I had a great relaxing time at Montreal Comiccon. I'll take any reason to go to Montréal!
I only wore one costume, Pharoah Nidalee, and it was briefly on Saturday for a photoshoot with Erik Paredes. Note to self: do more test runs of costumes before wearing them. It was surprisingly uncomfortable to wear and a few pieces didn't stay put.
Most of my time was spent hanging out with friends, exploring the dealer's room, grabbing food in Chinatown, and going on little Pokemon adventures.
Notable events: I spotted Patrick Stewart twice over the weekend. Once in the dealer's room on his way to his signing and again while he was walking through Chinatown.
It was my first time at Yeticon and it did not disappoint. I decided to go at the last minute and I'm glad I did. It was quite a relaxing event. It was a bit of a downer that there was rain throughout the weekend but otherwise it was fun.
I drove in with some Ottawa cosplay friends and arrived at around 4pm. It quite the scenic trip, much better than driving to Toronto. I threw on Sharla in a rush and did my makeup in record time. I grabbed my badge at the event, ran into almost all my Toronto cosplay friends, then went straight to a shoot with Anna and Kay. I can't wait to have some good photos of Sharla with her prop. This costumes has been collecting dust for a few years since it doesn't travel easily. Some parts were coming apart since the glue worn down after a few years. After taking off my costume I rode the mountain coaster and hung out with friends for the rest of the day. I took it easy for the rest of the night since it was pouring rain.
Despite my best efforts I could not sleep in, so I lounged around my suite with my roommates until around noon when I got dressed in Summer Sawsbuck. I got to shoot some video with Ackson and then did a photoshoot with Anna at the top of the mountain. Even though I doused myself in bug repellent I still end up with 4 mosquito bites.
I got out of costume and was killing time until the pool party except it got cancelled due to thunder, rain, and tornado warnings. Instead I went to go visit friends in their rooms getting drenched by the rain every step of the way then headed to a suite party for the rest of the night,
There was a forecast of sporadic rain so I decided not to wear Ms. Fortune on Sunday. It was stupidly humid as well so I only imagine all my fake scars would be peeling off within a half hour. I took another ride on the roller-coaster and said goodbye to as many friends as I could.
It was nice drive back to Ottawa filled with pitching questionable skit ideas.
The resort is beautiful and great to wander around. There are tons of activities you can do in the resort for free thanks to getting a badge. There is a plethora of great photoshoot locations. The con has a lot of interesting events happening. I missed out on my free drink and open bar :( but others got to take advantage. there are a lot of food options and the hotel rooms are all great. It is very relaxing. In comparison, Colossalcon is a fun partycon while Yeticon is a laid back party con.
I want to return next year. I just hope they don't put it back to back with Colossalcon!
Colossalcon was amazing as always. I got to spend some quality time with friends and meet many new fun people. There was lots of Disney sing-a-longs, group cookouts in our suite, partying in the villas, strange suite stories, and photoshoots in the pool. A special thank you to everyone who gave my Primarina a warm welcome.
Our group stayed an extra night this year and it was well worth it. I got to try out all the new slides and explore the waterpark with friends multiple times throughout the weekend. Colossalcon truly was the vacation that I needed. I just wish it wasn't a 10hr commute each way :(
See you next year!
Costume Con (CC) is a truly unique event that I highly recommend for people that are dedicated to the craft of costume making. There is so much to learn and it has a great relaxed atmosphere thanks to it have a mature crowd. The main pillars of Costume Con are the panels, the competitions, and socializing. So I'll break down my blog about the weekend in these categories.
My costumes for the weekend.
Click to go to their page with construction notes and galleries.
Being invited to Anime Matsuri was a dream come true. After hearing so many good things about this event for years and having it on my "to visit" list I finally got to experience it. Everyone was kind and polite which made my first trip to Texas a blast!
I thoroughly enjoyed Katsu this year. I decided not to push myself too hard and only booked one shoot per day and left the rest of my schedule open for quick shoots and hanging out with friends. I wasn't able to finish my big showstopper costume (Lilith - Reference here) due to health reasons. In the end it didn't bother me that much. In the past it would have bummed me out for the entire weekend which is an unhealthy habit. Instead I had fun. Here's what happened over the weekend.
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’m a big fan of being able to re-use my wigs as often as possible so when I took on Kida (Hannah Alexander Vers.) I didn’t want to modify it too much. Also, I wanted the wig to remain full since reducing the fibers in light coloured wigs increases the chance of seeing through the wefts to the hair underneath. Finally, Kida normally has waist length hair so it makes sense that it’s pinned up for this hairstyle. In the end, I found a way to easily turn a long curly wig into a styled curly up-do.
Needle and thread to match the wig color
Scissors (for cutting the thread)
Sewing pins (To secure wig to foamhead)
A wig with ringlet curls - I used a Victoria provided by Arda
Using a Victoria or similar will save you a lot of trouble since the top half of the wig is already styled and you will only have to worry about the long strands of the wig.
Setup: Secure your wig stand and install the wig head, then place the wig on top, pinning it in place with the sewing pins. Section off any hair that you do not want included in the up-do. In my case, Kida has long straight strands framing her face, so I kept some curls aside.
Strategy: Pick a side to start, I worked from left to right, then find the top ringlet curl of that side. It is easiest to work your way from the top down as to not get tangled in the other curls while styling the wig. At this point you need to decide on where you want to stitch your curls in relation to the placement of the vertical lace strips. The lace serves as a stable sewing base. Since the Victoria wig has a lot of curls at the top, I started sewing the curls about half-way down the cap.
Sewing the Curls: Prep your needle and thread, tie a good thick knot and start stitching from the vertical lace strips. Once you have anchored your stitch, gather your curl and pass your needle through it (See photo below on the left). Once you have passed through all the rings of the curl you can lift it up and stitch it down to the lace strip. I do at least two stitches per curl to secure it down. Continue stitching curls along the length of the lace strip until you have sewn all the curls. Be sure to secure your stitches when you finish or run out of thread. Then move onto the next lace strip until you are done.
Finishing: Set the wig with a light coat of Got2Be Freezing Spray to reduce the number of flyaways. When wearing the wig, use a few bobby pins to keep it in place. If you ever want to return the wig to its original state simply remove the stitches and shake out the curls.
To complete the look for Kida, I carefully attached some orange rhinestones using Gemtac.
Five cosplayers with 15 costumes and three photographers on a week long road trip across Western Canada into the mountains and beyond. The trip was a dream come true but it did not you miraculously plan itself. Here a re a few things I have learned when planning a big trip such as this.
Research, research, research
Many, many hours were spent hunting for locations on Google, blogs, etc. Consume as much information as you can and pick the locations that fit your needs. Once you find them start keeping track. I used a combination of OneNote project pages and Google Maps (more on that later).
While you are mapping it out look into driving direction and distances between destinations (eg. 10min drive N of the hotel or 1hr drive and 30 min hike). This is especially important when dealing with cumbersome costumes when deciding how much to put on before getting to the destination and how long they can stay in costume.
KEEP MOBILITY AND EASE OF ACCESS IN MIND
Digging deeper into those travel blogs beyond the pretty photos will help you in the long run. Many sites will detail how to get to these locations which can be a tough hike. Make note of the obstacles you can face and keep that in mind when planning that leg of the trip. Another thing to remember, especially for cumbersome costumes, is to take note of the distance between the parking lot and your destination. Or simply find out if there is parking available in the first place. Parking tickets are a bummer while on vacation
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Carefully chose when to take your trip while factoring in peak tourism seasons and weather conditions. I picked September because there would be fewer tourists (meaning cheaper hotel rates), it was the month with the least rainfall in the region, the weather would be cool but manageable for most costumes, and it was right before certain park services shut down for the winter.
In order for people to confidently join you on this adventure, they should be given a ballpark figure to budget for. Hotels, rentals, passes, airline tickets should be factored in including miscellaneous costs. The onus is on them to settle n their own budgets and put the money aside.
Map it Out
I highly recommend using Google maps for planning out any trip. You can find all of your preferred shooting locations then save them to a custom map which you can load as an overlay on top of regular Google Maps. You can customize the markers' shapes and colour for even more precision, add notes and photos, plus you can add layers to your specialized map so you can filter out certain markers. My three main layers/categories were "Shooting Locations," "Hotels" and "Tourism Stuff." Best of all, you can open it up to other people the add and elaborate on.
Once you know your locations and the time of the year for your trip, then it is time to figure out what gear you will need. I cannot tell you enough how much my hiking purchases saves me over my week long trip to the Rockies. If all our locations were easily accessible I would have soldiered on with regular sneakers and made it work, however, we had to hike up mountainsides, through streams, up stone piles, etc. If you have done your research then you should have a clear idea of what the trip calls for. Granted not everyone on our trip was as decked out as I was, but I have no regrets for my purchases.
What I brought:
What I forgot:
Strategically pick your Costumes
If you are going through all the trouble of flying across the country to get photos, you might as well make it count. Pick costumes that match well with your settings by doing even more research. Have potential backups in case you do not finish your new projects in time. Make sure you have enough room to transport everything to that location.
Do all your costumes fit in your luggage? Does your luggage meet airline standards (weight and dimension)? Do you have enough space in your rental car for everyone's luggage?
Match up your costume choices with specific locations ahead of time so you can schedule out your trip and have your photographers on the same page. This way everyone knows what to expect.
Pick your Team Carefully
Spending a weekend with friends at a convention is one thing, spending a week on the road with them is another. I would suggest not inviting the ones that drive you crazy after 2 nights and to stick with the people who are cooperative. Being organized and clean are important as well as meshing with the rest of the group. It sounds cliché but teamwork is important to maximize everyone's potential. Everyone had to take on several different duties to make the vacation a success (human crutches, photo assistant, bag carrier, splash expert, bead placer, etc). Enthusiasm and willingness to help each other helped make many of these photos happen.
Also from a practical standpoint, numbers matter. Dividing costs 8 ways helps cushion the financial burden on everyone especially when it can to transport and accommodations. Since most rooms fit 4 people, a group of 8 was ideal since you maximize savings.
Set Realistic Expectations and Sort out terms with your Photographer(s)
We reached a nice balance with 3 photographers for 5 cosplayers. At any given location there were 2-4 people in costume at once. We were able to have a nice rotation of cosplayers and photographers without putting too much pressure on one person. Be mindful of the working styles of those involved similar to booking or working with photographers at a convention. Don't expect a photographer who likes to produce one polished image per shoot to pump out ten all of sudden. Be respectful and set out your expectations and goals before your book your trip so that all parties are happy in the end.
Friends and Fun come First and Photos come Second
When I signed up people for the trip I made sure that everyone would be okay going out to these locations even if the photos didn't turn out. Enjoy the trip for what it is and the photos will be gravy. To put it simply, shit happens. The weather could be awful or a memory card gets corrupted. By focusing on having fun and spending time with your friends the trip becomes less stressful.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
Have everyone on the same page through a group chat or forum. Facebook groups or a Messenger group chat work well. Be sure to post updates for everyone to see so that they can contribute to the planning process.
Have back up plans in place in case you split up and cannot contact each other. We made this mistake once. There is a surprising level of cellphone service out in the national parks in Western Canada but there are black out zones, Lake Moraine being one of them. Setting meet-up locations and times can easily solve this problem.
Where would you go for a cosplay trip?
MeltingMirror's Cosplay Blog
Learn more about my experiences in the cosplay world, from conventions to photoshoots and everything in between.