Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Saturday, December 25, 2010

New Akatsuki undies

The material I chose for the undies is 100% polyester, even if it looks like cotton. The fabric is also really elastic. Moving around and doing low, open poses is well enabled. Even with stretch I placed hidden zipper in the side seam. Our previous ones where tricot and they had rubber band inside high waist piece.

I used was regular trousers pattern for the pants. I left darts for tight fit on the hips, took out some looseness on the thights and knees and flared the legs out. Without the shin guards or leg warmers, which ever you prefer, the pants look like cropped hippie jeans. When you tuck them inside the shin part they look great!

Nothing much to say about Deidara’s belly shirts. Like every Deidara cosplayer out there and pretty much everone who have read Naruto, I wonder why he wears one. Ignoring the questionable fashion taste, the upgrade is complete!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Video upload: Christmas special

Behalf of myself and Yoki, I wish all the best of Christmas! Casualty Cosplay's Christmas special is now viewable on Youtube.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Present pants

Happy birthday, Yoki!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Three shoots in one bang

We have planned a photoshoot for holidays with our favorite duo up to date; Sasori and Deidara. We still aren't quite sure, which day it’s going to take part though. Even if we don’t shoot outside, the weather dictates the matter. We need sunny or at least bright weather to have a clean looking footage. With our second interview clip we were behind the planned schedule and our camera didn't like it. The “interview part” looks dark and unclean, because we had to work with artificial lights.

Next to following weather forecasts we have made scripts for three different sets; Akatsuki interviews, Sasori-Deidara moments and Christmas special. However, the Akatsuki interviews needs to be tweaked a little. Our memory was bit off with some details on Sasori's and Deidara's plots. I have also been combing and tuning our wigs after they went through a lot with us, rolling down the stairs for example. I can’t do much with Sasori’s wig; I will need Yoki’s head for it, but Deidara’s ponytail I have tried to upgrade. Emphasis on the word “tried”.

The wrapping around the ponytail can’t really even exist. Thank you for giving me a headache with your design, Kishimoto.
This far I have tried three different methods with the wrapping and finally I think I have a solution. I need to cut the ribbon and wrap the short pieces separately around the ponytail. To get as close as possible to the reference picture, I couldn’t think of anything else. I even tried to use hilt wrapping instructions as references, but quickly came to a decision that it wasn’t helpful at all. Honestly, I didn’t know there were so many individual parts involved in it!

By the way, have I ever mentioned that I have a soft spot for cheap fabrics? I ended up buying the perfect fabric for Akatsuki pants… and for Deidara's belly shirt. The old ones are starting to rip apart and the color doesn’t appeal anymore. With this rate we might end up redoing these guys in whole. The progress this far surely suggests so.

Welcome for holidays, Yoki! You might end up wearing new pair of pants! No worries, only 3,90/meter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How we afford cosplay

We have been cosplaying as a duo from 2006. At the beginning we tried to keep cost of the costumes minimum. Because of that, we do not look at the photos of our first cosplay willingly. We look at them if we would like to have a good laugh. But to put it short, we had horrible wigs, cheap fabrics and well… the make-up collection wasn’t something we could be proud of. We even tried to make Yoki’s eyebrows white with potato flour! And the second round with Hitsugaya's eyebrows wasn’t that much better, even if we used white eyeliner. Yoki looked like Santa Claus without a beard in photos! Yoki promised to take our first cosplay as the next topic on her transmission videos on Youtube... which makes me rather scared. If interested in the horrorful first time, keep an eye on Yoki transmissions!

Now we do pay attention to all the things we lacked with out first cosplay. Of course we try to make wise purchases, hunt for discounts and pay attention how much we can spend. Quality is usually expensive, but generally well worth it. I also try to sew our costumes so that there isn’t “something like that” solutions in structures. This hasn’t yet affected to us affording cosplay, but we might someday sell our old costumes and I wouldn’t ask money from them if I didn’t know that they are worth it.

Yoki is a university student and I’m working in clothing industry. Because Yoki obviously has smaller income, I put bit more into cosplay from my own pocket. But not everything, because we have afforded almost half of our costumes with bottle money! I must admit that we have gotten bit lazy with picking up bottles these days, but in the beginning of our cosplay career we did costumes purely on bottle deposits. Now we have about 70 euros left from last summer to be used in the current projects.

To feel like I’m not using only my paychecks on cosplay, I take commissions every now and then. I’ve done normal clothes next to ball gowns and things that you can’t find from stores, like a custom cow bathrobe. Currently I’m making an outfit for “feminine Kakashi”. It’s going to be a masquerade costume for the celebration of last day in upper secondary school.

Then we have our parents. Usually they steal material or hotel bills secretly and pay them or offer some “lunch money” for conventions. They sometimes even come along to photoshoots to act as drivers or assistants. They usually have no idea what we are doing, but turning the camera to right direction or patting your shoulder when you are going berserk, is more than enought. Who wouldn’t love supporting folks?

Every year we try to make a plan for our costumes based on how much time and money they need. Last year we did only one duo, because we had Snowtrooper still in the making and our summer was full of other activities. Next year we are going to break a record; we have planned three duos. One of them is nearly finished. For Snowtroopers we have nearly purchased all we need. We only need to construct few components, put the whole set together and debute the bastards (warm feelings, no?) . For Luminara and Barriss we have also bought almost half of the fabrics already. I almost wanted to put up a party, when I realized that we only need to buy one wig! It’s a blessing money-wise.

When we plan our cosplays we also take in consideration the wigs, contact lenses and supplies we already have. It can bring down the cost significantly. One way for me to think that I use less money is to buy stuff in a whim, like glues, clays and tools. I always try to have all the basic stuff needed in some point of the costume making process in stock.

And sometimes to afford cosplay, it's wise not to think about how much money you have spent on it already.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Moonlit Mireille

In "Moonlit tea party", which is eleventh anime episode of Noir Mireille is wearing white men’s shirt. How convenient! I just happened to have one in my closet! Months ago I found a perfect tea cup from flea market and started to wonder if I should scrape together the tea party outfit. And yesterday I did. It's not much of a cosplay, but a nice snack in this current costume silence. I could have chosen a better occasion for the photoshoot, which pretty much contained me, camera, tripod and a cup of tee about 5 AM. Creativity doesn't ask for the time or the place!

With the shoot, I got an opportunity to see how the styled wig looked with contacts, fake lashes and make-up. The wig is years old, bought from Estonia. It's rather good quality, thick and easy to work with. Tangles fall from the wig with ease or then I just have the patience to comb wigs properly these days. The photos came up nice, even if the lighting was dim and I used my new camera first time with tripod and timing. But the atmosphere mediates. I really tried not to make it sleazy. Well... bed room sets are always sleazy!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Height issues

The six years elementary school lasts here in Finland were horrible for one of the tallest girls in the class. For lunch the class had to line up; short ones first, tall ones last. Sometimes the best bread had already run out when we tall girls got there. The boys were midgets compared to you. You couldn’t ask anyone to dance the slow songs in the disco and you really couldn’t have a crush, because it would have looked ridiculous if you walked hand in hand.

How I view my height today is quite the opposite. I'm comfortable of how tall I am. Me over fifteen years ago didn’t appreciate it, now I kind of love it. Still it took long time to change the way of thinking about a thing you really just need to accept at some point. With cosplay we take in consideration my and Yoki’s height when we choose characters. Usually it comes along rather naturally, we don’t over think it. As a duo we try to respect the height differences, even if we don’t match the heights exactly. Few of our planned cosplays we have dropped unnoticed because of differences were really off. These have been pairs, in which I would have cosplayed a character who is significantly shorter than Yoki’s.

I personally think that I would look really silly, if I even tried to cosplay some cute, little moe character, especially if the character is perceived as a cute, little moe. Some characters have such a strong image, that fighting against it seems futile for me. As an opposite example I must bring up Samara, who is a little girl killed at young age. Still I had no problem cosplaying her, because next to her scary looks the height simply didn’t matter that much. The height usually comes along, if it’s a descriptive feature of the character, like in cases of Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist or Allen Walker from D.Gray-man.

In animation and comics, preferably in Japanese ones height usually connects to age and gender. Tall characters are typically male or/and adults. This has probably caused us to crossplay a lot; I’m 174cm or 5.7 feet and Yoki is almost 169cm or about 5.5 feet. Only recently we have found female characters that we can cosplay and feel comfortable in with our bodies. There are strong ladies with a real body out there, sisters.

It doesn’t bother me to see two meter tall Luffy or short Kakashi. We don’t follow the characters sheets slavishly and twit others for not following them. But I must admit, that height issues gets to me sometimes. This happens when I see a great, accurate cosplay. I admiringly slide my eyes from nicely styled wig down to hand embroidered jacket, ribbon decorated velvet pants and BOOM! Dominatrix platform shoes! Like wee-tee-ef! Height is not that important that it should ruin a great ensemble. The illusion is more likely to break because of unsuitable shoes than ten missing cents. Again I call for proportions and self-esteem whether you are missing or having too many centimeters.

You can wear any color on your hair you like or change your eyes with a flip of the fingers. But one thing you can’t subtly change is your height. If I were to add any height for a character I would do it if I can hide the what ever I’m going to use to lift me higher. This would work great with long hems or capes. Or use heeled shoes which would resemble the characters footwear or fit the period of time or the spirit of the series. Photography offers many ways to fool the eye. With cropping, angles or taking the composition with many characters in consideration you can do miracles. If the feet doesn’t show pretty much anything can be used, like a stool to fake height.

So yeah, for a person who really doesn’t think about height, thinks about it awful lot. Doing accurate is a lot of fun. Still there are many things about cosplay you can stress out next to height, which really is something that you can’t do much about… other than stress of course. Height is a perspective thing to say the least.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Costume cross-section- Samara Morgan

Samara Morgan is the main antagonist in the American versions of The Ring movies. I made the costume based on the first movie, I haven't even seen the other. The costume itself I designed based on both versions of Samara, human and un-human.

Samara was my second "solo cosplay", primary constructed for Halloween. I'm hoping that I'll get a change to wear the costume again, preferably in convention. The reactions Samara brought up were just priceless. I have few ideas for cosplay videos, but they are on hold until spring. How warm I was to make this costume, it... or I won't endure -15 °C (5 degrees) and tight height of snow.

Main piece of the costume is Samara's worn out and mossy dress. It’s made from white flannel, lining on the bust is beige acetate and hem lining is white cotton and dark grey batiste. The hem has three layers and it’s heavily pleated on the waist. Hidden zipper is placed on the side. On the back of the bust is an open pleat on the whole height of the piece. The belt is separate. I dyed, or preferably messed the fabric when all the pieces were cut with antique grey fabric dye from Dylon.

Double lining to give the hem some poof.

The torn out look I achieved with scissor ripping. The way I made it happen must have looked suicidal. I don’t even know how to call the way I used my scissors. It was aggressive and maniac, I ripped the fabric the same time I cut it, which made the cuts look irregular and messy. I also cut my fingers, so not the safest method out there.

Samara's dead version doesn't wear socks or shoes, different from the mental house outfit, but I ended up doing them for the Zombiewalk at least. With them I could wear thick stockings underneath, but still be loyal to the characters looks. The socks are made from bamboo knit sown to a tube. I placed the seam on the back, because Samara is rarely viewed from that angle. The socks went through same kind of dye progress as the dress.

Shoes I wore, were just regular ballerinas. I actually found perfect shoes for Samara, but didn’t purchase them because I thought I would never wear the costume again. I might possibly go and buy them now when my mind has changed. If I wear Samara in conventions, shoes would be more that practical.

The wig I used for Samara was originally bust length. I made wefts from left over kanelon to make the hair longer. Bangs I pulled aside with pins to get closer to Samara's look. The make-up is combination of glue, toilet paper, white, grey and black cake make-ups, dark eye shadows and attachment powder. To keep warm, I constructed sleeves with all the previous. As a base I used bamboo knit.

Glue-paper parts of the make-up after I ripped them from my face.

I estimate that I used approximately fifteen euros for this costume. I only had to buy the flannel and a tube of glue for this project. Everything else I scraped together from my fabric storage and closet. But realistically, it would be easily over seventy euros; wig 20-30 euros, make-up 15 euros, fabric for lining, zipper, other attachments and dye ~25 euros. And if I had bought the shoes, it would be plus 10 euros. Originally I planned and chose the costume so that I could benefit from all the stuff I already had and to be honest, I really like the outcome.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Striping fabric with scraps

In some previous post, I wrote that I used scrap pieces of cotton to stripe fabric. I didn’t want to use fabric marker because it looked too uneven for my taste or buy ribbon because the cost would have been considerable. Now I try to explain how I made the stripes. Of course you could buy bias tape, but it doesn’t necessarily work if you’d like the width to be different from the available selection.

Depending on the base fabric, you need to cut the stripe fabric on lengthwise grain or bias; lengthwise for regular fabrics and bias for stretchy fabrics. Go through your scrap fabrics. Pick a fabric that is preferably not as thick as the base fabric. I had just the opposite and I noticed that the thicker stripes crinkled the base fabric a little. Try to find a piece to cover the length of the stripe. You can either stripe a whole fabric or already cut pieces.

Cut the fabric about three times the width you would like the stripe to be. I advice you to make some test runs with the stripes, because the width depends pretty much from your sewing habits. In my case, I made a stripe about 0.5 centimeter width and started with a piece of 1,5 centimeters width. Draw the pieces next to each other and cut them out one at a time. The larger the piece is you are handling, the easier it’s to manage. Especially the lasts pieces are hard to cut if you don’t have enough space to hold the fabric and more if it’s slippery. Use sharp-sharp scissors.

Draw lines as markings for the stripes to the base fabric. In the end the marking will probably vanish underneath the stripes, but do try that the marking pencil can easily be washed out. Tightly fitted clothes are harder to stripe than straight ones. For example straight legged trousers are really easy, while with skinny ones you need to do decisions about curving the stripes or accepting the collisions with the seams and stripes. Of course reference pictures may give you direction, which to follow.

When sewing the stripes on the fabric, line the edge next to your markings. The allowance on the inner edge depends on your sewing, but it should be less than the desirable width of the stripe. I sew the stitch little under half a centimeter from the edge. This way the allowance won’t peek under the stripe, the result being neat and tidy.

After stitching the piece on, iron the stripe to overlap the allowance. Then with iron or using your nails, fold the broader “allowance” in half so that the outer edge follows the stitch line, but doesn’t preferably go over it. The structure will be thicker if so. Then sew the stripe from the loose side.

I left my stripes with one over stitch, because they are not visible from normal distance. Black is rather forgiving color in this case. Of course the stripe can be overstitched twice if balanced look is pursued. I tried making narrower stripes also. It’s possible, but requires some finger agility and nerves to achieve.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mirroring Mireille

I’ve had these process pictures of Mireille hanging on my picture folder for quite some time... about a month. I kind of went and bought the fabrics for Mireille a day after the post, in which I announced the idea of cosplaying this assassin chick. I couldn’t resist the urge, obviously. I don’t have images from the skirt yet, it still needs to be finished.

In the picture I’m wearing a corset underneath the top. I’m bit exited to be able to wear a corset first time for cosplay. The belt is just a prop and it’s slightly too high; Mireille’s narrow belt sits, at least sometimes, little lower.

I’m still looking for nice pair of base shoes to create the footwear. I have almost dumped the idea of finding a pair of boots close to the design. The height of the ankle part is not common and the shapes on the tip of the shoe and on the heel are more likely to be found in pumps than in boots. The other thing I still need to work on is the gun. I haven’t found any toy guns, other than serif’s pistols which I could modify. I did find some nice airsoft pistols, but they were bit too expensive to be used only as prop.

But there is no hurry for me to finish this cosplay. Taking the weather and the amount of fabric in this costume in concideration, I think I’ll wait for the summer.

And the wig needs some styling. I could start with a comb. Seriously.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"WCS? I don't know what you are talking about..."

Pair who will be representing Finland in World Cosplay Summit 2011 was chosen few weeks ago. Congratulations! I don’t recall many pairs with two male representatives in the two years time Finland has been one of the competing countries. Guys are commonly the underdogs amongst roaming chick hoard when speaking of cosplay, so it’s nice that Finland stands out with this setting. And I think that the finalist will represent Finnish cosplay well, not only because of testosterone.

This year was also bit different from the previous ones in few ways. One, Finnish cosplayers blog now. Two, they bravely speak their minds. The low number of participants on the WCS preliminaries has been one of the main subjects in many, many blogs and forum entries. I do agree that four is too few. But what can you do?

Participate! After quick recovering time Finnish cosplayers started to throw challenges to various directions and generally encourage people to step up and compete. I’m really looking forward to next year, because 2011 preliminaries will possibly be toughest one ever. Regarding that, I hope that there will be some kind of prequalification round or rather monitoring for the competitors, so that the last minute cancellations could somehow be minimized. Withdrawals are the greatest curse with cosplay competitions in our country. People seem to be too keen to sign up, but not being able to conquer their shyness, stage fright or what ever.

And what we are going to do? Participate! I threw the idea for Yoki last summer to chew up and we quickly came to decision that we just need to take part. After the preliminaries we were more certain that we will be there to increase the number of the competing pairs. That is, if we even fit in.

In the future there might not be as many posts here on our blog, at least costume construction updates and process pictures will decrease. I don’t want to leak precious plans to our opponents! Even if I’m really eager to do so.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sneak peek clip uploaded

We simply couldn't wait any longer, so here is little something. This is just a foretaste from things to come. We have too many ideas for these guys!

Because it's Father's Day, we want to dedicate this clip and all the future ones involving whiteys to Esa, our metal expert, who build a vacuum forming table from scratch!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Redoing takes wits

We are currently redoing some parts of Yoki’s Snowtrooper costume, completing it and making one for me. The main reason behind the reconstruction is partly new insight on the references and partly the hurry we were in last winter. Mostly we need to redo attachments and some detailing. For my outfit there is some vacuum forming ahead for the armor parts and finishing touches for the clothes. But I’m not going to write about the making in general, but my feelings towards the second take on the process. The process being preparing the vacuum forming molds, which is not really my cup of tee.

For me, beside wits, this second take acquires guts, patience and nerves. Of course it’s nice to improve and make the costume better, but getting back to things for which I have cursed for once already doesn’t appeal to me much. And when you are not actually redoing parts of the costume, but the molds for them… Aah, I don’t have words to describe the atmosphere at times. Yoki really has to bear various feelings when we are in the same room working. She suggested that we could do behind the scenes vid from making of the Snowtroopers and I immediately proposed that I could run around doing angry “bawabawa” sound while going. And that is not even exaggerated. I know what I can be alike.

We don’t even need to do a pile of molds, just one. Four or five needs tweaking and fixing. The thing is that it’s just so slow! The process of cutting, sanding, puttying, sanding, varnishing three times and taking two steps back and then continuing gets gruesome at times. It can take three days to prepare a mold. Three days and nothing new is born. Three days!

We have thought of redoing Sasori and Deidara for a while now and that actually sounds appealing. The costumes are years old and our skills have improved both in sewing and fabric selection. It also would be nice to get creative with Sasori’s puppet body after years of experience with various materials and methods. Sasori and Deidara are as well characters that I think we won't stop cosplaying for a while. They have too much to offer to be retired yet.

When thinking about redoing Sasori and Deidara, I noticed that one reason why I find it hard to work now is that I have never got to wear the Snowtrooper. I think I might be less frustrated if I had worn the costume myself already, so I could look at it subjectively. Getting out on the costume is the goal for me as a cosplayer and now the completion is missing.

Cosplay is about moods. Drastically changing moods if put more precisely. It’s almost necessary for a complete experience to go from utter desperation to giggly satisfaction. With Snowtrooper I have experienced only the negative side, which really affects the working atmosphere. That’s why the redoing this particular project feels like there is no end to it.

But gladly I have seen a ray of light. When the costumes are ready I’m sure that I will be proud of them and from the things I have learned during the project from new techniques and from myself. Cosplay is also about persistence and conquering yourself... Or that I'm trying to convince myself at least.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Zombiewalk with Samara Morgan

I started with the Samara’s dress about one and a half weeks before Halloween. Patterning and sewing took little time, dyeing ate the majority. I started with the dyeing in the evening, so that I could continue on the morning, let the fabric dry when I was at work and then start the cycle again. I bended some rules with the dyeing and was quite happy with the result. There were few mishaps, but the final result was better than I had expected. Over all the material choices, technical solutions and structures worked well. I’m pleased that I chose to line the whole dress, even if I thought it would be pointless to see the effort for Halloween costume.

First I thought Samara would only be qualified as a Halloween costume. Boy, how wrong was I. Through my costume history Samara might be the one I have enjoyed the most as an event outfit. Even the fact that the make-up took approximately two hours didn’t bother me. There were no props to be handled, the costume was comfortable to wear and acting like the character didn’t require much. Mostly I just stared in front of me, face as blank as possible. Probably slightly evilishly.

I think that the happening, where I wore the costume affected the experience also. Even if Samara isn’t practically zombie, Zombiewalk might have been the best event to take part in this particular outfit. The character was recognized by many and I lost count how many people wanted to take photo WITH me. That was rather new to me. Usually there are one or two scenarios like that at conventions. Now I even got stopped during the walk itself. I must say, it was flattering and fun.

Photo taken by Tommi Joutjärvi.

The walk itself went well with few interruptions on the way. I want to thank my companion, who went with me with short notice, that being a day. Weirdly and also little sadly, it wasn’t Yoki who attended with me, but my older brother. Thanks to our LARP background, it wasn’t hard for him to scrape together an outfit. On the five minute drive to the starting point of the walk, I made him a pale, sunken eye make-up. I have no idea how it really looked like. It was too dark everywhere to evaluate the result.

During the walk we had some problems keeping track of each other. My brother’s vision was blocked by a scarf and mine by hair. I was able to follow him by voice, while I myself hobbled forward without a sound. The next evening the limp walking style proved to be straining. My right calf was stiff and sore for the extent where I could not walk properly and my lower back felt little weird. Samara survived without a scratch. Keeping eye on the next wear, I only need to take off the excess glue and toilet paper from the cuffs of the “skin sleeves”.

My brother is the faceless lurker behind me on the far left. Photo was taken by Tommi Joutjärvi.

As cosplay fan video nerd, there are few additional ideas I’ve been pondering, the weather just aren't the best for them. But that is for sure that Samara will be seen in the future.

The next time Zombiewalk is organized I’m going to drag Yoki with me. Take a notice, old friend!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Second moment uploaded

Second clip from series of Sasori-Deidara moments has been uploaded on our Youtube account. It's a first vid were we used separate audio clips for monologue. It's my voice, if anyone wonders. I just happened to have a flu, which made me sound like I have drinked little too much of Whisky. Half of the footage was shot over a month ago, while the other half, the diary takes were shot today. Enjoy!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Remember, remember the Fifth of November

Fifth of November, Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night… You name it. Even if it's an annual celebration (not in Finland though ) we don’t celebrate it for the traditional reason, but because of V for Vendetta, an awesome story, comic, movie and piece of anarchy… and because we are bit nerdy too. Long story made short; Yoki came for a visit and we decided to put up our own feast with eggs in the baskets and fake facial hair... and we are also going to get some stuff ready during this weekend. Stuff, in this case means parts of Snowtrooper costumes and one, possibly even two clips.

Until the next update enjoy this verbal and visual fireworks V-style by chrissilich!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cosplay thrill junkie

Last Friday it started in half way of my workday. It was like my stomach was replaced by whirligig. Two hours before I could leave, I was going through the steps my make-up would require and in what order to put on the different pieces of the costume. I also made a schedule for the whole process; how long did the glue take to dry, when could I eat and were there time for fix things if I screw something up. When I was free I cycled to home like I had a hole in my head and got almost hit by a car. I got home with pounding heart, excitement tossed me around my flat before I halted and said myself, “Okay, now I’m going to take advantage of you”. “You” being cosplay thrill, anxiety to dress up, curiosity to see the impact of your costume and longing for the gratification of your work.

I have performed for ten years and I’ve had only few serious stage frights. Usually I only have a nice itch before the show starts. The process of putting on the costume is like preparing to take the stage. First appearance in costume is like a launching party of an actor. My pre-costume thrill is little negative like a bad stage fright. It makes me impatient, sloppy and nervous. It takes deep breaths to harness the anxiety and turn it to positive energy. But when it’s achieved, the concentration is on its own class and it’s easy to drive determinately towards the wished result. In other words, the good cosplay thrill is starting to kick in. When at stage it works the same way. The excitement turns to a power source; it makes you more sensitive and shows you that you care of what you are doing.

Theater and cosplay aren’t so different for me; both of them keep me interested because of the atmosphere, relations between the “show” and “audience”. From acting I have learned that I want to make people feel and part of anxiety before the performance is the urge to see how you manage to do it. Finnish audience is in a way ungrateful, because it restrains reactions. As a difference between theater and cosplay, in theater you are performing an act; the audience might just be interested in the text itself or in the work of the director. Some might only be there for public relations.

In cosplay the reactions are produced by you and your creations. The audience is everywhere. You can raise feelings in people who don’t even know what cosplay is. Compliments or only long looks assure you that you have done well and that is something I’m aiming for. The best thrills I get just before stepping out in costume, where it from car to convention area or from my apartment to the staircase. The pleasant, tickly feeling makes me smile stupidly even if I try to keep a straight face.

I want to make an impact with my work and what could be better demonstration of it than horrified screams of teenage girls or tipsy young man inquiring had I bathed in well recently. It's the best reward one could have. For a moment, in random encounter at random place you feel you have something in common with that particular bar fly, who obviously likes horror movies. Your performance has been accepted and it has touched someone, raised curiosity and questions or need to stare just a moment longer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Soul Society transports Zanpakutos through Finland... Whaat?!

I had to rub my eyes this morning when I read this news title from Finnish tabloid site: Finland's exports samurai swords in secret to Russia. That and the picture included made me laugh a little. Kira Izuru, you sneaky bastard, you illegally ship your sword through here! Shame on you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Warm zombie, no zombie?

The big question is how I’m going to keep myself warm next Friday. I pondered some ideas yesterday and came to a reasonable and manageable result. Even if warmth doesn’t suit zombies, I’m trying to construct sleeves, which would look like decomposed skin. Positive side for them is that if they work, they will cut out time from the make-up process. This far things are looking good.

Greater hindrance with taking my little girl out is the weather, which promises rain for Friday evening. Usually I make the costumes so that they endure some punishment from Mother Nature, were it rain or snow, but with Samara I feel insecure. I don’t mind rain, but I mind the pink particles I cursed earlier. I've washed the dress for the last time, but there is still a chance that some survived. Of course it could be hilarious for Samara to look more like Hello Kitty at the end of the walk...

Monday, October 25, 2010

I'm feeling nostalgic

Ten years ago I watched my first anime marathon. Anime was relatively new in the beginning of 2000. And by this I mean that there where established audience, but still it was considered as underground. Of course there where Pokemon airing in Finland already and it was anime for sure, but for me it was more like a children’s thing. My first real touch to anime was as a seinen and shounen fan… believe it or not… Sailor Moon. Somehow it didn’t appeal to me even if I saw few arcs, but years later I really got into Magic Knight Rayearth. Is a small part of me dreaming of being magic girl saving the world every now and then? I don’t know about that, but apparently there is something shoujo-ish lurking in me.

But not everything was pink in fairy land. The series which got me hooked few years later was Neon Genesis Evangelion, Ghost in the Shell and earliest find Escaflowne, which as mecha anime gave me a reminder how much I had liked Transformers in the nineties. To back up my interest in mecha series, my older cousin had sky channels on their household, which aired anime or would we say “American anime” in English. Through him and next to Transformers I had watched some episodes of Voltron, Saber Rider and one that I really can’t remember. There where a young boy, red droid as his helper and… something. Well, it wasn’t my favourite to start with, but if someone got anything out from my description, please enlighten me. When we were kids, we also had Starzinger on VHS subbed in Finnish. It’s hilarious to watch now, because we have still have the same debate about the names of their attacks. Was it “Dogmissile” or “Gro-aarmissile”?

Noir team, Mireille on right. Picture from a fansite.

Now from nineties back to the millennium. Little later, after Sailor Moon marathon, I also explored series titled Noir. It was more of my liking with the girls with guns concept. I happened to remember the series while I was browsing through’s newest costumes. Mireille jumped from the crowd and for a moment I thought from where I knew her. Obviously her design is not the most elaborate in the world, so that couldn’t be the reason. And then it struck me! It seemed as if the blond curls and high slit had never left me. I Googled and ended up rekindling old memories with Noir.

And then I got struck again! I have to make Mireille! I’m now rather obsessed about it. I fight the urge to dash to the nearest fabric store. The most horrifying thing is that I have blue eyes already and emphasizing contacts and the god damn curly, blond wig with bangs! Someone help me!

Note: Being nostalgic can be dangerous for cosplayers.

Edit: Yoki enlightened me with the mystery series, it was Macron 1. Thank you!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Samara likes... pink?

Apparently, because there is pink spots all over her mossy and decomposed dress. Oh, how did it happen? No, I didn’t drop marker on it. It’s all because of my featherbrains and lack of knowledge with powder substance dyes. I did dissolve the dye before use, but evidently the pink particles dissolve lot slower than the blue, green and violet ones. And the pink particles are also light weighted; they tend to travel easily when measured to be dissolved, to places where they should not be. Like the shoulders of the sleeves. There are pink dots. They weren’t there before I ironed the sleeves with steam, which made the treacherous, invisible pink particles to activate and spread. Now I officially hate pink.

I will find some way out of this problem. There is still one weathering dye wash to go and I’m prepared to ink them if nothing else helps…

Actually this wasn't the first bump on the road with this costume. I redid the bust for the dress yesterday. It was bit too snug to wear, especially if I'm going to put something underneath. It could we wise. Next week it's going to snow if the forecast is correct. I'm off to think how to keep my legs and arms warm. Make-up might not be enough.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Halloween is just around the corner

It’s little over a week till Halloween and I’m starting out with my costume. And it begins as it always begins, me on the floor kneeling and crouching. Today I used my free time making patterns for a dress. When making costumes, I always start from basic patterns. I have two or three different sizes on my closet fit for me and Yoki. It’s quick to pull them out and start cutting and taping the wished forms from them. Personally, I hate going through piles of magazines in hopes of finding close enough patterns. Sometimes it might be quicker, but my short temper rarely bends on this matter.

Next to making rather easy patterns and cutting the pieces out, I sewed the bust and started to dye the sleeves and the hem for the dress. I’m not sure if my take on the dyeing process will work or not, or rather will the colour stay after first wash. What I’m using is antique grey Dylon dye intended for washing machines, which I found when going through my mixed supplies, but I’m not going to stick with the normal routine. I’m just messing the fabric with the dye free hand. Does anyone have any ideas how to make the dye stick? I might try ironing to attach the colour after the pieces have dried. But still, I’m not too convinced that the colour will stay; at least it will get lighter. Then again, it’s a Halloween costume. I don’t know will I ever use it in other circumstances. For future projects this could be taken as a learning process.

The mossy and decomposed dress in making belongs to a girl, who gave me few nightmares back in the days; Samara Morgan, “misunderstood” kid down the well. She is also typically associated to a ring type thing and a video tape. There are two western versions from two movies obviously. I chose the first one. I think I haven't even seen the second. According to Youtube the "second" Samara is more spider like, quick and evil thing.

If it’s not crazy cold, I’ve planned to take my little girl out for a stroll for local Zombie walk... even if she doesn't practically eat brains or any random body parts.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Say hello to my little friend...s

In order to make sanding less time consuming and muscle wrecking we purchased a sander Octo and a rotary tool Cotech. Yeaaahhh!

Octo is very handy when it comes to sanding bigger parts and creating shapes. And because of the small dust bag there is less candy blue powder flying around. It still exist, though. One of the downsides is that it tickles like hell when you're holding the piece which is being sanded, making it impossible to keep your grip and your po-po-po-poker face for long.

Then Cotech. It's a multitool like Dremel, only lighter version. It's bit smaller and significantly cheaper. It's very helpful when crafting holes, details and well... smaller things. Hiron might know more about the tool than I do, because it has become her best friend, even if the small blue waste is trying to po-po-po-poke her eyes when she's crafting.

Both of them came with instruction manuals. I thought to bring up few essential points from my point of view or in other words; how I interpret the instructions.

1.Do not operate power tools in explosive atmospheres.
-Anywhere near Hiron when she's in a certain state of mind: focused, frustrated and fierce, that's for sure. Or all of the previous combined.

2.Use safety equipment.
- Safety equipment? What are those? Does my scarf count as one, when I use it as a respirator? Just kidding.
We have real respirators, few weeks ago we got goggles and gloves we have used almost always. Less injuries, more bandage for binding.

3.Stay alert, watch what you are doing and use common sense when operating a power tool. Do not use a power tool while you are tired.
-Common sense was lost as we started cosplaying and we would never ever work while being tired, right.

4.Do not overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
-Yes, we're always standing on a roof top and trying to reach an object which is hanging in mid air at least two meters away from us, loose our balance and fall down. In some chases we're sitting on the floor in non-ergonomic positions. How can you overreach when you're holding Octo in your right hand and armor part in your left?

5.Dress properly. Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry. Keep your clothing and gloves away from moving parts.
-Next time I have to remember to wear my wetsuit, at least it's not loose, and buy one for Hiron too.

-yoki out

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Being in a sticker situation

I have a story about my buckle search. Usually I would rip buckles out from old belts or bags or find ones from flee market, but because I needed two identical ones I thought to visit my favorite fabric store in town. At the moment I stepped in one of the clerks, a familiar one rushes to whisper me how small bugs have invaded their shop window. And she also informed me that our window suffers the same invasion. I promised to pay attention to that when at work. After she had showed me the insects and told me where they were located on our shop window, we started to go through small containers and jars searching two similar buckles. We found a rather nice looking pair. Wrong color though, but that would be easy for me to fix.

When I was paying my purchases, the clerk asked me what I was doing. I answered something like a case. She nodded approvingly and stated that it figured. I was like… Okay. How buying two buckles..? Well, I didn’t over think it, I was too happy about the discount of ten percentages!

From each pair there is un-weathered version for comparison on the left.

So I had some painting to do and while I was at it I painted the shoe buckles too. I chose the color to be the same in all of the buckles. Next to straps the case project made progress with travel stickers. They were just printed on photo paper and glued on. I slightly slipped from the reference pictures, which were not too coherent to begin with. Mystical stickers just popped up for few frames and then vanished. My sin was to determine which of the stickers were simply there and in some cases alter the shape of the stickers slightly.

I might finish the surface of the stickers with satin varnish. I tried hair spray for some peculiar reason, but it came out too glossy. I just need to first make a test run. I have no idea how varnish will react with printer ink.

After that the only thing left with the case is the attachment at the top. I actually tried something, wasn’t pleased with it and trashed it. The concept is still good, the execution just wasn’t. I think I was bit tired and my mood was too driving to succeed. But I think I will find a nice state of mind soon enough and finish this one case shortly.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Candy blue dust taking over the world

Or at least our residences. We are now officially back with Snowtroopers, which materializes in sawing, sanding and gluing Styrofoam. Even if I had dark thoughts about working with Styrofoam again, I feel revived now. Maybe I was prejudice. Last time I had to hurry and almost be hasty when making molds for the armor, thus gathering tremendous amount of stress. Now I can take our time. Only thing that hasn’t change is my hate towards the waste; fine, static dust which can penetrate through socks, shirts and even jeans! Even if you vacuum the workspace thorough, it’s still there. Even if you try to vacuum your clothes, it's no help. That stuff will be everywhere.

Next to fixing the molds so that they could hold few more rounds with "vaccu" or vacuum forming if silly nicknames are forgotten, we are constructing the backpacks for our Troopers. I dropped the back piece from Yoki’s debut with the costume, because making it might have totally destroyed my nerves. I still think it was right decision, not only because my mental health but also because my understanding of making three dimensional objects from sheets of material has notably improved.

Also it’s a lot easier to work with the costumes now, thanks to our recently purchased power tools. Seriously, go get some power tools! Lighter versions of different tools can easily manage tasks of cosplayer's needs. Would you believe, that sanding is starting to be fun with little Octo! I’d love to share the experiences with our sanding and carving helpers, but Yoki will write about our new friends in near future.