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Tag Archives: cosplay

2019 is here, and as is tradition, I’ve got a few goals to share with you.

1.) Reading! Last year, I set a reading goal on goodreads of 200 books. I got through over 230. Now, I do include graphic novels and manga in my challenge count, but I’m fully expecting to be able to exceed 200 books again this year.

I would love to be able to get through:

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab. I made a major dent in this one while I was on vacation in November, but I need to finish it. Same with Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison. (Hey, Philip, are there any titles from your last year list that you actually got around to?)

God’s Last Breath by Sam Sykes. (What did I just say?)

When They Severed Earth From Sky by Elizabeth Wayland Barber. (Okay, seriously)

The Toll by Neil Shusterman. The Arc of a Scythe series is coming to an end. I can’t wait to see how it wraps up, given the way book two ended.

Dune by Frank Herbert. This one’s a re-read, but I haven’t gone through it since high school.

One Piece by Eiichiro Oda. I want to re-start this one too.

Old Man’s War and Head On by John Scalzi.

There’s a LOOOOOT of good stuff on my to-read shelf, y’all. I’m going to take on as many as I can.

2.) Writing!

Hey, I wrote more posts in 2018 than I did in 2017!

By, like, two.

*sigh*

And considering that 2018 lasted for something approximating a decade, that’s pretty awful.

I’d blame losing some of my favorite writing challenges, but that’s just making excuses. There’s no room for that kind of nonsense. I can seek out writing prompts without being handed one or two every week. But if you find any awesome writing challenges, I’d love for you to send them my way.

3.) Create! I got to play a little more with the Makerspace at my library in 2018 than in 2017, and I’ve got some more designs to work on going forward. I need to finish sewing/stuffing a felt Luci from Disenchantment soon, because he’s been sitting on my living room bookshelf taunting me for the last few weeks. I’ve got a Yu-Gi-Oh! card game table that I’m working on with our laser cutter, too. I did a prototype back in November, and I’ve been tweaking that design quite a bit. And of course, I’m hoping that time will allow for me to get back into some cosplay work. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t planning a Séance costume now that Umbrella Academy is getting a live-action adaptation.

seance

4.) Gaming. I miss playing D&D, y’all. It’s been a hot minute since I had a good campaign going, and I really want to do more with it. There’s talk of teaching the kids, and now a family D&D game is more viable than ever before. Also, V and I have finally gotten our Malifaux crews assembled. I know. It’s been two years since I got the box. I’m getting there. Now I have paints, so I can get that done, and we can play. It’s way more fun to put those damn things together than I expected, too, and now I’m trying to figure out what other characters I can add to my collection to supplement my crew. They’re releasing the 3rd Edition of their rules this year too, but thankfully we’ve both picked masters who are still playable in the updated rule set.

And honestly, there’s probably more goals that I’d like to set for myself, but I’m trying to be realistic here, considering how many years I’ve typed essentially this exact same post.

 

 

I promised non-sports-related content, and here it is! Brace yourselves, because this is going to be a fairly long and photo-heavy post.

We had a local convention over the past weekend, and I decided to take the time to reflect on my past as a cosplayer and to muse about my goals for the hobby as well. I’ve been cosplaying for almost seven years now, since my first NDK in 2009. While I always loved doing costume stuff for Hallowe’en or for the various school plays I did in high school, it wasn’t until I was in college that I started to attend anime and comic conventions. Since then, my technique has improved drastically. My earliest cosplays were purchased outright, because frankly, I didn’t have any sort of skill when it came to crafting. Now, thanks to many of my incredibly talented friends, I’ve learned to read patterns (and draft my own), operate a sewing machine (my little sister once taught me how to hand-sew), and assemble my own custom costumes. Combine these skills with the Makerspace at my library, and suddenly lots of new possibilities are coming to mind.

In past years, I’ve cosplayed the following characters:

1.) Shikamaru Nara. Shikamaru is the “lazy genius” character from Naruto. A brilliant tactician, he’s far more content playing shogi than conducting battlefield operations, but equally skilled at both. This was a purchased cosplay, but one that I can still return to easily, due to its relative simplicity. It was also the reason I first dyed my hair (I prefer to use my own hair for cosplays whenever possible, as I feel it’s more authentic than using a wig, though sometimes practicality interferes). shikamaru nara shippuden

Shikamaru

2.) Kimblee. Solf J. Kimblee is a state alchemist in Fullmetal Alchemist. Having seen both anime adaptations and read the manga, I much prefer the personality that Kimblee shows in the manga and the Brotherhood series, being far more philosophical and less outright psychopathic. Note that as a character capable of converting literally anything around him into a bomb, he’s no less dangerous, no matter how he’s acting. He’s great fun to play, and very popular at cons. I purchased a state alchemist’s costume (officially a Roy Mustang costume) and utilized the pants and arming skirt, modifying a t-shirt and putting a pair of Renaissance Festival boots to use. I use a sharpie marker to do the palm tattoos for his transmutation circles, and I carry a bunch of cherry Jolly Ranchers around with me to use as philosopher’s stones for photos. Kimblee

Kimblee 2

3.) Grell Sutcliff. Grell’s personality in Black Butler is generally pretty close to that of Kimblee, and so it was an easy transition from cosplaying one to the other. Grell is a Grim Reaper, a harvester of souls who has a tendency to overstep his bounds and get into trouble with his superiors. He also absolutely loves Sebastian, but then, who doesn’t? While initially seen in disguise as Madame Red’s rather clumsy butler, Grell shows his true colors soon enough. This cosplay was the first that I assembled myself. Due to his costume design, he was easy enough to dress as with clothes that I already had on hand. I commissioned an artist online to make his glasses for me and bought a wig (the only one I’ve ever used as a cosplayer), since his vibrant red hair color is hard to reproduce accurately with dye, and my own hair was far too short at the time. Grell

Grell and Madame Red

4.) Ruby Rose. Ruby is the main character of Monty Oum’s Rooster Teeth project, RWBY. This costume was a major step for me for two reasons. It was the first costume that I put together completely from scratch, and it was my first crossplay. Ruby’s very outgoing, and presented a great challenge when it came to staying in character. For this costume, I worked with several of my friends to find the right patterns and fabrics. I even learned to draft a pattern for an underbust corset, which I then made. I also had my hair professionally cut and dyed, as it was a difficult blend of black and red to attempt on my own. Ruby

Ruby 2

5.) Pirate. While maybe not technically a cosplay, this is a costume I’ve assembled over the years I’ve been attending the Colorado Renaissance Festival. It’s one that I’ve worn to conventions as well, just for the sake of something different. This is a constant work in progress, as I add new pieces every season.

Pirate 2

6.) Capitol Resident. The Hunger Games series has inspired countless costume designs, especially for the idle rich of the Capitol. My friends and I would host fashion shows as a group called Colorado Capitol Couture. This particular design was based on my asymmetrical haircut at the time and a pair of shoes that I’d found online, and was a combination of modified clothes from Goodwill and some crafting. The idea in my head was that most of the residents of the Capitol would be above such things as our society’s current gender norms, and the result was a blend of men’s and women’s fashions. Over the last two years, I’ve done several fashion shows and photo shoots for this costume, and it’s always a blast to see people react to the shoes. Capitol

Now some of my aforementioned friends are professional or paraprofessional cosplayers. These folks get to spend some of their time putting together new costumes for big events. One of my friends is Batman. Another is a rising star in the European cosplay scene. Other people I know are designers as well as cosplayers, and create costumes for others to wear. I’m nowhere near the skill level of these folks, but they inspire me to work on new ideas even when budget and time don’t allow for the followthrough of crafting.

So, I’ve got a few ideas of costumes I’d love to put together in the future. There’s no particular ordering to this list, and none of them will really take priority over any of the others, though some will obviously be suited to certain weather conditions.

1.) Trafalgar Law. Law is a pirate captain in the manga/anime One Piece. Nicknamed “The Surgeon of Death,” he’s a rather heroic figure with a tragic backstory (like many characters in the series). The coat makes this one a great winter cosplay, and allows for varying levels of completion, since I could wear street clothes under it until I was able to finish the rest of the outfit. The tattoos on his hands will be a fun experiment, as they’ll require a little more work than the palm tattoos I’ve done as Kimblee.

Trafalgar Law, Post-Time Skip

Trafalgar Law, Post-Time Skip

2.) War Boy. The  War Boys are the main troops serving under Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury RoadTrained as drivers, mechanics, and fanatical soldiers, they pursue Max across the wastelands of post-apocalyptic Australia for the promise of reaching Valhalla after death. There are numerous War Boys in the film, and it would be easy enough to piece together a look inspired by the group without aiming for a specific character. This one’s already in progress, having acquired goggles, gloves, boots, etc. I also got a Nerf crossbow to paint up as a prop weapon. I’ve been looking into tutorials for bald caps, because I’d hate to have to shave my head when I’ve got so many other long-haired cosplays planned.

Nux. No spoilers. Just watch the movie.

Nux. No spoilers. Just watch the movie.

3.) Untitled CharaCouture Costume. As a sequel of sorts to the Colorado Capitol Couture costume above, I’m planning a CharaCouture outfit as well. CharaCouture is our group’s new focus, shifting away from The Hunger Games now that the film versions have all seen their theatrical releases. The concept is still to design couture fashions, but with a new emphasis on our favorite film/video game/cartoon characters. I’m currently thinking about something Link-inspired, because the Zelda games are amazing and I look good in green. Incorporating the Hylian crest would be easy enough, thanks to a belt buckle I purchased when Twilight Princess came out. Capes or half-capes are fun, too.

It's a starting point.

It’s a starting point.

4.) Star Wars. With two more main-series films (and several spin-off projects) coming to theatres over the next few years, it seems to me that it’s high time I put a Star Wars costume together. This is one that could vary wildly in terms of complexity. The obvious move to me is to craft a simple robe and carry one of my lightsabers with me. Brown robe with green or blue lightsaber for Jedi, black robe with my red lightsaber for Sith. On the opposite end of the cosplay spectrum would be a full suit of armor. If I did this, I’d likely look to the local chapter of the 501st for a snowtrooper (hey, I live near the mountains, it’s a legitimate option) or to the Mando Mercs if I felt more like displaying my love for Boba Fett and his ilk. The Mandolorian armor would give me a far greater range of customization, but it’s definitely more labor intensive. Seriously. Mad props to the folks who do either of these. You rock.

While I love the First Order designs, the classics feel a little more timeless.

While I love the First Order designs, the classics feel a little more timeless.

5.) Haku. Haku is a ninja from Naruto, and shows up as one of the first major antagonists of the series. He fits into a category of fictional characters that control ice, and is therefore automatically added to my list of awesome people. Despite being a villain, he’s critical to the protagonists’ growth beyond the concept of ninja as tools rather than people. Since my first ever official cosplay was a Naruto character, it would be a fun nod to how far I’ve come.

Best part? No ice puns.

Best part? No ice puns.

In addition to all of the above, I’d love to add to or update several of my older cosplays. Kimblee, for example, rocks a white suit in the latter portion of the manga. Kimblee Suit

Ruby wears several other costumes, including a school uniform. I’d also love to actually put together the Crescent Rose, the scythe/rifle she carries.Ruby uniform

For Grell, I could add the coat and chainsaw. There are lots of options for improving, now that my skills have improved. Grell 2

It’s been a great journey as a cosplayer throughout the years, and I look forward to many opportunities to add to my catalog of characters. Many thanks to all of the other cosplayers out there who have served as inspiration and instruction. Remember that everyone starts somewhere.Beginner

 

Hello, ladies and gentlemen. It’s the second weekend of September, and that means that it’s time for my favorite anime convention. I just returned home from Nan Desu Kan! I went to finally debut the cosplay that I’ve been planning for the last, oh, six months (and scrambling to complete over the last week). A while back, I thought about doing something pretty drastically different for my cosplay for my 5th year at the con. So, back in November of last year, when Monty Oum released a trailer for a series called “RWBY,” I knew what I wanted to do.

So here I am.

And the big reveal...

And the big reveal…

That’s right, folks. I’m in a dress. I’m in dress that I made. More specifically, I made the dress (with a good amount of help from the girlfriend), the petticoat (I now officially loathe tulle, by the way), and the corset, and modded the boots out of a pair I found on amazon.

I’m taking part in an activity that’s commonly referred to as crossplay. This means (hopefully obviously) that I’m cosplaying a character of the opposite gender. Why? Because fuck gender stereotypes. Cosplay is about having fun. Age, race, gender—none of that matters in cosplay. It’s one of the most inclusive hobbies on the planet, and I love it.

Some pictures of the process were taken by the incredible Ejen Chuang. Be sure to look for him on facebook, twitter, and/or instagram, should you be so inclined. Ejen and I met earlier this week, during a cosplay prep night. So here’s a few pictures of the painting of my boots, the dyeing of my hair, a hair cut followup, and a quick visit with another Ruby cosplayer.

It was an amazing weekend, and I had a blast. Check out RWBY, and happy cosplaying!

I feel very productive today.

I spent most of Labor Day weekend at work, but it was definitely worth it. The days at the bookstore when I can help a customer find just the right book or gift are the best days, when I can’t help saying how much I love my job.

On top of that, though, I spent a lot of time working on my current cosplay project for NDK. It’s down to the wire, now, so there’s a bit of pressure to get the last bits of fabric cut out and sewn together. I’ve been a cosplayer for about five years now, but this is the first time I’ll have made the whole costume myself. The con is ten days away. So, if I don’t write a lot between now and then, it’s because I’m a wee bit occupied with that.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day. I’ll be back soon, so that I can allow my hands to cramp from typing instead of sewing.

Okay. I know that it’s been a busy summer. There have been a lot of things that I’ve been meaning to get done that haven’t been happening, at least just yet. Reviews I’ve wanted to write, books I’ve wanted to read, etc. I’ve been stretching myself a bit thin, and I’m starting to feel it. Still, if college taught me anything, it’s that I function very well when that last-minute-panic-feeling hits. I’ve decided that I need to do a bit of reorganizing in my life.

Right now, it’s just turned into August (Happy Birthday, Colorado!). That means that the Renaissance Festival is coming to an end, and my girlfriend will have a little bit of time for a social life before the school year starts up again (she wants to be a teacher, and I’m a little jealous of the fact that she will continue to have summer breaks for the rest of her career, not going to lie). I’m personally hoping she gets to write a little bit, but we’ve got a joint project coming up that’s going to take a lot of time. See, we’re both making our own costumes for our cosplays for NDK this year, and I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m pretty new to the sewing machine, and I’m very serious about making my costume myself, though I’m also very willing to accept any and all help. We have some absolutely amazing friends who are already doing more than they should to help with this. Now I’m not saying what the cosplay is, not just yet. I know many of my readers already know, but those of you who don’t get to be surprised. So, shhhh. It involves a haircut. That’s the only hint you get.

Cosplay stuff aside, I still have a lot of things to get done. There’s some job opportunities that I’m likely to be applying for, as having a single full-time job would be a lot easier to manage than the two part-time things I’m doing now. A set schedule would also allow me to better handle a daily writing schedule, particularly useful since November is coming. I’m still working on a purge of my book collection. I was able to unload some of my duplicate titles onto V, which was a great help to me. Now I just need one more bookshelf, and I might be able to have space for everything that’s in my apartment at the moment. Just one more. Then I can get more books, and the cycle can begin again. Book addiction, folks. It’s a serious issue.

Also up this week is the accomplishment of a life goal. Tomorrow night, I’ll be in Denver to see my all-time favorite band live for the first time. Rush is coming to town, and I am not about to miss it. I’m going to listen to Moving Pictures again this morning, and probably work my way through as much of the discography as I can before I fall asleep tonight. In the meantime, I’ve got to go to work. The patrons at the library need me.