I was reminded today that I had started a bookbinding project with the short stories for the Dragon Age II companions, but had never gotten around to finishing it.
I was trying to come up with an in-universe reason for the companions to have shared these parts of their backstories and decided that it would be a single volume print as a birthday gift for my canon Hawke, Lyanna.
My husband deserves credit for his suggestions, particularly for inspiring the exchange between Anders, Varric and Bodahn, and for letting me use his own handwriting for Anders.
The plan is to get this printed and hand-bound once I’m done with my prototype, so I may be opening commissions on these eventually, with comments addressed to your own Hawke. But for the time being, the collection can be viewed by clicking on the cover pages below.
With ten days until The Calling, I’ve been buried under piles of fabric and foam to get my cosplays ready. During some downtime, I joined in with a FaceApp thread on a Dragon Age Facebook group and the next thing I knew, I’d lost half the afternoon to it.
Four months in, 2017 has thrown me some real curve balls so far, which has badly depleted a lot of my energy and motivation – but my cosplay builds are still miraculously crawling along. I am going to get around to full posts for each project but for now, here’s a quick update on how things are going.
Celene has fallen onto the back burner a bit recently, as I had to postpone my plans to go and make the ballgown. That said, she now has a mask and a wig is on its way, so I’m going to have to get myself sorted out for dress making and fittings in May, otherwise my brother isn’t going to have an outfit to wear to the ball when The Calling comes around in June!
The other big task is going to be the lion’s head for the back of the dress, so I’ve been doing a few experiments with resin casting and need to find the time to actually sit down and make a clay master.
My Emerald Knight is slowly but surely coming together. I’ve finalised the embroidery design and started drafting patterns for the sewn garments. Her foam armor pieces are pretty much ready for priming and painting – just the sabatons to build and a few tweaks to the breastplate, then I need to settle on which shades of paint I want to use. I decided that I wasn’t happy with the foam scalemaille that I made for Mahariel, so I’ve been busy weaving chainmaille for Lindiranae’s sleeves, which is almost finished, and to remake Mahariel’s Regalia of Weisshaupt.
Other DA-related Stuff
A while back I booked an appointment to get another geeky tattoo and decided to get the Inquisition sigil just above my ankle, to balance out the Stark direwolf on my other leg. I have a couple of other designs pretty much ready to go – I just need the funds and to decide exactly where I want to put them!
Last month we went to MCM Birmingham and (after a few trips back and forth waiting for a quieter moment to queue) I got Gareth David-Lloyd to sign my Inquisition art book. I’ve since started stalking the other voice actors’ Twitter and Facebook pages to see if we’re likely to get any of the others at relatively local conventions so that I can get the other character pages signed.
Our next scheduled event is The Calling in June (UK Dragon Age fans, go check it out!) so I badly need to crack on!
I’ve noticed that one of the most frequent questions, at least in the circles of DA fans that I visit regularly, is either about which order to read the novels in or asking what exactly is out there in terms of Dragon Age media. I put this list together recently, and since no one has corrected me yet, I think it’s current and correct. I go hunting for this at least once a day, and since Facebook groups don’t as yet seem to search the comments, I figured it was easiest to drop a copy here, where I can find the damn thing!
Edit: 28th July 2017 I’ve had a few messages to say that the list format was difficult to read, so I’ve amended it into a table, added the dates from my research and rearranged a couple of items to fit better. I’ve also included my notes to indicate how I’ve dated some of them.
As always, if there are any errors or if anything is missing, please feel free to leave a message below and I’ll credit your addition.
Please note: I’ve noticed a few pages cropping up that have virtually copy-pasted my entire post, including slight rewordings of my introductory paragraph. I don’t mind people sharing the list – the whole reason for writing it was so that people could have access to anything they haven’t yet seen – but I’ve put a lot of effort into tracking some of these things down, figuring out where some of the more obscure things fit into the timeline (to the best of my knowledge) and maintaining the list. I would really appreciate if re-posters would either give me credit for my effort or link back to this page. Thank you!
There’s quite a few layers of paint, starting with base coats in gold and pewter, followed by varying shades of metallic acrylic, then watered down browns, blacks and reds for dirt and rust. The grip is actually brown vinyl painted blue, which gave the closest match in colour and texture to my screenshots.
The last thing I want to do is to add some watered down acrylics to the knuckle-bow to dirty it up a bit, then I think Evanura is ready for sealing. As she has a Master frost rune in-game, I had originally intended to add some frosting spray to the blade but I think it may be overkill at this point.
We don’t have any conventions or shoots planned until MCM Birmingham in March, so (in theory, at least) I’ve got a few chilled out months to prep and build Lindiranae’s armour. I’m growing quite a nice collection of fabrics for her… the difficulty is going to be choosing which ones I want to use!
(Okay, I know I ramble when I write posts so if you’re just here for the video, scroll to the bottom!)
Back in January, Abi of Butthead and Pastry cosplay suggested a summer Dragon Age shoot at Warwick Castle and asked if anyone would be interested. I fired off my response with less than thirty seconds of consideration. At the time, I had Lavellan half finished and wasn’t sure whether my work would be anywhere near the quality of the more experienced cosplayers, but I was so eager to be part of it.
Warden-Commander Mahariel was next on my list of “Must-do Cosplays” and my experiments were already underway, so once the date was set for August I had less than eight months to get her finished, alongside all my other projects. In retrospect, I could have done with dropping a few things so that Mahariel could be a little more polished but, life being what it is, I made do.
I always pack more props than I’m likely to need, just in case, and The Gathering was definitely no exception! As well as my Antivan Fire grenade and Jar of Bees, I packed a few lyrium and health potions, my Warden’s codex , two plush nugs and a mabari. That was as close to “packing light” as I really get!
I also found a gorgeous label for Aggregio Pavali (by taye_x on Reddit), which inspired us to make some more based on Inquisition’s Bottles on the Wall collection! From left to right: Golden Scythe 4:90 Black; West Hill Brandy; Butterbile 7:84; Aggregio Pavali; Dragon Piss. Eventually, we may actually get around to doing the rest of the collection.
I tend to be an anxious person, especially in new situations. The Calling, held at Beverley Friary in June, was my first big non-MCM event. Aside from my husband and brother, who got dragged along, I had never met a single attendee before and not only survived living with everyone for a long weekend, I loved every minute of it. Although Warwick Castle is on a much grander scale than Beverley Friary (and utterly crammed with tourists!), I felt much less intimidated by the idea of meeting so many new people than I had on the way to The Calling. It helped that I’d already met Abi and Jay, who organised the shoot, as well as a few others, at conventions earlier in the year but I was so worried about whether my costume would look terribly gauche compared with the fantastic work I’d seen the others posting on Facebook in the months before.
On the morning of the shoot I realised that I’d neglected to pack the tiny invisible elastics I’d bought for Mahariel’s braids, so I ended up having to use a random hairband I found in my makeup bag to pull some of my hair back in an approximate style.
I had such anxiety over my hair that I wondered if I’d get away with hiding it under my hood…
I won’t drag out a blow-by-blow account of the day, but I really want to say how fantastic the day was. All the cosplayers, roped-in partners, photographers and The 86th Floor, who did all our professional shots and filmography were amazing. It was a real pleasure to hang out with them all day and the cosplayers looked absolutely incredible. Even though I’d seen photos of a few of the costumes on Facebook beforehand, the detail and designs were so impressive. I’ll put a full list of all the cosplayers involved at the bottom of this post – please go check out their work and give them some love!
The big surprise of the day was how much the tourists enjoyed us being there! We knew that the castle was going to be open to the public – we were all there on day tickets, after all, and I expected we would probably get some funny looks and possibly some derisive comments. Some thought we were employees of the castle, in all our fantasy regalia, and a lot of us were stopped regularly so that visitors and their kids could have photos taken with us. At one point, I was sitting in my wheelchair waiting with Ellie (our fabulous Zevran) for a turn in front of the camera and we had an almost constant stream of people come, one after another, to pose with us for the better part of about fifteen or twenty minutes. They were queuing. It was the most surreal thing I’ve experienced in cosplay, so far!
We didn’t manage to get as many photos as we would have liked, especially of the Inquisition crew (Warwick Castle itself is not very wheelchair friendly and a lot of their shoot was done indoors) and somehow completely failed to get any of Catbutt Cosplay’s fantastic Yavanna and Phil the Despair Demon. We did manage to get a few nice ‘behind the scenes’ pictures, though. Go and check out the professional photos at The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music and The Space In Between Photography!
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get Alistair to pose with the ballista!
Merrill; Varric Tethras; Hawke; Tallis; Aveline Vallen; Anders
Varric Tethras and Bianca
I think this shot of Merrill might have to become another Kirkwall Office of Tourism postcard!
How amazing do these guys look?! Cole; Sera; Dorian; Solas; Inquisitor Lavellan; Cullen Rutherford; Cassandra Pentaghast; Vivienne; Varric Tethras; Lace Harding
Managed to catch Harding in her other role as photographer. I’m hoping she’ll be publishing a photo book in collaboration with Varric – “Scouting Thedas: Images from the Western Approach to the Brecilian Forest “
Photography by D. Allen
The Champion is wondering what she did to get stuck promoting Kirkwall’s Office of Tourism
Naturally, the Viscount got roped in to promote Kirkwall as a tourist destination…
Yavanna – Photography by The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music
Our thanks to Warwick Castle for letting us come and play on the site; Abi and Jay for organising everything; The Eighty-Sixth Floor Music for all their hard work; The WinnTeam and The Space In Between Photography for helping to capture the day; all the cosplayers and helpers for making the day so much fun. You’re all so amazingly talented and it was a real honour to be part of this project with you.