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vCOSPLAYING continued from page 15 lot of attention from fans of the game.” Caitlin had a lot of fun at the convention and enjoyed taking pictures of other cosplayer, as well as getting her picture taken so she started to sew more. The more she sewed the more she wanted to make outfits of her favorite characters and bring them to life. The process for Caitlin varies. Some characters take longer than others on deciding if she wants to cosplay them. There are some characters that have been on her list for years and she hasn’t gotten around to them. Once she has decided on the character, the process consists of finding a costume that will work with her budget and sewing skills. Caitlin uses an app called Cosplanner that helps organize and keep track of her budget and materials. She also has to get many shots of the costume at all angles as most characters have an already planned out costume. She screenshots episodes or finds 3D models of the character to help with this. Caitlin has a hard time picking a favorite character because many of the characters she has cosplayed are or were her favorite. But she has high hopes for her future cosplays. She has a few on a list and hopes that with the experience of making those costumes she’ll finally have the courage to make her dream cosplay come to life. “It has so much detail to it that I have never been able to get to it.” Caitlin’s favorite memories come from the Omni Expo convention in Orlando, FL. It was the convention’s first year so it wasn’t very big and the hotel has other events going on at the same time. She was hanging out with a friend and his group who were cosplaying characters from the movie Frozen. They were doing a mini photoshoot and a parent from one of the other events came up to the group and asked if they could take a photo with the Frozen characters, thinking they were hired Disney characters. Caitlin quickly corrected her by telling it was part of a convention going on but everyone took it as a compliment to their hard work on making the costumes. Another memory from that same convention is when she was dressed as Sasha from Attack on Titan. The character eats a potato during a really awkward moment in one of the episodes and it’s a running joke with fans of the show. Caitlin made baked potatoes and brought them with her into the convention so she could be silly with them. She eventually found another Sasha and was able to give her a potato so the pair could be silly together in photos. “Most of the people that day knew me as ‘Potato Girl’ the character’s nickname, even the voice actors for the show that were invited called me it.” Omni Expo 2014 – from Caitlin McGrew Caitlin has also competed in a cosplay competition. This is where you’re judged on how well you created a costume for your character. The standard is to bring pictures of your construction progress and try to have a thorough explanation about the time spent making your costume, with the hard work put into the costume there is a good change winning an award or being recognized as a judges’ favorite. You also have time to meet and chat with others also participating so it’s a good way to make friends. In smaller conventions it’s a faster process but some conventions you can lose pretty much a whole day waiting around. Caitlin has done Page to the Stage Contest which is a part of Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA and actually got to meet Voltaire, a musician, and Elvira one year because they were the MC. Another year she was able to meet George Perez, a famous comic book artist, because he was a judge. Going to conventions for some fans is a great way to meet new people, be creative, and also feel connected to the things they love. Conventions connect the creators to their fans in a fun atmosphere where people can feel free to express themselves freely. “Go to a convention. You don’t have to cosplay at your first con, you can go and talk to the cosplayers about how they made it. A cosplayer will always love to talk about their cosplay especially if they made it themselves,” Sally said. Sally also said that sometimes conventions will have discussion panels on cosplaying or different pieces of cosplaying such as makeup techniques or adding electrical elements to your cosplay. “Join a group and go to a meet up. I know I wouldn’t have actually started if I wasn’t taken to a con with my roommate. Try to surround yourself with people who do it and it will be so much easier to get out of your bubble,” Brittany said of getting started on cosplaying. Caitlin agreed, adding, “Do it! Honestly just try, even if it’s something really simple. It doesn’t matter if you buy your costume or make it from scratch, the whole point to cosplay is to have fun and cosplayers supporting others with their projects. And never be afraid to ask others questions about their costumes or inquire about advice that can help further your passion about wanting to cosplay. Like I said before the cosplay community is all about helping one another bringing our favorite characters to life.” So who knows, maybe cosplaying is your next new hobby. n 26vHERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018

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