What a treat for the eyes if you like high fashion and enough embellishments to last you till eternity. For anyone who like fashion, creating garments, or sparkly things, then I can see you enjoying this exhibit. I broke down the photos I took by themes although they may not have been in the same rooms.
Musings of a Cosplay Judge:
The majority of the pieces were amazing and feats of construction, but there were also a few pieces that had okay construction that wouldn't win a best in class in certain competitions I've been to. This is crazy when you think about it but also a reminder to calm down and take it easy because even a high end fashion designer can make a few sewing mistakes. Who hasn't dealt with puckering seams. Occasionally you'll lose a few beads. Sometimes you need that applique on stat, which means 1cm wide stitches.
Lastly, lamé is kind to no one.
Black and White
Robots and mechanical
Which look or theme is your favourite?
It was my sixth year at Katsu and it had it different vibe than usual. It felt less crowded, probably thanks to the new badge policy. It also gave me a nostalgic con vibe thanks to hanging out with friends and meeting many new people. As always, I didn't run into many of the people I knew were there over the weekend, a fact of life for modern cons. Luckily I was able to have quite a few good chats with some old friends that live far away and I miss them already.
Another observation, Katsu always had a party vibe to it, but I feel as if it is becoming Dragoncon north with the partying (congregation of drunk people) in the lobby of the Gaylord which is leading to many memorable moments. See the DVD X It crossover, Mothman, or the Danny Devito shrine.
I took it relatively easy over the weekend. I managed to finish all of my costume in time with minimal hotel finishing touches (adding a handful of rhinestones to my dress and sewing down some buttons). I kept it to 3 costumes for the weekend, 1 per day and I was maybe in them for maximum 4 hours each. I find this give me more time to enjoy the con, see the sights, and relax. I'm technically there on vacation so it should feel like it by the end of each day.
Some highlights of the weekend:
What were your highlights this year? Any memorable costumes?
| Atilla (Swim) - Fate | Storm (Swim) - X-Men | Ariel - Little mermaid |
|Storm - X-men | Lilith - Trinity Blood | Sudowoodo - Pokemon |
| Alexandrite - Houseki no Kuni | Vivian - Dragon's Crown | Diana - Little With Academia |
Another year of cosplay has gone by. Each year I feel as if I didn't produce enough work, then I look at what I've actually accomplished and realize that it is more than I initial thought. It's important not to get caught up in other people paces and keep moving forward at your own speed and on your own path.
Many of the projects I was working on throughout the year were not completed (which is why I feel like I was lagging behind), but they are well on their way and they will be done when they are good and ready!
Additionally, I didn't go on an elaborate cosplay photoshoot trip this year so I feel as if I was missing a part of my yearly activities, however, I had a great time at all the events I attended and made many lasting memories with friends.
So let's jump right into it.
What I Learned
I went to quite a few events this year but with my busy day job I didn't have as much opportunity to write my usual con reports. If it is something you miss, let me know. I want to get back into it so long as people are interested in reading them.
A stand out event for me this year was Cruchyroll Expo. It a was such a great experience and I am so grateful for everyone who showed up to say hi at my table or came to my panels. It was my first time out in California and I hope I can make more trips out there in the future.
Forward to 2019
There will be more gijinkas and original designs. I love flexing those creative muscles in cosplay. I'll also be dipping my toes in Fate with a few costumes I've wanted to make for awhile now.
My biggest challenge will be the usual time management while balancing work, life, and hobby. I am very excited about multiple projects that I am working on and I can't wait to share them.
New for 2019: I have invested in some resources to snap some of my own photos and so far so good. I'm having fun with set ideas and I can't wait to see where I can take things.
I will be attending my usual events, however, if you want to see me at your local convention, please let them know that you want me as a guest. I have a several open weekends and I would be more than happy to run some panels and judge a few costume contests.
Cheers to a new Year!
I made a sparkly wig for an Alexandrite cosplay fit for the Land of the Lustrous. All the decorations are removable so that I could reuse the wig for other costumes.
Assembly Part 1 - Cellophane wefts
Assembly Part 2 - Sparkly Hair Part
Add more Sparkle & Pizzaz
I added some extra glitter to my wig to blend in my "glitter top" by hand applying chunky glitter to cellophane strands using toothpicks and E6000. I've seen people use rhinestones or glitter flakes and I've seen people make cowlicks with cellophane. Do what you want to be your true gem self.
I grew up on Top Model and gleaned a few tips from Tyra back in the day but since I started cosplaying I haven't really dug deep in the art of posing. Which may sounds surprising, but I tend to focus on the crafting process. What better way to learn than to get a hold of a book. So it's no surprise that my book review of Study of Pose will be coming from a cosplayer perspective.
If you don't know Coco Rocha then you are missing out on one of the most fascinating models to watch. Some models are known for their signature looks or struts on the catwalk, but Rocha is known her her infinite poses paired with her great expressions. Full disclosure I have a soft spot for Coco who is a Canadian modelling success story.
Dressed in a plain leotard, Coco does what she does best and strikes a collection of 1000 poses which the photographer, Steven Sebring, captures from a stationary spot. One pose flows into another from page to page with a change in body angle and expressions. The entire book is like seeing Rocha's process laid out step by step. The lighting is very strong with deep shadows so silhouette and shape are easy to take notice in the poses.
The goal was to learn some new poses and expand my posing vocabulary and I think it did the job. I found myself associating certain poses with certain costumes I have done recently or thinking about what kind of character would pose like that. It also reminded me to switch up my facial expression. Rocha is very expressive which adds extra life to the looks. For example, a hunched pose clearly isn't going to be paired with a smile.
Rocha is pretty flexible and some poses would be especially hard to recreate. Another thing to keep in mind is that you are limited by the mobility of the costume you are wearing. On the other hand, if you have a prop you just opened up another collection of possibilities. Props can be a crutch to lean on when posing, so I'm glad I have this book to use to "accessorize" my simpler costumes.
A few things to note:
The way I framed this purchase was almost as if I was getting a textbook to study. I wanted a resource that I could learn a few things from and that I could turn to in preparing for shoots and this does the trick. Is it the end all be all for posing? No, but then again no textbook is going to tell you everything you need to know about a given subject. It is called the study of pose not the Bible of Posing.
I would suggest this book to cosplayers who want to be inspired to diversify their poses but also have a passion of fashion and modelling in order to justify the $55CAD pricetag.
Right as I was about to wrap up this review, I did some additional research and I found that there is also an I0S app that has all the poses in 360 so that you can zoom in and examine them even closer and from different angle. This may be a be a better idea for most people to enjoy the work at a lower price point of $28CAD.
Katsucon is a yearly tradition for me where I look forward to seeing amazing work while also catching up with friends. With those two things in mind my mission was accomplished. I was really worried I wouldn't finish my projects in time but luckily I was able to pulled through without pushing myself too hard. The grind to finish Katsu costumes, aka "Katsucrunch", got the best of many people this year, which serves as a good reminder to take a step back and reevaluate things with high stress projects. I learned that lesson the hard way at WCS.
I have to give special thanks to a few people who made this weekend great. First off to Kurumasha for helping me finish my projects and lending me her wig. Second to VickybunnyAngel for being an amazing roomie, helping me in and out of costume, and also helping with makeup. Third to Jayuna, for helping me out of costume when Vicky wasn't there. Lastly to everyone who I caught up with ans shot with over the weekend. Thank you for your time and sharing it with me.
All right let's dive in!
All in all I had a good time despite the crowding. Honestly, I expect this every year from Katsu so it was not a surprise and honestly I thought it would be worse. I wore my cumbersome outfits on Thursday and Friday to avoid the worst of it. Crowding makes it difficult to get good photos but a little ingenuity, courtesy, and determination goes a long way. I would agree with some friends with the point that some of the usual photoshoot spots are getting overused but I think that is part of the deal when you attend a con several years in a row. However, it's still leaps and bounds better for shoots than conventions held in warehouses every year. I will be returning next year so long as my friends will be there since that is the bulk of the fun for me.
How was your Katsu? Did you run into any issues?
WHAT I LEARNED
The Sawsbuck collection of costumes hit a sweet spot for me: I got to rekindle my love of design, I got to make a bunch of fun capes, I fell in love again with crafting headpieces, I got to embellish the crap out of each design, I had fun shopping for complimentary accessories, I got to be thrifty by reusing certain parts of the costume, I improved my corset making skills, and I got to play around with some intense makeup. All-in-all good stuff, 10 out of 10 will do again.
I also did another cosplay trip out west to visit my friend the super talented Lichon Photography. We shot 5 costumes over 7 days all around Southern BC, mainly Kelowna. It was amazing and the photos are to die for.
I consider myself very fortunate to be able to judge masquerades and to be invited to events, so I would like to thank everyone who put my name forward, those who came out to see me or buy prints. Your support means a lot to me. I`m glad my costumes could bring a little joy to your day. If you would like to see me at an event near you, get in touch with your organizers or contact me.
Forward to 2018
Since I have fewer events planned for 2018, hopefully that means I can create more costumes. I have quite a few projects on the go, but the biggest one I hope to finish is Lilith from Trinity Blood. I have also been dragging my feet on a Storm for years that is finally coming together. Hopefully I can knock out some more outstanding projects in 2018.
I have another cosplay photoshoot adventure planned and it is going to be even more intense than the last ones. More details on that to come. The plan is also to produce more regular content from home. I`ll do my best to work some magic.
The urge to return to NYC is also strong, the fabric district is calling me, although I`m not sure if I can swing either NYCC or AnimeNYC in 2018.
If you want to know what I`m up to, please check out my Planning page or you can find me posting progress pics on my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. If you want to support my work, you can buy me Ko-fi. I hope your 2017 went well and see you in 2018!
Nothing beats fresh air and doing super cinematic photoshoots in the mountains. I had such a great time in Banff last year that I figure I would pay Lichon Photography a visit in Kelowna this year. I've never been and I had a hankering to go in the mountains again.
If I had to summarize the trip I would say: Mountains, fresh air, road trip, girl's trip, and cosplay goals. I I had to summarize the shoots, I would simply say cold. I was freezing through all of them. Windy cold, wet cold, hail cold, snowy cold... You get it at this point.
I somehow packed 5 costumes in my luggage so we did 6 shoots over the course of 7 days. It was intense but fun. Here's a quick recap.
We went to Myra canyon to check out some beautiful fall foliage. We had to take a logging road up there and it felt like me were off roading most of the way. I got to see some unique pine tree that turn neon in the fall. Lichon also taught me some stellar tree shaking skills to level up our practical effects in our photos. I also learned the art of dodging prickly bushes and carefully detaching fabric from said bushes. I wore my Fall Sawsbuck costume and it was the first time I wore it in a seasonal setting. I'm so happy that my headpiece survived the flight. I got some serious cape action going, and I curious to see how the photos turn out.
Busy but fun. Otakuthon is one of my staple events for the year and it delivered good times with my friends. I came into the city on Thursday evening and I was able to grab a few drinks with a friend on a patio and catch up after a few years apart.
On Friday I wore Nidalee, I didn't forget my necklace this time, and I got to shoot with White Specks. I immediately had to run to my panel afterwards and it went surprisingly well considering I thought it was cancelled and I had to make due without my notes.Afterward I had an amazing seafood dinner at the Captain's Boil. It's a pirate themed restaurant with bibs, gloves, and food in bags. It was glorious and delicious.
On Saturday I got dressed in my Fall Sawsbuck costume after attaching some last minute flowers to the skirt. I'm so stoked to get photos back for this costume. I felt majestic af in this. I love it so damn much with its warm colour palette. I also hung out in the Otakuthon lobby for a bit and I was pleased to see how warmly the costume was received especially since it's an original gijinka design.
The rest of the day was spent judging the masquerade and Otakuthon always has stiff competition. This year was the year of WOW. There were so many talented Sylvanas cosplayers, in addition to a lot of Hakuouki and Madoka Magika.
On Sunday I wore Ducklett and I took it pretty easy. I watched the WCS Canada performances, then jetted out for a fashion inspired shoot, then came running back for the award ceremony. I spent the rest of the day eating great food with friends and catching up with them.
All in all it was a good weekend despite the questionable weather.
I brought the sea goddess to Mechacon, and I was happy with how well received Tia Dalma was.
Friday was busy since I was doing craftsmanship judging for the masquerade for the most of the day. I was amazed at the amount of talent I saw in the cosplay competition. After a few hours of that I went to the opening ceremony with my fellow cosplay guests Chinasaur and Starbuxx. I was really impressed with how well produced the opening videos were for the event in addition to the talent on stage since many of the musical guests preformed throughout the ceremony.
Afterward we had a meet and greet with the guests (ambassadors) and VIP con guests. It made for a great time to meet new people and socialize. It set a great tone for the weekend.
I wrapped up the evening by grabbing dinner at a great Colombian restaurant and calling it an early night.
On Saturday, I wore Kida. Earlier in the day I was judging more entries from the cosplay contest then I got to spend some time at my booth. I met so many interesting and nice people. Thanks again to anyone who stopped by to say hi and buy a print.
Later in the day I got to watch the cosplay competition and boy was it intense. There was a crazy amount of craftsmanship on display and it was hard narrowing down the winners. I'm also used to having lengthy deliberations to determine the awards but we had to pick the winners within 15 minutes! In the end, we came to a consensus and the contestants really put on a good show.
After the con I got to catch up with Hane Cosplay over dinner and frozen rosé. Yum.
Weekend Cosplay Gallery
Sunday & Monday
Sunday was the most relaxed of the weekend. I was mostly at my table in my Ducklett costume. The AC is not a joke at this con so I was sporting a jacket most of the day.
I had a great time socializing with the attendees and the other guests in the guest table area. I've got to say that Queen D is a great cosplayer and a joy to be around. I would love to see her MC a Canadian masquerade.
Chinasaur and Starbuxx were lovely and I had a great time hanging out with them over the weekend. Also thanks to Most Flogged for swapping X-men stories and taking me to the aquarium on Monday.
Stay awesome New Orleans!
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.