Wednesday, 8 August 2012

X-23/Wolverine Claws

Here is a cheap and easy way to make Wolverine claws (I've been playing around with the idea because I will be doing an X-23 cosplay soon).

What you need:

Cardboard (in this case I just used the back of an exam pad)
A pencil or pen
Scissors or a craft knife
Silver paint and a paint brush (or spray paint)

Draw the basic outline on the cardboard. In the picture above it was not quite right as the corner piece (circled) needed to be wider. Cut it out.

Trace around the first claw shape to make a second claw (and a third for Wolverine).

The areas circled in previous pictures will sit against your knuckles, so cut it at an angle less than 90◦ so that it will fit snugly against your hand. Cut the piece labelled ‘tab’ to whatever length feels comfortable in your clenched fist (they will probably need to be cut to different lengths depending where each one sits in your hand).

Finally, paint them and you’re done. This is a really simple, quick and cheap way to make these claws. I will try to figure out a way to attach them together as it might be a pain to hold each of them separately (they might slip out) as well as figure out which one goes where each time.

Our Cosplay Community

Lately I have been feeling particularly proud of South African cosplay. Our cosplay community is still relatively small at this stage but full of talent.

I was properly introduced to cosplay by a good friend of mine, Felicia Verschuur (aka Lulu) several years ago at rAge, so I have her to thank that I am a part of this community at all. I didn’t cosplay that year, but I remember how awesome it was seeing quite a few people dressed in costume.

Since then, cosplaying has become a major part of my life. I admire so many of our cosplayers and the dedication and skills that they have. At every cosplay event that I attend, there are amazing costumes.

With this year’s rAge coming up soon I'm feeling really excited as this is our biggest event, and a lot of the cosplayers from other cities come up here to attend it. I look forward to seeing everyone and all the great costumes!

So I just wanted to say again that this is something I'm proud to be a part of and that I admire every one of you! We all rock and I hope that the South African cosplay community will become even more positive as we grow. <3

I Cosplay Because...

Some might wonder when and why I got into cosplay.

My first cosplay was in 2008, but in a way, I have always been a cosplayer. As a child, I would dress up as my favourite pop stars or pretend to be a Disney princess. I would make ‘clothes’ out of scraps of fabric. My mom taught me to make new things out of old things, something I use a lot in making my costumes. I have always loved dressing up and making things.

People often think one needs a lot of confidence to cosplay. I'm not a particularly confident person – in fact, I am very shy in person.

Cosplaying helps me become more confident. Although still shy in cosplay, I push myself. I enter the cosplay comps which means being singled out and walking around with everyone’s eyes on me. For someone like me, this is incredibly nerve-wracking but each time I do, I feel a little more confident about doing it. I certainly don’t do the best or most accurate cosplays but I love cosplaying.

I cosplay because I love dressing up and because I love the characters I cosplay as. I am the type of person that doesn’t just watch or play something and really enjoy it and then just move on. I fall in love. I take a little bit of my favourite characters with me. I draw inspiration from them. I think the design and costume of a character is important, but I don’t cosplay them solely because of that.  Whether it is something that I can learn from (such as confidence, strength, intelligence or kindness) or something that I find interesting or beautiful (such as those stubborn, crazy, tormented or twisted characters), I choose these characters because there is something about them that I admire or love.

I cosplay because I'm not just a fan – I am passionate about characters.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Instant Cosplays

Sometimes one may not have the time or money to go all out on making a cosplay (or buying a cosplay), but will still want to cosplay at an upcoming event. In this case, doing what some call ‘instant cosplay’ might be an option. This is when you create your costume from things you already own and don’t need to alter. Usually having a wig and clothing in the right colours helps a lot, as well as knowing a little about makeup and styling.

Often with these cosplays I change the costume a lot, usually doing a female interpretation of the character (gender bender cosplay). Luckily, I have a lot of accessories, makeup and wigs to work with. Not everyone has just what they need lying around, but one can always improvise (for example, I used a scarf instead of an Alice band in the ‘Calie’ photo, and Hello Kitty playing cards in the ‘Joker’ one because I didn’t have ordinary playing cards).

Here are a few examples of instant cosplays that I have done:

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Yuna Gunner Cosplay

Last year I cosplayed as Yuna from Final Fantasy in her Gunner costume from FFX-2. 

This cosplay was made for Upcon 2011.

Photo by Quisto Elliott

Putting the costume together:
I bought a cheap wig (not worn in these pictures) from a flea market party store. I bought some wooden beads in two shapes – round and cylindrical. I painted the cylindrical beads (the round ones were the right colours already) so that they were similar to Yuna’s, then strung them together to make the earring. I added some blue embroidery thread on the end to complete it.

Since my ears are not pierced, I did not make an actual earring. I simply strung it all onto some transparent plastic wire and tied it into the wig near the ear area.

For the hood, I used a scarf that I already had. It wasn’t perfect, but it worked.

To make the yellow arm bands, I sewed two rectangular pieces of fabric and then sewed brown cotton though to lace them up. The black armband is a belt that I just wrapped around my wrist.

The shirt was slightly more complicated and I experienced a few difficulties when making it. I bought a cheap white strappy top. The first thing I did was unpick the straps from the back, so that from the front, they could tie into a halter neck. Then, while the shirt was still on me, I cut down the centre of it until the gap was the right length. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t hold this way, and just fell open and sat wrong. So I sewed three lace straps into it so that it held everything in place. I cut the bottom of the top into a jagged pattern. The actual costume has lace on it, but I had no lace so, as I tend to do, I improvised. After that, I cut the bottom off of an old pink shirt and sewed it into the bottom of the white top. I cut the symbol/logo out of a sheet of thin plastic and sewed it into place. I sewed loops into the sides of the shirt, through which I laced the gold-ish cord which I think came from an old curtain. I sewed Velcro onto the ends of the cord and the shirt was finally done!

The rest was quite simple. For the over-skirt I used parts from old jeans. The denim was quite light, and I just sewed pieces together.
The shorts belonged to my sister, and again I asked her to use them.

The boots I already owned, I just used white laces in them.
The belt was not the right style but while searching for a suitable belt in the right colour, I found that one extremely cheap so bought it! I added a pouch to it (that I already owned, just added some strips I cut from the belt to it).
The ‘tail’ was made from braided fabric that I had lying around. I sewed a piece of an old wig onto the end then sewed a strip of fabric over that. To attach it, I tied it onto the shirt when I put the cosplay on.
Once again, this cosplay did not take long to put together and didn’t cost much money. It was comfortable (besides the fact it was late autumn when I wore it – a little chilly) and I really enjoyed wearing it!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My First Cosplay

My first ‘official’ cosplay was in 2008 at the Rage Expo held here in Johannesburg annually. I had recently been introduced to cosplay and since I’ve always loved dressing up, decided to give it a go. I didn’t have much money to spend on cosplay but I really wanted to do it.

So, my first cosplay was Tifa from Final Fantasy in her Advent Children/Alternate costume. Unfortunately I don’t have any decent pictures of this cosplay, but it’s better than not having any at all, which is the case of my Re-L from Ergo Proxy cosplay at Icon 2010. (It’s always good to get pics of your cosplay! I was having so much fun at Icon that year that I didn’t get any and I regret it. I do plan on taking proper photos of my Re-L cosplay sometime… when it fits me properly again.) Anyway, this was before I realised that makeup is somewhat important when cosplaying, so I was hardly wearing any.

Putting the costume together:

The shirt/waistcoat is actually my sister’s. She had it made for a dancing competition and I asked to use it. I did not have the white undershirt for some reason.

The shorts I already owned, and the shoes I borrowed from my boyfriend at the time.

The over-skirt (not sure what it should be called) was made for me by a friend of my mom. The only cost was the fabric, which wasn’t very expensive, and a box of chocolates as a thank you to her.

So all in all, my Tifa costume did not cost very much at all, I had fun wearing it, it wasn’t too bad for a first cosplay, and it started my cosplay journey.

Over the past few years, I have done a few cosplays, all with minimal sewing/crafting skills and a tight budget, which I will share here soon.

Here are a few tips for those who want to cosplay but have a tight budget, which I’m sure I will add to over time:

·        See what you already have in your home that can be used. Old clothes, household items, etc, may be turned into something new.

·        Look around when you do need to buy things. Buying that perfect wig designed specifically for your character that you found online, for instance, is awesome, but if you simply can’t afford it, looking around at party stores, flea markets and the like is usually worth your while.

·        If you aren’t good at sewing things from scratch, like me, there is always the option of altering things. It’s not only possible to cosplay if you’ve bought the costume or made it entirely.