Monday, 23 September 2013

Fun With Fellow Costumers

Yestersay I was invited to go and visit one of my classmates to spend the day at her place.  She has been wanting me to visit for the longest time and we were finally able to agree on a date!  Her mum is a wonderful craftswoman who makes all kinds of things such as accessories and costumes.  My friend doesn't sew but she also makes accessories.

We started out the day pouring through her mum's patterns and looking for ideas for costumes.  She was super excited and showed me the Sailor Moon pattern that her mum made for her when she was a kid.  I think she might have her mum make her adult version because she knows that I made Jupiter.  She also has the wand so that would work out perfectly.  We might end up going out for Halloween together which would be awesome ;)

When the sun finally came out we went into her back yard and picked a bunch of apples!  Guess who's going to be making pie this week!  The apple trees were packed with red goodness!  We brought them inside and convinced her mum to make pastries with them.  She has the frozen dough so we just let that thaw and she made up the apple seasoning.

While the pastries were cooking we got out all the bead, wires, pendants and gadgets they owned to make jewelry.  I found a chain maille book so of course I had to try it out.  I had been meaning to make a chain for my pocket watch since I purchased one at Otakuthon.  I decided to try the Full Persian chain.  I took me a while to figure out how to get started.  Once I made the first section, I couldn't figure out how to go on.  The book was not very clear (at least to me).  Luckily there was a portion of the Full Persian already made so I inspected it and reverse engineered it.  Turns out my reverse engineering failed as I seemed to have made up a different weave.  I'm proud of it none the less!

My "Full" Persian
Real Full Persian
I made it long enough to act as a necklace as well as a pocket watch chain.  I wore it as a necklace all day afterwards!  While I was doing the chain maille, my friend was trying to make a Facebook page for her crafts.  You guys can check it out here.  I had to help her out a bit because she isn't really used to Facebook :P

My friend has been wanting to try and sell some of the costumes that they have because they simply have too many to deal with and they want people to wear them.  Her boyfriend and I helped her out by modelling the costumes for them.  It was so cool wearing the big hoop skirts and the heavy ball gowns.  Her mum is really talented!  There are so many details in these costumes and she really tried to stay true to the materials that they would have used back in the day.  Needless to say they cost a lot of money to just make!

We ended the day with a short game of Lord of the Ring Monopoly!  I didn't even know that it existed!  I lost of course but I figured that since I was Gandalf it didn't matter if I didn't have any money because Gandalf is awesome nonetheless!  When it was time to go my friend gifted me with her old set of Clow cards.  I was totally thrilled as I have been meaning to do a Cardcaptor Sakura Cosplay!  Now I shall have to make that costume!  Maybe more than one who knows!

Clow Cards

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Journal of Montreal Comic Con 2013

This was my first Comic Con ever!  Wow this year was a lot of firsts!  It was a pretty cool weekend, I got to hang out with people I don't normally see at conventions.  I attended quite a few good panels and got quite a few photos, though none of any super heroes as those aren't really my thing.  The one thing that really bugged me about the con was that there was a clear hierarchy among the attendees.  Honestly, I know that people like to be treated like kings and like to be part of an exclusive group but where is the equality in this?  It's just a huge money making scam!

Friday: I had class on Friday so I only got to the con at around 5ish.  I was going to go and see Monika Lee's panel but the room was full so we just decided to chill for a bit.  I didn't cosplay that night as I didn't get to finish Padme in time.  I will try and finish it for next year though as I have the majority of it done!  It will be my budget costume as some of it was bought from value village and not actually made by me.  My boyfriend took me to a panel regarding game making communities in Montreal.  It was good though I'm not into the gaming scene that much.

At 6:30 pm my boyfriend and I got in line to wait for Kamui's panel.  My cosplaying friend Chelsea met up with us there and we chatted with a group from Nova Scotia while in line.  We actually got to sit up close to the front of the room so we could really see Kamui's costume up close.  She is a really good panelist, especially since she wasn't speaking in her native tongue.  She even handed out samples of Worbla to everyone!  Kamui was super friendly and super funny and she gave some really good advice.  I even got to hold one of her bracers to inspect it!

So here are my notes from her panel:

"Fabric is shit, armour is good!" - Kamui

  • Expanding foam can be cut and carved with a carpet cutter, you'll need to fill in all the little holes in it
  • Can use wood glue as a primer for Worbla, use acrylic paints, use a varnish
  • To affix armour pieces together use D-rings attached by Worbla pieces
  • Patterns are very important in making armour
  • Frankly plastic - pellets that when heated become like clay, adheres to any thermoplastic
  • When starting to work with thermoplastic for the first time, start with a small piece, then go bigger
  • You can use the leftovers to make a new sheet simply by heating up the pieces and melding them together - reduce waste!
  • Use paint to darken and highlight appropriate places to emphasize the shapes and designs
  • You have roughly 1-2 minutes to work with the plastic once it's heated.

After the panel we didn't really stick around too much.  I had to finish fixing Jupiter's boot covers and I wanted to get to bed somewhat early.

Saturday: We got to the con later than expected.  I was cosplaying as Vana and since Sean Astin was going to be doing photo ops I really wanted to try and get a photo with him!  We got there just after the session started and the line to buy the ticket to get into the line for the photos was too long so I (sadly) decided to just wander around.  I did get to go and see the panel hosted by Jessica Nigri and Monika Lee.  When we were getting into the line though I noticed that the attendees were mostly male and none of them seemed to be in costume.  This was my first very good clue that this panel was going to be derpy.

The panel was a Q&A session where the topic was cosplay tips.  I think only five questions were on topic where as some others were just plain strange!  And really awkward too... I got to ask a question though I already knew most of the answer.  I figured though that they might have more insight on the topic, which they did, but just a bit.  I asked about advice for a novice competitor and they said think about the environment of the character when making your costume, talk passionately about why you chose that character, bring reference pics, construction pics and pay careful attention to your craftsmanship.

After the panel we went to the masquerade.  There were some really good entries, especially the last one!  Kamui, Jessica and Monika were all judges for the competition as well as a few other cosplayers.  The last entry was a bunch of daleks, two on stage and one massive one in the audience.  They didn't seem to be "walking", more like gliding.  They exterminated the host with some sort of spray thing and then the huge one exterminated the judges by spinning crazily and spraying the front audience with the same stuff.  It was awesome!

Sunday: Again, we got to the con late because Jupiter took forever to put on.  I got tons of photos taken of me that day!  I think that it was because I was more visible at the con than at Otakuthon rather than the popularity of the character.  There aren't the many cosplayers at Comic Con which is a shame.  Again I missed a Sean Astin photo op because it was schedule last minute but it didn't really matter because I wasn't wearing Vana.  It would have been strange to take a photo with him in Jupiter.

We went to a few good panels, one about Cosplay on a budget and a Q&A sessions with Sean Astin.  Here are my notes from cosplay on a budget:

  • have one showcase costume and other buget, comfortable costumes
  • thicken a beard with masacara
  • thrift stores are awesome!
Between the panels we mostly walked around the dealer's room and chilled for a bit.  I bought a Kamui print so I can officially say that I have helped her fund her next project!  Sean Astin's panel was sooo good!  I had a few fan girl moments, especially when he quoted from the Lord of the Rings.  It was such an honour to sit and listen to him talk live.  He is really a good guy and he is quite funny.  At the end he tried to carry the host off stage but he kind of failed.  It was a good attempt though!

Verdict:  Will I attend next year's Montreal Comic Con?
Answer: YES!

Monday, 9 September 2013

Journal of Fan Expo 2013

Fan Expo was my first non-anime con that I've been to.  My boyfriend and I only went on Saturday and Sunday as it is expensive.  We also only decided the night before that we would go, so it was pretty last minute.  We booked the flight into Toronto and flew in not even twelve hours after.  Talk about spontaneous!

Day One (Saturday): We arrived Saturday morning, a bit delayed because of the flight.  I didn't cosplay the first day because I was exhausted and I was carrying my luggage with me the entire day.  Instead I thought that I would enjoy the first day and take lots of pictures.  The day started out with us waiting in a line that took about an hour to get through.  We bought both Saturday and Sunday tickets at the same time to reduce waiting time the next day.  We were immediately brought into the massive dealers room.

There were soooooo many people!!  There were times where I was taking little tiny baby steps and I was still getting bumped into and pushed around.  I must say the first day I was not a happy camper.  I got very little sleep the night before and because I took two gravol pills for the flight, the drowsiness hit me right as we got to the con.  I was also carrying quite a bit of weight with me and there was hardly any space to sit down.  Despite my crankiness I did get to check out a decent panel.  We went to check out the Make-up panel for cosplaying.  Here are my notes on it:

Make-up panel
  • Wash and moisturize face
  • Use primers
  • Use a correcting cover up wheel
  • foundation
  • Contour with bronzer, follow natural curves
  • Use a highlight wheel
  • Use powder to seal in foundation (translucent)
  • For male cross-play, contour nose and jaw (make square)
  • To get hairs out of face, use pin curls at nape of neck, temples, center front
  • Can use hair chalk to colour eyebrows
  • For wig styling, do up hair, put wig cap on take measurements then pad wig head or saran wrap wig head
My boyfriend and I decided to leave the con for a bit to check into our hotel.  Once we dropped all of our stuff off, we took a much needed nap.  We woke up later than expected but we still managed to get something to eat and arrive in time for the masquerade that night.  The masquerade was different from the one at Otakuthon, mostly because of the genres that were seen but also because all the entry levels were in order and not jumbled up.  You really got to see the progression of the costumes and the difficulty levels.

Day Two (Sunday): Sunday I cosplayed as Princess Jasmine as it was the easiest one to pull off and to transport in carry on bags.  Our hotel was a good twenty minute walk from the con so I wore the majority of my costume as we walked (with a jacket over top) and carried the rest with me.  There was significantly less people at the convention that day and you could tell by the temperature of the rooms.  I got some awesome stuff in the artists alley, including a Sailor Moon art poster, a nerdy t-shirt and a Tardis necklace for a friend of mine.  I got to attend some more awesome panels.  I went to the Japanese pop culture panel in which we had a Japanese guest give the presentation.  He even had us all take a picture with him to bring back to Japan.  I also went to a fabric dyeing panel and a cosplay tips and tricks panel.

Fabric Dyeing Panel
  • Always test first
  • Always follow instructions
  • Natural fibers dye better than synthetic, (rayon is a natural fiber)
  • Painting - acrylic, not ideal for spandex
  • Marbeling - mix solution, suspend dyes on solution, experiment, set fabric on bath and it will adhere to the fabric
  • Start with a lighter colour, dye in a well ventilated area
  • Keep a dyeing pot for boiling dyes, be careful when boiling!
  • Hang gradient dyeing
  • Salt  bath fabric before gradient dyeing
  • Get undyed, white fabrics
  • Paint in thin coats!
Cosplay Tips and Tricks
  • Synthetic wig sprays
  • Heat can help with damage, use steam, test and be careful
  • Storing things at a con - pouches, purses, pockets
  • Wig pins and pin curls to keep wig from slipping
  • Blister strips while wearing shoes
  • Shoe glue is handy
  • Sealing spray for glued soles
  • Garbage bag and duck tape dress form, expanding insulation foam
  • Modify basic dress, bodice and skirt patterns to get slopers
  • Armour needs lots of pivots
Overall I enjoyed myself though I could have done with less people in the convention center.  Will I go next year?  I will consider going again.