However, before I get to the report, I shall note my concerns for next year.
Also, due to the length of the report, I may edit this with additional information and photos over time.
About next year…
Before I get to the report, I might as well express this sentiment: I was looking forward to participate their artist alley next year, but the initial wave of online table sales SOLD OUT within minutes. My internet connection is shoddy, so just when I accessed the website, I no longer had a chance to procure a table.
I honestly wish that AX still sold tables onsite (like past years!), and then offered the rest of the initial wave online. That way, actual participating artists could readily go and purchase their table without leaving their chances to circumstances such as time, internet, and so on. That is just one point of concern.
Other concerns for next year includes the yet another price hike of $100+ on tables, major processing fees to eventbrite (which is nothing short of irritating), and that the artist alley venue is being moved to Kentia Hall, which was located downstairs from the main and easily accessible halls, and is reported to be a parking garage.
With an unproven record, these major changes could affect artist alley greatly, since there is already a noticeable amount of foot traffic that do not visit artist alley even while it is next to the exhibit hall.
Regardless, I will keep on trying to procure a table next year, and hope for the best.
Anime Expo ran from July 2-5 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Los Angeles, CA.
My table was at [A98] this year, and I shared my table with Lemishie! We titled our table [Pastel Crown]. The table location was at the front, but all the way to the right away from the copic marker booth.
Hours typically ran from 11AM-6PM from Days 1-3, and 11AM-3PM on day 4. Day 1 had an extra earlier hour exclusive to premium badge holders.
The weather on all of the days was pleasant, which is most welcome since I dislike overly hot and humid days, haha.
Compared to Ninja-con 2015, I spent a great deal of time on new artworks, which would get made into a new series of posters.
Notably, I finished my Odin Sphere artworks poster set, but I failed to create a bonus artwork for it, which would have been neat. Other artworks I finished was a new RWBY poster, and one of Atelier Shallie. I finally prepared a new business card too!
I almost did not make this due to severe time constraints, but I prepared a poster index for myself and for patrons, because at this point, I had a lot of different posters at hand. I figured having a index is useful as not a lot of viewers may be willing to view the album.
On days 1-2, I commuted, since Lemishie would unable to attend on-time otherwise. I paid various parking rates nearby the convention. Unfortunately, I had the condition of leaving the area right after artist alley closed, so I missed out on any potential afterparty moments, haha. The return trip on Day 1 was traffic heavy, though, and Day 2’s return drive was outright pleasant despite being the day before the holiday. I was advised that the traffic on Day 1 might have been from people traveling for the holidays, and I researched that Day 2 was a result of being a literal holiday for government services.
On day 3, my helper and I opted to take public transportation, and we got there early. Leaving the area was a particularly awful experience, since the typical stop was no longer where it would have been due to construction, and we ended up leaving later than planned because of it.
On day 4, I drove again, but it was just my brother and I since I intended to get there early.
If I had my way in the manner of not having to return ASAP, and that things worked out, I probably would have chosen public transportation since it would save me vast amounts of money, time to a degree, and that I would not have to force myself to commute.
Day 0 [July 1]
- I refused to spend time and money just to pick up my badge and hang around after last year’s fiasco, so I spent the day madly prepping all of my nearly finished prints instead.
- It appears that registration woes of last year were hammered out nicely this time around. I hope this keeps up, and moreso since there are now excessive fees for online badge purchases this time around.
- I aimed to get all of it printed in the evening, but the store ran out of tabloid-sized paper (the size I use for posters). I merely printed out business cards, which were in the wrong size sadly, and made use of the the remainder of my time.
- I spent the last few hours in the night polishing one of my prints further, and proceeded to pack for tomorrow.
Day 1 [July 2]
- First of all in the morning, I went to make last minute prints, since the attempt failed the night before. I was successfully able to get the new prints made!
- Afterward, I went to pick up Lemishie, and then drove to LAC. We arrived sometime after 10AM, and parked around Hope St., and parking that day was fairly modest. As we left the site, the price bump made me glad that we got there early enough.
- We walked to LAC with time to spare, and was able to find the relocated artist alley (AA) badge pickup after asking a few staff members. The new AA badge pick up was located upstairs, and was at the other end of the center.
- It would have been nice if the zone was cleared from sitting attendees, but this arrangement was acceptable if only to isolate from the ground level crowd.
- We almost didn’t get convention bags and program guides if we didn’t ask for them. I feel that artists getting guides should be a standard practice, though?
- Next year, it would be convenient if there are signs that point artists to the correct location to pick up their badges.
- We found our table quickly and speedily set up our displays. There were already a few attendees in the hall, but I figured that as long we got there before the general opening (11AM), then the slight tardiness wasn’t a bit deal.
- Some time after set up, I took a quick break to refresh myself, and to put on my Ayano Tateyama cosplay. I thought about attending a Kagerou Project gathering, but I forgot to consider the timing beforehand, and after feeling some fatigue, I no longer fancied going. Maybe I shall try for next year (if I do attend)?
- Three notable persons came up to me today, and was the only day when this happened. This was a nice change of pace, because I was actually present during all of those times.
- The first one (Sharon to be precise) gifted me cookies (and mini muffins)! She explained that the state they were in was due to her bag being crushed, and I readily understood. The crowd was massive! Thank you~~ I remembered you from last year! *A* I’m very grateful!
- The second person who visited me was SunnyJones! She gifted me a handmade clay bunny charm~ she described the process of gaining the color of my choice as difficult, since she had to compose the color herself. Thank you ;A;
- The third person who visited me was actually pokady (to be honest, I’m reading you as cielcin since you revealed your bookmark there first), a fellow Laurant (Sound Horizon fan/citizen) who initiated a trade for her lovely double-sided prism bookmark for a mini print of Violette. It took me a few moments to realize that the bookmark was of Etoile and Pleut from Sound Horizon’s 5th album “Roman” (!!).
- The rest of the day was spent hanging around the table, haha. I occasionally took breaks to wander off, but otherwise, the rest of the day remained uneventfully.
- My helper wandered in and out most of the day, and procured random postcard adverts for me. The notable promos he got were several alpaca codes for [Love Live! School Idol Festival].
- Lemishie was about to show me how her new button maker worked, but then the press got jammed. For a while, she wandered around in attempt to release the press, but to no avail.
- This was an issue, because she couldn’t produce buttons onsite, so she had to sell her display ones should a customer want it.
- In the end, she had to wait until she got home to devise a way to release it.
- We left shortly after artist alley closed due to the condition I was imposed with. We sat in traffic for a ridiculous amount of time, dropped off Lemishie, and then continued to complete my commitment.
Day 2 [July 3]
- Due to unexpected popularity of certain prints, I had to go and reprint some before going in AX for day 2.
- I typically keep my stocks fairly low, because there weren’t many guarantees on its success, but I may have to reconsider for one of them, and moreso as that particular one kept on running low each day during the con. That aside…
- I also fulfilled Lemishie’s print run favor too, and actually got that done before my order. I’m glad there wasn’t any trouble with it. o3o
- Like day 1, we picked up LeMishie. We visited Stater Bros. to buy some snacks such as fruit bars and wheat crackers. I would later find the crackers immensely flavorful, and couldn’t resist snacking on them later on, haha. She then realized that she forgot the most important item for artist alley, so we went back to her home.
- The biggest surprise was that the FedEx truck had come by at the nick of time! I urged her to go to inquire about her package of corrected acrylic charms, since she was originally notified of its delivery at 10:30AM, a time well after our arrival to the convention.
- Fortunately, she got her package!!
- After all of that, we finally drove off to LA.
- Yang had reserved a parking spot beforehand that is very close to the LAC, but the parking proprietors refused to honor the preorder, and insisted that we pay an extra $20 difference for the $30 they charged at the moment.
- Infuriated, I attempted to get a refund, but they said to contact the service provider. We then left the lot and drove to another nearby lot that cost less than what the other lot charged. The other lot appeared more professional in my opinion, since it has its own area and enclosure. The initial one merely had cars parked by the side of the building and food trucks, so it appeared quite questionable to begin with.
- Fortunately, since we got there early enough, we did not have to charge through crowds just to get to our table.
- Today, I cosplayed as Phrygia for a few hours. I cosplayed her within the past few cons, but this attempt proved that it was not an ideal cosplay to wear while running a artist alley table.
- The amount of fabric kept on weighing down on my movements. It was not a terrible detriment, but I definitely noticed how it limited my movements.
- An attendee gasped, and promptly asked for a photo of me. She recognized who I was cosplaying!!（ ´∀｀）I remember that she also cosplayed as Sound Horizon characters too~~ she wasn’t able to be in costume today, though.
- Lemishie’s button maker was now functional~ that mishap yesterday was awful!
- A few friends visited today! One of them was attending for the first time~ (o´ω｀o)
- I visited a very interesting table and interacted with the artists~ ♥ They were also Tales of series’ fans!
- I pondered deeply about the artbook they were selling, but I had to think about it longer since I wasn’t in the green yet.
- I exchanged business cards with them, though!
- I helped Lemishie with attaching straps to the charms, since I still had nails, haha.
- And I received her [Tales of Zestiria] charms~ I traded the remainder of my Odin Sphere posters (of Oswald, Cornelius, and Ingway) for these. >w< Thank you!!
- As far as I could recall, day 2 passed by smoothly.
Day 3 [July 4]
- My helper and I took public transportation [bus] that day.
- Walking through the hall netted us a few industry posters, buttons, and so on.
- We got there early, and I spent time wandering around the crowd-free hall as my helper helped me set up.
- I played a demo of [Love Live! School Idol Festival] just to get the sticker sheet of Love Live! pajamas card set, haha. I spied the reward as early as on Day 1, but the line was uninviting.
- Much to my delight, I noticed several doujinshi artbooks on a remarkable sale price of $5 each at the Kinokuniya booth, and bought several different ones. I had contemplated on purchasing an artbook from artist alley, but this procurement had me forget the idea altogether.
- I promptly messaged Lemishie about it, which would later lead her to the booth to procure these books shortly after her arrival after 11AM. She got lucky and bought the last GSGK doujinshi artbook~
- I accidentally bought the sample version of the Dengeki Light Novel memorial book… oh well.
- Like day 1, I reprised cosplaying as as Ayano Tateyama. I had tweeted at twitter on day 1 that I would take photos of myself in cosplay, but I totally forgot to do that today.
- Before Lemishie arrived, I tried my best to conduct business in her stead, though that meant that parts of her button display would get bought out, because I was unable to access her stock in the luggage.
- I actually was unaware that her stock was in the luggage; I assumed she took some of it back with her.
- By day 3, I decided to forgo commissions altogether, because no one had noticed it. And by then, I had already earned enough to assume that I could go without commissions this year at AX.
- Although, I came across a person who was wearing a custom shirt with my commissioned chibi Yang & Blake lineart on it. I notified the person, and she said she would relay my presence to her friend (and original client). <3
- I also revisited the same table from Day 2 to give them another set of cards, since I only brought one set at the time.
- Before closing, my helper and I left the convention early in attempt to catch our return bus.
- That attempt failed miserably, and we ended up walking to a nearby rail stop, and then to our return bus.
- It looks like I have to consider heavily on making the return trip via rail and bus than to blindly catch a return bus, since the geography of LA’s public transportation could get confusing to me.
Day 4 [July 5]
- I drove my helper and I to the convention in the morning, since the return trip was nothing short of bothersome.
- Like on day 3, my helper helped me set up the table while I wander off. That was not before I help quickly set up Lemishie’s side, though. She lent me the key to her luggage the day before, so we could properly conduct sales in her stead until she arrives.
- I was unable to visit Kinokuniya early, so I spent time visiting other booths, and eventually played a demo of Persona 4’s Dancing All Night.
- The control scheme was quite different than I was used to for rhythm games, so I missed a hefty amount of notes. It didn’t help that I chose the last song, which had a higher difficulty level than most. I fared better in one of the lightly rated songs, though.
- After I was able to enter the booth, I ended up buying a Touhou doujinshi artbook. It’s really nice!
- I later sent my brother on a final emergency print run, since I was running dangerously low on a particular print.
- He came back with the prints, and a number of convention bags. Nice!
- I spent the day idling around, and was sadly not motivated to work on finishing any of my sketches. As I described on day 3, due to the lack of interest, I put away my onsite commission offer.
- The person who made the custom shirt using the chibi RWBY commission I made visited~ (￣∇￣) It was nice meeting you, and thanks for the shirt you sent me earlier this year!!
- I lent Lemishie my unused cork board to display her charms earlier in the day. I daresay that made a huge difference in visibility~
- I also made a run to finally purchase certain series’ goods for my sister~
- I commissioned a few chibis (which turned into mail order), and purchased a sticker to finish my run.
- Staffers passed out slips of paper with the URL and time of Anime Expo’s 2016 artist alley registration. I had plenty of doubts of this change, so just to be sure, I asked a staffer that it’s certainly for artists only, and they said it was.
- In actuality, I cannot be certain that the set up was just for artists, due to the volume of registrations and eventual closing on the day of registration…
- Once the hall closed, I speedily visited the table I was very interested in and they assented to the print trade!! （ ´∀｀）☆ They’re so kind!
- I briefly hurried back to bring Lemishie to their table to also do a print trade along with final charm sales~
- By the way, I’ll append this report with the actual names of the artists once I find them (ie: find their business cards within my loot and properly credit them).
Compared to the fiascoes endured last year, this year was plenty pleasant for me~
No hassle with registration, and transportation worked out for me, somehow. There was ample isle space! Like, a lot of space! It’s an amazing improvement that I hope AX will followup with next year.
I initially thought that my activity resembled last years, but I actually did better than last year!
There was a lot of very nice loot this year, too! (o´ω｀o) Aside from artbooks, the industry freebies was nice too. The book samplers were nicer this year since it contained excerpts of light novels, most manga I was already reading, and a dedicated Kagerou Project booklet.
On the downside, I remained largely in the exhibit hall. Moreover, due to timing, neither Lemishie and I could make it to any of the autograph sessions we were interested in. I even purchased some shikishi (Japanese-styled signing boards) for that purpose, LOL.
And for next year, the situation is quite murky and uncertain! I would love to attend again, but as I missed the first wave of tables, what are my odds in procuring one later on?