Inspire me: Mana Temple Cosplay

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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The cosplayer I'm sharing with you today, Mana Temple, is so unbelievably talented. She can pull off both an adorable ball gown and a terrifying nurse believably.  I'm incredibly impressed by her attention to detail and her knowledge of sewing techniques. Pattern drafting is no easy task!

How did you get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay 10 years ago when a friend brought me to my first ever anime convention and there I discovered that cosplay was a thing and I fell completely in love with the idea and that same year I started making cosplay.

Who was the first character you wanted to cosplay?
The first character I ever wanted to cosplay was Anna Kyoyama from Shaman King, an anime that I was really obsessed with at the time. She was simple and easy to make.

If you could cosplay any character from anything, who/what would you choose?
If I could chose to cosplay as any character I would choose Yygdra from Yygdra Union or Meru's Dragoon form from Legend of Dragoon! Both have amazing costumes and props that I would love to make, in fact they are both on my to do list.

Do you ever put your own spin on a cosplay, or do you like to make sure it's as close to the original as possible?
Something I pride myself in is making costumes that closely reflect what is shown in the series. I sometimes take my own spin on things if it is a pokemon or if the reference materials are inconsistent.

What is your process for putting together an outfit?
My process includes a lot of research (for materials and references) and pattern drafting. The pattern drafting will also include notes on which fabric weight and flow would give the costume the best look. As soon as my pattern has been drafted I will know exactly how much fabric to get so there won't be any waste. The wig also falls under the same process, since I will spend hours finding the right color or texture and judge just how many I will need for the desired outcome.

What's your go to place for supplies/components?
I'll be honest here. Ebay and the dollar store are my go to for never fail materials. You can be surprised at how many wonderful little things you can find at these places. Another place that's great is Michael's craft store, especially if you have coupons for big discounts!

Do you use any materials that you think would surprise people? What's the weirdest thing you've ever used on an outfit?
Sometimes the most unconventional of methods can give the best outcome for a costume. When I cosplayed the Silent Hill Nurse I used jello crystals and tea, coffee grounds and dirt to give the costume an authentic decay look. Plus I smelled pretty great too!

How do you choose a character to cosplay? Do you go by looks alone or do you have a deeper connection with the character?
Choosing a character is something that falls a bit weird for me. It has to fall under 4 things: pink, shoes, personality and challenge. Most of my costumes have pink in them, which is hilarious since I don't even like the colour but it's something that I've accepted in my costumes through sometimes I break the pattern. Shoes are the make or break it deal for me. If I see something that I can potentially hurt myself in, I won't do it. I like enjoying my conventions and photo shoots and I can't do that while in pain. Personality wise I definitely try to choose someone who is close enough to me. I like knowing that there are characters who are enough like me or have gone through similar things as me and in a way it feels like the character and I are one and the same and people can really feel that from you, they can really see you enjoying yourself. As for challenges, if I see something that looks impossible you bet I am going to try it, especially if it's a dress or a wig!

Your wig for Rose Quartz is what originally drew me to your cosplay. How long did it take to style so many layers? Do you have any tips?
I am humbled that you enjoyed the wig for Rose Quartz. Making it was a lot of trial and error, but once I knew what I wanted and how to curl it it took no time at all for me. The total construction took approximately 6 months to make, but knowing what I know now I could make it in less time. The only advice I can give is be patient and do a little at a time because working with that much wefts can be overwhelming.

What do you think is that one thing that takes a cosplay from good to great? Are things like makeup and wigs an important part of the overall look?
There are plenty of things that make a costume and many people think it comes down to looking like a carbon copy of the character them self  (down to skin tone or weight or height or whatever) but I think that's wrong. I think what makes a good costume great is all in how you present yourself.  Good posture and a positive attitude and good manners come first! I would say second would be your wig and make up because they can definitely step up your cosplay game. Third would be being comfortable in the costume you are in. If you aren't comfortable people will notice it and you also won't be able to enjoy yourself as much!

If you want to see more of this amazing work, check her out on facebook! 

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Pokemon Go Costume

Sunday, October 23, 2016

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Halloween is right around the corner, and if you're anything like me finding time to make a costume for yourself is pretty low on the priority list. So I've thought of a few (nerdy) simple ideas for costumes, and I can't wait to share them.

First up is everyone's favorite mobile game of the year: Pokémon Go. This easy to assemble costume has one key element that will make it look legit- the hat.

A blank baseball cap
Painters tape
White paint - acrylic or fabric
Yellow paint - acrylic or fabric
Permanent Marker
Round things

1. Tape off the brim and sides of the front panel of the cap. I found that for the brim it was easiest to rip the tape into small pieces and use those to line edge

2. Practice the placement of your round things. I traced them to make sure the sizes were correct. I had to try a few things until I found the right sizes. You'll need one smaller center circle, then a larger putter ring that you will cut in half.

3. Trace your objects onto your hat with a pencil. There's really no easy way to do this if you're using solid objects. Looking back, I could have cut out the trial tracings and pinned them on. But honestly being able to move around the objects to find the right placement was very helpful.

4. Paint on a layer of white. Try to keep as in the lines as possible, but there is a way to do touch ups later. You might need to paint two coats of white if you're making a black hat.

5. Now for the yellow coat! If your yellow seems a little thin, you can mix it with a bit of white. You may also need two coats of yellow.

6. Carefully take off the tape. You want to do this after the paint has become a little tacky but before it's fully dried.

7. After everything has fully dried, use a little bit of soap and water to take the graphite from the penicl off.

8. When the fabric is dry again, go in with a black permanent marker to straighten up the edges and take care of any mistakes.

And there you have it, a completed Pokemon inspired hat! I chose yellow to match what my character looks like, but you could also choose a color that matches your Team's color.

As far as the rest of the outfit goes, you'll need a sporty jacket, finger-less gloves, a backpack, shorts, leggings and tennis shoes. You can also make a Pokemon ball belt buckle out of some craft foam. Easy peasy!

If you want to take your costume to the next level, try checkout out this tutorial from AWE me's DIY Prop Shop on how to make an Egg Incubator! Or go all out and make your phone into a self-charging Pokedex with this tutorial!

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Inspire Me: Rae Marie Cosplay

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

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I have absolutely loved "researching" to try to find cosplayers to feature, and I'm delighted that I stumbled upon Rae Marie Cosplay! Her outfits are amazing. I had to limit myself on which ones I wanted to show here! I confess, I might have featured a few of these just because they're my favorite characters.

How did you get into cosplay?
I went to Animenext in NJ in 2005 and as soon as I saw the cosplayers there I knew I wanted to get into the hobby. I started on my first costume right away and the rest is history!

Character: Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill

Who was the first character you wanted to cosplay? 
The first cosplay I started was Kairi from Kingdom Hearts 2. It took a while to finish and I needed a lot of help but I was so happy when I finally completed it.

photo by Chris @ Dumotography
Character: Princess Mononoke

What is your process for putting together an outfit? 
I spend a lot of time finding reference photos and searching for the perfect fabrics and materials before I really get started. Honestly I think that is the most important part of the process. From there it's just trial and error to pattern, sew and put it all together.

Character: Nana Osaki from Nana

What's your go to place for supplies/components? 
I go to the garment district a lot for most of my fabrics and notions. I'll also hit up Joann's because they always have what I need if I can't easily find it in the city.

photo by: JohnTrileyPhoto
Character: Blair Witch from Soul Eater

Do you use any materials that you think would surprise people? What's the weirdest thing you've ever used on an outfit? 
Since most of my costumes are mostly fabric instead of props I don't use a ton of unconventional materials. One of the weirdest things I've used in a cosplay was easter eggs to style a wig. It actually did work out really well to give my Ladybug pigtails more volume! Highly recommend if you cant get styrofoam balls haha.

Photo by Jenna Hurley
Character: Gou Matsuouka from Free!

What's something you feel like you've gotten pretty good at making/doing? 
Sewing is definitely my strength. Every time I work on something new I am using new techniques or trying a new pattern or method. Even now I feel like I have a lot to learn but I am very happy with how skilled I've become.

photo by D. Brooks Photo82
Character: Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Your casual Raven is SO cute... well, so is your normal Raven honestly. Well, just all of your cosplays are adorable, now that I think about it. Do you think you cosplay things that fit your personality? Or do you like to pretend to be someone different? 
Thank you! :) I like to do a little bit of both. Sometimes I feel like it is easy to channel a character I already relate to but it is also so much fun to act like someone totally different! I generally gravitate towards strong female characters like Tsunade from Naruto or Lisa Lisa from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure because I love how confident I feel when I am them. I also really enjoy pretending to be a baddie like when I cosplayed Lust from FMA.

Character: casual Raven from Teen Titans

Do you like the easy-to-throw-together casual looks or the took-50-hours hard core outfits more? 
Even though the casual looks are fun and easy to wear, I definitely like the super detailed hard core outfits more. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a project you worked so hard on come to life and be praised by others.

They say the devil is in the details... do you pay attention to the little things? 
Yes, and probably too much haha! I almost had a panic attack because I had to use two different white spandex fabrics for the sailor scout cosplays I made this summer since I couldn't buy more in time. Of course no one can notice but I NOTICE.

photo by OhHeyItsSK
Character: Gogo Tomago from Big Hero 6

Do you have any tips for someone looking to get into cosplaying?
  Ask questions and don't think you are ever asking silly questions, we all started somewhere. Look up tutorials, I can guarantee someone has done it before. When I started the cosplay community and social media did not exist like it does now and it's a real game changer so you should take advantage of it as much as you can.

Want to see more? Check out her facebook page!
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Inspire me: Mewpiie Cosplay

Monday, October 10, 2016

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For the month of October I've found some amazing cosplayers to interview, and I am SO excited to share this whole series with you! 

For those of you who think I might be speaking another language, "cosplay" is a shorted version of the words "costume play." A big deal in the con scene, these talented creators find a character with an awesome outfit, and recreate it. But this isn't a costume you'll find on a rack at WalMart. They take their outfits to the next level, going from simple costume to a whole new art form.

Today's interviewee is Mewpiie, and her adorable cosplays will blow your mind. She does a lot of colorful and complicated costumes from anime and video games alike, playing close attention to the shape and silhouette of the whole outfit (for example, take a look at that tail below). But enough from me, onto the interview!

If you could cosplay any character from anything, who/what would you choose?
There are too Right now I'm obsessed with the new Star Guardian Skins from League of Legends. I kind of want to cosplay something from Overwatch but I'm not sure who yet.

Have you ever designed your own outfit?
I designed the Armor and clothes for my Kindred cosplay.

Whats the most uncomfortable outfit you've every worn? Do you have any horror stories?
Kindred tbh. Those shoes were SO PAINFUL. Also my 3d printed bow warped in the heat inside the car and bent and I was so freaked out. It's straightened out but it feels like it might break.

Do you have a special storage space, or do you just take over whatever spare surface is available? How do you keep everything organized?
I use the dining room in my house because we never use it. I just like to put things in boxes and various storage units. When i get into a project I let myself go and make a mess.

What is your process for putting together an outfit?
A ton of research. I look up references from the actual show/game, other cosplayers, fanart, anything I can find useful.

What's something you feel like you've gotten pretty good at making/doing?
I feel like I'm pretty good at makeup and I'm pretty resourceful. I also feel like I'm good at painting props.

I absolutely love the makeup from your Yang cosplay. Do you have any tips on how to make your eyes look bigger without going over the top?
aw thanks! So I used Nyx Wonderpencil in the palest color and lined the bottom outer corner of my eye, and then under that I put black eyeliner to create the illusion that my eyes were bigger. I also drew some fake lashes on the bottom. It takes practice, and honestly I feel like there's some things I could've improved!

They say the devil is in the details... do you pay attention to the little things?
Yes I do! I always find things that could enhance a character. With ahri, I wanted certain contacts and for the whiskers to be drawn like brush strokes. I always make sure that nothing in my outfit is slipping off or crooked. Of course I'm not perfect and sometimes I'm like "fuck this" and leave the house/hotel without being super nit-picky.

What do you think is that one thing that takes a cosplay from good to great? Are things like makeup and wigs an important part of the overall look?
If you can afford a better wig, I'd recommend it. Sometimes a over-shiny wig can take a lot away from a good cosplay. For makeup there's a couple basic things that I'd recommend for every gender. I'll always have a eyeliner, foundation, concealer, a eyeshadow palette, and a nude lipstick in my kit. I use foundation and concealer to take away redness or discoloration in my skin. Eyeshadow and eyeliner can be used in so many ways, and putting eyeliner on your eyes gives them more depth and you can create a more "anime" look. Nude lipstick is to even out your lipcolor and can also make you look more "masculine". For female anime characters I'd just use a bit of pink lipgloss or light pink lipstick.

Do you have any tips for someone looking to get into cosplaying?
Keep trying. You are going to mess up and you are going to fail. You're going to see cosplayers with more experience and better cosplays, this does not mean that you're bad or have bad cosplays. Also it's okay to buy cosplay, do whatever you want because it's your hobby. Cosplay is fun. Cosplay is for everyone.

You can look at all of Mewpiie's other creations 
on her social media accounts!
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