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Photo by: Bentpic5

Photo by: Bentpic5

So…I’ve been asked by many people why I cosplay and many other questions. I figure it’s time to give you all my personal stories and opinions. That way, you all can know me just being me. Not the Sparky you know now. Just…me. (kinda scary when I think about it.)

Let’s start from BEFORE cosplay: I grew up playing video games and watching some anime here and there. Mainly Toonami. (the good old days) I was a tom boy who deer hunted, rode dirt bikes and four wheelers, and rode horses. All of my friends were boys. All of them. I just normally didn’t get along with them. (most of the time I still don’t)

I had always had a fascination with anime and cosplaying when I came across it on a website. The first costume I ever saw of a cosplayer was Sephiroth from Final Fantasy. I thought it was an actor but it was actually a cosplayer in Japan. I marveled at the accuracy and detail that he had done. However, the flame vanished just as quickly as it had appeared. Why? Because I lived in a town where being different wasn’t a great thing. Especially being a teacher’s daughter. Kinda the small hometown thing. I was afraid to be too different. So I took to music and drawing.

I had always liked music from a small age. Since as long as I an remember honestly. It started with the keyboard. Then went to me singing in church. And when I got to high school, band. I was a majorette for a couple of years and then in the colorguard. After an ankle accident I discovered a new passion: the drums. I loved indoor drumline and playing the marching drums. I would try to play anime and game music melodies on the keyboards (vibraphone, marimba, etc.). It was a sneaky way to let my geek shine.

When I went to college. All of my closet nerd childhood was forgotten. I joined the music fraternity and made new friends who were in a sense nerds and geeks, but not on the same levels. I wasn’t happy. I now felt even more pressure to live up to someone’s standards. Then came along an instance and someone who changed that for me.

It happened during a P.E. class in college. We were working on attacks (the class was sword techniques), I was goofing off with one of the few nerd friends I had when I put my bokken on the ground and placed my hand palm facing and yelled: “Get over here!”

The room stopped. I turned a bright red and looked around. My secret was out. My other class mates giggled and walked over to me. We talked for a little while and they were astonished at how big of a nerd I really was. They called me “closet nerd”. With comments of, “You don’t look like a nerd, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s honestly a good one.”

And I realized at that moment they were right. I had been hiding the real me for a long, long time. I realized that this new place was a new chance to be myself. I don’t have to fit in a box, I can be me. With this new mind set, I began to be very happy with life. I stopped with the fraternity and worked on making myself happy. It was at this time I was told I could no longer play music like I wanted to. I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. A very painful thing. It has taken over my right wrist and hand. It still bothers me to this day but I work through it. While I was devastated, I didn’t feel like all hope was lost.

I owe this person (who will remain anonymous) my whole inspiration for cosplay. I met her through an x-friend and we hit it off. She liked the same anime I liked (by this time I was watching it regularly), loved the same music I liked, and was so kind to me. We were sitting there comparing wigs when she came across a Lightning one. She looked at me and then the wig. She then proceeded to tell me I looked a lot like this character. Upon doing some research (the game was fixing to some out), I liked Lightning. I still do. I love her personality and what she stands for. She then told me I should cosplay her. I was shocked at the idea at first. Me? Cosplay? It was only in passing thought. But she was persistent that I do this. So I did.

ImagePhoto by: Firebird Photography

I went to KamiCon Season 3. It changed my life forever. The friends I made and the experiences I had were wonderful. Did I feel a little like a freak at first? Hell yeah I did! I was walking down the street with pink hair and a skirt. I was super nervous about walking into the convention and people telling me my cosplay sucked or that it wasn’t accurate. (FUN FACT: Lightning was store bought. But over the past 3 years has been remade piece by piece.) But everyone was super nice.

This was where it all began folks. The rest goes down in history. I made wonderful friends, met my future husband, and wouldn’t change a thing. The paths we walk are what shape us into the people we choose to be. We need to be who we can look back on and say “yeah, I screwed up here and there, but it was a pretty good life.”

Photos by: Bentpic5 and Brad Sargeant

Photos by: Bentpic5 and Brad Sargeant

 So, why do I cosplay? Simple: I want to be a role model. As crazy as that sounds I want to show girls it’s okay to be a nerd . But most importantly for everyone to know it’s okay to be yourself. To me, that is most important. Will people talk about you behind your back? Of course! Will people hate on your cosplays! Yup! Smile and take it. Like muh good sista Kelly Clarkson says: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And it’s true. Fight for what you want. If you sit and hide you will regret it. My goal is to not be super popular in the world, but to be (I know it’s silly) an inspiration.  Letting people know to be themselves.

So in the humorous words of Bentpic5: YOU DO YOU…BOO BOO.

~Sparky out~

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SO, I know it’s late, but, here is my Kami Con Season 5 summary and all around rating:

Well, instead of being in good ‘ol Tuscaloosa, AL, This year the convention was held in Birmingham. The venue was pretty nice. It was large and spacious, which was good for the growing convention. However, there were a few things I didn’t like:

Before I start this lemme say this much. It was their first year in a new venue. So, I cut them slack. We as con goers had to learn the new building much like the rest of the staff did. Which with that said, I felt like I was kinda walking on egg shells here and there. I was afraid of being too loud or doing something that would get me in trouble with the convention center people. The previous times I had went to Kami, I really didn’t have to worry about it. There is nothing Kami can do about it, but it’s just how I personally felt at times. 

Another thing I wasn’t too fond of is the autographing and other lines. The were taking up space in the hallways and main ballroom. I do know they are going to work on fixing this for next year. I also know that they are talking of moving the rave so people can…rave. There were also no food/snack vendors really. You had to go to the hotel’s bar (which was pretty expensive) or the Subway down the walkway outside. They are in talks of getting vendors for next year. (yay!) It was just a little tough on me personally because I have a severe case of Hypoglycemia, so I have to keep sugars and substance in my system. But, I am so glad they are going to be working on it for next year. The photo locations weren’t that great unless you really looked around. But, it’s a convention center so you can’t expect a rose garden. lol. Those are just a few things that I noticed that they are already addressing. So no worries!

Some things I absolutely loved were the dealer’s room this year. It was much larger than the previous years so it didn’t feel as cramped. I liked how they grouped the panels and events. The larger ones were at different times so people could go and the anime viewing rooms were all together. They had the artists alley set out along the third floor. (if I remember correctly)  A few of the panels I loved were Little Kuriboh, like always, the stand up comedy sketches  and the dating game. Little Kuriboh is a great guy. Really. He is so nice and sweet. Every time I saw him and said hi, he smiled and responded, sometimes carrying on a conversation. He was sick, but he didn’t let that stop him. The stand up comedy sketch was hilarious. It was done in a “Who’s Line is it Anyway?” style and I loved it. I walked in expecting not to like it, but, I quickly changed my mind. I also loved the opening and closing ceremonies and dodge ball. I didn’t go to the rave because I was so tired Saturday.

One of the best things that personally happened to myself. I got engaged! Ah it was so amazing! I was dressed as Videl from Dragon Ball Z and my fiancee was dressed as Great Saiyaman. He did it during the Dating Game.  It was perfect because we had met at KamiCon 2 years ago. My friends were there and I couldn’t ask for anything better. If you would like to watch the video please check out Sparky Cosplay. We also have albums of our after engagement photos on both Sparky Cosplay and Justice Cosplay.

All in all, I give Kami Con and 9.9 out of 10. There were a few things that I didn’t like, but, I had a wonderful time overall and I don’t know a lot of people who didn’t have a great time either! Can’t wait for next year!

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So let me ask you all something. I want your honest opinions, so PLEASE give me some feedback.

Topic 1) Do you consider yourself a cosplayer or a costumer? What’s the true difference?

Topic 2) How do you feel about anime cosplays at a comic convention and vice verse  Are there stereotypes of both categories? 

Please send your response via pm so I can put in my next blog! Thanks! 

~Sparky out~

 

(Photos by: Brad Sargeant & Firebird Photography) 

 

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So little do people know, I get spoken to a lot about having a cosplay significant other. People often ask me how it works and how we make it through the various hurdles of cosplay. It’s interesting. I’m not going to lie, it can be very hard sometimes as well. There are a lot of factors and compromises that we make. 

I know as a female, dating a male cosplayer isn’t easy. And I can’t even try to imagine the other way around. But there is one thing that I will say is KEY: TRUST. You have to trust one another. And you also have to respect when your other tells you they aren’t comfortable with a certain costume or photo shoot. Put yourself in their shoes.

I think Ian and I make it work because we love one another and embrace the art of cosplay. We love the idea of cosplaying together, BUT we don’t plan EVERY cosplay together. We do not smother one another with trying to make EVERYTHING a couple venture. There are instances when Ian will be doing something and I will be in a photo shoot. It’s important to have your own things to do as well. While you want to spend as much time as possible with one another, you want to make time for yourself. ^^ 

Now I’m not saying that this will make everyone’s relationships work. But those are just a couple of examples of how we view it. People ask me often about our relationship and how we make in work in the cosplay world. I know that personally I try to make our relationship a great example for others. I think he feels the same way too. 

I think another things that helps is we were good friends almost two years before we dated. We know one another and know each other’s cosplay habits. We also know that jealousy isn’t an option. Which ties into the trust thing. 

There are amazing cosplay couples that have been together for years. They are my inspiration. There are tough times, just like any other relationship. It’s not a walk in the park. 

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WITH ALL THAT VALENTINE’S DAY STUFF, HERE’S A CON PREVIEW: 

Kami Con 2013!!!!! 

Kami was my very first convention and has been my favorite. It’ll be my third one this year and I can’t wait. Special guests include:

Michelle Ruff

Vic Mignogna

Chris Sabat

and many other wonderful voice actors and otaku personalities. 

There will also be a cosplay contest, rave, and many other events. This year it will be in Birmingham Alabama instead of it’s home base in Tuscaloosa Alabama. The con will be held Feb. 15-17. ^^ It is 35 at the door. 

This con is great because the staff is wonderful and the atmosphere is great. The special guests are awesome and will just chill with you whenever they’re not busy. I personally prefer conventions like that over the big ones. Why? Because while large conventions are massive and have a lot more people, conventions like Kami have a home feel that I can’t get enough of. I usually give Kami a 9 out of 10 (or in some cases a 10/10), but I am interested to see how this new location will be compared the what I am used to. 

I will say it will already be somewhat bitter see though. Lightning, my very first cosplay will be retired after this convention. This cosplay has served me well and has been a part of many of my convention experiences. I will be wearing her Friday for the last time. not gonna lie, I’ll probably cry like a grown man watching Angel Beats. 

Ian has been going to Kami since year one. It’s the convention we met at. :3 (sorry girly moment) It will be our first one as a couple and I can’t wait. Perfect Valentine’s day if you ask me. I get to be around my con family, my love, and make new friends. And that’s what it is all about.

So, no rants today guys. Haha. Just talking a little about my relationship and KamiCon 2013! I look forward to seeing you all there and come and say hi! I will be working the D20 booth there for a few hours through out the con and will be wondering around. Have a great night and be kind to one another. I’ll have a full review of KamiCon next week. Also check out my cosplay page: Sparky Cosplay on Facebook. I also have a Twitter! 

So you…yes you…staring at that computer screen, let’s talk some cosplay stuff… 

 

So there is something that has been SUPER pissing me off: the cosplay community. Yeah, I went there. There are so many things I feel we could change if we stopped trying to judge one another and gave high fives instead. One of the things that I hate the most is when I see people driven to the point of tears over people just being plain rude and obnoxious. 

1) Just because a girl isn’t a stick, doesn’t mean she’s ugly. I saw a GREAT costume of a Tardis dress. Only one problem: “She wasn’t super skinny.” That’s crap people. I’m sorry. Cosplay is not limited to size. Who are you to tell that person that she’s fat and ugly? Oh yeah, you’re not. She worked hard on that dress. The details were amazing and she looked so proud. Let me tell you like it is: It’s not your place to sit there and judge people. There is someone out there that hates your body type. I know there are people out there who hate mine too. But you know, I can shrug it off. News flash: not all people can. I think we as people have been thought to judge. We do it every day, whether it’s someone’s shoes or their hair. It’s a sad thing, but true. 

2) A cosplay is a cosplay, whether made or bought. Not all people can sew. It’s a skill that not everyone can sit and master. I know my first cosplay wasn’t made. I didn’t know anything about it nor did I have the resources. I hear this crap all the time: “Oh they bought that. I can’t believe they bought that. They could make that.” No honey, not all people can. They might have the resources in the future, but it’s none of your business who bought what. Cosplay isn’t about whether you make it or buy it. It’s about the fandom and uniting for one cause: to celebrate what you love. There are some cosplayers who work their asses off making a cosplay for competitions and accuracy. And ya know, that’s fine. But do NOT sit there and pick at those who do not have those skills. If anything, offer to teach them. I had a few people show me things here and there, and I am forever thankful. Don’t be a snob. 

3) Skin color. This thing kind of hits home for me. If ANYTHING bugs me more, it’s this. You do not sit there and tell someone: “You’re black…Rukia wasn’t black.” or “That character was wayyyy darker than that guy.” Since when did cosplay become this. I mean, sit and listen to yourself. Who are you to tell these people that? Don’t pull that whole, “It’s offensive ” crap. It’s the oldest trick in the book. If anything, it’s wonderful. They are truly cosplaying something they love. (for the most part anyways) Again, who are we to judge? We’re not. We’re not anyone to judge on something like this. There is not right way about it. 

So, these are the three things that have been irritating me the past few weeks. It seems like everyone is trying to judge one another and hate on one another. We sit and wonder why society sees us as immature people. This is why. Right here. We have no self control and harp on one another. Who is going to take this seriously when they see things like, “Black people shouldn’t cosplay that.” or “She’s too fat for that dress.” or even, “Well, they didn’t make that cosplay. They aren’t a cosplayer.” This and other things are what I feel are wrong with us. We need to stand together and support one another. How about instead of “She’s black.” Why not, “Look at how awesome it looks all together! She even has the prop!” or “She’s fat.” Why not, “Look at the detail in that dress!”. Also instead of, “Yeah…they so didn’t make that…” why not, “Have you ever been interested in making costumes? If not, where do you buy from because it looks great?!” 

Not everyone is super gifted in cosplay. But dang it, we’re there to celebrate what we love and come together as friends. Help pick one another up and walk forward. Stand up TOGETHER and make a name for ourselves. Cosplay is an art. And I truly feel that it is for all. Yes, there are limits. There are limits to everything in life. But, we are not the ones to sit here and act like this. We (well, some of us) were the ones who never got picked in school, or made fun of. What the hell is up? Now we sit and judge? Didn’t we not like those people. I think we should work together to not be those people and love one another. 

For those of you who have been victims of this: In the words of Walt Disney: “Keep moving forward.” You be yourself and keep doing what you do. You be the fan you’ve always dreamed of. Do not let someone who is hating on something you might have put so much time and effort into, or something you waited a freaking month to get in the mail, ruin it for you. I know so many cosplayers who are wanting to stop cosplay because of this. Stand up. Be an example. Don’t fight hate with hate. Be the better person and make something of yourself in cosplay. Love yourself. Love what you put your effort into and are excited about. Go to that con and see your favorite voice actor in that cosplay from the series. Get a pic with them. 

In the end. Cosplay is an art built by fans who love the same things. So instead of sitting there being judgmental, love one another and remember why you are there. 

SO, that was my rant for the week. Sorry everyone but I just couldn’t keep it in any longer. If you have a different opinion, then that’s okay! 🙂 We are all entitled to them. These are only my opinions and beliefs. I hope you all liked what I had to say. These things just kinda haunt me a lot and I get questions asking my opinion a lot. 

Next week: KAMI CON! I am going to talk about Kami Con and stuffs! Also, don’t forget the giveaway I posted on Sparky Cosplay! ❤ Thank you all so much! 

~Sparky out~Image

So hello everyone! It’s been a while. 🙂 A lot has changed over the past few months. I have relocated for the time being in LaGrange, GA. I have to say, the cosplayers here are wonderful and nice people. Very different from the Alabama crew I know, but non the less still amazing. I decided to bring Sparky Blog back because one: people were asking about it, two: I enjoy writing, and three: why not? So here’s what has been going on in my world:

Moving to GA.

Exciting wasn’t it?

No just kidding! There are a few wonderful things I have come across here. Like the D20 girls! A wonderful guild of girls who stand for all things geek culture. We show that just because you have a pretty face, doesn’t mean you aren’t a real nerd/gamer. All of the girls are wonderful and very kind.

Another thing: SPARKY HIT OVER 1000 LIKES!

I was so honored by all of the support. I do NOT cosplay for popularity so it was very surprising when I watched myself hit my all time goal. It’s a very humbling thing.

What’s in store you ask??????

Well! The wonderful KamiCon is coming about pretty soon! I can’t wait to attend. It was my first con and by all means my favorite. All of the Book Tour will be there as well as some people I have met recently. I am excited to be at a con once again and back in my own element. When I am at a con, it is like a mini vacation. I forget all the crap that I deal with on a day to day basis and can just be myself.

On a somber note, I will be retiring a lot of cosplays this year.  Why? So I can make more! I am wanting to up my game this con season, so that means a lot of my older cosplays are going to go. One that is going VERY soon is: Lightning. She was my very first cosplay and will always be very dear to me. I hate to hang up the gunblade for good, but I feel it is time. It is one of those things where you just know.  I am going to be doing on last shoot in her a KamiCon in a few weeks. Am I sad? Of course. Will I be a wimp and cry? >.> N-no. Okay maybe. But as cosplayers I think we can all agree we get attached to some cosplays more than others.

ONE LAST THINGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!

So, I want to write and touch on subjects YOU all want to know. Some things I will be of course writing myself, but, I want to answer your questions and know your opinions. After all, the only reason I can still do this is through the wonderful support I have. ^^ SO, gimme a shout out on my facebook page: Sparky Cosplay and be on the lookout!

Alright kids, this isn’t like an “official” blog so of course it’s not making a whole lot of sense. It’s mainly a bringing up to speed in Sparky and rebooting the engines. With con season coming up, be expecting con reviews, cosplay stuff, MAYBE some interviews with a few well known people. Ya know, stuff like that. So, be kind to one another and spread the love of cosplay!

~Sparky out~

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So people have been messaging me lately about how I pick my cosplays. I find it funny because I really….REALLY don’t know what to tell them. Why? Because this is how I pick my cosplays: I merely choose my favorite character or one that suits me and go with it! I think we are so afraid of being judged that we over stress about what character is “right” for us. Which I think takes the fun out of it for many in the end. I personally think the real key is do what you want. If anything, make it your own. Like myself with my characters, for example, I have different things I do for Lightning and a few upcoming things I am going to be doing for different characters. I take what the character is and build off of that. Make it something different. We forget that cosplay is an art before anything. We can shape it and make it our own. Even turn it into something bigger. STOP worrying about what society”thinks” you should do and who you should be. I was once that way and I can say it was miserable. Since feeling as though I am becoming my own person, I am so much happier. I have cosplay to thank for that. And I know many of my friends who owe it the same thing. It’s something we can build off of. So freaking out over choosing a character isn’t something I think we should really be so obsessed with. If we should be obsessed over anything, it should be the memories and friends that we make along the way. 

 

However, people have asked about ho win the world I come up with some of my original concepts. (Dark Lightning and etc.) Well….I guess the easiest way to say it is that I just dream up these things and do what I want. I mean, for example, for my Kingdom Hearts based Lightning (coming soon), I am taking elements from KH Cloud that I want. The same goes for a few female versions that I am going to do at the end of this year. With The Captainess, I took elements from WWII Captain America that I liked and put them together. It’s all about imagination. About what YOU want to wear and put so much work and time into. 

So, all in all, how do I choose my cosplays? I just choose what I love. I think when you do that, the outcome is much better. Mainly because it is something you want to work on and make it look worthwhile. Believe in yourself. A lot of people are asking me these questions so I figured it was about time I spoke up. I hope you all enjoyed and sorry it took me so long! Internets just came last week and I have been so busy! I have a photoshoot this weekend so be on the lookout for the results! Also, I am working on calendars to sell at AWA! So, I hope to see you all there and I hope you all have a great weekend! Don’t forget to tell your friends about Sparky Cosplay’s Facebook page. If I can get to 400 likes by AWA, I am going to give away some swag! Let’s do it! 

~Sparky out~

Me as Spacey Foxx, the mascot.

Well everyone another con has passed for this season and it was a first year con: North Alabama’s Perfectly Placed Anime Convention. Boy, that’s a mouthful. But, the name is well worth it. The small con in Decatur, Alabama was July 20-22, 2012. While I normally am VERY skeptical of first year cons, I was talked into going and whoever that was I owe them a huge thank you.

Let’s go ahead and start off with some of the things…I DIDN’T like. Yeah, I went there. But, every con has something that you don’t like. For this being a first year con, I enjoyed the location; however, I would have liked a little bit bigger venue. I felt really closed in at times and crowded. But, all in all I understand money is money. Renting a bigger venue is going to cost more and for a first year convention, that’s tough. The panels were slightly frustrating as well. People didn’t show up, room times were off, and the range of panels was slightly narrow. I do understand that some things happened with certain people and they didn’t come to do their panels. But, I would have liked it more if they would have bumped up panels and had something like a plan B. As for the cosplay contest, They need to have set prejudging and judges. I liked watching it; however, it was yet again slightly unorganized. The registration table needed to be in a more forward location. People were just walking in and not getting checked for badges. This can hurt their profit and make con goers who paid money to get in mad. Another thing is the game room. I didn’t know of any real tournaments going on until it was almost too late. I would try to make sure things are posted and announced in panels and such regularly.

Now, all of these things above are what I personally noticed. This isn’t a hate on NAPPA and what they are doing, I think it’s great. I LOVED the people and staff. We need to remember it was a first year convention, things happen and people learn from mistakes. among the things I liked were the vendors. They were really nice and their stuff was wonderful. The overall atmosphere was great. The few panels I did catch were great. As well as the rave and shows. The performers loved it and were happy as well.  The con goer turn out was great! There more actually a lot of people there on Friday night and Saturday. Which makes things a lot of fun. I did notice when the con seemed to be feeling a little dead that the staff was right on top of doing something interesting.The artist selection was rather well done also. I loved chatting with a few of them and they were really open on how they made their products. And the thing I look at the most: the photo ops were epic. You had grassy areas, streets, and inside to take all types of pics. Also, food was close. Like, walking distance, which is always wonderful at a con. Even then, if you didn’t want what was on the strip, you could just go a little ways down the road and find other stuff.  Not to mention the small courtyards and pool were an added bonus.

So, all in all, it makes me mad when people sit and hate on my lil ol’ NAPPA Con. They seem to think that everything is supposed to go just epic and awesome. Here’s a clue folks…IT’S NOT. Even big cons started somewhere. When talking to them and sitting in on some of the staff meeting after the con, I can already assure you next year is going to be big for them. They are correcting mistakes, coming up with new ideas, and learning from what went down this year.I think people are too used to going to cons were they are seasoned con staff and such. SO remember: Everyone starts somewhere and I think it’s safe to say they are over 9000.

On the Sparky Radar I am going to give them a 7 out of 10. Do they have things to learn? Yes. Can and will they do it? Pfffff, they’re already on it. 😉 So if you didn’t get a chance to go, please check it out and show some support next year! I will be there as Spacey Foxx, their official mascot! So, come say hey and have a good time!It’s a great starting for a family con and it will continue to grow, trust me, I am going to assure it.

Feel free to check out their info on Facebook and the interwebs as well! And don’t forget to check out my Facebook page: Spark Cosplay!

~Spacey…I mean, Sparky out~

So, I got to thinking while at work the other night. Yes, working at night will make you think of the oddest things. What is really pretty or “beautiful” in cosplay? Sure the women with the large breasts and perfect rumps are beautiful in their costumes, but, what about the others as well? What defines a person as beautiful in the world of cosplay? So, I figure, I would tell you MY sight in the matter.

To me, someone who is beautiful, whether it be male or female (yes guys, you too), is someone who is not just beautiful on the inside, but the outside as well. That means a lot in the con scene. Trust me. You have people who think they are God’s perfect gift to cosplay and think they can judge everyone when they know nothing of the circumstances. But to me, that person can be the “prettiest” in the world, but attitude is what sales it. To me a costume can be all kinds of suck, but if the person is wonderful and pleasant to be around then it shouldn’t matter. I think the con world is forgetting what and who we are. We are fans. Not judges or so called famous. We a first and foremost, just…fans. We are there because we love anime, comics, and games. If not for them, then where would we be? Yaya said it best: “cosplayers need to remember where we come from”. And I fully agree. I think we let the effects of what society wants get to us and we lose the sense of that real beauty.

Sure, someone may be cosplaying a character that’s not 100% to the T, but, what if they are going through a rough time right now and couldn’t afford it? Or, maybe you love that wig, but, don’t like the pants, causing you to miss all the work they put into hand sewing that blouse. All in all, I think sometimes we need to take a step back. Remember who we are, why we do what we do, and that we are FAMILY. We love the same things and we come together to celebrate that. Not have a hate fest. So, the next time you start to judge someone else, look for the beauty in what they do. Not just the outside, but on the inside as well.

Well, there it is for this week! Gimme some feedback on what you think true cosplay beauty is. 🙂 I’m interested in hearing. Also, look for some details on my calendars and card I’ll be GIVING away at Nappa Con, July 20-22 in Decatur, Alabama. My page now has over 200 likes, so, I figured I’ll have some giveaways!

Love you all,

~Sparky out~

So, I decided to do another interview with another wonderful photographer! This time I tracked Blake Entrekin! If you don’t know him, he’s a great guy and WONDERFUL photographer. Here’s what went down: 

  • What got you into photography?

Blake:I would say most of my influence came from my dad and his interest and passion for photography. He had a DSLR for a long time and I would always get to toy with it on vacation or around the house.

  • Awww that’s sweet. ^^ When did you get your first camera?

My first point and shoot was sometime in high school. When I about 16. Sometime when I turned 18 and was going into college I upgraded to my first DSLR.

  • When you mean point and shoot, are you talking the small cameras? Explain the difference just in case some people don’t know. 

Point and shoot are the basic style of camera people usually out. They are compact cameras that are as simple as point and click the button to shoot. An example might be Coolpix or Powershot. A digital single-lens reflex cameras (also named digital SLR or DSLR) are digital cameras combining the parts of a single-lens reflex camera (SLR) and a digital camera back.

  • Awesome. So, when and what got you into the con scene? Did you come in as a photographer or just a fan?

I got into anime conventions when I was 14. I knew about them a few year prior but could never convince my parents to take me or let me go. I actually went with some friends and their parents to AWA for my first time. I was just an avid fan of anime back then.

  • Yay for friend’s parents! Haha. When did you start really getting into photography at cons? What con really set it off for you?

I always had my small compact camera when I went to cons and I took pictures of cosplayers from anime I knew and loved. Back then wasn’t as popular or diverse of anime as it is now. I remember the very first picture I ever took was of a Vash the Stampede cosplayer at AWA. When I got my DSLR and met some very amazing cosplay photographers, I decided I wanted to try. I’ve been learning ever since.

  • SO, what has been your fav con so far? 

Hmmmm
I really can’t name one con for an overall favorite.AWA has always been one of my home cons, so I always know what to expect while knowing I will be having a great time with friends. I really enjoyed the two years I went to Anime Boston, which felt as a bigger con and cooler set up as far as convention centers go. And Dragon*Con is Dragon*Con, I really enjoy this one as a fan and photographer because everyone digs deep for ideas of costumes. You will see really old school stuff to tv shows and comics. I’ve always get one or two costumes that I thought I would never see or even though of seeing.

  • I hope one day I can go to Dragon. It’s up there on my bucket list. What about as far as shooting goes? Do you do a lot of shoots when you’re at cons?

Every con has it’s how crowd and style which I try to match or adapt for. Smaller cons really give me the time to sit down with certain cosplayers and get more out of each shoot. At bigger cons, it is a battle and balance of time since the more time you are away in a shoot, the more you are likely to miss events or cosplays you haven’t seen.Planning wise, I try to adjust to the convention center. Some cons have a lot of plain or small areas which kinda kill the nice background you were hoping for, while AWA has a nice scenic area right outside front.

  • Nice. So as you know, KamiCon is moving to Birmingham. What are your thoughts on this? I mean, do you think that it’ll be a good move for this season or will it cause some challenges? 

I think they will face the same challenges Momocon faced except for it’s biggest one which was going from a free con to charging since Kamicon has been charging already. From a Georgia con goer, I am happy for the move since it will be even closer to me. Depending on the spot, it might be too big for them. I don’t see it as a bad thing since it leaves room for growth. I do expect see problems with staff both of the con itself and the convention center staff.

  • When you say expect to see problems, what do you mean? Are talking as in just learning a new location or something bigger? Kami has been growing rapidly, but do you think the new space will be too much?

A new space is always a problem for any con. You have to have new rules, dealing with learning the layout and setting up everything efficient as possible. Managing crowds and people hanging out in certain areas. As for staff problems, sometimes the convention center never held a anime con before so they have no clue what to expect or how to react to the crowd except very strictly. It is always good to expand which I almost feel it was time for Kamicon to expand into a new place but I guess we will see how much space was really needed.

  • What about photography opportunities? You think it’ll be different?

I hope so. I am not from Alabama and really haven’t looked up info on the new location so I can only have high hopes for it to offer more than just a big space of walls.

  • SO, the reason I keep bringing up Kami is because it was my first con and most meaningful. And I know that AWA is that for you. Will you ever stop going to cons? 

I hope not. I feel I will still go even when I am a lot older. I might not as often to as little as only one or two. I think it would be an interesting and amazing experience to have kids into anime and be able to continue going while bringing them along.

  • I agree. I talk to parents a lot that cosplay with their kids and they seem a lot closer that most others. Something about working on the costumes together and such. I hope when the world and I can handle having lil ol Britfaces running around I get that experience too. What has been your most memorable cosplay to shoot? 

I would have to say one of my very first photoshoots of a girl cosplaying Ciel Phantomhive. The cosplayer, Kim D., understood I was a noob photographer but still gave me a chance to try and do my best. I feel this is so memorable is because of the pictures from the shoot was widely appreciated and people start recognizing me from that picture on DeviantArt. Another reason is because that one picture made it to print in two different magazines, a cosplay one in Japan, and a smaller US based anime magazine.

  • That’s awesome! I had no idea! I bet that was exciting! 

If I had to compare it, it would be like making your first cosplay and winning an award in the contest with it.

  • Hey I know what that feels like. Sweet Pea and the Sucker Punch girls was a milestone for me. Haha. 

Yup yup it was an awesome costume as well

  • So as far a favorite photographs go, that one in the magazine is prolly the winner hands down huh. 🙂

Well it is a big favorite but almost at every con I get that one big favorite that I really like. Also this year alone, I feel my work has greatly improve so I am getting a new favorite every con.

  • Now, let’s talk about your facebook page. What’s the name again? Hahahahaha jk jk. Bentpic5. Where did the name come from?

Actually me and my brother were brainstorming on my old page and name on how to make it smaller and catchy. It comes from both are names start with B and the first the letters of out last name ENT and of course gotta have a photography related tag with it PIC but just a little something to through a curve-ball, using the 5 as an S. Similar how Leet words or even Deadmau5. Was considering other numbers but figured it complicated too much.

  • I think it’s catchy. So does your brother help out a lot or is he the go to guy? 

A little of both. He is actually in charge of the website (which still is in progress of an update) and does more automotive photography with scenic pictures.

  • That’s a great thing! So, I hear you are holding a contest of epic proportions, wanna fill in the masses? 😉

Basically I am aiming to promote myself in a bigger way with Promotional Cards. You might have picked up cards off tables at cons for other conventions, artists, or even CosplayInAmerica. It is something simple that you may see and take home to look at or look up online when you get home to find out more information. For the 2013 year, I will be handing these out as well as displaying them at cons to help advertise my website and facebook page to help promote my work. I hope this will in return bring in more cosplayers wanting to work with my at cons for photoshoots. The whole contest is about what picture will be featured on the front side of the card. A picture that someone will see and want to pick up the card to see what is it about. My brother, a few others, and I feel that something sexy or amazing would be just enough to get the card into someone’s long enough to wanna find out more.

  • Seems amazingly fun. What are the details as far as entering? I know I will be. 

It is pretty simple, from now until November when the contest ends, schedule and do a photoshoot with me and enter it to the contest. Of course there are rules and a bit more on how to enter, but you can check out the link to see all of the rules and information. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.457646154270388.103700.344013892300282&type=3

  • I have a feeling that this is going to be a huge thing for you! I can’t wait to see what the outcome is. I’ve started making cards and am going to get some prints together upon request. Have you ever thought of getting a calendar together or anything?

I’ve had a lot of ideas come up by myself and even others suggesting I could pull off some things like a calender. I’ve taken them under consideration and noted on the side for when I am finished with the contest, I can then began my next challenge. I do see the Calender idea coming into play either this fall or next fall. Depending on how busy I get or I decide on how I wanna do it.

  • I look forward to that! I love your photography and always have a great time shooting with you! We laugh constantly. Hahahaha. 

Of course, I am not your average photography. I’ve always had people tell me they enjoy me over someone else because I am always cheerful and make things fun or at least funny while still getting good non-derp shots.

  • Hahahaha yes, ALL the derp shots! I do have to say though you have a relaxed atmosphere around you. Some photographers I get nervous with. I’m glad when I get to shoot with you! Now, for others who have never gotten to shoot with you, do you usually go by appointments or is it more of a hey let’s get a shoot?

I use to schedule tons of people down for timed slots but it got to a point where I had too many people, not enough free time, a big headache, and it actually lost it fun. So now I go by a non-timed schedule where people contact me when they are free and we meet up on a convenient time for both of us. I do offer schedule time slots for a small cost and sometimes free to contest entries since they are very tight scheduled from judging to the contest itself.

  • I can see where the scheduling would almost make it feel like more work than rather fun. So, this con season is closing in, what other cons do you have left?

Sukoshicon:Athens, Dragon*Con, Anime Weekend Atlanta, Possibly GMX, Atlanta Anime Day, North Carolina Renaissance Festival are pretty much all I know I have planned for this year.

  • Sweet! Do you see yourself hosting any panels or helping with any panels in the future?

I’ve hosted my own panel twice called “The Cosplay Posing Guide For Beginners”. It had a great turn out both times and I do consider hosting it at more cons in the future if I can. The only downside to that panel is to a event planner, they may already have one to three cosplay photography related panels. Mine is mainly focused on the communication between the photographer and cosplayer while also helping coming up with ideas for poses. To the event planner, they will most likely deny it due to one of the cosplay photography panels already covering posing in their panel, no matter how small they do it. I remember one of the cons I got denied for the panel because another photographer panel had posing in it. I actually went and watched to see they only talked or well mentioned posing for about 12 seconds. One sentence. As for helping with panels, I am always up for it if someone asks, in which I have assisted in a panel called, “Drinking responsibly at cons” which was a packed room

  • Oh wow, that’s a great topic because we all know people can get carried away. I know I’ve thought of hosting a panel for models. Helping with their posing and such. I think it would be great myself. Now, Do you have any advice to photographers and cosplayers out there? 

Never stop aiming higher I know I don’t know everything about cameras, photographer, or cosplaying. The day you stop trying to learn more or get better is the day you stop going forward. Even pros have something they don’t know.

  • Amen my friend. Well, I gotta say thank you so much for talking with me, it means the world! I’ll be getting with you soon for epic photo time! 

Of course! Thank you for giving me the time. I look forward to the next time we get to hang out and the entry you enter for the contest.

 

Well, there it is! I have to say I learned a few things about Blake I didn’t know. Haha. SO if you wanna get to see more of Blake’s stuff here is his website like:

http://www.bentpic5.com/

And his Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/Bentpic5

Also, I encourage everyone to get with him on his contest! It’s going to be great 🙂 I hope you all enjoyed! ~Sparky out~

 

So, even though I have only been cosplaying for a little over a year, I have noticed something in the con scene: A LOTTA SKIN. Is there a difference between being in character and going to far?

One thing I personally try to do is keep it family friendly and classy. Are some of my cosplays a little revealing? Yes, especially ones like Nel. But why take it too far and show off all of the goods? The con generation I am seeing are the girls with everything hanging out wayyy past what they character should be. I think as older people and con goers we should guide these kids and younger people and show them that while showing skin is sexy, there is a way to do it and not seem like you’re desperate. We are already judged preettttty harsh by the public, so why give them more reason to hate? I’m not saying get out your turtle necks and jeans, but, instead of sewing that skirt WAY too short for what the character calls, why not measure it right and in a photo shoot do some sexier poses? This has just been on my mind because I thought about making on of my niece’s my mini Nel for a con. But, she’s 5, and I don’t want her to see these girls with all their goods hanging out. Why? Because society puts enough pressure on us as women to be hot and sexy. We have enough pressure to be super model skinny and wear tight clothing. Why I myself try not to let the world run who I am, it’s still tough. I can only imagine how it will be when my niece turns 12. I want to set a good example and be remember as that cosplayer who looked good, not trashy.

I do understand that some characters call for risky costumes. And I am by NO means calling anyone out as a whore or anything like that. I have just seen some cosplayers take it TOO far. To the point where I honestly no longer can see them in an attractive way. It’s more of a: “I need to get her a sheet to wrap in.” If your comfortable with you body, heck yeah to you! That’s wonderful! But, there is a difference between showing off and taking it too far. Are some of my costumes going to be risky? Yes, but, that is because I am trying to get comfortable with myself as a person. Trying to get out of my safe zone. Trust me, EVERY time I put on Nel, I get all queasy. She’s not my usual pick for a character but, I’m growing more and more fond of her. Which I hope you all do with yours.

All in all what I am trying to say is: GIRLS YOU’RE ALL BEAUTIFUL!

You don’t need to go out of your way for people to see that. EVERY girl has something beautiful about her. Whether it be her eyes, smile, laugh, or just outright personality. So, when you’re making that costume, take pride in the fact that you’re a woman. Don’t worry about your character not being sexy enough or if she is on the risky side, being thought of as a slut. It all comes down to how you present yourself as a human being. Let’s make this new generation see that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not how much skin you can show.

*I hope this blog didn’t offend anyone. It’s just my honest opinion as a model/cosplayer.

I love you all and think you’re all wonderful. This isn’t directed towards any of my pals. ;)*

~Sparky out~