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Sabtastic
Direct any business inquiries to sab0d@hotmail.com, send a PM here, or hit me up on Twitter!

Sabrina @Sabtastic

32, Female

Artist

University of Alberta

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Joined on 7/3/09

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100+ Artist Alleys and 10 years of Comic Cons: A Milestone Thanks to Newgrounds

Posted by Sabtastic - August 30th, 2022


I just realized I've been selling my art at comic cons and artist alleys for more than 10 years!


Here's what my first tables looked like in 2013... (note the hand cut PVC pipe construction from home depot)

The overall look of my art has changed so drastically since then!

iu_739399_2916822.webp

I started with nothing but a binder full of prints, posters, buttons, and MAYBE stickers back then. (Everybody has to start somewhere!)


And here's one of my more recent Artist Alley tables from 2022~!


Over 100 shows later, I'm still learning to this day. My merchandise has expanded to include things like tote bags, coasters, and enamel pins.... And I've travelled all over Canada and the US independently!


iu_739400_2916822.webp


Why am I sharing this?


I actually owe a lot of my start to folks here on Newgrounds! (Hi, Tom!) The community here has been with me since the very beginning (I joined for the Art Portal back in 2009, got scouted by Mindchamber/Jose who was NG staff at the time,) and started tabling in 2011). Ever since I visited Newgrounds HQ to meet other artists at one of the Pico Day meetups, I've seen first-hand that being an independent artist is a perfectly attainable, possible career path, and the talented folks already doing it full-time gave me the courage to try and do it myself! It's a slow, difficult, steady grind, (of course) and the income is extremely unpredictable, but I love everything about it.


If anybody here is thinking about doing their first artist alley tables, I'm an open book! Hit me up with artist alley specific / questions anytime.


Just wanted to share and celebrate the progress.

Thanks for reading! <3


56

Comments

Awesome job! Congrats! That takes a ton of dedication to hit up the regular grind that way. Mad respekt.

AW SHUCKS, thanks BoMToons! <:
You've been at the artist grind for a while yourself, so it means a lot coming from you!

Inspiring

Aw thank you!

Awesome! Even though I am not very familiar with your work, I'm really proud of you!

What advice do you have for running a successful art career as well as setting up tables at comic cons and artist alleys? The latter might be something I want to give a shot at.

Aw thank you so much!

I had a quick peek at your profile and I can definitely suggest two very good conventions close to you: Emerald City Comic Con and Sakuracon (anime con)! They both usually take place in the spring and early summer. Same convention center. Might not be a bad idea to find an artist friend who would want to split the cost of an artist alley table, and try it out! Applications for Sakuracon and Emerald City should be opening up in the next couple months.

If you need suggestions for where to order prints locally, Minuteman Press is decent, and you should have a few in your city! Custom stickers from Stickerninja are really good, too. They're based in Portland, OR.

Let me know if you ever end up applying, and I'll happily be of assistance!

We're so proud of you!!! Love seeing your success! Hoping to catch you at a con again someday soon, your pins are the best!

AWE thanks Sam! So nice to get to see you, too!
Think you'll hit up Magfest again next year? I just re-applied!

thank for newgrounding all these years !!
keep up that artist grind !!!!!!!

You're too kind, thank YOU! :)

You've been one of the most active artists here since I joined.

Hahah not LATELY, but I do appreciate the kind words!
So many markets, no time to make + post new art content. x__x

congrats! gotta say a framed poster of one of your ducklings and doggies can be a really good gift

Heheh everybody can appreciate duckies

good for you, glad you’ve came so far
also seeing your profile picture and an actual picture scared me for a second, I’ve never seen someone’s persona be that accurate

Very cool! I still have the shiva and gerudo painting you gave me hanging

Whaaat! No way, thanks Tyler! :D :D
Hope you've been doin' well!

Always respected your Talent and your hustle good on you!

AWE THANKS COACH :D

Congrats on the ten years, and here's to more!

I can't draw (yet anyway) so manning a booth is not something I think is on my to-do list anytime in the near future. I do have a couple questions, though - if you're at a convention and you're running a booth, then do you feel like you're missing out on the rest of the convention, or have you "seen it all"? Also, do you get convention fatigue?

Thanks!! :) SUCH GOOD QUESTIONS.

Absolutely you do miss out on a lot of the fun stuff, but the interactions you get with people who want to see YOU and appreciate YOUR art that you worked hard on really make up for it! The work is certainly exhausting since you're talking to folks all day, sometimes for 10-12 hour days, and certainly being away from home for days at a time is draining, but I think the pros far outweigh the cons.

I wouldn't do it if I didn't like it! <:

is like parappa, YOU GOTTA BELIEVE

congrats, so cool to see such an aspiring and inspirational story

Cheers, glad you can appreciate the grind! :)

Oh hell yeah! Congrats 10+ years! Your art work is always a joy to see! Keep up the great work Sabrina

DAW thanks a ton, man. It means a lot! :D
Keep up the good work, yourself!

w sabtastic

When we gonna see an FNF booth at Anime North / Fan Expo? HMMM?

@Sabtastic I see, thanks for answering! Does that necessarily imply a certain level of "fame"/following required before you can start up your own booth at a convention? Certainly not just for breaking even, but moreso in terms of motivation - if you're missing out on a convention and not many people check out your stuff if you're starting out, or are in a different location from your target audience, I imagine that would be doubly demotivating.

Also there's probably an entire book's worth that could be written about getting started with selling stuff at conventions - things like logistics (from things that would stymie the layperson, such as the process of creating said merchandise like lapel pins, brooches, bags, posters, etc. to issues such as shoplifting, leaving the booth unattended --e.g. to go to the washroom, or to take a water break, etc.-- and others) to other business related topics (such as the finances involved in starting such a venture, forming connections with and beyond the convention, etc.). I'd certainly read it! lol

NO PROBBO, I'm happy to talk shop! It's pretty much all I know.

I would say that having an online following can HELP, but it's definitely not required! People that I know with like 100k followers still sometimes don't make their costs back. Alternatively, folks who "don't do social media" sometimes completely clean up and sell out of their merch! That said, when you apply for a show, you generally need SOMETHING to prove that you're a practicing artist, so I would recommend making an online gallery (NG or Instagram) where everything is displayed in one place.

It's all about starting small, too -- pick an inexpensive local show, or find a small art market that you can split the cost of a table at. You keep your risk low this way, AND you'll have a built-in table buddy to help negate theft or watch your stuff during breaks. Once you're confident you can make back your costs, start applying for larger, more expensive, high attendance shows!

For anybody else reading; I did not make my first table costs back when I started. This isn't a one-and-done deal. You need to keep at it to slowly learn and grow your brand!

@Sabtastic it sure would be a lot of fun! We'll check our schedule and see if we can make it!

Hell yea big milestone! Love them birbs

AW heck, thanks man!

Never stop growing. Always push forward and all the best for years to come :)

Thank you kindly! <:

Oooff, 100 is a TON, congrats Sab!!1

Aaand I do have an artist-alley/related question because why not:
How do you get (or make?) the stand up modules you use to showcase your illustrations and pins? (for example, the ones you have over the table)

(So far I've only been to a few smaller illustration fairs, but I may get back and it would be nice to 'level up' the table presentation a little bit lol)

Keep up the birbs! :)

AW TENKS, BUTZBO! I still have your lenticular bird + dragon cards in my office haha

Here are the links for my wire rack shelves (I use these for my small + medium card prints)
I love them because they fold semi-flat, fit into a large 29" suitcase, and you can cram up to 4 into your suitcases for con travel!
https://eddies.com/product-displays/magazine-racks-brochure-holders/six-tier-wire-countertop-literature-rack.html

These are the little plastic shelves I to hang small items like pins. These pack flat and are made of light plastic, too! You can buy 2 and combine them to make one extra tall display as well.
https://eddies.com/peg-hook-display-20-h.html

This whole entire website is FANTASTIC for shelving supplies + bags + display materials
Eddie's Hang-Up Display Ltd is the store name, and they're based in Canada!

@Sabtastic Oohh I just checked them out, those look great, especially considering portability! -I'm at least aware of the challenge of packing for these kind of events lol- Thanks for the data :)))

P.s.:OOh awesome to hear you still got the cards haha!!

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