The Artist Experience at an Anime Convention
YoumaCon, Detroit’s biggest anime convention, is held annually at the beginning of November at the Renaissance Center. This year, it was Nov. 1-4. Every year, artists from all over the United States travel to YoumaCon to sell prints and other items in the designated area of the Dealer’s Hall, called Artist Alley. This year, a few artists talked about their typical convention routines.
Lyn, who goes by the artist name Shunao, attended YoumaCon for the first time this year. They have attended several conventions in the past, including Anime Expo in Los Angeles and FanimeCon in San Jose.
Lyn said, “My convention schedule is pretty consistent: wake up an hour before, get dressed, get to the con to set up, and then work until the closing hour.”
Some items that artists sell besides art prints include aluminum pins, handmade plushies, and acrylic charms. “Most of my best selling things are my charms; they’re pretty easy for people to buy for gift-giving.” Lyn said.
For California-based artist Anewworldxtine (A New World Xtine), traveling to conventions is a full-time job. “A typical con experience for me is flying in from another state...I often travel and attend conventions with my friends, so it’s normally a ton of fun just hanging out behind my table,” Anewworldxtine said. YoumaCon’s Dealer’s Hall stays open from 10 in the morning to 10 at night, which makes it difficult for artists to take breaks, especially if they have a table to themselves.
Theft is frequently worried about among artists. Kentucky-based artist Glitchbat, who often travels to conventions alone, describes how they manage to find time for a break.
“I usually move all the easily grabbed items off the table and leave a sign saying I’ll be back soon, and I try not to spend more than five minutes away...I also usually mention to my table neighbors that I’ll just be gone for a second,” Glitchbat said.
Despite long hours at conventions, these artists still enjoy their time there. “The best parts [of conventions] are meeting new people, seeing friends from all over the country, and engaging with people who like your art,” Glitchbat said.
Anewworldxtine said, “I’m happy that I can turn a childhood hobby into a career passion for a short bit of time.”
“It’s nice to meet friends and fans who enjoy your work,” Lyn said.
Many artists are uncomfortable with discussing exact numbers when it comes to how much money they make during conventions, but artists like Anewworldxtine rely on conventions for employment.
“It’s always so uplifting to sell your own art, because someone decided that they like what you make so much that they want to spend money on it, and it’s a good feeling,” Glitchbat said.
These artists also have online shops.
Lyn’s online shop can be found at www.shunao.myshopify.com.
Anewworldxtine’s online shop can be found at www.etsy.com/shop/anewworldxtine.com.
Glitchbat’s online shop can be found at www.glitchbat.etsy.com.
Photos by Nina Butts