Costumes, ho!

Okay. After what I am going to refer to as a “re-building” year, in terms of my costuming, I finally feel ready to start looking ahead and get back to doing some regular construction. The basement of my place – where I live – is slowly starting to get de-cluttered, and it looks like I might actually get a decent work space up and running within a few months.

One of the things that helped get me excited again was a visit from one of my cousins. My cousin Kwana came up from Richmond last weekend, with her two daughters. Cheyenne, the oldest, is currently in a stagecraft class – which prompted much unspoken jealousy from me, as I demanded – in my head – to know where such a class was when I was in high school. Probably in the same place it is now…not my school.

Anyway, Cheyenne is starting to get involved in costuming and makeup and prop-making and all the sundry categories which come into play for individuals interested in costumes or theatre or geekdom. She is not, in fact, the first of my cousins to come to me with a few questions. I’ve got at least two other younger cousins who are intrigued by the possibility of dressing in costume and going to a convention.

It makes me so happy! :: proud tear ::

Of course, I didn’t find out about Cheyenne’s budding interest until the tail end of her visit. I brought out a couple of items that I had made, so we could discuss simple ways to start out with a costume build, and cheap alternatives to some of the fancy stuff. I like to stress the fact that you can make a pretty cool costume without spending HUNDREDS of dollars.

I showed her the noodle hat from my Kung-Fu Panda costume – which cost about $7 to make, if that.

The Kowl costume was a bit pricier -at about $30 for all of the materials – but that’s still rather good, in the scheme of costume-making. Especially when you consider the Weeping Angel costumes that Maggie and I made – I actually can’t remember how much we spent on materials (most likely because I don’t really want to think about it), but I know it was over $100. For those costumers who regularly shell out $500-$1000 on costumes, that doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re a student or someone largely living off a part-time barista salary and tips (which I was, at the time), $100 can put a strain on you, so I like to point out the many uses of inexpensive items. Like hot glue. And duct tape. And those cheap wire coat hangers that nobody likes to use but everyone has a crap-ton of. Well, except for me, but that’s because I’ve used most of them in projects, by now.

Talking about costuming to new-comers to the costuming world is actually one of my favorite things to do. Honestly, talking about costuming with anyone is a favorite past-time. I love sharing what little tricks and tips I’ve learned with people, and I love learning from those MUCH more talented and experienced than me. Which, in most cases, is everyone I meet.

I’m excited about teaching my cousin some things I’ve picked up. I’m excited about taking her to her first convention. I just need to decide whether that should be something like Farpoint or RavenCon. I’ve actually never yet been able to get to RavenCon, despite really wanting to go for a couple of years. It’s in Richmond – home to a couple of friends, as well as family, and is a smaller con than, oh, say, Dragon*Con (which I don’t typically recommend as someone’s first Con experience, simply due to its immense size and the likelihood of being overwhelmed). We shall see.

The true test this year is, of course, seeing if I can remain motivated throughout work and other outside commitments. I would hope yes. One of the things that I feel helps is having a costume goal set for the year. To that end, I am setting myself the following goal…

When one considers my typical costume “type,” I think the main qualifier could be “cute and cuddly.” I like cartoons. I like toys. I like having fun in a costume, and playing a part. I actually really enjoy donning a giant costume head and crawling about on all fours. So, I thought, what costume goal could I set myself that would encompass all those factors? What could I make that would be challenging in the construction phase, but be extremely fun to portray? What would kids like to see? This is what I came up with.



(Just in case you’re wondering, I’ll be working on making the one on the left)

This is, quite honestly, going to be the most difficult costume that I’ll have attempted. It involves wings. It’s going to have arm extensions, so I can move around more like Toothless. It’s going to have a tail. It’s got to look like I’ve got scales. The jaw will, hopefully, move. And, I’ve got to be able to see and move in the costume. Preferably, it will also look more like a dragon and less like someone in a set of dragon-inspired footie pajamas. I want to get the shapes and dimensions of this correct.

I foresee challenges in my future, but dammit…I want to be a dragon!

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