November 28, 2012

Custom Covered Jewelry Boxes

Now that I'm starting to offer more "things" on my site, of course I'd have to think of packaging for these kinds of things.

So I started attacking jewelry boxes. You know, those little cardboard ones with the cotton inside. Add some perfectly striped scrapbooking paper, and voila! A pretty box!

Don't forget a pretty bow and brand name tag!

I was happy with how half of it came out. It was kind of experimental, so some of the corners don't look as good as others. But the packaging goes perfectly with my jewelry tags.

I'm really starting to like these stripes - I may have to find a way to utilize it at the booth.

Next accomplishment: Find merchandise bags for the booth!

November 27, 2012

Long Absence and Arm Failure

Sorry for not posting much in the past couple of weeks. It's been pretty crazy around here, and on top of that the muscle problems I thought I had finally gotten rid of flared up again and I just don't have the ability or time to let them rest long enough to heal. So painkillers it is!

So just what have I been up to? LOTS of things! First off, time for a catch up on my recent cosplay pics.


I debuted a new costume, part of a costume, and got pictures of a previously made costume.

Re-Debuted Costume: Madoka Kaname from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.

I made this one around August, 2012 for Anime World Chicago to go with a couple of friends of mine also going as fellow magical girls. You might recognize one of them... PHD Cosplay. :P She went as our Mami - but alas, she was not at Youmacon this year as Mami sooooo maybe photos later.

Here's some of my favorite shots we got, unfortunately they were all at night so I'm hoping for some outdoor shots and getting my magic bow done too.

My official "New" costume for the convention was the one I entered into the Masq. It was simple looking but deceptively detailed. I'm okay with not winning anything though. I was kinda going to participate with others for the fun of it. Maybe I'll work on making Amon's sword and makeup details to go with that - possibly bumping it up in "difficulty" ?? I dunno. Anyway, here's the new one:

Alibaba Saluja from Magi: Labryinth of Magic (Link goes to the Facebook Photo Page)

These photos were taken by Sweet Sensation Photography.

I had a lot of fun wandering around as Alibaba and I'm probably gonna take him to more conventions. :P I just need to add some safety padding into the shoes - they ate my feet a little.


The other thing keeping me busy has been the Crash Bang Labs Etsy shop. We finally got all the sets ready for the Holiday weekend, and I spent a good chunk of yesterday adding new things to the shop! Here's a mishmash of them all:

If you've visited my booth in years past, you might recognize a couple of these. I used to have necklaces for sale, but frankly, I ran out of space in the booth for them! So I have not only put them up, but I've created a new area called the "Boutique" - where I make simple jewelry for low prices!

They're nothing complicated. Usually simple drop earrings or studs, and sometimes the occasional pendant necklace. But if you're looking for an inexpensive addition to your outfits (or even cosplay, I will take commissions on accessories), these would be your best bet!

If anybody has any styles or commissions they are interested in seeing, let me know! I have a lot of random jewelry stuff sitting around.


Now to the heart of the matter of my issues.

I recently restarted up Sky's End - my first webcomic (if you don't count Tangerine Wings or Alley Dwellers). And I was doin pretty good for a about a week and a half. Then some personal stuff happened, and in a fit of cleaning the house from top to bottom I completely EFFED my arm/hand/elbow muscles up completely.

Trying to hold a pencil or pen is difficult (but not impossible) but instead of just pain, I have a hard time coordinating it to draw properly. I'm going to be trying to make some sketch cards to warm my arms/drawing muscles back up, but at this time I feel stuck.

I need to have it sit and do nothing for like a week or two, but I just can't afford it. And with my arm being my main source of income at this time, you can imagine this stresses me out greatly. Couple that with the Holiday Blues (that's a whole other rant on itself), I find myself occasionally spiraling into an awful depression.

But I don't want to be sad at people all the time. It only provoke people into a "Who's Sadder" contest, and I don't want that. So, needless to say, I'm Working On It.

I float from happy to sad on a day to day basis, but here's hoping I can draw properly sometime soon. I'd love to have more comic pages up starting next week.


In other news, if I got a livestream account and did livestreams of my marker work, would people be interested at all? I mean, I'd just be doodling/drawing/coloring stuff in, but hey, sometimes people like that.

November 20, 2012

My Very First Black Friday, Cyber Monday

I had quite the busy weekend this past weekend between giving a class and visiting my mom for her birthday, and cleaning the house from top to bottom (but not in that particular order). Unfortunately, while I was doing all this I went into what Dave calls "Convention Mode". Where my body runs completely on adrenaline and I can perform great feats of strength or endurance, and put it off for three days, and then the day after the "convention" I am a dead corpse on the couch.

Hence why there was no update for you guys. So very sorry about that! I was able to finally update the comic late on Monday Afternoon. I will be working on the next for Wednesdays post, but I might have a short filler on Friday as I have been busy. Well, even more busy....

For the first time in a long time, I'm getting nervous about Thanksgiving. Not because I have to visit family, but because I'm worried I'll sell out again of the badge sets I'm making.

Kanto badges before painting and/or pinbacks

So by now, I have all sorts of badge sets in various stages all in random locations in the house. SORRY DAVE.

Drying Johto Badges

I'm hoping I can keep enough in stock to take a break around January to make new products, and gear up for the year's conventions. While I may not want to survive on making cosplay props such as these (I'd rather survive on the 2-D art, but one step at a time, no?), they're still sort of fun to make, even if my arm dies from them now and again. What can I say, I like making people happy!

Just recently sanded and rinsed resin badges.

Anyway, I'm just leaving this post here to let people know I'm probably going to be busy over the weekend making sure I can fill orders and the like. I will apologize ahead of time, as I am unable to offer any "special deals" this year around. Firstly, I'm not sure exactly how to do that in the store, and secondly, I don't know what kind of "extras" people might like.

Empty boxes and pinbacks!

I had contemplated making some pins to pack in there, but I just plain ran out of time. Had I not been a corpse, I might have been able to get away with it.

These are my pre-cut inserts. I used to do this by hand.
Okay, I got friends to cut all the little slits, but that's cause I destroyed my arm when I did it myself.

I am also contemplating opening up "Emergency Christmas Sketch Card Commissions", but I want to knock a couple of outstanding commissions before I open that up (and I can get examples ready).

ANY suggestions are welcome. I like to make things people want to see. Yanno, for those times when I'm not working on Sky's End, Tangerine Wings, Alley Dwellers or any other random projects I have in my list. I like to keep busy!

WHEW. Okay. Back to the office to work more. I have outlining I need to finish! :)

November 12, 2012

I'm a Bear. And a Comic artist!

Hello hello hello! Where have I been, you ask? Well I've been hiding from the world for a week. While it sounds bad, it's really just a typical reaction to the week after a convention (namely larger conventions).

So in the future, if I'm going to a convention, or post a write up on it, chances are highly likely that I'll be gone for a week.

The reasoning for this is, that while I am a very gregarious personality (honestly I talk to SO MANY RANDOM people at conventions, and that's even when I'm not at the artist booth!), it really wears me out after 3-4 days. My brain and emotions are on overload and really just need to rest.

During that time I've been working on getting more Pokemon Badge Sets ready to go - I got blindsided by a shortage of boxes and badges and now I plan to have all my sets up and ready come the end of the week.

In other news....


I kinda left you guys at a cliffhanger. SORRY.

This was a comic I had started a while back and went on a "short" hiatus around May. It was around this time the muscle issues in my arm had reached a peak, and I started actually attending physical therapy for a while.

But then I found out that it wasn't DRAWING, that caused the issue. It's actually using a mouse. Yay, I think? However, the job I had was pretty much day in, day out, tons of mouse clicking, and the therapist told me that it didn't matter if it was ergonomically designed or not, the action of clicking is what causes the issue.

This was also part of the reason I had decided to quit (among other reasons), and I wanted to save my arm.

So hopefully I can keep up with the page count, and have a new page for you all M-W-F until I get good enough to go daily. I'm still kind of slow when it comes to filling in pages with tone and the like, but I would assume over time I'll make shortcuts for myself. :)

Alright, back to badgemaking and drawing!

November 6, 2012

Youmacon Side Note: Background on Experience

In case any other Youmacon staff or attendees read my blog (if so, HI! Welcome to the blog! *waves*)

Just as an addendum to my post regarding my Youmacon experience:

It may look like I was rather harsh on the Masquerade judging process in my recap post, and before anybody comes in to accuse me of being a sore loser or a whiner, I wanted to state that I was honestly just concerned for the fairness of the competition.

I myself have been competing in Masquerade competitions since around 2003. I've lost a LOT of competitions in those years. (9 years now for those counting). I've competed at big cons, and I've competed at small cons.

I actually ran a pretty strict, non-biased competition for 3 years which ran scores based on a mathmatical rubric of requirements (categories with a 1-5 score). Our contestants won through math, and a lot of those winners were from things I had never heard of.

I had to turn a way a lot of great costumes because they did not fit the category requirements the convention set for me.

Like I said in my post before this, I don't mind losing at all. I just prefer to lose fairly, and to awesome work rather than feel like we've been jostled, forgotten, or put down due to our choice because it wasn't "popular".


November 5, 2012

Youmacon 2012 Recap

This year, I made a conscious decision to attend Youmacon instead of actually vending there. There’s a bunch of background stuff that caused that to happen, but I’m not going to talk about that. Instead a couple of friends of mine from the Indy area came up and I wanted to also help show them around so coincidentally it all worked out for the best.

I am trying to change up my recaps, as each day was pretty much filled with me taking pictures and walking around and getting tired. I didn’t have any commissions or alley work, so I took advantage of the time and actually took photos of a lot of my costumes. (I brought 6 of them this time)

I had an overall good time, but had bad feelings about the convention. I’ll explain more down below.


This was the view near the "end" of the line I was at in the beginning.

We arrived on Thursday (after some harrowing, but unsuccessful knife painting, and a ton of stops), and when we walked in we already saw people lined up. So we went and checked in (I’ll talk about that later), and some of us changed into costume. If I was going to be waiting around for presumably hours, I am going to at least party it up, right?

I can see the end of the journey from here!

I chose to go as Vriska in line, as it was the most comfortable of all my outfits, and I don’t like to wander around the main chunk of the convention as a Homestuck, I’d rather use my more detailed cosplays for that.

Stopped and took some photos along the way.

The line took us about 3 hours to get through. I can’t say I wasn’t expecting it, and I was glad we got in line around 7 pm when we did. I had a feeling that it would be a bit of a problem, so I was prepared to wait a long time. My biggest problem was forgetting to bring snacks/drinks, but that was solved by one of us running to the food court while the others were in line. I also got some good shots of other cosplays that night, which I think I’ll save for a separate cosplay post.

Disapproving Vriska Disapproves of your Lines.

We finally reached the front of the line, and it was super quick. Got called to a station, gave em my email with scan code, they handed me a badge and a sticker and I was off. Why this was taking 3 hours is a mystery to me – but I’m guess it’s a combo of an absurd amount of people and only having 6 stations open. 

Bless you, Reg workers, I wish there were more of you there to help!

My guess is that they could only get a certain amount of scanners for the event, so honestly, it has been worse in years past, and I didn't have a ton of complaints. However, I was prepared ahead of time and was expecting lines. The newer congoers and people who have not had to wait in long lines are definitely complaining though – and I can’t really blame them. As the convention gets bigger, they need to realize they’ll need a lot more staff.


The Marriot was great when it came to room service for us. I would call, and literally within 20 minutes would arrive with our towels. What wasn’t great is they apparently couldn’t count, and kept giving us only 3 towels, when I had four people listed under our room. Also, they got confused when I had our pillows and a blanket we left on the bed, apparently that was the sign for “can’t make the bed” and we had a messy bed for one of the days. 

HOWEVER. There are a bunch more snafus that occurred that I am severely annoyed with. This year, the Marriot at the RenCen decided it would crack down on the “elevators” but to me it seemed to be a reaction to people stuffing too many people in a room. 

They made you write down the name of each person who would be in your room to prevent over stuffing. Awesome. I am totally okay with that. 

What I am NOT cool with is that we were forced to wear these red and white nigh removable wrist bands in an obvious location so we could get onto the elevators. ALL. WEEKEND. (they were washable and did not bleed… much)

The hotel did NOT apparently tell the convention staff about this until the Wednesday of the week of the show. This was (rumor has it) in response to some idiot reserving an entire floor of rooms then selling spots for $10 a night to harbor 10+ people in a room, and then bragging about it on the forums. WTF. This is not good. Bad move on your part Marriot. You’ve made me already want to go stay at the Courtyard.

I appreciate cutting down on room parties, as well as enforcing the fire code (I’m a cranky old lady) but this was a reactionary thing and it inconvenienced a lot of us as cosplayers (especially those of us being in the masquerade and getting photoshoots done).

Apparently there were also room checks, but I didn't know/didn't care cause we had 4 people in my room. The elevator staff was angry, rude, and generally mean about things, and apparently their police security was in full swing in the evenings, as on an elevator trip after numerous photoshoots multiple days, we usually had one policeman in the elevator escorting a drunk/breaking up parties/etc.

I also don’t know where these other people who claim they were “never checked” for their wristband, but I was yelled at each time to SHOW MY WRISTBAND in a mean way. Every time. I did not feel welcomed there.

If, IF, I attend next year, I plan on trying to get into the Courtyard. Your move, Marriot. Your move.


See hotel wristband gripe above. (I really liked the queue lines last year) But I will always and forever gripe that on Sunday they need attendants/staff on EACH elevator and when it’s full to just force it to go to the lobby/1st floor.

I ended up walking down 37 flights of stairs because I kept getting cut off by EXTREMELY rude people, and every elevator was full of people “going up to go down”. You know, if we all followed proper etiquette there would NOT have been that problem, but people get dumb and frantic when they’re leaving on Sunday.

Thanks to this, I can barely walk or lift my arms today. I’ll be lucky to draw.


Youmacon apparently had themselves a new printer this year. I see two outcomes from this after this show - #1: they need to get their files to the printers a month in advance or more, or #2: GET A NEW PRINTING COMPANY.

When we checked in on Thursday, there were no programs. We were told they would be available on Friday at ….5 PM. Okay, I can handle that. However there were NO temporary Friday printouts of the schedule at least, let alone a map, and there were NO SIGNS until late in the day on Friday, if that. I had a very difficult time finding what rooms where what, let alone finding out what was going on. I had no idea how far down I had to go in the Cobo Center, and got semi-lost the first time.

Calendar – my roommates got into the calendar this year! (super jealous here, yo!) However this same printer was unable to provide them the calendars and when they did, the staff didn't save any for the winners and sold all the current ones. (Supposedly they are going to mail them out to winners now)

Guys. GUYS. Get a new printer, I beg of you!!

Also – please do something about your colors/set up/ something. I had a difficult time reading your program and I never found the game room, but found the battle opera and missed a photoshoot I wanted to attend and almost missed a panel because I could not read your program correctly. And I wasn't the only one.


This convention took place in two locations this year: the Renaissance center and Cobo Hall. While I was skeptical at first, I actually did not mind it at all. In fact, I wished that more stuff was over in Cobo, okay really EVERYTHING was there. I hope they expand a lot to head over there.

Cosplaying in a people mover trying to make it look like a subway.

It was a breeze to take the people mover over, and wasn't nearly as annoying as I had thought. Being in there with all the other convention goers made me less worried/bothered by it being in Detroit. I DO wish they would have told us about the $3 weekend pass, because I would have gone over a lot more if I had it.

It's like a legit convention now! WOO!

Dealer Hall/Artist Alley – Wow! This was an improvement over previous years as I was NOT claustrophobic in here at all! It was big and airy like a “real” convention and it was a great place to have it all. My biggest complaint is they stuck the Artist Alley behind the dealers, and unless you knew to go there or saw it at the end, you wouldn't know it was there at all. Either put them in front, OR put them side by side.

Battle Opera – this must have been new and it was pretty fun. I didn't participate but it was great getting to watch pros fight each other on big screens. I sat in here for a while on Saturday before the masquerade.

Panel rooms were huge. The one panel I went to (“Writing Memorable Heroes and Villains” – which was epic as ever), had a great big room, and it was so nice.



Please actually train your staff, or leave them instructions. That is all.


First off, congrats to the winners! I know the feeling of winning and it’s awesome. Most of you totally deserved your award and major props to you!

HOWEVER. My overall feels is that this competition is a joke. Compared to other conventions I've been to, I've never felt so insulted after the show in a long time.

#1: Signup

Signing up for this competition was a MESS. Nobody knew where anything was or when it opened. I had to keep going to back to the “coat room” only to be directed to several other rooms, and when it opened up, the sign up was a tad haphazard. (You could sign up for all hall cosplay AND masq competition all at the same time. It took me 40 minutes to sign up and I was like 10th in line).

#2: Judging

Whoever is sitting outside the judging room needs to be informed how this will work. The staff members I spoke with on various days seemed to have NO clue what was going on and was not interested in trying to solve my problems/answer my question at all. They tossed me in early to my judging, and the poor judges weren’t ready.

My references were barely looked at. They hardly bothered to look at my seams, my precise sewing, etc. I had to physically hand them my coat (they apparently got better as the day went on – I think that was partially 'cause I went first. Maybe I was intimidating because I had my spiel all ready to go?)

Feels: Please do not insult me when I am there in front of you. Just because I dressed as a show that’s only got 5 episodes aired in Japan (but has a healthy long manga out too) does not mean I’m below your time. Asking me “if somebody made me do this” is insulting. I chose the character because I adore him in the show and the manga, and that should be a good enough answer for you. (I had to explain this twice to them)

#3: Greenroom 

The Greenroom was a BLAST! I had so much fun in there derping with people. We had a proper feed of the stage, and they even provided us food the entire time!

…which would have been awesome had it not consisted of Cheese Pizza, Cheesecake, and other heavily cream-based goodies. 

I am lactose intolerant. The only thing I could eat in that room is the chips, the candy bars and the drinks. THANKFULLY I had dinner ahead of time and wasn't hungry, so I can’t really be too angry cause I didn't care. I actually laughed about it a lot.

#4: Halftime show

Please remember since you have a KID'S category, there are children in the audience. Please pick your halftime show appropriately (the comedian, while funny reverted to raunchy humor with a lot of swearing...)

#5: Awards

Protip 1: Do not give out pity awards. This is insulting to the winner as it appears you didn’t think their costume was good enough to win, but felt bad because they had something adverse happen to them.

Protip 2: Do not give out awards based on “they were so much in character”. This has no bearing on craftsmanship.

Protip 3: Do not give out an award because “the show has a longtime place in your heart”. Judge’s Choice, Honorable Mention or otherwise, this is insulting to cosplayers because it means you did not care about how they were made, but what they represented.

Protip 4: Do not appear to give out awards because they made something light up. Focus on ALL parts of the costume, consider the lighting an extra.

Protip 5: Do not bump somebody up a category to give them the winning prize over the other 6 people in that category. This is only cool when there’s like one or two people in the upper categories to go against.  If you’re bumping them up, SIT THEM WITH US in the higher up category. That way we won’t feel so ripped off.

Feels: You only got an award if you had something that lights up, a prop of some kind, was ‘in character’, or the recognized the series you were from. I know that the judges had a lot of ‘hard choices to make’ but it felt like they just wanted to pick the ooh shiny.

#5: Categories

It’s high time conventions started expanding their categories – namely larger conventions. I cannot stand when there are exceptions for only certain things and other items are denied. The first being ginjinka (human versions of non-human characters or inanimate objects) – the rest of us have to go out and find screencaps and artbooks and the like, but a ginjinka pokemon can just show you a drawing. This feels very unfair.

The second being the Avatar: Korra or Airbender clause. We had two groups of Avatar cosplays and a handful of them in the walk ons. I understand that it’s “Asian based/inspired” but this is unfair to all the other American/Non Japanaese animation cosplayers.

Big cons need to have an American category, with a cap of entry of say like 30? Just like other categories. This would include webcomics maybe? I only say maybe because then all you’d have are homestuck unless you really enforce the 70% or more homemade by you type of rule.

They also need a “Mascot” category – which I would consider anything in which you are completely covered head to toe, mask, architectures and the like. To me, it’s like trying to compare apples to oranges. I will always admit that those huge fursuits take a lot of time, effort, money, and more, but there is an entirely different method of construction in comparison to a garment that has been sewn. I ask that you compare them to similar things, please! 

All that I want is an even playing field

I prefer to lose fairly in a competition to fabulous craftsmanship instead of hearing that all of our category lost out to someone who got bumped up and made it look like they wanted to give two winning awards to that category but couldn't so finagled their own awards to do so.  

(NOTE: this may not be true, but damn, it certainly looked like it from the audience)


I had a fun time, but unless I see a lot of change in the next year, I may no longer attend this. Between terrible staffing, hotel issues, masquerade craziness, and the like there was just too much malfunctioning behind the scenes that was affecting the view of the convention.

You guys have a long way to go to get a lot of us back, and I hope to see some changes in the next year. I’d like to vend again, but we’ll see if that happens.

I did have a blast taking tons of photos though and getting to spend the weekend with friends. So it wasn't a total loss, but from a veteran convention goer's view, this convention was a HOT MESS.