Tuesday, September 30

Turtle Masks

The benefit of making my own DragonCon costume (as detailed earlier on this blog) is that I can be more handy about the house.

The Deputy is all in for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cartoon. I can't blame him. It's genuinely funny. A recent episode recreated Big Trouble in Little China, and I was the only one in the house who:
a) got it; and
b) went nuts for it.

He didn't know the Turtles until his cousins got him a few Turtle toys for Christmas. He was too young at the time to grasp the concept, but he's grown into them, and he found the cartoon at just the right time to obsess over it.

Me, I remember the first TMNT cartoon airing on the local FOX affiliate in the late '80s. GI Joe was still on. He-Man might have been airing too. Voltron, Silverhawks, Transformers. They were all daily cartoons at the time, but I never got into the Turtles cartoon. I barely knew the original comic.

I really hated them after sharing a dorm room with my first college roommate, who was abominable. He was mad for them. Had a Turtles bedspread which, along with the rest of his laundry, was in fact never laundered. He also had posters for the first movie. Maybe the second too. Anything he liked, I grew to despise, and I threw the Turtles out with the roomie bath water.

So I didn't steer my guy toward them. Neither did I discourage him. He was already into teenage alien Jedis from Clone Wars. I figured it was a lateral movement.

As there are now two current Turtle iterations -- the TV cartoon and the summer movie -- there are also two sets of costumes you can buy for your Turtle fan. They are ten bucks for each mask-and-weapon combo. That's $40. I thought I could do better than that.

Spoiler alert: I can't. But I'd rather spend that $40 on something else. Also, he's four. My wife reminded me of that when I started to get too detail-oriented planning homemade masks. She's right. He's gonna treat them as well as a four-year-old can, but that still means they're gonna get wrung out. I can hem and glue and sweat over these. He'll still tear them with enough play. He's four.

I bought four yards of cloth and sewing thread in matching colors and made a template by wrapping tracing paper around his head. My first template didn't take his ears into account. I made a second that angled the wings higher.

I also bought Velcro straps. I figured that was the easiest way he could secure them to his head.

Unlike with the Littlefinger costume, I could use light-colored thread to attach the Velcro. That saved my eyes.  The sewing isn't pretty; I'm still a very new newbie. But it holds. He asked for Leo first (the blue one) and for Raphael (the red one) after that.

So far, so good. He got the first mask Sunday and spent the rest of the day wearing it. He'll get Raphael tonight. He'll probably sleep in it.

Tuesday, September 23

ACE 2014 Is Behind Us

The third year of ACE saw it move to a larger section of the civic center and double in size. There were seventy-five artist tables, a huge increase from last year. I've attended all three years, and this was again well-attended and well-shopped. People brought their folding money, and God love you all. [blows kiss].

I was lucky enough to sit next to Jason Bowers and Kyle Huynh, my talented neighbors from HeroesCon 2013, and near Day of the Doodles and Jeremy Dale. Con neighbors can be anyone, and this gang ensured the day would be enjoyable even if attendance was middling.

But it very wasn't. It was a packed day that flew by. It felt like cleared off  the table an hour after I set it up. Busy busy busy. I again made sketches on the back of my business cards and found success with a larger 8.5 x 5.5 commissions.

The Hulk-Elsa print went over well, and I sold some of my trades. A little of everything, really. Can't ask for more. I had good reactions for the teaser art for next year's Unearthly, and there'll be more of that here as we move forward, and I added two new images to the Gallery of Doom at Cooking With Villainy!

The oddest commission request was for myself as Littlefinger based on my DragonCon costume. But hey, I had reference pictures.

Thanks as always to the Comic Envy staff and the ACE volunteers for throwing such a fun wing-ding. Of course I'll be there again next year.

Monday, September 15

ACE 2014 is this weekend

I'll be at the Asheville Comic Expo this Saturday, Sept. 20, with copies of my trade HEROES OF SINCLAIR, commissions beginning at $3, and exclusive teaser art for next year's graphic novel, UNEARTHLY. 

This is my ad for the convention program. Come by and say hi.

Thursday, September 4

ACE 2014 Commissions

I will be appearing at the Asheville Comic Expo on Sept. 20, and you can sign up for commissions now. If you prepay below, the work will be ready when doors open.

I am offering inked commissions (4-character limit) in three sizes:
11 x 17 - $30 (Color $35)
8.5 X 11 - $20 (Color $25)
8.5 X 5.5- $10 (Color $15)
The examples shown are in varying sizes and are available for purchase (email with any questions).

4 characters max.
+  +  + 

I'll also offer a variety of teaser artwork for next year's graphic novel. It's gonna be a fun story.

Tuesday, September 2

Making A DragonCon Costume: The Big Show

Previous Project Littlefinger Posts:
Sew Very Doomed
Another Adventure
Test Case
Idea Collision
Poncho Paint 
A Needle Pulling Thread
Done and Did 

Before you read this, you can see the photo album.

Back? OK.

I had no idea about a lot of things.

I had no idea how popular Littlefinger is. I was shocked by how many people flocked to the costume. They were eager and polite. They were giddy. It was heady stuff, and I thank them all.

I had no idea how strong the resemblance was. The more I look at the photos, the less I see it. But it got some folks off-guard (two attendees were literally speechless), and many people said they did double and triple takes. Whoever suggested this to me at the 2013 convention were right as rain.

We got to the show Friday night after work. We normally drive into Atlanta and check in to the hotel. We race to the Sheraton to get our badges so we can walk in the next morning's parade. Then we eat, satisfied that the day is done. We crash in the hotel room and start early the next morning. That's our routine every year.

But I wondered about the costume. I wanted a test run with my seams and knots. Whatever fell apart could be fixed before the parade, and I'd rather it fail that night than in front of thousands of people. I tucked The Countess into bed, changed, and slipped out of the room and toward the convention. I figured I'd get deep into the Marriott (cosplay ground zero) before anyone noticed the outfit.

I got one block, and I posed for pictures half a dozen times before I made it to the Hyatt.

I had no idea how popular the show is across demographics. The diversity of people who knew the show and the character genuinely delighted me. I live in a small mountain town. It's homogeneous. Everyone looks like me. Atlanta -- obviously, thankfully -- is a much wider spectrum of humanity. People who had nothing to do with the convention stopped me on the sidewalks and in restaurants. Even the ages of GoT fans were across the board. I was simply unprepared. It swelled my heart as much as all that walking swelled my feet.

The Countess and I walked in the parade Saturday morning with the GoT folks. I love doing the parade. I love high-fiving the kids sitting on the curbs. I love calling out costumed spectators. I love waving to the folks on the balconies. Then I love hitting the air conditioning in the Marriott when it's over. We went back to the hotel to change our layers. I packed about five pairs of black slacks and many more pairs of undershirts and socks and underwear. I needed them all throughout the weekend and a few bottles of baby powder.

We grabbed a light lunch and went back to see the costumes. My convention experience mostly involves a lap of a few hotels. I went to the indoor Game of Thrones photoshoot that afternoon. So many folks showed up that it was moved outside, and it was well-orchestrated madness on the Hilton steps. (Chaos is a staircase.) I left a little early because of the heat. We ate dinner and went back to the hotels to sight-see. I escorted her back to the hotel and walked on my own until around 2 that morning. My feet were destroyed. Next time I have to bring multiple shoes too.

We slept in Sunday before dropping by the comics alley to see writer Kelly Sue DeConnick. I promised her a few months back that I'd swing by in costume. We then hit the vendor area. The line for it was out the door on Saturday, but, Sunday morning, we walked right in. The Countess found some costume items for next year with the help of some friendly and patient costume dealers. I found some toys for our son. We shopped alongside celebrities (Grant Imahara, Sam Witwer, Karl Urban) and let them be; I considered this their off-duty hours. We grabbed a light lunch before walking about then ate supper and walked more. I called it a night around 2 again and made it back to my bed on what was left of my feet. I was snowblind from all the flash photography.

It was heavenly. The attendees and employees and guards and wait staff were patient and kind and encouraging. The atmosphere was perfect this year. The stars aligned.

And the costume, mostly, held up. I had some frayed threads, but nothing dropped off. There are tweaks we can make to the basic design, but nothing to replace. I talked to a much more experienced cosplayer about potentially contributing to a costuming forum, and that is astounding to me to be in that position. Some folks remembered me from the previous year, when I was in a totally different costume. I've had good luck. I've worn three costumes that went over really well in my years at the convention: Shipwreck, Gordon, and Littlefinger. I've had a lot of help with each from The Countess, and I bragged on her costume work whenever I could. I also got a lot of photos of my son's favorite characters. I showed them last night, and he practically levitated. We'll take him soon. Maybe next year.

I wonder what costume I can make for him.