Faces of Cosplay: Dr. Crossplay

One of my favorite cons is Cosplacon- a friendly, well-run affair that focuses specifically on cosplay and cosplayers.

This year, I went with Kiogenic (cosplay daughter) and friends to the annual event.  Once they were ready to hit the floor, we went down to the atrium for photos:

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this is Kiogenic’s “Lego Batman” Robin.

When we were done and they had run off to meet up with friends and other people much cooler than I am, I sat in the sunny, 1970’s lobby and watched the show.

I love Cosplacon because just about everyone is in cosplay (it’s a cosplay convention, after all).

There were assassins and pokemon, monsters and anime princesses. A sea of happy, excited and excellent cosplay.

But as I sat there, my attention was most drawn to an stunning, statuesque cosplayer in fishnets, top hat and a tailcoat.

Dr Crossplay Zatana 2

Dr. Crossplay as Zatanna Zatara

When he worked his way around the floor, I asked to take his photo and we struck up a conversation. This is how I met the eloquent, elegant Edward Johnson, aka Dr. Crossplay.

Name: Edward Johnson

Age-ish: 48 Years Old Be 49 this August

How long have you been cosplaying? I have been cosplaying four years now.

Why do you cosplay? I cosplay for fun along with the recognition and respect from other cosplayers and fans. I’m able to bring my favorite comic book characters to life and I love the positive attention I get from fans,other cosplayers, friends and strangers.

How do you decide what to cosplay? I get a lot of my choices from Google, Bing, Facebook, and Deviant Art.

Do you have a favorite, or signature cosplay? My favorite cosplays are and have been Zatanna, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy.

Dr Crossplay Harley

Harley Quinn.

Do you make or buy your cosplays?  I tend to make my own costumes.just not exactly from the fabric or from the first sequin and stitch up. I throw together my costumes from other clothes and some other costumes I buy locally on the cheap or from thrift and do some hemming here, and adding more style there, to make my costume the way I want it to be the best I can make it to be.

What advice do you have to other cosplayers? Start out small. Go to the nearest con or comic event nearest to where you live. Don’t be afraid to buy a costume and do some modding or fixer-uppers to get the costume to fit how you want it to. Many cosplayers start out for the first time will go with something simple and build up for there as they progress. If you go to a convention, you’ll see a lot of different types of costumes, from store bought to homemade, from simple to complex. Some people aim to look as much like the character they’re portraying as possible. Others don’t. It’s all a matter of personal choice. The key to not being intimidated by other cosplays is to remember, it’s just for fun and those cosplayers are having fun just as much.

What is the best thing someone has said to you about your cosplay? Most people will say “That’s a great cosplay. Did you make it yourself?”

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay? The worst I’ve had to endure a few cat calls and some homophobic slurs. Most of the slurs were online. I will sometimes confront them online and put them in their place and or just block them all together.

Do you attend conventions? I most certainly do attend conventions,Yes. So far it has been Cosplacon in Jefferson City, Dodecacon in Columbia, Visioncon in Branson, Missouri.

 

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Please Don’t Be an Ass- Nothing but Love for Fans and Cosplayers

I’ve been thinking a lot about how easy it is to encourage and give hope, but also how easy it is to injure and beat down.

I’m like a lot of us- I carry around compliments and nice things people have said to me like little pieces of precious metal- to pull out and look at when I’m low.

And I also carry around insults and jabs- some from when I was a child. And really, they feel heavier.

This is true for most of us. In work or in relationships, researchers estimate that it takes between 5-10 compliments to offset every insult.

For every negative thing you say to someone, especially a child, you need to say ten positive things.

I knew this intuitively, but as always for me, it helps to see it in scholarly or research form.  I knew this not just because of my own experience, but in what I see in cosplay and at conventions. I love this drawing, because it is so true:

encouragement

Cosplay changed my daughter’s life. The people she met at our very first convention were so kind, so encouraging and so very positive that she left that event saying “I wish I could live at the convention.”

These are the first people that we met. I am sad at how bad this photo is, and very much wish I could tag them, but I want to at least give them credit and love and appreciation here

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I went to a panel led by the gentleman in the top hat the next day, and he even spent some time emphasizing just how important it can be to a young person to be accepted. Steampunk might have generally accepted rules and conventions, but you should never smack somebody down for their effort.

He said, “you might see a young cosplayer, and their whole costume might be just a pair of goggles.”  “And that is GREAT.”

I’m so grateful to him, the ladies in this photo, the artist Eric Burton, who we met at the same convention, and the so many other cosplayers and artists and creators who have been kind to us. Thank you.

I think most people don’t know how much of an effect they can have, even with one small compliment.

But they do, and they can help someone overcome a devastating insult or attack.

We’ve had overwhelmingly positive experiences in cosplay, but just this month, at RTX in Austin, Texas, one of my daughter’s heroes was, well, an ass.

She chose RTX, the convention for the production company Rooster Teeth for her senior trip.  I would have taken her to England or Japan, but she wanted to go to Austin and meet the men and women who make her favorite programs.

It’s her dream job to work for them.

We spent extra money on a VIP pass and she worked for weeks on cosplay and on making art to give as gifts to the celebrity folks to make the shows.

and the vast majority of them were LOVELY and fantastic and complimentary and everything we’ve come to expect and hope for at a convention.

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Cosplay Daughter’s Felix  (RvB) Cosplay. These guys were GREAT

 

But one of the people she was hoping to meet was mean. And that’s really sad.

She stood in line for hours to meet the star of a show she likes (she wouldn’t want me to say which one), and when she got to meet him, she expressed what a big fan she was.

He then proceeded to quiz her on, “well did you see X episode”?

and when she faltered and wasn’t sure, he mocked her, because it was a “trick question”. “We didn’t do an episode about that.”

WTF dude.

Is this because she was female? Young? is he just mean? Who knows.

but out of all the stories she told me after her experiences, including fantastic ones, it was the experience she told me about the most. It hurt. It made her feel small and stupid. It crushed her.  Words like that are even stronger from someone you respect or admire.

Cosplay daughter used to want to code, until I sent her to a computer camp where she was outnumbered by insulting and abusive boys. This reminds me of that.

I’m just glad the positive outweighed the negative at RTX.

I don’t know why someone would behave like that. Arrogance. Misogyny. Damage. I don’t know. But it’s a very strong and valuable reminder to me about how much power both positive and negative feedback and interactions have.

I talked to cosplayers at the convention, mostly working my way down lines of people waiting to get into events. I met lots of wonderful, creative, supremely talented cosplayers like these

RWBY at RTX

All fantastic gender-bent RWBY cosplayers!

Most of the cosplayers were open and happy and proud and ready to share. We would chat, and I’d take photos, and we’d talk materials and characters and backstories with the surrounding crowd.

But as I worked my way up one line, I saw two young Camp Camp cosplayers ahead trying to make themselves smaller and smaller. They couldn’t have had clearer body language that they didn’t want to talk to me. They drew down into themselves and tried to disappear.

So of course I left them alone.

But at the time, I wanted badly to just walk by and say something nice. And now I’m just so much hoping that they didn’t stand in line to meet the nasty celebrity. I hope they had a good and positive convention.

and I hope, very much, that I always remember this lesson. And say nice things. And be positive.

I want very much to be one of the 5 to 10 compliments that helps counter any insult a cosplayer receives.

 

Faces of Cosplay: Sarah Harris

Sarah and I are cosplay moms.

When I first started on the odyssey of helping my cosplay daughter (Kiogenic) craft and construct (without going broke), I started a thread on cosplay.com called “cosplay parenting.”

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This isn’t us, obviously. But great cosplay parenting!

While it seemed to me that there were a good deal of parents who supported their children in costuming (and who cosplayed themselves), I hadn’t found anywhere we could share ideas.

Sarah was an early contributor to that thread. She was helping teenage sons in England as I was helping a daughter in the U.S, and we shared ideas and celebrations. I watched the elaborate process of the construction of her cosplays from across the pond.

We became Facebook friends, and talked politics and life events, family and comics.

We started as fellow cosplay moms, but now she’s more than that: my super-cool English friend- cosplayer, artist, and best-ever tour guide……

Because when Kiogenic and I were in London this summer, I finally got to MEET Sarah in person!

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She was lovely and warm and friendly, and had organized the most fascinating street art and counter-culture tour of Camden- ever. We wound around the market and through alleys, looking high and low at the work of many of Sarah’s friends.

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This was my favorite.

She showed us the places the cool kids hang out and showered cosplay daughter with comic book gifts.

As she and Kiogenic browsed comics and graphic novels at a small, locally-owned shop, I chatted with the guy behind the desk, who was interested to learn how I knew Sarah.

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“It would have been awkward if you hadn’t gotten on” he observed.

He was right. I suppose it would have been. But I hadn’t really worried about it. Sarah was already a friend before I “met” her in person. Fascinating, brilliant, talented and delightful.

So today I’d like to offer a profile of my cosplaymom, artist,  costumer and maths-whiz buddy Sarah:

Name: Sarah Harris
Day job: statistician for a marketing agency
Age-ish: 50 (ouch!) (Still not quite come to terms with that!)

Why do you cosplay?

At the moment I’m not (although never say never!), but when I did it was for 2 reasons…for something fun to do with my sons, and because I just love making things. The construction side of cosplay tended to be more fun to me than the actual dressing up part.

How long have you been cosplaying?

The first cosplay I made was 3 years ago. The first I wore was 2 years ago.

How do you choose your character(s)?

The only costume I ever made for myself was Rocket Raccoon. I thought he looked like a fun construction challenge and I wanted to make it for one of my boys but neither were keen…. so I made it for myself instead! The boys’ costumes were always characters they chose themselves from computer games.
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Rocket Raccoon. The tail. And the GUN!

Do you have a signature, or favorite cosplay?

Favourite is probably the Lich King armour from World of Warcraft that I made for my son Connor. It took over a year!
Lich King

Sarah has SKILLZ.


Do you make, or buy your cosplays?

Everything made from scratch. Making is the fun bit for me.

What advice do you have to other cosplayers?

Blimey…..people don’t usually ask me for advice! just have fun with it I guess! And if you aren’t having fun either change the way you do it until it IS fun, or find something else you enjoy more.

What’s the best thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?


Best reactions are always from the little ones. “Rocket I love you” is probably the best 🙂

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?


This is going to sound horribly smug but I don’t think I’ve heard any negative comments! Closest I guess is “oh it’s a CHICK in there!” when someone heard Rocket talk in an unexpected lady voice 🙂

Do you attend conventions?

Yes, around one per month. Comic books are my first love so I tend to go to the ones which are comic content heavy.
Which is your favorite?
ooh, hard to choose. the best I’ve been to this year so far was a bit of a one off, a convention to celebrate the 40th birthday of the British comic 2000AD. I’ve been reading it since I was 9 🙂 So that was a real blast.

Check out Sarah and the rest of the Implausible Cosplay Gnus of her family at: https://www.facebook.com/implausibilityofgnus

Roosters, Gorloks and Costume Dreams

This is a big week for the cosplay fam at my house. This week we roadtrip to Austin, Texas for RTX.  Cosplay daughter just graduated from high school and this is what she chose for a senior trip.

She’s an anglophile, my daughter, and I several years ago I began saving money to take her to England in the summer before she went off to college.

When the time came to plan a trip however, she wanted to go to RTX in Austin- because that’s really her dream. To work for a production company called Rooster Teeth.

rooster teeth

Rooster Teeth makes most of her favorite shows- RWBY, Red vs Blue, Achievement Hunter and Day 5.  She’s taking her Yang Cosplay from RWBY

yang pro

and also a Felix (from Red vs Blue) cosplay. She finished painting the jacket for that cosplay yesterday:

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It says “aint no rest for the wicked”. My poor photo skills are responsible for the illegibility here.

Her dream job is to work for Rooster Teeth in costuming and digital art.

And I know I’m her Mom, but seriously. She has skills. She can sew and construct and paint and digitally render.

She’s made this digital print to give to the cast of Achievement Hunter

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and will be hoping to make some good contacts.

She’s going to the Webster University Conservatory of Theater Arts in the Fall to study costume design and construction with professionals. She’ll be a Gorlok.

gorlock-mascot

It’s a mythical chimera of a creature that the students at Webster invented that has the paws of a speeding cheetah, the horns of a fierce buffalo and the face of a dependable Saint Bernard

To be honest- the mascot helped sell the school for her. “It’s a Harry Potter mascot!” she said, when we visited.

That, and the fact that it’s the kind of art school where the university team with the best uniforms is the Quidditch team and where students randomly wear cosplay to class.

She’ll both fit in and learn important skills. I’m envious of the required classes in her major- which includes things like “advanced corsetry” and “millinery.”

It’s very exciting for me to see how she’s making her dreams happen.

I helped early on with advice on sewing- pleats and puffed sleeves. Esposo (her stepdad) helped with bondo and plastic forming. He gives her power tools as gifts  The amazing guys at her internship at the Eternal Armory  taught her CAD and sculpting and 3-D modelling.

But in the end, she’s the one who is making her dreams come true.  Constructing her own artistic visions. Making contacts and building a resume.  Exploring and trying and learning from those around her.

She may end up working for Rooster Teeth. Or a film studio. Or on Broadway. Or for television.

I’m excited to see how her dreams unfold, and how she’s already making them happen.

We had business cards made- because as you all know, she is already quite skilled. Let me know if you need any design or costuming work done!!!!

see the cards below or contact her at @kiogenic on twitter or tumblr!

business card

Faces of Cosplay: Average Asian Cosplay

“Always strive for more but never stop learning. Ask questions. Reach out to the cosplay community. Other cosplayers are usually willing to help.”

Paul fire

As I read and research and write about cosplay, I’m continually encouraged by just how diverse and interesting the cosplay community really is. With that in mind, I’d like to widen the scope of this blog to showcase the work and stories of other cosplayers of all ages, gender identities and backgrounds.  This week we will kick off with an award-winning cosplayer I met at the Arkansas Anime Festival in the spring of 2015.

Cosplay daughter had brought her Hiro supersuit and I was cosplaying his aunt. Our first stop was a Disney meet-up and panel down the dim hall of the Springdale Holiday Inn. As I stood outside the room, I saw my “nephew” Tadashi approach and squealed in delight: “TADASHI!!!!!”  and he replied, in perfect character- “Hi Aunt Cass.” That’s how we met.

Hamada family

Name: Average Asian Cosplay

Day job: Graphic Designer and Sales at a sign shop

Age: 29

Home base: Wichita, Kansas USA

Why do you cosplay?

The joy of bringing a fictional character to life. Being able to take something that is two dimensional and bring it to the real world.

How long have you been cosplaying?

I have been cosplaying since 2010.

How do you choose your character(s)?

I choose a character depending on how they look and act. I usually want ones that I don’t need to change my own look too much. Also characters that people could easily recognize.

Do you have a signature, or favorite cosplay?

My main cosplays are Mako from Legend of Korra and Spark from Pokemon GO. Both of these cosplays are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Spark is fun because I also made a large Zapdos that stays perched on my arm.

Paul Pokemon

 

Do you make, or buy your cosplays?

I buy and make my cosplays. The ones I compete with are made. The ones I just want to have fun at a con with are usually purchased.

What advice do you have to other cosplayers?

Have fun with cosplay. Don’t worry about what other people think about you or your cosplay. If you are competing and do not win, it isn’t that you didn’t do well, it is because someone just did it better. Always strive for more but never stop learning. Ask questions. Reach out to the cosplay community. Other cosplayers are usually willing to help.

What’s the best thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?

I always enjoy it when kids want to take a picture with me and then want to brag to their sibling about it.

What’s the worst thing that someone has said to you about your cosplay?

It would have to be someone who asks why I cosplayed a certain character even though I don’t look like them or don’t have the correct body type.

Do you attend conventions?

I attend multiple conventions throughout the Midwest with the occasional con outside the region.

Which is your favorite?

My favorite convention would have to be Tokyo in Tulsa because it was my first convention and where I’ve met many of I’ve met many of my cosplay friends.

Showing the World Who You Are: Cosplay Identities

Cosplay daughter went to school today rocking her Hogwarts House Colors. And with a wand.

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Wearing also, a vial of wolfsbane. We all remember what a dangerous zoo high school could be.

 

She’s very proud of having been sorted into Ravenclaw by the official sorting hat on the Pottermore website.

Ravenclaw-Traits-ravenclaw-38754843-1149-694

….for the record, I was surprisingly sorted into Gryffindor.  I was dead certain that I’d be Ravenclaw myself. Huh.

But it does make my McConagall cosplay make more sense:

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Me and a small 8-year-old cosplay daughter at the release party for the Deathly Hallows. May have actually been her first official cosplay: Hermione, of course.  Fuzzy photo, but note time turner! She won the children’s division- first place.

That my daughter and I were sorted into different houses surprises me not a bit.  She has my blond hair….and that’s about it. We are very different on the inside, in talents, personality and approach to the world.

What we look like on the outside (similar, like mother and daughter) isn’t truly indicative of who we are on the inside.

In my beauty class at the university, we are winding up a unit on beauty and identity- how outward appearances signal inner worth and identity.  We talk about the French philosopher Paul Valery’s theory of three bodies, where the second body (your outer appearance) is a reflection of the first body (who you are inside). As Nancy Etcoff says, we all seek to show the world who we really are, by what we look like- AND wde all strive for an outer appearance that shows the world what we’d like to be.

This seems particularly true to me in the world of cosplay.  Cosplay is the practice of choosing the identity that you’d like to have, or wish you had, or feel you DO have, and showing it more specifically to the world.

Few people to cosplay the characters that no one likes- the mean ones or the stupid ones.

Cosplay daughter recently attended a convention (Naka-Kon) in her Yang cosplay, and went to a RWBY  meet-up.

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She’s the Yang in the aviator sunglasses, front and center

I love the story this photo tells about cosplay choices.

There are six Yangs (one of them gender-bent) and six Rubys (two of them gender-bent), four blakes (one gender-bent) but only two Weiss cosplayers.

Why only two Weiss?

Because no body likes her. She’s the spoiled, bitchy character from RWBY. The mean girl.

We choose to cosplay characters we admire, both because they are like what we feel like inside, and represent elements of who we’d like to be.

I love how the cosplay community recognizes that this might mean that you want to crossplay a character whose biological gender is different than yours, like, say cosplay daughter does when she cosplays 2-D from the Gorillaz (a new cosplay)

Gorillaz Naka kon

Lounging, with melodica, on the right

and it’s also a great choice to gender-bend your cosplay, take the inspiration of the character, his/her strengths, style, power and value, and make a version of it that fits your own biological gender. (I love the guy rocking the ruby-red hat as Ruby in the above photo).

We all make choices about how our appearance communicates our identity to the world.

Cosplay widens the possibilities for people- male, female, young, old, etc. in what they can show.

Today, my daughter went to school with a wand and house tie that she’s proud to know represents intuition, originality, wit, eloquence, intelligence, and all the other traits listed above in the Ravenclaw image.

How wonderful is it that she has that chance? That she’s empowered by both the great literary work of Rowling AND the cosplay community to confidently claim these traits as part of the identity she feels and the self she shows the world.

What else could a Mom ask for?

Writing this, I am actually even more determined to do a cosplay that I’ve been talking about for years- a weary, bad-ass Mom who will do anything to keep fighting both intractable bureaucracy and the monsters who threaten her girl.

I really need to cosplay Ripley. That’s how I feel on the inside. Time to show you all.

ripley-and-newt

 

 

 

How to Get a Portal Gun Through Airport Security: Pax South 2016

It’s time for cosplay daughter to start looking at colleges.

Obviously, she wants to attend one where she work on coding, game design, art and costume design, so off to liberal arts places we go!

First stop was Trinity University in San Antonio Texas- a lovely school with a kick-ass costume shop.

As far as I was concerned, our trip to San Antonio was about checking out the college. For cosplay daughter? It was about PAX SOUTH.

pax south

Pax is a set of five super-humongous gaming conventions that started out as industry events, and are now pilgrimage points for the serious gamers and related fandoms. So of course we coordinated the trip to Trinity with the convention. I’m that kind of cosplay Mom.

She was pretty excited when the passes came.

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And of COURSE, she would have to cosplay at this convention, and cosplay an appropriate video game character.

she decided to go with Chell, from Portal 2- an early favorite. The object of the game is to solve a maze by shooting blue and orange “portals” through and around and between walls to escape.  To do this, Chell uses a fancy gun:

portal-2-chell

While also evading evil robots.

 

Cosplay daughter has been cosplaying Chell for some time, and wanted to take that cosplay to Pax.

Kira Chell

But…..this meant that we needed to get her new Portal Gun safely through airport security, in one piece, and without any of us getting arrested.

Which of course would be an adventure.

It’s not a thing you can pack in your checked bag. It’s got delicate little feet and feelers.

So we carried it on.

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Very early morning flight, with portal device, combat boots and thankfully supportive cosplay stepdad.

Here we go.

The first rule is: in an airport, it’s not a portal GUN. It’s a PORTAL DEVICE.

This is important if you want to make it to the convention without being hustled off to a back room and strip-searched.

Doesn’t mean, though that security (and others) will not still be interested.  She got to explain what “that thing” was to various TSA officers, (one of whom couldn’t wait to watch the face of the lady running the x-ray machine when it went through).

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But, even once we got past security, the questions continued.

As a note, if you are sitting in an airport waiting lounge like this:

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Two things will happen:

  1. LOTS of people are going to ask you: “what IS that thing!?!?” and of course, you can tell them, but it won’t help the majority of them.  They have no idea what you’re talking about. We started saying it was a toy, or prop. Most walked away with puzzled expressions.
  2. You will find all the nerds and gamers in the airport, most of whom are going to the same convention as you.  They will say “nice portal gun” and you will shush them hurriedly:  “DEVICE! it’s a portal DEVICE!”

In the end, the DEVICE made it to the convention safely.

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She was a big hit:

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And made a bunch of new friends.

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oh, and yeah, really liked the university too.

Yang Xiao Long on the Sulaco- Arkansas Anime Festival T-Minus 19 Days

Ok, folks, here we go- New cosplay project!

Armed with a NEW, heavy duty sewing machine,

Yay! Currently brainstorming names for her. I'm thinking maybe Sulaco.

Yay! Currently brainstorming names for her. I’m thinking maybe Sulaco.

and we’re ready to take on a new Cosplay for our next convention:  The Arkansas Anime Festival (A2F).

Cosplay daughter realizes that much of her cosplay is gaming-based, which is fine, but she wanted an Anime costume for A2F.  She’s been wanting to try for Yang cosplay for a while, and we’re going to go for it:

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Once again, this is a cosplay from a show (RWBY) that I don’t know, but apparently she’s not only smart, and funny (apparently spouting bad puns like weapons)…..

Yang pun

…..but has awesome fighting skills:  super strength in her punch, which is linked to the gauntlets that also fire bullets.  When she’s really angry, her hair also flames, and she can take down a whole building with her fists.  She’s a huntress, fighting monsters.

I understand why daughter (newly training in Kenpo) loves this character.

rwby___yang___mystic_arte_by_iceninjax77-d6mql5m

So here we go.  Armed with a modest budget, we hit JoAnn fabrics yesterday, and then, of course, the thrift stores.  Can we make this cosplay for less than $100? Let’s find out.

(Looking at the cosplay.com website for advice yesterday, I saw that one of the member’s mottos was “Nothing is impossible, but some things are very expensive.” So. Very. True.

It’s easy to drop hundreds of dollars on one of these projects in small pieces. We have to avoid that this time- I have to save for us to go to Pax South in January)

Cosplay daughter is an inveterate internet and thrift shopper, though.

We found second hand boots that would work, and by last evening, she had altered them, made the scarves to go on top and the sock/sleeve for her left leg.

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Here working, while watching RWBY for inspiration. That’s Yang on the screen.

The boots and scarves.

The boots and scarves.

Today we start tackling the jacket- T Minus 19 days and still under budget.

Wish us luck!

Cat Cosplay: Feline Fine….

So the other day, a friend posted this photo to my Facebook timeline:

sailor mewn

Anime fans will quickly recognize this character as “Sailor Mewn”- feline Sailor Moon.

My cats may never forgive her.

It turns out that there is a whole, glorious world of CAT COSPLAY!

How fun is that?

Well, fun for the humans, anyway. (Though I have to say that Sailor Mewn, there, doesn’t look upset.)

We have the two cats: one princess and one street urchin with PTSD.

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Cosplay daughter with both kitties. The calico, Abby, and her royal highness, Princess Fluffbucket (aka Pearl).

Cosplay daughter has been dressing them up for years- the princess even once won a pet costume contest for Halloween- (I think because she was the only cat entered).

Turns out that clothes from

Turns out that clothes from “Build-a-Bear” fit the cats perfectly.

Until this, though, I don’t know that she had considered actual cosplay for the kitties.

I hadn’t either.

I sure am NOW!

To be fair, our street urchin, Abby, doesn’t really need an actual costume to cosplay.  If she weren’t afraid of EVERYTHING (humans walking into a room, humans walking out of a room, saran wrap, the washing machine, etc.)  Abby would be a perfect Mochi for our Hiro and Aunt Cass cosplay:

“BIG HERO 6” ©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved. Well, not PERFECT- she’s clearly not fat enough. But we never let body shape deter us in our cosplay choices. This is a body-shaming free zone!

Abby would never make it through a convention, though.  As esposo (recently upgraded from novio!) has observed, Abby is sure that EVERYTHING means that the apocalypse is upon us.

That leaves Princess Pearl, Empress of Everything.

I’m thinking Elsa:

perruque-elsa-frozen

 

Light fur, big blue eyes. Fabulous, high-maintenance, feline-in-charge.

Stay tuned. There may be Elsa cat cosplay!

Update: Cosplay daughter says that while she is totally on board for Cat Cosplay, there is NO WAY she’s dressing Pearl up as a “overrated Drury Princess.” (not a Frozen fan- though I think that’s from the ubiquity of the franchise more than anything else.)

we’ll see. Daughter suggests perhaps Cinderella…..

The “Artistic Temperament” : Dispatches from Cosplacon Part I

Hello, and greetings from Cosplacon in Jefferson City!

One whole big hotel of cosplayers wearing everything from papier-mache anime heads to ghostbuster uniforms (complete with unlicensed nuclear accelerators). This is cosplay daughter’s favorite convention because it’s all about the cosplay. 🙂

The creativity and artistry on display here is amazing (photos soon, I promise!) and that has me thinking this morning about a subject that has occupied my attention of late- “the artistic temprament.”

I’m not an artist myself. I would never claim that title. This modest experiment in creative nonfiction (and the occasional steampunk hat) are but small forays into that landscape.  I’m at best a technician and wordsmith.

I know this, because I recognize a true artist in my daughter, and her best friend.

I also recognize it in the amazing folks I’ve met in and through this cosplay adventure, like my friend Sarah in the UK, who built/sewed/fabricated this Rocket Racoon FROM SCRATCH.

Sarah as Rocket

I also see it in the amazing creativity on display, the shipping and combinations on view at a convention like this: Hello Kitty Darth Vaders.  Master Chief as Master Chef.

I am amazed and impressed by these artists.

But as a Mom (which is a key element of this particular blog) I also see the struggles and challenges of being a member of that tribe.

I’ve written before about cosplay daughter’s strict attention and near-obsession with detail.  She sees minute differences and shadings that I simply don’t. She finds variations of color and configuration that I can’t even perceive to be ESSENTIAL to her design.  And sometimes, when she can’t realize her vision, she just simply refuses to go on.

(Remember those long fall boots? My first blog post? They’re sill in pieces in the garage.  Every once in a while she mentions them, but hasn’t returned to try and make them work.)

I saw that kind of thing again over the last couple of weeks with another artist (who needn’t be identified by name here, it’s not important) a costume and clothing designer.  She had invited me, cosplay daughter and cosplay best friend to model in a fashion show here at cosplacon. The theme was to be the ball scene in Labyrinth.

Labrynth

I was going to get to wear a BALL GOWN AND CREEPY MASK. Made by a REAL COSTUME DESIGNER. I was STOKED. The girls were too. How fabulous!

But then- attention to and control of detail. Costume designer communicates that she will need all three of us to commit to showing up for hair/make-up, rehearsals and photos at 11:30, for a 5:00 show that lasts until 6.  And during that time we are sequestered so as to not ruin the moment when we appear.

Wow. Ok, that’s a deal breaker for the girls, who aren’t excited enough to give 7 hours of their convention day to realize the vision and promote the business of someone else.  It’s a bit much to ask.

But I’m still in! (*chanting*)  Ball gown! Ball gown!

and then, just a few days before the convention, the designer reveals that she is simply not happy with the level of detail and scheduling notes that she’s getting from the convention (which like most of these events is volunteer run by young people with day jobs).  She won’t compromise her vision or risk the time and control she needs to make her art happen.

So she pulls out and refuses to participate. Rats.

As the girls would say: “sad face.”

sad face

So- was this a bit self-important and divaesque? Maybe. The convention organizers apparently thought so.

But here’s my observation- this is the kind of attitude and approach that makes the art fabulous to begin with. That attention to detail and confidence to demand that it be right or not happen at all is what can give us great works.

But it’s also hard and challenging- for the artist and for the fans/supporters.  I really was looking forward to that fashion show. I have also spent hundreds of dollars on a pair of boots that are still in pieces in my garage.

Both things are frustrating.

and the artists themselves- when they disappear in Salingeresque fashion, can lose business, or fans and then no one gets to see or appreciate their work.

There’s lots of definitions out on in the internet of the “artistic temperament”- everything from medical dictionary references to mood swings and blasts of creative energy; to centuries-old meditations on originality and self-involved self expression.

But I’m not sure any of these are really important or really capture my new experiences of being a artist groupie.

I do, however, often think of  Deborah Harkness’ amazing All Souls trilogy in which all artists (from playwright Kit Marlowe to mathematician and astronomer Thomas Harriot)  are actually daemons- brilliant, magical, vague, fickle, creative and destructive all at once.

Do I think my artist friends and family are daemons?

Of course not.

Do I think those artistic folks that surround me have abilities that seem otherworldly in their magic and inscrutability?

Yes. 

And how wonderful, challenging, rewarding and frustrating is it that I get to travel alongside of them?

more from Cosplacon later! I promise!