J-popcon 2017 – review

Note 1:
I could swear I wrote a review on this convention, but it seems that I’d dream or lost the draft or something.

Note 2:
It seems that I did wrote this blog, but got lost, because the app version of wordpress wasn’t in sync. I found out just now, when I was writing this particular part for third time! I will save everything in Google keep or something to be able to write when traveling and behind my desk. Sorry, that this took so long, even Jpopcon 2018 is over. I’ll promise to post that before Jpopcon 2019. hahaha.

Note 3:
Major part of the blog was written like a year ago.

Without further a do, here it goes:

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I tried to search the artist of the banner, but can’t find her (I know it’s a she). If you know who drew this,  please drop me a line.

Jpopcon was held from 21 to 23 of April 2017 in DGI-byen, a Congress Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the 18th edition and I’ve been there once or twice as a visitor before. Jpopcon had this year 3200 unique visitors. For comparison, Animecon had last year 7000 unique visitors. I think it’s the biggest anime convention in Denmark.

Jpopcon was at first planned in March, but because of many other event were held during that period, they change the date to end of April, which was great for me. I either had to choose Dutch comic con or Jpopcon. I really wanted to go to Jpopcon as an artist after my first time visit. So yeah 🙂

Like mentions before, ever since I saw the artist ally I wanted to join it. I like artist alleys in general. It’s such a great motivator to create art and being surrounded with inspirations. The artist alley from previous years (2016) was, what I can remember, in the hallway directly pass the ticket booth. From my knowledge, the artist alley was sponsored and the booths were free for people with an entry ticket. For artists this is was quite tempting and the booth was often “sold out” fast. They were standard given half a table. But foreigner were stimulated and could get a full table if they could get anyone with them behind the booth.

Communication

The only thing what you need to do is getting a ticket by logging into your account. I would advise you if you’re planning to do the artist alley to get a ticket prior the opening of  registration of the artist alley. Because you need to fill in your ticket code on the application. A fun fact: A ticket is called what they a membership of a club behind Jpopcon and is valid and gives you access to the Jpopcon festival for that year. (Sounds just like a regular entrée ticket to me). One more thing about getting a ticket, you need a credit card. The point is that you can make bank transfer, but I feel a lot better to pay with PayPal for foreign transaction. So it was kinda a little deal for me, because I don’t own a cc, but luckily know someone who did though.

After a couple of months, the registration finally went open in February. It was suppose to be first come first served, but they were also doing some review on the stuff whether the stuff your selling is right for the artist alley, which I incredibly appreciate. Dutch comic cons artist alley has a shortage of booth as well, but they don’t do anything about reviewing and ending up with commercial vendors selling art getting an artist booth. While they should belong in the commercial part of the convention. I’m a bit salty of these artist, because they just used a real photo, but add some Photoshop filter for effect. There’s nothing to it. I will make another post about Dutch comic con in the future.

We got our floor plan a week before the convention with the message that the artist ally is placed in the basement, a gym hall, instead in the entrance foyer like previous years. Some artists worried about the traffic, but then again there’s nothing we could do about.

J-Popcon_2017_floorplan

The theme of 2017 was scifi.

Before the convention

Important self note: Never drive all the way to Denmark without stay the night! It was really exhausting on our way back home, we did the trip of 9 hours, with small breaks. We are thinking of taking the plane next time, but we can bring a lot less then going by car and moreover can’t be as flexible.

The weather was okay, a bit windy but mostly okay. I think that the temperature in Denmark is always a bit lower than the Netherlands. I’d heard that it had snow (in April??). Joking, riiiight?

It was a long drive to Copenhagen, but we took our time. We arrived Thursday at the congress center. As the last email stated we could get our badge prior the visitors could. No badge, they would arrive Friday due technical difficulties. It didn’t matter, Hub socialized with friends and I could take a peek of the artist alley. The alley was located in a gym in the farest part of the convention area, you have to look for it. The placement was spacious, in an island formation with enough space to walk away or behind the table.

Our stay

We stayed at hotel go in Copenhagen, 10 min by car from the convention. I was a very basic and cheap stay, but decent enough we wont be staying during the day, so no need for luxury. Still, the Wi-Fi connection was incredible bad and super annoying.

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At least the buns were happy!

The artist alley

I’ve got nr 43, it’s pretty much placed in the middle of the artist alley. The most traffic will be on the lower left of the plan, though. On the positive side, the artist alley isn’t that big, so my placement wasn’t be bad.

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The opening hours of the artist alley was intense! Copy past of the time Schedule for reference:
Artist Alley times for setup / packing up

Friday:  2PM- 4PM & 10PM-11PM ( Open for the public: 4PM-10PM )
Saturday: 9:30AM-10AM & 10PM-11PM (Open for the public: 10AM-10PM)
Sunday: 9:30AM-10AM & 4PM-6PM (Open for the public: 10AM-4PM)

We could also order sandwiches through the mail before the start of the convention, but didn’t. The mail was all in Danish and there were a few supermarket nearby the congress hall.

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The artist alley on Thursday.

Dealer/artist space

The dealer room was twice as big as the artist alley, but the artist alley itself was quite spacious. The path between the booth islands were very wide. I think it’s even possible to put even more artist table in this room. There were also drawing tables for the visitors. I kinda liked the idea, as long as it didn’t become a meeting area of any kind.

The booth islands didn’t have a backing wall, and there was only two roll up banner, used by artist, served as backing. There was so much space behind the booth! I was actually the only one with a backdrop and was posters were major popping out. Most of the merchandise of other artist lay flat on the tables, like here in the Netherlands a few years back. A few have organized their things very nicely on the table; well balanced between vertical and flat on the table. There was only one artist who uses grid cubs. It was fun to see this much difference between the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. But I think the Danish artists will catch up and display their item more efficiently.

To my surprise, they provided a power socked beneath every table. I might have missed memo or something. If I knew it beforehand, we would also pack a screen with speed painting videos. Oh well, we can at least charge our phones now. Another good thing about being an artist at Jpopcon was they provided us with a private wireless internet. Bye slow internet connection!

The table size itself was 1,80 x 75 x 70 (height). I have nowadays too much products, so I don’t think that I can go any smaller.

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This is how my table set up looked like.

Friday

The next day, Friday, we went to the artist alley after 3 pm. The set up time starts at two, and it was no use to go there earlier. So, we were there at three, the VIP cue line wasn’t that long as we feared and we got our tickets. By the way, badge/ticket pockets are awesome. I put some money, other artist business card and hotel card in it so to keep it by my side.

When we at the artist alley, many tables were still empty. The show started at four and I would be very nervous for being not about to start to set in at least one hour before. The neighbors on our right arrived somewhere around four and the other neighbor late and only for a brief moment on Friday. There were still some empty tables across the alley. I wonder if it has to do with the free table attitude. It just looked so bad.

All tables were provided with artist name sign and was not only meant for the artist finding their table and visitors easier to spot the artist actually is, but also for the judge when they are judging your table. They give out two prices: one for the art and the other one for the booth setup.

Anyway back to the Friday. After announcing our arrival with the artist alley crew and setting things up. It was time for the crowed get in. Usually, it was in the first few hours very slow at conventions, especially on Friday. The visitors always go to the dealer room first to get that item they wanted. But only crap, I made all the costs (hotel, gas, ticket and printing) back in a few hours. I was almost sold out on Friday, specifically on key chains. My prices might have been too low? My neighbors sold them for the same price, but were a bit smaller.

Visitors

The visitors in general were quite young. Some of them even had their (grand) parent with them. It was so cute see that the parents were trying buy everything what they though their children thought would like. A few kids were even embarrassed. Be proud, kids! You have one of the coolest parents in the world! Even though the visitors were very young, they could speak English incredibly well. Not only that, but also nearly accent less.  They also do had money to spend and when they liked something they would buy it. Jpopcon is the biggest anime convention in Denmark, so I can imagine they save their money for an entire year. This reminds me anime community in the Netherlands some years ago. We hadn’t much anime conventions, until around 2010. It seemed that they popped up everywhere. Of cause a lot of have died already.

Payment

Danish people use mobile pay over cash (like I mentioned in my post of Genki). One consumer was so used to pay digitally and presumed I had mobile pay, and was already choosing things from my table. He was disappointed to found out that I only accepted cash.  Fortunately, he came back with cash to buy the buttons. Other times, I was lucky that I could do transactions through my neighbors. I do have an card payment device, but will operate in Denmark yet.

A little note for artists who want to have a booth at J-popcon or other Danish convention. Danish kroner comes in 1000, 500, 200, 100 and 50 bills. 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 coins. I neglected the cents (ore) in my prices to keep it simple. Depending on your pricelist, you definitely need 20 and 10 coins and 50 bills. I came often short on the bills. They will pay you with 100 and 200. So, try to keep on to the 50 bills.

For reference, I had keychains for 40 kroner and a deal 3 for 100, prints/posters 30/40/50 and a deal 3 for 100, buttons 3 for 30.

Selling products

Stickers were really a thing there. Some sold laminated stickers and other printed their stickers on label sticker paper. The art was very good, though. To bad it wasn’t printed on better paper, but bought it anyway. I wasn’t selling stickers in particular, because I want to focus mainly on prints, buttons and charm/keychains. My notepad en bookmarks are more or less like extra’s. I offered notepad with free stickers. The Henry (Fire emblem) stickers were gone in no time. As goes for any with Henry on it.

I wasn’t doing commissions and declined a few, because it would take me too long and too much energy do do both drawing and selling stuff at the same time. But never the less, I made an exception for a friend of Hub and did a Mercy (Overwatch) sketch commission. I also sold an original watercolor art of Chibi Usa, which was totally awesome!

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I really like this drawing and might doing a few prints from Overwatch for one of the next conventions.

My hart cried of happiness when people asked me to sign their posters and sketchbook. I always love when someone buy my original art. Bless them. My sketchbook are almost gone. I had some left for Dokomi, but don’t reprint them. I’m working on the next sketchbook and planning to print in the fall. There were also got lot of compliments about details of my work.

Despite the wide opening time, there weren’t a really down times. It was a bit slow during dinner time of cosplay show, though. That was pretty normal.

So, the worries that the artist alley was kinda located far away, it was very well visited.

The end of the day

The artist alley can be locked at night, but I see some of the artist packing up every thing when the day is done, even their table cloth. I guess it kinda an habit for the Artist alley was placed in a open hallway. I also heard there a lot of stuff got stolen in the hallway. I only heard good things about the artist alley’s new location.

Sunday

Saturday was just a super busy day. Lets skip to Sunday. Some artist left super early, it might have been around one o’clock. Maybe they have earned enough or need to get back before the rush. I’m used to dealer or artist manning the table till the hall closes. But can imagine, though, if someone have a long ride home. After everything ended a bit, I got some time to roam along the tables and got myself a few nice things.

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Left from Kathechanneko, top from Tea house (sweetest girl ever), and the adorable chi in the lower right is from lykkelilje

Artist alley crew

We, artists, got spoiled by the artist alley crew. I’m used not even to see some one of the crew. But there were someone asking of the artist needed water, had trash to get rid of or needed anything else. The dedicated artist alley team was superb. I never had such a pleasant experience from the organization before. As a token, I gave them a few prints, notebooks and sketchbooks. That was the least that I could do in return!

 Things I noticed:

  • Buttons aren’t called buttons there, but badges. Some people were giggling about that, but hey I’m a foreigner XP and don’t know better! ^^;; We called them buttons in the Netherlands.
  • Again about the buttons. I saw majorly press buttons, far less metal ones.
  • I’ve also notice that there weren’t much posters (A3), mostly prints art A4 or smaller. Those might have been in the portfolio, but I somehow missed it.

Return

I’m definitely going to return. I had a lot of fun, made good sales, made new friends and the people are nice. Yeah, I am looking forward to the little vacation. The down side it’s so far away…

 

 

 

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