Midlander launches online art business – Midland Daily News

Emma Vanderlinden poses for a portrait wearing her handmade cosplay outfit, styled as the character Ichigo from the “Tokyo Mew Mew” manga series, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 in downtown Midland. (Katy Kildee/[email protected])
A handmade mask by Emma Vanderlinden is displayed Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 in downtown Midland. (Katy Kildee/[email protected])
Emma Vanderlinden poses for a portrait wearing her handmade cosplay outfit, styled as the character Ichigo from the “Tokyo Mew Mew” manga series, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 in downtown Midland. (Katy Kildee/[email protected])
Emma Vanderlinden holds a stuffed creature she made by hand, called a “Kuriboh,” Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 in downtown Midland. (Katy Kildee/[email protected])
Emma Vanderlinden poses for a portrait wearing her handmade cosplay outfit, styled as the character Ichigo from the “Tokyo Mew Mew” manga series, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021 in downtown Midland. (Katy Kildee/[email protected])
Local artist Emma Vanderlinden can do it all — if not yet, then she’s probably working on mastering a new technique. 
The Midland resident spent quarantine making a cosplay costume. She said she’s worked with cosplay creation since high school, but this was her first time tackling a larger project. 
Last year, during Michigan’s coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, Vanderlinden decided to create a dress inspired by Tokyo Mew Mew, a Japanese manga series.
“In the past, I’ve mostly focused on mascot costumes and things like that,” Vanderlinden said. “I think I was really going headfirst into this dress-type of costume, I think I learned a lot from it.”
On and off, it took her two to three months to finish the project. This year, she had the opportunity to share her project and her other artistry with the rest of the community.
Just recently, Vanderlinden had the opportunity to share her cosplaying talents with the rest of the community. For Free Comic Book Day, local business Collector’s Corner Inc. hosted a collaborative event at the former Farmer’s Market near the Tridge. 
Vanderlinden attended the event as a participant, artist and a business owner. She walked around in costume to greet fellow comic readers, other local artists and visitors from Gus Macker events taking place simultaneously. 
Vanderlinden opened her Etsy shop in October, when she said she had enough inventory stocked. She sells stickers and buttons of her illustrations and handmade plush toys.
Approaching one year online, the shop has 42 sales and 24 “admirers.” As a business owner, Midland’s Free Comic Book celebration was the first time Vanderlinden set up a physical “pop-up” shop to sell her work. 
“I have a specific skill,” Vanderlinden said. “Well, it’s not specific to me because there are a lot of people that can sew, but I’m approaching it in my own way. It’s kind of like a challenge to me (and) it’s important that I’m trying this. I’m giving it a shot. And if I can make it better in the future, then I can do that.”
Since Vanderlinden showcased her work, she is working on building her networking base as she takes commission requests and continues to explore different creative outlets. 
Tess DeGayner is a reporter for the Midland Daily News. She joined the Daily News after studying journalism and broadcasting at Central Michigan University. DeGayner graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2021. She previously reported for WCMU Public Radio, the Traverse City Record-Eagle and the Tri-County Times – her hometown newspaper in Fenton, Michigan.

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