I’ve been a huge fan of wearing costumes, ever since I was a kid – the more elaborate, the better. Halloween was always my favorite time of year, because it meant dressing up – granted, Halloween in the mid- to late 80’s typically involved those costumes that came in a box, with the weird masks and vinyl jumpsuit things…
Once I got a little older, I discovered the world of more exciting costumes. I’d try and find something better and fancier than the previous one, because dangit, I wanted to pretend I was someone else for the day. And once I got old enough to handle a sewing machine with some skill, I started making my own costumes. They may not have been amazing, but I sure as heck felt awesome in them. Case in point: my first ever costume, a handmade Princess Toadstool costume from 1997.
Granted, my sewing skills were still pretty limited at this point, so the only part of the costume that involved any sewing was the skirt – but my thrift store skills were epic even at the tender age of fifteen, and I managed to get everything else I needed to put together that costume – gloves, pretty red heels, and a floofy petticoat. Sure, the crown and brooch were made out of construction paper, and my wig was a cheap one from Spencer’s that smelled horrible, but dangit, I was Princess Toadstool, and I was happy.
Last weekend, I went to Indiana’s first ever Comic Con! Held at the Indianapolis Convention Center (where Gen Con is held), Indy Comic Con promised to be a fun little convention. As it was in its first year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I planned on having a fun time anyway – after all, how can you not have fun dressed up as Pinkie Pie? 😀
A friend of mine (Ross, whom I met at Gen Con and became friends with thanks to the magic of the internet) and I planned on going all three days, and Mr. Crafty Nerd and another friend made plans to join us on Saturday and possibly Sunday. And come Friday afternoon, Ross and I ventured to the Convention Center to see what Comic Con would be like.
The first thing we ended up doing was waiting in line – despite having bought our tickets online. Comic Con used Ticketmaster to handle the registration process (which made paying for our tickets painful, what with all the fees), and sent us a strip of tickets like we were going to a concert. (Tickets don’t fit terribly well into badge holders.) Once we got to the convention, there were a number of lines you could enter to get into the convention, all snaking around together – we ended up going through the will-call line, despite having our tickets already, and then got funneled out when getting to the part where we’d need to pay for tickets. It wasn’t a long process, as we got there maybe an hour after the convention started, but it was still somewhat confusing and tedious. We had our tickets checked, and then received three wristbands – one for each day of the convention.
The section of the convention center that Comic Con was being held in was one of the exhibition halls (D and E, for those familiar with the convention center), and that was all. One part of the hall was sectioned off for the theater (where panels and the costume contest were held), another was sectioned off for the entry lines and ticket purchasing, and the rest was exhibitor booths and artist tables. All in all, it was… small. I made one circuit around the exhibitor area, bought a handful of things, and decided I was done with the booths. After a few hours at Comic Con on Friday, Ross and I decided we’d save our energy for Saturday and went home.
We got to the convention center around 10 or 11 am, and as we ambled our way over to where Comic Con was being held, we noticed there were way more people there than on Friday. I mean, the con was practically a ghost town, compared to what I’m used to with Gen Con and I-CON and such, and then Saturday? BOOM. Everyone wanted to be there Saturday. Ross and I made one circuit through the main room where the convention was being held, pushed along by the insane stream of people surging through the aisles, made a quick stop at the costume contest registration booth, and then didn’t spend much time inside the main area for the rest of the con. We weren’t at the convention for more than an hour when we heard that they were turning people away at the doors, and the convention was at capacity. Apparently the organizers didn’t realize that 10,000 people wanted to attend Indiana’s first Comic Con. (They also picked a pretty poor weekend to host it, as the majority of the convention center was host to a public librarian conference that weekend.) Bryan, Ross, Gina, and I ended up spending the majority of our time roaming the halls and taking pictures and talking with people about how crazy things were, how the convention could have been planned better, and so on. After lunch, and more wandering around the convention center, Ross and I figured we should go wait in line for costume contest pre-judging.
The line was INSANE. I think over half the people in line hadn’t actually registered for the contest, and about 15 minutes into when pre-judging was supposed to start, rumors floated down the line that pre-judging was canceled, they were just going to send a judge down the line to check everyone out, and that anyone who didn’t have a number wasn’t getting in. After the abbreviated pre-judging process (where a judge came by and asked us about our costumes, what our inspiration was, did we make them ourselves), we all filed into the theater (which was packed! apparently everyone wanted to see the costume contest), all nearly one hundred and thirty of us. They didn’t realize so many people were interested in participating! Everyone in the contest had amazing costumes (I was in line next to a girl dressed as Toothless who made her costume in A WEEK holy crap), and it was fun getting to prance across the stage with Ross as Rainbow Factory Dash. However, the costume contest could also have been handled a little better… By the end of Saturday, the four of us were exhausted, and decided it’d probably be better not to go on Sunday.
All in all? For the inaugural year of Indiana Comic Con, while it had its issues – mostly organization related – I had a lot of fun. I got to see lots of cool costumes, and being part of the first year of what promises to be a big convention was pretty exciting as well. I got to meet one of the writers/artists for the My Little Pony comic, I got to see lots of fun art and cool toys, and I had loads of fun (as always) dressing as Pinkie Pie. I think I will go back next year – here’s hoping they take up more of the convention center, though. The rough start for Indiana Comic Con makes me a little leery of going to Indy Pop Con at the end of May, even though there’ll be many big names there (like Sylvester McCoy and Nicholas Brendon! XANDER OMG) – instead of three days, I’m going to stick to Saturday – and definitely register ahead of time, in hopes it holds my spot. I do believe they’re taking up more of the convention center, which will be a good thing – I anticipate Pop Con being very popular.
Alright, enough rambling about the convention – on to the pictures!
Well, GenCon opened up preregistration today. And Bryan and I have been talking about the upcoming Indiana Comic Con, and how many days we’re going/what costumes we’re wearing/who should go with us. With all this talk about conventions, and planning for them, it’s got me thinking about the first convention I ever went to…
Way back in 2004, the SUNY Potsdam Gaming club learned about this most amazing convention that happened down on the other side of the state. It was called I-CON (short for International Convention of Nerds), and one of our members had gone quite a few times and said it was epic. And we’d heard that the Student Government Association would possibly fund trips for clubs, as long as they had a legitimate purpose for going on a specific trip. So, we gamers formulated a plan. We decided that we would go to I-CON, and we would call it “research”. (And, well, we did do some game-related research, so our reason for going was valid!) We put together the proposal. submitted it to the Student Government Association, and waited not so patiently to hear back about whether we’d get the funding or not.
Well, we just about died when SGA said they’d fund our entire trip – hotel, badges, and even gas there and back. Not only were most of us going to our first convention, but we were going for free. We were so so excited it was ridiculous. My only knowledge of conventions involved knowing people wore costumes to them, and there were lots of other people interested in all sorts of nerdy things. So, I dusted off my renfaire garb, as I didn’t have any idea of what else to wear, and in April packed my bags and got ready for the incredibly long trip to I-CON 24.
The ride was long and somewhat eventful – people kept getting lost, one person’s car couldn’t go faster than 40 miles an hour, and we got there so late on Friday that we almost weren’t able to pick up our badges, and we wandered around for a half hour before returning to our hotel and passing out, saving our energy for Saturday.
Saturday was… amazing. Overwhelming. Insane. I was positively surrounded by delightful geekery. So many costumes. So much excitement. So many things to watch and see and do and buy. It was geeky heaven. Especially… the dealer’s room.
Oh, the things we could buy. I don’t even know how much money I spent at that first I-CON – probably an entirely irresponsible amount. I think we all did. (I distinctly remember one of my friends coming home with a giant staff – trying to wedge that into a tiny car was interesting, to say the least) I remember buying a gigantic plushie of Shippo from Inuyasha, and a ridiculous amount of Sailor Moon gashapon figurines… I got a few pictures of people in costume, mostly because I was too shy to ask people for their picture and because I didn’t actually have a digital camera of my own back then. In fact, aside from a picture of me and my friend with The Cheat, the only picture I got of myself with anyone was with someone dressed as Edward Elric.
I don’t remember much else about Saturday except for wandering into a couple of viewing rooms and watching random episodes of animes I’d never heard of, wandering aimlessly about the Dealer’s Room spending stupid amounts of money, and beginning my tradition of inadvertantly con-stalking Michael “Mookie” Terraciano of Dominic Deegan fame. Sunday was more of the same, but with a few more pictures!
Who ya gonna call?
If there’s a rock, someone’s gonna climb it…
…as evidenced here.
Captain Jack Sparrow!
Nerdy license plates.
Checking out some tiny game pieces.
What’s over there?!
Winry, and some other people.
Vash and Meryl.
Aw yeah, Boba Fett.
And here’s the Gaming Club!
At the end of the weekend, we all loaded our goodies into various cars and settled in for what was actually a rather uneventful 8 and a half hour trip back up to Potsdam. I may have spent that trip with part of a giant wizard’s staff across my lap, using my ridiculously large Shippo plushie as a pillow, wearing my Death from Above t-shirt, trying to sleep through a bumpy car ride. Ahh, car trips to and from conventions…
This is the convention that sparked my desire to go to more and more conventions. Later that year I went to Otakon for the first time ever, which was absolutely amazing, and then I continued going to I-CON until I graduated from Potsdam. I also went to the first ever Bear Con in 2011, which was so much fun! Now I’m hoping to make it to three conventions this year – which is more than I’ve ever been to in a convention season! I’ve got Indy Comic Con coming up in March, then PopCon in late May/early June, and then, of course, GenCon in August. I’m so ridiculously excited.
Or, as I’ve been titling this project in my head, “How To Turn Yourself Into A Dragon”.
Yes, I’m going to try to put together a Toothless costume for the 2014 convention season. I may even start as early as tomorrow. And it’ll be my first time assembling a costume this complicated, especially without any sort of pattern! I’m excited. And kinda nervous.
I’m no stranger to the world of do-it-yourself cosplay. While I don’t exactly have the skills for super frilly over-the-top costumes, I know where my strengths lie, and I work with that to make costumes that will look good, even being simple. Like my Pinkie Pie costume, or my Fourth Doctor costume. And I have done work without patterns before – Pinkie Pie’s skirt was done completely freehand. I’ve also done three sailor fukus with no pattern (yes, not only did I dress as Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter, but I also dressed as my own fan character, embarrassing as it is to admit), and an entire Princess Peach costume as well – with varying levels of success. I know what I’m about to enter into – this isn’t unfamiliar territory.
And I do have some visuals to work off of. I’ve seen this around the internet in a number of places – this is one of them, as well as on DeviantArt – and while I’d love to buy one, I can’t really justify spending $300+ on a sweatshirt. (And having made a Toothless plush myself, I know that a fair bit of work went into it, I’m quite sure, but is it really $300 worth of work?) I’d much rather make one myself, too. I had a blast making Toothless, and I’d love to do something similar, something on a slightly bigger scale, something fun. And not to mention pretty darn recognizable, especially for the summer conventions, with How To Train Your Dragon 2 coming out in June.
So, how the heck am I going to approach this? How am I going to start?
With determination, that’s how! Heh. I figure I’ll start with stuff I’ve already got – I’ll be using the pattern from the Toothless plush for inspiration on how to construct the head and tail. I’ll also take advantage of ready-made stuff – such as a pre-made sweatshirt and pair of sweatpants. And the pictures posted of the sweatshirt give me quite a few ideas of how to construct things. From there, I can construct Toothless’s little… head tentacles? Not-quite-horns? You guys know what I mean. Anyhow. I can construct a way to add those to a sweatshirt hood, and then add hand covers and wings and a tail. (And maybe foot covers, for the sweatpants, if I can swing it.) The most laborious part will likely be the scales – I have no idea how I’m doing those yet, but those aren’t my main concern anyway. Those’ll likely be the last things I put on.
But yes. I am going to make a Toothless costume. And it will either be epic, or be an epic failure. I’m leaning more towards epic, myself. And of course, as I build the costume, I’ll keep everyone updated. I know I have a lot of fellow Toothless fans who read the blog, and I want to share the process with you guys!
So, stay tuned – Project How To Make Yourself Into A Dragon will start soon.
I absolutely love renaissance faires. It’s so much fun to get dressed up in costume and pretend you’ve slipped back in time to the Renaissance days…
…just like Bryan and I did last weekend, at the Ohio Renaissance Festival! Despite me coming down with a cold, we still had lots of fun. We watched some stage swordfighting, perused the wares of many a shop, and got to enjoy my favorite part of any renaissance faire – jousting.
Yes, the Knights of Valour were there at the Ohio Renaissance Festival, including a couple of favorites from the TV show Full Metal Jousting. They do real, full-contact jousting – it’s really exciting to watch! (And a little frightening when someone gets violently unhorsed…)
While sitting at the joust, waiting for the queen to arrive, I happened to see a rather familiar pair of people in the stands…
Yes, even the Doctor and Amy Pond were in attendance at the joust!
I do love finding the Doctor at renaissance faires… at last year’s Ohio faire, I saw a Tenth Doctor wandering around outside the castle walls, waiting for the faire to open with the rest of the crowd. I also saw a fair amount of people wearing Doctor Who t-shirts, heheh.
If you’d like to see the rest of the photos I took at the faire, here’s a gallery of them all! I will say, my new camera did a very good job of taking good photos from a fair distance. I think this was a good investment for my blogging, that’s for sure.
Waiting for the faire to open
Look, it’s the Queen!
Everyone’s favorite crafty nerd and time lord.
Sir Ripper declared his lady wife his queen of love and romance for the day.
This is the other post you’ve all been waiting for – the second chunk of photos from GenCon 2013! Again, a few of these shots were taken by Mr. Crafty Nerd, and many of the Doctor Who photoshoot images were taken by my wonderful friend Michael. Due to the fact that there are so many pictures, shots from Day 1 and 2 are in a separate post so that way things don’t run as slow as molasses! Enjoy! 😀
This is the post you’ve all been waiting for (or one of them, anyway) – part one of my massive photo dump of shots from GenCon 2013! There are plenty of pictures that I took, with a little assistance from Mr. Crafty Nerd – hope everyone enjoys them! Due to the fact that there are so many pictures, shots from Day 3 and 4 are in a separate post so that way things don’t slow to a crawl here! Enjoy! 😀
Well, I’ve been meaning to make this post for quite some time – and now that I’ve actually got the time to do some photographs of the smaller details and put everything together, it’s time for me to actually put all this up! Have a look at what I’ve been calling the Amazing Steampunk Outfit!