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!
So here’s my “I Think it’s Right” chronological list of Dragon Age media. I consider the tabletop RPG, The Art of Dragon Age: Inquisition and The World of Thedas vols. I & II to be standalone, so haven’t included them here. Same goes for the Prima game guides.
The Stolen Throne*
Dawn of the Seeker (Cassandra’s movie)†
IDW comics‡ Dragon Age: Origins; Leliana’s Song, Warden’s Keep, The Stone Prisoner & Return to Ostagar DLCs.
Warden’s Fall machinima (Kristoff’s backstory)† – can be found on YouTube
Penny Arcade webcomics‡ Dragon Age: Awakening expansion; Golems of Amgarak & Witch Hunt DLCs Dragon Age 2; The Exiled Prince & Legacy DLCs
Redemption (Tallis’s mini-series)† Mark of the Assassin DLC
The Masked Empire*
The Silent Grove‡
Those Who Speak‡
Until We Sleep‡
The Last Flight* Dragon Age: Inquisition;Jaws of Hakkon & The Descent DLCs
Dragon Age: Magekiller‡ Trespasser DLC Dragon Age: Knight Errant ‡
I spent years telling myself that cosplay wasn’t for me. Long before I joined my first cosplay group or forum, I was aware of the bullying that comes from offering images of your work and yourself up to the web. So every time I envied the amazing cosplayers that I came across, I would remind myself that I was too old, completely the wrong body type and that my wheelchair would “ruin” everything. Wheeling around a convention at eye-level with most people’s belt buckles could never look as impressive as striding across the floor, sword in hand. I was quite sure that I would be opening myself up to nothing but ridicule and negativity – after all, if a person can receive the sort of hate that I’d seen online, just because they are considered too thin, too fat, too tall or too short for the character they’re cosplaying, what hope was there for me?
By chance I came across a supportive and encouraging group in autumn 2015, and I took my first real cosplay out last November. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet some incredibly creative and talented people, who have made me feel very welcome, and as a result I’ve had so much fun cosplaying these last ten months.
But although I’ve been fortunate to have experienced the best that the cosplay community has to offer, despite my fears, it saddens me that cosplay bullying is still such a problem. For every well-circulated incident that we see on social media, there are so many more that we never even hear about.
We’re all geeks in costume, celebrating our fandoms. We should be building each other up, offering encouragement and constructive feedback, sharing our skills and experiences, not ripping our comrades in arms to pieces.
What with the push at the beginning of June to be ready for The Calling 2016, I’ve struggled to fit in blogging time over the last few weeks and then with not being able to spend my usual two days asleep to recover from the working week, I had to take some time to crash once we got home from Beverley. So I’ve had a chilled out week playing Elder Scrolls Online, watching Deep Space 9 and generally having a well-earned break from cosplay. I do have a few updates waiting in my drafts folder that just need finishing up and photographs adding, including a write up from The Calling, so keep an eye out for those over the next couple of days.
After some deliberation, I decided that I actually do want to go to MCM Manchester at the end of July, so I’m back to sewing and crafting in the hope that I might finish Mahariel in time. On top of that, I’ve signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo this month, having skipped April’s for cosplay prep, so the next few weeks are shaping up to be busy ones!
A few people have contacted me to say lovely things about my work, which I really do appreciate. It’s quite something to have others not only take the time to read my posts but to also get in touch to say that they like what I’m doing, so thank you very much to everyone who has messaged me, whether it was just to say hello or to offer suggestions and advice.
I’ve been asked several times why I don’t allow comments on my posts, as being able to comment would be the fastest and easiest method of letting people get in touch with me. In all honesty, it’s simply the hassle of moderation that keeps me from turning the comments on. I have another blog elsewhere for my writing, which is mostly inactive (in all seriousness, there are only so many times I can post “I’m still writing, go me!”) but for every friendly comment or constructive criticism, there are two trolls sending irrelevant and/or abusive messages and for every troll there’s half a dozen spam posts.
It’s not only disheartening to have to wade through all the rubbish (especially when I get an email notification about each and every one) but it’s time that I’d much rather spend on my actual hobbies. So that’s why I turn off the comments. I’m considering switching them on for a short experiment over the summer when I will, hopefully, not be madly constructing costumes and props in such a restricted timeframe and have a bit more time for adjusting the settings and moderating comments that need to be moderated. In the meantime, if you want to say hi, offer constructive criticism or point me towards your own blog, the best way to get in touch is through my Facebook page.