The post-Dragon Con breakdown

Dragon Con has now come and gone, and as is custom, most of the hotels are already full again. There was a myriad of issues that sprung up over the course of the con, between construction, hotels overbooking and some con-goers behaving incredibly badly, but I still vastly enjoyed it. I’ll probably create a more complete rundown this weekend, but for now I wanted to talk about the work I do for the Superhero Costuming Forum.

Years ago, I was invited to the SCF by its founder, Allen Hansard while dressed in my X-Factor Siryn costume. It was a blissfully low-drama community genuinely focused on improving the craft and encouraging new members. I love the SCF. I have made more lasting friends from the community than any other that I have been a part of, whether for costuming, creation or academic.

Of the many things the SCF does, one of the most well known is the organization of the giant Marvel and DC costuming photoshoots. They are the largest of their kind anywhere, and we draw literally hundreds of costumers to each shoot. They’re massive, fun and the most visible of all of the photoshoots at Dragon Con. We also draw the attention of convention guests…like this guy whose movies you maaaay know:


Thanks to the work by our friends at Beat Down Boogie, Contagious Media, Acksonl and our myriad of incredibly talented photographers, folks around the world have seen the incredible work and love of the craft from superhero costumers (amongst many others). It’s a labor of love, costuming, and I love that we can gather so many people full of talent and passion together to get these great photos and videos.

The behind the scenes of organizing these shoots is a lot more massive than most people imagine. Finding locations, working with other groups to make sure scheduling works, finding reliable photographers and videographers, getting the word out to various costuming groups, arranging special guest visits, establishing rules and safety procedures, and working directly with the con takes quite a bit of time, and for really big shoots, the work starts as much as a year out from the event. For the last several years, the giant Marvel and DC shoots were arranged by this guy:

10603508_10154623070145226_6653986850162564337_n1©AngryDogStudios

Allen Hansard, the a**hole who has been at the forefront of making these shoots happen (and what a perfect costume, right?). I’ve seen first hand how much work goes into these things, as I’ve been assisting with subgroups and eventually becoming co-director over the last several years. Its stressful, deceptively difficult and affects how much con he actually gets to experience. Between setup, the shoot itself and breakdown, Saturday and Sunday from about 2:30 until 6:00pm are spent outside in Atlanta heat making sure the shoot runs. It’s pretty rough, and often he doesn’t even wear a costume for it nowadays. He’s taken time out of his own costuming to make sure others can have these giant photo opportunities and network with other costumers and just have a fun time.

Well, as of this year, Allen has retired from the big shoots. He’ll still be directing smaller shoots, but this will give him more freedom to costume and focus on other things, like running our forum. He’s passed the megaphone and reins to me, and beginning next year, I’ll be in charge of the giant shoots. What will this mean for my propmaking? Probably not much, I’ll just have less work in the studio as Dragon Con looms, but I wanted to share this other aspect of costuming that I do. I have some big shoes to fill, and I’m not sure I can top what we achieved this year, but I know I’ll do my damnedest.

So, thank you, Allen and The SCF for trusting me with this beast, and I look forward to seeing everyone again next Dragon Con.

Pat Loika©PatLoika

Moving! Commissions! Stuff to come!

Some of you may have noticed that the site has been pretty barren as of late. Over the last few months I completed my final classes for my Masters program and my Husband and I moved to a new city. We are finally mostly settled in, and the studio is back in working order again! I have also completed the bulk of my 2014 commissions, which means that slots will become available again as the year progresses. I am opening one slot for a custom commission for now, and will open slots for previously completed commissions on a case by case basis in the meantime. I will not be taking on any commissions for Megaman armor, Vanille’s staff or Automail for the time being.

Also, if you are looking for some of my jewelry pieces, swing by my Etsy shop! I’ll be adding new pieces over the next month or so as well, so stay tuned!

Right now it’s mad DragonCon prep time, but once September rolls around, look forward to new tutorials, more projects and more crafting topic posts!

Busy times! Status of commission schedule.

Whew.

Been a while since the last update. I got hit with a slew of commission requests and general inquiries. The last two big projects have been exceedingly popular, which is awesome and humbling. However, I am up to my ears in work now (also awesome) but that means less time to post to the page or answer e-mails for non-clients. So, Just a quick update to where the studio is, work-wise and what it means for commissions right now.

Lokistuff

I am not accepting commissions until early next year. Right now the studio has been completely taken over by Loki (that sly b*stard). I will update the page when this changes, but until the current commissions for scepters, spears and armor are complete, I will not be accepting new commissions or even negotiating future commissions. I simply don’t have the time to do price quotes at the moment (which generally take between 30 and 90 minutes each). I will still give quotes for things I have done before and thus already know the price, but will not be taking actual orders until after new years most likely.

I also have had a massive amount of interest in the Megaman armor I completed earlier this year. I am floored by the response, and I really appreciate that the reaction has been so positive, but I will not take any commissions to replicate it. It was a great design and I learned a great deal from it’s completion, but I also learned that it is incredibly time consuming and that I did not want to undertake another project in that vein on a commission basis. If you have any questions about how I made it that are not covered in my post on creating flexible armor with EVA foam, please feel free to shoot me a line with your specific question and I’ll try to help out. However, I will not accept any commissions to make another one.

Thanks for reading, and look forward for Loki Scepter v 2.0 coming soon!

Status of the Site and Commissions

So, anyone who has tried to access the site in the last couple of weeks probably saw a very nasty warning page from google stating that the site was likely an attack site. This has been fixed! It seems my site was the target of a nasty bit of malicious code insert that tried to install malware whenever anyone visited it. I’ve been working with my hosting provider and the site is now clean again. If you have visited the site in the last 2-3 weeks and ignored the warning page, it wouldn’t hurt to run your favorite malware/virus checker just in case.
On brighter news, I have a few commissions slots open over the summer, but only for things which I already have the molds for. These items include:

I just won’t have time this summer to take on any new, custom commissions with my current workload and preparation for DragonCon. I will have time to prepare things I have already created molds for, however, and may also be able to provide any of the above listed items in kit form. Use the commission inquiry form to inquire.

2013 Commissions Are Now Open!

As 2012 winds down to a close, it’s time to look towards next year’s costumes and props!

I’m opening up commission inquiries for delivery during the first half of 2013. However, I am going to be speaking a bit on the nature of my request schedule, pricing and quality of work.

Firstly, I am in the extraordinarily awesome position of having a higher demand for my work than I can fulfill. Since I now need a way to determine which commissions to take on, I’ll be taking a page from two other creators I greatly respect. Like Volpin and Blind Squirrel have done this year, I’ll be making decisions according to what I personally would like to create. The reasoning for this is that as a propmaker, I do my best work when I am genuinely invested in a project; whether it’s because I am a fan of the franchise it is from, love the object’s design or enjoy the process that goes into its creation. In the interest of matching my time and skills up with projects that match my own loves, I’ve put together a list of things that interest me and that I’d love to create from.

  • Marvel Comics and Movies
  • Skyrim/TES Games
  • Fallout Games
  • Mass Effect Games
  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
  • Deus Ex Games
  • Borderlands Games
  • Lord of the Rings / The Hobbit
  • Batman Comics, Nolan-verse and Animated
  • A Game of Thrones
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Final Fantasy Games, Especially IV, VI, IX, XII, XIII
  • Bubblegum Crisis Hardsuits
  • Breath of Fire Games

Now, if what you need isn’t on that list, does that mean I won’t make it? No way! I’m always open to new things, and if something looks interesting, I will certainly consider it. All this list is for is to show how to ensure that you get my attention.

Another bit I want to mention is on the “How much is this gonna cost?” question. Volpin recently did an excellent writeup on the topic of cost in prop commissions. I will never be able to beat mass production prices or those eBay sellers out of Hong Kong. However, I will give you the fairest price I can and absolute control of the substance and direction of your commission.

Another question I get from time to time, after I have given a quote on price, is “Can you cut some corners/use cheaper materials/have less detail to make it cheaper?” This is a very sticky question for me. Now, I costume myself, so I know all about how expensive the hobby can be, and understand how troubling it can be for just one part of a costume to take a large chunk out of the budget. I can sympathize with having a limited budget, as I always work on my own things on a shoestring budget, which is what lead me to learn how to make things myself in order to save money. However, when I put my name onto a commission, my name and reputation is now tied to that piece. If it breaks, if the paint job is less than perfect, if the details are fudged, it reflects upon my skill. While the client and I may know that the details were fudged to keep the piece within the client’s budget, and that we didn’t go with the better paint job at the request of the client, the casual viewer will see a sub-par paint job and muddy, inaccurate details. That will color their opinion on the prop’s creator and ultimately hurt my reputation. The only way I want to send props out for other costumers is if they are the best quality I could create at the time. Know that when I quote a price, it is the fairest price I can give for the quality my conscience requires and very rarely will I be able to re-quote a price lower than I originally gave. I will be spending dozens if not hundreds of hours on a piece for you, and I want to be able to look back at the end and know it was the finest work I could give.

I want to thank everyone reading this for following my work of the last year, and especially thank those who have trusted me to bring a piece of their costume to life. I hope to continue to create awesome, nerdy things in the coming year! If you’ve got something you need made, please swing on over to my Commissions Page and drop me a line!