What can I say about Anime North this year? For better or worse, it was about the same as every other year - I spent the weekend with some of my besties including Kurumasha, Dan the Video Ninja, Yavarice, and Ragz among others; I wore fun, comfy costumes; I was a runner for the masquerade greenroom; and kept too busy to arrange professional photos. So instead of writing out a huge report, I think I'll let the selfies and other photos speak for themselves this time ^_~
Once again, Anime North happened. Once again, I was there.
I stopped by Thursday to pick up my badge and take advantage of the hotel being mostly empty to do a shoot with Dream Land Photography: another Kate Bishop-inspired outfit, this time because Lelola had given me an appropriate dress to use ^_^
Friday I wore my Flashback Tizzie (for the first time with the right necklace!!) and even though it was disgustingly hot, Dream Land once again made sure I look awesome in his photos. Once Kurumasha arrived we snagged some Rat Queens pics together at Cosplay for a Cure, and spent the rest of the evening wansing around the con looking for (and finding) friends.
Saturday I was very glad that I hadn’t planned to wear a wig with my Spirited Away costume because I probably would have ended up with heat stroke. I really have no idea how anyone in a big or elaborate costume survived the weekend! Walking back and forth between the hotel and the North building for the masq was hell. On the positive side, the bathhouse costumes that Kurumasha is 100% responsible for were great greenroom staff uniforms - she did an amazing job. The greenroom ran about as smoothly as it could this year, which was awesome. I hope we can only improve on that experience again next year! It was great getting to interact with the Novice competitors as I took them to workmanship judging; so proud of each and every one!
Sunday didn’t go as originally planned: I decided not to wear my wig with Alice because it was just too hot (only threw it on for a few photos), ended up behind the table at Cosplay for a Cure for a little while, lost the friends I was supposed to meet because my phone had no signal, etc. But I did at least manage to catch the masquerade awards to cheer on my friends and the novices that I met in the green room as they accepted their awards.
Overall it was a very, very positive weekend. In spite of the heat, in spite of a severe lack of sleep, in spite of sore feet and legs most of the time; I had a lot of fun seeing so many friends and so many good costumes. I pretty much got to spend the weekend with all my best friends (except for Mr Stark </3) and doing one of my favourite “jobs” working the greenroom. Even managed to get at least one shoot of each of my costumes this year, which is an accomplishment itself. Wish I had more time to shoot with people and socialize more, but the heat and my lack of phone signal really hurt that.
Selfie-con photos below - most are mine and the ones that aren't are noted ^_^
See you all again next year!
Assorted AN videos I snuck into!
And finally, I've updated my galleries with photos from Anime North: Hawkeye, Tizzie, Spirited Away, and Alice!
Let's bring the photo-week to a close with a brand new costume! Team Needle Panic and friends had the awesome idea to make postal worker versions of our Hyrule Warriors characters when we didn't get the real costumes done in time for Anime North this year. So.... here they are, the big joke costume on the year LOL. We did a shoot with Elemental at Cosplay for a Cure, and a shoot outdoors with Very Frank Pictures, and got a handful of other photos from Sunday's mass Zelda photo shoot. As always, click on the link to see the full costume description stuff and all of my favourite photos...
Postal Warriors Cosplay Gallery
Another Anime North has come and gone. This is going to be a relatively short con report, partially because large blocks of my time were taken up doing single events, and partially because I went back to my no-photo-taking habit from previous years. AN ended up being less of a social convention for me this year, which makes taking photos of or with people difficult, but I'm aiming for another "selfie-con" gallery from NFCC :)
Anyways, Yavarice was awesome and drove Elemental and I out to the con on Friday afternoon. It took a while to check-in, which is normal for Anime North (except for the additional confusion about our room since the way we were booked in as staff was different from previous years), but eventually we got keys, got badges, grabbed lunch, met up with Ragz, and settled in. Kurumasha's crew arrived from Ottawa just in time to swap our costume components (she had ordered some contacts for my Mai, I had her Hawkeye bow) and head out to the Congress Centre together. I spent a while handing out all the Yaya Han patterns that I had picked up for people at C2E2 and just generally browsing. I made just one single purchase, because as soon as I saw the sloth plushies at Critterama's booth, I knew I wouldn't be leaving without one. Totally worth it. It's super cute and extremely huggable (now accepting suggestions for names). Unfortunately, Mr Stark arrived just barely in time for his evening panel and not early enough to cosplay Zuko with me, so that was sad (but not entirely unexpected). He and I did get to all do a large-ish group dinner at Kelsey's though with Kurumasha, Yavarice, DarthMarySue, Ragz, Dan the Video Ninja, and Derek. Good way to wrap up the night and start off Anime North.
Saturday was my casual Chell cosplay since I needed something comfy and appropriate for staffing. Kurumasha and I went to the resin casting workshop with Chris Warrilow at 1pm where we enjoyed getting to try our hand at resin for a minimal cost. Unfortunately, when we paid for the tickets to the workshop it was labelled as being Saturday morning, so having the start time scheduled for 1:00 when the program was released was an unpleasant surprise. We both had to leave early to staff the masquerade, and put together with a late start-time, we didn't get nearly as much of an opportunity to make things as we should have. We did at least get to make one item each, and learned from someone else's mistakes about what not to do when creating a silicone mold LOL. From there the masquerade greenroom was mostly chaos-as-usual. Of course there's always different problems from year to year so anticipating what will go wrong at my level of staff is pretty much impossible. Thanks to all the entrants who were very patient in the greenroom and asked questions or voiced concerns politely! This year I ended up with the task of having numbers ready for each entrant's judging Polaroid, which was definitely a change of pace from previous years, but still gave me the opportunity to see every entrant up close and to say hi or have a brief chat with many of them, which is my favourite part of being backstage at the masq. Once the show started we had ninjas running the entrants from the greenroom to the stage, so I actually got to sit with KW Iron Man, Cloudbreak Cosplay, Mel Colley, Ice Phoenix Art, and Evie-E in their den and watch a bit of the show on the live feed! Other years we have always had problems getting dinner once the show is over since the restaurants are always packed, so this year we just ordered pizza and it worked out great. And we got another evening of conversation with friends in the hotel :)
Sunday was the big photo day for me! It was quite the hassle trying to get in a full costume with excessive makeup and fixes/repairs for the rest of the group while also packing up to checkout (especially with both suits of armour in our hotel room) but somehow we managed. So what was my mysterious Sunday "backup" costume? Since I didn't get Midna done in time for our Hyrule Warriors group, and Kurumasha didn't get her Agitha finished either, we decided to just go with the main pieces of each that were done and make postal uniforms to match Yavarice's Postal Link. To help fill out the group, I decided to put Hikarimoro in my old Midna costume and make her a uniform as well. (More details on all this stuff will be going on my Zelda gallery page with the next site update)
Kurumasha, Yavarice, and I ended up randomly meeting up with Chanelley and Kymera Cosplay who are also HW cosplayers, and we got a Hall Costume Award from Kaijugal while waiting for Hikarimoro to arrive. Once she got there, we put her in her costume and did her makeup in a hurry and then it was off to spend the afternoon doing photoshoots! I got photos or video with Viewtiful Design, Trillance, Elemental at Cosplay for a Cure, The Video Ninja, Very Frank Pictures, Paul Hillier, and we stopped by the massive Legend of Zelda photoshoot too LOL Most of those photos will be going up once I set up the new gallery, but in the mean-time, a few teasers are below. The weekend ended with a shared cab ride home for Elemental, The Video Ninja, Mr Stark, and myself; followed by a very nice sushi dinner.
Overall, Anime North was as enjoyable as always, and of course I'm looking forward to being back next year. :) Shoutouts to everyone I haven't already name-dropped because as always, they are just too many awesome people at AN to tag them all ^_^
I feel like this spring is flying by way too quickly! I've been hopping from con to con, with things like Free Comic Book Day and cosplay picnics thrown in there too, so even though it's only been 5 cons in the last 4 months (with Anime North this coming weekend), and 3 of those cons were only one-day things for me, I still feel like I'm barely getting breathing room from one event to the next. I haven't even completely unpacked from C2E2, a month after the convention!
So here's the plan going forward:
Anime North May 22-24
I'm going all three days of AN. Friday is going to be just for chilling and checking out the con with Mr Stark in our Viria13-designed Mai and Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Saturday is a sleep-in day, hitting a workshop in the early afternoon, and then spending the afternoon and evening being a greenroom-runner at the masquerade. If you're entering the AN masq, I will definitely see you backstage! Im wearing my unofficial AN staff costume again: T-shirt Chell. Kurumasha and Yavarice will be working with me as Team Aperture again, so we will be at least somewhat identifiable in the greenroom trying to make sure everyone gets where they need to go. Sunday is my new SEKRIT SURPRISE costume, and the only plan is to have some fun with my cosplay group and get some sweet photos while we are at it. Ive been working hard on my outfit and also making parts for other group members, so wish me luck with getting everything finished on time!
Niagara Falls Comic Con June 5-7
NFCC is a new addition to my convention calendar. I had planned to go to Nova Scotia in June for SouSho, but unfortunately SouSho's con chair ran into serious health problems, so they made the call to delay the convention until 2016. So I had an opening, and jumped at Niagara since it seems like all my friends who won't be at ColossalCon this year are going to be there.
I'm only going to be attending Saturday and Sunday, and cosplay plans are not decided yet. If I can finish up the mk. 9 glove which has been slowing me down, I would like to debut Extremis Pepper. No idea for the other day, maybe Hawkeye? Maybe one of my other under-worn costumes? I might put it to a vote on Facebook and see what people think.
Very shortly after NFCC, I'm heading out to a Game of Thrones-themed birthday party at Medieval Times. I debated for a while over what to wear since I don't want to dress "civilian", but I didn't think I would have time to make either of the costumes that are on my list. In the end, Elemental convinced me that since I have a handful of Simplicity patterns based on the GoT designs, that I could put off at least a simple version of something I like before the party. I have everything I need now for a (non-embellished) Cersei cosplay, and I'm pumped to start sewing it as soon as Anime North is out of the way.
Atomic Lollipop July 17-19
Going back to A-POP again, because even though the con tends to make me feel kinda old, I still have lots of fun there every year ^_^. Looks like I've talked the Video Ninja into finally checking it out, and he might even cosplay!!! As for me, I'm probably going to wear Mai (depending on if other Modern Gaang people are going) and Hawkeye, because archery range. Third costume undecided.
ConBravo July 24-26
I'm excited for ConBravo mostly because Kurumasha, Elemental, and I have an awesome idea for the masquerade. It's going to be fun ^_^. Other potential costumes are Mai (depending on if other Modern Gaang people are going), Hawkeye, Extremis Pepper, and Izabel
Otakuthon August 7-9
The latest addition to my convention schedule, because Kurumasha and Yavarice talked me into it. Costumes: ??, but I hope that I will have Midna finished by then!
There's a very slim chance that I'll drop in at Fan Expo this year, and if I do, it'll be to support Mr Stark since he has some work lined up there for the weekend. And looking at my callender, seems that the Snailoween party is the only other event I might go to in the fall of 2015. Doesn't seem to be much happening locally this year.
Overall progress update, as of May 22: (see original January post for additional context)
The top row is what I have dubbed "Phase One" (see blog sidebar), and the bottom row is "Phase Three". What happened to "Phase Two"? That is all gifts for other people including crafts, clothes, and costume pieces. Since January, Mai, Zuko, and Hawkeye/Katie are done (plus completion on Izabel), and the other three are still in progress, but I expect to have Extremis Pepper finished in the next two weeks. I consider myself to be well on the way to completing my goal of these six costumes by the end of the year. The idea is that I'm not allowed to move on to Phase Three costumes, or add new ones, until Phase One is done, which has been working relatively well so far. I mean, I've already gotten more done this year than in the entirety of 2014!
Exceptions: I added a back-up Anime North costume, which ended up also including some pieces for friends' AN costumes because groups... but all three of those are done now and ready for their debut! The only other addition that I'm allowing so far is Cersei, and that's only because it's for a specific party, it doesn't have to be 1000% accurate, and it was already on my list (the Phase Three choices in the image were almost arbitrary from my long list of costumes I've already bought supplies for).
Time for an over-due photo post! I finally completed my Chell gallery over in the not-costumes section with the group photos including Calamity and Yavarice! So much fun, and I'm looking forward to cosplaying with them again ^_^
In my previous blog post, I said that I was going to wear Izabel to Fan Fare Geek Fest.... and I almost did, until I ran into the problem of being particularly sniffly that day, and a runny nose is not a good thing to combine with full facepaint. So I stuck with Erika for Fan Fare, and just posted the Izabel photos from Snailoween over in my Saga gallery. Really really want to cosplay her more though (and going to be replacing the wig very soon as well)
Still playing catch-up with con reports, and I'm also going to attempt regular updates once a week to help keep me on track - so here's hoping that I'll have new blog posts every Monday night as we go forward.
After completely failing at taking photos at Costume Con, I was determined to come away from my next convention with a camera full of photos. It always makes me a little sad that I have so many friends at conventions, but no photos of us having fun to enjoy between events. So AN this year became "#SelfieCon" which is to say that I tried to get a selfie with every person I know that I ran into (and any new friends too). And while it was still sometimes hard for me to ask people for photos, and I missed a handful of people because I or they were too busy to stop and pose (as happens a lot when so many friends are on staff) and there were even more people who I managed to completely miss seeing at the con... it was a resounding success. Clickity for the whole #SelfieCon gallery. (image heavy!)
Thursday: Ever since Anime North started doing Thursday night pre-reg pick up, I have taken advantage of being a local and picked up my badge early to avoid having to wait on Friday, and this year was no different. Even though being on staff in recent years means that the lines aren't a concern, it's still much more convenient for me to take Friday off of work and spend Thursday night at the con hotel since it gives me a chance to actually relax a little instead of dealing with travelling across the city on the bus, with all my luggage, during rush hour, and then immediately needing to go into con-mode on arrival on Friday. That shit is hella stressful (and is why I always have my bitch-face on if you meet me on a Friday I had to work before going to a con in the evening). This year, Thurs was all about chilling and having an excellent pre-convention dinner at Montana's with Kia, Ice Phoenix, Elle, and Cloudbreak after Elle had wrapped up her shoot with Trillance (who I finally got to meet this year, woo!).
Friday: Friday was mostly social for me, including getting to have lunch with Kildread and Lt.Finn, both of whom are long-distance cosplay friends who I don't get to see very often, so that was really nice! I also decided to try entering the "Costume Workmanship Contest" which was run for the first time this year. It was run similarly to how many American "hall cosplay" contests are run - an up close examination of the costume by a panel of judges with no stage or audience component. As someone who is highly craftsmanship-oriented, it was really nice to get to enter this contest and not have to worry about what I'm going to do on stage (and spend half of Saturday in the green room) or hope for a traditional AN hall award (which is if a wandering judge happens to see your costume and likes it). I decided to enter Mrs Impossible, since while it's a relatively simple costume, I am really proud of how cleanly I constructed it and how true to the source it is, especially considering that spandex tends to be a challenging material. And without a Venture Bros group and a comic convention audience I have no idea how I could present that costume on stage well in a masquerade setting XD
Saturday: my "serious" cosplay day, with a very not-serious costume. I wore my "T-shirt Chell" costume (check out this blog for an explanation) and was up and dressed early for my only scheduled shoot of the con with Everage. I was also really thankful for the new Starbucks at the hotel, cuz I needed that green tea frapp. In the afternoon, once Yavarice had returned from meeting Chris Hadfield at the photography expo a couple blocks away, he and Calamity and I did a quick shoot with Jenn Marvel and Rebel Shotz Photography at the Cosplay for a Cure booth since we had coordinated our outfits for masquerade staffing. (he even made each of us a custom Portal-themed badge!)
...And then came the masquerade! The last couple of years I have been a "runner" for the green room, which is mostly getting all the entrants to where they need to be and is similar to herding cats and just as frustrating. Fortunately, I really like the job I get once the show actually starts, which is taking each den of entries from the green room to the stage. There's a lot of waiting involved in the process, and also a lot of last minute nerves for the entrants, so I try to take time to talk to everyone, and getting to see all the costumes up close is a sweet bonus XD. It makes for a LONG night on my feet though, and I didn't get to see a single entry on stage *sigh*
Sunday: After the late night of masquerade, and late-late dinner afterwards, getting dressed and packed and checked out of the hotel in the morning was rough.
And Strabucks ran out of matcha which was the worst. thing. ever.
And the costume I had decided to wear, Goth Kim Pine, turned out to be a very poor choice for the day due to temperature-related reasons.
And the ATM's in the area had run out of cash - I had to go to four before being able to get some money.
And I couldn't find Kurumasha after the kimono fashion show, so I didn't see my drift partner all day, or get to say goodbye (did I mention that my cell reception was crap all weekend? yeah, that too.)
But the day wasn't actually all that bad. I got some gifts for friends and myself from vendors in the Crafters Corner (including Alex Boake Illustration), hangouts with other friends I hadn't yet seen at the con, and there was also the masquerade awards ceremony! This year, all the main costume contest results (Workmanship-only contest, Skit contest, and Masquerade) were announced at a single event on Sunday afternoon, which as an entrant/audience member I thought worked out pretty well. Also HUGE props to whoever had the idea to have photos of the winners on the screens since very few people wore the same costumes on Sunday as they did at the masq. To top off my weekend, I was awarded "Best Drafting and Fit" (master division) for Mrs. Impossible! I'm really proud of that ^_^
After heading home, Dan the Video Ninja and Kia and I discussed our AN experiences over sushi and I joined Dan for his post-con vlog. Then sleep - ALL THE SLEEP
In the lead-up to costume con, I was posting regularly, some photo sets, some progress blogs, upcoming stuff, lots of fun. Then nothing at all... did I fall down a hole or something? Almost... I've been working my butt off to try to get my latest costume wearable for Anime North (this weekend) and competition-ready for Colossal (two weeks after AN) and I haven't even had time for upkeep on my site.
Over Victoria Day weekend I managed to get the bodysuit I've been working on for the last 6 months to 99% complete, but burnt myself out on the costume in the process. So I'm putting it on hold for now. I still feel like working on stuff, just not Midna, sigh. So tonight I'm going to leave you with a collection of progress shots since my last update, as well as my AN cosplay plans*. More updates will be coming as I have just given myself some extra free time every day ^_^
*subject to change
Last year for my staffing duties at Anime North, I wore my Pepper Potts costume, making use of my extremely practical Stark Industries Clipboard while managing the greenroom for Sunday's fashion show. This year I'm being a runner for the masquerade and felt I needed something more practical (I did the runner job last year too, I just wasn't planning ahead for it). I decided to challenge myself to make a costume using last year's bright orange staff t-shirt. And I'll admit that for a while I had no idea what to do with it; but then Yavarice mentioned that he's making an Aperture lab coat for working the masq, and I was inspired.
I bought some orange stretch sateen on clearance (not a fabric I would recommend because of the stretch factor, but the weight, colour, and price were right...) and I used an old McCall's pattern for simple pants with cargo pockets from my stash. Spent a couple of days cutting pieces and sewing things together (those cargo pockets were time-consuming!), cut up the centre front of the t-shirt (and finished the edges) and there you have it: "T-Shirt Challenge Chell"!!! I have a pair of Portal "Long Fall socks" on order and will be borrowing an Aperture tank from a friend, which will complete the look.
Total cost: ~$30 CDN; time spent: one weekend.
Favourite things: POCKETS!!! I never remember to put pockets in my costumes. Having FOUR generously sized ones in these shorts makes me feel spoiled. Also like the ability to put on the shirt if I get cold - sometimes the A/C in hotels is just too much for me.
Now it's time to get back to more serious costume projects. Looking ahead, it appears that Easter weekend will be dedicated to making several bodysuits. Pattern drafting ahoy!!!
(follow me on FB for real-time progress photo posts)
Midna! Always, always super popular, and these are the very last photos of the costume to go up, from the very last time I wore the costume. just a few shots from Solar Tempest, but they're good, and have been added to my Midna gallery. The Zant cosplayer I was hanging out with is Melanie, aka Shinigami714. Also posted today is the little drawstring "purse" I made to go with the costume when I wore it to PAX East (pictured, with Kurumasha as Tetra).
Sam Sparks 55%