Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Pen Sketches for More People

Trying to get back into drawing frequently, because my skills were going to shambles. Sometimes, when you're in a work environment, you forget you're an artist. This is me trying to remember...
For Lanina

For Pyewacket

For Razkhel

For Shangrila

For KittyVel

For Yoraeryu
All are done with ballpoint pen. I'd expect more like this to come.

Midna: Six Months of My LIFE

For fuller, more polite descriptions of the costuming process, please see THIS LINK.

Lycra body suits... are like footy pajamas for perverted people. When mine came in the mail, I wormed my way into it, SOMEHOW managed to zip it up by myself, and then I sat on my bed thinking "This is weird. I am weird."

And then I painted it with fabric paint and my life went terrible for like a month.

There are things that I did not understand about painting a spandex suit that I understand now.
1: It's POROUS, which meant that if I wanted to paint it while wearing it (and I DID),  then I was going to be white with paint afterward.
2: The fabric loses its flexibility when painted, which essentially translates into: the parts you cover in paint become a weird fabric cast of your body. This meant a lot of discomfort when sliding my right leg in and out of the suit.

But really, things were going pretty well. I'd sit like a creeper in my boyfriend's dining room, painting myself and then blow drying my limbs for long periods of time in the hopes that I would dry before I had a spasm and got paint all over the place.

And then the incident happened. The picture above depicts the back of the suit. I could not reach my own back and boyfriend was having an aneurism every time I asked for help (because he was afraid of screwing things up), so I decided to paint the back OFF of my body. This was the single most catastrophic mistake I've ever made (dramatization).

For you see, when the paint dried, the fabric constricted, rendering it highly inflexible. When I went to put the suit on the next day - "vvvrrrrrrrrt!" the zipper, I'm not even kidding, split down the middle. And then I cried. And then my boyfriend thought I was crazy.

It was then, as I sat crumpled over in bed, crying, that I realized I wasn't having fun anymore. I had spent 6 months pulling all of this together, and this one mistake called into question all of that. Suddenly I was taking it all way too seriously. Realistically, this only happened within the final two weeks before the convention. Because before then I couldn't have been happier.

But the gods of cosplay had to remind me that I was a novice, and amateur, and most of all, they had to put me in my place for being so damn cocky.

I spent the parts of CON in costume perpetually keeping good posture, because if I bent over too far, the zipper would split. I soaked the back in peroxide, which chipped and loosened up a lot of the paint enough that I at least had some flexibility. But I cannot stress how much more comfortable I would have been had I not had the constant worry that my life could at any moment get embarrassing.

But the result...?

The reception of my costume was platinum. So many people needed my picture that it pretty much annoyed the people I was was walking around with. And it was just my luck that one of the party rooms was Zelda themed, so I kept running into people demanding that I show up there. When I did, some guy saw me, gaped, and shouted "I'm SO HAPPY you're here!!"

Got a lot of hugs that I didn't want. Got a lot of compliments that reassured me that the last six months of my life weren't wasted, and I had a really great time.

So... now I know what that's like. Now I never have to put myself through that again. I'm glad I did the character justice, and I'm glad people liked it. I'm glad I did it. I'm happy to know what it feels like to get a lot of attention at a convention. And now that I know, I can say I think I'm happier just being part of the crowd.

But no, seriously. I was badass. Mwahahahaha.

Midna: The Fused Shadow Part 2

Are you ready for the rest of this? I'm sure not.

So, I completed the costume on time and wore it to CONvergence 2011. This is the rest of the process.

Witness my pain.

Consequently, I no longer have fingers.

So my last post left off with me dreading cutting out the rest of the detail for the facade of the Fused Shadow. This is why I was dreading it. Do you see all those lines? Ow.

 And then I stuck the designs on and was relieved to see all of this take some shape... as it was confirming to me that while I was crazy, I was at least not a failure. 

After this, I created the clay bits and glued them on, which was trickier than I wanted because the paperclay and the hot glue and the paper created this terrible orgy of materials that made everything not want to stick. I'm still not sure how I got it to. I put off doing the snakes FOREVER because I was afraid of screwing them up. But while they took well over a week to dry fully enough for me to glue them on, they turned out better than anticipated.

And here is the back. I got lazy and used twine to do the details back there... which wasn't the best call because it was all... twiney, and therefore more textured than I'd wanted.

And THEN. I painted it. With spray paint. From Michael's. And it was good.

I purchased a long orange wig off of eBay, which was pretty perfect in terms of color. I debated with myself over whether I was going to style it with gel, and then realized that if I somehow screwed it up I would cut myself deliberately and shut myself away in my house to never see the light of day again. So I didn't.

And it was fine. ...With the exception that it tangles if you even look at it.

The ears were made out of the same foam that the helm itself is made off. I mixed the blue color myself and I'm feeling pretty cocky about it because LOOK AT IT. The only thing that would make it better was if it glowed.
Stripes weren't painted here, don't judge.

So that was the process of the Fused Shadow. The one that I started in like bloody January and completed like in JUNE. Thank god I went to art college so that my opus could wind up being a piece of exercise mat that I wore on my head for two days.

Wanna know where it is now? The garage. Life is cruel.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Midna: The Fused Shadow Part 1

I've been basing my construction heavily on the tactics used by a cosplayer called Aleze, as she's widely regarded as having one of the best executions of the costume ever. I'm chubbier and no doubt shorter than her, but I'm hoping to use my child-bearing hips to my advantage.

Like her, I used a foam exercise mat for construction on the helm. I searched a ton of places online but was reluctant to make a purchase without seeing the actual thickness of the mat. Luckily, my friend Lindsay had an old mat that she was willing to let me cut up - on the caveat that it was chewed up and had cat pee on it.

So, after washing the mat THOROUGHLY in my shower, and using a hair dryer to accelerate the removal of moisture (I'm impatient), I was able to commence.

I first measured my head with the tape measure and then cut a strip of the foam to act as the initial base. Now, originally I had heard a couple people reference using Liquid Nails to glue this stuff together, and so I was using binder clips to keep things in place while the Liquid Nails dried.

This, as it turns out is a CROCK, and not only does it take too long to dry, but it wasn't doing a very good job for me. Hot glue is a miracle of modern science and did the trick just fine in like no time at all.

Clearly I'm hilarious. It looks a little tight, but once I cut the eye piece...

Much more spacious! You'll notice I'm going with the 'Gamecube' version of Midna wherein her left eye is the one covered by the fused shadow. I did this because Link is originally left-handed, but in the Wii version the game had to be mirrored to accommodate the fact that most players are right handed. Sooo... in my nerdy little head, the Gamecube version is the right one. LOGIC.

Doubled up the foam to add to the bulkiness of the helm, began blocking in some of the details with pencil, and then added the second tier to the thing. You can see the kitty teeth marks! Thanks, Lestat!

Cutting the ear spaces was a guessing game based off of screen shots from the game and other people's attempts at this costume. With all this completed, it was time to make the 'horns'

I was trying to do this thing where I used maths to figure out how big it should be. That came back to bite me in the ass but we'll touch on that a bit later. Anyways, I used my art board to draw out the pattern first, I then cut it out with an x-acto knife and traced it onto my foam with pencil.

Like that, dawgs.

Now, when I held the thing to the mask, it looked hunky dory to me. I was excited so I promptly glued it on and several hot glue gun burns later I had to face this:

Too damn tall. Do you SEE how displeased I look? Where did my maths go wrong?

In a panic I knifed the horns off and tried to figure out just where they needed to be in the grand scheme of things. ...Then I had to go to dinner with my friend Nicole so my process was interrupted and I was stressed out because I didn't know how gluing the pieces back on would go.

But as it turns out, fine. The 'scars' will be covered up with poster board and paperclay later.

You can see how much happier I am, and how much less unruly the thing is.

So after that I started using the poster board and x-acto knife to cut out patterns which I will glue to the horns part of the helm to give it that 'relief' look.

This is the left side. This hurt the hell out of my fingers to cut because the board is mega thick. So once I figured out just how much more sucky the right side is going to be...

I got scared and gave up cutting for the night. Before getting to that point, I put on a paper base where the eye will be (I need something for the paper clay to stick to) and I started etching right into the foam for the details on the lower part of the helm.

So that's where things stand today. Tonight I resume cutting...

My poor hands. Between this and the hot glue burns I probably won't even have a right hand by the time CON gets here.

More updates to come once I make some more headway. ...No pun intended.

Midna: Initial Stages

I've been attending CONvergence since 2006, and aside from a stint in 2008 where I cavorted around as a very short Abraham Lincoln, I really haven't put in effort to dress up.

This year I'm aiming to change that.


...Choosing July as the month to wear spandex is such an awesome idea omg.

So, it's February now, and because I'm a nerd and I wanna do this right. I'm starting right now. Construction featured in the next post, but before the jump, here's my supplies list:

-Tape Measure (For to measure my head)

-Fangs - (For the left tooth)

-Hot Glue Sticks

-Paper Clay

-Wooden Hoop (Used for size reference)

-Foam Exercize Mat (The helmet)

-Giant Sheet of Art Board (for details on the helm)

-Glue Gun

-X-Acto Knife

- X-Actor blades

- Zentai Suit (the body)

- Black/White Leather (for the bottoms of the feet)

- Red Wig

- Colored Hair Spray

- Masking Tape (To paint smooth lines on the suit)

- Duct Tape (for making a duct tape dummy)

- Garbage Bag (also for the dummy)

-Red Eye Contact Lens (eye appointment required)

- Makeup – White, black, yellow (maybe red)

-Body Shaper (for anti-jiggliness)

-Paper Clips (to attach the ears to my head)

- Black/white/blue paint (For painting the suit)