SP Snow White: Photoshoot #1

It’s been a pretty busy couple of weeks in the Angell household. On top of my husband finding out he had to be in Korea another week, I had physical, massage, and counseling therapy, along with a meet and greet at a preschool with Tinker Fairy, a photo shoot, and then a talent show. I will get to the photo shoot in a bit, but let me start off by saying that even though I was busy, I felt like I was accomplishing something. What that was, I still do not know *laughs*.  I will be sharing about the talent show in my upcoming post so keep an eye out for that. It will include a video!!

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Cathedral Bridge, Portland, OR (Source: Google Images-Cathedral Bridge)

Wednesday, the 9th, I went out with my sweet, amazing cousin, and photographer, Jenelle Newton. We took a drive to Cathedral Park in Portland, Oregon for my photo shoot. I had this place in mind for this particular shoot for quite some time now. It has a regal elegance to it that is unmatched in the city. It’s a bridge that goes across the Willamette river. The towers across the road are giant cathedral like archways. This same look is underneath the bridge as well, hence the name Cathedral Park.

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Cathedral Park, Portland, OR (Picture by: Janice Angell)

We were hoping to be there at 2pm and work till 4pm, however we didn’t end up arriving at the park until closer to 3pm. This meant we only had one hour for me to get the rest of the costume on and make some magic happen. We probably should have thought through this one a bit more. Jenelle came prepared with some poses that I could do and a mirror as a prop. I’m so happy she thought of that cause that was a really, really neat idea.

We did a few shots up near the lamppost and the stairs that lead back up to the parking lot. No matter what, this park has some great backdrops for photography. Jenelle did quite a bit of editing and so did I. I changed some levels (brightness, contrast, shadows, and highlighting) along with adding some vignetting effects.

DSC_0062We then walked down to a weeping willow tree that sits right below one of the archways under the bridge. Weeping willows are one of my favorite trees. I keep asking my husband if we could put one in our yard, but honestly, I want one already grown. This was really a perfect setting. Unfortunately both Jenelle and I did not realize that my gold collar was lying flat. Because this is a “Snow White” the collar has to be standing up. We did poses with the gun, map, the spyglass and all my other knickknacks. Jenelle was great at creating poses that would work for this particular cosplay, even though she hasn’t even read the story yet. By the way… I am almost done with that and will soon be posting the finished work… after some editing of course.

From the willow tree we walked down below towards the train tracks. I was a little nervous about getting pictures on the tracks… but we really needed to. I mean think about it… Dwarves, mining, Snow White… it just fits! I don’t have the dwarves in my story, but I do mention them. As we were on the tracks we were very cautious and looking around quite a bit to see if the train was coming. It is an active track so I was a bit concerned.

While doing our thing there was a drone with a camera flying in between the trees on the other side. It was facing us and all I could do was just stare at it like “what do you want?”. Honestly it was quite hysterical. The sound of those things are a bit annoying, but I know someone who can get some amazing shots with those. Makes me wish I had one just so we could do some different stuff! What would’ve made this shot even better is fog!!  Pretty sure we will be utilizing one the next go around.

DSC_0090Near these train tracks is this giant cement housing which serves as not only a support for the bridge but also… well I’m not exactly sure what it is. I do know that it has doors that are being blocked by a metal gate. This picture was taken on a day that I took my kids with me on a scouting mission. If this looks familiar at all to you… then you either live in Portland, OR… or you have seen the show “The Librarians” on TNT. It’s a great show and features Christian Kane. He’s one of my favorite actors and also plays in Leverage. Both shows are directed by Dean Devlin and are absolutely fantastic! Anyways, this spot is used quite often for scenes in the show. I’m not sure if it is this side or if they have the same thing on the other side of the river, nonetheless it’s a great place.

Back on topic… we though the stone would make a great back drop for some of the photos, along with the crest emblem that is on the side of the structure. We also used the ledge for some great shots with the mirror prop. This involved Jenelle having to climb on the edge and trying to get a decent angled shot in the mirror. It took awhile but she got it.

Our next thing was to get some good shots close up. We wanted to do shots with the goggles and with my birdie on my shoulder (one of my favorite props). These turned out amazing and are some of my favorite shots. Don’t get me wrong, I love the full length ones as well, but these shots just seemed to capture Snow a bit more.

At this point it was already time to leave. We had so much more we wanted to do but never got a chance. Now we have better ideas for a second photo shoot which will be coming up, probably after Rose City Comic Con. Our next location will be at Edgefield McMenamins which has a very Steampunk feel to it. We will be bring the fog machine along to get some more action shots!

So there you have it!!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures! Again… Be sure to check out my facebook page and twitter for updates and conversations regarding current and future cosplays. Yes… I’m already thinking of and planning the next cosplay! We never stop thinking!!

SP Snow White-Part 3: Accessories

Steampunk is one of those genres/cultures that detail matters. That’s part of the reason I was extremely apprehensive about starting this cosplay. It had to be unique… but it had to also work with steampunk. The main outfit works well with the genre… but it needed those details to really make it work. That’s when I added in accessories. Each accessory has a unique part in the story.

Oh… did I not tell you?  I wrote a story about her! Don’t worry, you’ll get to read it as soon as I finish it. For now… here is a synopsis.

The Kingdom of Landel in the land of Aldoran was once ruled by fair a King; his daughter, Snow White, along side him. They were joyful and at peace until the King married. The new Queen sought to rule the kingdom on her own. After the passing of the King all that stood in the way was her step daughter… the most fairest in all the land. The Queens mission… remove Snow! She had a plan to conquer the kingdom… little did she know the true hearts of those that served the King.

Sounds a lot like the Original right? Well, almost. I mean she is Snow after all. However, in this story there is magic, potions, and deception! Forget the apple… it’s a thing of the past.

17015674_1449430778414064_3938004586006908426_oOne of the first accessories I needed to get started on was the hat which I made out of stiff stabilizer, red velvet fabric, a fake birdie, black head band and some gears and chains. The hardest part was making sure all the little details stayed on the hat and wouldn’t keep falling off. They did just that… quite often. I had to use a glue called quick-bond that worked better for metal. Here is the link to the YouTube video I made for the hat: SP Hat Instruction.

20170710_23043420170518_234324The necklace I wanted to make took a lot of tries and a lot of mistakes. Tip: #1 ModgePodge in a thick layer will crack, #2 Do not put Dimensional Magic on fresh ink, #3 Don’t get stressed. The drawing for the pendant came from a lady in my cosplay group I am in on facebook. I had asked if anyone could draw out a steampunk anatomical heart and she took up the project. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that she did cause it turned out amazing. The picture is on a base made out of baking clay. I tried using metal pendants but none of them were big enough. This pendant is what spurred quite q bit of the story line as well so it’s a very pivotal piece.

20170524_230212The bracer with the nautical compass was a little bit of a challenge. Trying to put a flat metal object on a small rounded forearm is not that easy. Luckily I have an engineer for a husband. He cut out two pieces of light wood that sat underneath the compass and took up the space between the base. I added a coil to give it a bit more steampunk flair but it was a last minute detail so it is not pictured until the completion.

20170521_163755The watch bracer has a particular part to the story. The hunter gives it to Snow to protect her. It makes her invisible to the Queen for a certain amount of time. When the clock stops the spell is no longer active and the mirror in which the queen uses to determine if there is anyone fairer than she, will know that Snow is alive. This brace involved a few layers of gears, clock face, and clock hands. The two glass bottles on the sides is what houses the potion to keep the spell active.

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Base painting!

On to the gun! Goodwill or any thrift store that sells toys is an amazing place to find cheap Nerf Guns. It doesn’t have to work, but you do want it to be the right look.

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Honestly I could’ve got a smaller one, but I really liked the revolver idea. I did a couple base paints with some Krylon spray (best stuff for plastic) but I ended up painting over that as well. One thing that is problematic is the paint you use to do the detailing with. I tried to used normal craft paint and it does not stick to plastic well, especially the metallic or chrome kind. It is definitely possible to accomplish, just be sure to do a few coats over it. When I mean a few… it may take a lot.

I added a few old O2 canisters from the little spray duster cans and put on some silver jar cap looking things. This allowed me to add a bit more in the way of aesthetics. I also added a scope. The scope made me very frustrated. The first time I did it I used wine bottle corks, painted them and drilled a hole through them. I then glued them together and added flat copper wire around each end and in the middle covering up the seam.20170526_221729 Getting the wire to stay attached to the cork and the corks themselves staying together was not working. So instead I cut the length I wanted out of a 1/2 inch pvc pipe, painted it and then added a couple pipe clamps to each end. Now the scope is a heck of a lot sturdier.

I unfortunately do not have a finished pic of the gun with the new scope, but once I get my photo shoot pictures I will.

Every steampunk character needs a pouch to hold whatever goodies they are in. So I made one for snow.

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20170521_163719.jpgIt holds the keys that belong to her heart. If you need to look back at the pendant for this… do so. It also holds some mapping tools and a few potion bottles… oh… and lets not forget a map of the Land! The leather pouch was my own pattern and it is hand stitched. Before stitching leather… be sure to make holes first. Much easier. Less painful. I also created the belt at this time so I could add the extra keys, a holder for the spyglass, and a place to hang the birdie in the cage.

20170521_204209The bird in the cage is done by modeling clay. I’m honestly surprised it has stayed intact but that’s good. The map, which is placed in the pouch, was something of my own design.

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I had never once made a map from scratch before, but I had to try it. I love how it turned out and I coffee stained it the night before the photo-shoot. However, when I got home and when to take out my belt… my map was no where to be found. Yep… that’s right… I’m making another one.

Right next to the bird cage is a strap that goes from under the skirt and attaches to the belt to bustle the skirt up.  At first this was going to be a mechanical piece. We were going to have a pulley system that I could crank and it would come up or go down. Despite our dozen efforts to get it to work, it was just not doing what we wanted it to do. Oh well. Sometimes you have to just move on when things get too stressful and change it up.

There you have it! A complete cosplay.

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There are still a few things I may be adding but it’s finished and I could never be happier.

Remember that these things take time. Do not rush yourself. Take it one step at a time and NEVER stress on something for too long. Take a break and do something else. Then see what you can do.

Keep a weather eye out… I hope to reveal some photo-shoot shots soon!  Take care and … live long and nerdy!

Don’t Give Up, Don’t Quit

​Is there anyone else, aside from me, that gets made fun of for cosplaying or going to comic cons? I thought for sure that after becoming an adult (which was 16 years ago) that I wouldn’t have to deal with immature people making fun of me just to make themselves look and feel better. Just recently I heard someone say that cosplaying and going to comic cons was childish and immature. 
Cosplaying is an art. It takes time, focus, and a great deal of talent in order to create something that you don’t really have a pattern for. It’s not just a costume, it’s a masterpiece. When I go out dressed in whatever I have made, people get to see an art form. It’s like going to a gallery filled with sculptures and paintings that you’ve never seen before. You stop and admire the art that someone put their whole heart into. 

The first cosplay I fully made was the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time. It’s what started it all. The day I finished that costume was the day my father passed away. He always told me that I was talented and that I could do anything. So I did. He never got a chance to see my finished work, but I can hear his voice saying “that’s amazing”. So when I hear someone saying that cosplay is childish and immature, it hurts. It cuts deeper than some could ever imagine. When I was faced with that, I almost gave up until those that were the closest to me reminded me just how far I have come.

I’m 34 years old. I enlisted in the US Navy when I was 18 and honourably discharged on September 11th 2001. I’ve moved to 3 different states since I married the love of my life and best friend.  I have my bachelors in Creative Writing and English, graduating with the highest honours. My husband and I own a house, have a 6 month old baby girl, 2 beautiful and amazing step kids (one who loves to dress up as well and asks me every year to make a costume for her), and I started my own business. I have accomplished a lot, but it wasn’t on my own. I believe in an omnipotent God who guided me and saved me through many areas in my life. He blessed me with a talent to sing, play guitar, write, act, and create beautiful costumes. Through Him I am able to Cosplay and I use it for His Glory! 

Imagine being in a place where people think that Christians look down upon comic cons and cosplayers. This is what happens today. At Rose City Comic Con last year I was walking into the front door when a sidewalk evangelist was protesting the comic con and saying that everyone who went was going to hell. I was shocked. I’m a Christian. I’m a follower of Christ. This disgusted me more than anything that someone could mislead so many people just because they don’t think its right. I don’t see anywhere in the Word of God that says a person can’t have a hobby, read comics, or make costumes. If your a Christian and you do read comics, go to comic cons, or cosplay, be aware of the characters you are portraying. Make sure they are good and clean, and that it doesn’t take away from the Lord. 

When I go to a comic con it’s almost like my mission field. God has blessed me with being able to create some amazing projects and has given me the strength to remind people that it wouldn’t be possible without God. I know what you are thinking… here she goes with that Christian rhetoric… yes, I talk like this, but I’m also there to make friends and to spread the love of God without judging.

To those of you who feel drag down by others because they don’t understand what you do or why you do it, don’t let it get to you. Keep going. Push forward. DON’T QUIT. It’s easy to quit and let them win, but you can’t do it. And for those of you who are the ones that make fun of this craft and the comic conventions… do me a favour… you try to do what we do. It’s not easy, but it sure is fun!! 

To Cos-play or Not to Cos-play…

Last year, sometime in the summer I believe, I attended my first ever Comic-Con in Boston, Massachusetts. I wasn’t really set on Cos-playing at the time, but I was sure that I wanted to dress up. I decided, since I had beautiful long brown hair at the time, to cos-play Vala Malderan from Stargate SG-1 (the last three seasons). I already had the SG1 black combat uniform because I was Samantha Carter for Halloween a couple years before that.The only thing I really needed to do was straighten my hair and place it in pig tails.

Vala Malderan Cosplay - Boston Comic-Con 2014
Vala Malderan Cosplay – Boston Comic-Con 2014

Who knew that this would start me on a long journey of Cos-playing that has a never ending future. From that time on I have been contemplating many different characters to cos-play. Recently I have gotten involved in a Lord Of the Rings Costuming group on Facebook, which I met at Emerald City Comic-con this past February. After my SG-1 Cosplay I wanted to step up the game and make my own.

Sewing is not new to me. I have made many costumes/outfits in my time but cos-playing is a bit different. It’s a lot more about accuracy and characterization than it is about just making a costume.  I had picked up a pattern for the Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time, and knew in an instant that was my next adventure. I started by searching many fabric types that could possibly work and be accurate. I also needed to keep it in my price range, which made picking out fabric quite a challenge. However, thanks to the wonderful 50% off coupons I get from Joann Fabrics, I was able to find a brocade fabric that would work perfect. It was still a bit on the expensive side since I needed almost 9 yards of fabric, but thanks to my mom and dad for a generous birthday gift, I was able to splurge a bit.

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Evil Queen from Once Upon A Time Cos-play Rose City Comic-Con September 20th 2014

Tuesday, September 9th, I started to make the Evil Queen Cos-play. I was planning on wearing it on Halloween  since I wasn’t sure when the next  comic-con was that I could attend. That day I got a call from my mom saying that my dad had passed away from a heartache. This news came as a complete shock and in order to keep my mind off of it, I continued to work on the cos-play. It took me two days to finish it, just before I would fly out for my dads funeral and memorial service. The day of my fathers Memorial was the Rose City Comic-con in Portland. Well, since my dad had given me the money to purchase the fabric for this cos-play, I figured, what better way to remember my dad then showing up in my cos-play at comic-con. As I walked around and people stopped to get pictures of me, I was constantly reminded of my dad and how he would be saying, jokingly, “You ain’t got no talent”. It was a phrase I heard quite often from him when I finished a new project or decorated another cake. He said it to remind me how much talent I do have, and I can’t thank him enough for that.

After this I was so excited for the next comic-con and all the things I could possibly do. However, the next comic-con I went to, I didn’t cos-play at. Instead I went, supporting my F-Cancer shirt from Stephen Amell, and got to meet him as well. It was a huge moment and I do not regret not cos-playing for that.

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Tauriel from The Hobbit Cos-play Photo by: Jenelle and Jan Newton

The next plan was to invade Emerald City Comic-Con with my two cousins. My cousin Jenelle Cos-played Batgirl and I cos-played Tauriel from the Hobbit. This cos-play took the longest to make and had much more fabrication involved. My brother-in-law helped make the leather waist guard and arm bracers after I created the design to be imprinted on it and i made my own bow and arrows out of pvc pipe, craft foam, clay, and other materials. The finished work was amazing and it was the first time I ever had to wear a wig.

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Tauriel, Thandruil, and Bilbo Emerald City Comic-Con 2015

At Emerald City I made a couple friends who cos-played as Bilbo Baggins and Thandruil. Their cos-plays were amazing. I was basically in awe of how much work they put into it. I also knew that I needed to step up my game a bit. They were the ones that told me about the Lord of The Rings Costuming group, which I am now involved in and enjoying the many updates of the cos-plays that people are working on.

I liked my Tauriel so much that I decided I wanted to make another Lord of the Rings character, so I chose Galadriel.

20150505_224852I have not worn this cos-play at any convention, yet, however I have plans to wear it to the next Emerald City Comic-con. For now, I am finished with it and will be doing a photo shoot with my cousin sometime in the near future.

My future cos-play endeavors include: Tinkerbell, WWII Peggy Carter and Captain America (with the help of my dear husband), Storm from X-Men, The Winter Sisters (Frozen), Disney Snow White and the Once Upon a Time Snow White, and Cinderlla.

I am so blessed to be a part of such an amazing art form. I’ve met many wonderful people along with seeing some amazing cos-plays that I can’t even begin to imagine how to do it. I’m still new to all of this, but its a growing fascination and I’m getting more involved in understanding what it is to be a cos-player. May I never loose sight of what it really means!