Category: DragonCon

DragonCon Workbench & Reminders

Pulse check since I have been too busy working to post here!  I am alive, for the most part.  Neck deep in DragonCon prep!  Just wanted to remind folks of a few things:

  • I will NOT have a table this year.  I will, however, have a large gallery bay where you can see and purchase paintings, matted embellished prints, masks, and other handmade specialty items.
  • In lieu of a table, I’ll also have a space in the art show’s Print Shop, where I’ll be debuting lots of new pieces never before available in prints (such as Keeper of Secrets, Angel of January, and Dragon Whisperer).
  • I will be hosting a panel on the basics of E-marketing for artists in the Art Track (based on a blog post of mine). Check your D*CON schedules for exact listings!

And now for some image spam of my current workbench, which is full of masks and leather things!

A closer look at that dragon mask. Cuz I just love it!

Tentatively titled “Seraphim” and jokingly titled
“Flouncy Hawkgirl”
 Now, just got to survive till the con! With the power of Greyskull, chocolate, Advil, and coffee!

Happy Happy Insanity Time!

Also known as the “Pre-DragonCon Rush”

So the insanity is in full swing now with T-minus 30 days till DragonCon and still many paintings and leather crafts ahead of me!  Not to mention I have recently received some life-changing news, but I’m loathe to reveal it now until we know for more of a certainty! (Don’t worry, it is nothing bad!)

I’ve been meaning to post here about how my career is changing (which partially ties into the good news I can’t talk about yet), but that’s something for a later entry as well I think.  For now, just announcing I’m busy as HFIL, my Etsy and Artfire shops are both in vacation mode till after September 5th, and that I’ll be at DragonCon this year with bells on.  I’ll be debuting new prints of such glorious arts as these in my Print Shop and Gallery panel at the con!:

“Angel of January” 11×14 in., Pencil colored in Photoshop.
“Keeper of Secrets”, 11×14 in., Ink colored in Photoshop

You really must go see my gallery panel this year.  It will be like no display I have ever done before with paintings and leather crafts, galore!  I don’t have a table this year, but I’ll most likely be wandering the floor of the Art Show or helping Windfalcon at her table.  We’ll be at the Masked Ball on Friday as well. (Oh but I still need to figure out what to wear!)  We may very well see the return of Captain Evelyn (my pirate alter ego), if I can fit my art-fattened patooty back in that costume!  ALSO, I’ll be hosting a panel called E-Marketing for Artists 101, so check the Art Track for schedule times!

Hope to see you folks there!  If the grumpkins don’t get me first….

DragonCon, Important Announcements, & a LOLcat

Well…it’s T-minus 2 months till DragonCon and in that time I have 4 paintings and 18 leather pieces to finish in time to display!  Luckily, this year I don’t have to prep for stocking an entire table, just the gallery panel. 

Have a sneak peek of my layout!
See all those text squares and scribblely thumbnails?
Yeah that’s stuff I need to finish still…

I’m actually looking forward to having the freedom to wander about and schmooze with folks and maybe attend a panel or two this year!  I’ll be hosting a panel on E-Marketing for Artists 101 in the art track, so be sure to keep an eye out for an official schedule so you can come talk shameless plugging with me!

With current workload, I’m pausing commissions till September.  So if you’re currently waiting on work from me, I ask that you please be patient with my slow pace.  If you’re interested in work, never fear, for I will be keeping a waiting list in the meantime!

Now, off to work with me!  You have been warned.  When next we meet, I may look like….this:

You local peeps in the vicinity of Georgia, come on out to my art opening this Friday!  There’ll be books, bookmarks, and an entire meditation room dedicated to showing my original art. Plus the backdrop of a really cool bookstore with jewelry, gemstones, and KITTEHS! Also, free food!

C’moooon…you know you want to come!

Here there be Dragons!

One of the 1st dragons I
ever drew!

The Great Wyrm.  The Beast.  The Salamander.  There are so many names for this creature in every culture that one begins to wonder just what credence there is to the possibility of large reptilian treasure-hoarding beasts hiding in the dark places of the world?  Dragons have been on my mind with the recent news I’ve been accepted into the DragonCon art show once again this year. It’s a special year for DragonCon with its 25th year and I’ve decided I’d like to make a tribute piece involving a dragon!

Well and so…but I think the last time I drew a dragon was years ago!  People (and Elves) have always been my strong suit.  This has left me with a quandary. Just what kind of dragon do I want to do?  In visual memory, the first dragons I encountered were the mean, gruff, knight-devouring kind.  They were gruesome, terrifying green beasts with red eyes.  Then I met the bearded dragons of the east.  Kind and wise with human-like eyes.  They struck a chord with me with their link to intuition, power, and balance.

The first dragon I remember
seeing! From St. George & the Dragon
illu. by Trina Schart Hyman.

While I may not feel as connected to dragons as I do with other archetypal creatures (angels, elves, and fae folk), even I admit dragons are cool.  So why the fascination?  Is it their animal beauty and awesome power

For me, I like that ambiguity in the myth of the dragon, the thought there could be an all-powerful predator hiding in the farthest places just beyond the borders of the forests, the caves of mountains, and the deepest caverns of the oceans.  Dragons exist for every element, hot or cold, dark or light, good or evil.  The mystery of what exists in the unexplored spaces of our world compels and compels.

Or maybe I just have an unhealthy instinct to explore in places I shouldn’t! (Yup, I’m the first person to die in a horror movie.)

So share and share alike! What do you like about dragons? What are your favorites? Why do you love them?

Con Report: DragonCon 2010

My last entry covered most of my personal experiences with this year’s DragonCon. Now, it’s time for the convention report which I try to lean more towards business and artist related matters.

In a word, this DragonCon was a LIFESAVER.  I’ve heretofore done horribly at most conventions this year, as far as sales (but wonderfully as far as networking).  Not only did I break even, but I made a good little chunk of change to put towards my table fees for Atlanta Comic Con in December, and then some!

My display at this year’s DragonCon, 2010.
Introducing Shay, the Sassy Mannequin Head!
I attribute my success this year to a few changes in my table and gallery display. Last year, my table had barely more than prints stocked on top of it and no vertical motion at all. This year, I was able to project products from the table surface with the help of gridwall cubes, my new mannequin head (lovingly named Shay), and a couple of velvet necklace forms. I’ll be doing a post later with a more detailed breakdown of the evolution of my table and where I got my supplies, for the curious.
You can see more views of my gallery panel at my Facebook fan page.

As for my gallery display, my experiment of description cards next to the big pieces added a level of interest that enticed people to stay longer, as I suspected they would. None of the framed originals sold, but I did sell a decent amount of matted embellished prints, which proves that adding a special touch to your display really can make a difference! I don’t think I’ve ever sold that much out of my gallery panel in the few years I’ve been displaying in the show.

I also tried a strategy of marking up my after auction prices higher than quick sale or minimum bid prices, which made the need to bid more immediate lest one be forced to pay more later. This year I had a minor bid war over one of my matted limited edition pieces, which has never happened before.  A losing bidder actually came to my table to buy the print directly from me after he couldn’t bid higher, which proves having a bazaar table presence in the Alley is also a smart thing.

Once again, it seems my usable art sold better than my prints. The addition of my hobby items, including leather masks and keychains, was the driving force behind the majority of my higher priced sales.  I all but sold out of keychains and half of my masks, the most expensive being my limited edition January Mask at $135. (Amusingly, this mask sold to a tall bearded gentleman in handsome red leather armor. It actually suited him quite nicely!). This once again proves that people like art they can use.

Speaking of higher priced sales, I would not have done as well without my credit card terminal, which accounted for nearly half of my sales.  It’s made back its cost many times over by now!  I’m currently using First National Processing with a $22 fee while my terminal is active and a $7 statement fee when it’s deactivated (with low cost transaction fees and no limit on total sales).  I have a Nurit 8000 which I got for $200 included with a new member special offer when I first joined (a steal really!).

I had considered using my phone for running transactions, but reception has been very poor at nearly every con. Since the Nurit connects with satellites directly, it has no problem with reception and batches and authorizes cards wirelessly without having to call everything in via a phone. I’m bound to a 1 year contract, but if things keep going well, I’ll be sticking with First National for my credit card processing needs.  The only thing I don’t like is you can’t turn it off and on each month, you have to leave it activated for a few months at a time to be considered ‘seasonal’ before being able to turn it off without being charged a fee.

My charity “Bag of Holding”.

Anyhoo, back to the show!  As always, DragonCon’s art show staff was amazingly fast, helpful, and organized!  The addition of a traffic officer to help direct artists during load-in was a godsend.  Many thanks go out to John and Anne for being completely amazing organizers!  This year we did charity fund-raising for the Lupus Foundation by decorating Bags of Holding. How lucky for me that the Lupus symbol was a purple butterfly!

Things I learned this year:

  • Draping canvas over a backdrop frame lets you pin images to the back.
  • Banners hanging in or above gallery panels look really good AND give extra exposure for your name!
  • Never hurts to have signs in your gallery panel saying you also have a table in the artist alley/exhibitors hall.
  • People came to my table first and bypassed the panels. Seems like traffic is drawn to where they can meet people before they ever head to the panels.

Things I want to do next year:

  • Move to the exhibitors hall. Looks like the sales would be even better there! (Anyone in need of an exhibitor booth buddy? I’m in the market to share!)
  • Find a groovy way to display my books which will be out by then!
  • Find a better way to display my banner. Backdrop set is a minor pain! Those knock down ProPanels look super professional AND would fit in my little hatchback.
And that about wraps things up for this year!  I’ve left the show with many ideas for the future and the usual inspiration to do better next time.  Thanks for a great show, everyone!

Back from DragonCon 2010

Back home from DragonCon and oh what a year it has been! Within the first few hours, I met many cool folks from around the net, including a number of awesome folks from DeviantART. Plus countless old and new friends who stopped by just to say hello and offer their support. It made me feel so special to see the world so small and interconnected. It also gave me a warm feeling to see familiar faces from previous conventions I attended this year show up at DragonCon, which almost made it feel like a reunion.

I also met the model for my image, Night Blooming, and was able to give him a print of the picture he inspired. How surreal it was to see him posing before me!  It was wonderful to meet a few local faces, including Lindsay Archer and Annie Stegg. I sense an artsy meetup in our near futures!

Saturday I hosted the Monster in an Hour panel where SHARKTOPUS stole the show!  Many thanks go out to our participating artists who somehow managed to do something with the word prompts Pudding, Facial Hair, Saturn, and Big Feet.  We raised $40 for charity with the sketches, which is always a good thing!  I was plenty nervous hosting a panel for the first time ever as an announcer, so thanks to all the chatty folks in the audience who helped to make my job easier.  Topics of discussion included favorite zombie-slaying weapons, sparkly vs eat-your-face vampires, and other such tidbits of wisdom.

The highlight of my experience at this year’s DragonCon had to be meeting David Mack and Joseph Michael Linsner again this year. I’ve met them before, but always try to drop by to say hello each year.  This year, I gifted Joe with a leather mask I made based on his paintings of Dawn. He loved it so much, he offered to do a drawing in trade, despite my insistence that he didn’t have to. I’m so excited to see what he ends up doing for me!  As always, it was a pleasure to meet the very kind David Mack, who continues to inspire with his wonderful art and writing.

Ever since one of my biggest influences, Drew Hayes author of Poison Elves, passed away, I make it a point to go by and say hello.  I never got to do that with Drew, even though I had the chance, and I don’t plan to let those wonderful people who help to foster my creativity go without showing them how much I do appreciate them.

I left the con with a bunch of cool swag from Stephanie Pui Mun Law (Love love her new Dreamscapes book and my beautiful new tarot deck!) and a few new books from David Mack. I can’t wait to read The Alchemy and find out what’s happened in the time I’ve been away from the Kabuki-verse. I also picked up Joe’s latest Dawn story, Not to Touch the Earth, featuring a new tale of Dawn.  There’s just something even more special about being able to buy all of this stuff directly from the people who created them.

Finally, where would DragonCon be without a myriad of creative costumes to behold? You can see my public album for the few shots I captured whilst running around. I didn’t take many shots this year, but this wicked cool medieval Batman was definitely a highlight for me!

It was also a milestone as far as sales for me this year, but I will cover that in my next entry, as it seems this one has gotten a little long!  I’ve got two more weeks to recover before Anime Weekend Atlanta is upon us.  I think I’ll ride the sunbeams of inspiration until then. It’s been such a great weekend!  There’s nothing like being around so many like minds and artistic skill that gets my gears going for the rest of the year.

Devoured by the DragonCon 2010

Well, this will be my last post for a little while. There’s much to do and I’m tossing this entry up before company arrives from out of town and a mad last minute dash to tie up loose ends for DragonCon ensues!

I’m feeling a bit more enthusiastic since my last journal (no doubt because I’ve managed to accrue more than 6 hours of sleep at night recently) and I’m just so darned happy to be seeing old friends again.  Conventions are exciting for the prospect of making money, but also for getting out of the art cave for a bit and mingling with like minds.  I don’t know how long I’ll continue to look forward to conventions this way (apparently they have a way of jading you after awhile), but I’m going to try to hold on to this feeling of optimism while I can!

I’m also excited at the prospect of selling my paintings. I have more originals on display this year than I have ever had before and I’ve put double effort into making every piece in my display special somehow.  It’s going to be my best display yet!  I’m also trying something new in terms of display by having little descriptive cards next to my centerpieces that talk about what inspired the piece along with a sticker (if I can get it made in time) saying which pieces will be published in Angelic Visions next year.  Will it help my sales?  We shall see! (Full report to come after the show, as always).

By the same token, I’m dreading the fact someone might buy my originals!  I worked very hard on them and have grown so attached.  I want to just keep them squirreled away in a portfolio so I chitter over them and feel proud of myself for having finished something.   BUT I need to learn to let go some time.  That’s just the nature of the business and perhaps I’ll be more encouraged to make even better work to replace any that might sell.

Meanwhile, I could still use some helping hands at the Monster in an Hour panel at 7pm in the art track (Hanover G in the Hyatt) on Saturday, if any of you are interested and will be attending DragonCon! Just comment here or drop me a line. I have a few interested parties and at least 2 confirmed artists, but one can never be too prepared! The more the merrier.

Now, I’ve a last minute costume to make. See you there!

The DragonCon Rush 2010

A quickie post today because I should be matting and not blogging (and we all know how I will find any reason to delay matting things till the last minute).  I also really like making lists.  I’ve got till September 2nd (roughly two weeks), the day of art show setup for DragonCon, to get the following done:

  • Double-mat about 12 things
  • Embellish said mats
  • Find frames for the last of the original paintings that’re going on display (about 3 more to go?)
  • Replenish stock of leather butterfly barrettes, keychains, and necklaces
  • Possibly create a couple more butterfly domino masks (any suggestions on what species I should do next?)
  • Decide whether I want to go Assassin’s Creed or Linsner’s Dawn for a costume theme. I thought I’d have time to do both, but this is doubtful now!  This is purely optional, but oh so much fun!
I’m really looking forward to this year with a bigger and better table display than ever! I’ve learned a lot every time I’ve set up at past cons this year and have so many new fun products to share (including leathercrafts, mini-prints, and all sorts of lovelies).  I think I’m finally beginning to settle into this convention life.

Just when I say that, I’ll probably forget 15 bajillion things I should’ve remembered for the first day.  I’m also looking forward to seeing old friends again. Hee can’t wait till Windfalcon gets to town so I can kidnap her!

So wish me luck! Hopefully I’ll see some familiar faces there! 🙂

DragonCon Diary 09 – Video & Photo Stream

Diary Entries Thus Far:
Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

Here’s the promised image stream of this year’s Dragon Con!

Ang’s Artist’s Bazaar Table & Gallery Panel Display

Ang's Gallery Panel Display for Dragon Con 2009 Ang's Table Display for Dragon Con 2009

It’s hard to see all of my table, but it is adorned with mousepads, necklaces, calendars, a tiered rack filled with matted 5×7 prints, and a spinning rack with a mix of matted 4×6 prints and unmatted 5×7 prints at varying prices. The awesome vinyl banner was courtesy of my talented brother, Roland, of Graphic Signs Atlanta. There’s the silver velvet I talked about in my last post which proved a perfect backdrop for the art. It had just enough give to allow me to poke through, but wasn’t too slippery as to come out of its clamps. Next year, I think I’ll have a bit of ivy to cover the top, or clear clips, if I can find them.

And here’s the video footage I took at the con. I swear, that beer is not mine!

The 2009 Dragon Con Parade – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Dragon Con Clips: The Crowd, Conan, & Not My Beer!

This isn’t my video, but it’s amusing anyways! Alien Dances the Thriller at Dragon Con

Fun bit of info, my mother danced the Thriller this year to help break the world record. She is officially my hero! (I was sick and exhausted at the time so had to nap during the final recital :< ) Next year, I WILL be there to dance! We’ll break our own record of 903 for sure!

DragonCon Diary 09: The Aftermath

Diary Entries Thus Far:
Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

It seems I have survived my first Dragon Con as a vendor! This convention never ceases to amaze me with its enthusiastic fans, wonderful costumery, and sheer size. Statistics say that over 30,000 people venture to this convention, a number which grows every year! As for being a business venture, I have mixed feelings.

The Good

I can’t describe how heartwarming it was to meet so many people I haven’t seen in so many years! Many old college friends stopped by my table to express how happy they were to see a colleague of theirs succeed, and even bought items to show their support. I also had more fun sitting and chatting at my table with con-goers and other artists than I’ve had in years past rushing to panels, standing in mind-numbingly long lines, and otherwise running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It was so nice to just sit and talk, which I find also helps you sell your work. All in all, I must have given out over 500 of the business cards I purchased in bulk from vistaprints. I even met a couple of artists and professionals who seemed very interested in commissioning work or collaborating on future ventures. I am hoping this bodes well for my future!

The Bad

The strained economy really showed this year at the art show. Barely any pieces went to voice auction and many things did not get bid up as much as they had last year. For instance, the community art canvas where all the artists get together and draw on a huge canvas to be auctioned for charity sold for $400 last year, while this year it went for half that much. By the same token, many folks seemed to be buying at Quick Sale prices just to be sure that their item wasn’t bid up, which can be advantageous for artists.

I personally did not sell exceedingly well in my gallery panel, and yet, I had so many folks buy directly from my artist’s table where they could talk to me and be persuaded to purchase something. Unfortunately, my table items were small and did not equal the amount of profit I would’ve gotten if more expensive original art had sold. This means I’ll either have to raise prices on small stuff, lower prices on originals, come up with higher priced items for the table, OR lower my convention expenses so I can break even more easily.

The Ugly

I operated at a loss this time around thanks to some bad decisions on my part. The cost of food, a hotel room, and parking really ate into profits and I am considering driving in next year (as I am only 30-45 minutes away from the con). After going for 5 years as a non-vendor, I really have no interest in the night life and was far too exhausted after a day of peddling my wares that I really have no interest in staying at the hotel during this convention to party anymore.

I caught one concert that I enjoyed and had much fun chilling with my artist hotel roomies, but all in all, it was exhausting to try and combine vacation time with trying to sell things. With the art show hours ranging from 10am to 8pm, it was murder to stay up late and get up early for 3 days in a row after already pulling all-nighters just to get things prepped in time to stock the table, the gallery panel, AND the print shop. I just don’t have the energy to do it all anymore (oy makes me feel old saying that!).

Things I Learned:

  • GET A CREDIT CARD PROCESSOR! Many people moved on once they learned I only took cash. I suspect my sales would have been very much higher with a processor. I saw folks using their phones to process things. I may have to try that!
  • Bring your own food! It’s never priced reasonably at the hotels. We asked for a fridge, but it was never brought to us and therefore we had to subsist on overpriced sustenance.
  • People like small things that are not just flat art! I had many folks say they are avid collectors with walls too full with art and closets overflowing with art they have no room to hang anything anymore. My best selling item, hands down, were my art tile pendants. I even had requests for post cards as well. Seems to be a trend towards art they can use.
  • People want to talk to the artist. If they can connect with you on a personal level, they are more apt to buy your stuff.
  • Don’t put a business card in each print package. People buying multiple prints end up with multiple cards when it’s much easier (and cheaper) to simply use a mailing label with your info on it for each print instead.
  • Ugly pegboard can be covered with a variety of creative material! I saw people using canvas cloth with velcro so they could easily attach it to the boards. I used silver velvet which isn’t slippery, but still resilient enough to allow me to poke through it without damaging the cloth overmuch. It greatly improved the look of my panel.

    In the end, it was a sobering and enlightening convention. As with every year, I’ve left the art show feeling inspired to really pull out my big guns and do all I can to improve myself and my work.

    Till next time, Dragon Con! I will miss you and your $4 hamburgers:)

    Stay tuned for some picture and video spam from the con. It should all be processed and uploaded by the end of the week!