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Pro Tips: Exhibiting in Artist Alley

Last year I tabled at my first comic convention, AwesomeCon, here in the DC area. I researched best practices and tips leading up to the convention with mixed results.

The conversations were great in this thread, and it’s a valuable resource for anyone entering artist alley.

I had no clue how much product to order and have at my table. I had a general idea of how to present my table from my 9-5, but the principals are different when combining information overload with exhibiting art to sell.

I’d like to provide my post-AwesomeCon notes with you, for what they’re worth:

  • Color attracts: I’m a black and white artist and struggled to get eyes on my table. But once I started coloring some of my prints onsite, the traffic picked up and led to a few sales.
  • Black & White: Despite the inability to attract pedestrians, once folks came to the table they appreciated the use of just black and white. It’s not what is typically seen in artist alley. It led to some interesting conversations about…
  • Inktober: This challenge is a yearly hit during October bringing together thousands, maybe millions, of artists worldwide in the appreciation of ink drawing.
  • Commissions for tips: As an unknown artist in the alley, I chose to let the crowd determine my price point on commissions. It helped bring a new dynamic to my table and led to a few commission requests, a wonderful opportunity.
  • Height helps: I was swallowed between tables with displays adding up to four feet of height to their tables. My banner was displayed on the front of my table so there was a lot of people having to step back and see who I was.

So I hope my input and the Twitter thread help you with artist alley. I aim to exhibit next year at a couple local conventions, and will keep these tips in mind.