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It's nearly time, later than usual this year, for Weston Super Sonic. 
 
This is an event I love & have been going since it's second event in 2015 (if I had known about the very first one I would of went, apparently it was only about 20 people who attended). 
 
Located in Weston-Super-Mare, it is only about half an hours drive for me to get to & is in a place that I had enjoyed going to as a child, an idyllic seaside town with plenty of gaming arcades & amusement piers. As I got older I would often go there to play snooker, pool & golf & to go to the theatre. It is a place that I wish I had lived in growing up & still do to an extent. Weston also hosts a small sci-fi convention that still runs now but the addition of Weston Super Sonic became significant for me.  
 
I had only been cosplaying & conventioneering for a few months when I had found out about it. I saw a poster in the window of Insane Games in Street advertising the event for January 2015 & the free release tickets about to go available in October 2014. I had no idea how popular it would be or how many would cosplay. I didn't even know what to cosplay. I was still fairly new to it & didn't exactly feel to adventurous. Looking at their website it said that they were accepting of other Sega cosplays & I had pre-ordered a replica Ryo Hazuki Shenmue jacket from Insert Coin Clothing. I thought it was better than nothing. 
 
When the day of the event came I wondered what to expect. Walking along the seafront to the pier me & my sister (not cosplaying) stood with a group of people waiting to cross the road. They were talking about Sonic so we thought they were going to the event which it turned out they were. They were speaking with Spanish accents & the older gentleman of the group stood out to me with a "why does he seem I should know him" kind of feeling. I should have known who it was as it was Ferran Rodriguez with his family, an artist for Sonic the Comic attending as one of the guests for the event with other Sonic artists. 
 
The day itself was really enjoyable with consoles set up to play games, a speed run competition, a (poorly organized) tournament across various games, panels from guests who worked on the comics, an interview via Skype with Mike Pollock (voice of Dr Eggman), an art contest & of course the cosplay competition. There where very few entrants & I nearly didn't go up but my sister kept insisting. I was the only male entrant against three girls as two Sonics & a Tails. Even though their website said open to other Sega cosplays I had to justify that Ryo was in the first Sonic All-Stars racing game. The judging was done by crowd cheers (mostly a group of Shenmue fanatics in the back row) & somehow I won which I had actually felt guilty about. It made me want to do better next year & at least I would have more preparation. It was leading up to this event I was starting to take cosplaying seriously but I had no opportunity to make anything spectacular, something that I would aim to do next year. 
 
Also in leading up to this first time attending, I had not hugely been into Sonic for a long time, only a passing interest in the newer games & heady memories of nostalgia. I hadn't played all of the recent releases but would often like to go back to the Mega Drive & Dreamcast games. In getting to talk to so many people & enjoying the day itself I found my passion rekindled & promptly went on Amazon & eBay to find the more recent games missing from my collection. 
 
Over the year leading up to the 2016 event I had learnt a lot of new skills & found myself cosplaying uncommon characters. I had initially settled on doing one of my favourite side characters from the Mega Drive games, Egg Robo. My sister had intended to go as Tikal & while helping her research for that one & looking at how she had been cosplayed by others, a thought occurred. Why not double up & go as Chaos to go alongside Tikal? A quick Google search found no Chaos cosplays so I thought I would do that instead. 
 
I had put a lot of effort into this as I felt I didn't really deserve my victory before. I went all out on this integrating lighting & music to the cosplay. The head was the largest thing I had ever made from wireframe & thermoplastic, a material I was still relatively new to working with. Unfortunately for my sister the wig she was going to use for Tikal never turned up in time & she never ended up cosplaying at all. She would eventually get to cosplay Tikal at Summer of Sonic later in the year.  
 
I was pleased with how the Chaos cosplay came out but before leaving on the day I felt that it really wasn't that great after all & upon seeing a lot of the other cosplays including an amazing Blaze & a spot on Wes Weasley I had started to feel like I had no hope of winning the competition. 
 
Over the course of the day partaking in another speed run competition, watching an art demonstration by Ferran Rodriguez who was again attending & getting into a dance off with the events Super Sonic mascot, many people had approached me asking for photos & complimenting the cosplay, amazed by the lighting & externally playing music featuring various Chaos themes from Sonic Adventure. 
 
It was amazing getting to talk to so many people again, more than had attended the year before & had even made some friends at the event with people trying to get in touch with me in the days after. The compliments that people gave me throughout the day made me feel more confident but I still didn't think I would win. As it turned out, I did. I was amazed by how many people had cheered for my cosplay. I really didn't think it was that good despite the work I had put into it. 
 
Not just content with taking home another trophy & stack of prizes I also took home a cardboard standee of Evil the Hedgehog, Youtube channel & podcast The Sonic Show's "Ultimate Fan Character". Sonic Show member Jamie was "sick of the thing" & offered if anyone wanted it. If no one wanted it ge was going to throw it off the pier. I ended up claiming it & adding it my menagerie of nerdy crap I collect. 
 
I came away from that day with another victory under my belt, a couple people who had became valued friends & a significant mention on Sonic Show's podcast following the event as well as further determination to improve my cosplay skills for the next event, happening much later than usual on October the 21st this year. 
 
Which beings me to why I am not looking forward to this year's event . I had wanted to get a head start on my next cosplay for WSS, Mephiles the Dark & things were going well. Friends whom I had made at WSS & SOS had shown a keen interest in this cosplay. One, another cosplayer who I met at SOS who was interested in going to WSS wants to get some group shots together & another who I had met at WSS in 2016, a girl who draws Sonic fan art & had a table at the event showcasing her works. We had built up a friendship & she expressed excitement at seeing the finished cosplay. 
 
What makes cosplaying so satisfying to me is seeing the joy on peoples faces when they see their favourite characters come to life (something I personally like to call the Disneyland effect) & knowing that I had people who were looking forward to it was an incentive. Particularly for this girl. How we actually first met was that at WSS 2016, a guy came up to me said "that girl over there is awfully shy but Chaos is one of her favourite characters & it would mean a lot to her if she could get a hug from you." I went over & gave her a hug & I could see she was a very shy, nervous person, not much different to how I was before I found my confidence with cosplay. A friendship slowly developed from a couple messages online & soon had planned to meet up at MCM London back in May & go out on the town afterwards. Not as a date, just a day out as friends. 
 
Unfortunately this is where things go wrong. We had planned so that when she got to the con she would give me a call & I would go & meet her. Getting later into the day I had expected to of heard from her & had spent a while near the entrance  hoping to spot her as she came in. I had sent her a message to find out if she was alright or if she had been delayed with no response. Eventually I thought maybe she isn't coming & carried on around the show floor.  
 
Walking around the dealer stalls, I was worried & concerned. This was only a couple weeks following the Manchester bombing & the worst comes to mind. I was worried about her, doubtful anything like that had happened & wondered why I hadn't heard from her. As I turned a corner to go down the aisle I caught a slight glimpse of someone walk right past me & I thought to myself "Hang on. Was that her?" I turned around & caught up to her. I wasn't 100% sure if it was her as we had not met in person very often, I gave her a tap on the shoulder & said "Excuse me, are you ______?" (I'm not going to mention her name out of respect for her privacy). She nodded not saying anything. I continued"It's me, it's Mark" thinking she had not recognized me having walked right past me, she nodded again. "I was worried that I hadn't heard from you." She finally spoke, "Look, I need to tell you something. I don't want to be your girlfriend." I just thought to myself in that moment "Where the hell did that come from?" 
 
We had been exchanging messages via Twitter for two months planning to meet up & go out (as friends) after the con. Exchanging ideas on what to do. I wanted to treat her to a nice day out. I tried to choose my words carefully & tried to be complimentary, flattering & gentlemanly. I knew she was worried about going to a big event like that following the Manchester bombing & was worried that the con could be a target. I had even offered to come & meet her when she got into London at the train station. I tried to be comforting & reassuring. I had only the most noble of intentions. I had tried to be a good, kind & caring friend, nothing more. I liked her, I still do & I don't hold any resentment towards her over this misunderstanding, but not in the way she thought I did. True, I did feel an attraction to her & to say that I love her would of only been platonically, the way in that you love someone as a friend, not romantically. I wanted to show her a nice day out as a way to thank her for being such a good friend & even then she was to one who asked to meet up in the first place. Somehow she had gotten the wrong idea & thought that I had wanted her to be my girlfriend & that I was seeing this as a date. 
 
I tried to explain to her that that was not the case. That yes, I did like her but not in that way but all I would get was silence & a shrug. She was a very shy, nervous person. It was obvious she wanted to dodge me that day & she was trembling, petrified that I had found her. I felt so terrible about her feeling that way. I would never want her to feel like that. It was obvious that she was uncomfortable with me being there so I thought it would be better to just leave her alone. 
 
I felt my manic depression quickly coming back. In the time leading up to this event I had been the happiest I had been in a long time. In one fell swoop, I was back in a pit of eternal darkness. I was heartbroken, not romantically speaking but at the loss of our friendship. The only friend I actually have... had. I don't really socialize & even the few people I would usually interact with, at work for example, I don't really consider friends. I don't like people & I rarely open up to anyone. Following that I felt so alone. My depression in the past has led my to some very dark thoughts & that night I became very self-destructive. I rarely drink & that night I went out to drown my sorrows. I wandered along the Thames for a while. I stared across the river, the city lights dancing across the rippling water. It felt enticing, inviting me to dive in. 
 
Obviously, I hadn't. I had found it hard to enjoy the rest of my weekend (she was only there for the one day). I found it hard to focus much on anything. I couldn't concentrate on looking on dealers tables, oblivious to other cosplayers that were about & couldn't focus during panel talks. The big party on Saturday night was less exhausting than normal even though it went on much later than usual. Aside from having an extensive stage show which I had tried to get pictures of, I didn't feel like dancing much. Early into the night I did dance with a few people but I wasn't really enjoying my self. I ended just sat on the sidelines watching everyone have a good time. Alone with only my thoughts. A couple of other girls beckoned me to dance with them to which I obliged as a proper gentleman should. They must of realised I wasn't having a good time. 
 
Since then I had tried to get in touch with my "friend" to no avail. Wanting to try & put things right. I knew she was interested in another con, LAGC, because one of the guests attending was someone who she had really wanted to see. I had expected to see her there, nervous but had hoped to see her. I was worried about things being awkward if we crossed paths with things as they are unresolved. I  would of hoped it would of been a good place just to sit down & work things out face to face. I didn't see her there, not that I was aware of at least considering the amount of people there. I knew she had really wanted to see this particular guest & I feel terrible to think if she didn't go, if she had missed out because of me being there. 
 
As it is, 4 months have gone by at the time of writing & things are still as they are. Our state of our friendship stuck in this Schrödinger-esque purgatory. I want to try to keep this friendship going but her lack of response to what attempts I've tried to get in contact with her doesn't fill me with hope. In those few months people have noticed a radical change in personality about me. I had been a lot more mopey than usual, was prone to acting rashly & had started to have some aggressive outbursts. I'm not saying that I had started to act like that just because of that girl, I have a lot of contributing factors to my stress from various aspects of my life but that may have been what put me over the edge. I often end up bottling my problems since I feel like I have no one to really turn to for help & end up having an outburst & / or nervous breakdown (the latter of which I have also suffered a fair amount of over the past couple months) but that instance did hit me rather hard.  
 
With Weston Super Sonic 2017 not that far away now, I have to get back to finishing my Mephiles cosplay. It has been on hiatus while I focused on cosplays for other cons. I should of got it done following LAGC in July but the depression gad left me very much unmotivated. I feel the lack of motivation also from the fear I feel about the upcoming event. 
 
I look forward to this event but this time I'm not. I am actually scared about going because I know that she will be there. I know that this is an event she wouldn't want to miss. As much as I had hoped to of ran into her at LAGC, I feel scared at the thought of running into her at WSS. I don't know what is going to happen. If we will be able to sort it out or not. I don't know what sort of mood she will be in. I wouldn't want to do anything to ruin her day. Part of me just feels like not going at all. It would be a shame not to go seeing as I have a 2 year cosplay championship to retain. Really there is no sense in not going as there is no reason to give up on doing something that I enjoy because I'm worried about running into one person & really the same should go for them. There would be no sense for her missing out on an enjoyable day. 
 
With just a month to go I still hope we can sort things out by then. I don't want things to end up awkward running into each other there. I have found it hard to find motivation to finish the Mephiles cosplay because of the part of me that doesn't want to go but have began to make progress slowly. I don't know what to expect but I am certainly not as excited for it as I normally would be. 
No cosplay updates here. I just need to vent my sorrows & just get my thoughts out. It's better than keeping it bottled up, that has been a problem for ne in the past so I am being open with my issues for the sake of relief. I know no one really cares about my problems, this is for my benefit. I anyone does care, thank you.

I have suffered from depression for many years, suffered from many dark thoughts & had often felt that people would be better off without me as a part of their lives. I had felt that amongst my friends at school that I was made to feel like a pariah. I don't particularly like to social with people from work, I consider work  friends as just that, not proper friends & at the end of the day I don't have to see or speak to them. I just want to go home & relax after a stressful day & don't want to even think of work & with that would rather not socialize with co-workers outside of work. I also feel that some people wouldn't even spare me a thought if it weren't for the fact that they are friends with my brother or sister. I had always felt better of alone & would rather keep to myself.

My depression stems from a lot of things, bullying at school, unhappy at work, unhappy personal life & a strained family relationship. I eek out a meager existence  but with no such happiness in my life I have often wondered what the point is. Nothing seems to ever go right for me, if something bad is going to happen it feels like it always happens to me.

I hate my life, part of the reason I cosplay is to beat the depression. The focus on working on a costume stops me from putting a metaphorical gun to my head. The end result of wearing the cosplay to a convention is what makes it feel worthwhile. I'd like to say that it is the reaction of people seeing one of their favourite characters brought to life & while that is true, for me it that I don't have to be me. "Mark" doesn't exist at these conventions, I can leave my wretched life far away find some momentary happiness & try to enjoy myself if only for a day or a weekend & then it's back to my living hell.

Outside of going to conventions, the thoughts of just ending it all would often come to mind in knowing what I have to come back to. I have even thought about ending it at a convention before, a full stop to an enjoyable weekend so I could end it where I am happy.

That was a thought I had in May of 2016 at MCM London but as I am writing this now it never came to fruition. Like the thoughts I have suffered for many years I never went through with it. To the people who do know of the state of my depression  I would say that I am strong enough to overcome those dark thoughts & not act on them no matter how much I want to. Part of me would like to believe that is true while the other part of me thinks it is out of cowardice. I don't know which is true but one thing was & still is certain to me & that is I hate my life! I find it hard to go on day by day.

With so much negativity in my life & feeling like I have no one who can help me. I feel alone. Different to how I want to be alone in that I rather keep to myself but in that I need help. I need to know that people care about me. And people may care about me, my family relationship while strained obviously care on some level but I rarely get any support, people at work have voiced their concerns  but at the end of the day I would rather distance myself from work & would rather avoid bringing my problems to work with me, I just like to get & get out & not be a bother with my problems. Otherwise I have no friends to turn to. I have lost track of my "friends" from school & don't really get out much. I would rather work on my cosplays or relax with a game, movie or book. As such I am alone with my problems.

Is that feeling of loneliness a part of my problems? Possibly. But in the time I had taken up cosplaying & conventioneering I have met some nice people & pleasantly talked to people via Twitter. Some people I would consider friends but are not exactly close. One girl who I met at a con later got in touch with me on DeviantArt. As did another person, a guy I met at a con who I had followed on Twitter & then when I was away at another con got a message from him having not realised who I was at the time when we met briefly at that previous con. Exchanging messages we too became friends. Having come back from the con I was at that weekend & uploading my photos & videos from the weekend I got a message from the girl. She had recently started on Twitter & through that we would chat more frequently & became friends.

I felt a bit better about myself. I felt happier knowing that there were people who actually spared a thought about me. Who actually seemed to like me even for what little they known about me on a personal level. The guy, another cosplayer wanting to do a meet up at a con with similar costumes for some group shots but still very much an online friend while the girl had been so kind to me & had been a pleasure to chat to.

I still suffered from depression but felt less suicidal. I still felt upset but felt like I could cope better. I had more enthusiasm with cosplay due to the support of my new friends. The guy who I felt a competitive spirit with (think Goku & Vegeta - that's the best analogy I can come up with writing this while watching DragonBall. I suppose it should be Sonic & Shadow since we are both Sonic series cosplayers. I digress.) & the girl with her kind support & excitement to see the finished result.

Leading up to another con I was feeling the depression getting worse & starting to affect me again & thinking what have I got  that's worth me not topping myself. I get a message from this girl saying she was going to be at this con too with a table showcasing her art. We'd agree to meet for the first time in just over year since we first met at a different con.

We weren't the closest of friends by any means but she was in actuality the only person I considered a friend. The timing of agreeing to meet my first social friend in years combined with the exaggerated thoughts from depression, namely the thought of "what do I have in my life that is worthwhile?" I was not thinking straight & I said the stupidest thing I had ever said to anyone. I ended up saying that I love her. While that in itself shouldn't be stupid we weren't that close & still didn't know each other that well. There's nothing wrong with saying you love someone but the feelings I felt were misguided. It was inappropriate to profess my romantically like that when those feeling weren't genuine but the thought of having a friend combined with the depression, I wasn't thinking clearly.  She rejected those feelings but wanted to stay friends. I was happy to here that, I acknowledged that it was inappropriate to say & that I hadn't been thinking clearly because of the depression & she was understanding. I never told her about the suicidal thoughts however, it's something that I didn't like to talk about & I didn't want to worry her. We still agreed to meet up & we had a good time. Our friendship was intact & maybe a little bit closer as friends.

Time went by & we would still chat on Twitter every now & then. A couple of months in advance, she had asked if I wanted to meet up with her again at MCM London in May this year. To keep this short, we were meant to meet but she stood me up. I found her later & said she did not want to be my girlfriend. We had only agreed to meet up & enjoy a day out as friends. In exchanging messages planning for the day I had tried to come across flattering, complimentary & gentlemanly. Just being friendly. Somehow she mistook what I meant as romantic intentions in wanting to treat her to an enjoyable day out.

While there was no romantic intent, following that I felt heartbroken. Not in losing someone who I loved (albeit platonically) but in losing a friend. My only friend. Someone who has meant a lot to me. Someone whose kindness had pulled me out of the darkness. In the time we spent planning to meet this time, I had been happiest I has been in years. In losing her friendship I felt suicidal again. That I ended up on London Bridge & stared out across the river, enticed by the rippling water, wanting to jump. For the sake of a week, I would of been there during the, London terror attack. At the time I was so depressed, I never really thought about the fact that I had been there but I eventually felt the shock. I had fell into a depression that I thought was gone, but worse. It felt worse in the fact that for the first time in a long time I had felt happiness & then it was gone again.

Since that day I had tried to contact her, to try & sort things out but would get nothing back. I had managed to cope day by day but just worried about the situation. What if we can't put things right? Depression is still deep rooted in the back of my mind & not a day goes by without a dark thought. 3 months have now passed & I am feeling feeling no better. In fact, that realisation of how long it has been just makes me feel worse.

I just needed to write this. To collate my thoughts. To vent my problems. I doubt if anybody bothers to read these updates. I kind of hope that this time she happens to read this. Just to know why her friendship meant so much me, because her kindness & compassion saved me from a downwards spiral that may have ended badly for me. That is something that I had never told her. That is why I maybe felt those misguided feelings. It may have been in my subconscious when we were exchanging messages & led her to assume that I was looking for a relationship. But at the same time, it was her that put me back into the pit of depression again & that I have fell ever deeper into it. I hold no resent against her for that. I just hope if she is reading this that now she understands what she meant to me & knows where these misconstrued feelings came from. I used to enjoy chatting with her & in these past months I have felt so alone with no one to turn to for help. I miss my friend, the only friend who really seemed to care. I just want to go back to the way things were. Even now I still have hope.
Can't believe it has been nearly a month since the Summer London Anime and Gaming Con had come to a close & it was such an enjoyable weekend. I know I am a bit late again doing a post-con write-up but have had some personal problems to deal with which had affected all aspects of my life. I'm still not exactly feeling great about things having suffered another nervous breakdown recently that left me in tears until 3 AM one morning, leaving me with no sleep & having to go to work at 6 AM operating potentially dangerous machinery. I am constantly filled with worry but I'm just about getting by. You don't want to here about that though, you want to read about some nerdy stuff! 
 
Summer LAGC 
 
I love the atmosphere at Anime League hosted events & this was the second I had attended, the first being LAGC in February earlier this year. It is always so social & fun. Always good for a laugh & good to make an idiot of oneself by which I mean cross dressing as Vocaloid singer Megurine Luka & performing on stage on Sunday for Lip Sync Battle & being encouraged to join another Vocaloid cosplayer on stage for her dance routine.  

Vocaloid - Megurine Luka cosplay (6) by DILLIGAF-Otaku Vocaloid - Megurine Luka cosplay (4) by DILLIGAF-Otaku Vocaloid - Megurine Luka cosplay (2) by DILLIGAF-Otaku

As for Friday & Saturday, Friday I decided to cosplay as Kevin Keene AKA Captain N hero of the self titled Nintendo cartoon from 1989. I was worried that it wouldn't be well recognized since the crowd at LAGC is usually very young (in their early 20's) however while it wasn't widely recognized the reception from those who did know it was very positive. 

Captain N cosplay (1) by DILLIGAF-Otaku Captain N cosplay (4) by DILLIGAF-Otaku Captain N cosplay (3) by DILLIGAF-Otaku

For Saturday I cosplayed as the Super Saiyan 4 version of Goku from Dragon Ball  GT. This was to be my main cosplay for the weekend since Dragon Ball is always popular & there is usually a Goku cosplayer whichever way you look. However this rendition is less common. In the 3 years I have been cosplaying & conventioneering I have only seen this version done twice (I also think that it may have been the same person each time). I was wondering how well received this cosplay would be & loads of people had asked for pictures & were amazed that I had incorporated lights into my hands so that as I pose it looks like I am actually launching Goku's signature Kamehameha attack. I decided to enter this cosplay into the competition & although I didn't win the crowd loved it cheering as I got on stage & done a Saiyan power up scream & shouted out an angered Kamehameha. One person even came up to me in the middle of one of the dealer areas asking to record a Kamehameha which as I started to shout drew a huge crowd. So many people had asked for pictures that day I had almost used up the entire wad of cards I took to promote myself. I had plenty to spare back at the hotel but of what I could take with me were nearly all gone.

DragonBall GT - Super Saiyan 4 Goku cosplay (6) by DILLIGAF-Otaku DragonBall GT - Super Saiyan 4 Goku cosplay (1) by DILLIGAF-Otaku DragonBall GT - Super Saiyan 4 Goku cosplay (2) by DILLIGAF-Otaku DragonBall GT - Super Saiyan 4 Goku cosplay (5) by DILLIGAF-Otaku

The Goku cosplay also features in a video made by DELZDEV highlighting a lot of cosplays from the weekend. www.youtube.com/watch?v=noIUpI…
 
The guest of honour at the event this time was voice actor Mike Pollock best known as the voice of Dr Eggman from the Sonic the Hedgehog series as well as numerous voice roles for the Pokémon anime including the narrator for a few seasons, Charon in the DP series & Drayden in the BW series. He is always so funny & during his panels would threaten to show the audience one of the worst things that he has performed in, a knock-off of the Disney movie Ratatouille called Ratatoing. Also in attendance as usual for Anime League events was pirate themed comedy duo Jollyboat performing a musical set & presenting a "choose your own adventure" style game with audience participation. I even got to chat with them backstage before I went on to perform for Lip Sync Battle as they had arrived a bit early to set up for their gig next. 

Untitled by DILLIGAF-Otaku Untitled by DILLIGAF-Otaku
 
I was worried about going due to the let down I suffered at MCM back in May. I was nervous about running into someone there where things had been on a downwards turn in our friendship. At the same time I really did hope to of seen them there & try to work things out bit unfortunately they weren't. Otherwise it had been a fun weekend & I did enjoy myself. 
 
Upcoming Cons for 2017 
 
Sun 27th - Mon 28th August - Stars Of Time Tropicana, Weston Super Mare - Want to try to do both days but may only end up doing one. Considering taking Dr Fate &  the above SS4 Goku. 

DC Comics - Dr Fate cosplay (2) by DILLIGAF-Otaku 

Sat 21st October - Weston Super Sonic - Mephiles the Dark. Cosplay has been on hiatus for a while & needs to be gotten back to. Like LAGC I am worried about going to this event for the same reason. I love it however, it is somewhat local, small but social & a lot of fun. I've got to defend my two year cosplay championship so as worried as I am I have to stay positive. 

Mephiles the Dark[1] by DILLIGAF-Otaku
 
Fri 27 - Sun 29th October - MCM London. Main cosplays: Ash Williams (The Evil Dead / Army of Darkness) & SS4 Goku. Want to try to put together a quick Axel Stone (Streets of Rage) & considering voice of Metal Gear's Snake, David Hayter, will be in attendance I may consider taking my Kaz Miller or may attempt a quick Liquid Snake. 

Evildead-1[1] by DILLIGAF-Otaku PXZ2-Axel Stone by DILLIGAF-Otaku
 Metal Gear - Kazuhira Miller cosplay (12) by DILLIGAF-Otaku Liquid by DILLIGAF-Otaku
 
Plans for 2018 
 
I am going to be taking a step back from a lot of cosplay making over the next year. Part due to feeling very unenthused to do much with my depression as of late & I want to try to catch up on a massive backlog of games & blu-rays I have. I have some personal voice acting projects I want to do as well such as a redubbing of House of the Dead 2.  
 
While getting back into catching up on gaming I want to do some "lets play" videos, particularly some over the top Japanese action games like Bayonetta & Zone of the Enders. I would also like to do a weekly video of beat-em-ups for a "Friday Fight Night" 
 
I am not giving up on cosplay & conventions. I will still attended my usual events but cosplays are going to be recycled. The exception being next year's Weston Super Sonic because I am planning what will be my biggest build yet & having to make this whole working a full time job I am going to need as much time as I can get. I am hoping that the event ends up being in the latter part of the year again so I have the time to be able to make such a big cosplay between a few repair jobs. 
 
The cosplay I have in mind is Dr Eggman. I know that doesn't seem very adventurous or should take me the majority of a year but what I intend is to make the Egg Walker Mk. 2 from Sonic Adventure 2 & as such will likely be a great & time consuming challenge. I will even commit to go as radically far as to shave my head for the sake of the cosplay (that's if I haven't gone bald from stress by then). If WSS does end up being done earlier & the Egg Walker isn't done I will settle on having to do a quicky Mighty the Armadillo.

Xmastheme Eggman[1] by DILLIGAF-Otaku   Mighty The Armadillo[1] by DILLIGAF-Otaku

I may still make some other cosplays if time allows & there isn't much to do. I would like to do Anime League's Alcon 4 day event & cosplay the evolution of Darien Shields from Sailor Moon doing normal Darien, Tuxedo Mask, Prince Endymion & Moonlight Knight. It may yet be 2019 by time I do that because I want to focus on Eggman & his Egg Walker.


Untitled by DILLIGAF-Otaku Darien Shields A.K.A Tuxedo Mask by DILLIGAF-Otaku Dedc73a5efe87fe48228f0349cc46030[1] by DILLIGAF-Otaku 495f8b8472491d68ff81e07e4989cade--tuxedo-mask-sail by DILLIGAF-Otaku

In Closing

I have a lot still to keep me occupied for the rest of this year & into next year. I am feeling rather unenthusiastic about cosplaying as I have felt dissatisfied with how some costumes have turned out & not feeling confident in my abilities (despite many people's assurances). I do feel unenthusiastic because of the depression I have been feeling as of late too. I have had problems in my personal & social lives & at work as well. There is a definite bleeding effect of negative emotion flowing from one part of my life into another. I have been in a very dark place mentally but while concern is appreciated I m not worth worrying about. I got my cosplay work to keep my occupied & when I get back into making Mephiles for WSS I hope that the spark comes back. I hope that the other events that I have lined up can bring me some happiness even if it is just as respite for only a day or a weekend. In my 25 years, happiness is an emotion I rarely feel, only when I am away from my problems & where no one has to know the real me. Where I don't have to be me. Where I can be, quite literally, someone else. I did have a lot of fun at LAGC & can only look forward to my next event.
To my friends on my various social pages, I have a somewhat personal problem that I want to be open about.

All my life I have had issues with anger & depression which has driven me to having some very dark thoughts & recently I had hit a point in which I had snapped. Stress from various aspects of my life had finally made me burst in a fit paranoid rage lashing out at those close to me. Thankfully that outburst had been contained to the relative privacy of those few privy to see the posts from my private, personal Facebook page but not without ramification. I will spare details as this is going out much more publicly but the extent of my emotional & psychological issues had been revealed.

In the past month or so I had felt a deep depression which has likely been a catalyst for making my day to day life seem more stressful than it really is & many people had said to me that I seem a lot worse since a certain incident had put me on such a downer, that I had not been right, particularly since then.

There have been some concerns from those close to me over my emotional & mental wellbeing & I want to thank them for the support they have shown me. I feel I am not worth their worry or even deserve their help for the way I have been, especially of late, but I am glad to know that I have friends who are there to help.

Which leads me to the point of making this post as I have friends who only know me through my public cosplay pages as opposed to having contact with me through more personal means but those, who I may or may not of met in person but still interact with as friends, who may not be aware of my problems. I just want to put it out there that I have some issues that I need to work through & ask too for your moral support.

I love you all: my family, friends, colleagues, followers, fan-boys & fan-girls & wish me luck on the road to recovery.
It's nearly time, later than usual this year, for Weston Super Sonic. 
 
This is an event I love & have been going since it's second event in 2015 (if I had known about the very first one I would of went, apparently it was only about 20 people who attended). 
 
Located in Weston-Super-Mare, it is only about half an hours drive for me to get to & is in a place that I had enjoyed going to as a child, an idyllic seaside town with plenty of gaming arcades & amusement piers. As I got older I would often go there to play snooker, pool & golf & to go to the theatre. It is a place that I wish I had lived in growing up & still do to an extent. Weston also hosts a small sci-fi convention that still runs now but the addition of Weston Super Sonic became significant for me.  
 
I had only been cosplaying & conventioneering for a few months when I had found out about it. I saw a poster in the window of Insane Games in Street advertising the event for January 2015 & the free release tickets about to go available in October 2014. I had no idea how popular it would be or how many would cosplay. I didn't even know what to cosplay. I was still fairly new to it & didn't exactly feel to adventurous. Looking at their website it said that they were accepting of other Sega cosplays & I had pre-ordered a replica Ryo Hazuki Shenmue jacket from Insert Coin Clothing. I thought it was better than nothing. 
 
When the day of the event came I wondered what to expect. Walking along the seafront to the pier me & my sister (not cosplaying) stood with a group of people waiting to cross the road. They were talking about Sonic so we thought they were going to the event which it turned out they were. They were speaking with Spanish accents & the older gentleman of the group stood out to me with a "why does he seem I should know him" kind of feeling. I should have known who it was as it was Ferran Rodriguez with his family, an artist for Sonic the Comic attending as one of the guests for the event with other Sonic artists. 
 
The day itself was really enjoyable with consoles set up to play games, a speed run competition, a (poorly organized) tournament across various games, panels from guests who worked on the comics, an interview via Skype with Mike Pollock (voice of Dr Eggman), an art contest & of course the cosplay competition. There where very few entrants & I nearly didn't go up but my sister kept insisting. I was the only male entrant against three girls as two Sonics & a Tails. Even though their website said open to other Sega cosplays I had to justify that Ryo was in the first Sonic All-Stars racing game. The judging was done by crowd cheers (mostly a group of Shenmue fanatics in the back row) & somehow I won which I had actually felt guilty about. It made me want to do better next year & at least I would have more preparation. It was leading up to this event I was starting to take cosplaying seriously but I had no opportunity to make anything spectacular, something that I would aim to do next year. 
 
Also in leading up to this first time attending, I had not hugely been into Sonic for a long time, only a passing interest in the newer games & heady memories of nostalgia. I hadn't played all of the recent releases but would often like to go back to the Mega Drive & Dreamcast games. In getting to talk to so many people & enjoying the day itself I found my passion rekindled & promptly went on Amazon & eBay to find the more recent games missing from my collection. 
 
Over the year leading up to the 2016 event I had learnt a lot of new skills & found myself cosplaying uncommon characters. I had initially settled on doing one of my favourite side characters from the Mega Drive games, Egg Robo. My sister had intended to go as Tikal & while helping her research for that one & looking at how she had been cosplayed by others, a thought occurred. Why not double up & go as Chaos to go alongside Tikal? A quick Google search found no Chaos cosplays so I thought I would do that instead. 
 
I had put a lot of effort into this as I felt I didn't really deserve my victory before. I went all out on this integrating lighting & music to the cosplay. The head was the largest thing I had ever made from wireframe & thermoplastic, a material I was still relatively new to working with. Unfortunately for my sister the wig she was going to use for Tikal never turned up in time & she never ended up cosplaying at all. She would eventually get to cosplay Tikal at Summer of Sonic later in the year.  
 
I was pleased with how the Chaos cosplay came out but before leaving on the day I felt that it really wasn't that great after all & upon seeing a lot of the other cosplays including an amazing Blaze & a spot on Wes Weasley I had started to feel like I had no hope of winning the competition. 
 
Over the course of the day partaking in another speed run competition, watching an art demonstration by Ferran Rodriguez who was again attending & getting into a dance off with the events Super Sonic mascot, many people had approached me asking for photos & complimenting the cosplay, amazed by the lighting & externally playing music featuring various Chaos themes from Sonic Adventure. 
 
It was amazing getting to talk to so many people again, more than had attended the year before & had even made some friends at the event with people trying to get in touch with me in the days after. The compliments that people gave me throughout the day made me feel more confident but I still didn't think I would win. As it turned out, I did. I was amazed by how many people had cheered for my cosplay. I really didn't think it was that good despite the work I had put into it. 
 
Not just content with taking home another trophy & stack of prizes I also took home a cardboard standee of Evil the Hedgehog, Youtube channel & podcast The Sonic Show's "Ultimate Fan Character". Sonic Show member Jamie was "sick of the thing" & offered if anyone wanted it. If no one wanted it ge was going to throw it off the pier. I ended up claiming it & adding it my menagerie of nerdy crap I collect. 
 
I came away from that day with another victory under my belt, a couple people who had became valued friends & a significant mention on Sonic Show's podcast following the event as well as further determination to improve my cosplay skills for the next event, happening much later than usual on October the 21st this year. 
 
Which beings me to why I am not looking forward to this year's event . I had wanted to get a head start on my next cosplay for WSS, Mephiles the Dark & things were going well. Friends whom I had made at WSS & SOS had shown a keen interest in this cosplay. One, another cosplayer who I met at SOS who was interested in going to WSS wants to get some group shots together & another who I had met at WSS in 2016, a girl who draws Sonic fan art & had a table at the event showcasing her works. We had built up a friendship & she expressed excitement at seeing the finished cosplay. 
 
What makes cosplaying so satisfying to me is seeing the joy on peoples faces when they see their favourite characters come to life (something I personally like to call the Disneyland effect) & knowing that I had people who were looking forward to it was an incentive. Particularly for this girl. How we actually first met was that at WSS 2016, a guy came up to me said "that girl over there is awfully shy but Chaos is one of her favourite characters & it would mean a lot to her if she could get a hug from you." I went over & gave her a hug & I could see she was a very shy, nervous person, not much different to how I was before I found my confidence with cosplay. A friendship slowly developed from a couple messages online & soon had planned to meet up at MCM London back in May & go out on the town afterwards. Not as a date, just a day out as friends. 
 
Unfortunately this is where things go wrong. We had planned so that when she got to the con she would give me a call & I would go & meet her. Getting later into the day I had expected to of heard from her & had spent a while near the entrance  hoping to spot her as she came in. I had sent her a message to find out if she was alright or if she had been delayed with no response. Eventually I thought maybe she isn't coming & carried on around the show floor.  
 
Walking around the dealer stalls, I was worried & concerned. This was only a couple weeks following the Manchester bombing & the worst comes to mind. I was worried about her, doubtful anything like that had happened & wondered why I hadn't heard from her. As I turned a corner to go down the aisle I caught a slight glimpse of someone walk right past me & I thought to myself "Hang on. Was that her?" I turned around & caught up to her. I wasn't 100% sure if it was her as we had not met in person very often, I gave her a tap on the shoulder & said "Excuse me, are you ______?" (I'm not going to mention her name out of respect for her privacy). She nodded not saying anything. I continued"It's me, it's Mark" thinking she had not recognized me having walked right past me, she nodded again. "I was worried that I hadn't heard from you." She finally spoke, "Look, I need to tell you something. I don't want to be your girlfriend." I just thought to myself in that moment "Where the hell did that come from?" 
 
We had been exchanging messages via Twitter for two months planning to meet up & go out (as friends) after the con. Exchanging ideas on what to do. I wanted to treat her to a nice day out. I tried to choose my words carefully & tried to be complimentary, flattering & gentlemanly. I knew she was worried about going to a big event like that following the Manchester bombing & was worried that the con could be a target. I had even offered to come & meet her when she got into London at the train station. I tried to be comforting & reassuring. I had only the most noble of intentions. I had tried to be a good, kind & caring friend, nothing more. I liked her, I still do & I don't hold any resentment towards her over this misunderstanding, but not in the way she thought I did. True, I did feel an attraction to her & to say that I love her would of only been platonically, the way in that you love someone as a friend, not romantically. I wanted to show her a nice day out as a way to thank her for being such a good friend & even then she was to one who asked to meet up in the first place. Somehow she had gotten the wrong idea & thought that I had wanted her to be my girlfriend & that I was seeing this as a date. 
 
I tried to explain to her that that was not the case. That yes, I did like her but not in that way but all I would get was silence & a shrug. She was a very shy, nervous person. It was obvious she wanted to dodge me that day & she was trembling, petrified that I had found her. I felt so terrible about her feeling that way. I would never want her to feel like that. It was obvious that she was uncomfortable with me being there so I thought it would be better to just leave her alone. 
 
I felt my manic depression quickly coming back. In the time leading up to this event I had been the happiest I had been in a long time. In one fell swoop, I was back in a pit of eternal darkness. I was heartbroken, not romantically speaking but at the loss of our friendship. The only friend I actually have... had. I don't really socialize & even the few people I would usually interact with, at work for example, I don't really consider friends. I don't like people & I rarely open up to anyone. Following that I felt so alone. My depression in the past has led my to some very dark thoughts & that night I became very self-destructive. I rarely drink & that night I went out to drown my sorrows. I wandered along the Thames for a while. I stared across the river, the city lights dancing across the rippling water. It felt enticing, inviting me to dive in. 
 
Obviously, I hadn't. I had found it hard to enjoy the rest of my weekend (she was only there for the one day). I found it hard to focus much on anything. I couldn't concentrate on looking on dealers tables, oblivious to other cosplayers that were about & couldn't focus during panel talks. The big party on Saturday night was less exhausting than normal even though it went on much later than usual. Aside from having an extensive stage show which I had tried to get pictures of, I didn't feel like dancing much. Early into the night I did dance with a few people but I wasn't really enjoying my self. I ended just sat on the sidelines watching everyone have a good time. Alone with only my thoughts. A couple of other girls beckoned me to dance with them to which I obliged as a proper gentleman should. They must of realised I wasn't having a good time. 
 
Since then I had tried to get in touch with my "friend" to no avail. Wanting to try & put things right. I knew she was interested in another con, LAGC, because one of the guests attending was someone who she had really wanted to see. I had expected to see her there, nervous but had hoped to see her. I was worried about things being awkward if we crossed paths with things as they are unresolved. I  would of hoped it would of been a good place just to sit down & work things out face to face. I didn't see her there, not that I was aware of at least considering the amount of people there. I knew she had really wanted to see this particular guest & I feel terrible to think if she didn't go, if she had missed out because of me being there. 
 
As it is, 4 months have gone by at the time of writing & things are still as they are. Our state of our friendship stuck in this Schrödinger-esque purgatory. I want to try to keep this friendship going but her lack of response to what attempts I've tried to get in contact with her doesn't fill me with hope. In those few months people have noticed a radical change in personality about me. I had been a lot more mopey than usual, was prone to acting rashly & had started to have some aggressive outbursts. I'm not saying that I had started to act like that just because of that girl, I have a lot of contributing factors to my stress from various aspects of my life but that may have been what put me over the edge. I often end up bottling my problems since I feel like I have no one to really turn to for help & end up having an outburst & / or nervous breakdown (the latter of which I have also suffered a fair amount of over the past couple months) but that instance did hit me rather hard.  
 
With Weston Super Sonic 2017 not that far away now, I have to get back to finishing my Mephiles cosplay. It has been on hiatus while I focused on cosplays for other cons. I should of got it done following LAGC in July but the depression gad left me very much unmotivated. I feel the lack of motivation also from the fear I feel about the upcoming event. 
 
I look forward to this event but this time I'm not. I am actually scared about going because I know that she will be there. I know that this is an event she wouldn't want to miss. As much as I had hoped to of ran into her at LAGC, I feel scared at the thought of running into her at WSS. I don't know what is going to happen. If we will be able to sort it out or not. I don't know what sort of mood she will be in. I wouldn't want to do anything to ruin her day. Part of me just feels like not going at all. It would be a shame not to go seeing as I have a 2 year cosplay championship to retain. Really there is no sense in not going as there is no reason to give up on doing something that I enjoy because I'm worried about running into one person & really the same should go for them. There would be no sense for her missing out on an enjoyable day. 
 
With just a month to go I still hope we can sort things out by then. I don't want things to end up awkward running into each other there. I have found it hard to find motivation to finish the Mephiles cosplay because of the part of me that doesn't want to go but have began to make progress slowly. I don't know what to expect but I am certainly not as excited for it as I normally would be. 

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DILLIGAF-Otaku
Mark
Artist | Hobbyist | Other
United Kingdom
Cosplayer, impressionist, aspiring voice actor & all round nerd! Cosplaying since 2014.

Won my first competition at Weston Super Sonic 2015 & again in 2016. Finalist at Summer of Sonic 2016.

Dream of making it big as a celebrity cosplayer and / or voice actor. Am also a shameless self-promoter!

Looking to meet other cosplayers in the Somerset, England area & bond over our shared passion of being more than human. Being super human!

Twitter: @ DILLIGAF_Otaku
Twitch: twitch.tv/dilligaf_otaku
Instagram: @ dilligaf_otaku
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