The Big Draw Review

It is already a week ago that I traveled to Nijmegen to participate in The Big Draw‘s Artist Alley at the Mariënburg Library. After doing OK at TomoFair, I was curious how this would go: I expected a different kind of public here.


big draw table saturday

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t good: I arrived with a wet suitcase and a soaked coat. This must have had it’s effect on the visitor’s count, though it’s hard to say to what account. On the other hand, hosting the Artist Alley in the library, we also had people browsing who didn’t know about the event at all and just came to lend a book. In fact, at the start of the day, there was only a A4 taped to the door about the event, it wasn’t advertised very clearly, so I wonder how many people visited the library with the intent of browsing the Artist Alley vs. regular library visitors who stumbled upon us.

big draw artist alley
Following the arrow I drew here is not intuitive at all, you probably would go straight ahead where most tables are.

To be honest, I also didn’t have the best table spot in the library. Most tables were in the large space in the center of the building, and we were kind of behind that between the bookshelves. There must have been visitors that have missed us because of that.

Nevertheless, I sold a few prints, one of them to a little girl who kept telling her mother that she really really wanted that print. Those are the best customers! I also met a lot of new fellow illustrators and creatives that are still studying or just graduated. I think half of tables were from artists from the St. Joost Academy from Breda / Den Bosch. A different community than Rotterdam, and fun to meet!


big draw table sunday

The weather was much better now and we could move our tables outside. That was the good news! I suddenly had to flip my table design as I now expected people walking past from right to left instead of left to right, though. I had thought I needed half an hour max to prepare my table, now the library was already open and I was still setting up. Stressful!

Instead of being tucked away, now were were right at the entrance, no one could miss us! There were banners about the event too, it felt like a much larger event now. And The Big Draw is actually quite a big event with workshops and expositions all around the city! The Artist Alley is just one thing on the program.

Unfortunately though, I only sold one print and two stickers on Sunday, despite the weather being much better. In my experience Sunday is always more quiet than Saturday on two-day conventions, though, although I hoped differently now we had a better spot. It proves once more how much uncertainty is involved in this business.

The Verdict

The Big Draw is much more than just the Artist Alley and being part of an event about all things drawing is rewarding in itself too. I wish Rotterdam would get its own edition, so I could see more of the event myself instead having to leave early to travel back home.

If I sold one more sticker, I would have hit break even. Tables were free but traveling from Rotterdam to Nijmegen both ways is around 45 euros. That’s a shame, but on the other hand this is the cheapest convention I’ve attended, the location was great and there was even lunch and snacks provided at no costs. No way you get something like that at a regular convention. I probably would attend again if I got the chance!

Nevertheless I will take a break from conventions until I have more original prints and merchandise to sell. Tables were only 120 cm wide and I worried if I would be able to display all my prints, but in the end I had actually quite some spare space. It made me realize I actually don’t have that much to sell, and simple business sense tells me that I automatically will sell more if I simply have more to offer. Conventions take quite some time to prepare, so I think it isn’t a bad idea to step back once more and use that time to create more personal work. After all, I should do that more regardless of creating merchandise of it!

TomoFair Rotterdam Review

The first one-day convention I tabled at! I picked TomoFair Rotterdam as my sister @empoh expressed her wish to try to table at conventions too, so I looked for a small, affordable convention nearby. The sports hall it was organised was only 30 minutes from my home, perfect for a test of our joint venture!

tomofair stand
Left is Emma’s work, right is mine.

The Good

hanging prints

We had a good space, on the corner near the entrace. Having a which enabled us to hang some prints on the side of our stand, which worked out nicely! I saw people walking by and pointing at the prints multiple times.

Like at many conventions, some products did very well and others didn’t sell at all. The Pokémon Snap print did quite well, just like Grovyle and the Hollow Knight stickers. My sister sold a lot of her Rayquaza prints and Snom stickers. I’m happily surprised I sold my Harpy Bonfire print twice, which has never happened before!

Using the Tikkie app for customers who didn’t have cash on hand was a genius tip of my boyfriend, if I didn’t have it installed we would have missed out on half of our sales. I’m still undecided whenever I should get a card reader: do the transaction costs hold up to more sales?

The Bad

zinemadness zine

I have reasons to believe one of my Zinemadness zines was stolen from our stand. I counted all my stock before the convention and after, and one is missing despite I’m sure I didn’t sell one. It hasn’t happened to me before but I have heard stories of colleagues that this does happen at conventions sometimes. It is hard to prevent too, unfortunately: at times there are a lot of people before your stand and even with the two of us it is impossible to keep our eyes on all the things on the table. Still it is a shame people do such things.

All in all, I think we did good, although I hoped on a little better turnover. I sold a many stickers, but they’re only €3, so I didn’t make a lot of profit to be honest. And TomoFair itself is also not very cheap with stands starting at €119. But I might be inpatient again, expecting to have figured out this already! I think what I need is just more stuff to sell.


My sister and I both really enjoyed tabling together like this! I didn’t bring my largest prints, if I did the space might be too small for me, but this way it worked out nicely. There’s another TomoFair Rotterdam in december, we might do this again like this.

Next up: The Big Draw Nijmegen! A larger event with a different focus (all things drawing), so I’m excited to see how that will go. I’ll make sure to have some more prints for sale.

It was a very good year…

I’m not exactly a Sinatra fan, but I thougth this would make a striking title to my yearly retrospection post, haha! It has hardly been a very good year in many aspects, but I feel happy and humbled that the pandemic hasn’t hurt me or my business financially!

I started this year trying to get a foot between the door in the board game industry. I contacted a lot of companies during January and February and was even asked for a quote for Christmas themed puzzles. I attended OBJECT with fellow BNO members and had my first and last convention on March 7th and 8th.

Don’t look at my sleepy head, I was a bit nervous tabling by myself again! Too bad the convention itself was not too exciting either; there were very little visitors.

And then everything closed down in this year’s first lockdown on March 17th.

Right then I was in the middle of starting to work on a game prototype with Roofkat – I had visited him in Zaandam in February, a good two-hour trip from my house. The lockdown forced us to work via Skype, but it would probably been the same without it.

A lot of my fellow convention artists weren’t as lucky as I was; they depended on the income of events like Comic Con Rotterdam. And one by one they were all cancelled. Some set up a online equivalent: Stay Home Comic Con. People could join the Discord channel, watch streams and there was a website with links to everyone’s webshops. I participated in the stream too (woo, first time!) and I had 60 watchers at one moment! I enjoyed doing it, so I considered streaming on a regular basis, but I haven’t really picked it up yet. Maybe because I’m secretly too nervous for it!

Spring passed and the first holiday I was going to spend with my boyfriend was cancelled. I spend the summer mostly working, trying to enjoy the ridiculous warm weather whenever I could. But with everything live going online, I was able to attend conventions and events I never would have attended live, being too far for me to travel too. I made a lot more international contacts, which might help me in the future. That’s definitely a good thing that this pandemic has brought me!

Some other highlights of this weird year:

  • I made a mural with friends of Draw Club Rotterdam at a local culture centre! We were almost finished halfway March but didn’t get the chance to add the final touches until August. It has become a Frankenstein’s monster of different styles, but it was a great experience working together!
  • I was asked to jump in and create some map illustrations and icons right before Godhood’s launch. It was great to work on that game again after a few years, so much has changed since then.
  • The game VR Giants, where I did level concept art for, had a very succesful Kickstarter campaign! I was able to share some things I made for it, hopefully more soon!
  • I participated in three zines this year: A Pokémon Snap zine, one focused on character design and a monster girl zine. The two last ones had very similar timelines which made meeting the deadlines quite stressful. I hadn’t expected to get in them both!
  • I also participated in the Artstation Keyframe challenge, but should have made more time for it; I was unable to finish it before the deadline. :/
  • And other cool things I’m not allowed to share yet, unfortunately!

Looking back, I definitely want to have another go at trying to get into board games. I think I’m limiting my options too much only trying to do video games. After all, there are plenty of board games in need of fantasy art too!

Dutch Comic Con Winter Edition 2019

Ah, Dutch Comic Con. The largest comic convention of the Netherlands. Infamous for its visitor numbers and the outrageous prices of tables. To counter that, two friends of mine, Dewy and Sarah, decided to share two tables between the three of us. That way we would pay less and still be present on this large convention.

Was this approach a succes?

One thing we quickly noticed, two tables for three people is somewhat smallish. In fact, we could all just fit all our merchandise and prints in the space. Dewy, having the largest inventory of us all, couldn’t display all her products. Next convention it’ll be probably too small.

Nevertheless, we managed to get everything kinda in place and the rest of the weekend went pretty well. I sold all my Hollow Knight stickers because I forgot to take the last bit of stock with me on Sunday. Lesson learned!

On the other hand, I notice a trend between me and my table buddies – they sell a lot more items than I do. How come? First of all, they offer more products – Sarah has more poster designs and all posters are also available as postcards, while my poster artwork is only available as posters. Dewy has so much fandoms covered with her smart customisation options, that there were almost always people going through her button designs and often people were standing in line to see what’s on offer – standing before my stand.

While the obvious solution would be just to create more (fan) artwork, I don’t really want to go that route. I fear I end up with a lot of stock, spending a lot of money on prints of which I don’t know they will sell. Besides, I don’t feel so comfortable anymore with just creating pretty pictures of someone else’s intellectual property. I fear that they’ll come to get me for that someday, and I rather draw whatever I feel like drawing than to think hard about what’s popular at the moment.

I know a few artists that seem to get by creating whatever they like to do; Evaboneva makes prints of her own artwork that seem to sell quite well. The same goes for Nikki Smits or Ines Borba.

Thing is, they all have a very recognisable style, which I don’t really have? I think my work is pretty generic digital painting; though I like to go deep with my creature designs, they are not unique enough (yet) to really stand out?

Something to work on.

Plans for the near future

Now that I’ve graduated from WdkA and I’m back from my vacation, I can put all my energy in getting illustration jobs! I’m excited to start this new adventure, though a bit nervous juggling all the tasks that come with being a freelancer. Though I plan to do mostly commissioned work for studios, I also try to keep up with the comic conventions I’ve been doing.

Two weeks ago I shared a stand with Tosca Hamel at the Netherlands’ largest comic convention, Dutch Comic Con. It went pretty good, actually! We’ve made enough to pay for the table, met a lot of new people and had generally a good time. I sold the merchandise I still had from previous conventions, but I also had a few new prints made:

Contact me if you’re interested in any of them! The Zelda prints are A3 in size, Gabite and Grovyle both A5. I plan to open an Etsy shop in the near future, so all things I have for sale can be found easily together.

In other news, I’m hosting a giveaway on Instagram at the moment, ending April 16th! You can win three signed prints and a sketch drawing, please check it out if you’re interested!

Comic Con Amsterdam Recap

Last weekend my friend and I tried selling stuff at another con! The con itself was fun, though saleswise… it didn’t went as good. I actually made a loss at this con: I sold only one print and a few buttons. I do think I know why this happened, though. Firstly, almost all the things I sell are Zelda themed, and after talking with other artists, Zelda things just didn’t sell that well on this con. Perhaps there were just less people visiting this con who would like to have Zelda merchandise? It’s a thing I can’t control so I shouldn’t blame myself too much for it.. Except I better have not only Zelda prints with me next time! 

Another thing is the fact that my friend had actually printed quite some extra A5 and A3 prints for this con. I didn’t print anything extra as I still had so much stock from last con. Why spend another 50-60 euros on printing when I still have so much left? But that meant that there was more art of my friend on our table than there was mine. So perhaps we were unknowingly competing with each other for the attention of potential customers? Ultimately my friend sold wayyy more prints of her work than I did, and actually made a good profit. 

 This could be just because she sold quite some Overwatch fanart which was wildly popular during this con, and probably too because she offered prints in smaller sizes than just A2. A2 prints are maybe a little daunting for people to buy, they’re not really cheap and quite big, people might not have the space for such a print?

It makes me think whenever we should try to get two tables instead of one, so we both have our own. Everyone I talked to agrees that having your own table lets you sell much more than if you share a table with others.. Though of course the costs for standing at a con doubles, so you need to make more money to break even. :/

Or maybe I’m just too impatient, I mean: this is my second convention as a dealer and I already expect to make money out of this. 

If you’re interested in the products I sold, check out my Etsy shop!