Updated 06/20/10: Two more questions posted!
Thank you for the questions in celebration of 40,000 pageviews! Here are my answers:
:"What got you into cosplaying?"
I loved playing "dress up" when I was a kid, and as I grew older I aspired to make my own costumes. Before I got sucked into anime/gaming, I was incredibly obsessed with musical theatre, particularly CATS. My very first self-made costume was for that fandom. A year or so later (in 10th grade) I began watching anime, and it took me until the end of my sophomore year in college to find out about cosplay. All in all, my addiction to cosplay was a long time coming!
:"What's your favorite color, drink, genre of music, genre of book, and type of weather?"
My favourite colour is red and my favourite drink is Pepsi, though I'm now trying to limit my caffeine intake. My favourite "drink" is an amaretto sour. As a music teacher I'm pretty open-minded about musical genres, so I listen to a little bit of everything. The genres I most enjoy at the moment are folk, jazz, and electropop. I don't read as much as I used to, but when I did I had a definite preference for historical fantasy ("Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell") and classic literature (Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, etc). As for weather, I love a breezy sunny day with temps in the mid 70s. Perfect sailing weather!
:"Has it been difficult for you to balance cosplay and con-going with your "real" life? Do you have any method to prioritize your costuming in relation to other hobbies and responsibilities?"
I like to keep it simple: REAL LIFE > cosplay. Now, I'll be the first to admit that when a convention is fast approaching, my focus on life gets a little skewed. However, I am much better about keeping myself in-check than I used to be. As an educator I can't allow myself to slip up and give my students less of an education than they deserve, simply because I am freaking out over when I'll find time to finish my Tinker Bell wings. Teaching has certainly thrown a lot of things into perspective for me, and I'm glad it has helped me to pop that "crazy little cosplay bubble" - y'know the one, where your entire life seems to revolve around cosplay and you'll just OMG DIE if you don't finish 8 costumes by tomorrow morning? Oh yeah, popping that bubble was the best thing I've ever done for myself.
:"Will you be able to make it to Katsucon next year from Texas?"
I hope so! Let's put it this way: If everything goes well and I get another teaching position, I will have no problem whatsoever making it back up to the east coast conventions that I love so much (AUSA, Katsucon, Otakon). If things don't go so well and I have to work an odd job or two, it's likely that the only trips north I'll be making will be to see my family on holidays. I'm very much hoping for the former situation, rather than the latter. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
:"My question would be which of your outfits gets the best reception when you wear it, and is it one you expected to get a lot of attention or not?"
Good question! I've had two particular instances where a costume of mine has garnered a ridiculous amount of attention: The first was Tinker Bell at Katsucon, which is understandable given that she is an icon EVERYONE knows. Having little girls and their mommies flock to me en masse was absolutely incredible! The second, regrettably, was the silliest thing I've ever done in my life - a gag cosplay of Team Rocket with my friend ~sumredthings
. (Forewarning: We are not Pokemon fans, it began as an inside joke but later evolved into an excuse to be horribly loud and pretentious, and we made our costumes in 5 minutes yet still managed to be semi-accurate.) Neither of us knew going into this that Team Rocket is, apparently, everyone's favourite obnoxious duo, so we were flabbergasted to find ourselves surrounded by the biggest herd of photographers and con-goers we've ever seen. We're literally cracking up in every photo because we cannot believe people are taking us seriously, LOL. So to answer your question, yes and no. Sometimes it's impossible to predict what con-goers are going to go bonkers for.
:"How did you learn to sew? Are you self-taught? Do you know of good ways to learn?"
My mother taught me to sew when I was very young. She started me out sewing pieces of yarn through a sheet of plastic canvas with a kiddie sewing needle, then we moved on to cross-stitch. In middle school I learned to use a sewing machine, but it wasn't until I sat down to sew my first cosplay (Robin) that I asked my mother for an extensive lesson in how to make a garment from start to finish. In my opinion, the best way to learn how to sew is by watching someone else do it. There's much more to it than running fabric through a machine, so it's best to latch onto a friend or relative who's making something and assist them throughout the process of picking out a pattern, cutting out the pieces, pinning them together, sewing things up, and putting on the finishing touches. Start small - easy patterns with no alterations required - then work your way up the totem pole.
:"Not attending any conventions this summer? Does that mean you decided for sure not to attend Otakon, or is that still up in the air?"
I am saying "no" to Otakon for several reasons: Most importantly, it's right around the time I will be moving, so I have no idea what I will be up to at that time. But additionally, I don't want to feel indebted to attend or let down if it's impossible for me to be there, and I certainly would hate to let down any friends who were counting on me for groups. Is there a chance I will pop up at Otakon? Absolutely. But my plans for late July are so shaky at this point, I can't even give that a percentage of likelihood.
:"What cosplay are you most proud of?"
An easier question would be "Which cosplays are you LEAST proud of?" Speaking as my own worst enemy, I can't say I'm entirely proud of any of my costumes. It's hard for me to look at my work without mentally ripping it apart. But if I'm to be proud of anything, I suppose it would have to be Blood Seras, because I tried quite hard to put a new twist on the design (being blood-covered as opposed to simply using maroon fabric). Of course the critiques came rolling in - this was back in the day when I allowed myself to meander coshate sites - and a lot of people were quite vocal in their dislike for my interpretation, but in the end I did what I set out to do, learned a lot in the process, and was pleased with the end result.
:"What cosplay would you love to make? What cosplays are you working on?"
I'll come clean with you, I am positively DYING to make Rosa from the DS remake of Final Fantasy IV. I had originally planned to work on Beatrix from FFIX over the summer, but the more I play of IV and the more I stare at Rosa's deliriously difficult design (not to mention her hideous shoulder armor), the more enticing a project she becomes. The only costume I have under construction at the moment is "Explorer" Tinker Bell from the 2nd Disney Fairies movie, which I left half-finished after Katsucon. I'll be finishing that this summer, as well as embarking on my first bodysuit project (Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell) and whichever Final Fantasy lady I end up choosing.
:"Have you always liked making clothes? And did you take any special classes?"
I actually am not a big fan of sewing clothing for everyday wear - I'm not that good! The things I create are good enough to be worn a handful of times for a few hours apiece, but no more than that. Cosplay is rarely, if ever, functional/comfortable/durable, LOL. And no, I did not take any classes on sewing, other than a few lessons on the sewing machine when I was in middle school.
:"How long does it take you generally to make a costume? Or rather, how do you organize your time when creating a costume?"
I usually put more time into the planning process than anything else, simply because I like to get everything purchased/prepped beforehand so I can fly through the construction with little to no holdups. As for how long the construction process takes, it honestly varies from costume to costume. I've shat things out in one evening before, but the majority of my costumes have taken me 2-3 weeks to construct. For something more detailed like the Amano costumes, I try to give myself over a month. I consider myself a fairly slow worker compared to many of my friends, but I also am the sort of person that will work doggedly at one tiny detail for much longer than strictly necessary.
:I was wondering if you use patterns or make your own?
Patterning is really not my thing, but I have
gotten very good at altering existing patterns to fit my needs. Sometimes my relatives won't believe me when I show them what pattern I started with, because the end result is completely different except for the placement of the seams. Obviously there are instances where it becomes necessary to create my own patterns, but I honestly don't know how to do it, other than to cut out vague shapes and alter, alter, alter until I get a decent fit. ^__^; One of many sewing-related things I have yet to master!
If anyone has others they would like answered, I will happily add to this entry! ^__^
PS: I'm stuck on poll questions. Any suggestions?