midnightmagicalrose asked:

Maybe you could give me advice on this. Two months ago a woman commissioned me to repaint the bodies 5 MH dolls. She told me it was for her own customization project. I worked very hard on them and sold them to her. Today I found her on a forum selling the bodies as is, with no work done to them, for more than she paid for them. She didn't claim them as her work, but she did not credit me. What should I do? :(

nonaptime answered:

I’m really sorry this happened to you. Getting attribution for your work is like pulling teeth when dealing with other people. Some folks just might not be aware of who the author is due to an item having changed hands several times… or simply does not value attribution which is what we’re dealing with here.

This client not only committed negligence by omitting your name as the artist (thereby implying that they were the author, =/), but sort of taking business away from you by being something of a scalper.

The first thing to ask yourself here is: What do you want? Are you aiming to gain attribution or retribution? You have several options but the first thing to do is to contact this client. See flowchart below.


See big version here:

Seeking Attribution

Attribution of work to the original author is not mandatory. Often it is done as a courtesy or FYI for potential buyers. Once you sell your work (leaves your hands, house, etc) it is no longer yours, you have no say on what happens to it. Businesses and communities that facilitate sales only care about transactions between a buyer and a seller. Since this transaction is taking place in a forum, there’s a very good chance that you can appeal the site admin for help.


Fortunately there is a changing attitude when it comes to creative attribution due to websites like tumblr and social media. People are more aware now just how important creative attribution is. It helps spread the word for a creative person and help more people find their work. It’s a two-way street where creative people get the exposure they deserve, and people who like their work get to see more and support it.

Some disgruntled artists or authors will find ways to restrict access to their work but honestly you just can’t do that, especially on the internet. Once something is shared and is out there in the wild, you just have to accept that anyone and everyone will do what they want with it. This really forces you to consider how to share your work.

From personal experience, I found that outlining terms and conditions on how your work could or should be used is really helpful. Most people are not jerks and do prefer knowing what is okay or not with the author. It’s all about consent.

You can do one of the following to ensure that you get credit one way or another:

Sign your work - Watermarks, signature on the physical item, a certificate of authenticity. Since we’re talking about dolls, some artists will sign the back of a doll’s head so that no matter how many times it changes hands it’s easy to identify who created it.

Portfolio - Create a public archive of all your work where people can easily find and reference that you made it. With recent technology, it’s easy for someone to cross reference a photo and find you that way.

Terms and Conditions - Not a lot of artists or authors stop to think about Terms and Conditions. Yeah, we all hate reading those long winded legal jargon you scroll past whenever you install software or sign up for an account anywhere but as a creative person you need one too. That’s why if you write your own terms and conditions, keep it clear and concise. It’s hard because you have to consider the ways in which you want your work to be shared and that requires a LOT of forethought. Most people are decent, conscientious and kind. Anyone who doesn’t respect your “terms and conditions” does not deserve your time and is someone you should not do business with.

You should look into Creative Commons ( It’s somewhat considered a “default” way of communicating attribution (rights and usage). You can use it as a template and add any details that isn’t covered all ready.

If you’d like to take a more “layman” approach, let me use “my” terms and conditions as an example. A lot of it is tailored based on my experiences and process. I state my skills, services, pricing (optional), and process. (

Seeking Retribution

Now… the other side of the coin when dealing with this sort of situation: Seeking retribution. Most of us have an urge to try and pick a fight with someone who has wronged us. The truth is, you won’t have the energy or resources to pursue every single person who will have wronged you in this way so prioritize on what you’re aiming for… which in this case is to get attribution. That is all you can really do. Anything else doesn’t matter and keep it professional. Don’t engage in bad mouthing or name calling. Don’t engage in trolling. State the truth, the facts. Always be professional at every step.

I’m not sure what the quality of your relationship with this person was but I’m inclined to suggest that you contact them first to get attribution. Who knows, they might surprise you and comply.


No matter what happens, document the incident:

  • Keep a record of your transaction with this person (Every single piece of communication exchanged through email or notes, their transactions at the forum relating to you)
  • Write feedback or review. Since this was taking place in a forum, it’s likely that they have a section for member feedback. If it isn’t, write a blog article about it (remember to state only the facts and be professional). See flow chart above, I only recommend doing this once you have done the research and have all the information.

Documentation is important because some of us do research buyers to find out what their previous transactions were like and/or if they are scammers. This is part of why being professional is important. Conduct yourself in a manner that everything you say or do is subject to public scrutiny.

I hope this helps and good luck on whatever you decide to do! =)

We thought this was a really interesting and informative post, especially in light of a question we’d answered before:


You can see our thoughts and answers here:

There’s a good point in nonaptime's answer about benefit of the doubt and that not everyone is intentionally malicious/trying to sabotage or take advantage of artists; it may have been a simple if ignorant oversight and it’s good to be able to raise awareness and educate people.

If you check the activity on the post, you’ll also see how the story resolved:


Overall a good piece to help people think about situations like this and assist you in being prepared to tackle it, should you ever encounter it!


A Little Known Shop asked me to record my inventory for my Solo Art Show in October (please come check it out!).
I figured I’d post it here since it’s a great real-life example to a question I get all the time: How many prints do I take to a convention?
It totals to about 106 fan art and 92 original, and 31 uncounted display copies (229 total).  Everything above the yellow is fan art, below is original art.  I only carry 11”x17” posters.  The more popular designs have more, the less popular ones have less.  I make more for a bigger venue, less for a smaller venue, but this is ballpark what I’d have on hand at any given time.  
This format works for me, but not for everyone.  Each venue is different, and each artist is different, with different products and target markets.  Just figured since I made this list and people keep asking, I might as well post it.


A Little Known Shop asked me to record my inventory for my Solo Art Show in October (please come check it out!).

I figured I’d post it here since it’s a great real-life example to a question I get all the time: How many prints do I take to a convention?

It totals to about 106 fan art and 92 original, and 31 uncounted display copies (229 total).  Everything above the yellow is fan art, below is original art.  I only carry 11”x17” posters.  The more popular designs have more, the less popular ones have less.  I make more for a bigger venue, less for a smaller venue, but this is ballpark what I’d have on hand at any given time.  

This format works for me, but not for everyone.  Each venue is different, and each artist is different, with different products and target markets.  Just figured since I made this list and people keep asking, I might as well post it.



Found out from a friend and checked it out.  This was on their website

Effective September 1st, 2014, Toronto Indie Arts Market has ceased operation.

All events previously scheduled for Fall 2014 have been cancelled.

I’m sad. :<

Oh …! Sad to hear. :( FYI for those who had been planning on attending one of the upcoming events.


astrobank asked:

Hi! I'm gonna be doing my first artist alley in october and I was wondering how many copies of each print you would suggest making? Its a 3-day con and the prints I'm drawing are from animes that are pretty popular so I wasn't sure how much is a good amount

howtobeaconartist answered:

Kiriska: Personally, I wouldn’t make more than 5 of each thing, maybe 10 if you’re really confident in the piece. When in doubt, always lowball. It’s better to sell out and have to print more than to be stuck with 50 prints no one wants because you overestimated things. Once you’ve been to a few shows, you’ll have a better idea of what works for you and will be able to adjust initial print run numbers accordingly.

HeidiBlack: This is also going to depend on how many different print options you have.  if you have 10, 15, different images, then I would say 5 ish of each.  If you’ve got 20, 30 different images, maybe 3 or 4.  if you have just a few different images, then maybe 10.  So really, I guess I would limit the overall number to less than 100 prints total?  Its always easier to have too few I feel like, and just go home or even make reprints if you really want than to have leftover stock.  But it also depends on the price you’re getting them at and how far you have to travel.  Sorry if this isn’t helping at all.

Nattosoup: I’m the odd one out of the three in that I really don’t do prints, haha.  I think that if you’re going to sell prints, you should probably have a variety, so that when people come to you, that’s what they’re coming to buy.  I agree with Heidi and Kiri that lowballing for a first con is probably a wise idea, and I’d definitely keep track of not only what sells for you, but what seems to sell for others.  Take note what demographic is doing the actual buying, not just the wanting, and what the demographic with the money wants.  Your first convention selling (heck, your first YEAR as an artist in the artist alley) is going to be a learning process, so don’t feel too discouraged if sales are low.

I also recommend that you have a few smaller items that you can mass produce and sell at a lower pricepoint to attract customers who might not buy prints (I’m one of those people, so I know they exist), or for people to cheap/broke to buy prints.

Goodluck at your first con!  I hope you do well, and I hope you learn a lot.

Aaand more experienced artist alley perspectives on the “how many prints” question!

A reminder that the more images/products you have, the more real estate you’ll also need to make sure they’re visible. Prints on display are likely sell more than prints in a binder, if only because people can see them easily.

We collected some thoughts on this topic in a previous ask too:

And you can find more on this topic here in our prints tag:



Finally did a mock up thing with my PVC display! 

I will be using clamps as well as making it 2ft taller in the near future. (as soon as I finish 4 more prints and need the space)

I wanted to make a more visually appealing setup and improve my professionalism as compared to my previous tables. I don’t have any of my new prints in yet so im a bit paranoid about filling all the space since it is a HUGE rig compared to what I had previously! I have completely taken away the monitor since it is obnoxious to transport and I have stopped showing my animation work and speedpaints on it. I will be using a tablet on a stand instead to showcase speedpaints on because it is not as big and not so attention-grabbing. Now I have to make a display for my button badges.. 


Anonymous asked:

Hello! I'm sorry if you've gotten this question before. I'm new to art alleys, do you have a suggestion for how many prints one should take? Like a general number? Thanks so much!

fictograph answered:

Print quantities are honestly different for everyone.  More popular artists will need more, and smaller merchandise usually requires higher quantities, too. 

Personally, I only sell 11”x17” prints, so I calculate based on event attendance.  I run about 10-20 of my best-sellers (like Sherlock, Game of Thrones) and then 3-5 of my less popular stuff (like original work).  Lower end being for cons about 1,000-5,000 (like ALA, San Japan) and higher end being for cons of 10,000+ (like Otakon).

Certain cons will surprise you though!  My style does awful in Southern California, so I print on the lower end for AX.  But some venues are just easier because the artist-customer ratio is higher, so I print on the high end for NanDesuKan.

Another experienced convention artist weighs in on the popular “how many prints” question and outlines an approach that may be helpful to consider!

For those interested, we also have some thoughts here from a previous ask:

Thanks so much for following us vitalemontea! ^^ We’re not tax experts so of course we must start with a disclaimer that you should talk to a tax expert and/or contact CRA directly.

One thing I will note is that a lot of marketplace websites aren’t based in Canada, so their terminology and tax standards/process as you know may not align with ours. I would think earnings from sites like Redbubble would be taxable income. On the CRA website, I found this:

Starting with the 2013 tax year, if you earn income from one or more webpages or websites, you must follow the reporting requirements that apply to you. See Reporting Internet business activities.

Webpages and websites to report
Indicate your income generating webpages or websites. If you have more than five webpages or websites, specify the five top income generators. Examples of webpages or websites that you should include are:

    webpages and websites that allow the completing and submitting of an order form, the checking out a shopping cart or similar transactions;
   online market place websites where your goods and/or services are sold; and
    webpages and websites hosted outside of Canada that generate income.

And here are some numbers for contacting the CRA directly to clarify.

A few more links that might be helpful:

Hope this helps point you in the right direction!

peiweili asked:

What are the best cons for promoting and selling Original work, I have a comic and I want to sell it as well as prints and other merchandise based off it. Which cons would be best for me? Please don't suggest fanexpo, because it's too expensive and focused on fan art, I won't return till I get a bigger fan base. I'd like to build a dedicated fanbase, not just make quick sales (thought that would be nice of course).

Hey peiweili!

I’m assuming you’re asking for suggestions in the GTA, which is what we’re most familiar with. Unfortunately, while we can give you suggestions, we can’t guarantee in any way that they are the “best” cons for everyone or anyone. As you know, there are lots of variables/factors at play and it’s too unpredictable. We haven’t been to every event, and even for the ones we have done, our personal experience and the things we make may not effectively parallel yours.

That said, for comic artists, TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) is a big one at the top of most people’s lists and sounds like it’s the best fit for you - original comics extending into other merchandise. They are open for applications right now (deadline Oct 17, 2014)! Do note that it is a fully juried application with hundreds of artists around the world applying every year, so it’s not the easiest to get into.
Aside from that, I would suggest trying more indie, comics and self-publishing/small press events where people are more looking for original creative works, such as Canzine and the new Animation Arts Maarket (part of TAAFI, the Toronto Animation Arts Festival International). They’re definitely much smaller than anime cons, but may have more of the target audience you’re trying to engage with.
We’re very fortunate as Toronto is a busy city with lots of events to try. Check out our list and visit the various sites to get a sense of the event scope and target audience:

If it’s feasible, consider other events similar to TCAF outside of the GTA. Montreal and New York both have comic festivals that might be good for you.

Some cons, like Anime North, are also dedicating areas to professional artists (e.g., AN’s Pro Plaza is targeted to artists in your situation), though audience awareness and appetite at such events may not be as large yet as the awareness/appetite for fanworks. I agree with you that building a dedicated fanbase will help increase the visibility of your works at such events, so continue pushing that online!

Hope this helps! Please do let us know your experiences as you try different events. If anyone has other thoughts and suggestions, please do share!

Yaaay happy Labour Day! Just a quick note that we have a shiny spanking new facelift courtesy of orangisque~! All the navigation is at the top now if you want to access Toasted Posts, Resources, etc. but otherwise we’re still the same old aatoast, only better looking :3

Of course, if you mainly see us from your dashboard, you just get to see our bold new toasty yellow icon. Whoohoo!