April 22, 2014

CBL at Midwest Media Expo Promotion!

Wow. Okay, so I keep having conventions (I guess I'm making up for the dry spell we had in the winter?).

THIS VERY WEEKEND, I have a brand new show I will be attending!



For those not in the know, Midwest Media Expo is a convention put on by the same guys who run the very popular YOUMACON in Detroit, Michigan. This is what I'd call their "Pop Con", as it is more for popular culture, video games, movies, steampunk, bands, etc.

Thankfully they've got themselves a little Artist Alley carved out of part of the convention to which myself and a friend of mine (who makes lovely jewelry) will be participating in!

Yay! I animated this!

I feel bad kind of inundating you guys with all my promo stuff, but by the end of April I'll have had 3 full sized conventions I've attended (two back to back), and in May I have two full sized cons, plus a local one day show! And frankly, that's a lot of info for you all to keep track of. So I wanted to let you know as they're coming up.

At MMX (the shortened version of their name), I will have all my usual products, maybe a new print if I can get it done how I'd like, along with my brown paper commissions. WHICH if you are unaware, they look like this:

So if you happen to be in the area, and are visiting the show, come by and say hi! I'll most likely be in a costume at least Saturday and Sunday (I'm still thinking on Friday).

I'll eventually do a big ol' recap on the cosplay and stuff I see at all these shows, buuuuuuut that's going to wait until I get a bigger break (basically after MMX I have a couple of weeks respite). I'll also post a convention review afterwards as well, I know there were some other people who were interested, but couldn't make it to this show.

So until then, it's back to the art lair with me!

April 15, 2014

Anime St. Louis 2014 Recap

In my continuing schedule of conventions during the spring/summer season (it's super packed, but yanno, I'm okay with that. I've missed doing the con circuit all winter!), I actually visited a convention for once!

This time around it was ANIME ST. LOUIS.

This con was entirely new to me, and frankly the furthest west I've gone for a show just yet. This little show took place at this lovely mini-convention center area, featuring a wonderful DoubleTree hotel!

And I got my free cookie at check in!

The rooms were fantastic, the beds were AH-MAY-ZING and the staff was awesome! They were even getting into the convention spirit and were wearing all the geeky stuff they could. :) They put up with all the congoers very well (and I might add I VERY much enjoyed getting breakfast buffet discount coupons. SUCH A GOOD OMELETTE).

The actual show took place over in this little convention hall called the "Gateway Center".

Don't be fooled, it's bigger on the inside!

The center reminded me of a small convention hall we've got out by here in my area, except everything was better. The hall was pretty, lots of good rooms and locations.

We had arrived Friday afternoon morning (we forgot there was an hour we gained from the new time zone), and things felt kind of slow. Apparently it didn't open until 3 in the afternoon, which worked out for us because I had some costume judging to be done that time anyway!

After the judging appointment, I headed back to the room and changed into Emmet (much to my dismay we had forgotten ALL the shoes of the other costumes, so just donned my sneakers and didn't care :P). As the day went on, more people started to arrive. By Saturday, the hall appeared to have reached critical mass:

I like a busy con!
Dave and I were trying to go to panels, but the tiredness got to us and we just crashed out after going to one very informative panel "Dyeing for Cosplay". I am now confident that I TOO can dye things in my washer. I've got plans to try this out sometime later this year. Mwahahahahaha!

Now, Saturday came around, and it started off with a lovely photoshoot in our WCS costumes, and the photographer was very good to work with. After, I went back and changed again into Emmet (he was the only one I could wear easily lacking my shoes). The hall was PACKED. Which honestly, I'm okay with it as long as the crowd is good too.

Let me tell you, the vibe here was different than other cons I've been to locally. While we did have the occasional over-exuberant con goer, everybody was just really... chill. All staff was super helpful, the congoers relatively polite and courteous, and everybody just seemed to like being there. Honestly, it was super refreshing. There were little/no dance parties in the hallway, everybody was busy doing something (the schedule was fantastic). For an old-school curmudgeon like myself, it was a nice change of pace.

The schedule was mostly filled with either informative tutorial type panels, fandom "discussions" and the like. Not a "Meet X Character" panel to be seen. (I apologize for those of you who like those types of panels, they're not my bag, and they're kind of new to the old convention goers. I just don't get em, so I won't go to them, but I do dislike when they take up 50% of the con schedule).

Even the convention hall staff was into the show!

One of the best things they had was an actual concession stand in the hall - with decently priced items. I survived off their water bottles, dr. pepper, and FANTASTIC pretzels. Dave and I wandered the dealer hall and artists alley, and they were nice and pretty well stocked. I got to talk to a lot of neat artists, got a commission, purchased an art book from a really cool guy, and got some fun stickers and things.

Midafternoon rolled around and Dave and I decided we'd want to see the Masquerade (since I wasn't in it, and it wasn't too hard to get in - as well as knowing at least one person who was in it). The masquerade was.... interesting. I say interesting more in the fact that it wasn't a typical Anime Con masquerade. It definitely felt a lot more like the old Sci-fi/Fantasy/ComicCon masqs rather than what is usually found for a cosplay competition at Anime Conventions.

There were some unique things, some good things, and some... well, confusing things. I had to cut out early as there was a meeting for a dinner, but I think my nerves were catching up with me, and I had to bow out.

It did, however, give me a chance to see their Taiko Drum concert. Which, I love Taiko. I usually only get to see it done in person when I'm at Disney World, so the chance to see it on a stage really close was a great opportunity.

Turns out St. Louis actually has a local chapter of Taiko drummers (I'm so jelly!), and their songs were great. They looked like they were having so much fun!

It's like drumming, and dancing, and performing, and it looks FUN!

What was even cooooler was that after the show, they had a "workshop hour" where they let us come up in groups and actually learn to play a taiko drum.

The picture's a little blurry, but don't mind that, I got to actually DRUM. It was a hoot, and I was a little sad cause we don't have a cool group like this out by us.

That's right, they let me near it!

Afterwards, we had the "backdrop set up" time for WCS, which didn't take too long, and then we crashed out. 

Sunday was WCS day, so we got up, got dressed and headed to tech rehearsal. Which I will brag right now, the stage staff they had for this show was the BEST and I was sad to leave them behind. Never had I seen a crew so on target. They even ran with the punches of our paper streamers and random stuff on the stage and got it all backstage for us to get. I cannot simply gush enough about how awesome all the stage ninjas were.

Speaking of WCS, in case you hadn't seen yet, the team I'm on (Karmaluna) took first at the preliminaries!

Giant Kimono are Giant
All the flowers on those two kimono are all appliqued (heat-n-bonded) down and then outlined with about a 0.25" satin stitch of gold and metallic threads. This is why you guys didn't hear from me for a while. My kimono (the black one) goes down past my feet and about 9" onto the floor and is extra wide like a cape. OMG NEVER DOING THAT AGAIN.

...but they do look pretty.

We chose to stay through Sunday, as it's like a 9 hour drive for us to get back home. After striking the set, we basically chilled in the room and I played Pokemon and stared at my sketchbook. Which was AWESOME because I hadn't done that in FOREVER.

The route back was a change up for us - we had wanted to do some sightseeing that day, but apparently Canada got Lonely and decided to hit the Midwest again with 35-ish temps (F). So instead of getting to go to the park, we drove and I took pics out our window of the car.

I can say with assurance I have OFFICIALLY seen the western half of the US. Okay, so we were in a car and made a loop across the Mississippi, and I saw the St. Louis Arch, IT STILL COUNTS OKAY.

Maybe next time it'll be nicer on Monday and we can take our time.

my little blue camera takes some good pics...

We took another path home - and drove up through Chicago. We stopped at Portillo's for some AMAZING hot dogs, and made it home that evening. To which I then started to plan the next con appearance.

Here's a pic of some of the cool swag I got while I was at the show:


All in all I really enjoyed this convention, and I will be keeping my eye out for sign ups as I'd love to come here and vend in the alley. It was such a nice experience that I'd drive out there for it again. Maybe I can convince some of my locals here to come with me? :) *bats eyes*

Coming up next is Midwest Media Expo, and if I get the chance between now and then I'll do a collective Cosplay post for the last two shows, so I'm all caught up. Now to attack those cosplay photos of myself! WHEW.

April 8, 2014

Shuto Con 2014 Recap!


If you picked up one of my cards, you MIGHT have stopped across my blog here. I talk about all sorts of random stuff here, but it usually has to do with art, conventions, publishing stuff, webcomics, cosplay, and all manners of geekery.

For those who don't know who I'm talking to, I spent last weekend vending at SHUTO CON's Artist Alley! Shuto Con is a little con up in Lansing MI, and I've been vending there since about the first year.


Needless to say, you guys kept me pretty busy, between drawing, doing panels, and taking pictures, so my recap will probably be pretty short.

Friday was a good start, as first I debuted a new costume:

That's right, I made an Emmet Brickowski cosplay from The LEGO Movie. Which I haven't really had the chance to gush about on the blog as I've been swamped with other work. But long story short is that I absolutely LOVE this movie. I saw it 3 times in the theater, and I'd go again. After taking some of my friends to see it, we thought "OMG, it'd be AWESOME (ha ha ha) to do cosplay from this!"

I happened to have Ben Tennison's old wig which was already styled in a similar manner, so I was already prepared. Most of everything else was found/bought, but I did have to make a vest.

I also had with me a Unikitty, Bad Cop, and a Wyldstyle!

Yep, yep. That's me making funny faces again. ALL THE DERP.

So we hammed it up all day in our costumes, all the meanwhile vending in the alley. It was also fun being dressed like this while trying to assemble my own booth. I'll definitely be bringing this one to other shows. It's just too much fun.

Bad Cop and Unikitty were my neighbors, Tiny T-Rex Studios!

Here's a rare picture of me at my booth.

I didn't have too much going on for me during the day, so I got to actually be at my booth, drawing pictures for once! I opened up a new style of commissions this convention, and I must say I had a BLAST drawing them all. I've started making ink and pencil images on brown paper. They look lovely, and I can draw a lot more of them in a day than other commissions! So I'd consider that a huge success.

Working on a commission

After the alley closed, I headed to my two panels "Her Legs are How Long" and "Time in a Box", and I had a good time showing people how to draw and talk about comic stuff! I apologize if I was a little loopy near the end, I'm going to blame the hotel SleepNumber beds.

Which are great if you are 1 person. Bad if 2 people are on the bed. I've discovered that SleepNumber beds are apparently like giant balloons that inflate or deflate depending on what "softness" you want. Basically a glorified water bed but without water. I think I recall I complained about this last year too. Darn beds actually MESSED UP MY BACK and I couldn't sleep.

BUT I DIGRESS. I was talking about giving panels. :P Afterwards I went back to the room, and we promptly fell asleep. Okay, well, everybody ELSE fell asleep, and I finished sewing on buttons to my SUPER DUPER SECRET COSPLAY that only like 4 people knew about.

Then Saturday arrived! I began my grand entrance in this dapper ensemble:

For when ONE hat isn't enough.

That's right. I made the Final Fantasy XIV Weaver Level 50 gear you get in the game. Why you ask? I ask WHY NOT? I've been sewing for so long, I'd like to think I hit Lvl 50 Weaver a long time ago. (I will also brag I didn't want to make this until my character in game earned it too! Which he did. WOOHOO!)

I made like... everything in this outfit. I also constructed most of it in the span of about 4 days. Give or take a day of fiddling randomly with stuff.

I will have lovelier pictures coming soon as I had a friend of mine who was doing photoshoots at the con this year. So I took her up on the offer. :)

ANYWAY, so I worked again in the alley all day - and it wasn't until later that evening I was going to be helping with the Cosplay Q&A panel, and stopping by That Game Girl's GameMaster's panel afterwards.

Cosplay Q&A was a smashing success, but we'll probably switch up the format a little bit next year and name it something like "STUPID COSPLAY STORIES" or the like. It ended up being tales from the front lines of actual cosplayers doing actual dumb stuff. And good stuff, and gooey sweet stuff. Basically we were just having a discussion about what it's like to be a cosplayer, the good, the bad, the embarrassing.

I think that a lot of people enjoyed our tales, so we'll probably work on doing it again at the show, or maybe even others. I'll have to check with my cohorts. :P Though really, any chance to look like a derp I will JUMP ON. I also promise to tell my stories last next time! Apparently I've been doing this too long and have absurd stories for everything.

After the panel, I was accosted by some steampunkers for a photo :)
I think we reached CRITICAL HAT MASS.

Then after all the hilarity of panels, we shuffled off and fell asleep.

Sunday was pretty uneventful, but that's fine by me. I finished up the rest of the commissions, and then packed up to go home. I WAS EXHAUSTED.

Overall, the show was pretty good. It felt a little slower than before, but overall I did about the same I usually do at shows. I've got plans for next time, so I look forward to vending there again!