Anime Expo 2005
Anime Expo - Artist Alley

by Will Jang,
The artist alley has been synonymous with Anime Expo since its inception. This year's artist alley was set up in the lower lobby of the Anaheim Convention Center, right next to the registration lines. Coming down the escalator, attendees were met with rows of tables displaying original character sketches, caricatures, doujinshi, and accessories. Often, the traffic in the artist alley felt almost as heavy as it did in the exhibit hall. Many of the artists stated that this year's location was one of the best by far.

There was a mix of veteran and first year artists this year. Henry Liao is one of those veteran artists. Henry has drawn the volunteer department's caricature for the last couple of years. Henry, who came to Anime Expo to make money, says that he did very well, “Thanks to the traffic, I made more than expected.”

A 9-year veteran of the Anime Expo artist alley, David Wong's artwork focuses on mostly fantasy - comic book style, he likes drawing Teen Titans and is sick of Drawing Dragonball Z characters. Although he comes for the fun of it as well, his motivation is more financial, and he says that, in both cases, Anime Expo 2005 met his expectations. After 9 years, David had some advice for those just starting out, “Don't give up. Just keep trying, and stay very positive. Everybody goes through hardships at first, just keep trying and you'll be okay.”

The most impressive first year artist booth was Studio Dog Tags. SDT sold customized dog tags with character art from Naruto, Full Metal Alchemist, and so on. SDT spent tons of time preparing for the artist alley and was one of the most popular booths in the alley. Caroline Liederitz is one of the members of SDT. Caroline and SDT came to Anime Expo to have some fun and gain some name recognition, but just like those that came to earn money, Caroline says that SDT definitely achieved its goals.

Despite being a first year entry to the artist alley, SDT's booth was very organized, Caroline had this advice for aspiring and struggling artists, “Don't be trendy, go with what you like personally. Always think positively.”

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