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January 9, 2013
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Artist Alleys - Few Questions

:iconsjwebster:
SJWebster Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So, I'm looking to be on artist alleys at a few conventions this year, and I had a few questions I wanted to ask you guys.

1 - What is the stance on selling prints/ taking commissions of characters from mainstream media? I see plenty of people selling prints of Iron Man, Sonic and various other characters they don't own, but neither the convention staff or copyright holders seem to even bat an eye. I've literally been at cons where people are drawing Street Fighter characters for cash opposite a Capcom booth with no drama!

2 - What kind of thing makes you stop at an artist alley? What would you want to see, and is there anything that regularly catches your eye?

3 - To anyone from the UK who does conventions, how does everything work regarding tax? I'm in conversation with HM Revenue and Customs as well as Business Link, but they're really unclear and giving conflicting information. I have a day job, and at one point I'm being told to go self assessed on both sides of any earnings, other times I'm being told to only self assess the art stuff. Some have said I can deduct the costs of conventions, hotels, etc as business expenses, others say I can't. Anyone who has personal experience who can pitch in would be a major help!
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:iconlittlesardines:
LittleSardines Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Professional Filmographer
1 - It technically is illegal and so I generally try to stay away from it - opting for fantasy/chibi/what ever the con is for as a stylistic theme rather than riding on popular characters - though as ~raerae said doing a one time commission of a character is usually alright, and it does depend on the convention whether they do anything about selling prints of copyrighted characters.

2 - I don't typically look for prints, and most often get stopped looking at cute trinket type things - like bookmarks, charms, magnets, etc. But I know a lot of people like prints - so I might go for a combination?

3 - Sorry can't help you here. =)
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:iconsjwebster:
SJWebster Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The first convention I'm hitting is primarily a gaming convention, so there's a nice mixed bag, considering the wide spectrum of genres and styles video games contain.

I was considering giving free badges and bookmarks with any purchases people made as a "remember me".

The third one seems to get more complicated each time I talk to tax authorities, so no worries. If the guys themselves can't decide then it's doubtful I'll get an answer on these forums =)
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:iconraerae:
raerae Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2013  Student General Artist
1) This depends on the convention and how active the company is at protecting their property. Usually they don't mind one-off commissions because it's one thing and you're selling your service, not the character. But selling prints is another matter. I'd check the company's policy and convention policy.

2) Something good and fantasy based, usually.

3) Here in the US it varies state to state. But generally if you're registered as a business, you can deduct the expenses.
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:iconsjwebster:
SJWebster Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Figured that'd be the case for #1. I won't take any prints of characters from mass media, but if someone wants a commission, what's the harm.

Fantasy based eh? Usually when I do fantasy it's got quite a Final Fantasy IX feel to it (still my personal favourite FF)

Yeah, the US having differing laws in differing states has never made sense to me. I'm in contact with UK tax authorities so I'm hoping to get a straight answer soonish
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:iconraerae:
raerae Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh, a Final Fantasy IX feel for fantasy would probably have me buy it up. It's also my favorite FF

Well we generally have to pay both state taxes and federal taxes and the state ones differ a lot. Good luck on that!
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