Cosplay and Youmacon Galore

youmacon 2014 snap shot
Here’s a snap shot of the crowd at the convention. And this is just one half of the building!

So I just came back from Youmacon and it was a blast like always! I did not go as a special guest or even as an exhibitor. I just went as an attendee, and it was very refreshing to do so, especially since I didn’t have to deal with any special guest stress like I had to at Phoenix Comicon.

renaissance center youmacon 2014
This is the Renaissance Center, where half of the con took place. The other half was in the Cobo Center.

Anyway, I did learn a couple of things while I was there, especially from some local friends of mine that live in the Detroit area. One thing I learned is that Detroit parking is apparently free on the weekends (that would have been nice to know: it would have saved me a ton in parking fees). Still, The Renaissance Center did have a parking garage with a handy sky walk on the third floor, connecting to the convention hall. The less time I spent outside in the cold, the better.

I did manage to take a set of pictures while I was there, because the cosplayers this year were amazing! There was an especially good Korra, which I will show some pictures of now.

youmacon 2014 korra cosplayer ribbon dance Youmacon_2014_Korra_Cosplayer_2

It actually got me thinking of getting into cosplay myself, especially since I started wearing the Jayne hat and I got some positive reception for it (I even posed for photos).

jayne hat at youmacon 2014 selfie
Standing in line. Because why not.

Which is surprising considering that the actor who played Jayne – Adam Baldwin – is kind of a professional ass (thanks, GamerGate).

Still, I got a lot of positive reception wearing the Jayne hat, probably because people can separate Jayne the character from Adam Baldwin the actor. Like I do.

selfie in jayne hat at youmacon 2014
Another grumpy face selfie. This time for the line for the Friday Team Four Star panel.

However I did start thinking of maybe cosplaying as Jayne more often, or even just cosplaying in general. But it is a very expensive hobby.

princess tutu cosplay at youmacon 2014
Exhibit A: Princess Tutu cosplay done by my old college roommate, Katy.

On the upside the convention itself gave me some new artistic inspiration! Hopefully you’ll see some of that in the coming weeks.

I want to get into the habit of doing warm up sketches more often, and that may include fanart… We’ll have to see how that goes.

Here are some other pictures that I took at the convention itself.

youmacon 2014 jayne hat and cosplay
I don’t think she noticed.
gaggle of assassins from assassins creed 2014 youmacon
There was an entire gaggle of assassins.
My friend Alex (on the far left) is a trooper for coming to the con with an injured leg.
My friend Alex (on the far left) is a trooper for coming to the con with an injured leg.

Another pro tip for Youmacon: take the back walk. The con takes place in two different centers: the Renaissance Center and the Cobo Center. They’re starting the shift events into the Cobo Center more so than the other one, however you still have to walk back and forth. Try to avoid the main stretch and take the back way. It runs right alongside the river (and on the other side of the river is Canada). Take that route to get back to the Renaissance Center: you will come across a lot less aggressive homeless people that way.

youmacon 2014 detroit
Here’s a peek at the secret passage…and Canada.
Less populated, but still safe. The People Mover also runs a little ways by it.
Less populated, but still safe. The People Mover also runs a little ways by it.
youmacon 2014
That’s Canada across the water. Swim for free healthcare!

Also another pro tip: it’s good to stick to a budget. That way you have money for gas on the way home. I succeeded in this endeavor, but I know people who forget this kind of stuff.

Here are some more pictures from the event.

spiderman at youmacon 2014
Spiderman being smooth.
team four star panel at youmacon 2014
Team Four Star panel. Sorry it’s so blurry!

Youmacon was such a blast! I had a great time while I was there.

It’s good to have one convention out of the year where you can go as an attendee. Not as a guest or an exhibitor, but just for the fun of it, to hang out with friends.

Thank you for reading and I will see you on Friday.

Tis the Season for Prints and Posters

My Calendar of Deadlines and Doom...with Art! (Click to enlarge).
My Calendar of Deadlines and Doom…with Art! (Click to enlarge).

When I’m not making comics, I work at my day job, at a craft store.

Something I have noticed is that there are a LOT of people who buy seasonal crap. Halloween wreaths, Christmas decorations that leave waves of glitter at my register, and even the odd Thanksgiving table topper, are all sold to people who think buying these things will get them in the “spirit of the season” (whatever that means).

In case you can’t tell, I’m not a fan of seasonal things.

But I have started doing something that somehow gets me in a festive mood without feeling like I’ve sold my soul to kitschy trinkets.

I hang up posters.

Art (left to right) by J Peffer, the Grand Canyon, Chloe Rose, and an artist on Tumblr (Sorry I can't remember your name!). Click to enlarge.
Art (left to right) by J Peffer, the Grand Canyon, Chloe Rose, and an artist on Tumblr (Sorry I can’t remember your name!). Click to enlarge.

I hang up prints, postcards, and posters I’ve gathered from conventions and traveling.

A small selection of my postcards. Click to enlarge.
A small selection of my postcards. On the left is art done by Joseph Lawn from deviantart. Click to enlarge.

But I have so many of them I can’t hang them all.

So I only put up the ones that I feel fit the season.

Since it’s fall, I put up a bunch of prints of people in costumes, and prints and postcards with warm colors and dead trees and other related subjects depicted.

Greed and Lust were drawn by Chloe Rose. I can't remember the other artists for the other pieces. Sorry! (Click to enlarge).
Greed and Lust were drawn by Chloe Rose. I can’t remember the other artists for the other pieces. Sorry! (Click to enlarge).

It’s unusual, but it’s something I’m comfortable with.

More prints and postcards! (Click to enlarge).
More prints and postcards! (Click to enlarge).

Plus, I get to surround myself with things made by artists I know or have otherwise met at cons! That is WAY more personal to me than a tabletopper you can get at the craft store.

But that’s just me.

Have you been feeling festive this season? Or do you hate this kind of stuff? And why? Let me know in comments below!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Friday.

How to Take a Day Off

I realized something recently.

I was finishing some comics on Sunday morning, and then I went to a shift at my day job as a Michael’s cashier.

And when I got home, I splurged for myself and knitted and crocheted ALL OF THE THINGS.

crocheted head with cute face
ALL THE THINGS includes this little potato face here. He needs a hat.

The reason?

I needed a little time off to do something for myself.

And then I realized that, as a freelancer, I don’t do that nearly as often as I think I do.

As freelancers, we all need a little time off.

Freelancing is a lot of running around to manage everything, from finances to invoicing to actually making the things you promised to make for that client who forgot to pay you last week and –

It’s chaotic.

Sometimes the chaos is fun, in a “How will I kick Chaos’ ass THIS time” kind of way.

However, it can be really easy to get caught up in the chaos and never take a day off.

On the other hand, it’s easy to take a lot of days off.

Freelancing gives us the ability to set our own schedules, which is both awesome and terrifying.

It’s awesome because if you need to take a day to help mom move a fridge, get a haircut at some random hour of the day, or drive into the city to get a thing, you can totally do that.

But it’s terrifying because it’s easy to fall into one of two extremes: too many days off, or not enough of them.

Too many days off means you’ll be cramming to meet your deadlines, and that can infringe on your ability to meet promises you made to the folks outside of your work. Did you promise your sister you would drive her over to a friend’s house? Well you can’t do it because you have a deadline to meet and you slacked off too much earlier this week.

Too few days off means you’ll start seeing numbers in your sleep, you’ll see everything you do as “work” or “in the way of work,” and your friends and family will be deeply concerned for your health and possibly have the hospital on speed-dial.

So how do you handle this conundrum?

It’s all about balance.

It’s all about knowing when you’ve worked too many days, when you’ve taken off too much time, and knowing how your body and mind acts in those scenarios.

Listen to your body.

Don’t overwork yourself to the point that you get sick. Don’t take off so much time that you start sleeping in for eleven hours and wake up even more tired than you anticipated.

Know the rhythms of your body. Know when it’s tired, when it’s active and driven to get work done.

Make a schedule and stick to it.

If you are the type to make schedules and stick to them (like I am), decide how many days off you need and incorporate it into your flow. I usually do two days off, but they don’t have to be consecutive. Even if it’s mega-crunch time, I make room for one day off, at least.

If you are the type to not make schedules, then figure out the number of days off you would need in a given week/month/quarter and incorporate it into your flow. Do you need two days off in a row? Ok. Or do you need three days off a week? This will depend on your lifestyle and your responsibilities, but always make sure you have time off and that it’s balanced with your work.

And relax.

It will get done.

I know sometimes I tend to overwork myself because I feel a sense of urgency. Like, “If I don’t get this done now, it will never get done!”

That’s bull-crap.

Things will get done. Your project will get finished, and then you will move on to the next one.

Nothing needs to be done “right now.” It just needs done.

How soon, or how late, is up to you.

I’m not telling you to shurk your deadlines.

I’m telling you that if you need to take a breather so you’re not overworked, take that breather.

Take care of yourself first. The rest will follow.

I hope this helped you in some way. Please take good care of yourselves.

So when was your last day off? Did you do anything/nothing/all of the things? Leave a comment!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on Friday.