Making of My 2019 Costume: A Skesis

During my life I have always loved costumes, Halloween and cosplay. The biggest attraction for me is making the costumes myself. For about a decade we were attending a variety of Comic Cons where we were able to have fun and showcase some costumes. I have written about costuming a few times including a couple of weeks ago where I shared photos of previous outfits: Get Those Costumes Ready

I also hinted at how I was going to push myself and this year’s outfit. Here is my work for this year. I spent about twenty hours building it. After this Halloween, I’ll probably use it as a prop for decorations in the future.

I present to you, my Skesis build. MmmMMMmmm

It started years ago when I wanted to build a Skesis outfit for Calgary Expo. The only downside was we didn’t have room in our vehicle to transport such a large piece from provincial to province. With five of us in the SUV and a metric ton of hats to sell at the show (My wife is still making hats, but we aren’t traveling any more for it. You can still buy online at Ningen Headwear FYI) we didn’t have room for extravagant outfits. My love of The Dark Crystal returned this year when Netflix did a prequel series. It was time to make this costume.

Research became a quick obsession. Viewing others who had made this costume, searching images, watching behind the scenes footage- you name it and I looked for it. I had to settle on what was going to be feasible in my spare time and what I could afford- my budget ended up being $30. Seriously. I had a lot of the materials readily available from previous Cosplay, thank goodness.

It started with some designs and foam. Foam insulation boards glued together and a roll of foam floor mat. My artistic ability is mediocre at best. My hope was that doing some of it and taking a break periodically would inspire me. Advice from my family was also key.

Making the inner framework was a challenge. I needed it to be sturdy and light weight and fit me inside. PVC tubing and a couple of straps are the basic inner workings. I used a heat gun to mold and form the “outer shell”. I also suffered numerous hot glue gun burns to my fingers throughout the entire process.

Once the foam for the head was dry, it was time to cut out the shape of the head. I mostly used an exacto blade and craved off laters if foam. I used a Dremel to smooth out the edges and add some facial features. The head still seemed blocky at this point. Adding teeth and ping pong ball eyes helped a bit.

To get the features more realistic, I formed a thin layer of sculpting clay around the head. Once it was dry, I used acrylic paints to get a good base coat of colour onto it. The features were beginning to POP but it was looking far too cartoon like.

Getting advice from my daughter, I added some dull fading to it and was throughly pleases with the results.

After spray painting the back shell with black and red, I hot glued it to my fingers the frame and began to add fabrics. Old bedsheets, curtains and sheer material have given this guy some life. I’m happy with the results so far. All that’s left is to try walking around in it. I should be able to see through the black sheer, but this thing might weigh more than I’m expecting.

I enjoyed the process along the way. I know some things I’d do differently if I were to make this again. I also know that it can look pretty good as a stationary piece later on.

Hopefully this Halloween, I can get some candy for all my hard work!

Take The Compliment!

The toughest critic on you is yourself.

I love creating art. I think I make decent art things. But I’m also hard on myself and find all the flaws where I could have done better. What’s worse is I enjoy showing it off to people, but I don’t take compliments very well.

My art of choice varies on my moods and the seasons. I’ve always been crafty and creative. This time of year I enjoy carving pumpkins. I can’t wait to get my hands on some and let the creative juices flow! I’m also excited about showcasing my costume. I’m a bit worried that the more I talk about it, the less it will be amazing when I show it off.

I don’t want to show it off quite yet, but I also want some advice on a few parts of it. Argh. Silly brain isn’t being helpful. I’m sure people will tell me it looks good, but I want better than that!

Ack. Argh. Ugh. Just take the compliment Joe. It’ll be fine.

Success is Sure

I’m a fan of Mark Twain. He is the sort of person I wish to be one day. Or at least what I imagined him being: An old guy sitting in a rocking chair on a porch spewing out wisdoms. With big hair and killer fashion sense. The sort of man that most ignored while alive, but seek out the wisdom once departed.

Recently I misquoted Mark Twain. I wrote, “To succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and confidence.” Which is a close variance on his original quote as seen in the image above.

In many ways I am on a road to success with my writing. I am confident in my ability to write. And completely ignorant to the fact that not everything I write is worth reading. But I still manage to write. It’s just a matter of figuring out how I wish to measure my success. Is it monetary? More followers? Comments?

I’ll probably never know if I’m successful because the game keeps changing.

Vivaldi

The past few days I have been enjoying listening to Vivaldi: La Cetra, 1-7. It has made my drive to and from work a bit more pleasant and calm. There’s something about hearing stringed instruments as they eloquently form each piece. As I listen to La Cetra I can also pick out the piccolo and harpsichord. Two very unique sounds that work well together.

Many know Vivaldi as written Four Seasons which is also a fantastic piece. I’m a huge fan of classical music and the variety of styles that come with each composer. Next week I am planning on listening to another composer as I travel to and from work. Perhaps Mozart, Bach, Handel or Beethoven. Whichever suits my fancy on my first day of commuting.

Do you appreciate classical music?

Who are your favorite composers?

Let me know.

Black Canvas

I took my daughter to the local craft store yesterday and I ended up buying some black canvases for the both of us. In exchange for me giving her a couple of canvases- she lets me use her acrylic paints and borrow her brushes. I’m not an amazing artist, but I enjoy experimenting a bit.

As I blended colours and tried to make my own version of the aurora borealis- I enjoyed the mix of whites and greens on the black background. Blending blues and purples to create the night sky added to my joy. When painting- I always see where I could improve. But I also have to know when to stop. Sometimes less is more, right?

I have some plans for the other canvases I bought and I hope they turn out. My daughter has chosen to make an outer space image which she is really proud of so far. Using a black canvas is different than a typical white. It really makes lighter colours pop.

Do you enjoy painting? Ever use black canvases? Or do you have any tips for using acrylic paints? Let me know in the comments section!

Grain Car Graffiti

A while back I mentioned how I think that Graffiti is Art. I still believe this. But over the past few years, I haven’t seen much in the way of new art. Until this week at work. Some of the new grain hoppers my work has brought in have been tagged out in the Prairies. Naturally I took some photos.

Obviously there is some raw talent out there. I noticed many of these artists tend to write their “Alias Name” on the cars. I love the shading and use of colours to make the image POP off the cars.

Sometimes the cars are humorous in what is written as well. Or a bit offensive. But it’s an expression of the artist at the time. I understand that what these people are doing is illegal. On a moving canvas that garners more views as they travel back and forth across the country- I’d rather see that instead of tags on someone’s backyard fence or on the wall of a small business.

I encourage the expression of art in many forms. In fact, our daughter is attempting some graffiti as well, but on a canvas with acrylics. She has a ways to go, and she may not continue with this style. And that’s totally fine. At least she’s expressing herself artistically.

Theory and Toy Traders

For the second time in two days, old friends have popped out of the woodwork and sent me texts. It’s pretty cool to know that you are randomly thought of. Anyhow, on with today’s blog.

Back in September of 2015, our son took part in a short video about a local toy store. It was made by a former coworker friend of mine from back in my Movie Theater days. Late Friday night my friend shot me a text linking to the YouTube video. I had completely forgotten that they made this.

2015 at age nine

It was a great experience for my son. He was literally a kid in a toy store. All he did was talk about the toys while a camera followed him around. They did this for hours and my son enjoyed every minute of it. My friend had a ton of footage to go through.

Check out the short pilot video here: Toy Traders – Trade Fever.

My friend Dan loves films. He was a collector of many movies and watches almost everything. This was his foray into making his own. I like the premise of what he made. It was in a style similar to Comic Book Men. Which by the way is made by Kevin Smith who also loves visiting Toy Traders as seen here: Kevin Smith Live at Toy Traders.

I hope Dan keeps creating films and shows. He is extremely passionate about the medium.

The Nothing

Today I have nothing to write about. This nothing is turning into something as I write about nothing. I suppose I could write about “The Nothing” from “The Neverending Story”. But even that would be something.

My Nothing really isn’t anything. So I’m ending my musings by stating nothing about nothing.

Good Omens

Back in the mid-nineties, my girlfriend’s brother gave me a book- “Good Omens” by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This novel introduced me to the fantastic and humorous imitations of two of my favorite authors. I became a lifelong fan.

I have kept my paperback version of the novel and over the past few months, two of my three children have read the book. Both loved it so much that they have asked me for more book recommendations. I guess dad isn’t out of touch with good writing.

I have decided to pick up the book and read through it again. There are only a handful of novels that I am willing to pick up numerous times- this is one of them. This will be my fourth or fifth time reading it. I’m looking forward to it.

I’m hoping to finish it before Friday. Amazon Prime has created the novel into a six part show. 20 Years ago, a friend of mine and I used to discuss which books we’d love to see made into films- this is one of them. I’m excited to see it finally come to fruition and hope to be satisfied with the results.

With Queen being used as the soundtrack to the ads- how could it possibly be bad?

Towel Day

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

The Hitchhiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy


“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.”

There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

The Restaurant at the End of The Universe


“Just believe everything I tell you, and it will all be very, very simple.”

-Life, the Universe and Everything


“There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind.

-So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish


“Anything that happens, happens.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.”

“Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.”

“It doesn’t necessarily do it in chronological order though.”

Mostly Harmless


Douglas Adams was a fantastic writer of sci-fi and humor. His five novels of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy inspired my family’s life. That’s right, five books in the trilogy. Don’t ask, that’s part of the charm of his story telling. My wife and I were so inspired by his works that we named our first born, Random, after one of his characters. From that name sprouted her siblings names- Darwin and Theory.

As well, 42 is an important number to our family. Each of us constantly pointing it out wherever it may appear. As if the Universe is telling us something. Be it good or bad. But as life goes on, I am encouraged by two words written by Douglas Adams…

Don’t Panic