Why I Cosplay

Standard

So as you all know, my blog is where I share my passions–mainly writing (though lately my post haven’t been about writing so much). Right now my greatest passion is cosplay.

What is Cosplay?

Some of you probably cosplay yourselves or at least have heard about it. I’m really not sure what the etymology of the word is, but I know it has “play” in it. It means costume play or something of that nature. I like to call it adult pretend, though children can certainly cosplay as well. It means something different to everyone. Cosplay may be synonymous with weird to some of you who are no doubt looking for the unfollow option on my blog.

Cosplay gets a bad rep for being considered some sort of adult dress up where those who participate are in some sort of stunted state of adolescence or refuse to grow up.

a766b3bb8bffe86b7ab4e989af7b5f61.jpg

None of that is true. It’s not just dress up or pretend, it’s a creative outlet and a way of expression.

What Type of People Cosplay?

You’ll find all kinds of grownups, some serious adulting types even. A doctor, lawyer, or insurance agent by trade could be Batman, Iron Man, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman, Gandalph, or Hermione at a con.

Whatever they do for a living, your typical cosplayers are artist, nerds, geeks, dye-hard fans, actors, etc.

Let’s look at some of my favorite cosplayers.

thgJoshua Dart: Thranduart: Here is an example of a man who took a character and made him his own. He has celebrity status for his Thranduil cosplay. He is the perfect example of cosplaying from the inside out. Not only does he look like the character, but he acts like him. While he still cosplays as Thranduil, he has also cosplayed as Nick Wylde, Woody, and he’s currently working on a new project. You can follow him via Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about him and his cosplay, read all about him in my blog interview here.

14702315_10154198864517955_4740621950542902139_nElysia Vaughan: I met her at my first con, and now I see her every year. The first year she won first place in a costume contest and rightfully so, as she made her costume the year we ordered ours. We won second place, but she certainly deserved first for her Predator cosplay. I wish I had a photo to share, but I can’t find it. She was very friendly and willing to share information about the process of making her costume. She really inspired me to try my hand at making my own. She made it sound easy. I always look forward to seeing her and learning more about her as a person instead of just a fellow cosplayer.

Even some famous people have cosplayed, even if it was just to disguise themselves at cons: Masie Williams, Daniel Radcliffe, Tom Hiddleston, and Henry Cavill. Chances are, if you see someone just wearing a spider man mask, they’re a celebrity in hiding.

Here are a few of my favorites who, sadly, I don’t know their names:

Why Cosplay?

 

There are many reasons to cosplay. Many of us just want to share a passion either for a fandom, a character, for makeup or costume art, or something else that can be expressed through the art of cosplay.

Yes, I just called it an art. And it is. It involves certain skills in arts, crafts, engineering, mathematics, textiles, etc.

I’ve always loved art: theatre, painting, drawing, crafting, textiles, music.

Cosplay gives me an outlet to do all of these things. I get to work with wood, fabric, makeup, do crazy hairstyles, create, and act. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to escape the stresses of normal adult life.

I’ve been doing this about three years now. The first year, we literally had a month before KokomoCon. I wasn’t going to do it but my sister wanted to. A month doesn’t give you time to make your own costume (or so we thought), so we ordered them. There are a lot of websites if you’re interested in ordering costumes, wigs, or costume accessories: Etsy, AliExpress, Amazon, and Ebay to name a few.

I did make the crown and we painted the ears. That first year was experimental. I wasn’t confidant enough to sew yet. I didn’t believe in myself and I hadn’t discovered I’m awesome and can do anything. We decided to be the Mirkwood elves from the Hobbit. Making the crown reconnected me to the artistic side of myself that had been on hiatus. It also reminded me of theatre, which I hadn’t been a part of since Highschool but meant to get back into. This got me involved in local theatre the following year.

My next cosplay started off as a theatre role. As some of you may remember, I was the centaur in the Lion, the Witch & the Wardobe. After spending over a month working on it, I decided to take it to the con. I learned how to sew a little in high school but this costume told me how to apply what I learned to go above and beyond: creating something they don’t make patterns for. I also learned a lot of shop skills from creating the body and learned to work with mediums I’m not that experienced with like foam. I used parts of my brain I didn’t even know existed, and I’m a lot more savvy than I gave myself credit for.

This year I went as Lagertha from Vikings. This cosplay has a special place in my heart because I feel like we all went as characters we can identify with. I hate to say it, but my kid probably relates to Bjorn. He’s a boy who’s parents split up and he struggles with accepting that while learning new responsibilities as he becomes an adult. I’ve always identified with Lagertha. She’s a protective mother who still has dreams outside of being a parent. Her ex screws her and so does every man she knows, so she becomes a fiercely independent lady boss. I’d say Kylie went as Porunn because she’s a bit wild, independent, and wants to be free.

For this cosplay, I learned to make chain mail, wooden swords, shields, and lace leather. It was fun and daunting at the same time. And we learned something we didn’t think possible when we started our Mirkwood elves cosplay–you can get a costume done in a month. I just don’t recommend it.

For our next cosplay we’re giving ourselves a little more time. I’m going to be The Goblin King from Labyrinth. Again, a lot of sewing involved, and glitter, so much glitter. But all our cosplays must have the wow factor, and the educational one, so I must learn how to do all of his crystal ball tricks. I’m not sure how long it takes to learn how to contact juggle (well) but I have several months to get good enough, so I’m going to try. My son decided to be Hoggle, which will give me practice doing a creature mask, possibly with moving mouth and blinking eyes. My sister will be Sarah. The ball gown should be a bit of a challenge, but I’m up for it.

10557282_884891948220059_6266298632228922473_n

Do you cosplay. Share some photos. Why do you cosplay? Who have you been? Who are you planning on being this year?

Meet the King of Sass and Class

Standard

I love meeting other Tolkien fans, but that can be a challenge in my hometown (We do, however, have a surplus of Harry Potter fans). Thank goodness for the Webosphere.

Since I started cosplaying, I’ve met so many awesome people (and other Hobbit fans). One of which, I had the privilege of interviewing recently.

I discovered the King of Sass and Class, Joshua Dart (better known as Thranduart) while browsing Thranduil cosplays on Google while I was developing my own Thranduil costume. I saw a couple of pics of him at a Starbucks and I thought to myself, here is a fan I want to get to know.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Thranduart, you must not be a fan of the Hobbit. He has a strong online presence and he’s a very enthusiastic Tolkien fan.

Without further delay, here is the interview with the Party King.

Thranduart: It’s Good to be the Elven King

tumblr_n6lyvzMIEw1shggcto1_500


How long have you been a Tolkien fan?

Since I was about 15 years old–over half my life.

Is this your first cosplay? How long have you been cosplaying as Thranduil?

Yes, Thranduil is technically my first cosplay. I dressed as him for my first convention ever, Dragon Con 2013, and that’s where it all started.

What drew you to this particular character? Why do you think Thranduil has such a large following?

Honestly, the look. I was super impressed by the Weta team’s design for the character and I just felt like I could pull it off really well–I guess I was right!

Agreed : )

cover

How long did it take you to develop this costume?

About four months of on and off work in the beginning. The Starlight Robes (silver) took about two months on and off. The crown alone took thirteen to fifteen man hours.

Are you going to continue developing your costume? What additions or changes will you make now that you’ve seen BOFA?

Well I definitely want to make the armor version. And I have to re-make my crown because i sold the second version.

How far have you traveled as the Party King? How many cons or fan events have you attended in costume? Any plans for this year?

I’ve been to Dragon Con, Tampa Bay Comic Con, Mega Con (Orlando), and NYC for the Hobbit BOFA Fan Event. NYC is the farthest this costume has been so far. 

When you’re not the Party King, tell us a little about yourself when you’re not in character.

Hmm . . . hard to really put yourself into words. I’m a pretty easy going guy, but I love to read and watch movies. I ADORE going to movies. It’s probably my favorite thing.

Where did you see BOFA for the first time? Your reactions/responses to the movie.

At the NYC Fan Event. I cried like a baby afterwards. It just felt like an ending and I didn’t want it to be over. 

As a die-hard Tolkien fan, I think you’d be a reliable person to ask, what do you think (against or in defense) of some of the changes Peter Jackson has made in his adaptation.

I think you have to separate the two, honestly. Tolkien created this beautiful, fantastic world of characters and places. Peter took that to another level and made it his own. Whether or not you agree with that is a whole different story. I think the movies are spectacular in their own way, just like Tolkien’s writings. 

images

Pace face!!!

You met the fabulous, handsome, and charming Lee Pace. Tell us about that. Is this the highlight of your year?

Oh, gosh, definitely. He was so kind to come out there and visit with us. He didn’t have to–what an amazing feeling when his assistant came out and told us he wanted to come out and say hi to us. Incredible. And the things he and his assistant said about my costume just made me feel like all the hard work had paid off. Best day.

I, as well as other fans, would like to see some Thranduil tutorials on YouTube. Any plans for this or expanding your presence on YouTube?

Gosh, it’s so hard to find the time, but I really want to make a makeup tutorial, as well as a bloopers reel for the music video.

Speaking of your presence on YouTube, the Lady Gaga video was perfect. Tell me about this project.

It was a labor of love, to be certain! SO much planning and hard work went into it, but I had help from amazing people. Without them, it never would have been as amazing as it was. As far as future videos, I would love to do more! We shall see!

(If you haven’t seen this, check it out now. I’m sure this was just as much fun to make as it is to watch)

You certainly feel the love as the Party King. I think some people obsess about you as much as they do over Lee Pace. Ever run into haters? How do you deal with them?

I think everyone has people that don’t care for them, no matter who they are or how “famous” they are considered. Sometimes you know that they exist, sometimes you don’t. If you are unfortunate enough to be made aware of their presence, you just have to remember that at the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own. I truly try to live by one of my favorite quotes, “What other people think of me is none of my business” -RuPaul

As first time cosplayers, after the convention ended, the makeup and wigs were removed (with much effort and spirit gum remover), my sister and I were at a bit of a loss. Do you ever feel this way after a convention or fan event?

Not really, honestly. I’m usually in costume for long periods, so I’m ready for it to be off. And by that point, I’ve had my fill.

Speaking of feeling at a loss, we’ve probably seen our last Peter Jackson adaptation of Tolkien’s works. How do you feel now that we’ve come to the end of this journey? Do you think Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s works will live on or do you think they will be buried under future trends?

I think the movies will live forever in their own way because they are so special and mean so much to so many people. I know they will for me. Hello Extended Editions!!!

Long live Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s creations, and long live the Party King!

thgIf you’d like to connect with Thranduart, check out these links:

Facebook

Twitter

Redbubble (where you can purchase Party King memorabilia)

Tumblr

From Chic to Geek: Nerd’n It Up At Kokomo Con

Standard
Connecting at Kokomo-Com

Connecting at Kokomo-Con

One hundred years is a mere blink in the life of an elf, and Saturday was a mere blink for me. I’m so sad Kokomo-Con is over. If you follow my blog, my sister’s blog, her twitter account or my twitter account, you know we’re a little crazy about The Hobbit. If you saw us at Kokomo-Con, you might just think we’re plain crazy.

How to do like my Pace face?

How do you  like my Pace face?

This was our first, and hopefully not our last, cosplay. I was the King of Mirkwood, Thranduil; my sister was Tauriel; and my son was Legolas. In preparation for this event, we ordered costumes, painted latex ears, watched makeup tutorials, and made a crown out of wire and hot glue–it was actually very simple to make believe it or not.

use this oen

My sister getting into character

I think we looked a lot like the characters from Peter Jackson’s adaptation–good enough to be stunt doubles perhaps. Personally, not only was I a convincing Thranduil, but I think I was a rather convincing man. I had a few people tell me I looked like Lee Pace. What do you think? And kudos to my sister, working that red hair. Not to mention my son who was the cutest little Legolas ever!

Kokomo-Con was a lot of fun, which is a gross understatement. There were some great vendors, artist, special guest, events, and, of course, excellent costumes. We were the only ones from Middle Earth, but there were plenty of people from the Star Wars and Marvel universe. Not to mention a few Disney Princesses.

The King of Mirkwood with the Queen of Ice and Snow

The King of Mirkwood with the Queen of Ice and Snow

For those of you who follow my blog for writing content, you might ask, what does this have to do with writing? To be honest, part of the reason we went to the con was to check it out as a possible marketing opportunity. Several of the vendors were selling comic books, paintings, and other media comparable to novels. Booth rental at this event is surprisingly affordable, and with more than 1,500 people walking through the doors, this seems like a great opportunity to make a few sales or at least gain some exposure with our target audience.

storm trooperI think a comic-con is a great place for fantasy writers to connect with potential readers. Fantasy fans travel for miles to shop the booths or dress up as their favorite characters. I think it’s safe to assume someone dressed as Harry Potter or Legolas would be a possible reader. Check to see if you have a local con in your hometown. My sister and I gained several twitter followers from the event. Who knows, they could be future readers. Her book is scheduled to debut this January, so we’ll probably rent a booth at Kokomo-Con 2015. I can’t wait.

Captain of the Guard with  Captain Jack

Captain of the Guard with Captain Jack

So who did we meet at Kokomo-Con? Well, I bumped into a surprising number of people I already knew–that I recognized anyway. I met a few fans of The Hobbit trilogy. Apparently they do exist. I met Darth Vader, Obi wan, Elsa, Merida, Beast (two of them), and Gambit.

Winners of Best Group

Winners of Best Group

Aside from gaining some twitter followers, we walked away with a monetary reward as well. First place for Best Group Costume went to the Mirkwood Elves. Not too bad for our first cosplay. I’ll use my share of the winnings to have my costume dry-cleaned and fix my broken zipper.

It was so much fun getting to be the Elf King.I have to say, I miss my long, blond hair–and my crown. Now that Kokomo-Con is over, it’s back to selling insurance and writing.