The First Time Selling My Fan Art

Several of you have been asking about how my first time ever selling at a convention went!

My very talented and amazing friend Sammy (artist’s handle @0rchidd) and I got accepted into our first ever Artist’s Alley at Anime: Roseville last month and it was AMAZING!

For those of you who don’t know, thousands upon thousands of anime fans go to conventions every year. At these conventions there are panels that famous voice actors attend, fun activities like dance-offs or trivia games, cosplay meetups, the vendor’s alley and of course, Artist’s Alleys!

The Artists Alley is where all of the fan artists get to promote and sell their work or fan art (which is such an awesome concept!). Sammy and I had wanted to do an Artist's Alley together ever since we met two years ago at SacAnime and lo and behold we got accepted into Anime: Roseville's first ever convention!

We spent months prepping - researching what to make, how much of it, the best way to construct a solid booth and how to take payments. I decided on keeping it simple and only sell one type of artwork - my anime watercolor silhouettes! They were relatively simple to do and I'd never seen anything quite like it at conventions before. I did 19 of those designs and also added in a few of my personalized mugs because there were several just taking up space in my storage and thought: “Why not!?” Sammy does gorgeous full-page illustrations and she had about 15 different prints available also!

Multiple colorful watercolor anime prints and holographic vinyl stickers

We even met at Sammy’s house the week before to do a trial set up of our booth (we used a large set of about 30 interlocking wire grids and constructed “L”-shaped walls to hang the art on!). And thank goodness we did -or we would have never been able to get set up on time on the actual convention day!

Precarious wire grids built up to resemble a booth in front of a garage

Since this was the first ever Anime: Roseville, the Artist's Alley was smaller than most of the conventions I normally go to, but still quite a bit larger than I had anticipated! I think there was something like 90 artists there.

There was not much else to do besides the Artist’s Alley and Vendor’s hall and the only food anywhere near the fairgrounds was a single food truck booked for the vent, but besides that I think the first Anime: Roseville convention was a great success! (Especially for Sammy and I!)

We were equal parts nervous and excited setting up our booth (two artists are allowed to share one table) as we got to the hall two hours early. It took a minute to figure out the best way to attach our “sample” prints to the grids (as there was actually a fair bit of wind blowing into the hall), but some binder clips and tape solved that problem!

We were by far the busiest when the convention first opened at 10am - and let me tell you, when each of sold out very first prints we had the biggest silliest grins on our faces! Having our own booth was something both of us had wanted for a very long time (one of the things on my own Bucket List, actually!) and to have it actually become a reality was extremely exciting and fulfilling!

Sign reading '0rchidd art A19' laying on a artist's booth table in an empty room
Holographic vinyl stickers reading 'Got Manga?' on white mugs
Anime Roseville in California artist's alley booths

By 11am Sammy was sold out of a couple of her prints and had to go leave to make some more! I was running low soon enough as well but was so busy with taking wads of cash and making change from two different piles of cash (and trying to work the Square card reader), that I couldn’t think about it!

Business definitely slowed down as the afternoon progressed, but we both still made fairly steady sales and got surprise visits from friends and family who stopped by to show their support :)

The convention ended at 4pm and although we held out for a few last-minute sales, the con was pretty much dead by then with the exception of a few last people waiting in line for autographs for Trina Nishimura and Cherami Leigh.

We slowly packed up, (still very excited about having sold anything at all) and went home. We counted up our totals that night and both of us turned a profit despite the largest financial investment up front with the prints!).

Although we didn’t get a table at SacAnime next January, we are both still very excited to have another Artist’s Alley table at a convention soon and were very pleased with our very first experience at Anime: Roseville!

If you have any more questions about the convention or how an Artist’s Alley works, comment below! I’d love to try and answer your questions as a first-timer!