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.
| 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!
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!
Seven costumes makes for a productive year by my standards and I got to use quite a few techniques along the way. For more details about how they were made, check out their pages.
| Cancer | Kida | Swanna | Aion | Sivir | Mousse | Taliyah |
WHAT I LEARNED
It's a tie! Both Sivir and Kida cost about $218CAD. Most of the cost of Sivir was in the wig, worbla, and spraypaint, while Kida's cost were loaded into silk and rhinestones (most of which I didn't use but I repurposed them for Swanna).
I`m switching it up this year since no convention could really compare to amazing time I had in Western Canada with my friends. I always want to be surrounded by mountains and turquoise water. All that fresh air and exploring was so refreshing plus much needed change to my usual con routine. A special thanks goes out to my fellow explorers Calamity, Shushuwafflez, Nomadic Goldfish, Vickybunnyangel, Lichon, Tricky Love and Thistle.
Another highlight of the year was going to the League of Legends NA finals in Toronto. Participating in riftwalk was a blast and nothing beats watching the games live.
Forward to 2017
I was able to accomplish my goal of using leftover fabric on new projects in 2016 and I hope to keep that up for 2017. I'm already working on four very ambitious projects including my original Pokemon gijinka design for Sawsbuck (Headpieces on the left). I also hope to visit some new events as well. I may not be able to have another adventure in the wilderness next year but I'm already poised on planning my next big trip :)
I hope to add new ways of showing my work or work-in-progress with you all. I'm exploring my options - Twitch, Patreon, etc. I'm a slow adopter so bare with me.
For a list of my upcoming events and costumes you can visit my "PLANS" page.
See you in the new year!
I’ve found that keeping track of my cosplay inventory, as it slowly expands, is a valuable resource to saving money. My situation is little different than most since my workshop is out of town so I don’t have access to my materials all the time.
When it comes time to shop for new materials, knowing what you already have lying around is useful information. Even if you live where your supplies are, sometimes its difficult to remember what you have on hand. Here a list of a few thing I recommend keeping an inventory of.
A general inventory template can be found at the bottom of this blog.
On a slightly more personal note than my usual posts, this blog will explore my pitfalls in getting too enthralled by my hobby.
As you may already know, I love cosplay - I live-n-breathe the stuff. Swimming in cosplay content everyday online fascinates me, and brings me joy. Although recently, I've started noticed that my hobby has been changing into an obsession; at times, with unhealthy consequences.
When you're essentially running yourself ragged to get your costume done for a convention, even after you've promised yourself to not go through that hell again - you may have a problem.
When you're only getting limited sleep, and it makes it harder to function during your daily duties - you may have a problem
When you have to turn down multiple engagements with friends, and hermit away in your cosplay cave to finish your work...you get the point.
There's an inherent flaw in the "sleep is for the weak" and "suffer for your art" mentality, especially when it's considered normal for cosplayers. It's a running joke, and even worse, it's expected. I think I pushed myself way too hard over the last few weeks. So much so, that my stomach is still recovering from being shot for the entire weekend, and my appetite was all over the place thanks to the stress and lack of sleep. My memory also fell victim, causing me to repeating myself - to the annoyance of those around me.
Although I had an overall good time over the past weekend, my Friday was a stress induced mess which turned me into an inconsiderate person. I thought I was being reasonable under pressure, but after looking back, that was not the case. I really have to thank my friends for putting up with my frantic state. I was so obsessed with making sure everything went well, that I didn't even realize I was stepping on toes. When everyone is stressed to the hilt, even seemingly innocuous comments hit like a brick wall. Most of the day was a blur that I don't even remember. This goes to show you that even though you go into something with good intentions you might mess up when stress and lack and sleep are involved.
Side note: I have a way better understanding of how everyone got their 'mean girl' edits in cosplay shows (or any reality competition show for that matter). Lack of sleep, stress, and a tight deadline does not make for a friendly atmosphere.
The Perfect Balance
So here's the true dilemma: how do you find a healthier hobby/life balance? As of late, I've made the mistake of letting my hobby take up a too much of my life. I feel as if I've neglected my friends over the last few months; I know more about people's costume progress than what's happening in their day-to-day. The tricky thing is, so many of my friends and I bond over the hobby - especially those I only get to see at events.
I don't know if I can achieve a perfect balance, since I have continuously set my standards so high, but I sure as hell can try - I'll make sure it does. For me, it starts with better time management, and a shift in priorities.
Time Management: I've started to be less rigid with my line-ups for upcoming events. This way, I don't get people's, and more importantly MY, hopes up for the delivery new costumes. It's not the end of the world if I have to re-wear an old costume because the new one isn't finished. I should have backups ready to go in-case I have to drop something, or resign to the fact that I'll wear Version 1.0. Another key point is to not be pressured in having to deliver new content ALL THE TIME. Let's be real, the people who can pump out various costumes a year probably don't have the same work/life commitments as I do. It's unrealistic to try and keep up. It'll serve me better to work at my own pace.
Priorities: It's always good to sit back and reflect on what you find important. If friends are what I value most about my cosplay experience, then I need them to take up more time in my convention planning. Nothing made me happier over the weekend then being able to spend time with friends I seldom see, and be able to have a genuine conversations with them. Part of why my Anime North wasn't the most enjoyable this year was due to me only being able to have 5 minute conversations with my friends throughout the weekend, and got to see the sights for one whole hour.
So dear readers, what I hope you take from this is that cosplayers are real people with real life problems. If you notice a friend is pushing themselves too hard, help them slow down and get them out of their cosplay hermit shell. I'm grateful that I've surrounded myself with such great friends, because great friends give you a reality check when you need it.
I'm going to detail most of the advice I give out at "Cosplay on a Budget" panels, which are almost a permanent fixture at cosplayer heavy conventions.
If you ever get a chance to check one out at your local convention, do it! They may have even more tips to give you, especially ones specific to your region. Some of my tips refer to Canadians/Americans companies, but overall it is general advice for all.
More blogs in the 10 year Cosplay Retrospective Series:
Week 1 -Wigs | Week 2 - Make-up | Week 3 - Armour | Week 4 - Cosplay Closet Purge | Week 5 -Planning | Week 6 - Inventory | Week 7 - Controlling Cosplay Costs |
This blog details some of the advice I give at panels for cosplay beginners such as "Cosplay 101" or "How to start cosplaying" since not everyone can make it out to Canadian events. I hope you find it useful.
More blogs in the 10 year Cosplay Retrospective Series:
Week 1 -Wigs | Week 2 - Make-up | Week 3 - Armour | Week 4 - Cosplay Closet Purge | Week 5 -Planning | Week 6 - Inventory | Week 7 - Cosplay on a Budget
Comfort & Assistance
Is your costume comfortable or uncomfortable? Will you need assistance getting around the event? Is your vision limited?
The comfort of you costume will determine how long you can wear it, so you should budget your time accordingly. Prioritize your events (gatherings, panels, etc) to make sure you can attend and enjoy them.
Inconvenient or awkward costumes may require you have an assistant (aka handler) to help you navigate the crowded con floor. Be sure to check the convention policy on large costumes, as some events require you have an assistant for large or vision impairing costumes.
Consider some back up options to deal with uncomfortable costumes. I often bring a pair of flats if I'm wearing painful high heels. Also, you can make certain costume parts easily removable for maneuvering through crowds, such as wings or armour. I sometime bring a tote bag with me to carry certain costume pieces from one event to another.
Can you go to the washroom in this costume? How much time will it take you to go to the bathroom in this costume?
This is very important because with cumbersome cosplays where you need to set time for washroom breaks. Respect your bladder and go to washroom whenever you have a window of opportunity.
My Shiva costume was 30+ minutes ordeal to go to the washroom and that's not including putting everything back on again. I made sure to capitalize on some free time while waiting in the greenroom when I was competing in the masquerade.
Knowing the properties of the fabric you need to buy for a costume will help you narrow down which one you need to purchase. Here's what I consider before I settle on a fabric.
Charmeuse silk would be classified Shiny (somewhat)> Light > Opaque > Smooth > non stretch > Solid and/or pattern (depending on the costume) > dyeable > high budget.
Compare to satin which can be heavier, have slight texture, can be stretchy, can be dyeable (only with polyester dyes), and low budget.
If you can determine which attributes best describe your fabric, someone at the fabric store can probably help you pick something out. Having a reference photo handy always helps, especially if you have a hard time naming fabrics.
Sometimes it's hard to say goodbye
Unless they have unlimited storage space, eventually cosplayers have to go through their cosplay closet and make some tough decisions. I'm throwing this blog in the "retrospective" series because I find this is an activity I've done repeatedly throughout my cosplay life and a little wisdom helps make the process easier.
More blogs in the 10 year Cosplay Retrospective Series:
Week 1 -Wigs | Week 2 - Make-up | Week 3 - Armour | Week 4 - Cosplay Closet Purge | Week 5 -Planning | Week 6 - Inventory |
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.