Monday, February 28, 2011

Watch out, Yoki! It's a skirt!

Things are progressing with our Jedi duo's costumes. Both Luminara's and Barriss' clothes are in good standing. I'm really happy with the color schemes we were able to pull off with the material choices. Luminara as the elder and more refined one has a brown-black theme going on and younger and more modern Barriss' theme is black with touches of blue. When Yoki put the dress on for first fitting, she looked in the mirror and said that Barriss is really Sith-like. No wonder, the character design was originally planned for a Sith.

We picked random belts to accessorize the costumes. I don't have hoop skirt underneath, so the hem looks bit collapsed. And don't mind the fact, that we look like ghosts with bad hair day!

My outfit has been ready for a while. Now that I had sewn Yoki's, we just put them on to see how they worked together. They looked good, but it was bit hilarious still. Yoki has worn a skirt, a dress or any piece of clothing with a hem approximately five times in her life time and never out of her own wish. So we had few laughs when she tried to cope with long skirt and heels; things that Yoki would never wear or at least not at the same time. She kicked the hem back and forth while trying to walk. To even the scores, I must admit that I almost tripped on mine. " What an elegant way of moving, beautiful Jedi-like flexibility, my master!"

Training ahead with maneuvering in the costumes . Let's add huge capes and we are done for!

This is more likely what Yoki would wear. But I think the dress suited her well too!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Convention season 2011

It might be bit early to start rambling about this years conventions; first one is months away and we don’t know our other plans for summertime. But I got so exited by a certain envelope, which arrived in the mail!

Desucon is not the first con we are going to attend, but certainly it’s the most anticipated one. Even if it have been held twice before, we've never got ourselves transported to Lahti(-city). Now we have accommodation and transportation on the site assured, which is good if we even consider taking Whiteys there. I’m already having nightmares of how we travel with the costumes, yet try to cope with wearing and navigating in them when we are half-blind and numbed by plastic. Good that we have experience by then! We are going to wear the costumes publicly first time in the beginning of April.

The first happening is Tampere Kuplii, annual comic festival held 6-10.4. We chose Snowtroopers, because they fit the theme rather well and we might not fry in them at that time of the year. We are little hesitant though. We have our doubts for equation: city environment, spring and white costumes. Of course we will weather the costumes out at some point, but I would like to do it confined and with a precise plan.

The next event for us might be Bakacon at Pieksämäki. We are not yet totally sure about attending it, but “small town convention” feels just so damn appealing. Other duo we are going to do this year and have actually started is Jedi master Luminara Unduli and her padawan Barriss Offee. These two are strong candidates for Baka. Even with Luminara’s head piece the costumes are rather easy to travel with. But then again it might still be possible to wear Snowies in May as far as weather goes, so we might not introduce Luminara and Barriss before Desucon.

Desucon starts the series of summer conventions. We have thought about Kawacon in the beginning of July and Ropecon for old time sake in the end of the month. It really seems that we are compensating for the last con-dry years. In 2010 we attended one and in 2009 the magical number was two.

We can be counted as cosplayers who enjoy wearing old costumes, so costume-wise everything should be in control. We have Joxter and Muddler who we have worn only once. Yoki would like to wear Snufkin again, now that she has let her hair grow. I could join in with a cosplay of a rather similar character type. The costume is still unfinished, but I think I might be able to pull it together quickly. Or I could take Samara out for a walk and for her first real con. Yoki also has promised that she could consider Kirika Yuumura to go with Mireille. They would effortless solution for secondary costumes. We also have seriously thought about reintroducing Sasori and Deidara, but not only as basic ones… Ho-ho… About this I might write more in the coming months.

With new acquaintances Baka-, Kawa- and Desucon we'll meet our old friend in September. Tracon VI is held at Tampere in 3-4.9 and... there is little I can tell next to that. Our plans for Tracon are still quite open. We can't really choose the costumes before we know where the World Cosplay Summit preliminaries are being held. Costume selections for end of the season is determined by that.

In any case, we are thrilled! I think we have nice set of costumes to display both in conventions and on videos. Only things left is to make the costumes and wait for summer. Looking at the thermometer reminds me that it's still some way to go.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Where it all began

Three years ago I suggested to Yoki that we should make an account on Youtube. About cosplay, I stated and we started to think a fitting name for us. We are slightly more cautious with our costumes now, but back then were bit clumsy for time to time. That gave birth to the first part of the channel’s name.

We wanted to have an opening video, but because it was winter we couldn’t have a proper photosession. Our first video was a slideshow and consisted material from the previous summer in form of casual Sasori and Deidara. The next spring we made our first video. It literally took hours to film; we didn’t have any particular plan, we only knew how it should end. But we had fun time wandering around Aulanko’s beautiful park confusing people with uniforms and Finnfoam swords. Nowadays we make shoot scripts and pretty much stick to them. And more importantly we demand from ourselves to have an idea worth executing.

What originally got me to ask Yoki about this whole Youtube-thing? I had bumped to other groups who made cosplay videos; Fighting Dreamers Pro, Koi Cosplay and one group, who had made video about Axel and Roxas. I have played Kingdom Hearts once or twice, but next to that I really don’t have knowledge of the games or characters aside from fanart and Wikipedia, but still the Axel-Roxas one had the biggest influence on me.

Now after nearly twenty different videos and handful of new ideas we are quite sure of what we are doing. Comedy seems to be our thing, even if we have few “serious” plans for upcoming summertime.

Oh yeah, last Friday Yoki uploaded some silliness to celebrate our account’s third anniversary!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Near closet cosplay

It seems that after Snowies I have too much time to spare... Well, I can justify this as posing practice if nothing else!

Edit: Oh yeah, I just washed my black wig. Yoki don't know what to expect when she comes for the weekend next time. I can give a hint! It starts with an "l".

Monday, February 14, 2011

Snowy Valentine

CasualtyCosplay wishes everyone happy Valentine's day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cold climate troopers uploaded

We were quick! Snowtroopers and alternative transportations got just uploaded on our account. One thing we would like to share.... GARDENING GLOVES? WINTER?! That is one big character design misstep! I didn't feel my fingers at one point, but then again we could have chosen another day for the shoot. Or not, because Yoki got only this weekend to spare for some cosplay madness and madness it was.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

White, cool yet hot? Snowtroopers!

The first trial run of Snowtroopers ended just 15 minutes ago. The atmosphere inside the helmet was hot. Tomorrow it will be cold instead as we leave the home base and head out to vast fields of snow for photoshoot. Costumes 93% ready. The remaining 7% sounds little and it is, but Hiron used some pretty powerful words to describe the final work stages. But I'm sure that after wearing the costumes we will get a positive power burst and finish the remaing items in no time.

Keep on eye out for upcoming video about freshly graduated snowtroopers!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Never too late to learn

The opportunity to challenge yourself to learn new and improve your skills endlessly is one reason why I cosplay. If I hadn’t plummeted to the wondrous world of costumes, I would not be as multi-skilled as I am now. Making and planning out costumes is Eureka after each other and I don’t know have I ever experienced such hunger for knowledge on my school years than I’ve had when I’ve willingly used hours or days to find the best way to build a certain prop or construct costume. Perhaps I might be little duller also. Objects would be just items. They would not raise ideas what they could be or how they could be used. Or I would not be able to startle the salesmen in hardware stores by starting a conversation about Dremel parts.

When I started making costumes for me and Yoki in 2006 I was first year student in bachelor degree of Arts and Crafts. Our studies were a combination of designing and executing, aka pattern making and sewing, so I had some base skills to start with. By the years I improved and finally I was at the point where sewing became a partial profession for me. That still doesn’t count out the fact that some of our costumes I’ve done only two, three years ago amuse me greatly. I think I would rather eat snails than display the way I made Jasdero’s and Debitto’s pants. The technical solutions and execution seems to take some time to get ripe. This applies in my case to lining clothes properly, making functioning and complicated attachments and for some reason button holes. They just need to be done repeatedly to create certainty.

Even if I studied in school where we handled fabrics daily, I learned to appreciate quality over… well, price only few years ago. But still, I lean towards making solutions that work best for the wished result. Sometimes flannel works as well as wool, only that it’s lot cheaper. Like fabrics, things should not be viewed only what it is said to be, but how it could be used; glue can be a stiffener or varnish, machine dye can work as fabric print, mosquito net transforms into a crinoline or skeleton for armor.

I have noticed that imagination improves with skills. My first Eureka occurred, when I figured to use methods I learned at school on book binding class to Matsumoto’s vice-captain badge. After that I started to combine different materials and methods experimentally with each other. Yoki’s grand idea I first suspected then awed. In 2007 we agonized how to create smooth fabric surface for Mauyri’s hat. The idea was the simplest; stretching white stockings on the crown part.

Our first weapon props we commissioned on our metal expert. When our ambition to be as self-sufficient as we could grew, we started to explore ways to do bigger props ourselves. Our first tryout with Finnfoam or insulation foam was a true learning process. The swords we did back in the day where far from perfect. My sword snapped in half, because there were no supporting structure inside. Yoki sanded her sword many days, because she didn’t realize that putty can be smoothed with water. After building few things with combination of insulation foam and putty, we tried to look up for things that could speed up the process up. We acquired power tools and learned to use them (safely). With our current Snowtrooper project we found ourselves vacuumforming. That is surely a thing we would have never tried if we hadn’t started to cosplay.

With cosplay, the development on the skill side is connected to displaying the costume as a full set. The longer I have done costumes, the more important it has become to be to make the cosplay look clean-cut. I like neat costumes, groomed wigs and nice make-up. If a costume fits well and looks like it have got some attention, all is good even if it’s not exactly like the reference. I personally think that I need to step up a little with different kinds of make-up and wig styling. I also have sometimes habit of over-doing, especially with Photoshop.

Photoshopping and editing live footage at the current level is also something that I think I would have passed, if it wasn’t for cosplay. I love storytelling and with cosplay it’s possible to make it as a visual experience. With photographing I’m just a newbie, but I’m eager to learn more. Other things I still would like to learn or in which I would like to get better are mold making, working with latex, wig dyeing and styling, sword construction, and body painting. Also I could improve my posing, acting in-character and socializing.

Lastly I must admit that I shamelessly stole the topic of improving in cosplay from Wepi, hostess of Kukkii se perunakin- cosplay blog. She went through her cosplay history and what she had learned after each year in the most enjoyable and inspiring way.