It's high-time for photo posts! And starting off with the oldest photos in my back-log, it's "Modern Mai" from Avatar fan-art by Viria13. Way back at March Toronto Comic Con I did a shoot with Everage, and my first shoot with Very Frank Pictures! Photos from both of those sets make up the bulk of the gallery, with a couple of shots from C2E2 as well, since they're all I have with Zuko (so far)...
Mai and Zuko 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 ^_^
My C2E2 recap is being split up, because it's just too much for one post. Part 1 is the usual con-report, and Part 2 focuses on just the Crown Championships of Cosplay.
Thursday (Day 0)
It was a long, long drive from Burlington to Kitchener to Chicago, but at least I had good company with my awesome friend (and driver) Ragz and equally awesome boyfriend Mr Stark. Highlights of the drive included watching the first episode of Daredevil, dropping in on my parents for a short visit, billboards for Lion's Den because we're mature grown-ups, and marveling at Michigan's roadkill (too many raccoons and deer to count plus TWO wild turkeys!). Lowlights included a traffic jam for an invisible flipped truck before we even picked up Stark, a long detour before realizing that the GPS was sending us to Ottawa to avoid toll roads, the interstate we needed to be on literally not existing due to construction, and creating a time paradox (I mean, getting confused) when the GPS knew that Chicago is in a different time zone but we didn't.
In the end we arrived exactly 12 hours after leaving (objective time) and were very relieved to discover that the Chicago South Loop Hotel was precisely as advertised: free parking, free wifi, clean and pretty, and the staff were all very very nice ^_^ We took a quick walk around the area after settling in and ate at the only place we found: White Castle. Started to realize why the hotel was so affordable.
Friday (Day 1)
We started off our convention bright and (relatively) early with a photoshoot! The AnarCHris (of Chris and Carrie Creative) arranged for a Hawkeye-based cosplay group to get together for some fun photo times. CHris was Hawkguy, Allycat Alisha was Mockingbird, Pepperbots was Black Widow, I contributed Kate Bishop, and of course, that's Ragz as Wiccan and Stark as Deadpool/Iron Pool. Big thanks go to Eddie B Photos for taking the pictures!
After the shoot wrapped up we picked up our badges and headed to the show floor! Unfortunately the Canadian contingent managed to get separated from CHris within about 10 minutes of being in the exhibitors' area (which could only be the result of how busy and chaotic the place was, because it's actually difficult to lose someone as tall as CHris - see photos above XD). So we just wandered on our own, resisting the temptation to buy everything everywhere. We got stopped for lots of photos (Iron Pool especially was a big hit!) and I even saw someone with a super cute Katie-Kate shirt! (I regret not getting a photo with him) In the afternoon Mr Stark and I caught the Thrilling Adventure Hour Concert Film screening, which was pretty sweet. The brief Q&A with a lot of the main Workjuice Players was icing on the cake.
We had wanted to catch Adam WarRock in concert not to far from the hotel on Friday night, but exhaustion and a few other things conspired against us. Things like having an extremely difficult time getting a hold of some dinner, and having to evacuate the hotel for a possible fire somewhere on the second floor. In the rain. That was... fun? Not really. So that was lame - I had really wanted to see him live.
Saturday (Day 2)
This was the Crown Championships of Cosplay day, and a lot of my day was taken up with craftsmanship judging and photos and greenroom time and the actual show... but not quite the whole day. We stopped by the Marvel photo shoot in the cosplay lounge for a little bit and the guys hopped into some photos. I made sure to stop by the Image booth with Izabel, found a The Will cosplayer for a photo (unfortunately I didn't see any of the other Saga cosplayers who were around that day), and said hi to CHris and Carrie over at the Athena's Wink booth. And then costume touch-ups and back to the contest stuff.
Sunday (Day 3)
As the only day when none of us had any obligations in the morning, we all slept in. Very snooze, much yes, etc. When we did get moving, Stark and I went with our Viria13-Avatar costumes. I regret not getting a chance to do a test run of Zuko's scar before hand, but after just a couple of attempts I think I got something acceptable. It was barely visible under his wig and hood anyways, and at least now we know how to prepare for wearing them again at Anime North. Like, three people recognized us as our characters (though two of the three thought I was Azula, not Mai) so that's good I guess? In our relatively "comfortable" costumes, Sunday became designated shopping day while we picked up some things for ourselves, a couple of gifts for people at home, and too many (ha!) copies of Yaya Han's bodysuit pattern from the McCall's booth as requested by friends at home. The rest of the night was spent decompressing back at the hotel with some drinks, card games, Daredevil, and Game of Thrones.
Monday (Day 4?)
I had hoped that we could do some sightseeing before heading back home on Monday, but we were all pretty worn out from the weekend, and considering how long the drive to Chicago took, ultimately the decision was made just to drive back home. It was another long trip, though significantly shorter this time since we never got caught in traffic, construction, or headed the wrong way. Tried to turn roadkill-spotting into an actual game (especially in that apparent Michigan Kill-Zone), but nobody wanted to keep score. "No Stark, for the last time, we're not stopping at Lion's Den". And the last bit of geekery for the trip: getting Ragz hooked on Thrilling Adventure Hour on the ride home. It was pretty good driving entertainment ^_^
But tell us Mai Sheri, how did C2E2 measure up?
I had fun at the con. It was nice to see my AmeriCon friends and meet some new ones. There were a lot of cool guests and panels and meet-ups going on. Lots of fun, positive cosplayers, and if the exchange rate wasn't so bad, I would have come home with a LOT of books and merch. Unfortunately, a lot of other factors decreased my enjoyment a bit, mainly our issue with the hotel's location. It was the same distance from the convention as our hotel was from NYCC when Ragz and I were last there, so I thought it would be fine, but the big difference was that the NYC hotel was close to countless restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores, etc, while South Loop had nothing. So concerns about food and travel meant that I didn't do as much socializing as I would have liked, and that also contributed to missing some meets and panels I would have liked to have seen. As did the cosplay contest.... I'm used to giving up a lot of my Saturday if I'm competing in (or staffing) the masquerade, but this one was definitely the biggest time-sink so far.
I would like to return to C2E2 again... but I probably won't be back next year. Even though I had a great time at the con, I have a limited travel budget, and I think in 2016, I'd like to try somewhere new, once again ^_^
Detailed construction notes and behind-the-scenes photos from my work on Mai in the slideshow below:
Now that I'm back to regular life after a busy weekend... Comic Con! It didn't suck! Yay! hahaha... I don't have a great history with Fan Expo and its sister events.
I arrived shortly after 4 on Friday and spent 50 minutes in line to get my wristband. While that was unpleasant (especially carrying my coat and costume stuff) it was about what I expected when arriving at an event this size as the doors opened. Mai had her first test-run, and while I want to make a change to my makeup for next time (and add coloured contacts and those boots NEED insoles) I think everything else was good! I was expecting to want to make alterations to the actual costume or wig. I did a shoot with Everage and also had my first shoot with Very Frank Pictures! I'm really excited to share the shots from what I've seen so far ^_^
Since I was only there for the one day, I basically took one quick lap through the exhibitors' hall; just enough to look for the books I wanted (found none), the baby pop vinyls I wanted (found one), and I made an impulse buy of The Pitiful Human-Lizard from the Artist Alley, since the title has grabbed my attention at Silver Snail before, but I haven't actually read it. Other than that, it was just wandering and running into con-friends (I don't see you guys often enough!) and even meeting some new people. Hope that next convention (Ad-Astra? C2E2? Anime North?) I can have a longer visit with everyone <3
At random: shout-out to the Dad in line ahead of me who was there with four or five 14-year-old boys. I hope you survived, sir ;)
Since my camera is still missing (I know it's SOMEWHERE here in the Mystery Shack) no photos again. Such a plain wall of text T_T
Better add a couple of preview Mai images ~_^
For more Mai in the mean-time, check out Very Frank Pictures' gallery on Facebook!
While I wait to get photos to go with my KCC report, I want to do a small progress post. I had really really wanted to finish one of the 3 costumes that I'm actively working on by the end of February. I tried hard to push at least one of them to a point where I could consider it complete. Unfortunately, I failed in that goal. (Though I take solace in that it's due to the fact that I've been splitting my time between >5 costumes this month instead of due to me slacking off)
I ran into different problems with each of my main projects (what I've decided to call 2015's Phase One)
Although I'm disappointed that I didn't get any of those three done, I am far enough along to still consider myself on schedule for my goals this year. Izabel was completed in January, and Mai and Princess Hawkguy are both far enough along that I can easily get both done in March. Then I can get down to serious cosplay business through April and May working on Midna and my Anime North back-up costume. Extremis Pepper's completion goal is for SouSho in June. Then I'm going to spend the summer working on the rest of Phase One (namely Nightingale and finishing Midna), collaboration costumes with/for KW Iron Man and Iron Girl (Phase Two!), and a couple brand new projects which I'm really excited to get started on (Phase Three!!)
Finally, I've been posting fewer individual progress photos lately, mostly because I've been working on so many different things a little at a time, saving image posts for when whole sections of a single costume are done. Sometimes I randomly put single progress images on Facebook or Twitter, but it really is random; I'm god about taking photos, but it disrupts my workflow at lot to try to post while I'm working on things. If you realllly want to keep tabs on whether I'm on track though, I've put a running progress meter for each costume on the right side of my blog (assuming you're reading this on my blog page). This way it's easy for me to keep myself accountable without having to constantly post images and boring descriptions!
Anyways, time to get back to work!
I was tagged by Ragz to post my 2015 cosplay plans... I posted something similar already in December, but this is a more... complete... list.
Top row is actual goals for 2015: "Modern Mai" from Avatar fan art for whenever (with KW Iron Man as Zuko), Extremis Pepper (have to get off my butt and finish the glove), cover-art Kate Bishop from Hawkguy with Chris & Carrie and friends' Hawkguy group and/or Brian's Wiccan aiming for C2E2, Twili Midna from Twilight Princess/Hyrule Warriors for Anime North (dream costume; WHY WON'T YOU MAKE YOURSELF???), and Nightingale from Atomic Robo to wear with Featherweight as Robo (pants and boots done, need to finish the jacket, wig, and hat).
Second row is stuff I don't even have hopes of finishing this year, but since I have stocked fabric/wigs/etc for all of them if I find myself with free time will be putting work into them. L-R: Lolita Thor, Journey protagonist, Ygritte, Espeon, Miz Mishtal. Realistic completion on second row is 2016-2017 - just in time for Costume Con to return to Toronto! lol
I think everyone I would have tagged already has been, but if you haven't: feel free to pile on (and leave a link in the comments ^_^ )
I have been meaning to post about my upcoming costumes for a while now, especially since I don't have any new photos or progress to write about, but I do have a LOT of projects in various stages of being started. The recent meme going around about posting the next 4 in the works seemed like a pretty good place to start though, so here we go with that :)
Fan art Mai (and Zuko) is mostly purchased items. Boots need to be altered, shirt and vest need to be sewn, and the wig needs to be styled. Deadline: none.
Nightingale has been on hold since Oct 2013. Anxious to get back to work on her jacket and hat. Also need gloves and to style the wig. Deadline: none.
Twili Midna has been on hold since May 2014. Recently got the last supplies I needed so I should be back to work on that. Bodysuit is 95% complete, everything else is still just supplies. Deadline: Anime North 2015, but that's just a goal, i'll finish it when I finish it.
Extremis Pepper is just waiting for me to work through the baffling design of Pepakura patterns (and this coming from someone familiar with how clothing patterns work). Had a test-run at Halloween this year using the arm that KW Iron Man made for me, and borrowing his glove since I'm making my own for that part. Deadline: none.
More to come next time!
While Izabel is getting most of my attention lately, I have also been shopping for a new "not-costume"; Mai based on Avatar: Last Airbender fan art by Viria13. I have wanted to cosplay from Avatar since first being introduced to the show, though I have never gotten around to actually finishing any costumes, and I also fell in love with Vieria13's design when I found it on Deviantart. It wasn't until Arda was selling their "Anti-Valentina" limited edition wig, though, that I decided it would work awesomely for Mai and I should try to recreate the art design.
So far I have collected everything I need - the wig requites minimal styling (pretty much just trimming the bangs) unless I decide to make her little buns too, and I found perfect red jeggings for her pants from Urban Behavior. I picked up boots from Ardene and with some matching fabric I'm going to add the giant fold-over cuff thing. I haven't been able to find anything pre-made suitable for her shirt, but I did get some very nice jersey from Fabricland to sew one up myself, and I'm going to use some ivory faux suede from my stash for her vest.
Since Zuko's outfit is pretty straight-forward I've also started collecting pieces for him so Mr Stark can cosplay this with me ^_^
As always, I'm hoping that other people will join me too, it would be great to have a group of all six (or more!)
I've been doing more supply-shopping than just that, though - I finally got a wig to go with my Saffron costume - I`m unhappy with how my styling job turned out, but eh it`s a thing. It`s really hard to make a cheap, synthetic wig fluffy like real hair. The Blonde wig is one I picked up for a (distant) future lolita costume. I got a Pinky Paradise order in a few days ago too... some (hopefully) creepy contacts to wear with my next creepy costumes, whenever that happens. I really want to try them out... but also want to keep them in usable condition for as long as possible, so they`re staying put until I need them.
And finally, more progress on my Izabel costume since last week. I`m in the process of cutting the wig (no photos yet), and just finished stenciling the design on to her shirt.
... That`s it for this week, hope all my Canadian watchers have an enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend!
Amaterasu (Imperial) ✓