. (Who wants to pay for bottled water there? Not me!)

I pack my two waters wrapped in paper towels and place them into a plastic bag. This helps deal with the icy bottles “sweating” and you don’t want them to get anything nice in your bag wet. I like using see-through bags. Just in case you need to have security check your bag, this helps put them at ease and makes things easier.

Snacks. Conventions can be long days and you don’t want to spend time in line just getting something to carry you through. Having a small variety of granola snacks and treats help a ton and they allow you to save money for more special purchases.

Phone and charger(s). I always pack portable chargers along with a wall charger. You might not have planned to be live tweeting or texting with a friend from Tumblr you plan to meet up with, but it happens and you need to have that phone charged. Make sure to pack all cords needed.

Your wallet. You will want to buy stuff. Have your wallet in a safe, designated location in your convention bag.

Mints. I tend to live off of mints at conventions. So I pack more than maybe most would.

Toiletries.  I utilize a small makeup bag for these items. It’s  great to have something like this for a long day. These items would include, but not limited to: feminine products, aspirin etc., bandaids, eye drops, toothbrush, toothpaste, earbuds, coin change, pen, hair tie, cough drops, nail file, makeup, etc.

Other items I pack near wallet for quicker access: Chapstick, Kleenex, hand sanitizer and wet wipes

Any items you like to have autographed. Keep these items in their own plastic bag. You want to protect these items the best you can, but also have quick access to them.

Working Markers/Pens. Depending on the situation, you might need to provide a pen or marker. Be ready. If it’s a paint style pen, prep it.

Schedule. I like to pack a highlighter or even post-it notes to help mark what events I want to attend. If the convention has a phone application, that can be awesome too.

A book or magazine to read/something to do. There might be downtime and your feet might be too sore to walk the exhibitor hall. I don’t like to waste power on my phone, so I typically will pack a book. You never know if you will get stuck in a longer than expected line or you just want to relax for a few minutes. Just don’t pack something too heavy, you have to carry this bag.

Your tickets! If they are physical tickets, printed or on your phone. Make sure you have them! If you are buying at the door, make sure you know if they take your form of payment and that they still have tickets available.

Other things to consider:

Items for cosplay. Are you going to be in costume? Be prepared so you don’t end up with a massive wardrobe malfunction. I pack: Mini sewing kit, glue, extra pantyhose, back up parts/pieces and any needed makeup or hair items. For Phoenix Comicon, I knew I would be taking public transit. I packed a pair of thin flats to change into so I didn’t need to wear high heel boots on the light rail in 100+ degree weather.

Prescribed Medications. This will be a long day, be ready with anything you might need.

Camera. I typically just use my phone, but if the convention allows photos and you want to get some nice shots, pack it. Remember though, you will be carrying it with you all day and you might have to remain in your seat during panels. 

Feel free to add any tips/suggestions you may have when you reblog this post!

What NOT to do at an artist alley

Lui: I’ve been attending conventions since 2005, and have been doing artist alleys (and exhibitor halls) since 2009, along with being staff more recently. I’ve read a ton of “how to” lists on artist alleys, and I’ve noticed that people seem to generally leave out complaints about other artists. More specifically “What not to do” examples that tend to get on the convention staff’s, vendors, and attendee’s bad sides.

I can go into more detail at a later time, but for now I’ve written out the most common ones I’ve seen.

1 - Displays are too distracting.
I don’t mean a matter of “Ooh, that’s neat!” way. Please avoid flashing lights, really bright lights (hurts everybody’s eyes, especially when they have to be around it the entire day) and strong colored lights (distorts the color of your wares, AND the artist sitting next to you). Generally staff will tell you if something is too crazy, but I’ve been to multiple conventions where the staff were far from helpful, and approaching an artist/vendor about this is really uncomfortable.

2 - Being too loud.
Some specific examples that I’ve seen happen more than once range from “Multiple people hooting on their favorite sportball team that happens to be playing right now” to “vendors that squee loudly every time they come across somebody dressed up as something cute/interesting.”

3 - Asking another vendor to cover your booth while you go for a quick break/drink/etc, then taking an unnatural amount of time to return.
Keep breaks under 10 minutes if you can manage it. Even better, cover up your display (bring a large fabric sheet that you can put over everything and put up a “BRB” sign or something) or get a friend to cover for you. If you can’t, try to get information on where the closest drinking fountain or bathroom is before you leave your booth. It’s pretty awkward for me to try to sell somebody else’s stuff, especially if there are no clear prices. Most of the time I’ll have to just ask the customer to return when the artist is back (the potential customers only do so only half the time, as a heads up!)

4 - Making promises you cannot keep.
If you take on a commission and claim it’ll be done by the end of the con, please approach the commissioner to inform them if that cannot be the case. Having to awkwardly work while another artist is being chewed out because they can’t back up commitments is really uncomfortable. Same thing with taking on elaborate commissions (that won’t be completed at the con) and then returning before they’re finished. If that commissioner is there, it will get real awkward real quick.

5 - Potentially dangerous displays.
Ranging from flimsy (can break and hurt somebody, knock into/break your stuff, and/or fall onto  other people’s displays/wares) to cumbersome (having boxes or parts of displays that come out of your area, another potential health risk if somebody trips into them. They can also cause a bottleneck in the walkway, which will make attendees try to go past that area faster than usual to avoid a traffic jam) and reaches into flat out annoyance (such as those distracting lights, or displays that obstruct others around you. A friend and I have had multiple instances where people with large verticle banners will put it at the corner of their booth, and partially cover other booths.)

I feel this one needs it’s own section, since there are lots of examples. Specifically, What makes an attendee/customer uncomfortable.
(Take a moment and think about what makes YOU uncomfortable when you go to a store. What will make you leave? Is there anything that will make you purposely avoid an area? Etc.)

1 - Causing drama. Never matters what it’s about, if things are getting heated, take it outside of the room. Same thing for heated topics (politics, religion, etc) even if you’re discussing it with somebody who agrees, I guarantee somebody nearby will not.

2 - Overall negativity. Con is going terrible? Life outside of this con isn’t going so well? That sucks, but don’t take it out on everybody else around you, or it will never improve AND will run people off.

3 - Really confusing displays. When I’m looking around for stuff to buy, it’s really off-putting to come across a lot of displays that have either very little information on price, really confusing/distracting signs, or lots of props on the table that aren’t even for sale (nor made by the artist. Generally an issue during holidays when people use a ton of halloween decorations.)
Same thing when people use a table cloth with really busy patterns.

Another category that felt it needed it’s own section, the “Me VS them” mentality.

1 - “Me VS them” mentality, basically assuming that everybody else out there is your competition and you treat them like dirt for it. Chances are extremely high that you have something in common with the people you’re sitting next to. Chances are also insanely high that they’ll be commissioned very specifically because of their style, and you’ll be commissioned for the same.

2 - Paranoia that everybody has it out for you. Unless somebody is acting very suspicious, chances are they don’t. I’ve been accused (and have seen this happen to other artists a fair number of times!) of stealing from an artist I’m sitting next to, just for them to find their missing item a couple seconds later when they search a bit better. Gets pretty tense pretty quick, and then the entire show will just be awkward. Try to keep everything organized enough that you never need to worry about that happening.

3 - Stealing commissioners (or attempting to.) EXTREMELY rare, but I’ve had this happen with 3 different exhibitors/artists, and another friend of mine had it happen a significant number more (she lost count, could name off 7 specific examples though!)
The circumstance tends to be the same. Somebody will ask “How much would it be to commission you to do ___?” and after getting a price, a nearby artist will chime in “I will do it for $__ cheaper!” If somebody is specifically talking to another artist, don’t chime into a potential transaction just to undercut somebody. Just wait until they get to you.

— Prices - This one doesn’t really effect anybody but you, but it needs to be said. A few friends and I have experimented with this for years. Every time we drop prices, we get people that are very specifically interested in us JUST because of the price. They’re out for the deals, and are less interested in our art as actual art. Same thing when people try to haggle you. Unless you’re getting 0 commissions (and you don’t feel you’re overcharging at all) I would not suggest dropping your price. Generally, the amount of sales we got in fandoms we were “unknown in” (IE didn’t have a name for ourselves) were the same regardless of what we charged. But when we charged less in fandoms we built a name in, we’d get over-swamped with commissions very fast. You might as well charge more if you can get away with it.


I think that’s about all my friends and I can come up with right now without it starting to get a bit too specific. We didn’t make the list with the interest of calling anybody out or hurting their feelings. Remember, everybody makes mistakes. Hopefully this list can serve useful to at least give you some insight on some possible scenarios you may come across some day.

Remember, above all, the convention is what you make of it. If you let a slow day get you down and prevent you from having fun, you won’t have a good time, and you’ll look mad/upset the entire time you’re in the artist alley. Do your best to keep a positive attitude, it rubs off on others! :D 


Disclaimer: None of these were based off of one single particular circumstance. All of these have been repeated during many different conventions from different people. These are not meant to “call out” any particular individual, group, etc.

This is a great picture I found of my Crona cosplay and my sister’s Maka cosplay at Kumoricon 2014!  This was on Day 2 on our way back from the Exhibitors’ Hall at the Red Lion to the Hilton hotel.  Glad you can’t tell my foot was broken.  That’s my dorky but adorable knee scooter peeking out on the left.

Photograph taken by nimiki.


Requested by anonymous

It was amazing you were just able to go to San Diego Comicon. There was no way you could afford any autographs, though, and you weren’t about to camp out to get into the big Marvel Studios panel. You put a ton of work into your Loki costume, so you were going to mingle and show off.

You did make it to the Marvel TV panel, though. You got to ask a question and Clark Gregg was clearly impressed with your costume.

You started into the exhibitors hall after a lunch break, but the badge checker stopped you.

“Wait, did you ask a question at the SHIELD panel yesterday?” he asked.

Confused, you nodded. “Yeah, why?”

“Do you have anything you need to get to?” he asked. That didn’t answer your question. You shook your head. “Come with me please.”

“Uh, okay,” you replied, before following the man. You hoped you weren’t in trouble.

He took you into a back area that was off-limits to regular con attendees. He opened the door to a lounge area where none other than Tom Hiddleston sat.

“Wait, wh-what?” you stammered.

“Did your escort not explain anything to you?” Tom Hiddleston asked, looking to the employee.

“Figured I’d keep it a surprise,” he responded.

Tom stood up and walked over. “Yesterday, Clark went on and on about someone wearing an awesome Loki costume,” he stated. “I got curious, but of course all I could find was fuzzy panel footage, so I was hoping someone could track you down for me.” He smirked, holding out his hand. “Always a pleasure to meet a fellow Loki.”

“The pleasure’s all mine, seriously,” you said, shaking Tom’s hand. “I came to this con resigned to not meeting any celebrities, and yet here you are.” You tried your best to remain composed, while in your head you were screaming. “Oh, uh, I’m Y/N, by the way.”

“Well, Y/N, how would you like special celebrity access? Of course, the Marvel Studios panel is the only one I can get you into, but the front row can always use some impressive cosplays,” Tom said.

Your jaw dropped. “Oh, wow, that would be amazing, thanks!” you said. “Thank you so much!”

“Oh, and before I forget, there’s something else I can give you,” he added. He reached into a bag, pulling out a promo picture for autograph signing. You couldn’t see him sign it, due to his back facing you, but after a moment he turned around.

“And there you go,” he said with a wink. “I have to get ready for the panel, but Ben there will get you seated.” Tom left, and as you moved to put the autographed picture in your bag, you noticed something on the back. Curious, you looked, shocked to see a phone number.


FanExpo 2016: Day 1

(I do not know any of these cosplayers’ names, so if you are them or you know them, send me an ask or message so I can add credit)

Some Overwatches! This 76 had a really good costume, I kind of wish I’d taken pictures of him from more than just the one angle. There were also a couple of D.Vas around but I didn’t manage to get photos of them.

Wolverine and Kim Possible were there too! And Ms. Frizzle! And the Baudelaires!

idk why i took a picture of a random aisle in the exhibitors’ hall but whatev


Went to Comic Con today. The exhibitor hall was really crowded but I got a chance to see the ChibiUsa and Helios Figuart Zero figurine. I also got the Small Lady Pullip doll for a really good price, as well as snagged a free Sailor Moon S poster from the Viz booth. :)

How to Approach Exhibitors in Their Natural Environment and Not Be Devoured, a Basic Guide

All right- while I’d originally posted this up over in the Facebook group for Emerald City Comic Con, it’s actually a pretty good general guide for Exhibitor Halls ANYWHERE, and with Con Season upon us…. 

“Ok, so I see a lot of first-time convention goers asking a bunch of basic questions about the Exhibitors Hall, and figured as one of the Exhibitors, someone should step up and post a few good tips on exploring the convention hall.

1: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK. Vendors are, by and large, gregarious and friendly creatures, and tend to only turn feral when cornered. We also tend to not eat human faces when asked questions about our work. In short, if you don’t see a price tag on something, or you want to know the details of something, or you need help finding something at a booth, don’t be afraid to ask. That said, please remember that we’re not your tour guides- we don’t always know where everything is in the con, or even necessarily where ANYTHING is outside of the exhibition hall itself. And we generally won’t know details about any of the other events, celebrities, or anything else going on. Or we may have the wrong information, since we’re not staff. If you’ve got a question about stuff outside of the booth you’re currently standing in, best to take it to a green-shirted volunteer or the info desk. They’ll either have the answer, or know who to talk to.

2: THIS IS NOT THE OLD MARKET IN ISTANBUL. While some vendors may find it entertaining, most of us do not haggle over our prices, and in fact, put a lot of work into making sure they’re as fair as they can be, while we’re still getting compensated decently for the work we put in on stuff. As a rule of thumb, unless the vendor you’re talking to invites you to do so, don’t dicker or haggle or try to get a discount on whatever it is you’re after. Don’t assume there’ll be a price break for paying in cash over credit, or a drop in prices on Sunday. If there is, AWESOME, take advantage and enjoy it, but for the most part, the numbers on a price tag are firm. Assuming otherwise is just plain bad form.

3: NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY, PLEASE. Some vendors (like me) will be totally cool with you taking pics or video of their stuff to send to friends or post online. Others won’t be. Respect both by asking before you shoot the contents of anyone’s table, just like you would with any of the cosplayers at the con.

4. SCHROEDINGER’S BOTTLENECK. You just ran into that friend that you haven’t seen in YEARS right in the middle of the vendor’s hall! THAT’S AWESOME! You guys should totally take time as soon as you can to catch up. Just do the booth a favor and either do it while walking through the Hall and checking stuff out, or by moving to one of the spots where the walkways widen out more, so your group of eight that’s standing and sharing recollections with each other is completely blocking the booth you were in front of and most of the smaller walkways around the booth. That’s no fun for anyone. Cosplayers with GINORMOUS costumes, the same goes for you- we love seeing you (seriously, I’m always amazed by the cosplays I see at ECCC each year, and they keep getting better!) but if you’re not looking at the stuff in a booth, please, keep moving so that everyone else can, too. And if someone wants to stop you for photos, just suggest that you head over to one of the designated photo op spaces. We’ll still be here when you get back. (And if you absolutely HAVE to get photos taken at a certain booth of your cosplay, please, make sure to ask the vendor if it’s cool first- everyone’ll be better off, and you won’t have a vendor doing some kind of horrible photobomb in the background.)

5. CASH IS KING. And credit’s a close second. But no matter how you’re paying, have it on you when you’re shopping- not every vendor will be willing to hold stuff for you on a promise that you’ll be back in an hour or tomorrow after you hit the ATM. Nor should we be expected to- we’ve all been burned on that kind of deal before.

6. AT THE END OF THE DAY. You’re tired. You’ve been walking through EVERYTHING. Trust me, we know- We’ve been on our feet for 12+hours as well, and most of us are in dire need of a real meal, a chance to actually it down and relax, and possibly a drink. None of which can be had until you’ve all left the exhibitor’s hall so we can safely lock up for the night. So please, when they announce closing time, pay attention, finish the transaction you’re in the middle of, and take off for the night. Don’t stop at any other booths on the way, and don’t keep browsing. It’ll all still be there the next morning.”

Here’s a quick overview of all the BBC America activity going on at San Diego Comic Con this weekend.

Booth Info
The Official BBC America Booth is #4129 in the Comic-Con Exhibitors Hall.

Official Orphan Black Panel
When: Friday, July 25th from 6 to 7PM PST
Where: San Diego Comic-Con, Room 6A
Featuring: Graeme Manson, John Fawcett, Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Ari Millen, Dylan Bruce, Kristian Bruun, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Hosted by: Entertainment Weekly’s Dalton Ross

Find out about more Orphan Black SDCC events in the Official Orphan Black Tumblr’s masterpost.

Official Intruders Screening & Panel
When: Friday, July 25th from 8 to 9PM PST
Where: San Diego Comic-Con, Room 7AB
Featuring: Glen Morgan, Julie Gardner, John Simm, Mira Sorvino, Millie Brown and James Frain
Hosted by: Glen Morgan

Find out about more Intruders SDCC events in the Official Intruders Tumblr’s masterpost.

Doctor Who Titan Comics Launch Panel
When: Saturday, July 26th from 3 to 4 PM PST
Where: San Diego Comic-Con, Room 25ABC
Featuring: Nick Abadzis, Elena Casagrande, Alice X. Zhang, Titan Comics Editorial Team

Follow the Doctor Who Tumblr for more information about Doctor Who exclusive Comic-Con Merchandise.

Watch on torianne00.tumblr.com

I made it safely to New York!! Very nervous but excited for @newyorkcomiccon tomorrow with @boardinker! Who will be attending this weekend? Ps. I am in the exhibitors hall booth 969

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