Otakon 2014: Artist Alley

narutaki_icon_4040 I was pleased to see the variety returning to Otakon’s Artist Alley this year in terms of style, series displayed, and even the wares themselves. The up and coming items seem to be zipper pouches (which started showing up a couple of years ago but which now have exploded), lanyards, and, surprisingly, scarves. Despite these new crafts, I kept to my usual collections if only to stop myself from going into a frenzy of buying. How long I will hold out, especially with regards to lanyards, will remain to be seen.

As with the AnimeNEXT alley this year, there didn’t seem to be one or two titles that took over every booth. Certainly, Attack on Titan was quite popular, but with no new anime recently it seems to have kept it from overtaking everything else, at least in regard to what artists were making fan creations of. I was pleased to see a lot of the recent sports titles: Haikyu!!, Yowamushi Pedal, and Free! being represented, too.

It is a lot of fun for me to go to an artist alley with a new series to collect things from, for Otakon this year that was JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. There was no way I was passing up a Joseph Joestar button proclaiming “Holy Shit!” and the Joseph and Caesar postcard was from the same talented artist Doro. The Joseph and Caesar button is by Tayla. I loved the stylization in both of these, it is clear who the characters are but they still bright and fun on their own.

I had seen the work of Kaze-Hime at AnimeNEXT but foolishly didn’t pick anything up. I fixed that mistake at Otakon with her beautiful and almost haunting print of Utena, Sailor Moon, and Princess Tutu.

Why would I not buy a Spike postcard? I love the way the smoke trails behind him with the Bebop in the background. A wonderful piece by Boya Sun who also contributed to the CLAMP zine I picked up.

More Utena in the alley? Who would have guessed! This time it was in the form of a notebook by Jaclyn Grande. Complete with rose-colored pages bearing the rose seal. What a lovely find!

I was pleased to see a growing amount of artist books and fan-zines in the alley. My first purchases in the alley were in fact the Legend of Zelda II fanzine by Bridget Gibson and the anthology Cluster a CLAMP zine which I actually posted about previously. There were many more that I just couldn’t afford despite how much I liked them. I’d urge artists to have more books in the $5-10 range.

These adorable Samurai Troopers (Ronin Warriors) magnets are by resubee and are now stuck to my refrigerator. The magnets themselves aren’t very strong though so not sure if I’d buy this type of product again. But she had plenty of other wares!

As per usual the buttons flew into my hands and I was in no position to resist them. In every instance, I nearly walked away with more buttons!

It is so rare to see anything Detective Conan that I couldn’t pass up these buttons but I don’t know the artist’s name. I chatted with her but she didn’t have a business card.

The tiny bodies and big heads of Kaiami’s Spirited Away buttons made them an easy choice. Same goes for the Jean button by Masa Inoue.

As I mentioned, sports series were definitely had a big presence this year all over the convention, so I participated by picking up a chibi-Makoto from Free! button by Animus Rhythm. And I loved the expressions on the freshmen of Yowamushi Pedal button by Ilmenskie.

I overheard an Otakon staffer in the alley on Friday talking to artists about copyright. What he seemed to be looking out for was use of official logos and fonts. These rules are spelled out for artists when they register, and there was plenty of discussion on the forums about the policing of it this year, but I had never seen it in action as a non-artist. I’m unsure if anyone had to take down or stop selling anything in the alley because of these concerns.

Otakon’s Artist Alley is starting to become a coveted place for artists to get a table. And for me, it is my favorite place to spend the convention.

~ kate

More Otakon 2014 posts:

Otakon 2014: Tweets
Otakon 2014: Under the Dog
Otakon 2014: General Impressions
The Speakeasy #056: X, Otakon 2014
Otakon 2014: Photoshoots
Otakon 2014: Panels
Otakon 2014: Concerts
Otakon 2014: 15-minutes with Sunao Katabuchi
Otakon 2014: Guests

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