I had grand dreams of being ultra productive in 2020. I managed to crank out three new costumes for Katsucon in February (which is more than usual from me) so I was expecting to have many more completed costumes by the end of the year. Then the pandemic happened, I started working from home, and I figured, what a great time to get ahead on projects! I was going to produce the most costumes I ever. Well, it didn't work out that way. The only 3 costumes I finished were those 3 from Katsucon. I've been sporadically working on projects but never finishing them, and that's fine. Maybe I needed a break from the hustle. I think many cosplayers have felt the pressure to keep up and continue to push out new things on a regular basis. Every year when Katsu would roll around I would anticipate a friend of two burning out from the stress. Know that your health and mental well-being is a priority and if this year has shown us anything, it's that the costumes and conventions can wait. So instead I focused on creating content with costumes that I had in my closet. I finally put all my self-shooting equipment to use. I got to filming short videos and actually enjoying making Tiktoks (le gasp!). Long story short, do what makes you happy, even if that's relaxing on the couch and reliving your high school weeb days.
What I learned
Favourite Cosplay - Rohan
I love many things: I love Jojo, and I love being comfortable. So Rohan is my favourite costume of the year. It's rare I get to be conformable in costume and look this good. Having a character that is meant to have fun and interesting poses definitely helped me go out of my comfort zone in photoshoots. I just have to remember to channel that Jojo energy with my other costumes.
Forward to 2021
I don't know if I'll get miraculously more productive in 2021 but I hope to put a dent in my outstanding projects as usual. I don't foresee going to any conventions until maybe the end of the year, and even that is a stretch depending of how vaccinations go.
I just know I miss my friends, and I want to travel the world once things are safer. I also want to go on more wilderness photoshoot adventures. Hopefully in warmer weather, since I'm always freezing on my wilderness shoots.
I hope you are all staying safe and hopefully I'll see you online and maybe at a convention next year or the following year, who knows.
No better way to start the weekend than an early morning flight and several flight delays. After 12 hours of airports, flights, and cabs I finally made it to the Gaylord. I got my badge, grabbed some food, and had some mild hangouts.
The Thursday night is getting busier and people start the party early on the gazebo level. I might have been up for it if I wasn't so exhausted.
I was supposed to wear Wooloo on Thursday, but I was too tired. So I wore it on Saturday. I realize that 2 costumes in a day is exhausting especially if the makeup is drastically different.
On Friday I wore my new Cosmog ginjika. The headdress is nice and light and I love how the look came together. I found out later that the body jewelry was scrapping my shoulder and left a bunch of scratches. Oh well, the photos look nice and a lesson learned for next time.
I shot at the Voltaggio in the MGM with Paul Hiller and the blue colour scheme was a perfect match for this outfit.
After the shoot I ran back to the Gaylord to check out the Cosplay Met Gala. I missed the runway showcase but it was nice seeing all the costumes up close afterwards and catching up with a few cosplayers from all over the country and abroad.
I checked out Anna Fischer's cool shooting setup on one of her beds in her room. It's impressive what you can do with some fabric and cheap lights.
I changed out of the costume for the rest of the day and just spent my time visiting friends,
At long last I cosplayed from JOJO. I wore Rohan for most of the day since it's such a comfy costume. I shot with Dangrr Doll at the lobby bar at the MGM. I can't wait to share those photos. I did a lot of unintentional core exercises posing for those pics.
I then spent the rest of the afternoon helping Dangrr and co setup a full flower arch and tea table set. It was beautiful. I also helped take pics of all the Fire Emblem characters - on everyone else's phones rather than my own.
I switched in Wooloo briefly to wander the con floor to see friends and snap some hall shots. I was in it for maybe 2 hours before I changed out of it. It's comfy but heavy and warm.
I wore Rohan again but with some different makekup. Gotta accentuate those Jojo lines. I shot with Elemental Photography this time around on the Gazebo level. Again I engaged my core for the shoot. I then helped out Elemental with lighting her shoot with Sarcasm-hime. I spent the rest of the day trying to see all the people I missed during the rest of the con.
The Sunday of Katsu is getting busier as well. Usually it would die down after 2pm but there were still lots of people around and at the Gazebo into the night.
It was my first time staying the Sunday night and I think I will keep doing that for future years. I also went to see Sonic with friends. Was it good? It was ok. Not worth the $20USD movie ticket though. I think I would have been satisfied with a non-HD viewing.
I've been going to Katsu for 7 years and this is the first year I actually got to see the city. We went to the museums at the Washington mall. The weather was great and the exhibits were fun. They were surprisingly dusty and especially crowded because it was a holiday.
I only run into slight delays getting home. I made it home after midnight and had work the next day. I do not recommend it.
Overall Katsu was a blast and bringing comfier costumes made it more enjoyable.
| Atalanta - Fate | Allura - Voltron | Korra - Book 4 |
| Benimaru - Slime | Evil Queen Regina - OUAT | Original Fall fairy |
What do I say about 2019? It felt like an unproductive year because I wasn't able to accomplish what I wanted, however, I know that is not entirely true. Keeping up with the Jones in cosplay is very unreasonable when you work full-time so I learned to let it go and not push myself too hard for events. Overall I had a blast at the conventions I attended and I have made some lasting memories with friends. Another highlight is that I made my first male cosplay in years with Benimaru. I also feel like I have gotten much better at switching up my poses. So overall, I would say it was good.
What I've learned
Favourite Costume & Prop
I got to push myself by learning so many new techniques for Atalanta such as using iron on vinyl, stenciling with Angelus paint, and designing with Photoshop. The favourite prop wins by default because it's the only one I have for the year, although I've been working on many other props for other unfinished projects. If you are curious on the construction of the costumes, check out the costume page.
I went to 7 conventions this year, mainly in Canada [OCC, Anime North, Yeticon, MCC, Otakuthon] with two trips to the US [Katsucon & Colossalcon]. It was a pretty relaxed year considering I was only judging masquerades at a handful of events, usually I am for most events and it doesn't leave much time to enjoy the con or see friends. Yeticon is new favourtire convention of the year since I really took advantage of the many of the events and there were times where there were too many things I wanted to do all happening at the same time. I look forward to going next year.
Forward to 2020
I have some many ongoing project that I want to finish in 2020. I was pretty disappointed that I didn't complete them in 2019 but that's life, I'll finish them eventually. Regina and Korra were both costumes I had been sitting on for years so I cleared some of the backlog.
My goal is to produce more of my own content by shooting it myself. I already have a head start on this, so stay tuned. Everything in moderation though.
I also hope to keep on top of my blog next year. I'm likely to take more recovery days after conventions and hopefully that will give me more time to publish my post-con blogs.
For the latest in what I'm working on and where I will be attending, check out my Upcoming page.
Thx you for the support and see you in 2020!
This is me messing around with fall themed florals and practicing self shooting. I'm a sucker for warm tones. I'm also happy to put this wig to good use since I've only worn it once for a c competition and nothing else.
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?
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.