Working Hard >> New Layout Sneak Peak

I’m working hard on the new cosplay tutorial list, I’m near the end of the current list and then I have to get up to date with  @_@! It’s going to take a bit but once I have all the links gathered I can publish the site and people can visit the revised dark elements 😀 I’m excited! Once it’s up I will start building the database and move the tutorials over to that, which will hopefully (in time) allow for a search to be added. At the very least it will make it a lot easier for me to add new tutorials, it will keep them better organised, and make it easier to view them.

Here are some sneak peak screenshots, as you can see a lot of the site is completed! It’s mostly the tutorial list that is taking up my time 😛




Another Sneak Peak

The tutorial page is getting rid of the 4 featured tutorials, but I am not getting rid of the idea entirely! There will be one featured tutorial that that gives a preview of a couple steps and the tutorial itself, it also has the title and gives credit to the author! These will be updated with new content every time i update the section.

Otherwise the tutorial list is mostly in the same format, however there will be some more organization done so it is easier to find tutorials. One thing I will be doing is grouping similar tutorials under one header, so anything that is “drafting a pattern” will be under that section and anything that is “making a keyblade” will be under that one, for some of the more common tutorials.

I also am phasing out the [1 ] [2 ] [ 3 ] and changing each tutorial to it’s own name, this will allow part 1 / part 2 tutorials to get more love.

and lastly, I ran the w3schools link checker to make sure all the links go somewhere, dead links were changed or removed!

DarkElements – New Layout

So this has been in my head for awhile and I am finally designing and coding it up! DarkElements has seriously needed a redesign for awhile, and the currently layout was pretty rushed. So I decided to re-do everything over the next little while so that the site can be better overall!

So lets chat about the new design’s first page. First off I went back to the roots and stuck with a darker look to fit with the title ‘DarkElements’ … bright blue didn’t really fit the dark part of that theme!

I made the first page a little more useful. You can get to all the sections from the nav, so you don’t really need a splash page, instead it focuses on what is new with large images for easy navigation. I’ll be sticking to about 2-4 new things on the home page to keep it fairly short.

Sidebar: Cosplay Tutorial
The number one reason (which attracts about 100 visitors a day!) is the cosplay tutorial list. Since I am also running the twitter feed and the *new* facebook feed I figured I would link all three groups together here. On other pages this section will be a mini navigation, so you can view the subsections of pages.

Sidebar: Links
I have shared links with a couple of websites, but who ever visits a link page? I figured it would be more fair to keep them on the main page for now and possibly remove that section from the main link list. Alternatively, I might run a “featured tutorial” where a really good tutorial or website is featured. We’ll see where it goes 🙂

Sidebar: Twitter Feed
Since twitter feeds can just be thrown on websites with a bit of code,  I thought it would be a good idea to include cosplaytutorial on the site, that way recent tutorials that have not been added to the list will be available.

Sidebar: Google
So I have turned to ads, and I worry people will be pissed that I did. However, I have good plans for those ads! I am looking to pay for site hosting for DarkElements that involves a database. A database would then improve the tutorial list tenfold.
1) Easier updates, I could create a CMS that just lets me throw information in and click submit. This would put it in the database, automatically update the page, and automatically sort it. I could update much easier and far more often so the list will always be recent. Currently … I update by hand >_>

2) A proper search feature. I will be able to set it up to be sortable by section, series, character, date etc… as well as allow for keyword searching. Not only will the tutorial list look much cleaner and organised, but it would make it easier to find what you are looking for.

3) Additional pages. I would like to start a section for reference pictures.  I would also like to host user submitted tutorials, product reviews, and even posibly run an online cosplay magazine (free).

unfortunately I don’t have the money to pay for all this without help (I already pay for the domain name out of pocket!) so I figured google ads that pay per click would be a fair way to support the site.  Benefits of google is you can choose what keywords to include, so while Iw ill be including some of the higher paying ads I will mainly focus it on cosplay related advertisements – who knows, it might end up helping someone out!

and as always, any sugguestions or comments for the new site are welcome, it is still being built so feedback is loved!

New “FAQs”

Added three new cosplay Frequently Asked Questions to the FAQ page

Choosing Poses for a Character?

Most people choose poses by mimicing what the character does in the show, movie, game etc. A good way to choose poses is to look up a variety of reference pictures and print off ones with poses that are interesting and easy to get into quickly. Interesting poses generally involve an action of some sort.

For example medusa (left) is standing very stiff, so it’s not very interesting. Sakura (right) is in an interesting pose so it is more interesting.

Once you decide on several poses, practise them in front of a mirror. Some poses are unflattering, they can make you or the costume look weird. So look for ones that make you look good! Another way to test poses is to get a friend to photograph you in them. Try to avoid poses that majorly block the costume, for example being all scrunched up, since the costume is usually what you want to show off. If you are doing a photoshoot with many photos being taken, then it is okay to have shots that block the costume since there will be others that don’t.

Laundry at Cons / Wearing the Same Costume Twice in a Row?

Sometimes you want to wear the same costume for more than one day at a con, but you don’t want it to be dirty or smelly, so what are some things you can do?

First, plan ahead. Before wearing the costume make sure to have a shower, use deoderant with an anti-persparent (to help prevent sweating). Wear a thin shirt underneath the costume if possible, to keep the costume off your body.. however if the costume has many layers or is very warm then you may want to go without. Carry a stain remover pen to get rid of stains that may appear throughout the day and avoid activities that may make it dirty (like walking through mud).

You will want to take the costume off at night, so if you are staying at the con then you will probably want to bring an extra pair of clothes or PJs. This allows you to let the costume air out at night. If the costume isn’t too bad then you can use a stain remover pen to remove any small stains, give the outfit a light cover of febreeze and then let it air out in front of a window. For more extensive problems, such as a very smelly or dirty costume, you can ask if the hotel has a washer and dryer available – some do. If not, you can spot wash a costume in the sink, or hand wash a costume in the tub. You can use the hairdryer provided to help speed up drying. If your costume is an absorbant material, it may take a long time to dry and would be better to spot wash.

For the next day, you will want to change anything you can, such as socks and underwear. Make sure to have another shower before wearing the costume and once again put on deoderant.

Cosplay and “The Time of the Month”

Unfortunately for us girls, we might get our period the same time as a convention. This is a general idea on what to do to avoid costume mishaps!

Unless it is one of your first, you should have a good idea of how your “time of the month” goes so you can prepare for it. If you expect it to be heavy then you may want a tampon and an absorbant pad, if it’s medium then a tampon and a panty liner, if it’s light then maybe just a good pad. . . but go with what you are comfortable with. If you don’t wear tampons, it is usually a good idea to go with a heavy flow pad, just to be safe.

Remember to bring enough for the length of the con, and carry some with you for when you walk around. Change your pad/tampon every so often, that way you can prevent leaks. Once again you should have a general idea of when it will need changing based on past experiences.

As for taking care of costumes, clean up well before putting it on. If you expect it to be messy, then you may want to carry some wipes with you in case toilet paper is not enough. Otherwise, just be cautious of your clothes. A good idea is tobring extra underwear and clothing to the con, just in case your costume does get stained.

To be comfortable, you may want to bring asprin or other medication if you tend to have cramps or think you might. It’s always good to have that stuff with you at a con anyway (con sickness). Additionally, you should plan ahead and choose costumes that are comfortable and easy to go to the washroom in, zentai suits for example may not be the best choice.