Artist Alley at NDK
Nan Desu Kan is home to a large and flourishing Artist Alley that boasts 40,000 square feet and 250 tables of handcrafted items from both local and international artists. Our artists bring anything and everything related to anime and Japanese culture. Past tables have included artistic prints, original paintings, metal art, fiber art, sculpture, jewelry, cosplay accessories, key chains, plushies, and anything else you can imagine.
Artist Alley is also home to the tables where our Guests hang out and where you can get autographs and headshots from them. Come by and say hello!
Artists Alley Rules
Artist Alley tables are intended for Anime or Japanese themed original artwork, crafts, fan art, original comic, doujinshi, and fanzines. Applications for a business selling videos, software, or any mass produced, resale items, books or items not relevant to the theme of the convention will not be considered. The Artist Alley Area and Exhibitors Head reserves the right to prohibit the sale of any merchandise or service that they feel is inappropriate.
Please note that these rules apply to every member of your artists group! If one member of your group signs up with something that disqualifies them, the entire group is disqualified.
- Nan Desu Kan is a 501 c4 Nonprofit organiziation dedicated to Japanese Art, Animation and Culture. All items for sale in Artist Alley MUST be relevant to this theme or relevant to Japanese culture, or the interest of anime fandom. For example, artists that sell only American-style comic art, or mass produced books will not be added into the lottery. However, items such as chibi crocheted cupcake plushies, which are relevant to fandom (kawaii/pop culture) are acceptable.
- All work sold in Artist Alley must be original artwork, crafts, or fan art. Absolutely NO AI artwork is allowed. Stolen or plagiarized work is strictly forbidden in Artist Alley. Copying and attempting to sell any existing official art or fan art, regardless of what medium it is copied onto, is recognized as theft by the state of Colorado. This includes ‘Swipes’, or copying existing art and drawing in a different background.
- The name of a series and/or character CANNOT be included on any product, display, packaging; this goes for both English and Japanese. No art or packaging containing these names can be sold in Artists Alley. The same goes for using licensed names, characters or series on a display.
- Artists are also not allowed to sell any kind of art or product with any kind of official logo. This includes Key chains, buttons, badges or any other item. Note: The use of fabric pre-printed with official character artwork or logos is also strictly forbidden, and will get you immediately disqualified. If you have questions on any fabric or pre-printed media, please ask.
- All products in Artist Alley must be made by you, or someone in your group. As stated above, absolutely NO AI artwork is Allowed. Products released officially either in the US or Japan cannot be sold in Artists Alley. We want work from you, not someone else. Please note that there are special exceptions for collaborative work and for Active Military.
- No homemade food or drink products of any kind are allowed to be sold in Artists Alley. Sorry, this is convention center policy.
- All items for sale must be approved prior to the convention. If you want to sell something new that was not included in your application, then you have to get it approved before the convention. Having items on your table that have not been approved before the convention will result in a warning, and you could be asked to put the product away. This restriction goes for contest winners and lottery winners.
- Artists are free to arrange their table space as they see fit and may supply their own tables, racks and chairs at no additional cost. Artists must stay within the space that is allotted to them; you may not let your table or display items bleed into another artists space. NDK reserves the right to approve the setup including TVs, speakers, tables, etc. Also, staff is allowed to restrict what can be heard and viewed outside of your area.
- All artists and artist helpers MUST be registered and have a badge for NDK. Badges must be worn at all times while on the con floor.
- Artists are expected to be open and available at their table during AA operating hours as listed above. We expect you to be at your table by 10:00am on Saturday and 11:00am on Sunday at the very latest. If something comes up or you know you won’t be able to make it for one of the days, please contact the Artist Alley or Exhibitors Area Head as soon as possible. Note: Early closures for the Cosplay Contest are acceptable.
- No-Shows: Artists who do not check in to their tables by 10am on Saturday will have their space sold to other artists, and will not be welcome back. This is only for check in, not set up. If you are delayed for any reason, please contact the Artist Alley or Exhibitors Area Head as soon as you can.
- Please inform the Artists Alley Area Head of any business name change. You will need to inform us so we can correctly list you in our Program Book and our website.PG-13 and 18+ Materials.
- There is a new 18 + section located inside the Exhibitors Hall. However, outside of this space, 18+ items are strictly prohibited. 18+ materials include: any kind of pornography or otherwise excessive sexuality (hentai, yaoi, yuri,) excessive gore, or excessive violence. If you are found to be displaying any sort of 18+ material outside of the designated 18+ area, you will be warned once to put it away. Further violations will result in a permanent ban. The acceptability of any product is the sole discretion of the Artist Alley Area and Exhibitors Head.
- There is a strict PG-13 rule in Artist Alley. Artists are allowed to bring PG-13 material, but due to the family-friendly nature of the convention, it may not be openly displayed. Suggestive images, mild fanservice, artistic nudity, and the like, must be have black sensor boxes over any exposed sexual areas, bare breasts, panties, etc. If you are found displaying any sort of PG-13 art without black boxes or proper censoring, you will be warned twice; further violations will result in a ban. If you have any questions about an image please ask with at least 2 weeks prior notice to the convention.
What’s Allowed and What’s Not Allowed
Must Review Before You Apply!
We hope this will help clarify some of what is and isn’t allowed in NDK’s AA. Much of what is allowed falls into a gray area, the point of this thread is to help make that gray area a bit clearer. Every year we end up having to disqualify some amazing artists, simply because they have something that can’t be sold at NDK. We hope that by creating this example page, we won’t have to do that quite as much.
Examples are below. *All images used on this page belong to their respective owners.*
Logos and Symbols
Here is a breakdown of the following three areas:
Logos – these are items we consider logos, and cannot be used at all.
Symbols – these are items that fall more in the symbol section and can be used.
Logos VS Symbols – cases where if used it would be a logo but if used differently would be considered a symbol.
Thundercats sign: it appears in the title and is easily recognizable.
From Neon Genisis Evangelion the Nerv logo
Fairy Tail: The logos used on the members by the guilds.
From Naruto; the art that appears on the headbands *note: the star and the music note are allowed because they are generic*
Symbol vs Logo Examples
Symbol vs. Logo Examples
The Sailor Moon Sailor Scouts Planet signs, using the general planet signs is considered a symbol but using the alterations on some that were used for the series is considered a logo. (Yes, we know some are the same, and those ones are fine, it’s the altered for the show ones that are not allowed.)
The Tri-force from Zelda is by itself a symbol but is considered a logo since it appears in the title of the game.
The circles used in Full Metal Alchemist are considered logos, but you can use similar circles in work as symbols, the logos include the main circle and the one that appears on Ed’s jacket.
Pokeball: the original red and white pokeball is considered a logo while the others come close to being logos as well. This is for charms, plush, and buttons for the most part, you can stylize it in fan art and other mediums so that you can tell what it is without being exactly like. And for the record, outside of stylized fan art where it is only a small part of the overall image, the use of pokeballs will get you disqualified.
General Rule: If we can trace something to an officially released item, it will not be allowed no matter what medium is used. This includes plush or stuffed items: Stuffed fabric, knitted or crocheted items, felt items, etc. Basically if there’s an official stuffed version any stuffed medium is out.
Also, using official merchandise and altering it in some way, including adding something to it, is not allowed. This is considered the same as selling official merchandise, which we do not allow in AA.
The following is not a complete list, but it covers several examples. If you have questions, ask.
Dragon Ball, DBZ, DBGT: Dragon Balls are official items.
Dr Who: There are official hats, bags, charms, and plush. There is an increasing number of official products out now, so ask if you are unsure!
Harry Potter: While there are several official wands, the wand itself is allowed provided it doesn’t look exactly like the official ones. However- there are official robes available, so they are no longer allowed.
Kingdom Hearts: There are officially licensed keyblades out there, this includes charms and keychains
Hello Kitty: AKA Sanrio, this series is officially licensed and the use of any plush, charms, fabric, or official merchandise will get you disqualified.
My Little Pony: Plush: All forms of MLP plush are not allowed, this is because there are official plush out. This also includes characters that have not been officially released yet.
My Little Pony: Charms: Because there are a number of official MLP charms out, clay and similar material charms are not allowed.
My Little Pony: Cutie Marks: We allow the use of cutie marks only if the artist uses more than the main six. This means that we want more cutie marks to broaden this area and make it less focused on the main characters.
Pokemon Plush: Pokemon plush are not allowed, there are a number of official ones out there
Pokemon Charms and Buttons: Pokemon charms are no longer allowed; this goes for creatures and pokeballs. Creatures are allowed in buttons provided the art is the artists own style (does not look like the official art); pokeball buttons will get you disqualified.
Pokemon: Hats: There are official trainer hats out there but creating hats in the likeness of a pokemon character is ok as long as it isn’t the character just slapped onto the hat.
Portal: the logos are sometimes used in buttons, doing so will get you disqualified
Portal: Plush: There is now an official companion cube plush and charms so both are not allowed
Sailor Moon: Lockets, pendants, crystals, mirrors, tiaras, are all official items and cannot be sold.
Star Trek: badges and communicators are official items. Same with several kinds of plush.
Art is a bit more tricky to define but below are some general rules of thumb. If you have a piece that you’re unsure about, please ask! This can be a HUGE gray area. Please note: the Artists Alley Area Head has final say on the propriety of any item in question.
1) Do not trace or copy an image and then use it directly or alter it by changing some of the features or colors. This is still considered using a copyright image.
2) Do not draw a character in a pose that they are already used in. AKA no finished summoning or transformation poses. No poses that the character is officially used in like Spiderman web slinging. Even if it’s in your own style, these signature poses begin to look more and more like the official art. (Again ask if you’re unsure about a piece.)
3) Make sure if you’re drawing a character from something that your art style isn’t exactly like the style used by the creator. It’s good to use other artists as a base but we want to see your own flair in your work.
4) Even in art, logos aren’t allowed. This becomes a gray area quickly with symbols, see the logos vs symbols section above, and if you still aren’t sure ask.
5) If you are doing buttons or something similar, make sure the art is your own. Don’t just take an image you found online, be it something drawn or real, and add a saying to it.
6) No cursing or inappropriate language please, there is no reason to have art or buttons displayed where there these are involved. If you want to do so in a commission that’s ok, but it’s not ok elsewhere.
7) Do not use licensed images even as a background, an example of this would be using Hubble images or photographs not taken by you.
Other Specifications (Fabric, Food, Ect.)
Fabric: many craft items are made with fabric, this is ok for the most part but there are some restrictions. Fabric containing licensed images such as: Disney, Pokemon, Hubble, Hello Kitty, My Little Pony, etc are not allowed. This is the same as using official merchandise and altering it.
Food looking items: In general food items are allowed, just be careful about not using the companies logos that are used on the actual items. (example pocky, ramune, etc.)
Artist Alley FAQs
Q: Does NDK allow new artists into Artists Alley?
A: YES!!! NDK absolutely loves to welcome new artists to Artists Alley! In fact, we set aside 25% of our artists tables aside just for New Artists!
We even have a special price for new artists (Called Beginner’s Table) to try out selling at NDK *at cost*. This means that NDK makes no revenue from a Beginner’s table.
Q: How are Artists Chosen for Artist Alley?
A: All applications are reviewed to ensure the proposed merchandise follows the Artwork Requirements, and if it does, they are placed into the lottery of the category they chose to apply for. Our lottery is powered by random.org for complete transparency and objectivity.
Any people who qualify for the lottery, but are not picked to have a table during lottery selection are placed on the waitlist.
Q: How many tables are available in Artist Alley?
NDK has a huge space for Artists Alley, with over 120 tables available to artists! NDK also has tables set aside for our Voice Actors, people from the Japanese community in Colorado, and local Nonprofits and Charities.
Q: How much does a table cost? (!)
A: New Prices for NDK 2023:
- Beginner Table, $155, one badge. (First Year Artists, or 5+ years of not selling at NDK)
- Single Table, Returning Artist, $ 205, includes one Artist Alley badge.
- Double Table, Returning Artist, $410, includes two Artist Alley badges
- Pro Artist Booth, 10×10 space, $510, includes two tables and two Artist Alley badges.
Extra badges for AA staff can be purchased at the Exhibitor’s hall table for $55 each.
Q: Why are tables priced like this?
A: Since NDK is now at the Gaylord in a convention center space, our cost to place tables inside the exhbition hall have increased. It costs NDK over $100 to have one single booth space setup (one table, one trashcan, two chairs).
Q: What kinds of Artwork Categories are there?
Printed Art: Art presented in traditional mediums of pen, pencil, paint, digital art. Artwork in this category is primarily presented on paper, canvas, metal etc. This includes art prints, stickers, keychains, bookmarks, books, etc.
Printed Art Plus Merchandise: Includes everything in the Printed Art category above, but also includes other forms of art printed on pencil bags, mouse pads, T-shirts, and other art-related merchandise.
Handcrafted: This category is for people who create art in a 3D physical form: resin, fabric, woodcraft, textile art, yarn art, figurines, sculpture, jewelry, etc. Please note that entries in this category still must be relevant to Japanese art, animation, and culture.
Hybrid: This category includes everything from the three categories above. Tables in this category have a wide variety of items to purchase, and perhaps have equal parts of each category above.
Q: How are tables divided between the Artwork Categories?
A: All tables are equally divided between each of the 4 categores listed above. If there are any leftover tables from one category, they are then divided equally betweeen the other categories.
Q: How are wait-list artists chosen?
A: When space becomes available, another lottery (mostly for single tables and a small number of doubles) will be held to choose artists on the wait-list. Unless a large number of tables come open at once, no larger than doubles will be available for the wait-list.
Q: What is the table size?
A: Tables are 6 feet x 30 inches and they come with 2 chairs but you will need to provide your own tablecloth.
Q: Does power and internet connection cost extra?
A: Yes, and you must include your request at sign up.
Q: What about taxes?
A: The state of Colorado requires all artists and vendors at NDK to obtain a special event tax license to sell at the convention. You can find the application on the Colorado Department of Revenue’s website here.
Q: How do groups of artist at one table work? Do we sign up and/or pay separately?
A: For each group regardless of how many people there are, you must sign up and pay together. All group members must also get all of their products approved at sign up.
Q: Can different members of the same group apply more than once so that we make sure to get in?
A: No, doing so will get you disqualified.
Q: Do AA table staff have to sign up if they are not selling anything?
A: No your table watchers do not have to be signed up with you BUT they must purchase an attendee badge for the con. Please provide their name so they can be added to your group.
Q: What if there is an empty table at the convention? Can I set my stuff up or move from my assigned table?
A: No. Tables are assigned before the convention, and some of the empty tables may belong to Guests who may be away running panels or hosting events.
Q: I have a friend who is on the wait-list and I’ll have some open space at my table, can they use that space?
A: If you have space that you aren’t going to use, please let us know. You cannot add friends from the waitlist to your group.
If it is a new member to your already existing group then contact us ASAP so that it can be discussed in private before the convention. They will need to have their products approved before they are given the go ahead.
Note: Artists who miss the signup window cannot be added to any existing group. Sorry, we’re doing this to be fair to the artists on the wait-list.
Q: Can you tell me where my spot is before the con and/or release a map of AA?
A: Sorry, no. You will have to wait until check in to find out what table you are at, the general map is always posted so you can request an area during sign up.
Requesting extra space, power, extra chairs, or placement in a certain area or next to someone does not guarantee that you will get it. We only have so many areas certain requests can be filled and they go fast. All tables are assigned and cannot be changed.
Q: Once I set on Friday, can I leave everything set up all weekend?
A: You can leave your table set up at night when AA closes. The entire Exhibitors hall is locked overnight, but we recommend using a table covering for when you leave and taking your valuables and cash with you.