If you’ve read our convention review blogs you will know that ConJikan is our favorite New Mexico convention full of great cosplays, cool guests and a unique dealer’s hall. This year was no different, aside from the fact that we were guesting at this convention presenting the panel Queer & Plus Sized Cosplay that we had premiered at ClexaCon earlier that year [see Splashing into ClexaCon 2018 (Yes You CAN Fly with a Sewing Machine)]. As guests you know that we like to premier a cosplay, but considering that with the wedding only just behind us we did not have much time to prepare something. So, we went with our go to time-saver, modified closet cosplay, which honestly tends to become some of our best costumes! As you have also come to know by now we like to cosplay characters of the guests attending the convention so since the voice actors for Jesse and James from Pokemon were going to be there we had something special in store.
Watching Pokemon Sun and Moon, outfits that immediately stood out to us were the ones that Team Rocket wear when they arrive on Alola which unfortunately only appear briefly at the beginning of an episode. You know us, cosplayers of the obscure. It’s like we don’t want to be recognized in costume, but I swear it’s not on purpose. Anyway there we are the night before the convention in true cosplayer fashion @skyberry13 sewing her shirt and me fabric painting away. We went to bed very late and had to get up early to get some last minute supplies.
So there I was on the car ride to Joannes and then to the convention and during the first panel embroidering the emblem onto James’ hat. Yes, I’m crazy. It could easily have been fabric painted on, but as a guest I wanted to give my costume something extra…it was barely finished in time for our panel and I lost all feeling in my bleeding fingers as our thimble had disappeared and I had to resort to brute force.
The first panel we attended was “Cosplay Drag 101” which was put on by Ketsune Cosplay Cafe, a new cosplay cafe based out of local gay bar Sidewinders Ranch. The panel was a demonstration on how to apply makeup for male to female, though, some of the other panelists spoke briefly on female to male makeup as well. Mainly, it is highlighting and low-lighting following the curves of the face along with some eyelash magic. Hide your eyebrows using a nontoxic gluestick and then paint them on yourself.
This first panel was voice actress Michele Knotz’s panel “Pokemon Party” which was set up like a game show. She had her own animated digital match up game on the screen and held three rounds picking random people from the audience. I was drawn for the first round and it was great fun. I won my match earning some in game pokemon for Sun and Moon on my 3DS from her bountiful prize table! She was so fun to interact with and you can see the passion she has for the characters she plays. Her knowledge of Pokemon was impressive to say the least.
Afterwards, we tried to do the scavenger hunt before our panel, but the rules were different this year. You had to physically take items from around the convention which was more of a hassle and we ended up abandoning the search so we could get to our panel early to set up. We presented our panel “Queer & Plus Sized Cosplay” in Atrium III to an intimate crowd which allowed for a great dialogue. While this panel was a review of what we presented at ClexaCon as mentioned earlier we were also work-shopping some of our additional material which will be the subject of our panel “Exploring Gender through Cosplay” we are presenting at ClexaCon2019. This panel came out of some of the changes in my personal life and how it has affected our cosplaying which I spoke openly about in the blog Coming Out as Trans-masculine through Cosplay & ClexaCon. You can read the panel description at the bottom of our Events page if you’re thinking about attending ClexaCon2019.
The cosplay masquerade was next, which is always a highlight of this convention. This year, guest and local YouTuber turned Twitch streamer, 505GamerGirl, added some additional pizzazz as the emcee. The skits were great including one featuring ‘The Fox’ audio with an inspired dance that had everyone laughing and singing along. Another great addition this year was the entertainment at the beginning and while the judges deliberated by local cosplay maid cafes Kirie Cosplay Cafe x Cafe Quartz and Cafe Awaken performing synchronized dances to anime songs.
After the contest there is a staff party that we are usually invited to through our friend who has a booth and manages the dealer’s hall at ConJikan every year. We had some drinks and enjoyed their company before heading off to their late night mature 18+ panel “Thot Bubbles” which was interesting to say the least. Afterwards we caught the end of Karaoke with varying rates of vocal success, but entertaining nonetheless. After hours programming has definitely increased since last year, but I miss the dance we got to attend that first year. I would not mind if they brought it back for 2019.
Our first panel of the day was “Team Rocket Double Trouble” with voice actors Michele Knotz and James Carter Cathcart and it did not disappoint. This dynamic duo has been voicing Pokemon characters for decades. And James actually writes for the show both literally and musically. They discussed which of their favorite Pokemon were, Michele is impartial to Bewear and was additionally cast in that voice for her ability to hit the high notes!
The next panel is what we were looking forward to most since we are planning some foam armor builds in 2019. Apparently the rest of the convention had the same idea because local armor build cosplay legend Leah Stevo was sharing her secrets and the room was packed. We were in three layers of standing room at the back wall but we still got to attend one of the most informative panels to date. Leah is a down to earth and approachable Santa Fean considering she is a nationally awarded cosplayer from notable conventions like BlizzCon and DragonCon! She trustingly passed around shoulder pads and weapons of her award winning builds that she had on display with her.
She described her process which takes place in her ventilated garage where she enforces the use of respiratory protection for the glue that she uses to cement foam elements together, namely, a can of Barge. This secret ingredient is the very basis of all her builds. She suggests oiling the rim so it does not cement itself shut. The glue requires a good amount of time to dry and success is dependent upon waiting for that timeline. She suggested to coat both surfaces you are trying to adhere. For sculpting she uses large blades, interchangeable box cutters with sharp blades, xacto knifes, and a dremel/rotary tool. For shaping she uses a heat gun from Harbor Freight. As far as priming goes depending on the material she made this informative graph for ease:
She uses acrylic based paints for flexible surfaces specifically; Liquitex Heavy Body and Golden High Flow Acrylics. For wear-ability her pieces are a mixture of Velcro and heavy magnets. For small LED projects she uses a combination of fairy lights and ‘throwies.’ However, for larger and more ambitious builds she sticks to 5v USB power. For these cell phone power banks are awesome for portable transportation.
This panel was a great end to a wonderful convention and after a fun filled weekend we went home to catch up on some rest before work the next morning.