fav person of the day

because actually helping people with cosplay emergencies!

literally the most important man at supanova this year

he gave me double sided tape

what a good human being

petition to have a designated Captain Patch-It at all cons from now on.

This is such a great idea. It’s like the change person in artist alley!

Back from TIAM! Actually I was back a while ago, but when I got home I went straight to bed and slept for several hours :p

The morning was slow, but there was quite a surge of traffic in the afternoon (after ~2pm), and I was able to cover my table cost. My first sale was actually to a very cute little girl who was looking at my Fantasy Beer minizine and asked her dad “Can we take this home?” He replied, “I’m not sure if that is a topic you’ll like, sweetie,” so I said, “Do you like squirrels? Would you like a free singing squirrel?” and fished out one of my $1 maiji bookmark/keychain pieces to save him lol. He was very appreciative and handed his daughter a loonie to give me, so I gave her a copy of Pocket Maijis too. xD

I always really enjoy the atmosphere of TIAM, and the great interactions that are only possible at a smaller event. I got to chat with lots of awesome people like Bailey of TEDDiErevival, Evan from Arcane Bullshit, and eXavier of eXPress Art, and see lots of familiar faces! Varethane stopped by too and doodled abstract art on my tablet. xD In between I did some digital painting, so maybe I’ll post it this weekend if I give up on touching it up.

A photographer came by and took my photo so maybe it will show up on the Intarwebs somewhere, egads.

Some photos of my own:

  • My table~ I finally got to use these little chalkboard signs I bought a while ago from Winners! Looking at my table, I feel like I need some trays or “sectionals” to organize my minizines.
  • My Gladstone Hotel lunch. “Bread pudding “french toast” topped with caramelized apples, maple caramel drizzle and house smoked bacon” aka. DEADLY BREAD PUDDING that was 2x the size I thought it was going to be. When the staff brought it over to my table everyone around me was like “HOLY CRAP THAT IS BIG” I diligently ate half of it and Bailey was all, “It looks like you haven’t even made a dent” sobsob *packs it to go* It was really good though. I guess next time I will have the granola.
  • Lovely miniature vintage cameo necklace by TEDDiErevival~ It was really hard deciding what piece to get! So many beautiful things!
  • Super yummy handcrafted Zimbabwean style meat pies from Mnandi. I had a sample of the steak and onion and it was delicious - the pastry was so layered and fluffy/flaky, and the steak and onion filling was great. I can’t wait to eat these!! The lady who makes these, Evis, is so sweet.

I’m kinda sad I’ll be missing the Small Press edition next month, but it’s the same weekend as the monster that is Anime North. I’m sure either way I’ll have lots of interesting stories!

Cleaning up Heartbleed~

Hallo friends~ a quick note for people who use the Internet and have accounts (I assume that’s everyone reading this) :O

If you haven’t heard already or haven’t read Tumblr’s alert at the top of your screen, Heartbleed is a security vulnerability that affects websites using a particular version of OpenSSL. Basically, many websites with “secure login systems” are vulnerable. There’s a summary of the situation here with links to other helpful sites:

After reading a number of articles, my takeaway for to-dos are:

  • Change your password on any websites that were affected/vulnerable and have been patched/fixed. (For Heartbleed, it’s pointless to change your password before the issue is fixed.)
  • Change your password on non-affected websites if they share passwords with any of your affected accounts.

Most major financial organizations (banks etc.) are NOT affected by the security vulnerability because they don’t use the affected OpenSSL, BUT if you use the same password everywhere that still means you’re not secure.

Ideally all your passwords should be different, strong, and changed on a regular basis. It’s a big pain to remember a ton of complex passwords L1k3th154LLth3t1m3! so you might want to look into an alternative system.

Hope this helps!

The Toronto Indie Arts Market Spring event is this April 12 at the Gladstone Hotel! I’ll be there with comics, zines, artbooks and prints! Above are photos of my table from last TIAM, as well as previews of some of my newest watercolours/photo prints. I also just finished a minicomic/zine - a new “My Life As A Maiji” focused on silly stories with my friends!

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this Saturday, and it’s a lovely event at a beautiful historical venue! Plus, 40% of ticket sales go to a charity, this time Sketch.

Sketch provides an amazing variety of arts, leadership and creative/social enterprise programming and learning for homeless/marginalized youth. The goal is to build and encourage creativity, economic self-sufficiency and community participation!

Check out the full list of all the vendors. Hope to see you guys there~!

A watercolour I did in between working on my minicomic. Kinda rough but more of a relaxing thing than a polished piece. You can see work in progress photos here.

A watercolour I did in between working on my minicomic. Kinda rough but more of a relaxing thing than a polished piece. You can see work in progress photos here.


Commissions are a great way to add to your sales/profit at a convention, and also gives you an opportunity to be productive at your table during any lulls/quiet times in traffic. In this “toasted” post (AAtoast! feature!), we focus on taking commissions on-site at an event: why you might or might not want to do this, what steps are involved, what you should consider and be aware of, ideas to help you figure out your own process, and links to other resources we’ve encountered. Of course, there’s info relevant to doing commissions in general as well!
Doing commissions: Why not?
You may decide commissions are NOT for you if you …
  • are doing a convention for the first time, or are doing a shorter convention (e.g., one day event, or event that is only a few hours) and don’t want to be overwhelmed.
  • don’t like people watching you draw.
  • don’t enjoy making things under pressure/on command/taking other people’s requests.
  • want to save more time for interacting with friends/customers and/or attending other convention events.
  • have an art or craft that has a lot of components that don’t make it easy or appropriate for you to do on-the-spot commissions (e.g., traditional media that requires specific materials/tools/environment that is hard to transport or set up)
These are just a few potential reasons. There are lots of artists, including many of exceptional skill levels, who don’t do commissions at conventions for various reasons. A large part of it is personal preference. There’s nothing wrong with that!

Also note that just even if you don’t want to do commissions at the event, you may consider taking commission requests for working on later/after the event is over. In that case, some of the later sections about managing your commission info and the overall transaction process may be even more important!

Doing commissions: Why yes?
Commissions can be a good idea for you if you …
  • have good focus/organization/time management skills.
  • enjoy the challenge of drawing on the spot.
  • want to do something productive while being at your table.
  • want the opportunity to make more money at your table.
Commissions can also lead to more work and sales. Aside from keeping you busy, it can attract people interested in watching an artist work. Even if you’re not doing commissions, making something while you are at your table (drawing, sewing, etc.) has the same effect - and don’t be surprised if people sometimes ask if they can buy what you’re working on!
That said, be careful not to neglect your table. It’s possible to be so engrossed in a commission that a potential customer may be too shy to interrupt you. And (rarely, we hope), someone might swipe something from your table. Be sure to take a break and look up every so often!
OK, I want to do commissions. Now what?
Let’s break this process down into a few steps, then discuss considerations, options and ideas in greater detail.
  1. Inform people that you take commissions.
  2. Price your service.
  3. Take the request.
  4. Do the work.
  5. Give the finished commission to your commissioner and complete the transaction.
1. Informing customers that you take commissions
Obviously, having a sign helps. Sometimes, if someone really likes your art, they may ask even if you don’t have a sign. Most of the time, however, the sign helps to prompt people and make them feel that it’s okay to ask.

Signage messaging can vary, ranging from “Yes I do commissions!” to a very detailed price list. You may also want to list what you draw (or don’t/won’t draw) - e.g., robots or animals, yaoi/yuri/hentai, people facing the right, etc.
Make the sign prominent; place it near your displayed art.

  • Place/Display completed commissions near the commission sign. This is a fantastic way to show people actual “live” samples and also indicate to your commissioner (if they happen to pass by the table again) that their request is done! Of course, this depends on how much space you have available at the table. Also, make sure somebody doesn’t take the commission. Another potential “problem”: someone may want to buy a work commissioned by another person. (But then maybe you could convince them to order their own!)
  • Include a “specialty” suggestion or prompt. Example: “I’ll draw you as an anime character/magical girl/etc.!” It can seem a bit gimmicky, but sometimes people need something specific to spark their imagination. This can initiate more interest and requests, especially if the prompt is related to a fandom people are interested in.
2. Pricing your service
This is definitely an art, not a science. Artists price based on various factors, including:
  • What medium will the piece be in? (e.g. pencil vs pen vs watercolour) Many artists price this based on a mix of how comfortable they are in a medium (e.g., pencil is easier than pen), how much material that medium uses up (e.g., watercolour uses more materials - specialty paper and paint - than pencil), and colours / visual impact (e.g., a full-colour piece will be priced higher). Don’t forget your materials costs!
  • How big will the finished piece be?
  • How complex will the finished piece be? (e.g., number of characters, portrait versus full body, background etc.)
  • How long will it take you to make?
All of these factors are really working together to answer two questions: How much time and money does it take you to make something? and How much profit do you want to make?

One way of thinking about pricing is to use this formula:
(cost of materials x markup for materials) + (hours of labour x hourly rate)
Some artists use a tiered or “add-on” pricing system where they start with a base price and then provide “add-on” options, e.g.:
  • one character, no background = $X
  • every additional character = + $X
This can be appealing because it is formulaic and easy to calculate. The drawback is that it doesn’t take into consideration context (e.g., two characters wearing normal clothing versus a single character in intricate, detailed armor).

Perhaps most importantly, price your commissions in a way that values your time and your skill. You are creating a one-of-a-kind handmade piece by request that your commissioner will not get elsewhere.

3. Take the request
It’s VERY IMPORTANT that you have a clear understanding/agreement on what the art should be, what the price is, and when/how the piece will picked up. There are experienced, prepared commissioners who know what they are looking for and bring detailed references with them. There are also commissioners who are just looking for a commission and may not even be paying attention to your art. It may be worth explaining to a commissioner how your commissioning process works, especially if they seem inexperienced or unfamiliar.
If you’re not familiar with the subject matter, ask for references. It may be possible to find references right at the convention since you’re surrounded by fans and merchandise. Alternatively, for original character commissions, have people write a description.

Some commissioners will ask for a turnaround time (e.g., when the piece will be ready for pickup). Depending on how confident you are with your time estimates, it may be best to overestimate how much time you need in case something unexpected happens.

Even if the commissioner doesn’t ask outright, it can be important to know when they expect the piece to be done. If the con is going to be over in 15 minutes and you’ve been asked to paint an epic masterpiece, you may either want to decline the commission or arrange some alternative (post-convention) method to pick up for the sake of your own sanity and the quality of your work. Also, if the commissioner arranges for someone else to pick up on their behalf, make sure you know in advance and arrange a way to identify the right person gets it!

Aim to have some way of getting in touch with the commissioner if they get busy and forget to come back. Make it easy for them to find you at the con. Ideally exchange contact info so that you can connect after the convention if necessary.

Payment method is up to you, but we highly recommend that you take only cash or credit card (if you have a reader), and that you have at least some deposit from the commissioner. 50% upfront and the balance when the commission is picked up is a common one. MAKE SURE YOU NOTE WHAT HAS BEEN PAID AND WHAT IS OUTSTANDING. Also, NEVER TAKE CHEQUES (too easy for fraud, especially in a convention environment).

Remember, one of the things you’re selling is your time - and that’s something you can never get back.

Don’t be afraid to turn down a commission if you …
  • are not comfortable with the subject matter. If you do commissions for a while, you are bound to get a bizarre request sooner or later.
  • are getting swamped or are running out of time. Your health is important - and your reputation. Don’t commit to something if you can’t do it.
  • have doubts about entering a business relationship with the commissioner (because that’s what you’re doing!). You may have doubts about being compensated fairly for your work or a sense that the transaction may have a lot of hassles. Warning signs can include: they don’t seem reliable; they don’t seem to know what they want; they don’t seem to care about your actual art (e.g., they ask you to draw something completely different from what you show in your work); they are constantly asking for discounts; etc.
  • Ask the commissioner if there is a sample piece of yours that they like, e.g., a particular style you should use in the commission. This can be a good way to manage expectations. Also if you have more than one artist at a table, it can be a way of making sure they are asking the right artist for a commission.
  • If you’re starting out or want a more manageable volume of work, consider having a “slot” system. Take only up to X number of commission requests at any one time (e.g., up to 8). Pros: helps you stay organized/avoid being overwhelmed, and seeing the list of slots may move people to act and make a request if they feel like the slots are going to fill up soon. Cons: you’ll need to post this info somewhere and remember to keep it updated. It may also limit the number of commission requests you get or discourage people if they see the slots are filled at any one time.
  • Consider having forms made in advance for the commissioner to fill out and write their contact info and commission description down. This can make things more efficient especially if you’re juggling sales at the same time. Make sure you can read the writing! The pricing form earlier by jadiejadie is a good example.
  • If you have a good data plan or can connect to a wireless hotspot or free Internet service, use it to find references. Even if you can’t get a reference at the convention, if you have Internet in your hotel or at home and can take the commissions back with you to work on at the end of each day, you could look them up at that time.
  • Use a camera to take photos of cosplayers, people, and other things you need as a reference for your photos.
  • Make and print your own receipts for writing on, or use a receipt book. They can be purchased in most dollar stores and office supply stores, and provide you with a carbon copy of the transaction. Write your table number on the receipt!
  • As a receipt alternative, give the commissioner a business card with your table number on it and the amount paid/due upon pickup. (Make sure you have a way of recording it yourself as well.)
  • Again, the AAbiscuit app is another way of recording and sending commission details.
  • Consider getting a credit card reader for processing payments (bearing in mind depending on an event, your connection may be spotty). Some more information here.
4. Do the work
Earn your munnies!
  • If the commissioner happens to come by while you’re still working on it, it can be good to do a quick progress check to make sure they’re happy with how it’s coming along.
  • Take a photo of your commission as you are working on it, and when you’re done so that you have a record of it. It’s a nice way to share your work after the convention. Some commissioners may be able to scan and send you a copy, but don’t count on it.
5. Give the finished commission to your commissioner and complete the transaction
Yay! It’s done! Collect your munnies and pat yourself on the back for your hard work!

  • Package your commission nicely. At the very least, consider putting it in a protective sleeve/sheet protector or envelope to help your commissioner keep it safe. Clear packaging can also help to show your work off when the commissioner walks around the convention.
  • Sign/date your work and label it in some way (e.g., on the back). Include your business card or write your website/contact info so that people can find you again if they’re interested. This encourages repeat business!
But wait … what if the commissioner isn’t happy with the final product?
  • What don’t they like about it? Is it easily fixed? (e.g., wrong eye colour, a small detail was missed on a character’s outfit, etc.)
  • If it’s not easily fixed, consider a discount on the price.
  • If they are extremely unhappy, consider a full refund. In this situation, you do not need to give them the final artwork as they haven’t paid for it. If they wish to obtain the artwork, you should be compensated.
An unhappy customer can be a challenging thing to deal with. It’s important to be respectful and positive. That said, the customer is NOT always right and there are unreasonable people out there, so don’t let yourself be taken advantage of.

More references:

These posts are about commissions in general and not specifically about commissions at cons, but they talk about the subject from both artist and client perspectives. There are lots of excellent observations and takeaways for commissions etiquette and rights:

Do you have any experiences or tips to share on doing commissions? Please let us know!

Article I wrote for AAtoast! with help/feedback from orangisque and phaena :3

Reblogged from Artist Alley Toast!

HI!! Thank you for 7000 followers \o/!!!!!! I’m really intimidated and floored tbh.. Thank you for everyone’s messages and comments, likes and reblogs <33 I’m really grateful for everyone’s support!
I’ve been meaning to let go of this set for a while, and I think now is a good occasion! This was very lightly used, so almost brand new!
Rules for giveaway
ends Thursday 17th april 2014
must be a follower
one reblog, one like only
please have inbox open!!
Thank you guys!! <33

Ooooh congrats!!!


HI!! Thank you for 7000 followers \o/!!!!!! I’m really intimidated and floored tbh.. Thank you for everyone’s messages and comments, likes and reblogs <33 I’m really grateful for everyone’s support!

I’ve been meaning to let go of this set for a while, and I think now is a good occasion! This was very lightly used, so almost brand new!

Rules for giveaway

  • ends Thursday 17th april 2014
  • must be a follower
  • one reblog, one like only
  • please have inbox open!!

Thank you guys!! <33

Ooooh congrats!!!

Reblogged from stracciatella
Tags: ameru giveaway

Alternative medicine for artist’s physical health!!


A lot of events happened to me in the last few months that has prompted me to write a brief post to help artists and maybe the general public with their health :) A lot of health problems can be prevented, so I wanted to write a few bits that are on my mind and hopefully be able to give some help to others. To keep it simple I’m going to list some alternative/complementary therapies that you can seek out other than ending up at the doctors and requiring costly surgery & rehab.

Read More

Such a helpful overview, thank you! Physiotherapy worked great for me when my hand went all wonky.

Reblogged from stracciatella
Wah~! Miss seeing you and all our shenanigans ;p; You need to come to AN again sometime &#8230; and bring hubby and babby~

Wah~! Miss seeing you and all our shenanigans ;p; You need to come to AN again sometime … and bring hubby and babby~