Thursday, May 28, 2009

Animazement 2009: Saturday

Animazement 2009: Light, Near, Mello & Misa (Deathnote Group)Light Yagami (Alison), Near, Mello, Misa Amane (me) - this is what we call the Deathnote Album Cover Pose

Saturday at the convention was a whirlwind. It was by far the most crowded day at the convention, even with the gigantic Raleigh Convention Center swallowing most of the con-goers into various hideaways like panels and the Dealer's Room. Alison and I reprised our roles as Light Yagami and Misa Amamen from Deathnote. Nick and Will reprised their roles as Tamaki Suoh and Kyoya Ootori from Ouran High School Host Club. They were popular.

Animazement 2009: Anime Radio ShowKyoya (Will) as Dr. Zarkov during the Anime Radio Show

By far my favorite panel we went to at Animazement was the Anime Radio Show - professional voice actors like Christina Vee and Caitlin Glass performed a Flash Gordon radio show from the 1930's. With audience participants! Caitlin Glass, being the English director for Ouran High School Host Club, as well as the voice of Haruhi on the show, had a weakness for our Ouran-dressed compatriots Will and Nick. Which meant that both of them ended up onstage at different points (yay!). Will as Dr. Zarkov, and Nick as Flash Gordon himself.

Animazement 2009: Anime Radio ShowTamaki (Nick) as Flash Gordon during the Anime Radio Show

Most of Saturday we were in and out of different parts of the convention - leaving to eat, or just rest. We did come back later for the Steampunk Gadgetry panel that started at something like 10 or 11pm. It was a three hour panel, and we left after the first 30 minutes (which were taken up describing the different steampunk characters the panel participants were playing, as well as a description of their imaginary ship). I was hoping for more soldering suggestion, and/or cold-join solutions for dealing with attaching plastics and metals. Perhaps that came later, but I think I was too tired to care by then.

Animazement 2009: Kyoshi Warriors Group (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
L-R: Michelle, Christy, Mike (as Sokka), Annie & Katie - Michelle and Katie made the costumes
Ahhh, the awesomest group costume! Our friends planned this months in advance. I must say that I think the hard work paid off in terms of attention at least, as they could only make it about three steps before someone else wanted their photo. Yay, Kyoshi warriors! I also hope they wear these again sometime!

Animazement 2009: Kyouya & Honey (Ouran High School Host Club)Kyoya (Will) and Hunny from Ouran High School Host Club

I don't know if you can see Will's face here, so you may need to click on the picture to get a closeup, but his expression is the one of disbelief at the sheer amount of cuteness that is being thrown at him by the young woman (!) dressed as Hunny. I couldn't resist posting it, because it is a ridiculously good costume. And expression.

Sunday coming tomorrow, and then hopefully I can show you parts of my studio!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Animazement 2009: Friday

Animazement 2009: Black Butler Group
Our Black Butler (Kuroshitsugi) Group from Animazement 2009: (L-R) Ciel Phantomhive (Michelle), Ciel Phantomhive (me, Leah), Sebastian (Will), Meirin/Mayleen (Katie), and Bard (Michael)

Since I have so many costumes... I mean details about the convention, I was thinking of doing a post for each day to keep it easier. Friday was a good day at Animazement.

Animazement 2009: Sebastian is popular (Black Butler)Ladies Love Sebastian
It turns out that Black Butler is one of those animes / mangas that is still coming into the U.S. (not officially translated and distributed yet) which apparently means the fans are MORE rabid and excited.

This works out in a good way, because you can usually tell who's going to want your picture, as they start pogoing around the 25 yard radius (p.s. pogoing means jumping up and down).

Animazement 2009: Vampire Knight: Aido & ZeroAlison & Nick as Aido & Zero from Vampire Knight
The "Travel to Japan" panel was very informational and good, and we went to the AMV's (meh - I thought it would be a showing of just random good AMV's from everywhere on the internet, and instead it was just videos from contestant who had entered the Animazement AMV contest). We checked out the NOIZ concert (they were excitingly costumed, and their songs were good, but it was incredibly warm, and the acoustics were funky, so that it was easier to hear the songs outside of the ballroom).

Then, a small break and we returned for the dance later that night. Conga lines kept happening, which makes sense, I guess, with the teenage demographic. I feel that I was probably one of the older people in the room, and it was more like a rave than a dance (which is fine with me). It was endearing to watch all kinds of geeky kids dance, probably for the first time in public. I believe Nick and Will developed a game that involved trying to stop the conga line so that they all fell into each other like dominos. It was a late night, and I was exhausted by the time we got home. Saturday seemed so short in comparison!

Also, there are tons more pictures on my flickr and I started a flickr Animazement group too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Studio Cleaning: In the Midst of Madness

Studio Cleaning: Who Knew the Old Lady Had So Much Thread In Her?Who Knew the Old Lady Had So Much Thread in Her?

Twenty years. Twenty years is how long I've been making stuff with embroidery thread, and therefore buying embroidery thread. And never throwing any away. It could be longer, but I'm not going to admit it for fear of making you think I'm incredibly old and weird. Too late, I suppose!

Speaking of weird, look what I found while cleaning in my studio:
Studio Cleaning: Jealous?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Studios & Organization

Studio Table

My Studio Table (April, 2006)

I am working on cleaning and organizing my studio. The main problem I run into is that I have several different areas of concentration, all of which have materials that don't store together very easily...

Ok, I'm lying. The main problem I run into is the fact that I have boxes full of stuff, like fruit-shaped beads I've had since I was 8 that I'm not willing to part with.

My plan this week (in the midst of finishing up some costumes for this weekend's convention) is to try and be as ruthless as possible and actually get rid of some of the stuff I've been hoarding for so long.

I'm a little sad, because if I'd been hoarding yarn, I'd have tons of local pals that I could pass it off to. As it is, I have tons of random stuff. I think I may have to start up the weekly art-craft challenges again, because this is getting ridiculous!

Next week, I'll post a picture tour of my current (cleaned and organized hopefully) studio!
If you can't wait till then to look at studios, then you can browse around in the Etsy Open Studio group on flickr (I would suggest starting here at buenostyle or here at jenny b allsorts, if you like drooling).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Roving and Needle-Felting

Mr. MallowMr. Mallow, dressed to impress (this was supposed to end up being a penguin)

I have accumulated a great deal of wool roving. At first, I bought some of it (to make those infamous bacon bracelets), but then my friend Annie had bought some and decided that she had plenty of hobbies and gave me more. It's beautiful stuff, ranging through a rainbow of colors... but what to do with it?

Well, I could just make more of the 2-dimensional style items, like the bacon bracelets and the birds I like to make, but I decided I would try my hand at the 3-dimensional needle felting. I've watched a few videos online, but I still think I haven't quite got a handle on it. My ice cream cone turned into a pear, and this Mr. Mallow here was going to be a penguin, but he persisted in lacking the appropriately rounded shape!

I may have to resign myself to just letting the process dictate what the roving becomes, but it's hard to get started. Does anyone have any recommendations for 3-d needle felting? Or should I just stick with the 2-d stuff?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art/Craft Book Review: "What It Is" by Lynda Barry

Lynda Barry's What It Is

Part personal journal and part instructional course, What It Is is Lynda Barry's guide to getting yourself writing and drawing, without agonizing and antagonizing yourself. Each page is entirely covered with stories, drawings, doodles, and collage.

The book has three different areas, all interwoven, but distinct. The first is autobiographical, how an artist or writer can come to fear and stress about their work, to the point where they no longer feel creative and instead feel they are glued to the spot, doomed. The second is a background of Lynda Barry's childhood experiences growing up and drawing, and the third is a series of essay questions and exercises, examples of how to regain that lightheaded giddy feeling that we all initially experience when we first start making up stories.

Though the essay questions were thought-provoking ("Where are images found?"), as someone who's managed to turn hobbies into work several times, the sections about the fear and stress of the creative process really struck me. They were honest without histrionics, and led directly to the exercises, which I've found to be fun and very successful.

Now that I'm returning this library copy, I had to order a copy for myself! If you're someone who wants to do more art or writing, and seems to have hit a wall, check out this book and see if it speaks to you.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Doctor Who-ish: The Beauty of Side Character Costumes

DragonCon: Pirate Lolita Leah & Cat NursesCat Nurses from Doctor Who, and me, smiling like a moron, DragonCon 2007

I have some costume advice for you. This isn't Doctor Who specific, but there are a lot of examples that I've seen that come from the Doctor Who universe. The advice is: never underestimate the appeal of recognizable side characters as a viable option!

For you, you don't have to compete for being the most realistic, best dressed or what-have-you of say, the Doctor Who's in attendance. For other fans, there is nothing like the warm thrill of vague snobbery when you recognize a character that "outsiders" (i.e. people unfamiliar with whatever canon you are) won't.

DragonCon: Dr. Who's Last Living HumanThe Last Living Human Being, DragonCon 2007

That isn't to say that you should always dress as something obscure, or strange, but it can be really fun working on getting the details right. And it feels extra rewarding when people recognize you - it's like you share an understanding.

Dressing as side characters in a group is also a great way to make an impact - I have some friends who are dressing up as the Kyoshi warriors from Avatar: The Last Airbender for this year's Animazement. And I mean, c'mon, have you seen the literal army of stormtroopers that is the 501st Legion?

To end my rant about side characters and obscure costumes, I will post this piece of brilliance:
New Age Retro Hippie, DragonCon 2008

A costume of a random enemy called the New Age Retro Hippie from Earthbound (released in US 1995), a videogame for the SNES. Just awesome.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Doctor Who Week: Let's Make a Tardis

Build a TARDIS - Measurements & Supply ListClick on image to view larger

I've built and painted a lot of props in my time. One summer I spent painting backdrops for a photography studio, including a room-sized oceanfront. But I must say, that my dressing room TARDIS is one of my favorites!

In case you're interested in building your own, here's the measurements and supply list! Be aware, of course, that this is just one side of the TARDIS, and that I in *no way* guarantee time travel or the arrival of Doctor Who. I didn't even bother to do the top part.

If you'd like to see the process of putting together the TARDIS, start here.
My favorite part of prop-making is the aging process (which shouldn't surprise anyone that's seen some of my steampunk stuff). Essentially, just get some dark brown and black paint, and use a very wet sea sponge to lightly dab them on the TARDIS. You can also give the object some extra fake-dimensions with this.

Here are the things that I discovered when building my own TARDIS which may be of help to you:
- The "Police Box" font is Futura
- If you, like me, can't find a life-size version of the flyer on the front you can download my version of the TARDIS flyer and print it out
- Making a small TARDIS means you should check this DadCanDo's post - it has all the stuff you need
- Off-white paint will look better than bright white

If instructions on the internet were all you were waiting for, then you are set!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just Call Me "The Doctor"

Ross Tyler & The DoctorWill as "Ross" (Rose Tyler) and I am The Doctor

This was what I was working on last week, in that delightfully confusing picture. There was a Doctor Who party, and I thought "David Tennant's Doctor will be popular... but what if it was a LADY Doctor?!" I got my brown suit from the thrift store, but finding a Union Jack t-shirt is not easy in North Carolina on short notice, so I just used some scraps and one of Will's blank white t-shirts and voila!

For uninitiated, we're doing what is called "crossplay" wherein we dress as the person of the opposite gender. VOCABULARILY!

I believe that blonde wig is one of the funniest ones we own (yes, we own a lot of wigs). It's funnier on Will than it is on me, I'm not sure why that is.

I declare this week to be Doctor Who week on my corner of the internet! So you have that to look forward to!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Union Jack & Jill

Union Jack & JillWe interrupt all crafting to work on costume sewing!

This weekend has a costume party that I've already committed myself to sewing for. The truly geeky may be able to recognize what kind of party it is just from the quarter-finished tshirt in the picture.

I'll be sure to post pictures, I'm sure. In the meantime, I've got some pants to hem and some Gallifrey text to inscribe!