Monday, 14 May 2018

Central Coast Comicon 2018

Here’s a non-lolita post, and a long one with lots of pictures, so consider yourself warned! And carry on if you want to read about my first foray into cosplaying at a convention.

So, a bit of backstory first. In 2016 some enterprising souls decided that the Central Coast deserved its own Comicon as a fundraising venture for youth mental health (I’m not sure if other conventions are for charity or for profit, so I don’t know if or how that affects things) and so Central Coast Comicon (C4 hereonin for easier typing) was born. I went that year – it was tiny! Held in the function hall of the local League’s Club with very little going on it was still heavily attended. Last year they moved venue to the local Showground but I lost track of time and didn’t end up going. This year, however, the ever talented Nat decided to have a stall in the Artist’s Alley so I committed nice and early to actually going.

I also decided to cosplay! For all my love of costumes and characters I’ve never actually done a proper cosplay before, so this was something new for me. Given that I’m fat right now, I decided that Rose Quartz from Steven Universe was a good choice. Also because it’s a comparatively simple costume – lots of ruffles, but not a complicated structure – I figured it was a good “beginner” cosplay. And I was mostly right! Keyword: mostly.

I did end up sewing the majority of it in the week before the convention (go procrastination!) and unfortunately on the Friday night I finished it all (sans star and gem), tried it on, and it was too big! I tried to take it in and it just did not work at all. The bodice was a horrible mess so I did the only sensible thing – decided to thrown on my Mr Universe shirt and do the “Story for Steven” version of Rose Quartz.

Photo by The Enthusiast <3

By an awesome stroke of luck James got access to a studio over the weekend of the convention, so we did a quick shoot before I went to make sure I had some good photos just in case (which turned out to be a very good idea, more on that later). I’ll be posting more to my facebook page if you want to see. I also have some WIP shots of the cosplay and assorted other photos in my Rose Quartz album there.

I’m rambling, so let’s cut ahead to Saturday May 5, the day of C4. I woke up, did my make-up, then went with James to the studio. Took photos, had fun, and then he dropped me at the Showground. I got my ticket scanned and received my wristband and program, then walked in through the gates. Immediately I was pretty overwhelmed, so I focused on finding the Artist’s Alley, which took me several consultations of my map and a bit of confusion…all to go into a building about fifty metres from the entrance! I had a bit of trouble making my way around all day because the wig was so big I had severe tunnel vision, and also I made my skirt too long so I had to do the classic kick walk to make my way around (more on that later). But anyway, I found Nat soon enough, deposited my bag and went on my way.

Since I was there, I started browsing the Artist’s Alley and immediately bought a book from the stall next to Nat then continued to check out some of the stalls. In the end I actually bought four novels, a novella, and a colouring book over the course of the day. I really love reading and also, as an aspiring writer myself, I wanted to support local authors. Here’s a shot of the books I ended up with!

I soon realised a lot of sellers would not have card payment options, so I drifted outside to the ATM. I had fun getting money, as the ATMs were in a trailer with a roof low enough that my wig wouldn’t fit, then continued to explore the rest of the convention. As I wandered, I got asked for a lot of photos, which made me really happy. And after a little bit I got confident enough to ask cosplayers for photos as well. Here’s a little collage of some of the excellent cosplayers from the day.

I won’t talk to much about what was at the convention, but there was a lot to see. There was an Artist’s Alley hall, another hall for merchandisers, an area with LARP groups and similar (including demonstrations and activities), muscle cars, an anime bus, an area with food stalls, a cosplay zone (which wasn’t much of anything, but still, it existed) and a lot of bigger stands in separate marquees. There was also a gaming hall with Lego displays, but I didn’t go there. I though there was a good mixture of independent people and stalls, big ones that obviously go around to a lot of conventions, as well as the typical “local” things like one of the radio stations and the Scouts. There was something going on the main stage all day, and musicians and circus performers were sporadically doing their thing in different places. Everyone I spoke to was nice!

The socks and tote bag were freebies!

Mostly I spent the day wandering around. I signed up for the cosplay competition (because why not!), ate a deep-fried spiralised potato on a stick, and browsed almost every stall there was (and bought a few more things). I ran into a friend, which was fun, and had a good chat with one of the LARP groups. Turns out they’re planning to start a chapter near me, and I think I’ll go if they do!

I stole a LARP sword! 
One of the LARPers removed his glove to take this photo for me ^__^

I also spent a decent amount of time sitting behind Nat’s stall, resting my feet! She had her streaming set up on the table with a laptop turned to face the walkway so you could see close up whatever she or her partner Luke were painting at the time. It really grabbed people’s attention, and she’s planning a bigger and better version of the set up next time. Mostly I just smiled and nodded to passers-by but on the occasions where I went into “stall holder” mode and talked to people I always directed people’s attention to my all-time favourite bit of painting she’s done.

How nuts are those wings?

It’s funny; the first C4 in 2016 had Night Haunter as a cosplay guest, who James and I have worked with a few times (and who is a really great guy). So back in 2016 I ended up manning his stand for a while too so that he could get some lunch. My style remains the same – professing my ignorance about the subject matter but gush about their talent ^__^

After a little while it was time for the cosplay contest pre-judging, so I went to the cosplay zone, collected my registration form, and stood in line for pre-judging. Unfortunately, things were running behind schedule (and also took ages) so I was standing in line for way too long. When the time came for my pre-judging, the judges basically asked which parts I made and which I bought, I explained why my hem was fraying, and that was it. I then had my photo taken and then milled around uncertainly, because all the other cosplayers were going in different directions. I wandered up to a Poison Ivy cosplayer (we exchanged Facebook pages later, so here’s a link to her!) to find out what we were meant to be doing, and together we drifted closer to the stage. Very soon all the cosplayers had to go up on stage in a big group, and while we stood there (awkwardly) the winners were announced. I will say that I’m a little annoyed that both second and first place went to people in postapocalyptic costumes, rather than actual cosplay. I mean, they looked cool, but there was some pretty good cosplays there on the day that I think deserved it more. But oh well.

The convention was nearly done at this point so I gathered up my things, said a temporary goodbye to Nat and Luke, and found a seat near the main stage to await the Mews Love Live performance. I really love Love Live (the anime, that is, not the game) so I had been really keen for this and it was very fun to watch. After that, I drifted outside to wait for James to come pick me up. After I got home, I got out of my costume and promptly collapsed for the rest of the day.

Now before I wrap up I’ll mention the big downer for me which is that I managed to ruin my costume. Because I made the skirt too long (I mean, I wanted it long, but I went too far) and also not doing any more finishing than a basic hem, I managed to rip out the hem of my lowest ruffle as I walked around. Which then proceeded to fray ridiculously, and due to the event being in a showground and me walking over some grass and leaves and what have you the threads tangled with debris from the ground into a big, horrible mess. Which kept getting caught under my shoes. Ugh. In addition to that, my wig fringe and beehive section got messier and messier, so by the time I got home I just ripped it all off and tossed it on our worktable. I was really bummed about it, because I put so much work into the costume, and after a few days of thought I came to a decision. I will not be fixing the cosplay, nor re-making. For now, I’m done with Rose Quartz.

Only did one photoshoot, but it was an epic one!
Photo by The Enthusiast <3

Which is a bit sad, but I’m still so proud of myself for finishing it and wearing it and now I feel like I can cosplay, if I want to, and that’s just great. But yeah, fixing Rose would involve a whole new bodice, fixing the skirt (or doing a new one, now I know why people don’t use chiffon for her), as well as a whole new wig (I wasn’t happy with the colour or shape) and that’s just too much for me right now. I learned a lot doing her, and would certainly do a better job if I re-made it, but for my next cosplay I want to do something new...and I don’t want to do another one for a little while!

As a final note on the cosplay I wanted to say that my gem (which due to the bodice issues I didn’t end up using) was 3D printed beautifully painted by Nat aka EVA Studios. I am bummed I didn’t get to use it, so I wanted to share a photo! I also want to say that James was an awesome help, and went to find me fabric while I was at work when I thought I’d run out. It turns out I was just having a silly moment and forgot I already owned the right stuff so it was a waste of his time (and I feel so bad about that) so I just wanted to mention that he’s an awesome fiancé. He was meant to come with me to C4 but was too sick, which was a massive bummer, but there’s always next year!

Not the best photo, this is about a quarter as good as it looks IRL.

All in all I had a really fun day, and enjoyed cosplaying a lot. More than I was expecting too, to be honest. I am a people person once I get started, so being in a costume that was recognisable really helped me get over my social barriers. The only downside of enjoying myself at C4 is now I’m thinking of going to more conventions, and already thinking up potential cosplays… ^__^

PS If there are any Steven Universe readers on this blog...OMG the newest episode! I can't believe the timing...


  1. This was so much fun to read. I think doing the "story for steven" version was perfect solution, those photos are amazing (and I love the one of you with the sword too!). I haven't done cosplay in a long while, but this makes me want to again. (and omg I know, the last episode left me with so many questions - I'd heard the theory before but never believed it)

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, and thank you for your kind words ^__^

      You should totally cosplay again! I'm very keen to do my next one!

      Oh yeah, I am so keen to see where they take the show next. There are just so.many.options right now.