Yeesh, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to calling it ‘MCM London Comic Con’! For the longest time this convention was called MCM Expo and that’s the name that’s forever stuck in my mind!
With another May over (hello, June!), it means that yet another London Comic Con has come and gone. For those of you who don’t know, London Comic Con (or MCM Expo) is the largest nerd con in the UK. It covers movies, television, comics and anime and it’s just getting bigger and better each year.
I’ve been selling my art there since 2010. I first started out in Comic Village, which is an area that used to be called ‘Artists Alley’ and used to be the place independent artists could sell their work. Over the years, as the con has morphed and changed, Artists Alley turned into Comic Village with a focus on independently created comics. A whole bunch of artists who sold mainly prints and crafts decided to move into the dealer’s area, and I have to say the move has been pretty favourable for me! The tables in the dealer’s section are a lot more expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for. The extra money buys you a table that is twice as large, and you get so much more room behind you for storage and movement (believe me, space at this con is a luxury!) The dealer’s section also gets way more footfall from people desperate to part with their cash, and - most importantly - you can sell pretty much whatever you like there.
This was my second time behind a dealer’s table at London MCM. I wasn’t in the best location in the world (mainly because tables sell out super fast and we had to book mine while on the Eurostar headed for Disneyland Paris, woops!) but I did well despite that! The dealers I was next to were lovely - one even gave me a little Delorean toy car as a thank you for being such a nice table neighbour! And it’s always so wonderful seeing my friends again as they come by. (Another awesome thing about having a table at conventions is having a sort of ‘home base’ that people can locate and plan around!) Friday was quite scary as sales were very, very low, and I was so worried it would be a trend for the whole weekend. Thankfully, Saturday picked up and by Sunday I had actually had one of my most successful conventions!
As usual, I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I wanted to, I didn't get to leave my table much apart from to get lunch and attend a couple of panels while Luke kindly watched the table for me. Usually, I manage to escape to see the League of Legends cosplay meet, but this year it clashed with a panel for 'Being Human' which is a show I used to adore! And they had the whole original cast there, which was pretty neat! Sarah and I went to a panel for that, and then I also went to an 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D' panel, terrified the finale might be spoiled (Moose and I haven't seen the last few episodes yet, eep!) Fortunately, the cast are all utterly professional and they didn't let anyone ruin anything for us (though a fan did manage to hint at what happens in the finale, which was annoying enough!)
This year's MCM was super smooth. Entry didn't seem like the mess it usually is, organisation was pretty much on point. Luke, Sarah, Moose and I all stayed in an apartment down the DLR line which worked out so well for us - we used to cram a bunch of us into a local hotel to keep things affordable, but the hotels have started cracking down on that and last year we got caught out. The apartment only took twenty minutes, door-to-door, and worked out not very much more than a hotel would have been. Plus, it meant we had somewhere to hang out and play games in the evening and somewhere to make bacon sandwiches in the morning. Brilliant!
This time last year, I hadn't seen any Star Wars movie. I'd somehow missed them as a kid, missed them as a teenager when the prequels came out, and never gotten around to catching up with them until Summer last year, when Moose and I were due to go to 'Secret Cinema Presents: The Empire Strikes Back'. I watched 'A New Hope' on the way to London, and then later made sure I watched 'Return of the Jedi' before we all watched 'The Force Awakens'.
This year was the first year I could celebrate May the 4th - aka Star Wars Day - as someone who had actually seen the films. Go me! So, to celebrate, I made sure I finished this silly little painting I've had in my head for a while now. Most of my crossover art makes sense in the scheme of things. This one... not so much.
Hello! As you can see, BEDA kind of went by the way again! I'm sorry! I had two conventions in a row (Just Fur The Weekend and BUCK) and then during BUCK I got super sick so I wasn't really in the mood to blog for a while! However, I'm back now, and while I probably won't be continuing with BEDA, I will be maintaining regular posts from here on out. As you can see, I've spent a little bit of time revamping my blog a bit, trying to make it match my personality a bit more! Hope you like the retro-ness of it all!
Here's a new piece I doodled a while ago and finally got around to finishing up! I've called it 'Bounce n' Pounce' because both Rengar and Gnar are pretty bouncy and, well, pouncy! I'd say there's no escaping these two! I wanted a very simple background, and I ended up using some brushes from Katikut for the grass (as well as *whispers* the default Photoshop grass brush, don't judge!)
Prints are available, and I'll of course have this for sale at MCM Expo this May! I've also uploaded it onto my Redbubble site as I think it makes a killer shirt design!!
Today we celebrated Luke's birthday by heading over to Bristol Zoo and enjoying all the lovely animals they had there! I thought it'd be a good chance to enjoy my new camera (a Sony A5000) but unfortunately the lens it comes with is pretty basic and it lacks the zoom I'm used to with my old Canon. Usually, this isn't a problem, and my A5000 takes far superior photos at closer range, but zoo animals are generally a hidden a little further away and the old zoom would have come in handy. Oh well! I'll treat myself to a better lens someday!
Still, it was a wonderful day. My highlight was dancing with the penguins, as they were entranced by my hand (and then my poncho) and kept following wherever I pointed and swayed! Very cute little things, it was like playing with a kitten by dangling a piece of string. I'm so sad nobody took a video of my magical penguin encounter.
I'm really happy with my choice of dress for the day! I bought this lovely Cath Kidston dress a while ago and I just love the print! It couldn't be more perfect for a trip to the zoo. I completed the look with my Disney Couture 'Simba' necklace, which sadly became hidden by my brown tribal-print poncho (heck, it is still April, after all!)
Here's a post I meant to make a long time ago, but at the time I didn't want to mess up my Disneyland Paris blogging (which I still need to finish, eep!). Since I've now abandoned the idea of keeping those posts in any sort of sensible order, I figured now would be a good enough time to talk about Secret Cinema: Doctor Strangelove!
For those who don't know what Secret Cinema is, it's basically a live interactive theatrical event themed after a particular movie of their choosing, complete with a bar and food vendors and, of course, a showing of the actual film. You're given a character, a whole new persona for the evening, and encouraged to dress accordingly. There are actually two different types of event; 'Secret Cinema Presents', and simply 'Secret Cinema'. 'Secret Cinema' is how they started, with events that were, well, sort of secret. You'd book your tickets blindly without any knowledge as to what the film was. Weeks before the showing, they'll send you the details of your outfit, your character and any props you should bring along, but won't reveal the film.
They seemed to stop putting on events like this, in favour of their incredibly popular 'Secret Cinema Presents'. These events seem to be much larger affairs, where the movie and theme is broadcast publicly from day one, which encourages more people to go, secure in the knowledge that the night will be one they'll enjoy. This started with 'Back To The Future', which was incredibly popular and looked amazing, I'm so sad I missed out on it!. Then, they put on 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back', which was Moose and my first foray into the world of Secret Cinema, and you can read all about that here. Put simply, it was incredible. We had an amazing time, loved every second of it so much that when they announced their next event, we jumped at the chance to book tickets.
This time, the event was simply Secret Cinema. All we knew from Secret Cinema was that the film seemed very 1960s, and very Cold War-y. Rumours started to spread that it might be Doctor Strangelove, which excited me no end because I actually hadn't seen it before, despite being a sucker for the Cold War and the Cold War era. I couldn't await to be designated a character for the evening so I could start buying props and costumes - 1960s clothes, be still my beating heart!
Finally, we received the email, and I was assigned a FCD, which was an airman, and Moose was assigned DOD, another military role. I actually ended up cheating and changing my character to a GOV - Government Official, so I could wear a pretty dress rather than a jump suit - I know, I know, kind of cheating really, but I did not want to buy a whole military airman outfit! Moose was fortunate to find his outfit cheap as a fancy dress piece, and I think it looked great! But then, I might be a little bias.
Finally the day came, and we dressed up, sorted out our props (I was to bring a rose, Moose had to provide surveillance maps) and our IDs, and we went down to the secret location (Canada Water, same place as Star Wars, actually). We were assigned different entrances depending on rank and ID but fortunately, Moose and I had the same door despite being different departments. We queued up together, and the whole area had been done up to resemble a military air base. Even from outside, with the actors not breaking character at all, it was very immersive and very impressive. We were so excited!
Now, Moose and I are admittedly quite a couple-y couple, and when we were warned we'd be separated for the start of the evening due to being different ranks, it originally put a dampener on things. We'd purchased these tickets in lieu of Valentines gifts, so we actually kind of wanted to celebrate together. So, when friend Laura (who had been to the event days earlier), warned us that we'd be separated, we were determined to make the most of it despite the circumstances! She advised that we should just throw ourselves into it and meet up after we've performed the tasks our characters had been given, so we arranged to meet up at the bar, and went our separate ways.
As a Government Lady, my first task involved going into a secret bar to talk to Lola. The bar was gorgeous. The decoration and scenery was just perfect. It was sexy and dimly lit with beautiful live music, beaded curtains to little dark alcoves where people were busy conducting their business. It was amazing! I was with some other Government Officials and we stuck together like glue. A lady named Purity taught us how to dance while we waited for a cocktail, and then we spoke to Lola. She tasked us with finding a diplomat.
And then ....it kind of all went down hill.
We bumbled around, as a group, lost and unsure what we were meant to do. We milled around the bar, before deciding to go back to Lola, who was now busy with some more people. We tried to overhear what she was telling them, but it was entirely different. We tried to wait to ask her again, but by then it was obvious that we were in the way of other people. So, we went to where we saw a bunch of diplomats, who were all paying guests like us, not actors. Surely they weren't what we had to find? So ...we just ended up horribly confused. I decided to wait around in the bar for a while, because I'd previously planned to meet Moose there and figured he might turn up (and it was such a lovely bar, I could have stayed there all night, honestly!) In the end one girl decided to go find her partner, who was had been assigned a Press character, and we left the bar into the outside area.
And that's when I realised why Moose hadn't been to the bar yet... because the rest of the event was huge and open and full of people that didn't know our secret bar existed! My new Government friend and I wandered around, lost for a while, until a chap came up to us and asked if we'd spoken to the Russian Diplomat yet. What? We were so confused. He advised that we should go and talk to him, so we wandered back to the secret bar, hoping for something, anything, to happen.
And honestly, that's how we spent most the night. Lost, confused, wandering around, following people who looked like they had a lead. Eventually we found the Russian Diplomat, who told us to go and do something outside, and that's where I finally bumped into Moose again, who had had an even more disorganised time than I. He'd been originally tasked with finding some secret codes, which he wrote down, and then the group of people he'd been with had all split up and nobody knew what they were doing - one had just gone to the food area and stayed there, and when Moose asked an actor for help, he was told it was all 'top secret'. Helpful! So when he finally found me, a good hour or so later, he was pretty annoyed. We hadn't eaten yet, and hadn't known there were actually two bars - he'd been waiting in an army mess, having no clue about the secret bar I'd been in. We were stressed because we wanted to get food before the film, annoyed because we'd spent so much of the time lost and confused, and generally not very satisfied!
By contrast, the milling around at their Star Wars event was amazing! We were free to come and go anywhere as we pleased, and while we had specific tasks to perform (trading with Jawas, for example!), it was all fun and easy and we didn't feel pressured or lost at all. We had had plenty of time to grab food and drink and meet actors and it was just generally very, very awesome. I get that with a Cold War themed movie, secrecy and deception is kind of par for the course, but when somebody who has paid nearly £70 asks for advice as to how they can get the very best out of their evening, it'd probably be nice to assist in that a little.
Reunited, we went and grabbed food, I showed Moose our secret bar and then it was time for the movie. Now, this is where the evening really was wonderful. The movie was incredible, and the actors really pulled you into the story. The film itself - Doctor Strangelove - was so so good! I'm so glad I watched it for the first time in such an amazing way - the climax ended with huge confetti canons exploding above our heads and (despite the hugely damning end to the film), we all rose and clapped and whooped for joy because it was such an amazing production. It was excellent.
We left, milled around in the rooms after that. There was an after party in the secret bar, but we decided to go home instead as it was late and the location was pretty far out from where Moose lives.
Over all, the night was... okay. The film was incredible. My night was significantly better than Moose's, I think, but simply because I was lost with other people who were also lost, which isn't a particularly great selling point, to be honest. Also, we had the secret bar, which I could have happily stayed in all evening, but it probably wasn't worth £70 to stay in the bar all night.
I cannot fault the actors at all. Everybody was great! Nobody broke character, and they were really good at pulling you in, even with small interactions that have no relevance to tasks or plot at all (a soldier got engaged in the bar and got very, very drunk, for example!) The scenery and environment was also really really great, but I'm a sucker for that stuff anyway. The biggest let down for us was that I think they were trying to do far too much with the event. Optional tasks are great fun - like I said, Star Wars was a blast! - but when you're guided into it, separated from your party and then forced to spend spend most of the evening wandering around because you missed something somewhere and have no way of fixing it... just ...eh. I heard a lot of people making the same complaint, which is quite reassuring since I was worried maybe it was just us! And it's such a shame, because I really did try to get involved and throw myself into it, and Moose did too. He showed me all the notes he'd taken and the codes he'd deciphered and I could tell he was really inspired at the start. The evening just plain became a confused mess midway through and I really hope in the future they revert back to the open-ended tasks where you can actually relax and enjoy yourselves.
The highlight of the entire evening for me was the film, because it's a great movie anyway and because the way they presented it was absolutely wonderful. The rest of the evening ...not so much.
We're eager to give Secret Cinema another try, though, since Star Wars was so danged good, maybe this one was a blip? So we've booked tickets to Secret Cinema's next production - '28 Days Later'! We're actually due to go in a couple of weeks and I am so excited! It's their first time with a horror movie and I hope it's really, really creepy! We haven't been assigned characters yet and I don't really know how they're going to go about it all, but I suppose not knowing is half the fun. It is a secret, after all!
My next event is BUCK, which is a convention dedicated to the new series of My Little Pony. I've vended there every year since it began and unfortunately this year is their last. I'm super excited to get there and sell some art, though, and here's my newest piece! I'm actually *blushes* really really behind with watching the latest series. I stopped at the start of series five and just never started up again, so I've been making a point of catching up before the weekend! One of the first episodes I saw was 'Tanks for the Memories', which I found just so touching and sad even though Rainbow Dash was acting like a bit of an idiot! So, I doodled up this! And I think it makes a really awesome looking t-shirt, too, so here it is on Redbubble!
Purchase on Redbubble!: http://www.redbubble.com/people/reaperfox/works/21427470-tanks-for-the-friendship
Here's a couple of silly phone camera wips, I need to get into the habit of taking more screenshots and photos of work in progress art because I know people find it really fun to look at.
Here's a confession. I don't draw as much as I should.
That's not really a secret to people who know me. I'm a procrastinator. I'm a daydreamer rather than a doer. I'm determined in my goals, but not in my actions. I'm motivated in ways that do not help me and I lack gumption in ways that could push me forwards.
I find art - the act of making art - hard. Not the technical properties. Not anatomy or painting skills or perspective. I find it hard because I lack the drive. I have friends who wake up with this need to draw. They draw in the coffee shops, in class, in work, in bed. They draw, draw, draw because it's in their blood, it's their soul, it's what they do. They churn out pages and pages of sketches and designs and ideas, silly things like a new Zootopia fursona, or a sketch involving their roleplay character, or a doodle of Pikachu eating a cake, or thumbnail scenes for their latest comic idea, or anything and everything because that's what they do. I have friends who simply radiate creativity.
I absolutely, thoroughly, envy them.
I'm an artist. I know this. I knew it when I spent days drawing at the kitchen table as a child, and I know it now when somebody squeals at a print I'm selling, proclaiming their love for it, buying it to frame and hang on their wall. I know it with the same conviction that I know my name. My gender. My age. I am Selena Thomas. I am an artist.
There are people in the world who consider art a frivolous waste of time, as easy and expendable. They are so hilariously wrong. Art is not easy in the first place, and I find it even harder in my lack of creative spark. The drive to create art does not come easily to me, and for every day I struggle, for every day the work is a chore, for every day my stylus weighs a hundred tons and my brain is fluff and dumb and slow and easily distracted by social media and silly things, I ask myself if this is real. If this is me, being honest with myself. Is this what I'm meant to do?
And yet... I know the answer, because I don't actually think I'm alone. I actually think this is surprisingly common, a behind-the-scenes admission you rarely see in daylight, and that a lot of artists suffer from the same feelings as me. For every artist who emanates creativity, there are hundreds of others who struggle, who are plagued with black days and art blocks and missing muses. From the outside perspective, as the viewer, we don't see that for ourselves. We see the creativity, the results of actually doing. And I suppose to the hundreds of people who come along to my table at conventions, I must come across just as creative and productive as the best of them. I'm sure there are people who look at my table and think 'I wish I drew as much as she does. She must be drawing all the time!', because the results are there, clear as day, and they hide the struggle and self-doubt. But the results are there. Through the struggle comes the sense of purpose, the finished pieces, the progress, the results of actually doing.
So yes, this is what I'm meant to do. Sometimes things don't go according to plan and sometimes it's very easy to be knocked back and find yourself re-evaluating your choices, but honestly it all comes back to the one honest truth in it all. I'm an artist. Sometimes it's hard, but it is always worth it.
I'll close with these very appropriate, and timely, lyrics, from Zootopia!
I messed up tonight, I lost another fight
It's beda time! That is to say, Blog Every Day in April! Every April I use this to kickstart my blog for a few months and this year is no exception.
For the first time I'm ever, I feel as though my blog, as sporadic as its updates are at the moment, has an actual purpose and place in the blogging world. The past year has introduced me to so many vloggers in the nerdy, gaming, geeky world, and everyone is so wonderful and creative and interesting. I discovered the blog culture relatively recently - I had a Livejournal for years, of course, but it's only been the past few years that I've seen a world of blogging beyond diary posts and brain-fart rambles. My first encounter with the blog world was through the many, many lovely lifestyle blogs I found. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and found incredible inspiration from them, but they didn't really share a lot in common with me or my blog. They were young women, mostly beautiful and American, who had husbands and children and faith. They shared their journeys and adventures and I loved (still love) reading their blogs, learning about their daily lives, but it wasn't a community I felt I could really take part in. My day to day life involves video games, cosplay, going to conventions and selling art. I still live with my parents, and I'm hardly a young go-getter in the exciting blogging world.
The trouble is, if you try to find gaming blogs, for example, they're few and far between, and the ones that do exist aren't about lifestyle or the daily lives of gamers - they're dedicated game blogs, with reviews and guides, and the geek blogs I found all had very dedicated themes - geek clothing, geek cooking, for example. All fun to read, of course, but few of them felt like places I could reach out to as a blogger myself.
But then I sort of fell into a bunch of communities that bridged the gap. I found whole forums dedicated to geek lifestyle bloggers. They covered a broad spectrum - from gamers, to Disney nerds, to cosplayers and, of course, crafters and artists like myself. It was completely eye opening to me! To be a blogger meant I didn't have to be a mother, or married, or fashionable (though I like to think I look a little bit awesome most of the time!) It meant I had people I could connect with and share content with, and honestly that has been so liberating and fun.
I don't blog or engage in the blogging world as much as I'd like to, and that's something I really want to work on fixing. I think having an actual schedule would go a long way to helping that, which is why I'm hoping BEDA will be a happy kick up the bum for me. Nothing forces you to be imaginative like a tight deadline! I'm really looking forward to trying a whole month of daily blogging with you guys. I hope this blog can join the ranks of those I've fallen in love with over the past year, and I really hope you all enjoy the trip along the way!
I'm brand new to Wander Over Yonder! It's a cartoon I've avoided for a while because it seemed a little too stylised and 'wacky' for me, but my friend Luke sent me a song featuring Lord Dominator and I was absolutely hooked. She's just the coolest character ever! And given her penchant for disorder and just plain being mean for no reason, I thought she'd be the perfect buddy for fellow Disney XD toon bad guy, Bill Cipher from Gravity Falls!
Please check out the video and remember to subscribe if you like my content! I put out a new art video every week usually featuring some silly fandom or video game!
And here's the final image! I'm super happy with it! You can purchase a print over on my Storenvy page! And you can also buy it on a bunch of awesome products like shirts and tote bags over on my Redbubble page!
Wednesday! We started the day in the Studios, where we rode The Tower of Terror right away! The Tower of Terror is hands down my favourite ride in the whole Disneyland Paris resort. It didn't exist last time we went to Florida (back when the sister park was called MGM Studios, which sort of shows you how long ago that was!), so I've only experienced the French version, but I have been lucky enough to hear the English video and commentary at Disneyland Paris - it's very rare, but they do play it sometimes! We actually didn't get it in English at all this holiday until the very last day, the last time we rode the ride! It was like the park was saying g'bye to us! D'aw.
We then ran along to the Rock n' Roller Coaster which had a pretty short wait time, then scooted over to Animagique. I'm really glad we got to see Animagique one last time. It's not my favourite show in the whole world - don't get me wrong, it's lovely and fun and very well performed, but it's not as exciting to me as some have been. However, Disney had recently announced the show was closing down a few weeks after we were due to visit, so of course we had to go see it!
By now, time was moving and our tummies were rumbling so we went over to the Magic Kingdom for something to eat. Initially, we were going to go to Hakuna Matata, but the restaurant was closed, so we wandered around trying to find somewhere else. We ended up at the Agrabah Café, a buffet I'd never been to before but was super, super yummy. I don't know why we'd never tried it before! I'd love to eat there for an evening meal as there was so much choice and I don't think we did it as much justice as we could have done, haha. Their whole dessert section was baklava and I looooove baklava! Plus I ordered what I thought was a glass of wine for €7 and it turned out to be a lot more than that! Bargain!
We then rode Phantom Manor and Pirates again before enduring Small World, haha! I'm not a huge fan of this ride at all, the puppets are cute but kind of creepy and the song is the worst earworm imaginable! But, I consider it an absolute Disney staple and it's a ride I think you have to do if you can. I recorded the whole thing with the intention of blogging about it afterwards, but I still haven't gotten over my anxiety of vlogging in public so that never really happened.
As we were leaving Small World, we noticed the parade was about to start! We'd actually missed it entirely this trip so far, so we sat down on a wall and watched from afar (we were far too late to try and get a front row, er, seat). We then followed the parade around to Discoveryland and decided to queue up for Autopia - seriously, this ride always has the longest queues! No idea why it the queues were so long, considering everything else around it (Buzz, Space Mountain) had like five minute queues, but it is a cute ride and I love love love the 1950s futurism theme of it. I let Moose drive, since he passed his driving test in October last year but still doesn't have a car so I figured the, uh, practice would do him good. I did control the throttle though (much to his anguish when we accidentally went crashing into Luke and Sarah in front, oops!)
Afterwards, it was nearly time for Dreams, the big closing firework finale! We got a pretty decent spot, a little too far to the right really but I've seen the display so many times now it was nice to have a different view I guess! I was sad they've taken out the Frozen segment and replaced it with Brave again! I know, everyone is sick to death of Frozen, but I enjoy Frozen way more than Brave.
After that, we joined the mass exodus and found ourselves in Annette's Diner. We didn't fancy anything too large after the buffet earlier, but me and Moose still ended up ordering a huge three course meal, haha. Heck, if you can't let your hair down and enjoy a lot of good food when you're at Disney, when can you enjoy it?
That Reaperfox girl...
Hello! I'm Selena, aka Reaperfox, and this is Dream Somehow, my little home on the internet. This blog is dedicated to my adventures and my daily nerdy life!
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