5 Tips for Selling at Your First Artist Alley

5 Tips for Selling at Your First Artist Alley



hey guys welcome back this week I have been getting ready to be an artist at the Silicon Valley Comic Con as I've been getting ready I was thinking back to when I first started selling my art at comic conventions the more I thought about it I realized I've really grown a lot and I've picked up quite a few tips and tricks that I think would have been really helpful for when I was first starting out so I thought this would be a really great video to make for you guys if you are thinking about being an artist at an artist alley sometime soon here are my top 5 tips and tricks for your first artist valley my first tip is to practice your table display now I'm going to assume that you already know what you're going to be selling there's lots of different things you can sell if you're an artist if you are a 2d artist like me you can do prints you can sell originals as well and your art on all sorts of different merchandise like buttons and stickers so once you know what you're going to be selling you really want to have a good idea of how it's going to be displayed now a lot of people will use grid storage cubes all insert an image right here of what I'm talking about I use these if you're just starting out I wouldn't worry too much about investing in a display especially if you're not really sure what you want to keep and what you want to be selling on a regular basis that might be something that you checked out this first time and invest in for the next show one thing I do want to say this is a mistake that I made at the very beginning and I still struggle with a little bit is I went a little overboard with how many products I had and how much merchandise and prints just Questers i'm all over i have whiter cubes and the prince across and i had some other things in front of that and lots of buttons everywhere and i felt like it really cluttered my table you might be worried about not having enough things to be on your table but if you have too much it's just a cluttered chaos and a lot of potential customers might walk away just because they don't even know what to look at and my last tip for practicing your display is to understand what your pricing is and display that pretty prominently now you're still going to get asked on pretty much every item how much something cost I think some customers either don't see the signage or they think maybe you'll say a different number that's lower but be prepared to answer the question how much is this all the time but it does help to have prices that are really clearly marked I like to have them on each individual item or at least in between a lot of my prints and things like that so people know how much they were selling your items for and if they're even willing to part with that kind of money so tip number 2 is to bring the essentials so what I mean was bringing the essentials is bringing things that you might not realize you need until you don't have them so things like this could be scissors or tape or clothes pins or safety pins a tablecloth can be really helpful a lot of conventions won't have anything to cover your table and so just a really inexpensive tablecloth can really go a long way and having a little bits and pieces to make sure all of your display is together and any emergencies you might have that can be fixed with tape you have tape something else you really want to have is a cash box or change box people will need change and so you want to make sure you have and not turn away customers because they have a bill that's too big in the same vein with money you might want to have a square reader or some other credit card reading device I use square but I know that there's I believe a PayPal line and maybe some other ones if you can that is really helpful because some people only have credit cards now and if you can't take that payment you'll lose a sale something else that's really important is to bring food and snacks and at the very least look into what food is around the convention center or maybe at the convention center and making sure you have food throughout the day this is something that is really easy to overlook and forget that you're there for a really long time usually eight or nine hours a day and you're going to need to eat something and you want to make sure that there's food available I like to bring my own food and have my own drinks and things like that it makes it really helpful so you don't need to leave your booth in relation to leaving your booth I suggest especially for your first conventions bring a friend a lot of conventions will give you an extra seat and extra pass for someone to come there with you and that not only helps for setup and teardown to have an extra pair of hand but having someone at the table so that you can go to the bathroom something else you're going to want to have is some sort of business card or business information now this could be something as simple as a piece of paper with your information on it if you don't have a website but have social media Facebook page Instagram Twitter something like that or even just an email so that potential customers that may have spent all their money or just want to follow you on social media and support you that way have a way of getting in touch with you less but not least with bringing your essentials is bring something to cool so like I mentioned conventions have really long hours and sometimes there's a lot of dead time because people are in some sort of panel or doing the costume contest or something and there's just not a lot of people around so I suggest bring your sketchbook and some watercolors or whatever art medium you like to use and draw the first thing about this is if people are walking by a lot of the time you get their attention by drawing or doing some sort of arty thing that they want to come and look at and they're interested in your process my only precaution with that is that you don't ignore people walking by your table if you are really disengaged they may not want to even buy anything just because they don't feel a connection to you or might feel like you're hiding away and not engaging and not willing to answer questions or want to even sell anything so be really careful especially about being on your phone the whole point is for you to be there and to show your art off and to engage with people which that is tip number three engage with potential customers now I am an introvert and I get it it's not great talking to people sometimes but this is really important for business and being able to talk about your art in what you do can really help you grow your business and grow as an artist I feel like a lot of people that go into conventions as attendees tend to be introverted or at least shy to begin with already so something I like to think about as people are walking by and might be potentially interested in what I'm selling is I just say a friendly hello and if they linger for just a little longer maybe 45 seconds or so I'll make sure that they know that I'm available by telling them you know hey let me know if you have any questions something I really like to do is be on the lookout for really great cosplaying or even just a cool nerdy t-shirt that is from a fandom that I really like so if I see someone walking by even if they're not looking at my table but I know that there is earshot sometimes I'll let them know that I really like their cosplay or what they're wearing or even an art piece that their holdings that I really like if it's from something that I recognize and really enjoy I want them to know that I also like that and people tend to do well with being given compliments and sometimes that will get their attention to look at some of the stuff I have especially if there's a similar fandom that's related to what they're wearing they might not have seen it before but now that I've engaged them they can come and look at the stuff I have if not they can keep walking and take the compliment and it's no big deal I don't want to yell at people across the hall or especially if they're at a different artists table I just really find that rude and I wouldn't like that if that happened to me so I like to wait to see if they're looking at my art some people will glance and keep walking and that's fine but sometimes people will stop and get something and something catches their eye at my table and if they're close enough to hear me I will say hello and sometimes I'll ask what they're looking at and if they're interested in a particular fandom that I can tell they're looking at I might point out something else that I also have and get them to come in and look at the rest of my table my number four tip is to network with other artists don't be afraid to talk to other artists that are there a lot of them have been doing it for a little while and you might be intimidated but saying hello and maybe even buying something from them and talking to them about their experience can be really helpful the artists our community can be really tight-knit and a of them all talk to each other and go to the same kinds of shows you can pick up a lot of information about local conventions or conventions that are worth going to that you hadn't heard of before and you might see these artists at multiple events and so it's good to be nice and respectful of the artists that are there another thing is it can be really great to get useful feedback don't be afraid to tell an artist that this is your first time bending somewhere and you might want some pointers as long as you can take that as really helpful criticism or critique then you can only improve from there you can also take note of what the other artists are doing maybe you see a display that you realize would work really well for you next time make sure to collect business cards from other people and maybe exchange information a lot of artists are really friendly and open to hearing from you and maybe even helping you out so a bonus tip for engaging in the artist valley community and with other artists is to join some sort of Facebook group or other networking group of artists that you artists values one that I suggest is the artist Ally Network international you can search for this this is a huge group and they are amazingly talented artists that share their work and share tips and tricks and you can get a little view into the behind-the-scenes of where people might get certain items made and how much things cost and just a place that you can get your questions answered it's really important with any Facebook group or any group in general that you join online that you check out their pins post and make sure that you understand the rules for posting a lot of groups don't like it if you just go in and post all of your social media links and things like that and they have some rules and guidelines to make sure that all of the group a fair share of notice from their posts and number five my fifth tip is to not get discouraged this is a really big step for you to go into an artist valley and sell your art for maybe the very first time and you might have some expectations about how much money you might make or not or what that means and what that means for you as an artist or fatality you are and I want you to understand that everybody starts somewhere the best thing you can do is to just start I also want to mention that some conventions are just slower you might talk to some of the other artists and they weren't doing very well either and it's not that your art in the good or people don't want it it just maybe was an off year or is a conventions first year it doesn't matter as long as you get the experience you might go in and have all these expectations and realize wow there's a lot I need to change or I need to improve a little bit in this area or this form of art that I do and that's great do that don't get discouraged and stop you need to take that experience and turn it into a more positive experience next time the best thing to is once you've done your first one that experience is over it might be scary each time going into a new earth Valley or a convention or whatever event you're selling at but as long as you've done it the first time you know how to improve at least a little bit take notes no matter what use this experience to benefit you and to only improve everyone is just trying to improve and what they do and everybody starts somewhere so don't get discouraged and I hope you have a great first artist Valley all right those are my five tips for your first artist Valley I hope they were really helpful if you enjoy this video make sure to give me a like or a comment below and subscribe if you want to see more I am a full-time artist and illustrator and I make art videos every single week and I would love to hear from you and for you to join us here in this little art community I hope you have a creatively fulfilled day and I will see you next time

37 thoughts on “5 Tips for Selling at Your First Artist Alley

  1. Show me all the likes for purple ombre hair!!! What tips did I miss? What was your first artist alley like? Let me know below!

  2. A good idea if you're a gaming streamer too and have an outlet.
    Bring a capture thing and a monitor.
    Proceed to grab attention because you're casually playing Animal Crossing New Leaf or Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep and everyone can see, and keep yourself entertained. (Also can help with demographic choices because if you know what'll be there you can totally theme your game picks around this.)

  3. This was incredibly helpful. Your kindness radiates. Thank you! I have my 2nd artist alley (first one was years ago and I was very young) coming up next month! I'm so excited to learn & grow from the experience!

  4. Do you have any advice on how much stock to bring? Particularly with prints, like.. how many is a good number?

  5. It was honestly so nice to see a video from someone local! I've seen you at a few different events are your artwork is so lovely. Thank you for all the tips! I hope to on day have a table at an artist alley but I'm nervous about how to go about it.

  6. I've never actually sold at an artist alley, but I like to plan it out as though I did and because I have very diverse subjects and themes, I got the idea to have a special binder for a certain theme (in my case it would be goreish art, hence why I felt it should stay tucked away) on the table so that those who are interested can check it out, or steer clear and keep their focus on the prints being presented without troubling themselves by looking at something they're not interested in.
    This can apply to a lot of things too, like a binder for fandom, originals, cutesie and so on. Plus you can sell a lot more stuff without having your space overwhelmed with posters.

  7. My biggest fear is i think the simplest….how do i file taxes when selling my own kind of art at artist allies…..

  8. This is so good thank you! I just got confirmed for my first con in August and honestly I’m starting to stress about it.

    This’ll get me in the right mindset for sure!

  9. I entered an art competition at my school, and the judges loved my art so much they pulled me out of class to meet me. They told me I should sell my art at a convention, specifically comicon and I really want to do it now but I’m not sure my parents will let me. But I want to do commissions in the future :)💕

  10. if you get accepted, do you pay for the table at the desk or online? going to dallas fan expo in may.

  11. Thank you for taking the time and energy to share all your resources and making this video. You are an art soldier!

  12. Really disappointed and discouraged that I can't get anyone interested in my art work any advice on what I can do it feels like I have tried my best …

  13. I'm doing my first convention at the end of this month, and I'm excited but nervous! These tips are helpful, though. Thank you!

  14. Me and my friend (and possibly one more person) are wanting to do an artist alley booth, and this is really helpful!

  15. Thank you SO much!! ive been going to cons and having booths for almost a year now but next week its my first time doing is seriously,building presentations and doing the whole thing on my own.ive been searching for the name of these grid cubes for such a long time now and thanks u to you I can find them!! .youve given me some confidence for next week and im grateful♥ this vid is
    super helpful

  16. I have been wanting to do artist alley for 2 years, right now I am working on improving while coming up with great content for my portfolio for next year. These videos about how to do booths and such has been very helpful! You also have a great way of explaining things so thank you so much. <3

  17. Cool! Great info I have never sold a piece of art before but I am running out of room to store all my work :/

  18. Few questions:

    1. What exactly is "artist alley"?
    2. Are independent artists welcome to sell at comic cons?, no requirements on being an industry pro?
    3. If an artist produces books that aren't really comics but more art based, is it worth it? In other words, are attendees mainly interested in "comics" and "comic" art only?

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