Anime North Photos & Tips

Hello I’m back. Anime North was fantastic – made a ton of money in the nomi, spent saturday hanging out with friends and had a delicious breakfast every morning! Plus, fluffy fluffy pillows ❤ There were also a ton of amazing cosplays at the convention, I wish I could have pulled out my camera more!

This year (2011) at Anime North I decided to start a new tradition: instead of just taking photos I want to ask people how they did things and share it with you guys. I didn’t get to ask everyone for some tips, I didn’t ask people who were busy or who were getting photographer swarmed, but I asked when I could and I’ll share what I learned.

Are you in any of these photos? If you are and would like to share some more tips, have your name credited or even if you’d like your photo taken down, please let me know! You can contact me at admin @ or leave a comment here!.

Pics with Tips:

Not sure what series this was from but the arms are impressive! The flat parts were built with cardboard and the fingers were carved soft foam.

Not really visible in the picture but this Pegasus used double sided tape to attach the millenium eye. 

I asked the sora what they used for the keyblades, the answer was wood. Always a good choice for a solid prop!

I met this Zelda in the card game room, her armor was made with craft foam and cord was used for the raised designs. Then everything was painted gold. I also asked about the ribbons that wrapped around the hair; She had an elastic at the top and bottom of the ribbon to hold it in place. At the end of the hair there were some small decorative pieces, she made these with sculpey.

This Celty was adorable! Her helmet was a pre-existing helmet which was modded. I asked her if she had any tips for other cosplayers who might be working on the helmet. Her advice: Spraypaint is your best friend for this project, and pay attention to the ears!

I caught this Shinku by the water cooler, her flowers were fantastic and so I asked where she got them. She said she got them from ebay, which means they should be findable by anyone looking for detailed flowers for a project. I also asked about her dress which was made from a velvet material, she suggested being wary of fabrics that fray because she had a bit of a mess when working with the fabric.(Random protip: If fabric is fraying a lot whie you are working with it, you can add some glue to the edge and let it dry. )

This Lavi’s hammer was made from a pre-existing cylinder, the holes at the ends were filled with cardboard and the final piece was apraypainted. I don’t remember what the pole was, I believe it was wood (either a dowell or a broom end) although PVC pipe can also be used for large hammers.

This Snivy is fantastic! After grabbing this photo I asked about the head, which was made with wire and foam. Of particular interest was the tail which is holding itself up, in the full version you can see that there is actually clear thread (fishing line?) that holds the tail up. It’s a great way for the costume to look nice, and keep it from dragging along the ground. I also saw another person’s solution to tail-dragging, which was to attach the tail to a small board with wheels!

The crown was gorgeous. Apparently it was made of spare plastic, then covered in mosquito netting (which gave it a fabric look). Then decorations were added, the pearls were from a necklace. 

This was one of my favorite costumes from the weekend, this dark magician was fantastic! Similar to the methods I used on my dmg hat, this cosplayer used cardboard to build up the shape of the armor and the hat. The shoulders are made from thin rectangular strips.

And lastly, although I didn’t manage to get a picture to accompany this, I saw a lot of people who had armor made from fabric. Many of these costumes were commissioned but it was still a really good idea. If you are looking for lightweight and comfy armor, or are just not able to work with any armor making stuff (particularily if you don’t have the room, such as in a dorm or apartment) then this is a neat route to take. The results are pretty nice, although it doesn’t have the same look as armor generally has.

Anyway, onto the rest of the pictures!

My Con Faves:

Other Pics:


Me & Kev:




Soooo anime north is getting close and I havn’t made a lot of progress, so I probably won’t be posting for a little bit. Just a quick update today! got an update, I added the Yellow vs. Blonde wigs tutorial to the site! You can find it here:

I also finished kevin’s sword for his Bartz/Butz cosplay from FFV or FF Dissidia in the game sprite outfit 😀 The sword is cardboard and paper mache with a wood stick for support. The gem is glass that I bought from michaels and the tassle (kinda not visible) is from fabricland. Primed with modge podge, painted with acrylics and then another layer of modge podge for a glossy look that is also protective.

Using Cosplay Tutorials

This is an interesting article to write. Many people use tutorials, and many people write tutorials but not everyone knows how to use them to their advantage. This guide is to help with that, especially for people who aren’t experienced and aren’t sure if the result would be good. This guide is to help you learn how to find tutorials, and get the most out of them!

Types of Tutorials:

Guide / Article – These are usually in-depth and heavy on text, but can include images as well. These are usually to inform the reader, and can provide a lot of information or are based on personal opinion or experience.

General Tutorial – Almost always a series of images and text, giving you step by step information on how to create something.

WIPs (Work in Progress)– These are aimed at someone who already has an idea of what they are doing. Usually it is not explaining how to do what is shown but is showing the process. If there is progress being shown and information on how to achieve it, then it is generally counted as a tutorial. If it goes into a lot of detail then it is more likely a guide or an article.

Video – These are great for beginners. Video actually covers a range of tutorials, but I am specifically referencing those that show in real-time, possibly with some fast forwarding, how to create the end result.

Other –  I can’t really think of something that fits this section right now, but if it doesn’t fit in the above then it will likely go here.

Searching for Tutorials

Lets jump right into it. You have a project, you aren’t sure how to take it on, you want some tutorials to help you! In this example we will say it is a Sora (Kingdom Hearts) wig that you are looking to style.

Wow them spikes. So first off you are probably going to hit up google (and hopefully ) for some Sora wig tutorials. Like these:

For some characters you’ll find a lot of tutorials, but for other characters you won’t. Even some really popular characters don’t have a lot of tutorials out there specifically for them. So when you search for tutorials, you need to think outside the box a little bit. What is Sora’s hair style? Spikes. So expand your seach to include that too:

The first one has nothing to do with the Sora wig, I included it to show that not all the tutorials you come across are going to be useful. Can you still find use out of them? Possibly for product suggestions, or ideas for another project, but Sora doesn’t have use for those crazy spikes! You’ll need to use your own discretion to determine if the tutorials you come across work for your project.

The other two, although for a different character, are pretty useful. The spikes are similar, and while the exact tutorial is not for Sora, you can translate some of the techniques over to your own wig styling.

Another thing to look for, and these likely won’t pop up while searching “tutorial”, are WIPs. WIPs are good for those who are experienced, but if you are a newbie and working from several tutorials then WIPs are also good since you can combine your knowledge from other tutorials and compare results with the WIP.

So searching for tutorials are pretty easy. Find tutorials for your character, find similar tutorials that could work for your character, look for some WIPs to help you along. It is also good to search on multiple websites.  Check cosplay tutorial,
do a search on google, do a search on deviantart, do a search on, do a search on youtube. Look around until you have a couple of tutorials to work from.

Narrowing them down

So you have a ton of tutorials, how do you narrow them down to ones that are good?

So as you can see we are using Hollow masks for this example, since there are a ton of tutorials out there for them.

The first thing I suggest, and I do this regularily when screening the tutorials to post up on cosplay tutorial, is to look at the finished product, if there is a picture of it. While a poor finished product could be a lack of skill by the creator or just a bad day, it is usually an indicator of a bad tutorial. If suggest checking out the “good tutorial, poor results” section below for an expansion on this.

So you see the fancy final product but that is not always a sign of a good tutorial (lol). The next thing I would advise is checking the supply list. This tells you what you need, and will likely tell you if this is within your budget and skillset, and it hints at the quality. Does it look fancy? Yeah! But do you have a dremel, a vacuformer, 300 lbs of plaster and a screw? Well maybe you do, but I certainly don’t.

So it looks good, the supply list includes materials you can use, what next? Read through the tutorial, derp! Tutorials work best when you have a couple similar tutorials, you read through them all and take tips from them. Even if you end up following only one of the tutorials, the others can give you hints and tips to better work with the material or help if you are having issues. Sometimes a tutorial will be great for making the object (ex. a good mask making tutorial) but another tutorial will help with other parts (fitting it to the face properly, or adding a string).

And lastly, ask questions! People who write these tutorials did so to help others. They are most likely willing to be assaulted by questions about it. If you don’t quite get something then ask!

Common sense

Use common sense when looking at or using tutorials!

One example, which I won’t link to here, is using acrylic paint to color your eyelashes. Yes, there is a tutorial for this and while the creator probably has not experienced any bad side effects with it, this thread does mention some of the issues with it. The thread I linked to also lists many alternatives, which are made for that purpose, which are safer for your eyes.

Good tutorial, poor results.

I debated showing a tutorial for this one, but I decided I should to show what I mean. So I give you this pokeball tutorial, which really doesn’t have poor results but can show what I mean.

What I mean by good tutorial, poor results, is that the tutorial is essentially not a bad tutorial. It explains well, it has pictures, the result is pretty okay – but it certainly could be improved. The benefit of using tutorials, is that you can learn from other people’s mistakes, or improve upon their works. They already did a lot of the trial and error for you!

For example, if you do decide to use styrofoam balls to make a pokeball with the above method you might notice that it takes many layers of modge podge to fill the holes and smooth the surface. In the closeup shot you can see that the texture of the styrofoam is still visible which may not be the look you are going for. So, while the tutorial is not bad you can certainly improve upon it yourself by doing more layers, use a different primer or a more smoothe base material. You might even go further to create raised details, or color the velcro.

Another example is this keyblade tutorial. While the work is really nice, a critiquer mentioned that it looks rough – and it does. Simply sanding the surface after doing the woodwork would improve the look and provide a nicer surface once complete. If you were to follow that tutorial, you may choose to sand to improve the look of your final product.