Category Archives: Uncategorized

Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast Medical Punk Fashion Show

On Saturday I went to Gimme Gimme Pillow Toast‘s Medical Punk fashion show at Mod Livin’ in Denver. I missed the one last winter, so I was especially excited to support my friend who modeled in the show and look at all the fashion!

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I should have brought my good camera, but I didn’t plan on taking photos of the fashion show itself. We didn’t know that the theme was Medical Punk, but with Halloween coming up it was perfect. This is the video of the final walk:


The Solution to Every Group Cosplay’s Problems

It happens. That moment when two people want to cosplay the same character in your group cosplay but you don’t have enough people to justify doubling up. About once every year I meet a cosplayer who actually loves the same ridiculous series I do and is happy to finally find someone else who’s willing to cosplay said ridiculous series with them, but we want to cosplay the same character. And it’s usually a little awkward, whether it’s because that cosplayer has a way different interpretation of that character than I do or because that makes it difficult to plan a group cosplay unless that character has a ‘twin’ who doesn’t actually look terribly much like him (I’m looking at you, Subaru and Kamui.) The ways I’ve dealt with this in the past were to pick an alternative character for the sake of smoothing out the group cosplay, or to just cosplay solo.

I was doing it wrong all these years. Turns out the best solution is to choose a character who is such a jerk that it becomes a cosplay bonding moment. (Yes, that’s a thing.)

Seriously, who else is going to not punch you in the kidneys when you need to practice being in character, and critique you for not being enough of an offense to human decency? Who else is going to thank you when you calmly inform them that the fabric they want to buy just doesn’t bring out their inner tool? Who else is going to pull you out of view when they spot the other half of the fandom’s most popular slash couple, knowing that you’ll do the same for them in a heartbeat? Only another Izaya Orihara cosplayer.

Short black wig: $30. Bribing your Shizuo-cosplaying friend not to get shippy with you for the photos: $200. Spending about half an hour rewinding five seconds of an episode just to see hilariously stupid face Izaya makes when he’s cornered? Priceless. Forget all of that group cosplay drama. That’s what cosplay’s really all about.


Please Excuse Me While I Die of I Don’t Even Know What

I went to Denver Fabrics with a cosplayer friend of mine. And on the way back we stopped at the Panera Bread a street down from the hotel that hosts NDK. I was really hungry for some mac’n’cheese and Greek salad at the same time and we wanted to figure out what the heck was going on with her Will of the Abyss from Pandora Hearts  for next spring. Last time she made a cupcake dress, we accidentally matched, and she wanted to know if we were going to match again (these things are important.) I’m doing another Amano Kuja for spring next year to celebrate having earned a degree without tearing a hole in existence from stress, and I didn’t have the ref art on my phone, so I Googled it.

Guess what happens when you Google “Yoshitaka Amano Kuja”? My cosplay, third result down. I don’t know how to react to that. But don’t worry, the Crystal is safe.


My Journey into the Mountains to Become a Kung Fu Master

Is why I haven’t been blogging for a very, very long time.

Just kidding. I’m no better at martial arts (and possibly worse) than I was when I took my impromptu vacation from blogging. What did happen was that I fully committed to making costuming my life. Yes, I’m crazy, thank you for asking. But you guys already knew that.

I’d already been working as a shop assistant in my university’s costume shop since late August, and I took costume design 1 in the previous fall. And I had gotten most of my design work on my theater’s touring production of Cyrano de Bergerac out of the way. But then I signed up to work as a dresser on a whim (dun dun dun) for the mainstage production of Rent.

Part one: I almost died. Whoever came up with the idea of three-year batteries for Mitsubishi Eclipses probably had a good reason, but is also now responsible for almost killing me. But I wouldn’t have been driving at 70+ mph on I-25 in Denver on a Saturday night with a zombie battery if I didn’t feel pressured to force myself to like being a photojournalist.

Note: this is what you get when you Google image search 'zombie battery'.

Part two: During the run of Rent, I never thought I could have the two realizations ‘I want to die’ and ‘I could do this for the rest of my life and be happy and feel successful’ at the same time. To be fair, the second thought was about costuming in general, not specifically about being a dresser. Though I did really enjoy the opportunity to work more directly with actors and see exactly how costuming works once the curtain opens. It turned out my experience with cosplay helped me out in ways I couldn’t even guess backstage.

What I’ve also realized is that it’s harder, not easier, to balance cosplay with theatrical costuming. At least with journalism, cosplay was a great creative outlet to escape from that coursework. So I guess that means I kind of like costuming if I still feel strongly about continuing on with both. I’m still getting my B.S. from the officially discontinued School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at CU, but I’m knocking out all but one journalism course over the summer so I can dedicate my time to experience I will need to become a successful costume designer during my last undergrad year.

Right now I’ve just finished a design project that I wanted to include in my portfolio (which the curious can view here: http://www.wix.com/charlotteballar8/charlotteyballard#!), I’m knee-deep in patterning and constructing an 1850s day dress for my costume construction final project, and I’m working on styling the Studio IV class into French and English Baroque/Restoration era fashion for their salon at the governor’s mansion here in Colorado! And, of course, getting some new costumes finished for Akon in June.

I think that my perspective on cosplay will be a little strange now that I’m experiencing costuming from two completely different angles, but I think that’s just going to make my experience with both even better. Now to go wolf down dinner and cut out some flatlining.

greyrondo


Ikkicon V Cosplay Contest Winners Vid

Wanted to get this out earlier, but the thing about cosplay is that it’s one thing to talk about it… and another thing entirely to have a video showing the amazing work done by these cosplayers.

Visit frijebai’s YouTube channel, he’s an awesome guy!

~greyrondo


Planning is Important

Now let me reiterated this:  planning is very, very, important.

I spend a good three to four months without a sewing machine every six months, and then, I leave myself with only four weeks to complete a full costume in.  When working in such a small time frame (and that really is, comparing to the complexity and level of work that I am pushing for with my current costumes), I have to plan every moment out and try to maximize the time I do have.

As a business student, I’m good with scheduling time and working through errors, but the amount of preparation you can do is key.  I make sure to finalize a design months in advance.  I, then, go through the fabric I have and figure out what fabric I need to purchase.  The new few months are spent looking for the perfect fabric combinations.

Typically, I begin to plan any props or the costume itself after that.  I make patterns from discarded newspapers (I use the Wall Street Journal) for anything I don’t already have a pattern for.  Also, I take to making replicas of my props, like Midori’s blade Dragonblossom, from cardboard and poster board to decide what needs to be worked on.

I do all of this so that when I do have time with a sewing machine, it’ll be a much smoother and quicker process to finish the costumes I want to make.

 

❤ amara


First Cosplay Saga, Chapter 2

On Wednesday night, we met at IHOP because that late at night, there aren’t any options in suburbia.  The server now thinks I’m this guy’s life coach because he saw me scribbling down the 2011 Texas convention schedule and asked what we were doing.

So I presented him with a couple of options. We started talking about what convention he should shoot for, and then we got onto the conversation of bought/commissioned cosplay. I told him that it was an option he could definitely consider for his first cosplay so that he could figure out if the convention and character side of cosplay was for him without considering construction quite yet. This is an important consideration since the cosplay he chose is fairly ornate and I was afraid of him burning out on his first one.

But we talked about how cool it is to know how to do stuff and make things, and so we ultimately decided that he would be commissioning the weapons only and he would shoot for San Japan, which gives him seven months. And if he needs more, then there’s Afest and Oni-Con before the end of the year.

So I gave him homework before our next meeting during Christmas:

  1. Learn to sew. That sounds really rough, but he doesn’t have to worry about anything insane for this cosplay. I knew he’d be fine when he told me he wanted to learn how to install zippers.
  2. Get a commercial pattern that best fits the fabric part of the cosplay and do a mock-up in cotton muslin. This will help with #1 and it’ll also give him a base from which to learn how to do alterations for cosplay.
  3. Read through THIS craft foam cosplay tutorial. If he feels particularly ambitious, get started on posterboard patterns for all the armor.

Of course, he’s not just going off and doing this on his own. I recommended additional published resources and I’ll be busy with Ikkicon stuff, but not too busy to translate commercial pattern gibberish into plain English!

~greyrondo