PAX East 2018

For the ninth year in a row, Mike and I attended PAX East in Boston, MA last April. Back in 2010, it was our first con, and thus it holds a special place in our hearts. This post is about the con itself. I’ll follow up with cosplay photos later.

New this year, the con added a day: Thursday. Thursday badges never sold out, and it was the least busy, most chill day I’ve had at PAX East in years. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the expo hall that empty.

We started the day with a panel on molding and casting given by Leelee the Bunny and Glitch Cos. I’ve been to their panels before, and they always have good tips.
PAX East

Then we hit the expo hall. Here’s the typical “we’ve arrived at PAX!” selfie.
PAX East

Upon entering the hall, we went straight to the Dropmix booth. There was almost no line, which meant that Mike could play the demo and get the con-exclusive cards with little wait.
PAX East

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Costume Breakdown: DC Bombshells Catwoman

I haven’t done a tutorial or dress diary post in so long! I used to love writing these, but between my job and photographing a lot of events, I just haven’t had the time. However, I have been trying to take progress photos regardless, and I just uploaded a bunch from my DC Bombshells Catwoman build last winter. I’m really pleased with how that costume came out, so I wanted to share how I made it.

Inspiration Images
My primary references were these two images. The first is an illustration by Ant Lucia, who did most of the designs for the DC Bombshells.

The second is a photo of the statue that was produced based on Lucia’s art. I also own one of these statues, so I could take a look at it in three dimensions.

I also looked at the sketches that can be found in the book, The Art of DC Comics Bombshells. Based on these references, I broke down the costume into its component pieces: the dress, the hat, the gloves, the jewelry, the shoes/stockings/garters, and the props.

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Awesome Con 2018 Saturday Shoots

On Saturday of Awesome Con, Maggie and I decided to both wear Outlander costumes. We had planned to do that last year, but it fell through. When I posted our plans on Facebook, I found out that Rebecca was also going to wear an Outlander cosplay that day, so I arranged a meetup for us three to do photos with Mike.

The afternoon light was a bit strong, but Mike made the best of it by strategically angling us with the sun at our backs.
Awesome Con 2018

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Awesome Con 2018 Friday Shoots

On Friday of Awesome Con, I wore my DC Bombshells Catwoman cosplay for the first time. To be honest, I hadn’t originally planned on finishing this costume for Awesome Con. I had started it on a whim when I had a quiet weekend earlier in the winter, and I had no firm plans or expectations. But then Jamey said she was trying to finish a DC Bombshells Black Canary for Awesome Con, so I decided to make a push as well. I was on a busy project at work at that time, so I cut my sewing close. I was putting the final stitches in my gloves on Friday morning. However, it all worked out in the end!

I started out the day by taking a few photos with Mike. Gave us both a chance to warm up before shooting with others later.
Awesome Con 2018

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Awesome Con 2018

I’m still home sick today, but I’ve progressed to the coughing phase of the cold, which usually means the end is in sight. Anyway, I thought it was time to get back to event recaps.

At the end of March, I attended Awesome Con in downtown Washington, DC. This is one of my favorite local cons, because it covers such a broad range of interests, including comics, movies, TV, books, and more. I am always sure to find a number of interesting panels to attend and things to see.

This post is about the con itself. I will follow up with other posts about the cosplay later.

I already wrote about what we did on Friday of the con. Highlights included getting some comics signed by Tom King and Clay Mann, hearing Paul Levitz speak, and doing several photo shoots with friends.

A selfie before the Paul Levitz panel
Awesome Con

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Francaise Dinner 2018

In March, Mike and I attended the Francaise Dinner, which was hosted by Jess this year. It took place at our old favorite, Gadsby’s Tavern Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia.

I made a new dress for myself, using the same pattern from my maroon round gown. I had bought this amazing striped silk taffeta from Samantha that was just begging to be made into something 1780s. For accessories, I wore a Queen Anne necklace that I made, along with matching earrings. (The same style of necklace is available in my Etsy shop, here, and I am happy to make matching earrings by request.) I finished everything off with my American Duchess Dunmore shoes.
Francaise Dinner

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Anatomy of a Photo: A Portrait in a Function Room

I’m home today from work with a cold, sigh. But because, as usual, I can’t sit still even when I’m sick, I thought I’d use this time to catch up on blogging (in between naps).

This past weekend, Maggie and I hosted an 18th century “picnic.” I put picnic in quotes because it was raining, so we had to move to an indoor location, the function room of our friend Janine’s apartment building. (Thank you, Janine, for offering such a great space!)

The room was nice and big, offering a perfect place for the party, but a somewhat challenging setup for photos. There were not that many areas that had “non-busy” backgrounds. However, Mike found a nice solution that I wanted to share.

Recently, I’ve gotten some questions from other historical costumers as to how portrait-style photographs can be captured, even in a situation where there are lots of other people around, and when the setting isn’t period-appropriate. The first point I’ll make is that you don’t actually need that much space to get a nice photo. An area that doesn’t have anything distracting in the background and is only a few feet wide can be enough for a waist-up shot. Secondly, light that is good in terms of amount, direction, and color is often more important than the background. Diffuse, neutral-colored light that can be focused on the subject rather than the surroundings will draw the eye to the person and make the background less noticeable. (This is particularly true if you can shoot with a wider aperture, and thus blur the background a bit with a shallow depth of field.) Look for natural rather than artificial light, as most lamps and light fixtures produce beams that are too concentrated or have a noticeable yellow tint.

Let me break this down with an example. Below is the final edit of a photo that Mike took last weekend. It looks like it may have been taken in a studio.
18th C Party

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Grit Photo Shoot (Part 2)

I was excited to get the opportunity to work with a number of different photographers at the March D.C. Cosplay Photo Shoots meet up. I debuted a new cosplay, “Knightmare” Catwoman, based on the “Rules of Engagement” arc in the Batman comics, written by Tom King, with art by Joelle Jones. The design is similar to that seen in the Batman nightmare sequence in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but interpreted for Catwoman. (Given that the movie was only so-so, I was excited that Tom King decided to bring that costume design into the comics universe, both for Batman and Catwoman. It takes an interesting costume and puts it in a better story.) It was the perfect cosplay for a shoot at the Graffiti Warehouse, and it used a lot of things I already had in the closet. (Yes, I have now gotten to the point where I have done so many Catwoman cosplays that I can throw a new one together using a lot of things I already have!)

On to the photos. I’ll start with the ones that Mike took of me (and I edited), followed by ones taken by other photographers.

Mike and I started by working in the ground floor room of the warehouse, which has lots of cool graffiti, but is also pretty dark. We had to be creative to get decent lighting. Mike had me get up on a metal countertop facing the center of the room. He said he wanted to try a “draw me like one of your French girls” pose. I was skeptical it would work. Hence this face.
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

But I have to say, it did work!
DC Cosplay Photo Shoots

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