Bleh

I have been neglectful of this blog! So here is a huge post with a bunch of little things.

Today I did a “what is your transformers name” test on facebook, I got Laser Claw. Obviously this is another casette to come out of soundwave to be friends with laserbeak, but what would Laser Claw be? I asked my facebook friends for the answer and was told it’s a rabid “lucky cat”. So here is me in transformed mode:

 


Last week was Kevin’ birthday and to celebrate I baked him a cake. It was originally going to be a Bartz cake since Bartz is his favorite final fantasy character, but he requested a Rainbow Dash cake last minute and I threw this together for him.

The cake was delicious! I didn’t have much time to bake so I used a packaged cake mix for vanilla cake. I chopped up some milk chocolate chips and threw them into the batter. Once cooked and cooled I cut the cake in half horizontally. I filled the center with a chocolate fudge frosting and some more chocolate chips. I replaced the top layer and let it cool in the fridge some more. Then I iced it with vanilla frosting, and decorated it. Did you know they have spray on food coloring? Best thing ever!


This birthday party resulted in the scariest picture of me, and the realisation that my friend’s iphone steals pupils


The reason I have been so busy lately, I joined World of Warcraft!  I’m Iradecima, a affliction warlock on Wyrmrest Accord. 😀 Though I have also been working on cosplaytutorial.com, particularily working on the first newsletter which went out at the beginning of the month!

oh and if anyone was wondering, my cosplay for fanexpo is going to be the UDON version of the taskmaster!


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 @ cosplaytutorial.com 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:


      



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 http://www.cosplaytutorial.com ) 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 cosplay.com, 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.


Wigs: Yellow vs Blonde

This is an interesting topic and something I see come up a lot in wig advice threads. Yellow or Blonde, what color should a wig be? It’s a challenge that can make or break a cosplay! Some people argue that yellow never is good, however I don’t believe that it’s true and I am going to go over some ways to determine if you should choose a blonde or yellow wig!

Obvious Blondes
These characters tend to have a lighter color of hair that is more blonde than yellow anyway. These generally should be a blonde wig.

Yellow Hair, Normal World
In some situations the character will have a very yellow hair color, but is still supposed to be human or appear human. There are few situations where a bright yellow actually works, but in these situations it doesnt. I would reccomend a golden blonde wig which will have more color to it, but still look fairly natural.


Yellow Hair,  Other World
Most of the time yellow wigs look bad, they look fake because it is so unnatural. However there are situations where yellow hair is possibly the better choice because the character is not from this world, or  isn’t human. With yellow, sometimes it is better to opt for a pale yellow, or a blonde/yellow mix rather than something bright and solid.


Yellow, or Maybe Blonde?
There are characters where it’s tough to decide. The hair can work as both yellow or blonde. An example would be naruto, cosplays of the character look good with both blonde or a pale yellow, and sometimes it looks okay with a brighter yellow. In this case, the best thing to do is look through existing cosplays of the character and decide what you think looks the best, and if you want to do a realistic version of the character orvery cartoony.

Choosing a Yellow Wig

The biggest problem with yellow wigs are that they are this unnatural, obnoxious, bright color that just looks bad. It doesn’t look natural or realistic, it just burns the eyes! So here is a quick guide to choosing a yellow that looks good.

Say no to neon!
If  it is a bright bight neon yellow it is going to look bad. Most of the time these are also party wigs which means they end up being low quality as well.

Bright Yellows are a Sometimes Wig
These are fairly bright but a little toned down from a neon wig. These generally should be used for characters that you want to have very yellow hair and not look natural. Most of the time it would be good to avoid these wigs.

Golden Yellow Brick Road to Success
If you want a character’s hair to be yellow but don’t want it to be vibrant and in your face, go with a golden yellow. Golden yellows usually are a darker blonde and yellow mix which gives you a good strong color but without the eye burning.

Mellow-Yellow Blonde
Yellow blonde wigs are good for characters who have a light blonde / light yellow hair color. It also looks natural but doesn’t have a the bright boom that the golden yellow has.


Mjolnir Photos

So Mjolnir is finished and a guide to how I made it will be coming on Monday, but for now I will share some pretty photos for everyone to oggle! These were taken at a park near our house, nothing super fancy 😛

Josh enjoying his new prop:


Posing Template

I saw this originally as a cosplay meme on 4chan. I thought it would be a great way to practice some poses before a convention and photoshoot, and really see what looks best ! So I decided to make my own version for posing practice. Posing is an important part of cosplay because a good pose can make a costume look so much better!

What you need:
– A camera
– A friend or a mirror
– images of the character for reference and posing ideas
– A cosplay costume*

* While posing out of cosplay is fine, if you are in cosplay you can see what looks best for that specific outfit. Your face might look great, but the costume might sit weird!

How it works:
Simple! Check out the sheet below and do a pose for every section. Have your friend take a picture or take a picture in the mirror. Then compare the poses and see which works best for the character, and which you look best in. Get feedback from other friends too!


Did you try this out? I’d love examples to share when I post this to cosplaytutorial.com. If you are willing to share your own, please post a link to the image in the comments or email it to admin@cosplaytutorial.com!


Art and Mjolnir Side Project!

So lots has been going on lately. I finally got http://www.cosplaytutorial.com up! I’ve gotten a bunch of cosplay help emails which is nice to see, and while the traffic is lower than darkelements, it’s getting around 50 individual views a day which is pretty good! Woot!

I recently moved into my boyfriend’s house and now that I am settled in I can start working on stuff again. This week has been pretty busy with projects. I finally got a canvas to paint the picture I have had stuck in my head on. I wasn’t sure how the gradient would turn out since I was using gold with a matte red but I am really happy with the result.


I also am doing a prop for my friend, he and his girlfriend are Thor fans and so I am making him a Mjolnir. I’ll post how I made it when I finish everything but here is an in-progress picture of where I am right now:


You can also see the tip of Kev’s sword. He is cosplaying butz/bartz from FF5 and is making the red sword (brave blade? Not entirely sure). I’ll throw some pics of it up when we get further along!