Phoenix Monster Photo by Alexandra Lee Studios
It's time of the year again when I burst out of my comfort zone and challenge (or rather, torture) myself with another crazy cosplay build for C2E2 (Chicago Comicbook and Entertainment Expo). For the past 2 years, I have entered the Crown Championship of Cosplay competition, and have been fortunate to qualify. This year is NOT a guarantee that I'll be in, but I'm trying my luck and entering. What's all the fuss about this contest anyway? Find out in these 2 articles I wrote on the behind the scenes of the contest for the past 2 years that I qualified.
GEEK GENRES DRIVE MY INSPIRATION FOR MY COSPLAY FOR THE YEAR
In previous years, I tried to stay consistent as to what type of cosplay I enter each year based on a couple of criteria. The first is that I want to represent a different segment of geek culture each time, and second is to have some elaborate headpiece that's made of foam. I love foam armor and I would like to incorporate this as much as possible in my cosplay.
The first time I tried for Crown Championship of Cosplay was back in 2016, where I entered Galacta: daughter of Galactus. She embodies my love for comic books. Click on the photo below to see my story behind making this cosplay.
Last year in 2017, I chose Queen Myrrah from Gears of War- a video game. I wanted to showcase more of my foam-smithing skills and take it to the next level with the intricacies and carved details of Myrrah's costume. She represents the second genre of geek culture that I love - Video games. Click on the photo below to see my story behind making this cosplay.
And finally, this year's proposed entry for Crown Championship of Cosplay 2018 theme is -BOARD GAMES! I love board games and RPGs. One in particular caught my eye last year - a board game called The Rising Sun by Cool Mini or Not.
RISING SUN - AN INSPIRATION
The first thing that I've noticed was that this board game was getting so much traffic during its Kickstarter campaign because it was funded very early and for way more than their goal. CMON (Cool Mini or Not), has been producing enjoyable board games, coupled with the most intricate artwork and board game minis in the market. We own quite a few of their games - Zombicide, Blood Rage, and soon Rising Sun--which we play with our board-game group.
When I heard about this project, I immediately knew that they are going to have the most interesting and intricate art work, as well as characters that I knew I would love. I first encountered the Phoenix monster in a preview of the artwork on the Kickstarter page. It just caught my eye while scrolling down through the details about the game. Every single detail was so majestic! It soon became the next cosplay that I wanted to create. However, the game wasn't out yet, and wasn't set to be shipped until early 2018. Artwork from the game was limited to a few images. I spent the next half year or so pursuing a detailed design for this character.
With the help of a friend, I was able to ask CMON directly if they could provide me with more images of the character.
Keep in mind, this is NOT a sponsored cosplay even if they gave me their blessing to recreate it in cosplay form.
I always like to ask permission before I work on my cosplay because I want to credit the artist behind it - in this case, the amazing Adrian Smith (who's behind the artwork of these games that CMON have), and Eric Lang the designer of the game.
Cosplayers often forget to credit the artist that inspired their creation, and asking them before using just seems to be the polite thing to do.
The Phoenix has always been my absolute favorite mythical creature.
Hence, I had one put on my back as a tattoo.
It also represents overcoming obstacles--it embodies fire, energy, and new beginnings. Quite fitting not only for overcoming my own obstacles, but also overcoming building this thing!
I also picked this character because it has shown up in Asian mythologies. Being Asian and knowing the lack of representation in today's media, this helps show a bit of a representation.
The character was the first stretch goal in this Kickstarter campaign (stretch goals being goals set after the project meets its minimum).
IT TURNS OUT - I DON'T KNOW S#!&
Excuse my French, but it goes without saying - It's all fun and games until you start building. Am I right, cosplayers? Ok - here is my dream cosplay and I'm ready to create it. But I'm forgetting one thing - I have never sewn a full-on cosplay with a custom pattern before. I have always bought clothing to serve as a base for the costume and added onto or modified it. This one would require me to start from scratch. Did I bite off more than I can chew? Maybe. But I was up for the challenge, as well as learning new skills. But how would I do it?
ME VERSUS THE MAGICAL WORLD OF THE INTERNET
Tutorials, videos, materials - all in your reach at this day and age, but this can lead to information overload. Finding the right videos was not an easy task, but I narrowed it down to these. Keep in mind each of these tutorials may have different results for everybody, depending on what you are trying to build. For example, I needed something that catered to my height and body shape, and the following tutorials were easy enough for me to follow and customize.
For the dress making, I went with this video by Youtuber, @MYSTYLEDIARYY -
I can go with chapters upon chapters on how I did this, and many things I discovered and learned. But I'll save all that for another time in a video on our Youtube channel.
For now, here's a gallery of my work in progress.
For the wings, I signed up for the Crooked Feather's Patreon. She's a well-known cosplayer whose specialty is mechanical wings.
Was it worth it? Yes! Because not only was I learning in-depth instruction but I was also getting one on one interactions with her. And most importantly, I am supporting a fellow cosplayer and helping with her business. FYI - I don't know her on a personal level. I just saw her method to be better than the rest. Here is the gallery for the wing build -
The wig was something I had to figure out for myself. I used a plastic container I had from the dollar store, floral wire, yarn, cloth, 2 wigs, combs, an elastic band, small black rubber bands, hair pins and furniture foam. these materials help keep the shape of the wig in place and will withstand some of the heavy weight from the crown.
Foam and worbla was something I was familiar with, but I still looked through images on-line for some inspiration on the details. Here is the gallery of the foam build -
I did a test fit today to see how everything is looking, and I am just happy on how this all turned out! I can't wait to finish the wings, next!
I will continue to upload photos on each section when I have progress pics!
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Wish me luck! And good luck to everyone who's entering this year.