Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Anime Detour This Weekend!

We'll be at Anime Detour this weekend!

As usual you can find us in Artist Alley all weekend long, and walking around the convention. We'll have our books, our crafts and our awesome new Mario dresses!  Be sure to stop by!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Kitsune Kon This Weekend in Wisconsin!

What's this?  Two cons back to back?  We must be crazy!

Come see us this weekend at Kitsune Kon!  We'll be in the Dealer's room with our own artist table and you'll be able to check out our crafts, books and dresses!  The Dealer's room doesn't have assigned tables, so just keep an eye out for us!

You'll be able to find us all weekend wearing these costumes, and possibly some normal clothes.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Help Support Cassius!

Check out the awesome new comic series coming from our good friends Emily and Ann, two of the creators of Grave Impressions!


Inspired by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, CASSIUS is set in a fictional Roman-inspired world where curses and prophecies are things to be wary of.  The comic tells the story of an ordinary young woman, Junia, who becomes the unfortunate bearer of the fateful Mark of Cassius. In the first issue, she is thrust into a deadly world of politics, deceit, and bloodshed and the stakes have never been higher-the welfare of the entire state of Latium could rest on her survival and success! If she can master her newfound destiny, Junia could possess the power to overcome the evil armies that threaten destruction and bring great change for the better. It’s not going to be easy though-everyone she holds dear is under threat and she must decide who to trust!

Writer Emily Willis and artist Ann Uland have been developing CASSIUS since September of 2014. They have been creating and publishing their own comics for 3 years and are best known for their queer mystery webcomic, Grave Impressions. The first two issues of the series are now completely written and penciled and all that remains is to raise the funds for printing while the art is polished with inks and colors.

The Kickstarter campaign for CASSIUS went live on the Ides of March (that’s the 15th) and will run for 30 days. The comic itself can be purchased starting at $10 and up. The campaign seeks to raise $3700 to print the 32 pages of Issue #1 and if that initial goal is surpassed, more issues will be combined to produce a softcover book.  The project was over a quarter of the way to its goal within the first day, so the future is looking bright!

But CASSIUS needs your help! According to Emily, “Crowdfunding is a great tool to help individuals produce unique art and stories and with a little help from a lot of people, I think we can share ours! ” So check out the CASSIUS Kickstarter and support the growing trend towards diversity in comics!

For more information about this project, or to schedule an interview, please contact Ann Uland at arbitrarymusecomics@gmail.com
Writer Twitter: @GIComic
Artist Twitter: @NymAulth

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

You Have My Permission


Hey you.

You may not know me, you may not see me and you may not hear me, but I need you to know.  You have my permission.

You have my permission to be beautiful. Be beautiful, be lovely, be stunning and rock that new look.  Rock that look that is you.  Be that look you've worn a hundred times because it's just so comfortable for you.  Curl your hair, shave your head, or don't even brush it.  Roll out of bed and be yourself or snuggle under those blankets.  You can do it, you have my permission.

Go to that meeting, cross the street, take a step back and dance from one foot to another with the most indecisive thought.  Pose for that photo, snap that selfie, duck out of view, hide behind your neighbor.  Nod yes, shake no, or don't respond.  You can, whichever you'd like.  You have my permission.

You have my permission to be brave, to be bold, to be beautiful and to be brash.  You have my permission to be quiet, to be submissive, to be agreeable, to be tame.  Be who you are.  What you are.  Whoever you want to be.  Be as progressive or loud as you want.  Be as quiet and fearful as you want.  You have my permission.

Be the person you've always wanted to be.  Be the person you've always been afraid to be.  Be yourself.  Be someone else.  Be who you want to be.  Be who you need to be.  Just be.  You have my permission.

You may not know me, you may never meet me or you may see me every day.  You may talk to me, you may pass me, it doesn't matter.  I just want you to know, you have my permission.

You may need this.  You may never have heard this.  You may have needed to hear this all your life.

It's ok.

You can do this.

Now.  Give yourself permission.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

(Corrected) Realities of Cosplay

Recently an article has been passed around a few communities I'm in about the Harsh Realities of Cosplay and after reading it, I felt the need to respond because I don't want an article like this to stop people from cosplaying.  It's fun and it's an adventure and from professionals to closet and thrifter cosplayers alike, there's many different ways to enjoy yourself.

I've posted the original article below at the link and I'm rephrasing her 'realities' because I don't want to reinforce these incorrect and negative ideas.  The point of my article is letting people know that what she posted and detailed is not the only way to cosplay. You're welcome to read her article then read mine as a rebuttle and make your own decisions from there.

The original article can be found here.

(Corrected)Reality 1: You don't have to be pretty.

I'll say it right out, that yes, being attractive - like anything in life - can make cosplay easier.  But it is most certainly not an end all be all in this costumed hobby, honestly, just keep reading

The point of cosplay is to have fun dressing up as a character you like.  Costumes, makeup, props, fabric, materials, time, pose, lighting, setting and yes, body shape and face all figure into this equally.  A look through any set of convention photos will show you a large variety of body shapes, skin colors, sizes, ages and faces.  Human kind doesn't come in one shape and neither does cosplay.  Popular cosplayers don't just get attention because their pretty, there are also plenty who get attention because of craftmanship and technique, creativity and work they put into their costume and craft.  You don't have to be perfectly pretty and you don't have to be a perfect craftman to enjoy your cosplay.  You just have to be you and pick a costume you like and a character you enjoy.  The rest will follow. 

Added into this, and something I touched on in my last blog - your personal looks might not even matter to the people you run into at a convention. To some people, the fact that you dressed up as their favorite character can mean more than a thin waist, a sleek body or the right eye shape could ever mean.  The fact that you dressed up as their favorite character is important to fans and children and people.  Self-confidence and enjoying yourself and your costume will show to the people that it matters to.  They will love your costume and - more importantly - so will you.

(Corrected) Reality #2 - Everyone Has An Opinion

Everyone has an opinion and everyone will voice that opinion no matter what you do.  You can never please everyone and you don't have to.  You should never expect to please everyone, because honestly even the most 'perfect' of cosplayers can't even please their legion of followers and fans.  It doesn't take long to look up the names Yaya Han and Jessica Nigiri and find pages of hate and disgust, when these two are hailed as some of the most popular cosplayers out there.  I promise you this will repeat with everyone else in varying degrees.  This amount of opinion, good or bad, should not deter you from cosplaying.  Instead it should make one thing clear: their opinions don't matter.  Yours do.

Also keep in mind that conventions are fan/community run events and cosplay is a community thing.  If you see that an event is run badly to a point where it hurts other cosplayers, say something.  Submit a request (politely, they're more likely to listen that way) and suggest an alternative.  Do you not see a panel that includes Plus Sized cosplayers or minority members?  Run one yourself, or submit a request that one be included in the program next year.  While we can't change everyone's negative opinions that might pop up, we can counter them by creating a more inclusive community.  Be the person who is brave enough to create that group that you want to be a part of to encourage others.  Or, if you're not as outgoing, just smile and take a picture of that person who obviously put time into their costume.  You can counter the hate and horrible opinions out there.  In the end you might not be able to change their opinion, but you can be the alternative opinion that matters more.

(Corrected) Reality #3 - Nothing is perfect, nor will it ever be.

Yes, you are cosplaying a 2D character who doesn't exist.  Yes, you are cosplaying a character a movie or TV show when a special effects budget and a legion of people behind it armed with computers and blending tools you can't even imagine.  Not even magazine pictures are real.  This is not a reason to stop or give up.  In the end, no matter how 'perfect' you are, you will never be 2D or that perfect movie replica and that's ok!!  You don't have to be perfect.  Instead you can be as perfect or imperfect as you want.

Are you in a wheelchair?  Is your body a different type?  Skin a different color?  Can't stand wigs because they make your head itch?  Can't afford that insane prop?  Want to portray that character you love as a different gender?  It's ok!  This doesn't mean you can't cosplay.  Actually, it gives you an asset.  Things like this give you the opportunity to be creative and branch out in new ways to portray the character.  Use this as an opportunity to rock what you have and who you are with pride.  You are the only person who can cosplay that character like you and that is something to be proud of.  You don't have to be perfect to cosplay, you just have to be yourself in that costume and have a good time.

(Corrected) Reality #4 - Cosplay IS for everyone

You dress up at Halloween, you run down the street for candy in a costume and for that moment you are Batman.  You are Superman.  You are Sailor Moon and you are a Ninja Turtle.  Cosplay is this, pure and simple.  You're wearing a costume and you're being a character and anyone can do this.  It doesn't matter if you're in a wheelchair, short, tall, white, black, missing a limb, Asian, or heck, if you want to dress up your pet dog as Groot!  It's a costume.  In the end that is all it is, a costume and the person behind it.  No one has a right to tell you that you can't do this.   Anyone can wear a costume and enjoy it, and yes, that means you.

And yes, I need to address the picture she used in her article.  Sailor Bubba, as he is known, is a fixture of Anime Central in Chicago and I've met him.  He was not a creepier and he was not a crazy older man in a sailor suit as the meme might imply.  Instead, he is a man who decided to have some fun, step up on stage and dress as Sailor Moon.  He decided to walk around the convention for several years, bring smiles to peoples' faces, have confidence in himself and just enjoy the convention weekend.  This isn't something to be made fun of, this is instead what cosplay is all about.

(Corrected) Reality #5 - You can cosplay on any budget

It is a wonderful dream to have endless money and ability to create that perfect cosplay.  In reality, this is not the case with most people, but that's why cosplay is so awesome.  You don't need endless amounts of money or skill to cosplay, instead you might just need to step back and tilt your head and think of another way.

I know plenty of people who hand sew, commission, and go to thrift stores for their cosplay.  This amazing Vash the Stampede I saw back when I first starting going to conventions?  He found all the parts by walking through isles at the Home Depot.  That amazing Final Fantasy 13 cosplayer with the staff that looks like it can't be lifted?  It's all cellophane and a couple well painted pieces of wood with some glue.  The point is, you can cosplay with any budget and any skill level.  There is nothing wrong with making your own clothes and props with years of blood sweat and tears, or buying that red shirt at Goodwill because it would be perfect!

The internet is your best tool here and I've used it many times for cosplay.  The greatest thing is that no matter what you want to cosplay, I can guarantee there's people out there who have tried something like that before, and a good number of them are willing to answer questions, share videos and even type up tutorials on how you can do it too.  Play around on Google and see what your options are.  If you only have a handful of dollar bills to use every month but you really want that elaborate costume, there are ways you can do it you may not have thought of.  Don't let money and skill hold you down, this hobby is only as expensive as you make it.

In conclusion:

I am not sugar coating any of this.  I am a plus sized, seamstress who has been cosplaying since 2001 with varied amounts of success.  I'm speaking from personal experience and I'm telling the truth, none of the 'realities' she laid out are as 'true' as she's laid them out to be.  None of them should keep you from enjoying yourself and this amazing hobby.  Just remember that cosplaying is ultimately about you dressing up and you can do this in thousands of ways.  Play around and have fun!  Be yourself and enjoy yourself. 

In a final note, I'd like to present a final alternate view of what was posted in her article.  Below you will find a collection of people having fun in their cosplay, and their skills in the craft range all over.  You’ll find uplifting and positive articles of cosplay and how its touched people’s lives no matter what money, skill or time went into it.  This is, by far, not a complete list and if you know of other uplifting cosplayers feel free to include them in the comments below for others to see.  (Names are listed below the pictures, please follow the link for their page and photographer credits.)

Please consider these other views and join us.  Cosplaying is fun and it can be fun for everyone, even you.

Morrigan Allistar as Saber
Brichibi Cosplays

Misa on Wheels
Princess Mentality Cosplay

KewelBeanz Cosplay
Gina G and Red Ribbon Cosplay
Dragon Slipper Tailoring