Something I love: seeing cosplayers at conventions, admiring their handiwork, and swearing to myself that I'm gonna give it a go
Something I hate: being too broke to try
What's that saying I used to hear growing up? "You can't have champagne dreams on a bologna budget"
When it came to trying my hand at cosplay, I was filled with "I could never" and "who is financing this cosplay?". But attending the panel Cosplay Accessibility: Cosplay on the Cheap at Naka Kon removed that roadblock of "I'm just too dang broke."
Running down the hall of the convention center, press badge flying in the wind, I made it just in time for the panel to start.
The first thing I notice is Jace, aka FullElven Cosplay, and they are just about to start. There's something...calming about the room. Which sends me in an unessacary panic. Do I have a spot on my face? Is my skirt hiked up around my waist from all that running?
Nah, this panel, as well as Jace, just gives off a chill atmosphere. Everything about this panel was amazingly well organized. There were slides created ahead of time, and Jace answered everyone's questions very well. It was done in a laid back, non-preformative matter, and I think that opened it up for so many people to feel comfortable asking at the end. So kudos to you for that, Jace!
There was also a wealth of information at this panel. Maybe I didn't know this info already because I'm not a seasoned cosplayer (unless you count the extensive plans I have in my head that I never execute). But by the end of the panel, I found cosplay builds A LOT less intimidating.
Here's just a few of the tips mentioned in the panel to make your cosplay cheaper
You ever want to build an entire suit of armor but, you know, purchasing armour costs money and food is nessecary to survive? Cause...you need to obtain food with money...and armor costs...ok, ok, you're following me.
So Jace suggests either using foam or cardboard to build your armor. Both are really inexpensive and foam can take shape really well.
I have veryVERY basic sewing skills. I know enough to be dangerous with attaching a button or fixing a hem but that's about it, y'all. Some tips on sewing for those of us who need it:
It's much cheaper to just buy a sewing machine that's used and tune it up in lieu of buying a brand new one. I would not have even thought to look in a thrift shop for one, so I'm glad that was put out there.
There's also a way to get cheap sewing patterns (just wait for the sale, instead of buying at full price), but you can spend exactly $0.00 by using your own clothes and tracing them out to create your own pattern.
You can also get cheap sewing supplies at Walmart.
Speaking of sales, Jace let us in on a secret (might be widely known, but I get excited over saving money so it's like a juicy secret to me.)
Stack. Them. Coupons.
Joann's allows you to use multiple coupons online and in store. Sign up for their emails, download the Joannes store app, give them an offering at their doorstep and right there you've got several different coupon codes you can use on the same transaction.
With all that money you'll save at Joanns, you could buy me...idk candy or something
I normally would steer clear of any cosplay with lighting because I lacked the skill as much as the funding. But how did I forget that fairy lights were a thing? Most of them even come with a battery pack so no electrical experience needed.
Jace mentioned that if you want to make the lights appear brighter, using regular foil as backing works amazingly well.
During the Q&A section a few questions came up and some GREAT recommendations
ELF makeup is just as good as expensive makeup and a LOT cheaper
An audience member recommended using Pros-Aid instead of Spirit Gum if you're alergic to latex. It's a medical grade adhesive.
Amazon and Ebay are cheap places to find cosplay supplies HOWEVER it varies from shop to shop. Quick Tip:read the reviews. Trust accordingly.
Gush Post on FullElvenCosplay Incoming in 3...2...
I know this is about the panel but the panelist deserves quite a bit of praise. Any question about their expertise would be erased by looking at THIS
They built this costume and nothing else needs to be said because the level of craftsmanship, detail, and experience speaks for itself. Just take a stroll through FullElven Cosplay Facebook and IG pages for further evidence.
I'm also going to be giving their Twitch channel a follow. I could definitely get behind watching their cosplay builds after a long day.
Jace has an impressive skill set. You can see through their cosplays that it takes a lot of time and effort to create. It's also quite inspiring to know that you don't have to sacrifice craftsmanship just because you're working within a budget.
This was just a short version of what was discussed in Cosplay Accessibility: Cosplay on the Cheap. Wanna know all the tips and tricks we discussed to save you money? Here's a Google Drive link to the presentation that has all the tools you need. Now go forth, cosplay, and be thrifty!
Have any of you guys tried your hand at cosplay? How much do you typically spend? Do you find these tips helpful? Give us a shout in the comments section (and feel free to drop a pic of your cosplay too)
Cosplay has got to be one of the most fun and exciting hobbies to have. After all, half of the word is "play". But I think we forget that cosplay is also an art form. It's something that you build and pour all of your time, efforts, and heart into. When you present the product of your blood, sweat, and tears to the world, it's extremely validating to be rewarded for it.
Being a friend and fan to many cosplayers, I've witnessed the stress, the con-cruch, the pain, and the tears leading up to cosplay contests. It's a lot of work to prepare for.
But let me tell you, there wasn't a single one of you that didn't put a smile on my face
If you were crying backstage, if you were stressed all week on your cosplay because it wouldn't be finished in time, if you ever felt you weren't good enough to compete in the first place...
I just want you to know, from where I'm sitting : I absolutely adore you
You give me, and everyone else in the audience for that matter, a totally new reason to smile. To fall away from the ever running list of adult responsibilities for a bit and soak in this fun and amazing artistry.
If you were nervous, its ok! If you didn't win an award, know that you (yes YOU) were recognized, not only for your hard work, but for the joy that you bring to all of us watching.
When you walked across the stage, I saw your eyes sparkle. That energy you gave off was contagious. It filled the room with an array of happieness.
We laughed with you. We clapped for you.
When you bring our favorite characters to life, it sets off a chain reaction. Those of us watching are able to access those happy memories and smile.
Think about it this way, some of us in the audience haven't smiled in weeks or even months. Life has a way of bringing you down. But you, you amazing cosplayer you. You gave me, and everyone else, a chance to just be in the moment and enjoy it.
To my Naka Kon 2019 cosplay contestants, know that I was watching you and know that you set off a joy that will show light in a darker world. Thank you so much.
I'm a big advocate for having and using whatever tools you need in your bag for anxiety. Whether it's a mixed bag of medication, deep breathing, or yoga, those of us who suffer from anxiety need a whole arsenal to get by.
And sometimes all you need is a moment to pause your racing mind. Sometimes a nice visual can do this for you.
Do you ever have a moment where you make a friend and you realize their talents for the first time? Ashton and I met through a mutual friend at a nerdy gaming con. It was all fun and games once I learned he was a photographer. Then I realized that he takes pics LIKE THIS.
In case y'all don't know, I'm a nerd for stars. But something about this pic just made me feel so...calm? Serene? Unlike the way that I feel in my daily life? XD
I came away impressed. The quality of these photos were amazing and I couldn't help how some of them helped me to...focus on something else other than my stress.
So I thought I would take the best of these pics and share them with you guys. Tell me if they make you feel the way they made me feel!
I actually HATE fireworks with a passion. With a passionate passion. But in this pic, you can actually see the silent beauty of a firework.
DO NOT sing that damn Katy Perry song!
I've thought about living in a lighthouse once. An impractical dream, I know. But when life is very stressful, I can bring myself back to the moment where I thought living in a lighthouse would be just like the above picture, every single day.
You live a million sunsets and get used to them. But every once in a while, you'll see one like this and can't stop staring*
*yes I know don't look directly in the sun, got it.
The moon. Enough said.
What calms me here is staring at the lines in the bark on the split trees.
Also, let me just add Yosemite National Park to my bucket list
Ok, not going to lie, this pic made me think of "Kiss the Girl" in The Little Mermaid. But honestly? I can imagine sitting here, by myself, with a cool breeze (maybe a snack or two cause I stay hungry) and just...being
I don't...I don't even know HOW... but I'll just keep looking. This is amazing.
That lavender purple has got to be one of my favorite colors. Not really on clothes but when you see that color in nature it's like "MY GOD THIS BEAUTY"
Of course I ended this with a picture of a cat by a window. Look at this furry little ball of fluff. Just one look makes you feel like all is right with the world.
What do YOU think of these pics? Do you feel less anxious? What pic was your favorite? Leave a comment below now that you're super duper calm and cozy 🙂
Like the pics you've seen and want to see more? Check out Ashton Silva Photagraphy on their good ol' website and Instagram. Feel free to message him and let him know you like his stuff.
I woke up Monday morning to many pictures on my feed of Selma Blair wearing this gorgeous dress. What I didn't understand at first was why so many people were tagging me in it.
She has a cane. She has Multiple Sclerosis. Just like me.
I've discussed many times on the blog and on the podcast that I have MS. Shocker, right? First response I always get it that I don't LOOK sick.
Gee thanks, where's my Emmy?
But I conquer a whole level of commentary once I leave the house with my cane. And I hate it. I'm glad that Selma showed us that you don't need to put away your dreams because of your diagnosis. But I need to take the time to let you know that people can say some shitty things when they see you have a cane.
Do I need my cane all the time? No. Should I be using it more often? ...yes, but to be quite honest, I don't use it as much as I need to. As I get bombarded with these variation of comments.
"You're too young to use a cane!"
While I want to give them a pass because, as I discussed on the podcast, I look and dress like I am 16 years old, after hearing it for the 545,640,590,123,509th time, it gets old
...older than I am BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT!!
Don't remind me that I can't run around here like my peers, cane free. And don't invalidate my struggle because I don't LOOK the way you want my sick ass to look.
"What's that thing even for anyway?"
The weirdest thing about this comment is that they know damn well that it's a cane and they know damn well I am using it to walk. What they want is to open the door for me to give them more information. And if you're an acquaintance, a co-worker, or just a goddamned stranger, I don't owe you an explanation.
"But you were walking yesterday!"
Ohhhh, that last one. Yes, I can walk without a cane. I still have legs. They aren't the most functional. But they are capable of short distances. I get to decide what days I need my cane and what days I don't. Deal with it.
My Best Comebacks
You need a good set of coping skills to deal with these comments. Fortunately, I have a smart mouth. So here's some of the comebacks I have to the questions I get
"What are you doing with a cane?" Minding my own business, mind yours
"Why do you have that?" It's a fashion accessory, don't you know? It's totally in
"You're too young for a-" And you've been around long enough to know that what you're saying is rude. Stop it!
"I think you're faking being sick" On the contrary, I fake being well
Maybe Selma Blair using her cane is a good thing. Maybe a few well-meaning people will choose their words more carefully before speaking.
And maybe, just maybe, they will start making more fashionable canes. One to match every outfit? Nerdy canes? Yes please.
What did you guys think of Selma Blair and her cane? Do you or anyone you know have Multiple Sclerosis? Leave me a note in the comments section below, I don't bite 🙂
We tried to weave some lightheartedness into this episode, but we are talking about some pretty heavy stuff today. Quinzel and I tackle harassment at cons as well as preying on young people in the gaming community. Trigger Warning for sexual assault and harassment.