This topic has probably been brought up before, but as a disclaimer this is something based on my own experience and is not necessarily experience by others. I may have a personal bias since I happen to know both artists who I commission from. The two times that I have specifically asked for commissions are surprisingly done in conjunction with AnimeNEXT which had an artist alley that is position specifically across from the Dealer’s Room at the Garden State Exhibition Center.
Consistently, I have had a love and hate feeling for AnimeNEXT’s Artist Alley…well hate is a pretty strong word, so I should say Love and Tears. Love because I always always love a lot of things that I see in the Artist Alley and Tears because, well the money that goes flying out of my wallet. Personally speaking, what I see at AnimeNEXT is at times not seen at other conventions. I am mostly going on about their availability for origami crafts jewelry. But enough gushing about what I see at AnimeNEXT’s artist alley.
Typically artists at the convention alleys often purchase table space to sell their products to attendees. To earn beyond the cost of purchasing the table space equals to a profit for artists. It is also as I learned a great place to network, and get exposure. A great deal of artists typically has prints, buttons or comics to sell. I also see fashion accessories, plushies or all types of crafts. If the artist is an illustrator, there’s most likely an advertisement on their booth that offers commissions for a fee to be completed during the course of the convention.
How does a person go about commissioning artwork? Well there should be an interest in artwork, and appreciating an artist enough to throw money at them. An artist does a lot of their artwork out of love for the subject and a commission is a transaction that is done one on one with a fan seeking an artist to use their artistic trade to create a custom image. These tips are also done within a very short period of time, if this is typically the first time commissioning a artwork or product.
- Hold onto your wallets, because the goal is to keep within a budget. Yes an artist would probably want you to throw as much money as you can to them.
- Give a walk around the artist alley once without buying anything. Observe, giggle and yes this may be best done alone or with a small group of friends. There is often not enough space to have a large crowd. Do a couple of walk rounds if you have time.
- Make mental observations to art styles or mediums used by the artists. Inquire about pricing and commission sizes. What are negotiable is the anime character, (more for one character), position, and tone of the product. Different prices are set between colors, or black and white. You can ask if you would want to have the artist emulate the official art or use their art style to convey that character.
- Inquire first if the artist knows the character/series you’re talking about, if not then have a reference handy.
- Settle on price and leave payment.
- Wait to pick up product.
The two commissions I have complete are actually tapped to by wall, protected in their original plastic coverings. If there is ever room, the option is also in my mind to frame the artwork. Yes this is not original artwork by the creator, but to appreciate a fandom and love in an artistic manner. Commissions are one way to support and have an enjoyable experience. Thanks to Juri and Lily for drawing your versions of Arale for me!