tabbiewolf: (tabbie - spot snug)
ConnectiCon was fantastic, as always. Ginormous thanks to Mat and the rest of the staff & volunteers at the con for making it amazing (let's get a food truck festival again next year, that was awesome). Also huge thanks to everyone who stopped by my booth, grabbed a business card, got some buttons, bought my book or commissioned me, just chatted about fandoms and general awesomeness, and all that fun stuff :)

And of course huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] spotweld for being my booth-mate and button maker the whole weekend, and to Phil & Grimm for helping out as well! We couldn't have pulled off the awesomeness without you guys, especially my husband, who I'm pretty sure realized what he was getting in to when he married me but I can never be sure (he knows now, though).

I took Monday off to veg and reset, though I was less worn out than I usually am. I'm reanalyzing how I set up my booth and advertise my art (I didn't at all this weekend, outside of my banner, and STILL got commissions, and I got to draw some fan art for cosplayers as well), but I *am* saddened by the number of folks who obviously felt the prices I quoted them were too expensive. Not because I think I overprice myself -- I have 20-some years of professional illustration experience, folks, and I know the time & work involved; I'm gonna charge you for it -- but because people are so unwilling to invest in art. I can't complain, it was still a great weekend (and maybe the lack of commissions is why I'm didn't feel so overstressed and exhausted Monday), but it's a thought to toss around and ponder.

In the meanwhile, Disney announced all the Food & Wine festival details, so it's time to start planning that :)

It's nice to have only one con (that I'm working) this year. A lot less stressful.
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - spot bed)
Hey, couple folks who still check LJ! Been awhile, hasn't it. What have I been up to?

1) My mom and stepdad visited July 4th weekend and we all had a good time. We took the Essex Steam Train dinner ride, which was very nice (though kinda pricey; $80/per person, cocktails/wine not included!)…did some generally poking around in the Hudson Valley, including a visit to The Gilded Otter (a very tasty brewpub that my mom and stepdad have been going to for awhile, so she was uberpleased to share it with us [though we'd been before, on her recommendation]) and the Tuthilltown Distillery (makers of vodka, whiskey, and now Triple Sec and Cacao Liqueur, both of which I now own)…then closed out the trip with a visit to the casinos. Always good seeing my mom, and I can say that without any degree of sarcasm.

2) Last weekend was ConnectiCon, which was a blast as always. It's my third convention of the year and probably my last, since I didn't get a table at Furpocalypse. I've also been rethinking my regular attendance of furry cons, but I'll save that line of thought for a future post.

I DID learn that having a full-time job AND working a convention table is REALLY DIFFICULT and next year I am taking the Monday after off to rest, if I get a table again. 12 days in a row of solid 8-hour days (well, with one 6-hour day in the middle) wears you the hell out.

3) The job is still going well! It's been something like 100 days since I've been employed and I'm still learning — you're always still learning — but I hope they continue to keep me on because I'm pretty happy there. I have noticed I lose my spoons a bit quicker than I used to when I wasn't working, but considering my social anxiety and introversion has gotten a lot worse than the last time I worked full-time (because of things like the Job/Boss From Hell), this should be a surprise to no one.

4) Spot and I are planning our next Disney trip. Not the group trip I've mentioned (which can still be read about here: http://notacon.freeforums.net — please come over and say hi if you are interested), which will be October of 2016, but I was calling to make reservations for a different trip next year and the hotel chain offered a "Sit through our timeshare deal and stay at the hotel for like next to nothing" thing, so I was like what the hell.

And yes, we've been warned they are scams, and yes, we already know. We're not dumb with money, guys, despite how many conventions we've been to =p Thanks for your concern though!

ANYWAY! Our quick Disney trip is planned for the first weekend in December, because I have never seen Disney World at Christmas time and I totally want to. Hotel room already reserved (non-Disney hotel, but it's in Downtown Disney, so we'll deal), plane tickets already bought, and I'm currently fidgeting over how soon to buy tickets to the Christmas party.

I like having trips to look forward to :)

5) I'm trying to get back into the swing of arting, which has been on the back burner as I've been adjusting to the new job and dealing with family and friends and conventions. Finally got some work done on something for a friend this weekend, and hoping to kick up to working on a comic that was commissioned earlier this year. I don't want to push myself too much, though, because I know I'll crash…and I also know I'm going through a bit of a manic phase right now, which puts me much closer to that edge I'll fall off of.

So, not a HUGE amount going on, but enough to keep us busy. I think ConnectiCon filled all my social desires for awhile, and I'm currently having fun planning our trips and trying to nudge myself into drawing more. Meanwhile, Spot and I are cooking and cleaning and snuggling and enjoying life and being domestic…huzzah!
tabbiewolf: (I think I've grown)
So Furpocalypse's dealer registration has come and gone, and I am on the wait list.

As are the majority of local friends I know who applied. Though 4 friends who aren't local got tables? And one local friend? So that's a thing? A Connecticut con with no Connecticut-based artists seems weird to me *shrug* But last year they didn't even publish the dealers list until like, October, so who knows who got in.

ANYWAY. With no table, the convention is of no interest to me. Sure, I love seeing friends there, but I see the same friends at every gaming meet...and those I don't see at gaming meets, I see because they want me to draw them things, or we wanna do homework together, or whatever. A lot of my friends are fellow artists =p

Spot will still be running the gaming room, obviously. And I MAY end up hanging out and running a few games, but in all honesty I'm looking at other things to do on Halloween weekend...ranging from Sleepy Hollow's haunted activities to Salem's psychic faire (seriously) to, depending on money, taking a plane trip somewhere for a solo weekend abroad.

I dunno. It bugs me that the con that is literally less than ten minutes from me turned me (and a lot of my friends) down for tables, but I guess it proves they aren't biased? When you're the wife of a staff member and you can't get a table...

Sigh.

Anyone doing anything Halloween weekend and want to hang out? My husband will be busy, and unless I help him out in the gaming room I'll be on my own that weekend.
tabbiewolf: (Anywhen)
Y'all know me. I go to conventions pretty regularly (though not as regularly as some of my friends), and I almost always go as a dealer. I am also highly critical of how conventions are run, because it only takes one bad experience to make me analyze why the experience was bad (this is what lead to the attendee:dealer ratio thing I do) and to stop going to that convention.

This past weekend, we went to (Re)Generation Who. It was the con's first year, we knew a lot of the staff, and both me and [livejournal.com profile] spotweld are fans of Doctor Who. Since it's not a furry con, I focused mostly on my buttons, as well as bumper stickers (which are a new addition to my convention lineup) and a new cocktail book based on Doctor Who (I'll hopefully be posting a PDF of that book to my Patreon later today, for $10+ patrons). And since it was a small con, and its first year, I was not expecting to make a massive amount of profit.

Straight to the point: I didn't. I covered my table costs, and my part of the room (not Spot's), but in the end my total profit (allowing for the cost of table & room) was around $26.

And yet, I still want to go next year.

So what was the difference?

In all honesty, the entire experience. This was one of, if not the most professional conventions I have ever been to, especially for a first year. It was also a rather intimate experience because it was such a small convention, meaning you were basically walking down the hallway or sharing a dining room with Colin Baker or Terry Molloy (or both at once). My booth was along the back of the dealers room, diagonal to the guests of honor, meaning my weekend was filled with squee moments of listening to Sylvester McCoy talk like Radagast, or hearing/watching him and Terry Molloy play a ukulele/spoons ditty with Cat Smith. You can totally see my banner in the background of that video, so you can see right where I was sitting.

I'm a little starstruck, yes. But it's nerdy starstruck, so hopefully that's normal?

The weekend was also a lot less stressful. Usually I have an emotional crash mid-convention and get really snappy and irritable, but that didn't happen at ALL (I was definitely a bit snappy on the drive down; I think I was nervous about setup). I don't know if it was because I wasn't doing a lot of art (I did a trade with a fellow vendor, and a single badge, and worked a bit on Falconeio's sketchbook -- there were plenty of furries at the con [they kept trying to get me to Fur The More] but it wasn't an art-focused convention), or that we were going out for all the local booze & good food (CRAB AND OLD BAY SEASONING ON EVERYTHING, I'm home!) or it was simply the atmosphere of the convention.

Anyway. I came away from the con, despite the lack of profits, feeling just happy with the world. Maybe I'm hypomanic right now (I'm gonna be getting my brain pills later today and starting that whole deal), but...it was just a completely different experience than every furry con I've been to. So much less drama, no room parties causing too much noise (that we could hear, anyway), and it just seems like the Doctor Who fandom is a lot...quieter isn't the right word, but it's the first to come to mind, than the furry fandom.

Also notable: the gender split was pretty much right down the middle and the age of fans ranged from toddler to senior citizen. The latter probably has to do with the fact that the show has been around for 50+ years -- a lot of old school sci-fi fans were met this weekend -- but the former is interesting to me. I have to wonder: why does the furry fandom lean so heavily male? I used to think that was just fandoms in general (and unfortunately things like the video game explosion [not gonna name it, don't want my journal to get bombed by those people] and all that crap are making the male constituency of fans even more obvious), but that's just not right.

After the con we visited DuClaw for the best beer ever, and then on the drive back home on Monday (after, yes, running into various guests of honor in the lobby because that's just how cons like this go and we were all checking out at the same time...I maintain that Sylvester McCoy is adorable [I want to put him in my pocket] and Terry Molloy is just a delightful human being in general, and Patricia Quinn has amazing outfits, and Sophie Aldred is a joy, and I can't name everyone here but they are all just amazing, wonderful people) we hit Boordy Vineyards, home of my favorite wine of all time. We somehow fit everything in the car, even amongst all my con crap, and we listened to Terry Pratchett's Soul Music on the drive home.

I also want to get everyone to road trip down to Maryland this summer. This is a thing that should happen. Or I can just get some Maryland blue crabs and we can do a cookout in the backyard. Hmmm...
tabbiewolf: (taste the rainbow)
Or is it Presidents' Day weekend? I guess it's both, really.

[livejournal.com profile] spotweld and I did our traditional Valentine's Day dinner on Friday night, cooking up porterhouse steaks, potatoes, and brussels sprouts, with a side of red wine (Apothic's Crush, if anyone's curious; Apothic makes amazingly tasty wine blends and I highly recommend them). Then we shagged good & proper.

Saturday we headed down to NYC for PonyCon. I've never done a brony convention before, and I wanted to meet a friend from Twitter (a friend who is part of the team responsible for Twilight Sparkle's Secret Ship Fic Folder, which is the kind of game I wish we had in the furry fandom -- why are all our card games porn? Luckily they're working on a new game that isn't pony-specific [I may get to help with the art, woo!]).

It was neat seeing a convention that I'm not a dealer for, which I haven't done in literally years. We picked up lots of swag, supported the Traveling Pony Museum (Dear furry fandom, This is a great idea! Steal it!), and totally missed out on any panels because we wanted to eat at a local British pub and also wanted to catch Munchkin World NYC before they closed for the night.

Munchkin World NYC was a pop-up store, located in NYC because everyone was already there for the New York Toy Fair, and devoted to Steve Jackson Game's Munchkin series. We learned about it on Twitter as we were traveling to PonyCon, and considering SpotWeld is a board/card game geek and I have absorbed a fair chunk of this geekiness by marrying him (my geekiness is like a sponge), we both wanted to go. Munchkin is a great game if you've never played it, and it's simple enough that I actually know how to play (I prefer board & card games that don't require much brainspace, as I often am also cooking/cleaning/playing host during gaming meets -- and please don't think I mind because I very much like being the host! :) ), and the guys at Steve Jackson games are all pretty awesome. Spot takes advantage of their Men in Black during FurFright Furpocalypse, and they're always great guys. I suspect Spot would be amongst them if he wasn't playing minion to me at most conventions!

So we got some of the limited edition cards, looked through the new art for the cards coming out in Star Munchkin 3 (Time Lard!), saw the new box artwork for Steampunk Munchkin -- which, besides being steampunk, has art by Phil Foglio (who is definitely one of the Gods of Steampunk), so I imagine Spot will be purchasing it the moment it comes out (sometime in July this year), -- learned about Munchkin Loot Letter (which is Love Letter, but with Munchkin; it's very cute and doesn't require the amount of girls hitting on girls that Love Letter did last time we played...not that there's anything wrong with that ;) ), and oh yeah, Spot won Munchkin Quest! Signed by Steve Jackson, John Kovalic, and Andrew Hackard! Meaning, admittedly, that game will never leave our house (it will NOT be coming to any conventions with us, sorry, guys), but hey, how cool is that?

After Munchkin World, we ended up walking through Times Square, which is as bright as day even at 9pm. A quick detour into their giant Disney Store earned my Figment hat (thank you again, [livejournal.com profile] world_dancer, it's definitely my favorite hat!) a lot of compliments, and then we wandered our way back to the subway station, trying our best to ignore the heaving masses of tourists and people in badly assembled costumes (fursuits: they spoil you). A quick ride over to Grand Central, and then we were on our way back home.

Sunday we spent mostly lounging around the house, though I did randomly get the urge to go buy frames for my new pony art and some art I got in Disney...which was oddly fortunate, because Micheal's is having a big President's Day sale, so it cost a lot less than it would have if I went later this week. We also hit Target for random necessities like shampoo, and I ended up grabbing some jars because I plan on making bumbleberry jam or jelly sometime this week with all the berries we have sitting in the downstairs freezer.

Which means I will be putting up a "WHO WANTS SOME JELLY" post sometime whenever I finish that.

I also ordered a few things for working on convention stuff, since ReGeneration Who is a mere month-and-a-half away and I need to get started on prep for that. I'm planning on making a new cocktail book of Doctor Who-related drinks, which means I'm gonna be playing the "power through that art" game before the month is over.

All in all, a great Valentine's Day weekend :) And now, to work on some commissions!

California

Jan. 7th, 2015 01:13 pm
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - elwood)
Driven through the canyons I was
Dazzled by the mountains and we didn't go very far
Close enough to heaven if you
Climb up on a mansion you too can swing like a star


In ONE WEEK, [livejournal.com profile] spotweld and I will be on a plane somewhere over the middle of the country on our way to San Jose. I'm just a little excited, in that I have brought back lyrics to describe myself, which I have not done in quite some time.

The unneeded excuse for going, of course, is Further Confusion. I haven't done a BIG furry convention in years, so this con is going to be a big deciding factor in a lot of things…mostly: Are big furry conventions still worth going to? Is the time/money/travel stress worth it? Or is staying close to home and focusing on my online commission work the way to go?

As you all know, I've been overly critical of big furry cons because the money I made didn't make up for the time/money/travel stress that went into one a few years ago. I was completely underwhelmed by the traffic, though I can fully admit: it may have been the economy and it wasn't just me (though I've heard similar things from other, much bigger name, artists). Further Confusion seems to have taken the dealer:attendee ratio into account for their dealers room, which as a dealer I agree with wholeheartedly. I've heard nothing but good things about it from artists who've gone previously (as in: you barely have time to eat, you get so many commissions), so I'm hoping it'll change my views on bigger cons.

Then again, the last big convention had the whole "terrorist attack" issue so who knows. I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst, which is my normal state of being (yeah, I'm that kind of person).

At least I fully don't expect to pay for our transportation with convention earnings. Sadly, cross-country plane tickets are a WEE BIT too expensive to expect something like that. Though…that would be a HELL of a convention.

I was just a passenger a
Rider on the tremors that were shaking all our beds at night
A visitor a stranger thought I
Might pass for a regular if I just kept out of the lights


Besides Further Confusion, which again is the unneeded excuse to get out to California (I can write those plane tickets off as at least a partial business expense), I've got a dorky, happy excitement going on for staying with [livejournal.com profile] tugrik. It's a feeling very similar to meeting a crush for the first time, which it pretty much is (we've probably crossed paths before, but I spend most conventions braindead and in "work mode" — if you've ever worked retail you hopefully know what I mean…I've re-introduced myself to people I've met before at the same convention a few years in a row because of this. On the other hand, I get to meet folks for the first time several times!). And yes, Spot knows fully about my crush and is okay with it, as far as he's let me know.

Can I mention how glad I am that I married Spot? Let me mention that again here: damn, I'm a lucky girl.

After Further Confusion, all three of us will be driving down the beautiful California coast — assuming no major storms show up, anyway, as I know that makes the Pacific Coast Highway kind of a bitch to drive — to Anaheim. Despite being a huge Disney fan, Spot's never been to Disneyland, the place that started it all. Sadly since it's off-season a lot of it is closed or under construction, but hey, it won't be crowded!

I really wish we had more time on the trip. Part of me thinks "Damn, I wish the convention wasn't that weekend" even though that's part of the reason we're going. But I think no matter how much time we had, we wouldn't be able to see it all. Tiki bars, jade hunting on the coast, the Missions, weird tourist attractions, San Francisco & Los Angeles/Hollywood/etc. in general…and we won't even be going further down the coast, which is sad because the San Diego Zoo is amazing but we just don't have the time.

Of note: the International Tiki Marketplace at Don the Beachcomber's will be taking place THE DAY AFTER WE LEAVE. Aaaaaaaaaaaugh. Though two cons one right after the other might be nuts. We should plan to do that some year, though.

I wonder if people who actually live in California feel like there's no way they can possibly do everything. It's been forever since I lived there (or near there, considering my years in the desert of Arizona) but I can't help but think it's more normal than anything (similar to what I imagine living in NYC is like…"Oh, yeah, Empire State Building? Walk by that every day."), despite that it takes 6 or more hours of driving to get anywhere.

Well, I can't be pissy about it: we're gonna have a lot of fun and I'm gonna eat a ridiculous amount of In & Out Burger.

(That is not the only thing I'm excited about but damn I'm looking forward to it.)

Tore my heart out from my chest
Mixed it up in my mind with the best freshest pieces of my soul
Chose the ones I loved the most
Drove 'em all down to the coast
Threw 'em in a big black hole


Now, back to convention preparations. I've gotten most things done, but I still need to work on my Sketch of the Day book (if it doesn't get done I won't be TOO depressed about it), pick up some more new markers, and make some more badge examples.

And if you're also gonna be at Further Confusion: Lemme know and/or come say hi! Space 25 in the dealers' room, I'll be there most of the convention selling my wares and drawing all the things. I also take badge & commission orders in advance, if anyone wants to throw money at me now ;)
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - fall)
This is copy-pasted from [livejournal.com profile] spotweld's journal, though I'm pretty sure everyone who follows me also follows him =p

Hello everyone!
The Connecticut Furry Convention, FurPocalypse is coming up fast.
8 days and counting.

The main website is here: https://furpocalypse.org/

But a bunch of other useful information has also been uploaded.
Here's the direct links. If you'll be there be sure to look things over ahead of time and also check out the gaming rooms!

Dealer List and Dealer's Room Layout: https://furpocalypse.org/docs/dealers.pdf
Events Schedule: https://furpocalypse.org/docs/events.pdf
Panels Schedule: https://furpocalypse.org/docs/panels.pdf
Gaming Schedule: https://furpocalypse.org/docs/gaming.pdf
Movie Schedule: https://furpocalypse.org/docs/movies.pdf

Let me know if anyone out there is looking for more information, I'll see what I can do!

Also, volunteers are always welcome. Anyone working the graveyard shift will have those hours count double towards reward swag. Details here: https://furpocalypse.org/volunteer.html

~*~

Not included in Spot's post: I will have a table in the Dealer's Room, smack in the center of the damn thing. I am hoping to be premiere my Bawdy Bartender portfolio there, as well as my usual buttons and comics and prints, along with bottle openers. I will also have plush Tigerdiles if neither Caribou or Tanabi show up.

If you want a custom button (1.25" or 2.25") or bottle opener, please poke me now! I can happily make badge buttons featuring your character, since I'm not sure how I'll pull that off in a non-digital fashion (I might experiment with doing it with markers this weekend, because being able to do that on-site would be neat). I am also taking pre-con badge commissions. Don't worry, [livejournal.com profile] dalesql and [livejournal.com profile] fenris_lorsrai, your badges will be done by then :) I've just been in the middle of a "OH MY GOD THE CON'S NEXT WEEK" thing. Though the portfolio is nearly done, and I've already started printing, laminating, and punching pages :)
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - spot snug)
I've started something dubbed by Luno as "The Bawdy Bartender's Book," and it is going to be my main project this month (outside of running around in circles excited about going back to Disney World)! Poke on over to my FA journal to get the full scoop. I still have a few spots open, though if no one takes them, I will throw my own characters into the portfolio :)

~*~

Less than a month till our Disney trip and we are uberpsyched. I am reading WAY too many blogs and forums that I have already read a bunch of times, and following far too many Disney-related accounts on Twitter. I already know a ridiculous amount of everything about it, but I'm still doing it. Because EXCITED.

Of course, after our Disney trip (with a slight bounce in October for our local convention), I will be playing the "excited as all hell about going to California" game. Apparently the secret to keeping me happy is to know I will be traveling in the near future.

~*~

I was gonna say some other stuff but I have, in all honesty, completely forgotten. I'm gonna go back to spazzing about Disney and working on sketches :)
tabbiewolf: (boom de ya da)
Yesterday was [livejournal.com profile] spotweld's birthday, so I made him a rum cake and we went to Mohegan Sun to eat fancy-schmancy food at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain. VERY tasty steak and seafood. We also goofed off on the fancy slot machines that are always full on weekends. Didn't win anything, but eh...it's a birthday, you get to splurge :)

I also bought him a fire pit that arrived today. Because FIRE. It is sitting on the porch now because it weighs 40-some pounds and is kind of huge so I don't want to attempt moving it. But if you come over to our place, marshmallow and weenie roasting will be done!

I was going to spend today finishing the last minute stuff for ConnectiCon: finish making a few more buttons, organize the stuff that hasn't been yet (the bigger buttons need a method of storage that I've only actually figured out in my head AND the big Con Box needs to be reshuffled), print up some lists of buttons and stock sheets.

Unfortunately, I woke up today feeling rather like someone had driven a fork into my head. NOT as bad as a migraine, but definitely similar. Same feeling of nausea, too. I took a hot bath, which sometimes helps, but this time it didn't...so I took a nap, only a couple hours after waking up, trying to get rid of the nausea. Thankfully, it worked, so I ate something very mild and I'm hoping that whatever it was that's causing it has gone away. The headache stuck around, so I've taken some Pamprin and am trying to get stuff done anyway. Once again I'm stuck grinding in first or second gear, when I SHOULD be operating in fourth.

#TMITuesday: It's probably PMS. My body seems to think that excess progesterone (the hormone that is responsible for morning sickness) is a really great plan during my cycle, and worst off: I know it's genetic because my mom went through the same thing (at least I know it's NORMAL, though, even if it's a pain in the ass). Also PMS seems to come into effect the moment my period ends, which I'm really enjoying [/sarcasm] The moodiness is steady, though the nausea is only occasional. I will be talking to my OB/GYN about this when I see her for my yearly checkup later this month; she put me on Prozac for it two years ago, but the side effects of Prozac were fucking with my sleep schedule so I stopped taking it. Might be time to find a new drug or to start taking it again.

And if you ended up getting Huey Lewis & the News in your head thanks to that last sentence, I apologize.

So, though I'm now getting started many hours later than I'd like to, I AM going to try to get a majority of the con stuff done today. Official con setup is on Thursday, and thankfully I'm pretty far along in prepping...probably because I've been working on it, a little bit each day, for a month and a half. The opposite of procrastination, guys, be proud of me!

I'm hoping to use that preparation motivation to work on a comic or two after this convention. But I've been saying that for years so don't hold me to it.

Actually, no, hold me to it. I need to fucking do it. I'm awesome, and the stories in my head are awesome, and I really should draw them.

EXCITEMENT

May. 5th, 2014 03:49 pm
tabbiewolf: (dragon - happy)
Just got approval for my Dealers Room application -- if all goes right (And by which I mean "World War Three doesn't happen before then"), I'll be exhibiting my works at Further Confusion next year :D

I haven't been this excited about a convention in quite a while, though I'm admittedly using it as an excuse to take [livejournal.com profile] spotweld to California. He's never been, and there's so much to see.

I plan on making at least a week of it, outside of the convention itself. Fly into San Jose, fly out of Los Angeles, drive down the coast because he's never been to Disneyland and we're both Disney geeks. Hopefully we will have a day in San Francisco, too, where I will overindulge on sourdough bread.

And actual decent Mexican food. And See's chocolate. And In & Out Burger. Oh my yes. You can just roll me home, I don't mind.

Plus there are several people I am hoping that, by going to this convention, I will finally be able to meet in person and share a meal with. Who wants to come to Disneyland with us?

Not kidding on that last question, if you're free the week following Further Confusion :)
tabbiewolf: (boom de ya da)
General Disclaimer: I have never personally managed or been a director/official staff at a convention, though I tend to find myself gophering and helping out at cons I am not selling my wares at (and sometimes ones I am, since my husband was a director at FurFright) because I get bored just wandering around. I am an artist and a dealer, and this commentary is from a business (read: money is important) point-of-view. I am not trying to insult anyone or any convention, but I WILL be using conventions and my personal experience at them as examples.

The two big cons I have attended are ConnectiCon and AnthroCon:

ConnectiCon is a multi-genre convention, meaning you find everything from anime to board/card games to pop culture to internet memes to video gaming. Last year’s attendance was somewhere around 15,000 people. It takes place at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, which has 140,000 square feet of exhibition space (usually divided in half for the convention: one side is the area for dealers/artists/special guests/etc., the other side is for board/card/video gaming) — I’m going to rough estimate that the Dealers Room is 70,000 square feet in this case. It is linked to the Hartford Marriott, though I think the amount of con-based events that go on in the attached hotel are minimal (they had the Nerd Prom there last year, and it was a capped attendance).

Anthrocon is an anthropomorphic animal/furry-based convention. Though I’m relatively sure that the fandom is geeky enough that you could have a table of Doctor Who or Supernatural or any other number of fandoms’ stuff and do well at the con, that’s not what the convention is based around*; it focuses primarily on art, books (comics and novels), crafting, and more than ever lately, costumes. Last year’s attendance was 5,577 people. It takes place at the David L Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, which has a fuckton of exhibition space because it’s huge, but Anthrocon generally keeps its Dealers Den to Hall B which is 82,450 square feet, and its Artists Alley/Art Show is in Hall C, which is 45,100 square feet, for a total of 127,550 square feet…though I don’t think art show space should count towards vendors (though technically, if you’re buying art in the show, you’re not using that money for vendors). It is linked to the Westin Convention Center hotel, and a fair amount of panels/events are hosted in the hotel meeting rooms (or they were let time I went…folks, feel free to correct me here!).

Down to comparisons. The Connecticut Convention Center is set up on two floors: the exhibition hall and the ballrooms/panel rooms. The David L Lawrence Convention Center is 4 floors; 2 floors of exhibition halls, 2 floors of panel rooms. Anthrocon also uses the attached hotel meeting rooms for panels. The first floor of the convention center hasn’t been used, but apparently the Zoo (a major social gathering area) will be moved to Hall D this year**.

Because of the layout of both conventions, you COULD spend the entirety of each convention without ever going in the Dealers Room. It’d be a lot more difficult at ConnectiCon, though, because the Dealers Room generally shares a doorway with the gaming room. It would also mean you wouldn’t meet the famous nerd celebrities that ConnectiCon brings in, since they’re all situated in the Dealers Room; last year it was along the wall right next to the Artists Colony area. But, you could do it.

Anthrocon, it’s a LOT easier to avoid the Dealers Room. You used to have to walk through it to get to the Art Show. Now, they may have changed it last year (I didn’t go), but when I last went in 2012, you could actually just go into the Art Show through its own entrance (I may just be remembering the special artists’ event, though!), or just walk along the front wall of Hall B into Hall C. You’d see a few dealers, but not all that many. You could also see the Guest of Honor without any work; last time I was there, they were right towards the front of the room. Which makes sense, but also means you don’t actually have to see the rest of the Dealers Room at all (this is another thing they could have changed last year, again, feel free to tell me I’m using old knowledge!).

Another interesting thing to note about Anthrocon is that the Dealers Room is basically a whole lot of tables, or at least, it was last time I was there in 2012. Unlike the majority of large conventions (both comic-based and otherwise) that feature booths — typically an 8x8’ to 12x12’ area outfitted with cloth “curtains” and a table (some conventions, including ConnectiCon, have dealers that operate stores [online or off] that have setups that don’t use this, but the Artists Colony, Webcomics, etc., still use this sort of setup) — Anthrocon has…tables***. It’s basically a really big Artists Alley****, only you need to have a tax license and also it costs more to be a part of (you can also write it off as a business expense on your taxes, of course). Direct comparison: for the same cost as a table at Anthrocon — $200 for a full table & 2 vendor badges, and this is assuming you apply right when registration opens (currently weekend registration is $55 per person) — you can get a booth at, say, BronyCon ($200 = 10x10’ booth with 2 vendor badges).

Does this make Anthrocon less professional? Well, in my opinion…yeah, a little bit.

It IS worth noting: ConnectiCon’s Dealers Room/Artists Alley/etc. basically have you register and then present you with “We hope you know what you’re doing because you get to do this on your own” thing. Anthrocon — and for that matter, all furry cons I’ve been a dealer with — is much better on basically showing you the ropes by providing information before the convention and during setup. That’s a thing that really lacks appreciation and should get a lot more of it, but I think a lot of dealers at furry cons ONLY go to furry cons and haven’t attempted much outside of them, especially those who are artists who focus on selling art/commissions and not other things. Which is great, but it also means you lose the experience that you get at other conventions and so there’s no comparison.

Now, don’t get me wrong: I know Anthrocon’s Dealers Room is almost sold out at this point, even though it’s massive. And that’s great! A lot of cons that AREN’T in massive convention centers sell out in minutes*****, and that leaves a lot of grumbling artists. But sometimes trying to please everyone ends in a mediocre fashion.

I’m kind of just rambling now, because it’s a lot of thoughts on one subject and this is my journal so I can ramble all I like, but here’s my sum-up:

• Having to make the Dealers Room a destination instead of something that may catch your eye on the way to somewhere else isn’t great for business, outside of for the folks in the Dealers Room that people are visiting the room for. If my options are “Go spend money on art” or “Hang with friends in room watching videos on YouTube, spend all money on booze & condoms”…well, as an artist, I’d choose art, but I think a lot of folks don’t =p

• Size DOES matter, but bigger isn’t necessarily better. Having more space to spread out in is FANTASTIC. Filling that space with as much as you can possibly cram into it, not so much. There’s a finite amount of dollars to be spent, and the ratios for dealers don’t work out well (I did a post about this awhile back).

So, if you only read those two bullet points, you probably got what I wanted this post to mean. This has been sitting on my desktop since the holidays so I'm gonna post the damn thing now =p All opinions and comments are welcomed, just follow Wheaton's Law.


* The only true “brother” fandom, in my opinion (and at this point in time; I’m sure there have been others), is the bronies, and this is because a large chunk of them seem utterly unwilling to admit that they are technically members of the furry fandom.

** This was a surprise to me, and a sign that Anthrocon is basically a huge party. I go to conventions to have fun, but also to promote myself and sell my wares, generally not to party (I’m working too hard to party, dammit); I took this as a sign that my choosing not to go to Anthrocon for a while is a good plan.

*** Please keep in mind that I’m referring to conventions that take place in actual convention centers! Conventions that take place in hotels that have convention space — meeting rooms, small ballrooms, etc. — such as FurFright, Small Press eXpo, etc., don’t have room for booths like this.

**** Actually, I think Artists Alley might work better than the Dealers Room in this aspect because it’s in a smaller space. Last time I was a dealer at Anthrocon, the person who was the other half of the table spent the whole time socializing. Which is great — it’s part of what conventions are for! — but when your very drunk (at noon on Saturday) friend comes around and then hangs out the whole day because there’s room for them…yeah…that’s…something that makes you wish you had a booth.

***** This leads to the “Is having a Dealers Room that sells out in minutes really a good idea?” thing, which, speaking as a dealer, FUCK NO. I much prefer the idea of a lottery system, and I have no idea why many conventions (both furry and otherwise) haven’t switched over to that (I know K’gra did last year for FurFright). Small Press eXpo in Maryland is operating a half lottery/half invitation system this year, which I think is a really smart way of doing things with the space they have to operate in (and, assuming it’s the same space I went to years ago, it’s not all that much!): they can invite bigger names for publicity, and still allow new folks to the scene a shot at getting in. I was honestly considering RainFurrest this year, and I missed the dealers room signup, and it sold out in like 4 minutes. I’d rather be spending my Saturday out and about, not staring at a computer screen waiting for a POSSIBLE chance at business/travel later in the year.
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - roundish)
The holidays sent me ass over teakettle, though I DID spend all of yesterday drawing, which was pretty awesome and majorly satisfying. If I still owe you art or comics, they're on their way, I've just been totally in a "I'm spending this week having massive amounts of sex & snuggling with my hyena, fuck everything else (not literally)" mode.

Plans for the New Year: Taking a break from going to Anthrocon in 2013. The stress:fun ratio is starting to get unbalanced, and the money spent:money earned ratio, if similar to this year, will make it totally not worth my time. I made more money at FurFright - a significant amount more, a couple hundred bucks - and I didn't have to spend 18+ hours in the car and stay in a hotel and eat terrible pizza because everything else was closed or packed. Hell, if you figure it out, I made almost exactly half what I made at Anthrocon at ConnectiCon (with the help of [livejournal.com profile] fenris_lorsrai)…and at ConnectiCon, I was only selling buttons.

I also got a lot more interest in my booth at FurFright, and a lot more interest in my art! I sold several of my portfolios and quite a few more commissions and comic books (also a general interest in Jarlidium's other works, since they don't go to FurFright). At Anthrocon, I saw a lot of old friends and had several folks who've been commissioning me for years pop in…but really, it wasn't enough to make me want to go back. Plus, these folks know how to contact me online!

Let's face it, folks: we're inviting all the folks we'd be spending time with at Anthrocon to our wedding! Or, as it's currently known:


Going to get these printed up as magnets to send out for our Save the Dates. We figure we should start early since it's Memorial Day weekend and people start making plans early!

And yes, that registry info is live. Our wedding website/registry, which includes video of the proposal and awesome art by our amazing friends :) I'll be posting this every so often until the actual wedding date.

We're planning our honeymoon for the Food & Wine Festival, which is in the fall.

Plans for Being More Productive: I'm going to start a comic this year. I say this pretty much every year, but with my new Cintiq tablet and a whole lotta time on my hands, I really have no excuse (I haven't since October, really, but I blame the holidays). I might Livestream the development process, if anyone's interested in watching me fuck around with character designs and color schemes.

I also am looking into getting a local, part-time job. By "local" I mean "I can walk or ride a bike to it" and by "part-time" I mean "doesn't take up so much of my life that I ponder suicide the way The Job From Hell did." Spot and I still only have one car between us, and I've realized that all our fun weekends have added up to almost 30,000 miles on the car in the year we've owned it. That's quite a few tanks of gas! We'll be limiting our trips out to maybe once a month, and if/when I get my job, I'm thinking of investing in a Vespa or other motor scooter.

Ideally, I'll be able to get a job at a local print & design shop. I'm not putting too much hope into that, but it's what I love to do, and it's something I'm comfortable spending 6-8 hours a day doing.

Annual Locking of the Entries: Sometime in the coming week, I'll be doing a massive lockdown of all this year's journals. If there's anything you want to save to blackmail me later, do it now! And don't be freaked out when I lock everything down. It's been a yearly tradition for a while now, and I don't delete the entries -- I just make it so only I can view them!
tabbiewolf: (faye - murder anybody)
So, as I think I've stated previously, I'm honestly considering not going to Anthrocon next year. Though Spot and I treat it like a little vacation (spending money on dinners out is a treat, stuff like that), it usually ends up more stressful than anything. This year at FurFright -- which is extremely local to us so requires very little cost to get there, and we can eat food from our own fridge -- I made a fair amount more money than I did at Anthrocon. It could just be the economy, admittedly, but figuring it out, the ratios of attendees to dealers is as follows:

Anthrocon - 20:1
FurFright - 33:1

Those extra 13 people made a huge difference in the money I made. I might look into other conventions and do comparisons.

When you figure out the cost of everything for a single person (counting that the room and ride were split), I actually made very little at Anthrocon; most of what I made went into paying for getting there, getting food, and staying in Pittsburgh for 5 days. And if me and Spot were to do it ourselves -- no splitting the room or the ride -- it'd cost something like $1500 (which what I make wouldn't pay for, even if you halved it). Which, when you figure it out, is a lot of money to spend to be stressed out and tired and come home with Con Crud.

I think I've just been frustrated with people lately, and perhaps come the new year it won't bother me as much. Just little things keep building up. The newest thing is that a game from the gaming room at FurFright somehow ended up in someone's hotel room. We marked the majority of the games with stickers with our contact info on them, but those games aren't supposed to leave the gaming room. The majority of the games at FurFright are Spot's personal collection, folks -- he loans them to the con for the weekend because he is the Gaming Director and he trusts people to not be dicks with them. And this is the first time in nine years that this has happened…it may just be a deck of cards, but I'm taking it as a severe warning.

Not to mention the supposed "volunteers" who are supposed to man the game room door and prevent this kind of thing often treated the entrance to the gaming room as a social area…as in, you actually couldn't get through the mass of people standing around and chatting. I ran into this a few times over the course of the weekend, and it's something that needs to seriously be discussed with the folks in charge of the volunteers. You wanna be social at a con? Don't volunteer to be part of security!

So I'm genuinely trying to decide what cons I want to go to next year. Furry conventions seem so laced with drama right now that staying away from them is sounding better and better.

It's a shame; I really like doing conventions (or I used to). It's just people who are violating Wheaton's Law have kind of ruined them for me lately.
tabbiewolf: (faye - glare)
Con Business: I made a few hundred bucks more than I did at Anthrocon, with much more interest in my published work (portfolios, comics) than the near non-existence of that interest in Pittsburgh. Admittedly, I could account for that $200 in sales being in buttons and baked goods -- though I was selling buttons at Anthrocon -- but the sheer amount of work I got that wasn't buttons or baked goods (as in, badges & other commissions) makes me really re-think getting a table at Anthrocon this year. I honestly am not sure that it is worth the time and money and stress. But we'll see how I feel in a few weeks, when all the con stress from FurFright has worn off.

Con Fun: As usual, the majority of joy was found by hanging out in the tabletop gaming room, chatting with friends and playing games. I'm sort of sad I didn't get to buy anything from ConnectiCon's massive selection this year (I bought [livejournal.com profile] spotweld "7 Wonders" last year), but I was so wrapped up in the Dealers Dungeon I had no chance to get down there before they closed. Though I can always go up to their monthly gaming meets and partake, I suppose ;)

Con Stress: I've heard about the whole fluff-up with the Dorsai and I've accumulated bits and pieces of both sides of the story, and they all know where I stand and I have an okay idea of what happened (I refuse to say I have an exact idea because I don't). I am not getting involved with the issue because I was not directly involved, but it should be known that I have friends on both sides of the argument and everyone's being hurt by the massive clusterfuck this incident has become. If you want my advice, it would be to let things calm down first: between the normal stress of a convention and the extra stress of rolling a hurricane into it, nobody is winning here.

Non-Con Stress: We had a whole bunch of people crashing at our place this weekend since it's so close to the FurFright hotel. On Friday evening, I got home to find that my All-Clad Copper Core pans had been run through the dishwasher. This is the first time this has ever happened -- I've always washed my pans by hand, even the ones that weren't super expensive and didn't have a copper core. Copper in the dishwasher, if you were unaware, is a BIG no-no. The caustic dishwashing soap and the heat absolutely destroys the finish. Besides that, these pans have something of an emotional attachment (I'm weird, I know) because of how they were acquired and their sheer awesomeness. It's a joy I will never get back, because instead of being reminded about my awesome job that I got them from (and the success in my life that buying them signified: I just bought a pan set, I'm an actual adult!), I will be reminded about this.

Anyway. Finding this after a day of business and con-related stress (money, baking, drawing, time, sitting behind a table in a crowded dealers room) basically broke my heart…and, thanks to the busy day I'd just had (hoping to get home to relax and finding that was super lame), really pissed me off. A discussion was had with the people who did it (where what I explained above was explained, not to mention the cost of the pans, which was something around $1000 for 3 of them if I wanted to buy them new again), and it was mentioned that we were all extremely tired and stressed and we'd talk about it more in the morning after a good night's sleep.

That didn't happen, because we got up early on Saturday to get to the con…and the people who did it were gone by the time we got home. Left the house, took all their stuff, took the person who I thought was a close friend with them. They did leave a note and a pumpkin, and they paid Spot back for the commission they were going to do (and didn't) and they paid me for the buttons I'd made for them, but…well, it was a way of not facing up to the responsibility, in my opinion. Not to mention that these folks were going to run a few games AND do volunteer time at FurFright, and as we discovered that night, the folks in charge of volunteers were not informed until well after the issue needed to be resolved. This meant we had to run around the con trying to find people to help watch some rooms. Spot was passively nudged by a friend as the one who'd thrown these now ex-volunteers to security, so we got the blame for that as well. Fantastic.

And of course, of the people involved, we've heard absolutely nothing from the person I thought was a close friend (and all five of us left in the house were friends with them; they said good-bye to NO ONE)…who I've known for years, and who I invited out personally. As I mentioned jokingly to folks in the house the other night, nice to see that libido outranks what I thought was a pretty decent friendship. I guess I was wrong on that front as well. It's weird: I'm sort of the center of this group of friends -- the majority of them all know each other because of me -- and I feel really disappointed in this person for doing what they did. Not the pans, but the leaving without saying good-bye.

As for the pans: It's excessively hard for me to hold a grudge. I dunno if y'all remember, but Spot totally broke my car at FurFright last year -- he snapped the back door off my station wagon (yeah, seriously) -- and although I joke about it still, it's something we can laugh at now…I don't hold it against him (obviously). But leaving instead of talking it out, not to mention shirking the responsibilities you'd signed up for, really grinds my gears. I'm not so much angry as disappointed with all of them, and a tiny part of me feels responsible for the whole thing…even though absolutely none of it was my fault. There's a level of trust that was lost and it rather saddens me that there's not much I can do to get it back.

But as I mentioned last post, the ball's in their court now. So it goes.

Hurricane: Sandy plowed into the East coast yesterday, but we were totally prepared: we moved all the frozen stuff to the big freezer downstairs; Spot cleaned the gutters, took down the bird feeders, and put a tarp over the storm door; I baked a ridiculous amount of cookies; we filled the upstairs freezer with filled ice cube trays; and we moved all candles, flashlights, batteries, and diabetes supplies to easy-to-locate spots. We all took hot showers before the rain started coming down, I made a loaf of bread (no chance of getting that at the store), and we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Power started flickering in the late afternoon, so computers got shut down and board and card games got pulled out. Sandwiches were made with the fresh bread I'd made in the morning -- in case power went out, we didn't want to be cooking anything, and getting rid of the various perishable meats in the fridge was not a bad idea -- and we continued to wait, monitoring Twitter on our phones for updates on the storm as it plowed into New Jersey and New York. And then…the wind and rain stopped. We're reading reports of the New York City subway systems and tunnels flooding, of the New Jersey coastline being changed, of some friends further up in New England who'd lost power and had to deal with various leaks…and the wind and rain stopped.

So we all curled up on the couch and watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Power never went out. We were prepared for it, but it didn't. The cable flickered and died at around 11pm, but it came back this morning. The coastal areas of Connecticut apparently got hit hard -- harder than Hurricane Irene last year -- but nothing major happened up here. Heck, the usual leaks that happen in the basement when it rains hard were minor at best.

I'm looking at photographs of the results from last night and it's really stunning to see the New York skyline almost completely dark. It's surreal.

To everyone dealing with power outages and the rest of the disasters this storm caused: STAY SAFE. If you're in New York City or New Jersey, do the best you can to stay out of the way of the folks who are trying to get things cleaned up. If you stocked up on canned goods, etc., for the storm and you still have power and don't need them, please consider donating them to a local shelter where people DO need them. The Red Cross needs blood donations, and people need as much help as they can…but sometimes the best help you can provide is staying out of the way.

Again, stay safe, everyone!
tabbiewolf: (The Doctor - nerds are sexy)
FurFright was great. I actually made more money than I did at Anthrocon, which is making me rethink going to Anthrocon 2013 -- the travel expenses are far more expensive than the money I make there, though it evens out with roommates and carpoolers -- and a lot of my fellow artists are saying the same thing. The amount of dealers is so huge compared to the amount of people who attend the convention that it isn't great for us smaller names who are trying to promote ourselves and our work.

I dunno. It could just be the shitty economy, but we'll see how the rest of the year pans out. FurFright was great because I sold a little bit of everything -- including a large amount of the portfolios that didn't sell at all at Anthrocon -- not to mention a ton of buttons, as well as a lot of original art (badges, sketches, etc.). I was never not busy (but I wasn't overwhelmed at any point...well, not by con-related stuff anyway), which is how conventions should be if you're a dealer.

Big thanks to all my friends who supported me and cheered me up after the non-convention-related drama that happened on Friday and Saturday. I really could not ask for better friends (Thank the Lord for the friends He cast in the play He wrote for you as the song goes). That's a situation that will one day be resolved (more detail may be gone into here one day, but I think it's okay to keep it amongst the people I told in person), but the ball is not in mine or Spot's court a this point, so I'm going to let it go as best I can and hope that things work out. Snarking with [livejournal.com profile] tashabear, playing Red Dragon Inn with [livejournal.com profile] world_dancer and [livejournal.com profile] fenris_lorsrai and Falconeio and a whole crew of other awesome people, digging through the weird Japanese candy we brought along to share...that really was a wonderful way to spend Saturday night and definitely helped calm me down :) Thank you guys.

We ended the con last night by changing into pajamas, ordering Chinese food, trying various delicious boozes (OMG the mead that I traded cupcakes for is The Best Mead EVER...damn Canadians, I have to go to Quebec to get more), playing the Back to the Future card game and then actually watching Back to the Future, followed by snuggling on the couch, followed by everyone crashing. Today we've been battening down the hatches in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, which is currently flooding New Jersey and the main part of it has not even made landfall yet.

If you're on the East coast -- anywhere from Virginia to Maine -- stay safe and follow the warnings they're issuing. Even if the storm doesn't hit some areas as hard as they're predicting it will, being too prepared is FAR better than not being prepared enough. Flooding has already started happening along the coast, and they're predicting that it will turn into a massive blizzard as it reaches Appalachia. Currently here, the state is under a Federal Emergency and all of the roads have been closed to traffic that is not emergency vehicles...most of the surrounding states are the same way. We still have power (obviously), but I'm not counting on it holding out.

Everyone stay safe and continue being awesome!
tabbiewolf: (tabbie - rosie the riveter)

1,650 buttons for [livejournal.com profile] furfright.

I am going to wake up in the morning completely unable to move my right arm.

But damn, it's kind of satisfying to know you can do something of this quantity in a few days :)
tabbiewolf: (johanna - cooking)
cakesSo I have been encouraged by certain parties -- that is, all of the FurFright staff who I have given baked goods to since last year -- to actually sell my cupcakes and cookies at the convention. This is possible because I have a business license and can follow the rules of a farmers market (instead of having to worry about health code violations), and has been approved by the Folks In Charge.

The questions left, then, are two: What specifically do I sell, and how much do I sell it for?

Obviously, cookies and cupcakes and brownies (and other bar cookies) are what I'm going to be making...but which ones? There are so many types. What homemade baked goods are your favorites?

And, if you were at a convention and given the option of baked goods, how much would you be comfortable paying for them? It can't break the bank for my customers, but I'd like to make a bit of profit, as well (the supplies I'll need for distribution -- boxes, etc. -- will actually probably cost me more than the baking supplies).

Any input is greatly appreciated!

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