Easter came early this year, so Sakura-Con was March 29th through 31st at the Washington State Convention Center here in Seattle. And despite being early, it was still the perfect spring weekend for the aptly named convention — the skies were clear, the weather was mild, and everything was blooming! I guess it’s nice for out-of-town visitors to miss all the overcast days and persistent drizzling. Most people don’t like that kind of weather, apparently??

Sakura-Con program.

Sakura-Con’s program.

Last year at Sakura-Con, I helped my friend Kiiyame with her table all weekend and had a few pieces in the Art Show, but I didn’t have an Artist Alley table of my own. I made sure I got a table for this year though, and I was extra excited for the con because after ECCC, it was a show back in my ‘home’ subculture. And besides, Kara, Sloan, and Tori were all staying with me for the weekend. Yay! Friends visiting! Yay! Conventions are literally my only social life! 8D

This report is 5,900 words long.

Jump to: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Overall.

THURSDAY

Irrelevant story abbreviated, I didn’t sleep a lot the week leading into the convention, and when I did, it was like, between 9am and 3pm (actually that’s just the story of my life at this point, huh). I stayed up all night between Wednesday and Thursday finishing stuff up, but got in a glorious two hour nap from ten to noon. Kara’s flight from Austin landed around then, Sloan went to pick her up, and they arrived at my apartment shortly after. Set-up hours for the Exhibits Hall, which includes both dealers and artists, were from noon to 8pm, and Tori was being dropped off at the convention center closer to 5-6pm, so we had plenty of time to just do nothing and relax before heading downtown.

First order of business: food! As someone who has no food allergies and who can and will eat basically anything, I tend to be pretty ignorant in regards to special dietary needs. Kara recently discovered that she needed to go gluten-free though, so meal situations for the weekend were kind of an adventure!

I usually order pizza when I’m too busy or too lazy to cook, but the place I usually order from didn’t do gluten-free from the location that was near enough to deliver, so we looked up a different place and ordered a ridiculous olive (??), mushroom, and pineapple pizza. The delivery guy got lost and then we ended up hanging out on the sidewalk for a while waiting for him to find us so we could flag him down? The pizza was good though! Then we sat around in my living room a while talking about nothing in particular. This all sounds very boring, but it was so nice for once to have a slow, relaxing afternoon just chilling with friends before the busy weekend.

Settin' up in Artist Alley.

Settin’ up in Artist Alley.

After loading my stuff into Sloan’s car, we finally left for the convention center around 4pm. The WSCC’s parking lot connected to the third floor and the Exhibits Hall was once again on the fourth floor, so it was a pretty easy walk, even with an escalator and four suitcases involved. It helped that Sloan didn’t have a lot of stuff and that everything Kara and I had had wheels, haha. Badge pick-up at the entrance of the Hall was painless. Most of the Alley was empty when we got there, though a handful of cube displays and printwalls were already up. Kara and Sloan were sharing a table facing the far wall, while my table was nearer to the middle (map!), so we split up to tend to our individual setups.

It occurred to me at some point that it’s kind of weird that Sakura-Con has a 4′ height limit for artist table displays, which is supposedly checked by the fire marshal, when we’re in the same space as dealers, who obviously don’t have this limitation on their booths. ECCC, who also uses the same space for their exhibitors, doesn’t have this limit either. I think it’s probably a rule hanging on from when Sakura had Artist Alley out on the skybridge? The crowding/traffic in that area would have made taller displays more dangerous, I think. It didn’t end up mattering for me because Sakura-Con also has glorious ~*eight-foot tables*~, and with my combination of precut PVC lengths, I didn’t have the right pieces to really build taller than 4′ if the table was 8′. (I usually build to 5′ when the tables are the more common 6′ long.)

The Fake Lemonade Stand @ Sakura-Con 2013.

Fake Lemonade Stand @ Sakura-Con 2013.

I did have enough miscellaneous pieces to build that side thing though! I think this is the first time I’ve had an end table so I could really take advantage of that space. It was strange that none of the rows had endcap tables though, so they were definitely just rows and not islands. It was very roomy behind the tables, so not having a table perpendicular to mine there made me feel extra exposed.

It took me a little over an hour to set up, during which the three artists that run the Goddammit Aki-Con Tumblr came by to say hi! I am terrible and don’t remember any of their names (told you I wouldn’t!), but we had a good time talking about the failings of the con and speculating about how things might go this year at the new location.

Tori, whose table was beside mine, still wasn’t there yet when I was done setting up, so I wandered over to where Kara and Sloan were when I finished. Meg (Daunt) was dropping her stuff off at the table next to them, so I got to say hi to both her and Sarah (Sakky/Senshi-Stock), who was randomly wandering by! We didn’t chat long though. Kara and Sloan were also done setting up by then, so they came with me to set up at the Art Show.

Kara and Sloan’s table, featuring Sloan.

Art Show was in the same place it was last year: on the second floor, near the side escalators. I still don’t like the location. It isn’t really that far away from the other areas of the convention, and it is very obvious if you’re going up/down those set of escalators, but it still felt very lonely and isolated because there are no other rooms nearby, so no other events nearby. The area around it is all empty hallspace.

I brought the originals of The Moon Rises and The Sun Also Rises, along with Jack Frost and a handful of older pieces to fill out the rest of my 4’x7′ panel. Setting them up and checking them in didn’t take long (the art show is well-staffed with super nice and helpful people), but we didn’t really stick around to browse the rest of what had already been set up. And I forgot to ever get a picture of my stuff hanging in the show this year, oops!

It was probably around 6pm then and we left the convention center to wander around downtown a bit. We went to the Daiso (Japanese dollar store) in Westlake Center, stopped by the nearest Starbucks, then stood outside Chipotle just chatting for half an hour. Tori met us there eventually, after getting dropped off and dragging all her stuff up to the Exhibits Hall, and then we all got burritos and stayed in the restaurant past closing (they closed really early okay??). Riveting conversations about nothing in particular were had that night, and we all turned in before midnight.

Here is a nice picture of downtown Kara took from the skybridge.

FRIDAY

The Exhibits Hall was open for set-up at 8am and set to open to the public at 10am. We were up at 6:30am so we could catch a 7am bus. Even though we had Sloan’s car for the weekend, with all of our stuff was already at the convention center, it was easier and cheaper to just bus every day instead of dealing with parking. And apparently neither Kara nor Sloan had had many encounters with public transportation, so bonus adventure for them??

I had decided to take my nap Thursday morning instead of going to get my inventory sheets printed (no home printer), so I split from the group to do that once we got downtown Friday morning. The Office Depot on 5th wasn’t open until 8am and I got there at 7:45ish. Rather than wait the fifteen minutes, I went to the Kinko’s on the first floor of the WSCC, which was totally deserted. I always thought it got decent business over convention weekends from artists doing last-minute print runs, but the single employee there said nope, things aren’t especially busy those weekends? Hm! Good to know, I guess.

Second thing I wanted to do that morning was drop off a few more pieces at the Art Show since I had leftover space at the bottom of my panel, but the Art Show wasn’t open for setup until 10am (open to the public at noon)…and the Exhibits Hall opened at 10am. Dammit. I knew this, but I went over to the Art Show anyway to confirm the doors were locked and no one was there before finally heading over to Artist Alley to get everything ready for the day.

Genderbent Loki and Tony Stark.

Genderbent Loki and Tony Stark.

I only really had my bookmarks and a few signs to set up before being ready though, so I stopped by Meg’s table to whine about Teen Wolf and tea, then wandered around the Alley with Kara to find and say hello to people. :> I chatted with PK a bit about the new Eeveelution; Kara spoke to her friend Yoon (teaat2am), while Yoon’s tablemate Astro (nogutsnoglory) slaved away at commissions (already??) and I silently fangasmed over both of their work. It was nice going through the tables and recognizing lots of art from people I didn’t even realize were going to be there, haha.

Sakura-Con’s Alley seemed really well-rounded in general. Lots of well-known artists and familiar con alley regulars (I used to try and list everyone, but man, I’ve been doing cons for five years now, and I freakin’ give up on listing everyone I know because I know too many people now! (even if they don’t know me, lol)), and lots of locals that I recognized from both Aki-Con and the deviantART meetup the weekend prior. Good mix of 2D and 3D artists.

Actually, the general feeling of the Alley reminded me a bit of Otakon’s Alley last year, though at exactly 100 tables and 16 small press booths (VS Otakon’s 284 tables last year), it was a much saner size. Anime Boston moving from Easter to Memorial Day weekend undoubtedly freed up a lot of artists to come to Sakura when they otherwise would have gone to Boston instead. There were still like four other cons over Easter, including Anime Matsuri and MTAC, but nothing else in the same attendance bracket as Sakura and AB.

Near the end of our round, I realized that one of the small press booths was Yuumei. o_o Kara wandered back to her table, but I freaked out a little bit before going up to talk to her and her friend/booth assistant. They had only gotten confirmation of their space a week prior, so their being there was kind of unexpected for them too. I think I managed not to fantard too hard and have a decent conversation with them?? It was nice. ;___; Yuumei’s art is so awesome, ugh.

Jack Skellington.

Jack Skellington.

Various dealers not being quite ready for a 10am Exhibits Hall opening meant that the whole thing got delayed to about a quarter after. This was awesome because it meant I had time to run down to the Art Show and drop off my last minute addendums! While I was there, I noticed that one of the panels in the first row was free even though I was sure it had been taken the day before. It looked like a better spot, so I ended up moving all of my pieces over, haha. Thankfully the Art Show coordinator, Jeff, helped me out so it didn’t take very long, but I still made a mad dash back to the Exhibits Hall when I finished checking in the extra pieces.

Last year this wasn’t an issue at all since I didn’t have a table, but man, they should really make Friday morning Art Show setup hours start before the Exhibits Hall opens so artists doing both won’t have this problem. <_< The public had already started milling into the Exhibits Hall by the time I got back, but I don’t think I missed all that much? Everyone guns for the Dealer’s Room first anyway, right??

Flareon and Jolteon.

Flareon and Jolteon.

It was right around then that I realized that I never got to get coffee that morning. Truthfully, I don’t know how much caffeine even affects me anymore, but coffee is delicious and it usually makes me feel better via placebo effect, if nothing else. I hadn’t slept very well, was super tired, and really, really wanted some coffee. Some desperate tweeting followed.

Traffic Friday morning was pretty steady, but sales were slow in that typical Friday way. Everyone’s browsing and filing away that potential shopping list for later. I had a few fun commissions to start the day, including one from a repeat customer from JCCS, but was otherwise pretty restless.

Flim and Flam let me have some of their apple juice. It was good, but it wasn't coffee!

Flim and Flam let me have some of their apple juice. It was good, but it wasn’t coffee!

A random staff member stopped by my table in the early afternoon. She didn’t know about my tweeted offers to draw in exchange for coffee, but she left vowing to get me some…and she did! A freakin’ quad shot latte and a quiche from Tully’s. It was the best. ;___; She couldn’t think of anything she wanted me to draw her, so I just gave her some posters instead. Amber (Unicorn Empire), who I met at ECCC and who was helping Meg at her table, also got water for me a while later. Yaaaay. <3

I didn’t get any commissions for the rest of the day, so I passed the time taking more cosplay photos than I have in a few conventions. There were a lot of really good ones at Sakura, including two groups of ATLA and Korra cosplayers that involved multiple people in the same outfit. I think those are especially impressive to see because of the amount of coordination needed. It isn’t the same as other group cosplays with just multiple characters from the same series because these guys’s costumes were made together as a group, so there was a good consistency in craftsmanship, etc. There are so many ways to do the same costume that this consistency is really obvious and really awesome to see. Being on the end of the row and not having a table on the endcap made it easier for me to take photos of groups, too!

I was kind of disappointed that there weren’t any Chuunibyou cosplayers to be found, but I guess it isn’t all that surprising since Crunchyroll doesn’t have it streaming and The Anime Network‘s stream service is waaaaay clunkier and harder to use, not to mention unceremonious periods of downtime. On the flip side, did everyone suddenly get together and watch Darker than BLACK?? It’s been available for a good while, but I’ve never seen so many cosplayers or had so many people recognize the stuff I have from it? o_o Series popularity trends at anime cons are weird! I would really like to see some Chihayafuru cosplayers someday too, but they would potentially be hard to recognize even if they were there… Is this what changing/evolving tastes is? Liking more and more series where characters aren’t outlandishly recognizable?? Sob.

Amon, some equalists, and Korra.

Amon, some equalists, and Korra.

Around 5pm, Jer showed up and brought me more coffee, which was great and delicious, but somehow only made me more tired. D; It was just as well though because same as last year, the Exhibits Hall closed for the day at 6pm — relatively early, but it makes for a nice 8-hour work day.

Kara, Sloan, Tori and I were all starving, but we did make a quick trip down to the Art Show before leaving the convention center. Many of the same artists participated, but it looked like there were fewer total pieces in the show compared to last year, and only one person bothered to get print shop tables (last year they were all occupied). I’m not really sure of the year-to-year entry numbers for the Art Show, but the drop did surprise me. Was everyone as disappointed with the returns last year as I was? But if so, why? I was unhappy with the placement of the show in relation to the rest of the con, but mostly I was miffed that a vast majority of the pieces in the show were open edition prints, which meant my pieces, as originals, were priced way higher and didn’t seem to really belong.

But other than that, the Art Show was well-run and organized, the staff is great, and the space is cheap. I think the location is still the biggest factor though. It’s out of the way, and in general the Art Show could use way more exposure. Basically nothing changed about the Art Show between this year and last. The items for the charity auction were still in the same space, as well as the showcase for the Bonsai Association, but I don’t think those two things are enough to get people to go out of their way to find the show. Jeff mentioned a few months back that they were maybe going to do a spotlight for the Art Show in the con program and include a few pictures of the pieces there, but that apparently didn’t end up happening as the blurb about the Art Show in the program was very small.

Oh well.

There were five Kyoshi Warriors, but one of them was missing for this photo. D;

There were five Kyoshi Warriors, but one of them was missing for this photo. D;

We went to Rock Bottom for dinner, which was the same place I went the last day of ECCC. Kara enjoyed making jokes about hitting “rock bottom” on the first day. I was just proud of myself for being able to find it again, haha. They were able to cater to Kara’s gluten-free needs and delicious food was had by all. A food coma followed immediately after and we missed our stop on the bus ride home. (Don’t worry, we got off at the next stop, which was only a block later, lol.)

Eevee!

Eevee!

I said last year that the Exhibits Hall at Sakura-Con was pretty roomy, which probably made things feel slower than they were. Open spaces are great, let me take nicer cosplay photos, and make the area feel more comfortable/relaxing in general. Cramped spaces and the associated crowding makes things busier and more hectic, but small crowds attract other small crowds, and I do feel that it leads to more sales to some extent. It’s definitely a trade-off. Still, I’m glad Sakura didn’t increase the number of tables in the Alley, even though they technically have the space. I still think it would be interesting to move the Alley so it’s in the middle of the Exhibits Hall with dealers on either side of them, but honestly, that isn’t really in line with what the convention should want to promote. Dealers remain far more important on the whole, especially since industry booths like FUNimation and Aniplex are mixed in with the dealers.

And in the end, the numbers for Friday were pretty robust. Not as good as my Fridays at A-kon for either year I went, but still good, so I guess there isn’t much to complain about. I’ve acclimated pretty well to dealing with lots of things at once behind the table, so anything less than crazy hectic feels “too calm” for me?

Alakazam!

Alakazam!

SATURDAY

Since we didn’t have setup to worry about, we got up a whole hour later on Saturday. We still made it down to the convention center pretty early though, and I made another circuit around the Artist Alley, this time to buy stuff!

I picked up Loki’s Stuttgard scarf from Threnodi. Later someone commented that “[I] finally caved on buying that, huh?” What? Are you kidding? I knew the second I saw it that I was gonna get it, lol. 8D This addition to my Saturday clothing ensemble confused some people. But hey, if I procure a glowing staff thingy and grow my hair out a bit more, I could actually cosplay Stuttgard!Loki now? :O It is a relatively simple outfit and probably wouldn’t get in the way much at the table, right? It’s been ages since I cosplayed.

Had a fun chat with Marl at PK’s table before picking up PK’s new Eeveelution and Pinkie Pie prints along with a handful of buttons. We talked longer than I planned for, so after that I only had time to stop by and grab a couple of Yuumei’s prints before rushing back to my table for opening. It’s too hard to socialize and buy things! Bah!

Full page pony commission.

Full page pony commission.

Saturday got off to a pretty great start though. Commissions! Yay! Things to keep me busy! Ponies to draw! Traffic seemed only slightly better than Friday — it was steadier, but I didn’t really notice a significant surge in the number of people stopping to browse, or in sales. There were noticeable pockets of quiet when very few people were around; presumably those were all the times a big panel or event was going on. But it didn’t bother me as long as I had something to work on. And cosplayers to look at!

I’m really pleased to see that guys are becoming more and more comfortable with crossplaying. I think it started with the popularity of Touhou Project and has grown in tandem with the crazy brony thing and the recent wave of feminism and social awareness. Most dude crossplayers still seem to be Touhous and ponies, but I also saw a fair amount of others, including a crapton of Madoka characters, a few Haruhi Suzumiyas, a few sailor senshi, and the stray Misty from Pokemon? Break down those gender barriers, guys~. I think it’s doubly impressive for them to successfully pull off these cosplays because while a lot of male characters are effeminate and/or androgynous, it’s pretty rare for female characters to be especially masculine. But man, a lot of dudes have really shapely legs, lemme tell ya what. 8D

Reimu.

Reimu.

A Nibutani cosplayer stopped by my table for like half a second, but ran off at top speed before I could ask her for a picture. ;___; As the only Chuunibyou cosplayer I saw all weekend, I am still kind of upset I didn’t manage to get her picture. However, a dude came by later and enthusiastically geeked out with me about the series and joined in my lamentation that there weren’t any cosplayers around, so that counts for something, right?

One of my most random commissions for the day was a duck. I asked the commissioner, “Any duck?” Her response: “Well, a nice duck!”

A nice duck!

A nice duck!

I got a small wave of commissions right around 5pm, so I wasn’t able to finish everything before we closed at 6pm. Once again, we packed up pretty quickly and embarked on a delirious quest for food. There was apparently a bunny bar hop going on downtown (Easter weekend and all that), so there were several dozen drunk people running around in bunny ears on Pike. 6:30 is still pretty early though, so the restauraunts in the area weren’t especially crowded or anything. We ended up at the Hardrock Cafe, where Kara bombarded our waitress with lots of questions about gluten and Tori regaled us with the story of the craaaaaaaaazy commissioner she had to deal with that day. That’s what you get for saying you’ll draw anything, man. o__o

All four of us had commissions to do that night, so a work party started in my living room as soon as we got back to the apartment. Kara, Sloan, and I each only had a few things to draw, but Tori had something like 20 commissions backed up because the Crazy Commissioner took up so much of her time that day. <_< Whelp.

I got a fancy drink. It was fancy.

I got a fancy drink. It was fancy.

SUNDAY

We took Sloan’s car to the convention center Sunday morning since we’d be loading stuff up in the afternoon. Parking was pretty painless. I intended to spend the morning before the usual 10am opening browsing the Dealer’s Room side of the Exhibits Hall.

And that is what I did for all of five minutes before an interesting conversation between a FUNimation rep and a dealer caught my attention and I accidentally jumped in. XD And then I ended up chatting with the FUNi rep for like twenty minutes?? She had a lot to say about the convention scene, conventions’ relationships with the industry, copyright (no doubt that whole recent ordeal was on her mind), and Homestucks (lol), and it was really interesting and enlightening being able to speak with her and to get her perspective on things. The poor lady is apparently traveling for cons 40 weekends out of the year though, so man, if you talk to FUNimation at some convention somewhere, be nice!

It threw me off my window shopping, but the conversation was a big highlight of my morning. I haven’t really spoken to an industry rep since Viz Media visited SCAD for Editors’ Day that one year and that had mostly been about Viz’s never-realized OEL/original comics initiative, rather than conventions.

Lacus! It's been so long since I've seen SEED cosplay!

Lacus! It’s been so long since I’ve seen SEED cosplay!

I made a quick round through most of the rest of the dealers, but then remembered I needed to say hello to Pawstar, who I hadn’t realized would be there until I saw like fifty people wearing their ears. Iceman, one of the owners, had taken a break from the con circuit a while but was back now, so it was nice catching up. I basically ran back to my table just prior to opening though! I’ve whined a lot about how artists are never at their tables before show time so I can’t buy their stuff, but that was basically me Sunday morning, so whoops.

I really need to start planning proper meet-ups or something with friends at conventions, haha. (I’m pretty sad I never caught Robin at her table!) Unfortunately, basically all of them are vendors, whether dealers or artists, so we’re all tied to a booth or table all weekend and the only time we have for socializing is during setup time, which is both limited and generally hectic. Folks tend to do meals with whatever group they’re rooming with or staying with for the weekend, which is most convenient and makes sense, but that leaves no time for everyone else? I suppose more artists can arrange work parties for overnight commissions, but then we need to find a space where everyone can work, which can be difficult. Sigh!

HANGING OUT AT CONVENTIONS IS HARD. I vote for more pre-show drink and draws.

Princess Peach and Tuxedo Mask make a pretty adorable couple.

Princess Peach and Tuxedo Mask make a pretty adorable couple.

Sunday was a pretty chill day though.

I got a couple of commissions in the morning, but was done before noon and had nothing to really occupy me after that. Traffic was similar to Friday, if a little slower. Last year (and in 2011, I think), Sakura-Con only had full weekend badges for attendees. This is (probably?) because it’s a registered non-profit and technically all attendees are members of the organization and the convention is a great big meeting. This is pretty much the way Otakon is set up too? This year I noticed a bunch of single-day badges though, so I guess they’ve returned! Not sure how much that affected overall attendance though, and I can’t compare sales figures since I didn’t have a table last year. It’s a bummer because I think that’d be a pretty interesting thing to look into.

The afternoon winded down pretty gradually and things felt like they were naturally coming to an end anyway when the doors closed at 4pm. Pick-up at the Art Show was supposed to be from 1pm to 3pm, but there was no way I was leaving the table in the last hour the Exhibits Hall was open, so I jetted over there the minute the lights dimmed. Thankfully, there was still plenty of staff hanging out in the Art Show room and I was able to get my unsold pieces without a problem. Once again, I sold nothing! One piece did get its minimum bid, but the bidder never returned to pick up and pay, so it did not actually sell in the end. Oh well!

By the time I got back upstairs, Kara, Sloan and Tori were all pretty much done tearing down, so they got to help me with my monster of a table set-up, haha.

Happenstance let Tori stay with us for a bit longer than planned, so we all headed down to the International District for delicious Chinese food and obligatory wandering around Kinokuniya. Kara also completed a mission to obtain melon soda at Uwajimaya. Eventually we all parted ways after a pretty swell weekend of hanging out.

I gave Kara, Sloan, and Tori a bunch of quarters for the bus. At the end of the weekend, all the extra ones ended up by these guys on my bookshelf for some reason??

I gave my houseguests a bunch of quarters for the bus. At the end of the weekend, all the extra ones ended up by these guys on my bookshelf for some reason?? Why are we paying tribute to billionaires!

OVERALL

Yes, it was a pretty swell weekend.

Since they have the target the same demographic and have a similar attendance, I automatically compare Sakura-Con to A-kon. But Sakura is in a huge, roomy convention center while A-kon has been in a cramped, crowded hotel; that makes for a huge difference in the general feel and atmosphere of the convention. I’m also realizing that in the two years since my first A-kon, I’ve probably leveled up quite a bit as far as working cons goes, which means it takes a lot more for a con to overwhelm me once I’m behind the table. I’ve also raised prices on commissions since that first A-kon, so it makes sense that I should get fewer of them and end up less busy (and more restless) as a result.

So really, traffic and sales were pretty steady throughout the weekend, but this wasn’t obvious to me until after I ran the numbers. I grossed more at Sakura-Con than at A-kon 2011 — not by much, but A-kon also cost more for me to attend, even when I lived in Texas, so the net ended up being a bit better. :o

Not actually sakura.

Not actually sakura.

Sakura-Con remains one of the best organized conventions I’ve attended, perhaps second only to ECCC? Most of my interaction with staff has been via email, and while they aren’t always prompt with responses, they have always responded to me — and they’ve been patient, helpful, and professional in doing so.

I do kinda wish more of the Artist Alley staff would go through the Alley to check up on artists throughout the weekend though. Someone did ask if I needed anything Sunday morning, but that was the only time. Most of the staff I saw were from other departments, presumably on break, and I only knew they were staff because they were close enough for me to see their badges. They didn’t wear anything else visually distinguishing, so it was impossible to tell who was staff from a distance. I know AA staff had a control booth near the bathrooms, but it was out of the way enough that I couldn’t really take advantage of it. The #1 reason I’d need staff’s help is to watch my table for five minutes while I run to the bathroom, but it kind of defeats the purpose if I first need to go to the bathroom (area) to get a staff person, leaving the table unattended for the interim. :( Still, a relatively minor complaint in the scheme of things.

Another minor thing: I think Sakura-Con could stand to lift its 4′ height limit on AA tables. I never saw the fire marshal coming through to check tables, but I was cruising through the Alley with Kara at the time, so it would have been easy for me to miss him or her. I don’t know how hard the rule was being enforced anyway. I’ve measured my PVC pipe plenty of times; the display is actually slightly over 4′ because of the connectors and the clamp at the bottom, so I’m glad it wasn’t suuuuper strict, but at the same time, there were definitely tables with displays a half foot to a foot taller than mine, so. But no one really builds higher than 5′ because structural integrity is obviously compromised if you go any higher and there isn’t the space in Artist Alley to build something sturdy and tall. So it’s kind of a non-issue, in my opinion? 4′ worked out just fine for me in the end, but I’m just not a fan of rules that seem unnecessary and/or which aren’t enforced.

I’m pretty disappointed with the Art Show, and it’s frustrating because the staff is so nice, haha. At the risk of sounding repetitive: I still think the main issue is the location. I wish it were closer to the Exhibits Hall, or even inside the Exhibits Hall in a roped off section? Bring the charity auction and the bonsai along too if you have to, but just get it out of that deserted corner! I would also really like it if the labels used for the art pieces had a spot to indicate whether it’s a print or an original, and if the former, a spot to indicate print editions so everything isn’t open edition by default. If the panels weren’t so damn cheap, I’d probably skip it for next year, but they are, so maybe third time’s the charm? Jeff’s confirmed that they do still plan to devote more space to the show in the con program, so hopefully that will help!

My glorious loot pile.

My glorious loot pile.

All in all though, Sakura-Con’s a well put together show. I’m really glad they’re my local con now! I look forward to next year and hope Anime Boston remains not on the same weekend so all my friends come back and visit instead of going to Boston. XD (And so maybe I can hit up Boston someyear too??)

THANKS FOR READING. HERE ARE THE REST OF THE PICTURES~.