Friday, February 5, 2010

Helpful Tips & Facts of Cosplay: References-Video and Images

Okay, I must tell you something about cosplay in general. I bet your wondering, "why do I need a reference?" The only reason is because of accuracy and nothing more. You MUST ALWAYS have a reference to go by or your cosplay will never be accurate.

Tip & Fact:

Try your best to get a 360 reference image of what you're going to cosplay because the more accurate the cosplay, the more likely you'll be that character.

It's always easy to find just the front and guess at the rest, but that's the problem. If you don't fully know what your cosplay looks like 360, then more than likely, it'll be wrong.

Tip & Fact:

It's always best to find a reference image where they will most likely be located, like an anime image gallery and an "anime series" image gallery. If for some reason that you can't find what you're looking for, then go to Yahoo and/or Google image search engines. Your last resort would most likely be is

Tip & Fact:

Now, say that you can't find any reference pictures at a certain angle and you really need it the most to complete the look. The very last resort is to use video reference. I much prefer using a regular reference picture on the internet, but believe it or not, you may have no choice but to use a video reference.

The best way to obtain a video reference would be two ways:

1. Search for the series on Youtube where it would most likely show that angle, pause it when you see the angle you're looking for and then draw it from there.

2. If you have the anime series on DVD, then resort to one, two. or any number of the episodes that will show that angle, pause it when you see it, and draw it from there.

Here's an excellent example. I'm trying to give one of my cosplays a major cosplay surgery (my very first cosplay, Lady Kayura from the Ronin Warriors/Samurai Troopers ,to be exact), and I couldn't find a very good picture of her in the back because her hair would always cover it. I was doing the back of her chestplate and I couldn't find it on the internet, so I decided to refer to my Ronin Warriors DVDs and look for an episode that would show a good back veiw without her hair covering it and to my surprise, I made a great discovery about her back of the chestplate. When I first started, I honestly thought it was two separate pieces, but it turns out that it was one big long chestplate that came around in a circle and just attached at the side and her shoulder guard. I even had to refer to the DVDs again for the complete detail of her amulet and let's just say that I got GREAT detail of it, regardless of it being shaddered and it being put back together again.

So yeah, a video reference isn't all bad, but try really hard to find references in complete 360 on the internet. Again, use video reference as a last resort.

Remember, you want your cosplay to be accurate and not just similar^^

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Helpful Tips And Facts: The 5 Most Important Keys To Cosplaying: Judging Whether to Make Up Patterns, Find Similar Ones, & Combining Pattern Pieces

You've reached the final most important key. In order to accomplish the fourth important key, you need to look at number five. I know, it's a little backword how I have it, sorry^^; Anyway, the final important key is the judging of whether to make up pattern pieces, find similar pattern pieces and alternate them if necessary, and to combine pattern pieces.

Sometimes you may have to do one of the three. It's okay, I have to do this sometimes in order to look like the character.

Tip & Fact:

When you're studing a particular cosplay that you wish and you can't find a similar or any type of pattern that looks like it, then you may have to make one up. It's okay, I know, it sounds scary, but all you have to do is look at the shape of the front and back. Here, I'll give you an example:

(Note: RPG games like Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy series also counts as an anime)

In terms of Gunner Yuna, I can easily find a pair of shorts similar to hers shown here. The only difference is I would have to tweek them just a little. Now, there are no shirts like hers, trust me, I've tried looking and there was no luck. What I would have to do is study her top, determine what shape I would have to create for the front and back, and then use tracing paper to create the pattern. I would have to do the exact same thing with the half skirt as I did the top, make up a pattern. Hood patterns are easy to find, so no worries there.

When you make up a pattern, make sure that you create it big. I mean big big in order for it to fit you when it's done. Always do that with all made up patterns you create. They may be too big, but it's good for it being too big than it being too small and not fitting you properly.

Tip & Fact:

As far as looking for similar patterns, sometimes you may have to alter them in order for it to look like the character. In other words, you'll probably have to "tweek" them. A little tweekness isn't going to hurt the cosplay. In fact, it'll make whatever your destined cosplay more accurate.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO TWEEK YOUR COSPLAY!!!!! This is all a learning experience. If you're afraid to tweek the cosplay, if needed, then your cosplay won't be accurate.

As I got better at sewing my cosplays, I had to tweek some of them and it didn't hurt them at all. It made them a little better than before.

Tip & Fact:

There will be times where you may have to actually combine different pattern pieces just for one part of your cosplay. DON'T PANIC!!!!! I know, it sounds even scarier than making up your own patterns. Don't worry my friend, I'll help ya with this part.

The best way to combine patterns is study what parts are what, as in a night shirt with long sleeves for example, and look for those particular pattern pieces. Now, when you've reach a certain point in creating your cosplay, look at the notches of the pattern piece you wish to combine.

If the notches are the same as the others, then you're good to go. Now, if the notches are not the same, then you may have to improvise a little in order to make it work. There are times where you may have no choice but to force the notches to work for your cosplay.

Well..... this is as far as I can share with you in terms of creating cosplays are concerned. I've pretty much given you my perspective on how to create your cosplays properly. All I can tell you now is everything is a learning experience, practice your sewing as much as you can, and may the Lord Jesus be with you in your days of creating cosplays. Good luck to you my friend.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Helpful Tips and Facts: The 5 Most Important Keys of Cosplaying: The Cosplay Costume is Either Close or Exactly Like the Character Being Cosplayed

Okay, the different fabrics and the color palette is now done. It's finally time to start creating the cosplay costume. You always want to be accurate as possible in terms of looking like the character.

Tip & Fact:

Creating cosplays can be the most difficult and unpleasent thing that anyone can do. The key to sewing anything, whether cosplay related or not, is to have time and patience with it. It's an art form. Like all art forms, it must be dealt with in a proper manner by not getting too frustraded real quickly. Yes, it can be frustrating at times, trust me, I've been there, but don't give up just because one little section is driving you crazy.

I strongly suggest that you practice on something simple first before you go into more advance sewing. You know the term, practice makes perfect? Use that term in sewing as well along with creating cosplays.

Tip & Fact:
It's always best to start your first cosplay as a very simple one. Sometimes the most common anime cosplays are the most simplest ones. The character Naruto from the anime series, Naruto is a great example. This is the most common character ever cosplayed in the history of cosplay because of it's popularity.
Let's use Naruto as a beginner example:
Just from looking at his clothes, it's basically simple lightweight jacket with pants.
Tip & Fact:
Before you get carried away on the cosplay and before running to your nearest sewing store and start buying fabric and what not, study the character from the front, sides, and back. This reference will help you when it's time to actually create the cosplay.
When you have studied enough of the character on all sides, take the picture with you and then go to your nearest sewing store.
Tip & Fact:
In order to look like the character (in this case Naruto), go to the nearest sewing store, like Hancock Fabrics, and search in the books for patterns that match Naruto's jacket and pants. Sometimes, patterns have similar or exact look-a-likes of the cosplay you're trying to create. All you need to do is search.
When you see the pictures with the exact same jacket and pants as Naruto, then write it down, look for it in the pattern isle, and purchase it; however, if it's more advance pattern pieces, then try looking for the exact same thing, only in the simpler sewing patterns. The simplest clothing pattern is Simplicity. This is highly recommended for beginner cosplayers.
Tip & Fact:
Remember the color palette? This is an excellent time to use it when you're shopping for your fabric and thread.
Tip & Fact:
The absolute minute that you pick your patterns, ALWAYS follow the instructions on the back!!!!!! That is your guide to know what type fabric is required, how many yards to get for what size, and there are times where they have a notation at the bottom to follow for particular patterns.
Now, in the case of creating a Naruto cosplay, from looking at the jacket, you'll have to get some blue fabric and will have to improvise a little. DON'T PANIC!!!!!! It's okay, you can do this! Once everything is purchased, then you can open up the patterns.
Tip & Fact:
There will be times that you might have to improvise on your cosplays. It all depends on what cosplay you're doing.
Tip & Fact:
(This Part is if you're creating a Naruto cosplay)
If your jacket and pants are exactly like Naruto's, then follow the instructions that is provided with the pattern pieces.
Tip & Fact
(For any cosplay)
What ever you do, when you see extra paper with pictures and writing, NEVER EVER throw that away!!!!! Those are the instructions to help you put your jacket, pants, or any cosplay together.
Tip & Fact:
After you create your costume part of the cosplay, then it's time to create the props, if any, and the wig and accessories. Looking at Naruto's hair, it's very bright yellow with spikes. Now, if by any chance that you wish not to create your wig, that's perfectly fine. I don't create my wigs.
When buying a wig, make sure that you're going to get a good deal and make sure that there's a lot of possitive comments or feedback about the wig commisioner or seller. If there's even one negative comment or feedback, DO NOT PURCHASE FROM THAT PERSON!
Make sure that the wig commisioner or seller provides accurate pictures for you to look at before you buy. In my strong opinion, it's best not to spend over $15-$20 for a wig. When and if you find a great quality wig for that price, take it now before someone else does.
Tip & Fact:
If you can, try to create your own shoes before resorting to buying a pair. Now, if creating your own shoes is too difficult for you, then that's fine. Just make sure that you spend wisely on a good pair of shoes. In other words, treat your shoe and accessory hunting like Ebay. If you wish to, create your own prop(s), if any, before resorting to prop hunting or prop comissioning as well.
Anyway, treat all cosplays this way and you'll be off and ready for more. Try experimenting with other cosplays than just Naruto.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Helpful Tips and Facts: The 5 Most Important Keys To Cosplaying: Knowing The Right Sizes to Cut and Measure

Alright, you know your color palette and your fabrics. Now it's time for you to know the right sizes and measuring aspect of cosplaying. If you don't know this, then every thing won't fit properly so please know this.

This is probably one of the most important key out of the 5 others. Knowing your measurements is the main aspect of all of this.

Tip & Fact:
If you're the type of person that doesn't like to measure the shirts and pants, then go with your normal size of any clothing. For example, if you know that you wear a size medium shirt, then cut the medium size pattern out. This is what I do when I start on a cosplay. It's the same way with pants, jackets, swimsuits, and dresses.

Tip & Fact:
When you're in the process of cutting out pattern pieces, it's always best to go up a size from your normal size clothing. In other words, if you're a size Extra Small, then make the cosplay size a Small. I say this only for the cosplay to fit without being snug or tight when you try it on.

Tip & Fact:
Now, if you're a perfectionist and has to have the precise measurements, then you need to know your ruler and your measurements.

Getting to know the measurements is very important because everything will fit properly and everything will be realisticly close or exact.

Using measurments for non-sewing props is the best way to make it accurately possible.

Tip & Fact
When you measure your fabrics, it's always best to use a yard stick and not a small, regular ruler. If you have trouble measuring, here's a picture to help you to know what line is what.

The first arrow pointing to the number one is your full inch. That part's easy. Next to the number is a very small line, which is the 1/16" inch. After that, the first long line is the 1/8" inch. It'll be hard to tell at first, but look at how long each line is in order to figure it out. The second longest line is the 1/4" inch mark. Lastly, the line in the middle and the third longest line is the 1/2" inch. That one's pretty easy too.

Tip & Fact:
If the example is a little confusing, I'll try to explain it more here. There is a 1/16" inches. The key to knowing the 1/16" inch mark is to find the smallest line first. When you do, count all of the lines (big lines and small lines). All of the 1/16" inch marks are the same size so it won't be too difficult. When you find the smallest line, that is the 1/16" inch mark. Afterwards, count up to 16/16" inch, which is the same as a full inch. For example, 1/16, 2/16, 3/16, and so on. The first longest line is the 1/8" inch mark. When you find the first longest line, count every other first longest line. That counts as a full inch. With the 1/4" inch mark, you have to find the second longest line. When you find it, count that exact line up to 4/4, which is also the same as a full inch. Here like this: 1/4, 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4. Lastly, the third longest line is the 1/2" inch mark. That's the easiest.

Hint: All of them equal a full inch.

There will be times where some measuring tapes WILL NOT have the 1/16" mark! Now, if that's the case, the 1/8" will be the very first line and then you count them all up to 8/8" inches.

Tip & Fact:

Measuring is a key to any sewing that you'll ever do probably. Never forget that and you'll be on your way to making great cosplays. When measuring a pattern or anything relating to sewing, use a measuring tape so it will be easier to move around and won't have to worry about missing any correct marks.

I hope this helps. To be honest, I hate math and measuring was one of my wrost. After I learned about the 1/8" inches and 1/4" inches, I was ready for any type of sewing and making cosplays. So, please don't feel bad if you forgot or just don't know how to measure properly. It's all good.

Helpful Tips And Facts: The 5 Most Important Keys To Cosplay: Knowing Your Fabrics

Since you now know your color palette, it's time to know about your different type of fabrics. This is the second most important key to cosplaying. When creating the cosplay of your choice, you need to know what fabrics will be appropriate.

Tip & Fact:
If by any chance you're a total newbie (a new person starting), then practice on some scrap fabric. Cotton fabric is the most simple and easy fabric to ever work with. This fabric is perfect for any new cosplayers.

Tip & Fact:
For complete beginners to cosplay, practice on simple patterns and make regular clothes first before you try doing an actual cosplay. Now, if you picked an anime character's costume that is something relatively simple, then go for it and try. A great example would to make either a pair of sleep pants or easy shorts from cotton.

Tip & Fact:
As you, me, and everybody knows that all fabrics are different. You got your furs, polyester, leather, cotton, stretch, and many many others. Now, when you sew, each fabric has to have a special sewing needle size. The normal size needle is a 12 to 14 for easy fabric like cotton, mixed cotton, and stretch fabrics. The 16 to 18 size needle is mainly for very hard fabrics like denium.
For example, if you would like to be some sort of warrior type anime character and they are wearing armor, then leather would be good to go with. If you don't switch your needles for the appropriate fabrics, then THEY WILL BREAK!!!!!!

Tip & Fact:
Some things are not meant to be sewn on the machine. If by any chance that you have a similar project with cosplaying, then try finding someone that knows cosplay really well to help you with the fabric.

Tip & Fact:
Now, many anime characters, if not all, have some sort of prop. Whether it's sewing related or not, make sure that you know someone that can either help you create your prop or make it for you if you're totally new to prop making.

For the non-sewing props, make sure you know someone that knows the ropes of cosplay is there with you in the process of creating your prop. All props are different in shapes, sizes, materials, and also what tools you use, so please be careful if you're using tools that are dangerous.

Tip & Fact:
NEVER FORCE THE MACHINE IF THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG!!!!! Always check to see what the problem is or you'll break the sewing machine for good. If it's jammed in some way, then cutting or pulling the tread a little from the bottom will pretty much cover it. In order to prevent any more jams or mishaps, make sure that you're threading the machine correctly and make sure that everything is clear before you start back sewing.

Tip & Fact:
When sewing, it's also some what important about the thickness of the tread that's going on the fabric. If it's too light (like a thread for cotton fabric) on a somewhat hard type of fabric like denium, then it may appear to be loose. It'll stay, but it will appear loose.

So, be sure to know the thickness of the tread as well before you sew. Like, a thread that is meant for easy, lightweight fabrics like cotton is only used for that type.

Anyway, this should help you on fabrics and other important tips and facts.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Helpful Tips and Facts: The 5 Most Important Keys To Cosplay: Knowing Color Palette!

Regarding sewing and knowing how to make cosplays, there are 5 major keys for a successful cosplay.

  • Knowing your color palette

  • Knowing your fabrics

  • Knowing the right sizes to cut and measure

  • The cosplay costume either is close or exactly like the character being cosplayed

  • Judging whether to make up patterns, find patterns that are similar your cosplay plan, and combining different pattern pieces.
Everyone whether an artist or not, needs to know their color palette. This is one of the most important keys of making cosplay costumes, any costumes, or any clothes for that matter.

Tip & Fact:

Always make sure that the colors that you choose matches excatly. For example, if you choose the color navy blue for your color, then make sure that you find navy blue thread to go with it.

NEVER COMBINE WRONG COLOR FABRICS OR THREAD WITH EACH OTHER!!!!!! IT WILL BE VERY NOTICABLE AND INAPPROPRIATE!!!!! For instince, a dark color fabric with a bright color thread. This is highly noticable and doesn't look appropriate.

Tip & Fact:

Even though black and white are very dominate colors, make sure that whatever shades of black or white you choose is also the same. If you choose jet black fabric, get the jet black thread and if you choose creme white, get the creme white thread.

Tip & Fact:
If by any chance that you can't find the exact color of thread for your fabric, then get a color that is close to your fabric color.

Here's an example:

If I were to use this lime green fabric, I would easily try to find the lime green thread for it; however, if by any chance that I could not find it, then a lighter color that is close to lime green would be okay.

I hope this helps on your color palette, if you don't know your palette, you won't be able to get very far in this

Helpful Tips and Facts of Cosplaying: History

When people are talking about "cosplaying", you're probably wondering, What the heck is "cosplaying"?

Cosplaying: are the words, "costume" and "play" put together. It is also dressing up as an anime character (favorite or not) and sometimes even acting like the anime character if you wish to. (Note: if you don't know what anime is, then go to "What is Anime" blog).

This is MAINLY anime based; however, actors and actresses also do this in theatrics. Not only that, there are non anime characters that are being cosplayed as well.

In terms of cosplaying, a lot of times, you make your own costumes.

Tip & Fact:
If by any chance that you don't have any sewing skills at all, then there are people that commision these costumes as a business. When you plan to buy a commisioned cosplay costume, be prepared to fork up some serious cash because these cosplay costumes vary in time spent and materials in order to create it.

Tip & Fact:
Always make sure that you look at the possitive comment or feedback BEFORE you buy from the cosplay commisioner. The last thing you want to do is get ripped off.

Tip & Fact:
Now, if you're the type of person that likes to be adventurous, likes to try something new, and doesn't have any sewing skills, then take some sewing classes and learn the basics. Once you know the basics, then you're good to go!

Tip & Fact:
There are places all over US and over seas called Anime Conventions. They are places where other cosplayers come together and have fun. Either some or most anime conventions have cosplay contests where cosplayers that have created their cosplays enter in competitions. They win prizes. If you're the type that likes to be competitive, then enter yourself in the contest and see if you will win a prize for your cosplay.

All right, this should help you if not anything. I'm what you call a cosplayer: a perosn that cosplays. I've been doing this for 3 years now and it has been fun.