|Coming soon: Fenny and I as the 60's Cobra Typing Pool of Evil|
|My first cosplay- Pikachu at Otakon 1998.|
|Subsequent costumes followed.|
During this time I was attending and then graduated from the Kubert School where I was studying to pursue my lifelong dream of being a comic book artist, so attending conventions suddenly shifted from being a fun place to hang out in a crazy outfit while blitzed out of your mind to a veritable job fair-meets-minefield full of potential coworkers, mentors and bosses. And there were the opinions my heroes- people whose creations I had been following since childhood to worry about. So thinking I could have my cake and eat it too, I would wear a costume and try to schlep my portfolio around to different creators for advice and editors for jobs. It didn't work out very well.
|Dragon*Con 03 Fenny and I were 5th Element Stewardesses|
|D*C 03, Fenny and I as poppy and mushroom fairies|
|HOODIE OF SADNESS|
As I was preparing to get my life together I started to take a step back from cosplay and started focusing more on the pinup aesthetic in both my art and my lifestyle. I also started getting attention for my art outside of the comic and convention culture via roller derby bout posters. I finally was starting to get recognition and realized I didn't necessarily need the approval of the editor reviewing portfolios. To be honest the lofty teenage pipedream of drawing X-Men as a monthly book kinda died years ago. I have friends from college who draw on monthly books. Once you see how a job like that can just grind you into the ground it looks a lot less appealing for a slacker like me. I'd much rather do a comic at my own pace. So instead my newfound artistic outlet of roller derby took me out of obscurity in the comic world and put me in the spotlight of the aging punk/tattoo/DIY/ counterculture, which is full of people all are trying to scrape by and figure out how to just get paid enough to survive doing the silly crap we love to do. This boost of confidence from an audience that was very receptive to my work was what I needed my first time selling at Baltimore Comic Con 2007, after I had moved to NYC the spring before. I was so afraid of failure I didn't tell anyone I was coming down for the show. I was terrified my toxic friends would show up and sabotage my hard work. All I had was prints and no other merch. It was very bare bones. I wore JEANS at the table and sat most of the time (which is UNHEARD of nowadays with me...). I don't remember how much I made or any real solid details but I do recall it being an overwhelmingly positive experience. Enough that I've been going to conventions in a professional capacity ever since. As I went to more and more shows I started using my sales and merchandising training from all my past retail jobs and started applying that to selling stuff I actually could stand behind with full confidence: my own artwork. Every convention is an exercise in trial-and-error, but they most especially were those first 2-3 years. Awkward merch on precarious displays. Too many things of stuff no one wants to buy. Overly complicated signage. You learn something every show you go to. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.
|My first table- Baltimore Comic Con 07. I had no idea what I was doing.|
|2008-2013's ensembles and costumes. A slippery slope indeed.|
Once I started running my own tables and got a pleasant reception about my work, my confidence boosted. This might be a surprise to those of you who have met me in person, but I'm kinda socially awkward. Daresay a bit of a wallflower. At actual social events, I tend to stick to the sidelines. Without the visual aid of my artwork and merch, it's kinda hard to tell the average person what it is I do all day. I've watched people's eyes glaze over as I explain how I letter manga for my dayjob. That doesn't happen nearly as much at conventions I'm vending at. The Artist Alley table I stand behind and the silly outfits I wear are my sword and my shield. I've said before in a previous entry on here and I've said it a zillion times over since, I'm like one of those deep sea fish with the dangly light- I bring people to my table with my big, bright ensembles and sparkling personality then chomp down on them with the concept that I drew (and now SELL) all the artwork in front of me on the table. Some people are actually shocked. "You drew all this stuff?", they say. And it's like yeah, dude I frickin' hustle. As fun as this all is, it's still WORK. I'm my own booth babe. (I actually found a tshirt that says that.) Wearing outfits and getting dressed for conventions makes people happy to see me and that's a nice feeling. It's hard to be in a bad mood while wearing a fantastical outfit and surrounded by positivity and excitement. And especially with the more costumey-spin I've been doing with my convention outfits- it's a way to show my love for a character or property in my own way and on my own terms. Especially superheroes. Like I love both Wonder Woman and Power Girl. I see a lot of myself in them. But as much as I love them, I really don't want to run around with my ass hanging out. Hence why I made them both retro ensembles that evoke the character without having to wear a lycra jumpsuit. That's where being an artist comes in handy. Most of the characters I draw wear what I would wear. My art imitates my life and my life imitates my art. Those costumes (seen in the above collage) are literally items just hanging out in my closet. My Power Girl dress is my *wedding dress*! And then it just makes it awesomer to encounter people who really feel what I'm doing. If I'm gonna go through all the trouble of stepping away from my art and leaving the comfort of my house and getting myself hyped up to talk to people for hours upon hours with no break then goddammit I'm gonna at least look cute and make money. Haha.
So the original reason I wanted to post this! Fenny and I are dressing up as an evil 60's Cobra typing pool! It's like Mad Men-meets-G.I.Joe! It's basically all stuff from my closet!! Yay! So I'm dressing up of course as The Baroness (revisiting one of my 'classic cosplays') and Fenny is being the HR manager!
|It's basically just me with a Cobra patch.|
|Fenny's gonna look ADORABLE.|
Other outfits Fenny and I are doing:
|The Monster's Mate (aka Phyllis Dyller) and Francesca from Mad Monster Party for Monster Mania in October|
|Victorian swimmer ladies at Visionary Tattoo Arts Festival in July!|