Friday, July 25, 2014

Tutorial: EDI's Make-up

So, EDI's make-up... How do you go from pink human face to silver robot face? Well it's not too hard or expensive but you'll need about 30 minutes and a handful of products.

I took this after I applied my make up so I'd already tossed my sponge.
First and foremost gather your products. I actually would suggest just having a set of brushes and case which then belong to EDI otherwise you'll have to thoroughly clean then every time.
1) Silver Eyeliner (I use the Ulta brand, it's okay)
2) Snazaroo Face Paint in either White (what I prefer), Silver or Grey and a sponge and water
3) Platinum Eye Shadow and Face Brush (Covergirl's Silver Lining is my fav)
4) Black Eyeliner
5) Brow Gel (I use clear)
6) Mid Grey Eye Shadow and Eye Shadow Brush (I use Jordana in Gunmetal)
7) Silver Lipstick and Lip Brush (I use Morgana Cryptoria's Silver Witch but it's discontinued)
8) Ben Nye Final Seal
9) Black Mascara (I prefer Maybelline's Falsies but I had this open. Use something which really gives you big long lashes)

Then wash and moisturize your face then line your waterline with silver. (I didn't take a pic as I don't put basically no make up pics online).

Spoiler alert: I have hella bitchy resting face. I'm actually quite happy with life this morning.
Cover your whole face with the Snazaroo, I prefer white as a base as then it matches the silver metallic material in my outfit. Grey or Silver also work, Grey give a much darker look (so if your silver is backed by black this would be good) and Silver is middle of the road. Stipple it on with a damp make up sponge, try and get it as even as possible but as you can see here it can be a liiiittle blotchy (which white has probs with). Also from this point on try not to emote. Until the Final Seal is dried you don't want to crease any part of your face if possible.


Next up is dusting the Silver/Platinum eye shadow all over your face. Pretend you're putting on a thick layer of loose powder. If you wanted you could throw on a layer of transparent loose powder (the Ben Nye one works wonderfully) after the next step if you have worries about your face getting oily or sweaty.


There's actually a lot of steps shown in this pic since I took pics by product. This is the middle grey eye shadow level. Use this to fill in your brows (and tame said brows with brow gel if needed), then cover your eye lids (but not the part between the eyelid and the brow bone). I kind of smoke it since I've already got that platinum by the brow bone. Lastly use it to contour your face/as a blush. This is going to be different for every person but since I have a baby face I swipe it under my cheekbones at a downward angle and dust the underside of my chin as well using the face brush. Remember for contouring to use a light hand, you can build it up but it's a pain to fix it (basically dust more platinum over to fix it).

Lipstick, use a lip brush it really makes getting a nice edge much easier and since it's such an extreme color difference that matters.


Eyeliner! She has a thick winged look. I prefer pencil but liquid would also work.

Final Seal. No pic here since you can't see it. Just mist it over your face. It stings a little and is rather minty but it dries after 3-5 minutes. So maybe take a sit and listen to some nice music.


Mascara I do after Final Seal since I don't use waterproof.

And then ta-da! We're done!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Attitude is Everything: About the Importance of Being Positive

"OMG this traffic is a nightmaaaaare... You know what, why don't I take a break from driving and get some ramen? I'm passing through Austin anyways... Oh god I forgot how much I love Daruma ~<3"
Over the weekend I was reminded of the importance of not just being positive towards other cosplayers but to everyone - including yourself!

San Japan started out... bad. Just getting there was a nightmare. Anything resembling the schedule I had was out the window once the first photo shoot was done. I had three more after that and my roomies were stuck in traffic too so ended up changing in a parking garage (not my first time, so really not a big deal).

I could have easily been all "Gawd we scheduled for this time I can't believe he's not even responding to my texts!" but instead I reminded myself he's an amazing photographer and very in demand and he'd even mentioned that I, his third shoot, was the first to be timely. I was bummed because I'm really proud of how Diantha came out and that shoot just got outright cancelled. Instead I spent time with some friends and explored and reminded myself I could get pictures in the future (and the pics from the shoots we did were AMAZING). Another photographer friend ended up doing a shoot for me for that costume the next day since I asked politely (from what I saw they also look amazing). I also forgot a major piece to one costume but I reminded myself that I could wear one of the other costumes I hadn't been able to wear the night before instead. One of my contacts tore on Sunday but hey they were towards the end of their life, I'd gotten pictures the night before and it was Sunday so the chill day anyways, noone would care that Diantha didn't have blue eyes and was wandering around in glasses.

What sticks out most about the con was that I got to hang out with some good friends, get some shots in a very lovely place and was flattered when several photographers I'd never met before but heard about asked to shoot a costume of mine. Not that traffic was hellacious, parking was a challenge, I got sick Friday night or that my schedule was almost entirely a wash.

Basically what I'm saying is that even when things go wrong try and focus on what's going okay, ways you can work around the problem and not just gripe about it or accept that something just isn't going to go according to plan. You'll be happier and honestly it's more fun/comfortable to be around people who also are chill/positive so you'll be a positive energy for your friends too. I was literally told that by two of my fellow cosplayers, that because I'm so chill that they really enjoy hanging out and rooming with me. You can always reschedule a photoshoot or wear a costume another time. Your eye health is more important than accuracy. Very rarely are things the end of the world, so be chill. It maaaay have taken me almost a decade of cons and cosplay to realize this but man it's made things so much more enjoyable.

"Hey, be careful so you don't fall in lol!"
"Haha thanks guys. Now shush this takes concentration."
Oh also, side note, being adventurous about posing and positive in photoshoots leads to amazing photos. Sometimes the poses which feel the stupidest end up looking really cool (wait until you see the Glynda pics from RTX)! When Bryan asked if I might be able to pose on the spillway the first time when I was in Kirara I was like "Won't know until I try! I've gone hiking in these heels so it shouldn't be too hard and worse that happens is I go for a swim." Then when I was in EDI in much more ridiculous shoes I was able to remind myself that it hadn't been that hard in Kirara so I could probably manage it in EDI's silly shoes too. It was a bit scary (you can't tell but I was shaking like a leaf, I couldn't manage to get to the middle since it was so precarious) but I stayed positive and was also not too proud to accept a helping hand from a very nice tourist who climbed out on the rocks when he saw me nervously hopping back once we got the shots. I knew the shots would be great and everyone else seemed to have a good time watching us.

So remember, be positive and try to have fun! Even if things don't work out like you planned if you try to have fun you'll probably actually have fun.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Costume: Lolita!Labor 9 (Hatoful Kareshi)

Hatoful is one of the best written and put together stories out there. You heard me. The bird dating, it's a fine piece of literature. I know. I know. It's unexpected which is part of why it's even better. Anyways I wanted to do something from Hatoful and with the Austin lolita group Halloween party coming up this is what my mind jumped to.

Unfortunately there is only the one image of the Scarecrow to go off of so I had to get a bit create and also go off of some of the things that are in the text as well (like the blade arm she drags). Originally I was going to make the skirt myself and put my head in a jar (since there's a whole running theme of protag-chan's head being put in a jar) but I found a great skirt on the comm sales and decided I didn't want my head in a jar after all. I tried to keep the idea of a mishmash of parts going by folding down only one boot. The shoulder pauldron is made from craft foam, some cheap faux leather and various odds and ends spray painted silver. The blade arm is made from craft foam covered in metallic spandex and the blade itself is spray painted foam. The hood is made from a linen because actual burlap would have been waaaay too itchy. Overall I'm very happy with this though I'll probably line the openings of the mask with black mesh to obscure my face for when I next wear it.

Series: Hatoful Kareshi
Construction Time: A day
Cost: $50
Materials and Construction: Linen "burlap", Red yarn, thread spool, nuts and bolts, paper card, craft foam, spray paint, metallic spandex, sweater, blouse, skirt, socks, boots, gloves
Debut: Halloween 2012
Final Appearance: Still in Rotation

Costume: Unnamed Heroine (Amnesia)

I love Amnesia, it's such a good, if crazy, story and the character design and art is just candy for the eyeballs. Naturally I was stoked when the anime was announced and one day in Joann's I saw the PERFECT fabric for her dress. So I though, eh why not?

The dress is simple though the amount of pintucks meant it took this side of forever to make. I just use a black jacket I've had for years since I've always known noone was going to recognize this one in person let alone that my jacket is kinda off. It's a pretty niche show/visual novel. The flowers are actually fake ranunculus as that looks more like anime roses than actual roses. I still can't find hosiery that looks like her's but I've been experimenting with layering different types. Hoping the white fishnets and loose weave black ones I've just gotten recently will pair well with my red ones and look closer to hers. The wig actually has pink tips but they're pretty faint just like hers are.

I wish hats and wigs didn't hate each other. This beret hats staying on.
The wig actually has pink tips but they're pretty faint just like hers are. The tint of her hair is not nearly as pronounced as it is with like every other character.

Series: Amnesia (Visual Novel)
Construction Time: ~3 days
Cost: ~$60
Materials and Construction: Wig, beret, ribbon, fake flowers, sateen, wrinkle-free shirting, jacket, tights, socks, boots, craft foam
Debut: SDCC 2013
Final Appearance: Still in Rotation

Costume: Shelke Rui (Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus)

As often as I cosplay characters and such from Dirge, I don't actually like the game. There's very few games I rage quit because I'm having such negative amounts of fun but Dirge is one of them. I eventually pushed through and beat it. Years later. Because I was dying not knowing how it ended (I'm not sure the story was even really worth it because it it was ooooout there). But the shooting mechanics are just horrible and it is a shooter. That said, I've named my car after one of the characters and have done two outfits from this game now. I love the design and a number of the characters are either awesome (Shelke, so snarky), adorable (Oh Mr. Commish, oh you) or cool (I hope my car will be as loyal and kick butt as you, Nero). I also realized I'd never actually done a straight up costume from FF7, just that lolita!Reeve.

So hey, why not do Shelke? I like her a bit better than Aeris and despite basically being Shalua's body double right down to the glasses and matching crippled left arm I can't actually stand Shalua. So Shelke. She's sassy and snarky and we both look significantly younger than we are. And I dig her bodysuit and internet hat (which I haven't actually made yet but soooon). Most importantly was that I'd just retired Yuna and had that Final Fantasy gathering at A-fest coming up and no FF costume any more. I always forget how few FF costumes I have. It also meant I could carry around my Cait Sith plush I made.

It was pretty simple but I was working up to the last minute to finish. The bodysuit is some form of matte navy stretch from Joann's and some leftover grey sateen. I had plenty of silver 4 way spandex left for all of the silver and all of the armor, the belt, the thigh buckles, shoulder pads and neck and glove interfacings are craft foam. The flourescent lines are for once not a reflective tape but glitter ribbon it gets a similar look without the need for flash and still sparkles so yeah. The ribbon is on top of black bias tape. The wig is actually my Yuna wig but restyled. That's why I love heat styling wigs, you can restyle them~. There's also some black metallic spandex as the chest belt and there's armor on the back which I have absolutely no pics of but looks fantastic. ToT
I need to do some repairs as my costume was torn in a few places by some LoL fans at PAX East and I want to redo the logo on her chest plate but that's not too much work.

Series: Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus
Construction Time: ~1 week
Cost: ~$30
Materials and Construction: Wig, Navy tricot?, sateen, bias tape, glitter ribbon, craft foam, hot glue, metallic spandex, zipper, velcro, shoes, Cait Sith plush
Debut: A-fest 2013
Final Appearance: Still in Rotation (awaiting repairs from being trampled at PAX East)

Costume: Haruka (Free!)

I love Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. That show. It is such a beautiful story of school age friendship. Also I love swimming and feel for Haruka and his desire to just do ALL the swimming.

The first interation of this costume was a rush job for A-Fest 2013 with whatever materials I had on hand. The wig was my Scout's Ma's wig that I slicked back and the swim trunks were made from left over black metallic spandex and some purple lining I heat and bonded on (had to do that while wearing them, it was an interesting experience). I didn't have time to make the jacket so I decided I'd do some freestanding binding and cover that with a towel draped around my shoulders. It wasn't the most beautiful costume but it worked and apparently everyone thought I had the towel and only the towel. (Success?)

I've since remade the trunks in actual swimsuit material, got a jacket from eBay (because I rather drop $30 than spend $20 and four days making it and likely have it get ruined by chlorinated pool water) and got a more appropriate wig and some blue contacts too. I still rock the towel at times though, especially when outside in summer. :D

Let's just say I love this costume even if I myself don't look like Haruka. It's because Free! is so fun and the meet ups are a freaking blast. Even if we spend most of them swimming instead of taking photos.

Series: Free!
Construction Time: ~2 days
Cost: ~$60
Materials and Construction: Wig, contacts, jacket (ebay), nylon tricot, flip flops, towel, binding material
Debut: A-fest 2013, Redone at Katsucon 2014
Final Appearance: Still in Rotation

Costume: Serena (Pokemon X/Y)

No joke I adore X/Y. The story speaks to me on such a level that I'm pretty sure they had the present 20 something market in mind in addition to the normal kids because like you have no idea how logical (though still batshit in the end) Team Flare's premise and Lysandre's plan are. Or maybe you do if you've played it. There's also the part where I look a lot like Serena, like I don't even have to wear a wig with this sucker.

The costume is pretty simple since Pokemon designs (wigs aside) tend to be pretty practical. The shirt was a shirt from Target I modified. So far I've worn it only in winter so my photos all feature fleece lined tights but I have the black version of my Kirara fake stocking pantyhose for summer. The hat, purse and shoes are from eBay though I did paint the pokeballs on the shoes. The "sunglasses" are actually craft foam since I couldn't find any prescription sunglasses that looked like hers. The skirt is made from red stretch sateen since I had it and it is a decent bottom weight. I love that this costume has pockets and a purse.

I feel like in addition to Phil the Camera guy there should have been a selfie option in the game.
Looking at it now I realize I should take in the waist of the skirt so it sits at my natural waist but other than that all I need to do now is wearing it and get pics! Or I might remake the top too using a very dark grey for the bodice and then black for the collar. /perfectionism

Series: Pokemon X/Y
Construction Time: ~3 days
Cost: ~$60
Materials and Construction: Hat, craft foam, top (modified), sateen, tights, shoes, fabric paint, purse, pokemon plushes
Debut: Ikkicon 2013
Final Appearance: Still in Rotation