Thursday, June 26, 2014

Cosplay: Choosing a Character

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is "How do you pick what to cosplay?" If you've never worn a costume before you may have asked this question yourself. It's a great first step to becoming a cosplayer! A lot of people will answer "Just wear whatever you want!" I definitely agree with this, but with thousands of characters to choose from you still have to narrow it down somehow. 

Reasons for choosing a character will vary for everyone. It's actually quite a personal commitment to undertake, but nonetheless I wanted to give some insight to my OWN procedure for choosing a cosplay! This method may not work for all, but I hope it gives some ideas for deciding what criteria will be important to you.

Princess Zelda and Thor photos by Alan Tijerina
Choose a Genre
Pick something you love. It's that simple! If you love video games then I am sure you have a special character you enjoy playing. Or maybe you've admired a certain superhero from Marvel or DC Comics. Some people even dress up as their favorite TV hero or heroine. I saw a Scully from X-Files cosplay once and totally fangirled! Cosplay isn't limited to one genre over another. You can go with classic 80's movies, childhood cartoons, or even an original character from a manga you might be developing. There's a lot of creative freedom with cosplay, and the first step in choosing a character is deciding what you are passionate about. For myself, I love fantasy genres. So I'm really drawn towards characters with a medieval or magical feel to them. Once you find a genre you like the characters will speak to you, and you will enjoy your cosplay more.

Overall Look
This is the most important decision for me when I choose a character. I personally look for long sleeves, really cool hair or makeup, an interesting prop, and materials I'll be comfortable in. These details help me decide if I'm going to enjoy wearing the costume or not. I prefer to cover my tattoos so that the focus is on the cosplay, and I love to wear long wigs. The props and materials are important to consider because convention hours can be long. A heavy sword, large wings or intricate armor may not be fun to wear after the 5th hour mark. I've also learned I am not a fan of wearing tight fitting bodysuits. So I am more likely to choose a character wearing a dress or skirt. These are just some things *I* look for in an overall look. So think about what makes *you* confident and the happiest in to have the best time in your costume.

My first comic con and cosplay!
Skill Level
No matter what your skill level is you CAN cosplay. You don't even have to make it all yourself. A lot of people commission costumes. If you just want to have fun walking around a convention then do not worry about what others will think of your craftsmanship. However, if you plan to enter a competition there might be some rules to follow so be sure to read those beforehand. When cosplaying for the first time, I recommend wearing something simple. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Try doing a "closet cosplay" where you find items you already own that you can turn into a character. I did a closet cosplay of Ramona Flowers for my first con. It helped me get my feet wet and motivated me to put on something more detailed for the next event. Start talking to other cosplayers for advice and google tutorials (or check out mine here!) for sewing and armor making tips. Then you'll be ready to pick a character with a more difficult design for the next time.

Sewing my Fiona from Shrek costume after long hours of making the props.
Budget and Time
Some costumes are going to take a lot of work. When you look at a character's armor, body paint, or prop be sure to make a list of all the materials you think you'll need. Trips to the hobby or hardware store can become expensive. Plan out how much money you want to spend on a costume. If the character seems like it may be out of your budget then you may want to choose a different design. A lot of characters have more than one outfit, too. So if you don't have the supplies to make an entire Batman suit from The Dark Knight maybe you can make Adam West's version instead! Also, be sure to look at your calendar. When are you planing to wear this? Is one week enough time to sew all of Cinderella's dress? Will my wig arrive by then? Do all your research as soon as possible to make sure you'll have all your pieces ready before you plan to wear it.

Convention Specifics
If you will be attending an anime convention then you might want to wear an anime cosplay. Or a comic book character to a comic convention. Now remember: This isn't a rule at all! I actually see a wide variety of cosplays at every convention I've been to. But one thing you might want to consider is the type of guests that might be at the con you are going to. When I met Billy Boyd (Pippin) from The Lord of The Rings I chose to wear an Arwen cosplay. Or when I met Tom Felton I wore Luna Lovegood. By choosing a character specific to the convention theme and guests, you're more likely to run into other characters from that genre, too. This makes taking group photos especially fun! I also recommend looking at the weather. If you're going to a convention in the summer, then you may want to choose a character that isn't in full armor or heavy body makeup. If it's in the winter you might not be warm enough in that Slave Leia costume.

Lord of The Rings cosplayers I met while at Sci Fi Expo 2013
The most important thing to remember when choosing a character to cosplay is you can be anything you want! Gender, height, weight, race and age - none of that should matter when you cosplay. Your options are limitless. Pick a character you love and have fun!


So these were just a few of the things I personally consider when I choose a character.
What specifics do you look for?
If you haven't cosplayed before, but want to, which character would you like to make?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tutorial: Fairy Wings

This year for the Scarborough Renaissance Festival I decided to dress up as a woodland fairy. I had never made fairy wings before, but this YouTube tutorial by Emily Autumn was SO helpful! I basically followed every step so I recommend watching it. In my tutorial I have posted photos of my progress and added a few tips so you can become a fairy, too!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Cosplay Etiquette: Cosplaying the Same Character

Today on the blog I am curious what some of y'all may think of a topic regarding cosplay! So I want to ask a question and have it open to polite discussion :)

What is the proper etiquette for cosplaying the same character as someone you know?

Here's my backstory for where this is coming from: I have a list of characters in my head that I would love to cosplay someday. The list has grown fast and changes quite a bit. However, there are a few characters that have stayed on the list for quite awhile and simply haven't found their time to be made yet.

So the other day a really talented cosplayer posted a character they want to cosplay. Well it turns out to be one that I want to do as well! This got me thinking - what is the proper etiquette for cosplaying the same character as someone else?

My first reaction was "Well now I can't do it." I'm still a newbie at this.. and the other cosplayer is an amazing veteran with super crafting skills. These are some of the thoughts that went through my head:
- I don't want to look like I'm copying.
- I don't want people to compare mine to theirs.
- I will compare mine to theirs even if I don't mean to.

But the more I thought about it the more I realized most of those reasons were insecurities on my end. First of all, no one owns a character. In the end we are all copying. That's exactly what cosplay is! You pick a character from a video game, anime, comic, etc and straight up "copy" the design. Part of the fun of cosplaying is recreating the look.

As far as etiquette goes I think it's best to talk with the other cosplayer if you know them personally. Let them know you want to do a character that they've decided to do as well. Then ask them how they feel about it. This way you won't jeopardize your friendship. Now if you don't know the other cosplayer at all then I wouldn't worry about trying to reach out to ask them to see if it's okay. If you google the character you want to do you may find that 20+ other people have done that same character. It would be near impossible to track them all down to ask permission. So just go for it and create your cosplay in your own artistic way!

Now, there's no stopping people from comparing or passing judgement. The cosplay community is pretty nice and welcoming, but there's definitely plenty of trolls that sneak their way in. My best advice for this is to just ignore it. Even if you are the ONLY person to cosplay a character people are going to compare you to the original design. Try not to read the negative comments and if you accidentally do then just be a duck and let it roll right off your back. Because you're fabulous no matter what they think.

You CAN control whether or not YOU pass judgement. If you are wearing the same cosplay as someone else then do your best not to nitpick the details. It goes two ways: don't think that they are better than you just because they used different techniques or materials, but also don't think that you are better than them either. Remember that we're all just celebrating our love for a fandom.

When I am at a convention and I see someone dressed up as the same character as me, I actually get really excited! You know why? Because that means we both have a common interest. We love that character! It's a great way to make a new friend.

So my final tip for cosplaying the same character as someone you know is: Don't copy the cosplayer; cosplay the character! Always put your own creative twist on it. Make it your own! You'll be more proud of your work that way.


So let me know what you think in the comments!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Harry Potter Appreciation

With the news of Diagon Alley opening at Universal Studios on July 8th, I had the urge to go through my photos for all things Harry Potter. I am a huge Potterhead and have been ever since the first book was released in the US in 1998. Let's talk about that story first! (Lots of photos ahead)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dallas Comic Con 2014

My favorite convention of the year is the Dallas Comic Con. It's one of the largest in Texas, and I always look forward to seeing my friends here. The convention was held at a larger venue for the first time, too. This had its pros and cons. It was nice not having to wait in line outside in the heat. It also meant the lines inside were managed better since it was mostly all on one floor. At the old convention center, people were getting stuck on the *single* escalator and missing panels because they couldn't get upstairs!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Giveaway! Sailor Ariel Starfish

It's been too long since my last giveaway so I am really excited to finally share with you guys my next prize! For A-Kon 25 this past weekend - I dressed up as Sailor Ariel in a Disney Sailor Scout group! I made some super cute starfish accessories for my costume and now you have the chance to win one for yourself!!

I am giving away a handmade real knobby starfish exactly like the one I wore for Sailor Ariel. I made this myself and will let the winner choose if they would like it as a necklace, brooch or hair clip.

Entering is easy! Just follow these steps on the Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be picked at random and mailed the Sailor Ariel Starfish. Currently, this contest is only open to US residents. Once a winner is selected, they will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond otherwise a new winner will be chosen. Contest ends on Monday June 16 at 11:59pm CST. No purchase necessary.

Good luck! :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pixie the Lazy Kitty

It's time for some Pixie pic spam! I take a lot of photos of my cat Pixie - I mean look at that face?! She's so cute and silly. But most of all she's really lazy.

Lately I've been finding her on my pillow when I wake up!

Even though there's a box just for her behind her.. she preferred to check out this basket instead.

One of Pixie's favorite things is plastic sacks. (I always supervise her when she's in one for safety reasons of course.) I think she loves the sound of the crinkle!

After a long day of doing absolutely nothing, Pixie crashes on the couch.

Sometimes I crash on the couch, too, and Pixie loves to snuggle!

And when I'm at my computer desk, she's not too far away. Pixie feels nice and cozy in her kitty castle.


I hope you enjoyed this Pixie pic spam!

Do you have a pet you take a ton of photos of?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maleficent and Aurora Outfit Inspiration

With the new movie in theaters now, I decided to recreate the original character clothes for an everyday style.
Here is my Maleficent and Aurora inspired outfits I made using Polyvore!
Dress from House of Fraser - $33
Shoes from ASOS - $42
Raven necklace from Etsy seller ADelicateWorld - $34
Green dragon ring from Etsy seller Spookyisland - $12
Purple and pink scarf from Bluefly - $28
Cat ear hat from Accessorize - $37
Jungle Red lipstick from NARS - $26

Dress from ASOS - $91
Light grey TOMs - $48
Crochet flower bracelet from TopShop - $20
Bird necklace from Amazon - $23
Purple ombre scarf from Bluefly - $30
Black headband from Amazon - $4


These outfits came out so pretty! I love the subtle nod to the classic Disney characters.

Are you going to see the new Maleficent movie?
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