Conventions and Events Tips

Read these 17 Conventions and Events Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Folk Art tips and hundreds of other topics.

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What are big Conventions like?

Selecting Classes

Class selection can be a daunting task but it need not be if you follow some basic criteria. First, see the trip as a financial investment so you are going to learn. Choose classes dealing with subjects, tchniques or styles you have not done before. Secondly, you need to be able to transport pieces, so be sure you keep in mind your ability to travel with large items. next you might consider he cost of the piece. Is it within your budget? next on the list might be the teaching artist. What is their reputation for delivering quality classes? (generally the selection process of the organisers will help with this one) Finally you might consider what you will do with the piece once it is you have a place for it at home or will it become a gift for someone? Run through the list of options many times before making your final selection, and remember that the pisture you see often do not do justice to the actual pice in real life. Finally, that piece that you don'y like very much could in fact be the best piece of learning you do, so look for what you will learn from rather than just what you like.

What are big Conventions like?

Getting it home

What if the item(s) you buy is too big, too heavy, too much for you to fit into your case to get home? We need a plan here! OK…some conventions offer a shipping booth, some suppliers will be able to send you your purchases, and hotels will most likely arrange shipping for you. These are all quite expensive alternatives. You could do your own mailing if you have the time and find yourself able to locate postal services you usually use. If this is the case, and will be your choice, be sure to take in your suitcase a cardboard box folded flat, labeled and ready to send home. Now when it comes to what to put in it…remember the things you think you can do away with…post home your dirty clothes in a bag, add to that completed rolls of film that need developing, a couple of those items you really didn't need to bring anyway and anything you are finished with. Use this box for something you can't fit in your case or carry on the plane and tuck these other smaller items in and around it. When it comes to using the shipping services…be very wary! I have heard consistently they are quite expensive. So…remember what I have said at the outset…pack the bare minimum leaving plenty of room for your paintings and purchases!

What are big Conventions like?

Carrying the 'stuff' around

One of the hardest things is lugging around your brushes and painting equipment. Hunt for a suitcase with a handle and wheels so you don't have to carry it all…or one of those boxes on wheels will do. If you are flying and only want one case get a case trolley and a collapsible box…one that will fit in your big case and come out for use when you get there.
Check with the event organisers regarding rules for such carts/suitcases too.

What are big Conventions like?

Planning for a big Convention

Planning ahead inculdes registering your interest in a convention and taking time over the class selections. Sometimes this can be very daunting as you want to do everything. Consider your class selection carefully, add up the additional costs for pieces etc. Look into the options for accomodation. Perhaps there is someone you can share with? Consider also what meals are provided and what are not. You need to sit down and chart almost every hour for a big convention so you know what you are in for in terms of dollar coast and your energy levels. please also plan a few breaks too. your body and creative brain do need a rest! It pays to look into one of these before you comit to attend one so you have a chance to know what you are in for. Also keep in mind your travel costs. try setting a budget before you begin and stick to it.

What are big Conventions like?

What not to take

Your Mobile Phone! Please don't take your phone unless you really really have to! It is distracting to you and to the class if it are away luxuriating in painting for a weekend...don't spoil it with the mobile phone! make yourself off limits for a few days!

What are big Conventions like?

Christmas back in the hotel room have had a great time shopping! Show and tell time. It's just like christmas when you get back and sort through all the things your bought. When it is all over, and you are back in your room label your purchases as soon as possible. Show and tell can get confusing and if you happen to get things mixed up it can be returned to you. If you are on a budget, be sure to keep a record of what you spend each day. Collect all your receipts together and don't forget the odd coke or coffee you bought too!

Now you are resting those weary feet and want to take a moment to look over your purchase, and you're your nose into the books. Hotel room lighting does not cater well for reading or painting and often there is no spare power point either. Consider taking along a snake light. These are quite flexible, bright and very portable!

How do I pack for Convention?

packing your tools and equipment

Leave your suitcase virtually empty! Pack your toiletries and clothes into a small carry on bag. Save the suitcase for the painting gear. Be sure to include enough pillow cases to wrap around your projects. Dress your brushes in soap or hairspray before you pack them. This will protect the bristles while travelling. There are a number of brush holders on the market. Check the link below to choose one you like. I suggest you look for one that has the brushes strapped in rather than loose and rolling around. Make sure you identify each and every thing you put in that case. Your name and address or contact details should be on every brush and gadget! Take your ID labels with you to put on anything you buy too!

Think compact again when packing your supplies. There are lots of people and not a lot of painting space between each painter. Don't take the whole roll of paper towel…take 6 sheets for each class. Don't take a big premier wet palette. Take the Painters pal or handy palette. You should not need any paint. Most of this is supplied at the convention.

What are big Conventions like?

Shopping: the bag

First of all lets make sure you have a good bag to carry around. Be sure to take a very large, very light weight bag to carry all your purchases in. Make sure the handles are long enough and wide enough to go over your shoulder. Alternatively, and even better for your back, get a backpack.
There is I believe a rule that there are to be NO strollers or luggage racks on the trade floor. So using a cart type shopper may not be possible. Why not phone the Convention organisers and ask? If you can't use one of these then be sure to use the check-in area, if the convention has one. It will save your back and shoulders and will see things are reasonably safe while you do more shopping!
You also need to keep your money handy and safe. Use a bum bag. This wraps around your waist and allow you enough room for cash, credit card and maybe some personal ID. Secure your handbag and the rest of your purse with your hotel. (Ask them about what they can offer you here. Don't just leave it in your room!) Just take the minimum!

What are big Conventions like?

Big conventions

Although I haven't been to one of these myself I drool over the offerings and wish I could be there. Plan ahead for accommodation and save your money all year for this one big event you are going to attend! I believe it is very worthwhile! A bit like being at the mecca of decorative painting! There are loads of classes to pick from, in all styles and levels and a huge trade floor to visit as well.

What should I take to Convention?

Personal things to take to Convention

Personal things..a little more personal but necessary!
Your favourite cool drink/water bottle, Camera and film (of course!) Brag book (a little album to show off your own work) a graffiti book (a plain paper art journal for teachers and friends to paint in), some cards with your name and address details (or your business cards if you have them), ‘Minties' (it's moments like these…!), or other favourite sweet treats to hype you up and keep you awake! Your glasses if you use them! Lots of energy!

How do I pack for Convention?

Packing personals

So…count the days of absence. Enough clean underwear for each day and just one spare. Take clothing that is easily washable and not likely to crinkle. (Nobody wants to iron anyway!) You cut corners here by taking less and making the effort to rinse out clothing each day while you shower. It will dry in your room! Two sets of wash and wear clothes would easily see you through!

Toiletries can be reduced too. You only need enough shampoo, soap, toothpaste etc for a few days. Don't take the big bottles! Dispense an appropriate smaller amount into plastic containers. The same goes for medications and vitamins. Select a minimum range of makeup and Jewllery. Actually you may have a mountain of painted pins and badges you want to wear each day. Invest in a vest, pin them to the vest and make this your ‘convention uniform' outfit. Wear it on the plane too and from.

Manage your finances with a bum bag. That's Aussie for what some call a belly bag or money belt. Forget your handbag…another thing to tote around. You need cash, credit card and maybe your personals like your license. A small pack of pocket tissues will fit in there too. Remember I have already advised you leave the mobile phone at home! If you do want to carry more, get a back pack. This will leave your hands free and shoulders more comfortable. There are plenty of very light weight small ones on the market.

Leave your suitcase virtually empty! Pack your toiletries and clothes into a small carry on bag. Save the suitcase for the painting gear. Be sure to include enough pillow cases to wrap around your projects. Dress your brushes in soap or hairspray before you pack them. This will protect the bristles while travelling. There are a number of brush holders on the market. I suggest you look for one that has the brushes strapped in rather than loose and rolling around. Make sure you identify each and every thing you put in that case. Your name and address or contact details should be on every brush and gadget! Take your ID labels with you to put on anything you buy too!

What are big Conventions like?

Principles for travelling

Firstly you need to think compact and minimum. It will be full and at maximum by the time you come home! While it is tempting to bring all your brushes, stop and think for a minute. How about just the ones on the requirements list and then add your favourites that are not included on those lists? Leave it at that! It might also be tempting to have all your makeup, more clothes and shoes than you need and lots of other stuff. Stop and think again! Where are your priorities? You are not going to a fashion show, or away for 10 days! This is a weekend painting convention. It requires comfy loose fitting clothes, comfy sensible shoes, and minimum makeup. You might require one good outfit if there is a gala event you are attending such as a dinner. But that is it…one good outfit only! You need lots of room for your painted pieces and shopping purchases!

What is a convention?


Conventions are wonderful fun! They are gatherings of painters and teachers all participating in a weekend of classes and fun. Some incude accomodation while others don't. All the societies and guilds organise these on a regular basis, and there are some privately run ones too.

What are big Conventions like?

Trade floor Shopping

A trade floor is a big shopping centre for decorative artists! All sorts of traders set up stands and you spend yur spare time browsing and shopping. If there is a trade floor or 'marketplace' at the convention you are attending be sure to have saved extra money!

What should I take to Convention?

Things to take - Personal

Organizational things:
Notebook (I always want to right extra bits down), a folder for your patterns and notes you collect, extra plastic pockets, pen, and all your convention paperwork. Have your fees and payments organised into envelopes before you go…that way you know they are paid for! Old Film containers with plain sticky labels on them for taking home unused paint. Don't forget to write on the labels!

What are big Conventions like?


When you pack to go away for a weekend painting keep you personals to a minimum and your supplies to what is needed. A small bag should provide you with enough underwear and changes of clothes suitable for painting and your personal items. A larger bag will do for the painting gear. A very large bag would manage both, but make life a bit difficult for traversing from accomodation to class. So...plan on two bags. The painting bag needs to carry your brushes and supplies as required by the class you attend and your piece. eventually it shold carry all your gear home for you too. I have seen some innovative transports for portable studios. The best I think is the suitcase on wheels with a pull handle. You can build a wooden framework of shelves into this and have a little office of brushes, graphite, paint etc. Make sure there are some old pillow slips in their to protect your projects in travel too.

What are big Conventions like?

Things to take

Apron, brush basin, brush cleaner (Very important!) your other favourite brushes (besides what is listed) Disposable palette and wet palette – this cover both the wet and dry palettes! Don't forget the extra palette paper or wrap for your wet palette. Ruler, pencil and rubber, chalk pencils, pencil sharpener, stylus, scissors, graphite paper (all colours) sandpaper, sanding pad, cotton tips, magic tape, palette knife and paper towel. A mist spray bottle will help if it is warm and your paint is drying too fast. An old towel is useful for placing under your work, and pillow slips make great bags for carrying your new work home.

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Lynda Moultry