Tagged: musings

Perfectionism in Cosplay

My head is swimming with thoughts as deadlines approach so, have some thoughts.

As I type this I’m in the middle of working on Aika for European Cosplay Gathering. I qualified for ECG as the Solo Act last September after 3 years of trying and chickening out, and now it’s finally here it’s given me a lot to think about.

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EGX & European Cosplay Gathering!

EGX was at Birmingham NEC between 22nd-25th September, which is also where the UK Preliminaries for European Cosplay Gathering (“ECG”) were held. Across the Saturday and Sunday I hosted two talks; one on Commissions & Commissioners and one on Competitive Cosplay, which were both very nicely received by the audience, and hopefully useful!

My main reason for attending however was for Sunday, where I took part in the preliminaries for ECG – and while it still doesn’t feel totally real.. I qualified as the UK Solo representative for ECG Season 7!

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Photo by LP Cosplay Photography

It’s taking a while to sink in but the excitement is huge: I get to go to Japan Expo next July and take part in ECG, on the huge amazing stage!! I’ve seen ECG live twice before, and the atmosphere is so alive; I honestly can’t wait to be part of it!

For the competition, the standard this year was incredible. Of what I’ve seen there has never been as good a standard in any competition as there was at EGX; the majority of entries were solo, and I was awestruck backstage looking at everyone’s costumes (and a little nervous, so apologies if I didn’t say much!). They were costumes people had clearly spent months working on, with thought-out performances, where they’d really put their all into it. I really hope they continue to work and enter next year, too!

egx-stage

Photo by Pikawha

The costume I entered with was Shallotte Elminus from Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea, a costume I’d been working on over time since November 2015. I added a lot of improvements, which you can read about in both of the Costume Roundup entries for Shallie: Part One, Part Two!

The costume may look simple, but there are a lot of hidden details and as described in the entries above, pretty much everything besides the wig and base shoes was made from scratch. So while it might look simple, it’s far from it. It’s not the most difficult thing I’ve ever made but I dedicated a lot of time to it to get it exact.

I also made the broom which was an adventure in itself, and for my performance I made all of my stage props – the main one being the tripod and cauldron you can see above. The cauldron is a hanging basket that had a lot of customising, the tripod was made from waste pipes and fittings, and the fire at the bottom was made from boxes, tissue paper, LEDs and wood. I also made a second book which had props hidden inside.

Admittedly the performance was quite simple too, but making a solo performance for an Atelier character is a challenge in itself – I wanted to make a performance that would be enjoyable for anyone, rather than just people who have played the game. A lot of previous Atelier skits have the same formula; no dialogue, a nice instrumental track, cute hidden tricks, not much happens – and while this is nice, it’s not really my style, so I tried to mix it up a little.

I tried to record the voice for the performance myself, but it was kind of terrible. Thankfully, my wonderful friend Rachel who had previously helped with performances stepped in and gave it the little boost it needed. I also incorporated a little bit of audience participation as I like to, and it was really fun to act out on stage!

So far there isn’t a video of the performance yet, but if one is uploaded I’ll share it right away!

egx-winners

Photo by Hildaglitz Cosplay

The group winners are two wonderful girls, Captain Amelia Cosplay and Helen Alice Cosplay, who qualified in gorgeous Sakizou Alice in Wonderland costumes. I can’t wait to be part of ECG with them, and get to see what they pull out for the finals!

The solo runner up was Amazonian Cosplay (sadly not pictured above), who had an absolutely breathtaking Assassin’s Creed costume. Seriously, the level of detail was amazing! The group runner ups were the Frozen duo above, Dewnor Cosplay and KyoKyo Cosplay, who were also wonderful and lovely company backstage, too. I’m hoping to see all of them back at it next year!

animecon-shallie

Photo by Katapon Photo

Now for some mushier stuff – it took a lot to actually get me here. I wrote on this blog at least once before about planning to enter in 2015 – and ended up giving up around 3 weeks before the competition. I also planned to enter in 2014, a group entry which fell through the morning of the competition – so while this costume is new, it’s taken me 3 years and 2 failed attempts to actually make it this far.

It’s really overwhelming that it’s actually happened, because I never expected to make it this far. I originally entered World Cosplay Summit in 2013 on a whim with Yuka, and ever since that finished I always wanted to try ECG but things just never went right. Now that it’s actually happening it’s kind of surreal. In that time I entered the Tales of Ambassador competition two years running and never quite made it, and more recently I entered Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup for fun, but ECG is what I’d been aiming for the longest.

A lot of it comes down to confidence, which I seem to have serious ups and downs with – even with Shallie I was close to dropping out of the competition for around a month. So much of my planning went wrong; it took me 3 failed attempts and 2 weeks to make my set, the audio was never good enough, and when I arrived for EGX some parts of my costume had broken in transit so I was really at the end of my tether before the day came. If something could have gone wrong it had, and it’s only through the support of friends I actually entered. Every time a little voice told me something wasn’t good enough, someone else would tell me “go for it”, and I’m glad it pushed me to actually enter!

Now I have the fun task of planning for the finals; I’ve been going between 3 different ideas, and it’s tough to decide on what would be best overall. I really want to make something ambitious, but also something that is enjoyable to work on, will work well on a stage, has good performance potential.. and enjoyable for people to follow, too. Thankfully I don’t have to decide just yet since there is time, but the sooner I can start, the better!

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Costume Roundup: Shallie, Part Two

Shallotte is now.. dare I say it.. finished..?! Admittedly there are still tweaks to be made, but so far all of the adjustments and fixes I wanted to do are complete. I’m much happier with the costume now than I was with it before, and more importantly it looks better too.

Now these tweaks are done, I figured I’d do an updated Costume Roundup for Shallotte “Shallie” Elminus from Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea to chronicle the updates and tweaks to the costume. If you haven’t already you can check out the first Costume Roundup on Shallie here, with details of how the main costume was made!

Shallie4

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AmeCon & Beyond

So it’s been a tad quiet here again! AmeCon was a blast, one of the best laid back events I’ve been to in a long time. The only “big thing” I did was help out a bunch of friends with the live roleplay show of Adventure Bastards, which is available on YouTube here! I won’t give anything away but it was great fun to be part of!

13963089_905650806213163_605814925216379254_oPhoto by Emzone Photography

So aside from the excitement of Adventure Bastards, AmeCon was super chill. I did a small shoot with PopcornKuma as Sakura & Tomoyo with Paper Cube, but all of my costumes were pretty simple and easy to wear. I hung out on the steps for most of the event and caught up with a load of friends and got pleasantly wasted in the evening. Would definitely AmeCon again!

Between AmeCon and now I fixed up some more bits and bobs on costumes, started some small projects and did a small shoot for Shallotte locally. The weather was really pleasant for a couple of weeks so I took the opportunity to get at least one costume photographed while it lasted. The full shoot with an updated Costume Roundup will be posted soon, since all of the updates I needed to make on Shallie are pretty much complete!

ecg

The next event for me is EGX is where I’ll be entering the UK’s European Cosplay Gathering preliminaries! I don’t want to reveal too much about what I’m doing just yet, but all that’s left for me now is to nail my performance and get my props made, which is kind of a personal record. Two years running I’ve dropped out of ECG, so this is a disturbing level of “prepared” for me. So far I’ve made some good preparations and got my audio (mostly) done, so fingers crossed it’ll all be ready in time.

I’m also hosting a talk at EGX on Competitive Cosplay, at 3pm on Sunday! There are tons of great panels and talks all weekend, so if you’re attending definitely pop by the Cosplay Stage! My talk is directly before ECG qualifiers, so if you want to bag a good seat to watch come along early, sit down, listen to me ramble and get ready for the show!

Finally, in October I’ll be heading up north for Rai-Con, an anime convention in Glasgow. It’s ran by the same lovely team who hosted Glasgow Comic Con, so I’m happy to be heading back up and supporting their events, because they’re an excellent bunch. So far I’m not sure what costume to wear yet, but I’ve been working on Shia from Pita-Ten recently so it may be her if nothing else stands out in time!

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Costume Roundup: Nurse Sakura

Time for the next Costume Roundup, and this time it’s Sakura Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura, this time in an adorable Nurse outfit! Myself and PopcornKuma wanted to make a cute Sakura duo for AnimeCon earlier this year, and we decided on these adorable outfits.

I was Sakura in our duo but the costumes are pretty much identical, so most of my notes apply to both costumes!

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The first thing about these outfits is that we tweaked the colours. There are some figures where the colours are less “coral” and more “pink”, so we went for that colour scheme instead. Otherwise they were quite straight forward costumes to make and super cute to wear!

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