2018 Convention Artist Survey results

The 2018 Convention Artist Survey collected 987 artist responses regarding financial and other data for over 300 conventions in North America — how much they made, how much they spent, how far they traveled, how they rated staff communication and organisation, and so on.

And the corresponding report turning that data into relevant charts and graphs is finally done. Snag the 2018 report for $5 or more!


The survey and report still skews heavily towards anime conventions, but 2018 marks the first time there were enough responses for two furry conventions to get individual reports! Two comic cons also got individual reports, one new and one returning. I removed a few of the travel-related pages and combined some charts for brevity. Most of the travel data here didn’t change significantly between 2017 and 2018, so you can refer back to the 2017 report if you’re curious and want the visuals.

2018 Con Artist Survey genre representation
2018 Con Artist Survey genre representation.

The 2018 Report includes:

  • 24 pages of overall analysis
    • Including such graphs as Gross Revenue by Experience, by Percentile, by Convention Genre, by Convention Size, by Region, by State/Province, by Primary Product, by Artist Recommendation, and many more divisions; Convention Ratings by Size and Genre, 2015-2018 comparison of Average Gross Revenue, Top Cons by Average Gross Revenue, by Overall Rating, and much more!
  • 37 pages of individual con data
    • 18 conventions qualified for individual reports: A-Kon, Anime Central, Anime Expo, Anime Los Angeles, Anime North, Biggest Little Fur Con, Calgary Comics & Entertainment Expo, Crunchyroll Expo, FanimeCon, Further Confusion, Otakon, Otakuthon, Rose City Comic Con, SacAnime Summer, SacAnime Winter, Sakura-Con, San Japan, and Youmacon
  • 84 total tables
  • 139 total charts and graphs

Unsure the report will be useful to you? Get any of the prior years’ reports for a minimum of $0.

2019 Convention Artist Survey Report

The 2018 Data

The spreadsheet data from the survey is available for your perpetual perusal! Generate your own graphs and charts, run your own numbers, look up conventions that didn’t get an individual report, and read some of the straight-up essays (bless ya’ll) that artists have left in comments about conventions and all sizes and genres. Data is sorted alphabetically by convention with timestamps stripped to help preserve the anonymity of respondents.

In the raw data, red-flagged rows denote data that’s unusable in some way (data from 2016, multiple cons in one entry, unspecified con, etc), while orange boxes flag incorrect information which can still be fixed and used. No changes were made to the value of any field in the raw data.

The adjusted data sees most of the corrections made prior to the data being used for the report, including many Maryland/DC and Michigan/Illinois state corrections, genre corrections (if it’s got “comic con” in the name, I’m counting it as a comic con even though yes, functionally most of them are multi-genre at this point), and attendance corrections. Many adventures in rooting out accurate attendance figures were had when there are three respondents for a con and they all guessed in a different bracket. :’)


2019 Survey & Census

The 2019 survey is accepting responses through 11:59pm PST, January 15th, 2020.

2018 Convention Artist Survey

As a related side project, I’m conducting a quick 2019 Convention Artist Census, which will accept responses through 11:59pm PST, October 1st, 2019.

Rather than focusing on per-convention data, this census seeks to profile the overall makeup of artists who do conventions, including those outside of North America! Really curious about what sort of numbers this one will root out.

2019 Convention Artist Census

Survey Conclusion?

It’s been an insightful few years running this annual survey, and I’m grateful for the data that’s been contributed and collected. Year-to-year data has been very consistent on the whole, which means that the average numbers are a good representation of the convention scene!

However, that also means that there haven’t been many new conclusions for me to draw from new data, and my personal interest in the project has waned, making the ongoing time commitment more difficult to justify. This is most obvious in the time it’s taken for me to finish the report this year.

Formulas I wish I knew when I did the 2015 report hahahahaha.

Though I’ve streamlined the process over the years (via many saved Excel formulas), there’s still a lot of work involved in cleaning up spreadsheets, generating dozens of graphs, and then formatting everything in a report. I procrastinated for months this year because I just didn’t want to sit down and slog through it. And aside from the 30 hours or so needed to put together the actual report, promoting the survey year-round takes a lot of energy (maybe Anime Boston didn’t get enough responses this year because I didn’t promote it enough?) that I’m not sure I want to expend anymore.

So, I think 2019 will be the last year of data collection for the time being. The raw spreadsheet data will be available as soon as the survey closes in January, but I’m unsure at this time whether there will be a corresponding 2019 report.

I may instead combine the data from 2015-2019 for a 5-year report, or only do the compilation of individual reports for qualifying cons (the ranking page and individual con profiles are the things that change the most, after all), or pass entirely. I’m not sure yet, and it’s pretty much a “we’ll see how I’m feelin’ in January” sort of thing right now.

I do plan to put together a short report using data from the 2019 census. Being a much shorter survey with new metrics that interest me, I’m hopeful I’ll be motivated to put this one together in a timely manner, and my tentative target date for completion is one month after the census conclusion (so around November). In the rapidly evolving convention scene, it may be quite useful to conduct regular censuses, but I’ll decide if the census will be an ongoing project once I finish that first report. ;)

Stay Updated

All and any future updates regarding the convention survey and census will, of course, continue to be posted to this blog. I’ll also keep maintaining the survey’s mailing list, so you can opt-in for email updates regarding whatever convention-related research endeavours I end up pursuing. All reports will be added to Gumroad on completion, so you can follow for updates there, too, if you’d like.

All my thanks for your interest, support, and participation through the years. I hope this and prior reports have proven useful to you and your business.

I’m certain this won’t be the end of my seeking knowledge and data. We’ll see what the future brings. :)

2017 VS 2018 Gross Revenue by Artist Impression

About the author

Kiri is an illustrator, writer, and pen enthusiast in Seattle with over 12 years of Artist Alley experience and an inclination towards verbosity.