How I Painted Connie’s Sword

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One of my favorite characters to cosplay is definitely Connie Maheswaran from Steven Universe. She’s smart, funny, and a KNIGHT!  Like many SU fans, I fell in love with her character after the episode “Sworn to the Sword” in which she is trained by Pearl. Not only is the animation beautiful but the inclusion of the song “Do It For Her” is nothing short of genius.  In this episode, Connie declares herself Steven’s knight. She states that although she is human, she can protect him. This episode also has a few anime Easter eggs.

FreeImages.com/Gary Scott

(Steven Universe be like: )

In this post, I will describe how I painted a toy sword to match the one that Connie uses during training. I am NOT an expert. This is only my third sword and it isn’t perfect.  I am simply describing what I did.

  1. First, I gathered my materials. Masking tape (thin and wide), paint, brushes of varying sizes, a paper plate, and a toy sword. I chose the X-Shot Foam Sword.  (This sword can be purchased at Walmart in-store or the Toys “R” Us website.)
  2. Second, I grabbed the masking tape and started wrapping the yellow plastic portion of the sword. (If I had left it uncovered, the paint would chip easily. I figured this out from experience. :p) I made sure to place the tape as neat a possible and to smooth it out as much as I could. I ended up using two layers of tape.
    Photo of my freshly taped sword

    (All finished!)

  3. Third, I mixed the paint. I needed gray, so I mixed black and white. I kept mixing until it looked just right.  I made sure that I had enough paint so that I wouldn’t have to mix it again. I didn’t want to have a bunch of different shades on the handle.
    I had to add a LOT of white.
  4. Next, I started painting! I just held the black part of the handle and went to town. I used brushes of different sizes so that I could paint every nook and cranny without messing up too much. I ended up using three coats of paint. I allowed it to dry for a few minutes.
    Semi painted sword
  5. Next, I needed to paint the black portion of the handle. To do this, I flipped the sword upside down and held the blade at the base. This way I could have control and not touch the sorta-dry portion of sword. I should’ve waited for it to dry completely but I’m a rebel.
    FreeImages.com/Audrey Johnson

    (Rebel.)

  6. Then, I really let it dry. Like overnight. I propped it up and left it to dry. 
  7. Lastly, I transformed into Connie!
    Connie the Knight <3
    Like I said before, I’m not an expert. In fact, I’ve only been cosplaying for 3 years.  But I think that for someone who isn’t the best painter in the world, I did a pretty good job! I want to keep working at my skills so I can make more complex weapons and props! Like Connie, I’ll continue to strive for excellence! <3

10 Tips To Survive Your First Con

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Hooray! You’re finally off to your first [insert geekdom] convention! While cons are a ton of fun, there are things that you MUST know so that you have an enjoyable experience. Sure, you could just go and figure things out as you go. Or you could read this article to give you a heads up. Here are 10 tips to help you survive your first con!

FreeImages.com/Davide Guglielmo

(Obligatory symbol of good luck)

  1. SAVE UP!  Be prepared to spend money at cons. $50 may seem like enough money but it’s not. I’m serious. First of all, you need to eat. That’s most important. But since cons are often held at convention centers and/or hotels, you have to buy convention and/or hotel food: this is expensive.  (More on this later!) Sure, you may think you can limit yourself to one Miroku pin, but you may come across a spectacular Sherlock print in artist alley. And a cool Detective Conan keychain…and that Princess Peach hoody…and that wig you need for your next cosplay. So yeah. MONEY.IS.IMPORTANT. (NO NEED TO FEAR: How To Budget for Your Geek Convention). Attending a con is a special event. Make sure you enjoy it!
  2. STAY HYDRATED! Simple. You’re going to be running around a con center full of excitement. Have fun but don’t forget to drink water. Not all cons allow outside food and drinks so be prepared to buy water. However, most of the cons I’ve been to had free water.
  3. EAT! Same as above. Make sure you eat at least 2 meals per day. You can eat a granola bar and/or fruit for breakfast. Just make sure you EAT TWO MEALS. This is important. If you are staying an entire weekend, be prepared to purchase 6-7 meals.  Round the price of each meal to about $10. So set aside at least $70 for food. You never know if you’ll need to buy an extra bottle of water. Or maybe you just want a big breakfast one day.
  4. REST! It’s okay to take breaks during the con. This is the perfect time to charge your phone and your body. Play with your 3DS or PSP. Talk with your friends. Scroll through your social media feeds. Read that new comic that you just bought. You have time to enjoy the con so allow yourself to rest. I know that you are excited but don’t exert yourself. I personally love people watching and playing Animal Crossing during this time!
  5. EMERGENCY KIT! Make sure you have a repair kit for your cosplays! Face it, things happen. My first cosplay featured lots of faux pearls. Although the dress was complete, there was a possibility that they could fall off. And of course, I lost 3 string of pearls. Thankfully, I was able to fix it without having to run to a store! 🙂 I made extra strings of pearls beforehand and had white thread so I could fix my dress with ease. Some things to include in your kit would be thread, needles, tacky glue, extra fabric, and double sided tape. Include anything that could possibly break, rip, or tear on your costume.
    FreeImages.com/Julia Freeman-Woolpert

    (“Here they come to save the daaaay!”)

  6. CASH. It’s 2017 but cash is still king. Yes, many vendors have debit card readers but some do not. In my case, the debit reader broke while I was trying to get an autograph from Johnny Yong Bosch! I ran to the ATM downstairs but lo and behold, it was out of money! Thankfully, I was able to get my autograph from Vash the Stampede the next day. With so many people in the venue, the ATM machines often run out of money or break down so be prepared!

    (“FONDNESS AND TRANQUILITY!” just doesn’t have a ring to it.)
  7.  RESPECT! Please use common courtesy when interacting with others. You’re excited, I know. But running into people and pushing them to get to a panel is just plain rude and dangerous. Many venues will throw out con-goers who are being obnoxious. Also, please respect the guests. Screaming “I LOVE YOU!” in their ear is not respectful. Wait your turn in the autograph line and thank them for their time. And please, for the love of chicken nuggets, do not hug them without asking. No groping, no kissing. If you want a hug, just ask. The worst they can say is no. Please, just use common sense.

    (Me with Christopher Sabat. He called me a doll. 🙂 )
  8. BATHE! Please remember to bathe everyday. Not only do you need to be clean, but being stinky is rude to other con-goers. If you’re a sweaty person, bring deodorant and/or body spray. I’m speaking from experience. I’ve been next to people who had BO so bad that I almost threw up. This just ruins the experience for everyone.
  9. PICTURES. Make sure you ask people for their picture before you take it. I turn in to a pile of goo when I see my favorite characters out and about (this On Melancholy Hill Noodle cosplay was FIIIIRE) but ask that person before you take pics of them.  If someone asks for your picture, you have every right to decline but please be courteous when doing so. I personally always say yes. Then I turn around and ask for their picture. In my Robot Chicken Skeletor voice “IT’S COMMON COURTESY!”
  10. HAVE FUN!!! Seriously. Do your thing. But please be safe, be smart, be kind, and be courteous and you’ll have a great time!

    FreeImages.com/themiz

Why I Love Cosplay

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Cosplay. According to an article from Yahoo Movies,  the term was coined in 1984 by Nobuyuki Takahashi. For me, cosplay is not just putting on a costume.  Just like stamp collecting and playing football, it’s a serious hobby.  I consider myself an artist and cosplay is art. My love of cosplay began with finding the now defunct cosplaylab.com. The site contained a massive archive of cosplays from various fandoms. Users could upload photos of their cosplays and interact with other members. Dreaming about and looking at cosplays online was just fine. Being a painfully shy kid,  I couldn’t even leave comments on any photos. But I could easily admire their creativity behind the safety of my computer screen. In this article, I will be listing the 5 reasons why I love cosplay!

FreeImages.com/Shamseer sureash Kumar

(Much safe. Very okay.)

  1. Late Nights. I do my best thinking at night so it’s natural that I enjoy working late into the night. At night, there are no expectation or interruptions. Most normal humans are in bed. I get lost in my thoughts while playing good music and using my hands. The busyness of daytime is plagued with phone calls and other adulting obligations. But the night is quiet and serene and it brings me the peace that I need to work. Staying up until 2 am to work on my art is the perfect way to end the night. So I often end up waking up from my floor at 6 am. (How I Painted Connie’s Sword)
  2. (Finished Jellyfish dress for Kuranosuke back in 2014)

    Creating. Sometimes I purchase pieces to alter. Sometimes I make things from scratch. Either way, I am creating something. When I decide to cosplay a character, I try my best to make the costume as accurate as possible. For example, when I cosplayed as Kuranosuke from Princess Jellyfish, I purchased a white dress, hemmed it, and strung beads to the ends which took FOREVER! But, I enjoyed every second of it; even when the beads would slide off and I wanted to rip my eyeballs out. When purchasing a dress for my Human Luna cosplay was out of the question, I decided to make it myself. And I almost lost my everloving mind. I didn’t own a sewing machine at the time so I made the entire thing using a handheld sewing machine. Yep.

10 seconds after “Rini” and I ran into each other.

3. Cons. Attending cons gives me a break from the monotony of everyday life.( 10 Tips To Survive Your First Con) When I walk into those double doors, I am transported to another world for 3 days. Raves, gaming, music, panels, artist alley, dealers, concerts: It’s all there. Not only do I enjoy myself but I get to hang out with complete strangers. But like I’ve said many times, these are “my people”.  You don’t know each other’s names but you know that you belong together. The day that I debuted my Human Luna, I was greeted by a squealing Rini cosplayer and we instantly took a picture! I am a naturally shy person but when I am at cons, I become invincible!

4. Confidence. I’ve always been a shy person.  It’s in my nature. Making small talk or even asking for help at store takes a lot of prep work on my end. I can’t even order a meal without rehearsing it in my head! But when I am in cosplay, my confidence goes through the roof. I have no problem posing for pics and asking others for theirs. I once ran into a girl who loves the singer Hyde of L’arc~en~Ciel and Vamps just as much as I do. We found out that we had the same favorite L’arc song: The 4th Avenue Cafe ( the doomed ending song to Rurouni Kenshin).  We talked for almost 30 minutes. This is the same girl who has trouble talking on the phone. :p

FreeImages.com/Bruno Wood

(Me when the phone rings)

5. Playing pretend. Cue MGMT Pretending to be a character for a few hours is one of the greatest stress relievers. I can just be me and have fun. I don’t care if I’m being judged because I know I look cool. ( I mean my confidence just explodes ya’ll.)

Creating. Late nights. Cons. Confidence.Playing Pretend. These are all of the reasons that I love cosplay and I always will.  Cosplay is an art form that allows me to escape from the real world for just a few moments. But not only do I get to have fun but I get to interact with people who enjoy this art form just as much as I do. I get a chance to tell others how great they are and to let them know that they are amazing at what they do. Never in my life did I imagine that someone as undomesticated as me would find joy in sewing!