Nuestra Señora de Alderaan

Braved the Manila Christmas gridlock to catch a screening of Star Wars: The Last Jedi last Thursday. A year after her death, I am still mourning Carrie Fisher. There was only one way to deal with all these sads that I’ve been sitting on for over a year, of course.

So I spent most of my Saturday drawing my feelings. I would have finished it in one sitting too, if I didn’t have a Christmas dinner to get to in the evening.

The tablet still frustrates me, mostly because I’ve been trying to paint the same way I do traditionally and that isn’t working out for me. I have to unlearn to learn, but I think this came out pretty well regardless.

Nuestra Señora de Alderaan

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Sweet Sixteen

As of July 7, I will have been cosplaying for sixteen years. Damn, son.

My induction into cosplay started out as an accident. I attended my first convention in 2000, as a PA/handler for a friend who was cosplaying. The same friend shoved his Kenshin costume at me at a con the year after (this was when conventions only happened once a year, y’all), and the next thing I knew, I had joined my first cosplay competition.

Such photo quality. The highest of resolutions.

I’ve attempted to retire from cosplay a few times over the years, but I just can’t seem to quit. Because the thing is, I really enjoy it. While I may not do the actual sewing, and am still hopelessly awkward in front of a camera, I enjoy the rest of the process. I like picking out fabric, constructing props, styling and doing makeup.  I have a tendency to hyperfixate, and cosplay just feels like the ultimate love letter to a fandom.

It’s only fitting, I suppose. To celebrate my cosplay sweet sixteen by cosplaying twice at this year’s ToyCon, with the amazing ladies I’ve been cosplaying with for over 10 years. I’ve never really done multiple days in costume at a con before because of the hassle, but Leng and I decided to make a thing of it this year and booked an Airbnb near the convention centre.


Day 1 – Viktuuri Poodle Skirts

This was something Leng and I had planned for YoiCon last March, but didn’t have time to finish. The idea for it came from our mutual love of vintage fashion, and the need to cosplay something from Yuri on Ice. Neither of us can really pull off cosplaying a dude very well, and while I love Katsuki Mari with all my heart, her outfits on the show aren’t really something I was interested in working on.

Leng sewed our skirts and petticoats (and did such a fantastic job too), while I took care of the Vicchan and Makkachin appliqués and did our makeup and styling. Styling wigs is the worst, but I think they turned out pretty well.


Day Two – Filipiniana Sailor Senshi / Mandirigmang Mandaragat

The #TitasofCosplay and I have been talking about doing a group again for the past couple of years now, but our fandoms just never seemed to align. Until Sailor Moon came up at one of our Stitch n’ Bitch dinners last year. Based on the Filipino Traje de Mestiza/Maria Clara, this is probably my most research-intensive costume to date. Sheila commissioned a fashion illustrator friend of hers to draw it up for us,  because we were bogged down by so much research, we were having trouble visualising a final look. 😛

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Filipiniana Sailor Senshi I can finally post the cosplay design collaboration with @mseira from last year (Oct 2016)!😆 It was a secret project since nobody did Filipiniana versions of Sailor Soldiers yet (So we're, like, the first ones! Yay!😉). Supposedly for the Asia Pop Comicon on August 2017 for the Linggo ng Wika month but her cosplay group decided to debut these at the Toycon PH happening next weekend (June 30-July 2, 2017). Super fun project for a Sailor Moon fan like meee!😍 Can't wait for the actual costumes!❤💕 Gonna make individual posts soon.😊 . . . #sailormoon #sailormoonph #markers #filipiniana #panuelo #innersailorsenshi #prettysoldiers #sailorsenshi #designcollaboration #cosplay #sailormoonfanart #toyconph2017

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The original plan was to have the baro and the panuelo made, but we found the perfect ones in the colours that we needed during our fabric run. While most of the group can sew, we also had the skirts made for uniformity haha.

Parurusahan ka namin, sa ngalan ng buwan!

Suffice it to say, that weekend was fun, but exhausting. I may refuse to accept that probably I’m too old to be cavorting around in costumes, but I am certainly too old to be doing so on multiple days in succession.

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While we’re on my current hyperfixations, here’s another sports title!

I’ve been following Check, Please for a couple of  years, but it’s been occupying a lot of my head space recently because I got gifted with Year One and Year Two. Between re-reading them multiple times over and the latest update, I am dead. THAT LATEST UPDATE OMG BURY ME NOW

Check, Please is a bi-monthly webcomic by Ngozi Ukazu that follows Eric “Bitty” Bittle — vlogger, baker, former competitive figure skater — as he begins his freshman year on the Samwell University Men’s Hockey team. Each update, or episode, is usually framed as an episode of Bitty’s vlog.

This panel breaks my heart and makes me cry every single fucking time.

It’s pretty hard not to fall in love with this comic. Check, Please  deals with varsity and college life, as well as heavier themes like mental illness and homophobia, wrapped up in a loveable package that has so, so much heart.

So lovable, you guys. There isn’t a character I dislike. Yes, even Parse. I will fight you on Parse.

I find it hilarious that I never really got the whole sports anime thing when I was younger, and now here I am, obsessed with three sports titles. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, if I suddenly take up ballroom dancing, figure skating, and hockey simultaneously one of these days, it should come as a surprise to no one.

ただいま!

If you’d told me that two sports titles were going to be what got me back into anime/manga after more than ten years, I would have laughed at you. Loudly. To your face.

a.k.a in which I haven’t blogged in almost three months so let me share this heteronormativity-defying pit I’ve fallen into.

–o–

Yuri!!! on Ice hit me like a freight train. One minute, I was dismissing it as another anime full of ambiguously gay pretty boys that my friends wouldn’t stop talking about. Next thing I knew, I was willingly squished against hundreds of other fans in a packed events hall, spending a good few thousand pesos on merch at a YoI fan convention.

There are already so many good blogs and vlogs about this show, that I don’t feel like I have anything new to add. I will say that YoI was a breath of fresh air for me last year. Superb animation and choreography, no unnecessary drama, no exaggerated skills, wonderfully endearing characters with an equally wonderful portrayal of queer characters. If I had to nitpick, I’d say I wish we had more backstory, but it isn’t imperative.

A movie was recently green-lit, and I am equal parts excited and apprehensive. I’m of the unpopular opinion camp that is satisfied with just the first season. I like open endings, what can I say? I am also, however, trash of dumpster fire proportions and will still take everything they throw at me with gusto. We’ll just have to wait and see.

–o–

I read Ballroom e Youkoso at Khursten’s suggestion and Leng’s prodding because I needed to fill the void that YoI left in my heart.

Not gonna lie, it took me a while to get into the swing (ha-ha!) of things because coming from YoI, I found the sheer shounen-ness and seishun-ness of BeY, jarring. For a manga about dancesport, I just wasn’t expecting so much testosterone. By Volume 3, I realised I was completely emotionally invested and there was no hope for me now.

Sengoku can step on me for all I care and I’d still thank him.

The art is absolutely stunning and I am in love with how dynamic it is. What I really appreciate about this series though, are the relationships between characters. Because ballroom is a partner-reliant sport, the relationship dynamics in this series are intense and complex but not necessarily romantic — which I find so refreshing.  I’m all caught up with the latest translated volume and now have nothing to do until the anime premieres this July.

I am aware that I’m hyperfixating on these two titles, but I think it’s because I’ve taken an indefinite hiatus from Western Comics & related media and all that fangirl energy has to go somewhere hahaha! Oh well, アニメただいま!

Moonchild still lives in my heart

I started on this Sailor Moon piece last year, but felt like I screwed it up when I started laying down my flats and abandoned it. It’s a common occurrence with me, tbh. I never really like my coloured pieces as much as I do the lineart.

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When I found myself a little antsy last night, I thought I’d try to save it. If anything, I could do with working on my colour palettes and such.

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“Usagi”, 6″x9″, watercolour and acrylic on paper, 2017

I might re-do this in the future. This was meant to be the first of a senshi series that I’m not sure I’m ever going to get around to. We’ll see if I can get my head out of ass and get to it. 😛

Gab, Currently XIII

Commission-ing:

The muses struck the other night, so I’ve got one commission down!

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Tea-ki time. #WIP

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I’ve been having a lot of fun working with markers and non-traditional surfaces. Give me more, universe!

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Unpopular opinion: I’m not a huge fan of Rowling’s constant adding and expansion of her universe. I love the Harry Potter series, don’t get me wrong, and I will most likely eat up everything Warner Brothers throws at me, but it just feels like she’s writing fanfiction of her own work and making it canon.

I watched, “Fantastic Beasts…” last weekend. I enjoyed it, but it left me a little underwhelmed. It had had pacing issues, and felt a little disjointed. I did, however, fall in love with Queenie.

I love her so much, you don’t understand. my precious ball of sunshine ❤

The movie might have been meh, but it has rekindled my hype for all things Potter. Timely then, that I should find this photo when I was cleaning my files the other day. It’s from our friends’ cosplay-themed wedding a couple of years ago. Note our matching Resting Bitch Faces. We look like Dumbledore’s just awarded Gryffindor the House Cup. Haha!

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I’ve been in a bad head space for a while now and I could use an excuse to run around in house robes, but I’m also not in the mood to people.

What a loser

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Guess which anal retentive has bought and wrapped half of her Christmas shopping?

In my defense, I needed to get these as soon as I could because I ordered them online and didn’t want shipping issues if I ordered too close to Christmas. I’d get all my gift shopping out of the way now if I could, but I do need to wait for my 13th month to come in. But you know, I’m poor. :))

Meeting the Fire Lord

I’m not in the best head space so I thought I’d do a little update to distract me. In reviewing this before I posted, I realised I sound very much like the grumpy obaachan that I am. Sorry, not sorry? Hahaha!

Of course, I had to be there when Dante Basco announced a guerilla meet-up while he was in the Manila. (Shoutout to my mom who didn’t make a fuss at me doing an eat-and-run at her Mother’s Day lunch so I could make it to the venue on time. <3) I’d seen him post photos of the ones he’d done in other countries, so I thought I was in for a chill afternoon.

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I was wrong.

I was very, very wrong. My first instinct was to run away because not only were there so many people, they were also mostly way younger than I.

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Fandom never fails to amaze me because despite my initial aversion to the crowd and my innate ineptitude at making friends, I did manage to meet some really great people there. People, I do not have photos with because I was pretty distracted by the crowd, the mall guards kicking us out of Greenbelt, walking to the new venue not knowing where it was while simultaneously calling and texting directions to Germaine, who was running late.

Dante was an absolute sweetheart. If he was tired or dying from the heat, he didn’t show it. Which is more than I can say for myself, and I didn’t have to meet, sign, and take pictures with fifty-something people.

Bangarang, Dante! ‘Til your next visit!

#LesMisManila

It’s been two days since and I am still not over it!!!

To say we were excited when they announced Les Mis in Manila last year is a gross understatement. Noelle and I have had tickets since October and it was a painful, 5-month wait.

Out of all the musicals I grew up watching on video, Les Misérables is one very dear to my heart. Not only because we share a birthyear (haha!), but also because our batch did a production of selected songs in high school.

Here, have some embarrassing photos of  said high school production:

I wish I had more, but all my very biased parents have are 50 photos of me either singing or dead on the barricade (such flattering angles) and two with Noelle during curtain call.

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I have no words for how much I loved it. It was exhilarating to finally get to see the actual show in its entirety since there hasn’t really been a full stage recording of Les Mis, just the anniversary concerts.

I cried when the bishop offered the candlesticks, which is the oddest thing since that scene’s never really affected me before. One Day More made me want to stand and lead a revolution in the balcony and Bring Him Home made my hair stand on end. And the set design! I did not expect to be so awed by the set design!

The whole show was absolutely magnificent. I don’t even know how to cope because listening to the soundtrack just doesn’t do anything for me anymore.

50th Anniversary concert in London, maybe? Please, universe? C’mon, 2035!

Of New Tattoos and Fictional Boyfriends:

…for with Jo, brain developed earlier than heart, and she preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen ‘til called for, and latter were less manageable. — Little Women

I’d been planning a Harry Potter-related tattoo for years now, but could never decide on what. I knew I wanted something small and subtle – something like the Hallows, only not the Hallows haha!

sirius

In the end, it took a month-long fanfic binge (prompted by this article a friend shared on Facebook) for me to decide on something for my favourite Marauder and fictional boyfriend of my teenage years, Sirius Black.

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So this just happened. 💀

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Sirius’ Azkaban Prison number is my smallest tattoo to date, but it was the hardest for me to sit for. I don’t think I’ll be getting any more work done on my ribs. It was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Haha!

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Happy early Christmas, self!

Fangirling @ STGCC 2015

a.k.a in which I forget how to human when faced with comic book artists. 

Rotch and Rael have been going to STGCC every year. Every year they invite me to come with, every year I don’t, every year I regret it. (Gail Simone in 2010, I cry.) So this year, this year, I said, I wasn’t going to miss it. BEST. DECISION. EVER.

DAY ONE:

Cla and I were running late. We got on a couple of wrong trains, and got down at the wrong stop, so when we finally got to the convention centre, we went straight to Adam Hughes’ booth. Bought a couple of sketchbooks to get signed, chatted with Adam’s wife, Allison, who was super nice, and found out that that was not where the signing was. It was, literally, at the other end of the con hall. By the time we got there it was halfway through his one-hour signing.

There was end of queue sign up, which meant they could only guarantee accommodating people up to that point. Some of the staff told me I was free to queue up and take my chances, so I did.

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Met an awesome Black Canary cosplayer while queued up. 😀

At the 50-minute mark, I’d given up hope that I wasn’t going to make it. I asked Cla to hold my place in line so I could take a quick photo of Adam signing from sidelines. He saw me just as he was about to sit back down and pouted for the camera when I told him why I was being Ms. Mcsneaky Photographerpants.

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senpai noticed meeee~

Not only did he extend his signing session, he also asked of he could get a photo of us on his phone too! Because it turns out, he’s a huge Cap fan.  At that point I was ready to just die because omgassjkdfhasfkljhsdf.

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Thank you for extending your signing, Adam! You’ve made this fangirl very happy. 😀

Also lined up for Adi Granov’s signing!

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Since we were already at the signing area, I was able to line up early for Adi’s session. Thankfully too, because his queue filled up pretty quickly. Why are these signings only an hour long!?!

DAY TWO:

Sunday was a lot more chill since I wasn’t going to be in costume, and I’d gotten half of the signings out of the way. Because we took things so easy all morning, we got to MBS late and did not make the cut-off for Simone Legno’s signing. Boo. Which meant I was first in line for Jim Cheung’s.

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STGCC has ruined local cons for me forever. It was so well organised, Marina Bay Sands is such a great con venue, and as an out-of-towner, I wasn’t privy to the clique-iness that’s I usually see in local cons. I was going to say there wasn’t any clique-iness, but I don’t know any of these people so what do I know, right? But the people I was able to chat with were really friendly.

Now, how many kidneys do I have to sell, so I can afford to go every year?

Postscript:

I missed CB Cebulski’s signing because it was at the same time as Adam’s and Simone Legno’s because we woke up late haha. Thankfully, they were both in Manila for APCC the weekend after!

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Like I said on Instagram, we found an awesome accomplice in our shennanigans in CB. We held up the line a little because he was just making us laugh so much.

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Skipped the queue at the tokidoki merch booth so I could queue up early for Simone. I was finally able to get the Skeletrina I bought at STGCC signed, and he also offered me a sketch! I thought you only got either a signature or a sketch so that was pretty cool of him. 🙂

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So in the end, I still got meet everyone I wanted to in the STGCC line-up mwehehehe. 😛