AnimeNYC hosted more than 200 artists in the alley for its first year. Instead of a dark underground hall or the windowless exhibitors section, artist alley was in the prime spot of the convention center. The upper floor of the Javits Center is by far the nicest with carpet and surrounded by windows letting in plenty of light. It’s an area that makes you want to linger which is great for artists and attendees alike.
I’ve noticed a growing number of artists selling their original drawings, not just a print of them. And this was beyond doing commissions, and I saw this with fan art as well as original works. Seeing the real lines on paper was very exciting. I even picked up a tiny Lucina from Fire Emblem sketch from one such artist @nightynightowl.
As I noted at Otakon this year, the amount of enamel pins has exploded. This seemed to be even more pronounced at AnimeNYC. What I found really interesting was the majority of enamel pins are not fanart.
Luckily at AnimeNYC, the number of booths selling buttons was high as well. I saw regular ole buttons as well as more expensive, shaped ones, giant-sized ones, and even shiny and glittery ones! I picked up a basic, but very well-designed, Sailor Senshi button from Sticks and Spells.
Printed t- and sweatshirts are growing in popularity. There were some great designs displayed. Some artist that stood out to me were Jisu Art and Auto Loot. This was in addition to the now staple printed items like lanyards and pencil and coin bags. I also saw a couple of people selling silkscreened prints and totes. I hope this becomes a trend!
I saw some serious nostalgia works all over the alley this year. I’d seen The Last Unicorn in past alleys, but things like The Secret of NIHM, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and The Road to El Dorado were very unusual finds. I also saw a couple of people with Moomin works which I think was a first, despite its popularity the world over.
Anime nostalgia was there too with Sailor Moon and plenty of Yu-Gi-Oh! around, perhaps thanks to the Twitch marathon. But I saw other seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh!, too.
Popular titles like My Hero Academia, Pokemon, Overwatch, and Final Fantasy were in abundance. The caliber of Pokemon has increased to the point at which I’m seriously considering playing a game just so I can buy some of these amazing pieces.
I saw a lot of people selling their own comics, fan comics, and sketchbooks alongside the prints that are always for sale. Some of these were extremely well-crafted.
Overall, the caliber of artists and the quality of design has been steadily growing in alleys all over. It was especially nice to see how so many artists have really found their style and voice in original and fanart alike. I felt that acutely at AnimeNYC, and it made the artist alley the highlight of the convention.