Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The ultimate resemblance

I'm going to write a post about cosplay and mockery inside the fandom. One thing every cosplayer might have come across, is the argument of not looking like the character. That is going to be discussed in the up-coming post, but in the meantime entertain (and possibly educate) yourself with "What if Japanese cartoons were real?".

You can also try to guess who has gone trought some serious photoshopping.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Possible design for Debitto's jacket

I got myself Google Analytics. The reason is most likely my utter curiousity. Apparently Analytics doesn't only satisfy my appetite for sniffing around the trafic on our blog, but also to see how people finds our site. It's almost hilarious to read the search word list, but it gives rather useful vision of what people are seeking.

Debitto's outfit was one of them. I have come up with few sites where they sell the costume. They are easily found via Google or other search engines. But it's almost impossible to find good collection of reference pictures for Debitto's costume, because almost in every manga frame he is bent, stooped or partially blocked my Jasdero etc. When I was working with the costume I went trought many pictures to get the general view for the jacket. And it was actually really slow, some minor details were only drawn in few frames.

I have pointed out that I don't like manufactured costumes. One reason is the fact they usually lack the details. I thought I'd offer my alternative design for the jacket based on the manga illustrations. I came up with the cut, because in manga I didn't find any images with vertical seams. It's quite commonly used in leather jackets, which I think is the right material for Jasdero and Debitto.

I also gave my imagination a chance while choosing the fastening. One alternative could be poppers or buttons and over them would be overlapping piece of fabric to hide them. (Please, if anyone know what's it called officially, send a message!) I thought it would be natural to use a zipper, because there is one in Jasdero's vest. The other thing was the patches. I really don't know what they portray. In the sleeve there might be some kanji, but I'm not sure. Also the attachment in the collar might be with two poppers. It varied between references. The lenght of the jacket is over-knee. The way Debitto wears the jacket, hanging it over his shoulders makes it look like it reaches the knees. I came up with the other stichings to make the jacket look like a real deal, but only visible one in the references were the one on the hem. It's placed roughly three centimeters from the hem.

I hope this is useful to anyone who is going to sew the costume!

Basic drawing for Debitto's jacket by Hiron (2009).

If you want to more detailed information about the jacket, leave a comment!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Special Weekly- Pick a pic

Adulthood in sight! Happy birthday, Yoki!
Casual Sasori and Deidara from summer 2007. Pic by eila.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tutorial - Dead and stressed effect for Bubblehead Nurse (without paints)


I have the worst type of acrylic paints. They differ drasticly in consistency from grainy and gobly to runny and bland and mixing those paints is a pain, because the result rarely is the one I'm looking for. Sometimes the colour seems fine, but when it dries it's something totally different. I never would have bought those paints, if I wasn't forced to. School regulations for art course, which was nothing more than pitiful. So I'm stuck with huge bottles of second-rate acrylic paint and I'm doing costume that needs to be stressed, rustic and believable... So I continued in the road of using stuff found from kitchen to finish my Halloween costume.

Staining buttons and shoes

I had bought the cheapest white buttons I could find from the fabric store. Tea dyed dress and nurse cap were already aged with goop and looked great. I had to come up a solution to make the buttons fit the costume and not to pop out as spotless and shiny. The solution was to use instant coffee, drop of water and all purpose glue. I used this technique for the shoes also.

I mixed a small amount of instant coffee in a tiny drop of water. Then I added glue to make the mixture semi-runny. It needs to be thick enought to stay on the button.

I paintes the buttons with "coffeeglue". For different surfaces and looks add different amounts of the mixture and let the buttons dry in different angles. If you want to strain the surface, tap the glue with a Q-tip when it's partially dry. Then let them dry completely. The result is cunning with unique look and little effort.

For the shoes I first painted a a white base with acrylics. Then I just added the "coffeeglue" and when it was dry I finished them with few splashes of goop.

Dead legs in progress

I wanted to use stockings as a part of my costume. I wanted some coverage and I didn't want to spend too much time doing the bodypaint. But I wanted my legs to look like... dead. I purchased a pair of grey stockings. For my purpose they needed to be synthetic fiber. Then I bought bleach. Fun fact: When you bleach synthetic fibers they don't become white, but yellowish.

First I took a bucket and threw the stockings in a water-bleach bath. I just wanted to wear out the colour a bit. After I had soaked the stockings 'bout two hours I took them out, rinsed them and placed them on the floor. I folded them from the knee and squirted undiluted bleach randomly over them. I let them be for another hour, squirted some more bleach and waited two hours before washing the bleach off. It recommendable to wash the stockings before use if you have sensitive skin.

Easy and un-deadly cool!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekly- Pick a pic

I just love this shot! Jasdero and Debitto from 2008. Pic taken by kolibri from Fighting Dreamers Pro.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Crazy timetable- High stress levels spotted

This week has been full of planning, cutting, cementing, sculpting and sanding. The vacuum cleaner has been singing and our hands are getting sore and dry... That's costume making.

I took great pleasure of drawing up a timetable for our costumes. It is ridiculous and I know that in some point we will fall behind. But then again it should motivate us to work harder. This current project is matched up from many different pieces and we are going to be faced with techniques we are not familiar with. I know I can pattern and sew pants and jackets in few days if I have to, but creating armor parts from scratch in few weeks will probably immobilize me for the rest of the year.

OOPS! A spoiler! Yes, our costume will include armor parts.

So I placed the armor parts as the top priority and the bases for them should be done before New Year. If we succees with them and our plans for the techniques actually work, the rest is like a child's play. Seriously, I would be in the top of my little world if I only saw some finished pieces before next year! I've have gone trought some worst case scenarios and I hope we never have to face them. The worst one might be starting all over again from the very beginning.

I put almost all of my spare time to work with the costumes. Gladly my job is quite easy-going. Yoki is going to graduate next spring, so she is working really hard with school right now. At the time I'm being the mad costumer, who is snappy and all over the place. I think my crankyness is cause of styrofoam dust, which must have slipped trought my respirator. Or it's just the stress. Oh, the stress. Maybe I should just stop worrying and work my butt off before holidays, which, even for the likes of us, will be duty-free.

(The holy timetable says: FREETIME)

Friday, December 4, 2009

weekly - pick a pic

finishing touches, hiron yoki and karan (almost), pic by irja

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Choosing characters- Casualty Cosplay edition

Many people wonder which character they should choose and why. I've been planning on writing from this subject in general, but first I'd like to reveal how we have ended up with the characters we have cosplayed. I will go trought our pair cosplays original ones not included.

When we did our first cosplay pair, I was the one who chose the character first. I had just been introduced to Bleach and after a marathon of manga and anime published to the date, I took a liking on Matsumoto Rangiku, because of her feminity and outgoing personality. And perhaps the fact that she enjoyed alcohol had something to do with it too. The con we were going to attend was Ropecon, which I had participated two or three times before in random costumes. It was first time for Yoki and she had hard time choosing the character. She wanted to cosplay character from Bleach as I did. In the end she just picked up Hitsugaya Toushiro. She didn't particularly like him, but it would be natural to see these characters together. The uniforms was easy to make with the skills we had back then and we just couldn't resist the fact that we would have swords. When I look at the costumes now, there are many things I would like to redo, but then again, everybody have their first costumes which sometimes are just things to set aside.

The second pair we did was Sasori and Deidara from Naruto. God... I can't remember what was the reason why we chose them, but then again they jus fitted us really well. I think Yoki has a opinion on this one. I have some idea though... I think this was the first cosplay we chose as a team. Usually one of us come up with an idea and then the other one just goes with the flow. But in the case of Sasori and Deidara we ended up with our favorite characters in the series and they just matched. The height was so and so, personalities varied like ours do and we liked them. What else do we need? The funny thing with this cosplay was, that we had thought of doing one other pair cosplay, but then chose to drop it, because it seemed a lot of time consuming work. May I laught now? Making complex pieces of Sasori's body and Mayuri's head gear at the same time isn't a lot of work? Hohhohho... We had to use our imagination with Sasori, because his puppet form hadn’t been shown in the anime at that time. As colour reference we used one manga cover and if I remember correctly, one original art. I recall that Sasori debuted in the anime week before Animecon 2007.

At the time we were really ambitious and decided to do two cosplays. Yoki wanted to do Kurotsuchi Mayuri from Bleach. I had no clue that I would end up doing Akon. It was just a natural solution to our ”we need to do connected characters”-thinking. I think I also chosed Akon, because I hadn’t seen more than one person portraying him. The costume was easy and it would not take too much attention off from Mayuri's costume. I could concentrate on doing Mayuri, when my own part was quite humble. For Mayuri, his Yoki’s ultimately favorite character from Bleach. In fact, everyone of her favorite characters have some sort of mental issue. Mad scientist syndrome in this case. And Mayuri was the highlight of this pair cosplay. I was more like an add-on, which was fine really. I was satisfied with my work on the costumes and Yoki is like a hanger for my creations. And the more photogenic one.

Jasdero and Debitto was purely my idea. I had read D.Gray-man for some time and when I saw these twins the first time I just couldn’t pass them. I introduced grey-skinned Noahs to Yoki, and she approved them. Of course I had already thought that Yoki would portray Jasdero and apparently he was enough of a nuthead to fit Yoki's taste. The height difference between us, which is something like 10 cm at most, didn't matter, because Jasdero hardly ever stands straight. If I were to portray Jasdero, I would have serious problems with showing off my waist and stomack and also grinning the way Jasdero does. Yoki did not have any issues with these. Only thing she wasn't too happy about was the long blond wig. Without the grey make-up she looked really bizarre.

Our current project, which I can not reveal, fits the neutral-evil personality zone we have been accidentally been following. And if we ever finish this huge project we have another one already selected. The characters are more in the nuthead zone, I think.

When we choose characters we try to take in concideration our height, porpotion and on some level the personalities. We hardly ever cosplay characters we don't like, but can pick up the other persons interests. The restrictions we have are usually costs and a level of skills in costume making combined. I'm personally not going to start a project I know will include expencive fabrics and stuctures sewing-wise that I am not too familiar with. But as I always say... Imagination.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekly- Pick a pic

The outcome when taking pictures and having two dogs running around (2009).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New wig, new storage problem, new ideas

Yay, I have a new wig! Now I have a nice base to build Deidara's hairdo freshly. The previous one got partially send to where ever retired wigs go to... The part I could in anyway use have been fused with a similar one to be born as a short, boyish wig. The ponytail is from the original one and happens to be almost the right shade with the new one even though the producer isn't the same.

Not styled, only pinned to see how it would look like

After I have finished with the wig, we have planned with Yoki to do photoshoot with our crazy artists in their Akatsuki outfits. I think I will redo the undergarments also. They need some improvement and another choice in material. Current ones have uneven dye, which bothers me greatly and have suffered from seam ripping.

I don't know why, but I suddenly realized that we have some resemblance to these characters. Not only do I have long, blond hair and Yoki has short and spiky, we have some similar attributions in "art" as Deidara and Sasori. Well... I don't exacly blow up everything I have created, but Yoki is the more conscientous than me. In the series Sasori is portrayed as a teenager while Deidara looks like an young adult. I'm six years older than Yoki, but sometimes Yoki just acts more mature than I.

No wonder we picked up these guys from the bunch.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Weekly - pick a pic

and up we go...maybe, 2007

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tick mark for Snufkin

It took over half a year for us to make a vid from Yoki's Snufkin cosplay, but I must admit that I'm happy that we waited this long. The weather was perfect as Yoki described in the earlier post. Few more clouds would have reduced flares, but that is just a minor error seen only in couple of shots. Snufkin vid can be found from our Youtube channel.

Goddamit, it's really troublesome to be behind the camera! This was our most scripted shoot of all times and I was really driving for a good outcome. I didn't expect that it would take some serious work. I was exhausted after the day. Exhausted indeed, but happy. I'm not a professional, when it comes to cameras and all, but I think we managed well.

So what happened during the photoshoot? I took over all the practical stuff along side with the camera work. Looked place for the campfire, prepared it, carried stones and logs, tried to find stick for the fishing rod, chose the places, gave orders around and took care of Yoki's outerwear... to name some. We both got frostbites on our toes. It was close call that I didn't accidentally swim in the forest river AND in the lake. Then there were some minor casualties, but in general everything went fine.

When we were done with he shoot on the forest river and were walking back to our car, an another car passed us and one of the passengers, older lady stared at us with a big smile on her face as if she had recogniced Snufkin. Other than that, because we were surrounded with fields, few farms and forest we didn't have audience. We were toying with idea to stop by on the way home at the town centre, Yoki playing the Snufkin melody with her harmonica. But we were to tired, cold and hungry.

The other thing that was my responsibility was to edit the material. It took swearing, hours and crashes to complete. Now I'm considering an all out cleaning process for my nasty and evil friend. I bet Yoki was suprised when the vid was out on the next day of the shoot, knowing what the conditions are related to my computer.

This time I used royalty free music. Great pieces can be found here.

Here are some pictures from the day. Yoki will add some on her account.

Kuura (Frost if you translate it to English) chasing Snufkin

Saturday, October 31, 2009

we kept our promise

this is a quick post
we managed to do snufkin's photoshoot within our time limit.
the weather was nice, sunny, a bit cold but not freezing.
no casualties happened (hiron tested the water temperature by accident) must be our record.

nuuskamuikkunen, photo by eila

the video will be subject: behold the bubblehead nurse!

ready to eat some brains..or maybe not, pic by eila

-yoki out

Creepy Halloween!

Sneak peek of some sort for sake of Halloween. Have nice day with or without costumes! <3

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Photoshoot... progress!

This saturday we'll be able to have a photoshoot! The weather forecast, if we can trust is, promises us sun. This is what we have been waiting for. We need to get up early in the morning to take advance of the short daylight period and I will be busy trying to make the shoot succesful and to make my own costume ready for the night. Halloween seems to be the most costume orientated day of the year, both of us dressing up. So exited!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Competitions- only for the talented?

This is a subject that has been recently discussed on Finnish cosplay forum at aniki, so I thought of revealing my thoughts about cosplay competitions.

We haven't participated in any competition so far, because there have been regulations that doesn't fit our current projects. It might be that we have a pair cosplay, when you can take apart in the competition as group, minimum three persons. And we don't wan't to compete against each other in individual competition, because... well, that is'n how we roll.

The categories in competitions are really hard to put together and they alter drasticly in different conventions. I can see the pain behind dividing the branches of cosplay in separate groups. J-rockers and anime characters can't be put on same categories, just because the sources and the reality aspect is so different. And levels of costuming skills and experience should also be taken consideration, if the goal is to offer equal chances to everyone. That makes four different groups already. And if you start to look for more evaluations you come up with more, that is for sure. Before you know it cosplay competitions are like dog shows, all categories have their own judges on their own rings.

I think the most functional assemble is to divide the experts and novises in different groups. If the convention has a theme, let's say, like japanese pop culture and fashion, there could be specified group for lolita, ganguro and other costumes related. In Finland I have seen this alignment of making something for everyone. Hello, that doesn't work and eats up audiences interest in the competition.

Even thought Finland is a small country, we have nice collection of conventions. It's likely that there will be enought competitions to attend to, even if they are more defined and narrowed. One convention shouldn't include everything. Not only for the amount of work it needs to be organized well, but also to help cosplayers finish their costumes properly and to be proud to show them off. And because the fan base and number of cosplayers have increased, it would be wise to make conventions more confined than they are now.

Of course you can't forget groups and pairs. They should have different evaluations than in individual competition, like show elements and dynamics. I haven't seen too many group performances which have intriqued me. Usually they are build on fanservice and yaoi, because they work for the audience. Ok, yes, you should entertain the audience, but the judges are the ones who should be convinced. Also with your costumes, even if they are not the first prior in evaluation. Sometimes costumes in group competitions are just pain in the eye. In pair or couple categories especially costumes and the craftmanship should be somehow in the same level in an entry.

One thing that personally irritate me, is the "And the next group entry is number... umm... number 18, because numbers 15, 16 and 17 haven't confirmed their participation." Well, that is nice. Perhaps we could have been on the stage if they would have informed earlier that those mentioned groups don't have the courage to step up and get their act together. I may be harsh about this, but I has happened to us. Young and enthusiastic cosplayers sizzle about their debute entrance on group cosplay competition and then they just lack the interest. Not all the drop-outs are like that. Some may have real issues, more than they just didn't feel like it.

That makes me think is pre-selection a bad thing? Nowadays bigger conventions require background tapes from the participants. That shows already commitment from the group and will reduce the number of drop-outs. So, good thinking. In individual contest pre-selection isn't that important. Judges work is made easier with forms, where competants need to fill beforehand information about the character. I don't know, haven't done them, but also descripting the costume as detailed as possible would be rather helpful. I say big no-no for purchased costumes in competitions, but everyone can't necesseraly make everything by themselves. Commissioned items as part of selfmade costume I see rather acceptable, if and only if the information about those objects have been given in advance. This way the judges can evaluate the costume as a creation of cosplayer and as a whole package.

One subject that has been discussed is the standard of the costumes seen in the competition. It has been pointed out that it has gone down. I have noted it also and really the best costumes can be seen outside the competitions, wandering around the area in all their grace. Which get to me to the prizes and positions. No more plushies and stupid honorable mentions which are handed out like free samples of tissues. Competition IS a competition. Sometimes cosplay needs to be serious business in order to get the hard working and ambitious costumers to participate. They don't step up just for pat on the head. They want criticism and proper evaluation. It would also make the judges work more interesting and profound.

In every competition I have seen so-and-so costumes worn by people who are eager to be seen on stage and taking part in the competition for the thrill of it. They are usually quite young and cosplay is their new interesting hobby. No, they should not be taken out, because they might grow to these hard working and ambitious cosplayers, but then again they should not compete from the prizes next to novises and experts who really are there for the win. There is always problem with half time shows. The time when the judges are making the decisions about winners it could be possible to have more playful and entertaining competition. Like show-class, newcomers or something. Selected jury could give honorable mentions for the participants and point out things that could be taken concideration when making a costume. This way real judges can concentrate on their work, the best cosplayers could be selected and the newcomers could have their moment in spotlight, gathering confidence and having a nice experience.

How to make that happen? Strict participation rules for the real competition. Of course they could wary between conventions, but all together they are way too loose right now. Seems like anyone who is quick enough will be qualified.

One matter that flares up a little fury inside me, is the case where talented cosplayers drop out from competitions because of some whining individuals, who can't take it when well made costumes win the prizes over and over again. That is really pitiful, because those cosplayers usually deserve to be the winners and have worked really hard for their costumes. Again I have noted that the whiny ones are more likely beginners. Note: the experts have also made their first costumes and usually they are not too proud of them and seeing pictures of them makes them want to have a moment of good old facepalm. Improvement is a result related to that and that is something I personally am trying to achieve. Hell, I try to beat everyone who have made the costume I'm working on. That is healthy competition.

Cosplay competitions are the main events I'm looking forward to when attending conventions. I want to see accurate and well made costumes that stand out and are worn by costumers who have put time and effort in making them. The other, rich and playful side of cosplay can be seen around conventions and in the internet. Fun and games for everyone equally, but also something to fulfill the needs of ambitious ones.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weekly- Pick a pic

Prop ninja! Yoki appropriately prepared to sand her sword 2008.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Making of Bubblehead Nurse - Mask

Girl known as rainman at had made an awesome tutorial for Bubblehead Nurse, but for some reason I can't find them anymore. I used them as a guideline with few alterations. (For those who look for a tutorial for the movie version nurse, check out this tutorial by MithriLady.

Bubblehead Nurse- Mask

First thing to do is to construct the base for the mask. This is achieved by building it from newspaper and glue on a wig head. Everybody knows that a wig head is notably smaller than a normal head, which means that it needs to be padded.

I took two measurements. One from top of your head to the under the ear and other around the head. Then I padded the wig head with scrap fabric according to my measurements. And remember that you have a nose! Pad the face up and amplify the features a bit. When you are done with the padding wrap the whole thing in plastic, so that the glue doesn't stick to the fabric.

Then I cut newspapers to strips and started overlapping them with adhesive around the head. There is no rules how to place the strips. I made four layers and I don't recommend less. I used all purpose glue, because that was all I had home. I added a drop of water to it, to make it more runny.

After the glue has dried cut a back slit and trim the neckwhole according to yours!

When it was all done, I left the head to dry overnight. The next morning I cut it open with carpet knife from the top of the head to the back of the neck. I pulled some padding out to make the removal of the hollow paper mask easier. I roughtly cut eye holes and one for the mouth because I'd really would like to drink when wearing the costume. I also made the neck hole little bigger. I didn't have to make the back slit bigger, but if you have problems putting the mask on, then it's recommendable. The slit will be covered later.

Add tricot so that it overlaps to make the "seams" more durable.

For some extra support I put the mask back to the wig head and covered it with basic white tricot and glue. I love using this tecnique. It makes the mask more sturdy, but doesn't harden it like clay would. This is done the same way as with paper. Cutted facric strips are glued to the mask.

Don't glue the gauze too close to the eye and mouth holes. This way you can move it aside if you need to drink or perhaps see properly.

Then I took gauze and glued it on to the mask. I had leftover gauze from my school work, so I used it instead of gauze that I had dyed in tea. It was dyed, but it was just moderately aged (read: too white!). After I was done with glueing I painted the mask. The result is quite harsh, but it doesn't matter, because I was still in the middle of the progress. I used black, yellow and red acrylic paints.

Be sure that you have enought glue ready when working with fabric, which really sucks it up.

After the glue and paint had dried I added the second layer of tea dyed gauze. I had two different widths. First I glued the wider one on the mask. Then I repeated the painting process. The point of doing two painted layers is to make it look realisticly oozed trought. I added glue in the inside the mask and turned all loose ends of gauze inside to finish the neckhole. Then I added vertical strip of gauze on the other side of the back slit. When you put the mask on you can place the strip over the slit to hide it. I tried to fit the mask in my head after wrapping gauze all over the mask, but it didn't strech enough. If you work with elastic gauze, then you can follow radical-rain's tutorial!

Less paint is better. Do it with left hand (if right handed) to prevent "painted look".

Then I just wrapped the narrower gauze over the mask hiding the right eye-whole and seams on the lower layer gauze which bothered me. Tah-dah! Mask is ready. I'm still going to add this interesting "goop" following radical-rain's recipe to make it look more disgusting.

Almost finished!

weekly - pick a pic

original characters Tsubame and Yoki (autumn 2006)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tea, anyone?

Tea dye for gauze and a nurse cap

"How to tea dye" and many more helpful tutorials can be found via Dark Elements! Awesome and inclusive list of links, check them out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween!

The ultimately favorite holiday for cosplayers? Perhaps, perhaps it is. One more reason to make a quick-quick-quickie-costume because you just can't miss the chance to dress up!

In Finland Halloween is quite new consept. Kids who are now on their early teens sees Halloween as fairly normal holiday. When I was something like thirteen-fourteen, we had "Halloween party" with my friends. We made ghost costumes from old sheets and watched horror movies all night and that was it. Yet the celebration of Halloween is common now, trick or treating still hasn't become a custom. Some adventurous kids wander around their closest neightbours in hopes of sweets. As the Halloween is a imported holiday in Finland 31. October is celebrated as the All Saint's day. Before All Saint's day got labelled as we today call it, was the last day of October celebrated amongs the farmers as the end of the harvest season.

Nowadays the end of October is more a commercial fest with craft stores selling cheap witch hats and vampire capes. That is not a necessarily a bad thing, if it gets people wear costumes and not to fear others reactions. A official day for goofing around in strange clothes makes good sense in Finland, where it's quite un-common to have publicly fun just for the sake of it. I'm glad that Halloween with costumes is getting more popular, because we desperately need to loosen up from all the formality.

Most recent Zombie walk- Helsinki -poster by Emilia Keskinen

I have always seen our hometown as a truly prejudice place, but it got me few day ago! I came across with first ever Zombie walk in our hometown! First Zombie walk in Finland were arranged 2006 in our capital city, Helsinki. I know that the origins of Zombie walk isn't connected to Halloween in any way, but I think it gathers more participants when it's held linked to other happening including costumes. It somehow makes it more acceptable.

(off-topic: How the hell I'm supposed to get home from work after that suprise snowfall! The flakes are bigger than my thumb!)

Now back to the subject. I introduced the idea of a quick-quick-quickie-costume for Halloween. I don't know do I have time to attend the Zombie walk, but I'm going to this Halloween party/gig, so people in costumes are more than welcome. To celebrate the undeadness of this holiday I thought of doing Bubblehead Nurse from Silent Hill. It's easy, cheap and quick costume to put together and suits for the bar's atmosphere. I need to do the mask detachable if I wish to drink anything... Well, the drinking could be possible without taking of the mask, but I would like to be recogniced by my friends. And I'm so going to win the prize this year! Last year I won, but I was in the bathroom when they called the winners on the stage. I was clueless about all until the next day, when people asked me multiple times where I was and why I didn't go get the prize. I told that I was in the bathroom and got startled looks. What you were doing there? Why it took so long? Goddamit! People, when wearing a corset and a bustle, it really takes some time...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's next?

That is a really good question! We had planned a photoshoot for tomorrow, but the weather is somewhat horrible right now. I think it's not going to improve much... It might even snow a bit. There is nothing wrong with snow, but when it's wet, windy and the sun is nowhere to be seen the circumstances aren't that great.

The only option right now is to wait for the next weekend. Our photoshoot location is an hour away from the town. My timetable is quite flexible and I even have few extra days off work, but Yoki's school days last till three or four o'clock. After she gets home we need to pack our stuff and move to the location. Yoki needs to put on the costume and make-up. Then we can start shooting and all the previous have taken so much time, that it's already evening and dark. And I mean dark. Natural light is the only light source we have "out there".

I hope that during the next week Finnish autumn shows its beautiful side.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Weekly - Pick a pic

This pic was taken 2008 by me. Yoki was trying on her Jasdero costume.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Casualties happen

Cosplay costumes always suffer, even thought you try to make them as durable as you can. We are not an exception, so I thought that I list the casualties we have had during cons. Photoshoots usually goes so well that there is nothing to them.

Ropecon 2006

We attended this con as Hitsugaya Toushiro and Matsumoto Rangiku. Nothing bad happened really. Only the wigs which we used got quite unwearable. In a matter, they were bad to even start with. After Ropecon we really started to pay attention to the wigs.

Yoki edit: Hiron's face was on the danger zone. I hit her in the face twice with Hyorinmaru's hilt.

Finncon 2007 / Animecon V

Okay, to start with my ear, which was numb till the next day because of the hawk eye Deidara has. I had to attach it not only to the headband but also to my ear with transparent rubberband. Not cool. I don't remember was it Animecon or Ropecon, but our warajis needed some serious fixing after the con. The emergency aid was to tie the loose ends and hope for the best.

Yoki edit: The day we cosplayed Sasori and Deidara were rainy and the wig I used were dyed. So the white inside of Sasori's hat were pink at the end of the day. Also the puppet body's holders

Drinking and especially eating was really hard for Yoki. Pic by Vibracao 2007.

Ropecon 2007

Yoki took part in Twister competition while cosplaying Sasori. The puppet body didn't like the idea. It folded from middle torso and is still apparent. It can't be fixed, but I'm sure that only ones who know it existes is me and Yoki herself. Also Mayuri's head-ear piece started to fall apart during the con. We had super glue with us, so the problem was fixed. One of Akon's horns also fell off. Again glue participated, but this time the type was more skin friendly.

Yoki edit: Holders broke again from Sasori's puppet body. Poppers came loose from both Akatsuki jackets. Mayuri's clothes were white from the bodypaint. Mayuri's chin piece had three holes instead of two. Deidara's wig suffered from serious hair loss and it lost almost all of it's shape.

Hiron edit: Uh... I didn't remember there were so many.

Tracon III (2008)

This was the first time I was one with more casualties. I manage to broke my sword while trying to get trought a pack of people. I kept it behind me and sheated, but little did that do. Also Yoki got crack on her sword, which was two times bigger than mine. And in the end I fixed mine, but it broke again. Now it's in two pieces, yay!

Yoki edit: Poppers again!

Proof that the sword is in two pieces. But somehow it fits this character. Pic by Yoki 2008.

Finncon 2008 / Animecon VI

I learned heavily that fake leather doesn't work with hot glue. Our shoe covers started to detach from the base shoes. After each day I had to glue them again. Yoki got tangled with her wig many times and after the con it was quite horrible. So horrible that we decided to buy a new one and sacrifice the old for the greater good. I got some scarring because I didn't have the time to do my binding like it should be done: With care! I had to take off the sports tape after a long shower and it still took some suovenir with it. And we also messed some of our costume parts with the grey bodypaint.

Yoki edit: Jasdero's pants lost some lacing. Skin damage occured while taking off the body paint. Back pain as result from acting and walking like Jasdero.

Tracon IV (2009)

I was the casualty. I walked around the con with a cane. It would have been fun if I had cosplayed as Dr. House but no... The pain. Oh my, the pain.


Yoki helped me a bit with this post. Well, age doesn't come alone.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cosplay and recycling

Cosplay can be really expensive. And when you cosplay as double you easily get three digit number. When you need to buy two pairs of contact lenses, two wigs and twice the amount of fabric you just can't keep up with your ability to spend munny!

I try to avoid excessive consumption every day and naturally that affects costume making. There are many ways to cut down your expenses and one is recycling. Recycling can mean many different things. You can use old clothes as part of your costume, make props from found materials, alter your old wigs or plan your costumes so that you can use pieces of the older one for the new one.

Here is an example from our most resent cosplay which we both attended.

For our Jasdero and Debitto costumes half of the materials were recycled. Debitto's jacket and Jasdero's vest were made out of fake leather blazer, jacket, skirt and pants bought from flee market. Vest's armholes and hem are made out of old knit. Lining in Jasdero's vest and in both hoods are made of two stiched vests. Shoes we also hunted down from flee market. Golden paint we used for the guns was leftover from previous project like the black bodypaint we used for the make-up. Debitto's black wig was used on different character and Jasdero's was bought previously for other purposes. I made Debitto's black under shirt from scrap tricot I had and the white one from oversized mens T-shirt. Print was made with old fabric paint. Yoki made Jasdero's arm bandages from padding made out of scrap piece of cotton. Bandage she used was raided from the first aid kit. Yoki made the rings in Jasdero's head piece from aluminium sticks... again lefovers from previous costumes. We comissioned Jasdero's... uhum.... the light bulb thing from Esa. He made it from stuff he found from his work place.

The cable coming from Jasdero's has actually a light! Photo by Hiron from 2008.

What whe bought new for the costumes:

-few meters of thick satin for the pants

-satin ribbon for the pants and details
-two iron on patches and poppers for Debitto's jacket
-a half meter piece of white fake fur for the hoods and shoes (it was on discount in the fabric store, because it was cut incorrectly)
-one and a half meter of fake leather for the shoe covers
-four zippers for the shoe covers
-contact lenses
-grey bodypaint
-two toy guns

For the example cosplay we didn't use any innovative solutions which we usually want or need to find. Creativity will save you money especially if you happen to find promising materials from the street. The blue insulation material what we usually use for our props is quite expensive but you just might find few good pieces of it near construction sites. I just grab the little pieces from junk piles, but for bigger objects I ask permission. If your relatives are renovating their house you could possibly go trought their left overs. Look for chaulk, silicon, styrofoam, adhesive, paint, glue...

Using recycled material is one chapter, the other is tho re-usage of existing parts of the costumes. The most effective way to re-use is to look for character look-alikes. It's really easy to cosplay anyone from groups who have identical uniforms like Akatsuki from Naruto and Organization XII from Kingdom Hearts II. If you have cosplayed a character who has natural hair, not heavily styled and dintinctive kind you can easily alter the wig with wefts and different styling for different character. Personal opinion: styling is lot easier than dyeing. If the character has a different hair color but the style is same as your purchased one, buy a new wig.

For us the ultimate makeover wig is one that I bought ten years ago for my LARP character. Back then it was over shoulder lenght with soft curls. I used it once. The second time was when I graduated from high school. In Finland we have this masquarade thing before official graduation. Students dress up, throw candy for younger students, drive around the town on truck pallet throwing candy for random people, party and possibly get sick from driving around the town on truck pallet when it's snowing and cold in the middle of February... I didn't know anything about cosplay, but maybe Death from Sandman by Neil Gaiman was my first cosplay ever. After that the next time I used the wig was when I cosplayed Akon from Bleach. Then we made original characters, wig was used for Naoru. Last year I altered the wig with wefts for Debitto from D.Gray-man.

Wig evolution!

Contact lenses even for cosmetical use are costly, but they are definitely needed if you are pursuing detailed finish. Going trought your cosplay plan and finding characters with the same eye color is greatly advised. If you have many cosplays coming up try to put them in order so that the costumes for characters with same eye color are made inside a year timeline. In unfrequent use contact lenses stay wearable over the time the guideline says, if you remember to chance the liquid every now and then.

Recycling and cosplay takes effort, that's for sure. Another thing is imagination, but that comes along by itself when you toggle with materials looking for ways to put them in use. The unexpected materials we have picked up and used as part of the cosplays include mosquito net, tights (both in Mayuri's hat), plastic bottle necks and caps (attacments for the wings on Sasori's puppet body), straw mat (used in Akatsuki hats), lego bricks (Deidara's hawk eye) and Yoki made the base of Snufkin's pipe from rubber cork.

Anything is usable. Collect things and give your imagination a chance.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Why you make it yourselves..?

Occasionally on our various accounts people ask us where we got "that 'n' that" and we always answer that we made it ourselves. We are not fans of ready-made costumes or props. Cosplay for us doesn't only mean having fun in odd outfits (which we do enjoy). The whole process counts. We start from patterns, finding fabrics and materials and also solutions how to make different props and accessories. Contructing part isn't always pure joy. We and specially I do have breakdowns and want to quit, but sometimes little pain just pushes you forward. When you see the finished costume you get an urge to pat yourself in the head.

We choose to do costumes from scratch, because then they are unique. You can be sure that no one else have made it like you have and you even might have done little better than some other cosplayer. Little competition is healthy, I'd say. People do get their costumes bought and it's cool, but we just can't get enjoyment out of that. It's much more satisfying to do it yourself than boss around wearing something that anybody could have.
Sasori's body from 2007 (check Yoki's cute ponytail!)

Whenever you speak or read about cosplay you can't avoid the matter of mass-cosplay. I don't see mass-cosplays as a bad thing if the term is there to describe cosplay from popular series. But when mass-cosplay represents manufactured costumes made by oppurtunist companies, it's just idiotic and a sign of laziness. Ok, the point was, that when anime gets popular companies starts to manufacture costumes from the series. Easy access to costumes makes people to buy them. Big fan base creates herd of cosplayers who look the same.

I see cosplay purely fandom based. Wearing a costume is a sign that you like the series you are cosplaying from. I can't see the connection when you buy costume from company that benefits from your interests when it comes to your hobby. After all you like the series, you aren't the fan of the costume making company. I don't know do the makers of manga or anime get their share when costumes are bought, that is a matter I should see into before I start pointing fingers... But still, cosplaying is your own choice to display your liking and making your own costume is a sign of your devotion.

Then there is the accuracy aspect. Like all mass producted clothes, costumes are also made based on basic figures. They might not suit your bodytype or proportion. When you make a costume you can affect on measurements. Right cut can work wonders even if you don't have the exact figure of your character. Sometimes ready-made costumes lack details. When you work from your reference pictures you can get every little thing fall to it's place. And we do take reference pictures seriously. It would have been really easy to buy hitai-ate for Deidara, but they just are so ridiculously big and not in any scale compared to human that I just couldn't approve it.
Still some bending with the references is good or even needed, because sometimes characters designs just miss seams that are necessary to make a fitting clothes.

Dyeing operation for Sasori's wig from 2007

Of course there are some things that are really hard to do. Wigs are the possibly the most usual objects people purchase for their costumes. High-quality wigs which are styled according to the characters could be a possible choice for us, if we were to cosplay character who has ridiculously long hair etc. We have this far dyed and styled our wigs by ourselves and it really gets easier every time.

But then there is also things that you can't find anywhere. For example Mayuri's hat, ear-chin piece, detonator and... uh... face. When you pursue accuracy you just have to make the work yourself... Or you can commission it. I see nothing wrong in commissioning props or wigs if you give respect whom ever it belongs to. And this I could say about bought costumes too which are purcahed from costume-makers or possibly sewing skilled friends.

Mayuri's hat in making from 2007

There are lot of great tutorials when it comes to making a costume. They are not too hard to find and usually fellow cosplayers gladly answer questions. I recommend that if you have seen some costume which you are going to make and like the result go and ask directly from the cosplayer how it was made and what materials were used. Of course some people wan't to keep their secrets for themselves. If you don't get an answer try someone else (in our case, be patient... sometimes we just are slow or suffer memory loss). Search for forum posts or make one yourself.

As I said before, I don't think ill of people who buy their costumes. I just give respect to them who makes the effort. Crafting skills are not self-evidence but with imagination and guts you can work wonders.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


In the first post I asked what should we cosplay next. Then I remembered that I had this list about characters that we have thought about doing or planning to do when we get done with our current projects.

Here is the list. Tell us which pair would be cool to see done and made real!

Tokusa and Madarao from D.Gray-man

I so sympathize with these guys. They have so little air time in the manga even though they are interesting and complex characters. And in other hand they have kooky design and the fighting uniform would be rather easy and quick to do. And I'm fond of their personalities. Expecially Tokusa seems truly contra
sting personality. I would like to portray him, but because I have hunch that he is shorter than Madarao I just can't see it happening... But hey, I think Madarao is cool with he's funky hairstyle and all. I would gladly cosplay as him.

Haine... Bishop and Giovanni from DOGS

DOGS is one of t
he few manga that we both actually read. I fell in love with Miwa Shirow's character design and story telling. First I thought that we should do Haine and Badou, but then Giovanni stole Badou's place. We actually got some stuff for this cosplay. I managed to style Giovannis wig and do the patterns for his suit. But then all progress stopped. We haven't planned of going to any convention and we were busy with other things. I don't know, maybe we try again later with these guys.

EDIT: Yoki suprised me! She had almost forgotten the existence of DOGS and read the few updates that she had missed. Now in Haine is history! The new guy is the all-so-bizarre Bishop!

Setsuna and Lockon from Gundam 00

I think this was fully my idea! I really tried to get Yoki to watch this series, but she didn't find it as interesting as I did. But these were my favorite characters. I like drama and I saw these two the most tragical characters. I think Gundam 00 has been my most upsetting anime experience so far. There is many great characters in these series, but because Setsuna and Lockon are linked more than in one way they'd be the couple we'd do (if Yoki would approve).

Yoshimitsu and Tira from Soul Calibur III

This pair have followed us two or three years now. We have made some blueprints for the armour pieces and patterns for the clothes but then we got short on money. I think that character designs in Soul Calibur games are... well... exraordinary, but with all the details and rich materials it gets really expencive. But I still think that we really need to bring these lunatics to life someday or they will hunt us for the rest of our lives. I love Tira. Yoki loves Yoshimitsu.

EDIT: Originally we chose outfits from Soul Calibur III, but then Soul Calibur IV were published. We were bit worried if Yoshimitsu were playable characters when first bits of information started leaking out and there were no mention about him. But he was
! So both of our favorite characters from the series were included with new costumes and designs. Yep, it's hard to choose when you have so many alternatives...

Rush Sykes and David Nassau from The Last Remnant

Well... As you can see this game's character design is very pleasing. This is again my idea. Yoki was quite puzzled when I told her about this list and characters that I had included. I don't understand how she forgot. I chattered with her quite a bit when I first bumped to this game. I think that there is so many interesting patterns and material combinations that they just call me to make them.

Clef and Ascot from Magic Knight Rayearth

Magic Knight Rayearth is the one and only shoujo manga from which we might cosplay. I don't know how we chose these characters. I think it was only based on liking. There were also massive props and for me patterns and silhouettes that I really hadn't done before. All the previous we thought were worth trying and making. I really don't remember why we burried these gyus... But still... we never know what happens next.

There you go! This is my part of listing the characters we could or might cosplay. Yoki will do her own list and add the ones that I possibly have missed.

What do you think about these characters?

Friday, September 18, 2009

No... please let this be a joke...

I don't know is this bad time for my WMM to start acting like a *beep-beep-be-beep*... No, no the timing isn't bad... It's the the worst possible! I have tried everything but nothing seems to work. I concidered to upload some other editing program, but I'm almost 100% sure that my computer would explode if I did that.

We planned to shoot some materials for our vids next month. I hope I can get that shitty program work before that. We can't use yoki's computer for any editing, because it's condition is even worse than mine.

Uh, let's see how we manage to crawl out this...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Starting point

Now it's done. Blog where we post our experiences, tips and thoughts about cosplay spiced with many typos and almost-impossible-to-translate-sentences.

CasualtyCosplay is formed from two cosplayers from Finland. We started cosplaying in 2006 and so far have done costumes from Naruto, Bleach and D.Gray-man. Yoki did also single cosplay from Moomin as Snufkin. But in general, we do pair or couple cosplays with characters which are related to each other one way or the other. We have also done casual and street versions of Sasori and Deidara and original character cosplay.

We do our costumes ourselves from patterns to some of the props that don't need the hands of an expert. These props usually ends up being swords that we want to be made from metal. We always try to do precise job with the costumes. Details and choice of materials comes from the manga or anime, but the over-all image we try to keep realistic and natural. We could say, that the main point is to make the characters look the way they would look in real life.

The history of our costumes as seen on our account in YouTube:

Summer 2006:
Hitsugaya Toushiro (yoki) and Matsumoto Rangiku (hiron) from Bleach
Summer 2007:
Sasori (yoki) and Deidara (hiron) from Naruto
Kurotsuchi Mayuri (yoki) and Akon (hiron) from Bleach
Unofficial version of SasoDei were done at the end of summer holiday
Spring 2008:
Original characters Namami Akai (yoki) and Naoru Kenko (hiron)
Street style Sasori (yoki) and Deidara (hiron)
Summer 2008:
Jasdero (yoki) and Debitto (hiron) from D.Gray-Man
Spring 2009:
Snufkin (yoki) from Moomin

This years projects have been... few. We had some other things to attend and few "casualties" regarding health, so cosplaying have been on hiatus for us. Well... yoki was able to pull together a costume and all by herself! I just helped with some patterns and gave tips here and there. Yay, for yoki! But now we are going to start our next cosplay project... maybe next month or so and I have to say... I'm quite exited. And as all cosplayers know, when you start one you have three more on your mind.

yoki as Snufkin from Moomin. Pic was taken by Minttu Lehti

The next project will be done till next year, so I was thinking if we could make little easier cosplay while we are at it. Before that we need to have photoshoots from yoki's Snufkin and Jasdero and Debitto. But hey, we could still do one cosplay... right? Right?

Sounds like an evil plan! (yoki as Mayuri, pic taken by hiron)

Any ideas for a not too time-eating and moderately quick costumes?