Monday, June 17, 2013

Cosplay - Focus on Your Strengths and Weakeness


There is alot of dispute whether certain cosplayers are better then others because they make their own costumes. Sadly at times when people learn that a cosplayer didn't make their own costume or somebody else had made their costume or they bought it, people tend to......think alittle less of them.



As I encourage people to cosplay because they never know what they can achieve, skills their may encounter and friends their could make yet in the sad reality there will always be people out there to knock you.

In this blog I focus on my own experiences, I am going to talk abit how I see myself as a cosplayer. On the internet we see fabulous images of well known cosplayers such as Yaya Han and the like who make their own costumes and get high recognition for it. I don't make my own costumes, Nora Fox makes them and does an amazing job! I originally was attracted to cosplaying because of the acting and really like the way cosplay gave you the chance to act as an Anime character. I have done drama and was involved with a musical society for sometime in my mid to late teens but didn't stick at them long. I really began cosplaying in my early 20s and knew this was the perfect interest for me.


I always loved roleplaying and the performing element of cosplaying and that is why I love it. I personally don't cosplay for the costume but really admire costume and prop makers. I decide to cosplay as a character I would like to act out, relate, to project a message or recreate the scene from that series. I cosplay for art, to express my passion in anime, to recreate the 2D world into photography and film.

What I am trying to say is being a cosplayer I am focusing on my strengths which are the acting and modelling. My weakness is the costume making and I can't make costumes but why should I let that stop me from cosplaying or getting stressed out? There are cosplayers who come up with innovative ideas being a character in a different outfit which the character wouldn't wear from the series and this can look very effective! You don't need alot of money and you do not need to be putting your cosplays off because you are stressing over finding someone to help you make a very striking costume, casual cosplays can be just as good! There are cosplayers who are amazing at make -up and should put great emphasis on their make-up art as that is their strong point. It is like age and height, it doesn't matter how tall/short you are, how old you are ect it is about pulling off the character and how to achieve the look of the character suiting you.

It is like looking for a job, we can waste our time applying for thousands of jobs that no way suit us or we can focus all our energy on the jobs we are good at, demonstrating our skills that suit the job and this all can be applied to cosplaying.

Cosplay is very broad and will take you a long time to learn everything, there are the acting/performance, wig styling presentation, make-up art and the costume and more. I have been cosplaying for 7 years, done a little make-up course so I can better my make-up with cosplaying, I have yet to do a dressmaking course, but I am still learning.  In the meantime I am focusing on my strengths being;

  • The Roleplaying/Acting
  • Modelling
  • Coming up with interesting ideas in my photos for the viewer to enjoy
  • My eye make-up
  • Online presense
My Weaknesses;

  • Costume making
  • Prop making 
  • Public speaking
  • No website
I need to work on my weakness yet strongly focus on my strengths. I feel cosplay can be a very public eye interest/hobby or lifestyle therefore I feel my main priority out of my list of weaknesses is to work on my public speaking and on my website.

You will be swayed by others, be pressured thinking you are not good enough in comparison to other cosplayers (which I fell into in the past), people may tell you or most likely talk behind your back, nitpicking how terrible your cosplays but take this as an opportunity to become stronger and become more successful.  Believe in yourself and remain positive and stay away from negative communities as they will just drag you down. Cosplay is all attention to detail and this is where you need to impress people by focusing on your strengths as a cosplayer, show off your inner voice.



Your strengths could also be your online presence eg how you interact with people at conventions, do people warm up to you? In the end of the day you cosplay for yourself and for self-expression. You will find people who follow your cosplays will be very supportive and like you for you, be yourself and be unique! As a wise cosplay friend says, over time you will grow and your cosplays will grow too.




Thursday, July 19, 2012

Starting your Cosplay Portfolio and Getting into Cosplay

I read this from the Sexy Cosplay group on DeviantArt and I think it is really helpful so I decided to share it here.
1. Find a good cosplay photographer I cannot stress how important this is. I've seen way too many great cosplayers who only have shots taken by their friends or family and it makes me sad their missing out on the attention they could get towards their cosplay if they just had some good photos.

How do I find a good photographer? Pay attention to cosplayers from your area, whether it be Cosplay.com, WorldCosplay, Facebook or right here on DeviantArt. If you find someone who has a cosplay picture that you really like, ask them who did their photo shoot and ask for their contact information. If you're at a convention, look out for people with expensive cameras or who are in the middle of a photo shoot (remember to be polite and not bother them if they're too busy, they are working and the cosplayers are most likely paying for their time) and ask for their business card. I did that, but they charge $XXX an hour! I can't afford that! To me, good photography is just as important to your cosplay as a wig. If you worked really hard on it and want to show it off, you should add the cost of the photographer to your budget for the cosplay and save up enough to get good photos taken. If you pick a good photographer, you won't regret it and you'll have nice photos forever to remember your cosplay by, even after you're tired of wearing it and you've sold it.

2. Detail is key The difference between a good cosplay and a great cosplay is all in the details. Nothing is too small or unimportant to be left out of the cosplay when you're making it/buying it, no matter how little you'll think it'll be missed. For example, take two Grell cosplayers with the same outfit and wig. One of the cosplayers decided not to buy the teeth and contacts, while the other one did. They both look good, but the one who paid attention to the extra details will POP out at you more every time. I noticed this when I bought all the extra details of my Grell cosplay last (and again when I updated it a few months later) and I was shocked at how much of a difference it made to my face. This concept is true to all cosplays and your character should be carefully studied. When you're making/buying your cosplay, always look to as many pieces of OFFICIAL art as possible (don't rely on fanart to have all the little details, no matter how nice it is). If you can, Google around for the character reference sheets. It often shows the character and outfit very clearly and at all angles. Yana Tosobos Pluto character sheet helped me out greatly in styling my Pluto wig since he has over 20 spikes on all sides of his head.

3. You don't have to be a jack of all trades to be a good cosplayer. One common misconception is that you're not a good cosplayer unless you can make everything yourself. This is simply not true. Cosplayers at every level need help sometimes, if it be with wigs, makeup, props or even the outfit itself. Don't be afraid to ask a friend for help with something you know you can't do very well yourself. I don't know anyone who can sew/style wigs/make props! That's okay! Cosplay.com has a great Marketplace and forum where you can hire people to make something for you or you can buy something used (most of my Grell cosplay is various pre-loved pieces!). I recommend buying a used cosplay before looking towards a cosplay shop, simply because the quality might be better, the photos you see aren't misleading stock and the price is often much lower for something that's probably been only worn once or twice. I'm on a budget, I'd rather learn how to sew/style wigs/make props/make up on my own. How do I get started? If you don't have a friend who can teach you or you can't afford to take a class, the Internet is full of free knowledge. Deviantart and Cosplay.com have lots of tutorials you can read and /cgl/ (on 4chan) is usually happy to help if you have a question or if you want them to dump tutorials you might not have found anywhere else (/diy/ is helpful for props and /fa/ can help with more casual cosplay pieces, like a jacket). Don't let cosplay websites limit you though! Youtube has lots of videos on how to do makeup and there's lots of non-cosplay websites on the various subjects. I can't find any tutorials for the cosplay I'm doing! If the Cosplay.com forums and /cgl/ have failed you, try doing a search for other cosplayers who did the character and ask them specifically how they did something or where they bought it. Ask as many as you can since some might be too busy to answer or others might have bought something too expensive for you.

4. If a good cosplayer posts a picture online, but no one is around to see it, does it make a sound? If you want to be appreciated as a cosplayer, you need to get your work out there for the world to see. This isn't always easy for a new cosplayer, but there are ways to get noticed. When you first upload your photo, be sure to add as many RELEVANT tags to the photo as possible (don't put things like rainbows, avengers, cute kittens!! in your tags to get noticed more unless your cat makes an amazing Tony Stark) so people can find it easier. It also helps to have a good title so people know what it is right away. I always put the series name, the name of the character that I'm cosplaying (so people know which one I am without clicking if there's more than one cosplayer in the photo) and then a little title. After it's been uploaded, feel free to submit it to groups so you can get noticed and get more watchers. I tend to submit mine to groups after I let my watchers finish faving it (usually a day-week, depending on how popular the photo is and if it made front page), but there really is no rule on when you should put it in groups. It's good to put it in groups that accept all kind of art as well as cosplay groups, groups specifically for the series you're cosplaying from, as well as any pairing groups or even specific character groups. Once you've got a nice inbox filled with faves, always be sure to thank everyone for them! If you have more than you can deal with (I often let mine pile up to 1,000 messages before I start passing out thank yous. Don't be me, you'll regret it!), it's okay to use a cut/paste message for everyone. I've found if you gently suggest that they watch you, the person who faved your photo is more likely to check out your page and give you a watch, which is good for you the next time you submit a photo. Don't be pushy or desperate when you say this though. Just word it so it's a friendly reminder that they may have just drag drop faved you and they might want to look at what else you have to offer. Don't forget that you are not the only cosplayer out there trying to get noticed! Spend time looking at cosplayers and commenting on their work. It'll make their day and they might even return the favor and check you out too. A good place to find under noticed cosplayers is under the 'Newest' search option or 'Most Popular in 24 hours'. Just because they're popular today doesn't mean that they are all the time.

5. Only take on projects you can handle Not all cosplayers have the skill or budget to be whipping out dozens of complicated cosplays every year, and I understand that. I even get envious at times when I see how many cosplays my friends and peers can do in such a short period of time, and it's discouraging to me as a cosplayer. My rule of thumb is, if you can't afford it, don't do it. Believe me, you'll be much happier with the finished product if you take on a small/simpler cosplay instead of one you have to skimp on to make work. But I /really/ want to cosplay this character! Often times, a character will have more than one outfit to choose from. If his/her's default outfit is going to be more than you can handle, look into doing one of the alternate outfits. People will be impressed that you did something different from most of the cosplayers who do the more complicated version, and it sometimes opens you up to unique photo shoots. You will always, always be happier with a few simple, accurate cosplays than one complicated, but lacking cosplay. I hope these tips helped you out and improve you as a cosplayer. Feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below and suggest tutorials for me to make or other points for me to address. Be sure to have fun!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I apologise for the lack of updates

I am very sorry for not updating this blog. It is not that I abandoned it, I just feel I don't have enough experience in comparison to many high skilled cosplayers out there. When I get more experience I will be back updating. I would like to focus this blog more on the modelling side of cosplay as that is my main focus now. Thanks very much for reading and if I come across anything of use I will post about it! I hope you have learned something so far. Thanks.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Playing the Character

Hey folks! Sorry I haven't updated this blog in awhile, my life has gotten so active at late with college and other things but I will keep updating.

I thought I should focus this post on character portrayal. I think with cosplaying getting really popular and especially with cosplay modelling and photography there is alot of focus on the costume because these cosplayers spend so much time and money making these costumes so they want to get good photos but portraying the character can be forgotten about. As we know cosplay is not about the costume as cosplay means "Costume and play" you are playing around with the costume and to make it more artistic :P cosplay means bringing a fictional character to life to the audience so it is entertainment. Now I am not saying you have to play the character eg many people who cosplay at conventions enjoy walking around in costume being themselves and feel rather silly acting out their character all day and that is fine. This post is more for people who would like to play their character at conventions and for cosplayers who want to get more into modelling as character portrayal is very important when it comes to modelling, the fans need to connect to your photos.



On the Cosplay Ireland forums some ask "how do you play the character?" As a passionate artist says "To play the character you must feel the character inside you." This saying goes for dancers and other forms of performing, I know it sounds very cliche but it is very true! When I started cosplaying, I was very shy and when I started doing shoots it was really awkward as the photographer didn't know much about cosplaying or my character being Rei Ayanami. I just kept doing the generic poses she does in her images and the photographer was getting bored.

What really helped me with playing my character was I didn't just constantly watch footage of Rei in the series and seriously studied her mannerisms, I would look at cosplayers who portrayed Rei really well. I would save their photos onto my computer and study the photo and ask myself, "Why I am I getting a Rei vibe from this image?" "Is it the lighting, her pose?"

What also helps is study your body in front of the mirror and take lots of photos of yourself. Practice your facial expressions and see how their come out. The more time you spend infront of a camera, the less shy you will be! Get a family member or friend to take photos of you in your cosplay and try acting as your character. Even at home or when along in your room, in the bathroom say some lines as your character, acting as them. Well known theatre actors and film actors like Danial Day Lewis do this, when coming up to a play they walk around staying in character. I try do this suttle when coming up to a shoot.



Also fan art images help too! I found image boards really helpful when it came to character portrayal as you can see that you can do out of the box poses which makes it entertaining to the viewer and you don't feel really restricted at shoots. Now when I do a shoot I feel really natural and can let loose yet staying in character. You also have to eat, breed and sleep as the chacter but that comes later on. :)



It just takes practice! Practice makes perfect. When you keep practicing you become a natural.

I hope this was helpful. All this information is from my own experience and if you have questions please ask! No question is stupid. ;)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cosplay Events in Ireland

As I said since way back in 2006 more anime and comic conventions have been popping up. Back in 2006 there was only Tomodaichi an anime and manga convention in Co. Derry, ok that is more UK but still can travel there by car or what not. :p Unfortunately Tomodaichi is gone now and then in Dublin there was only Eirtakon, now we are spoiled for choice!

I will go through conventions where you would find and meet cosplayers through out the year.

Akumacon

This is held in January and runs from the 20th to the 22nd of January. It is on in Galway University. It is a new convention which only started last year. It has many exciting cosplay at it and ran a proper Japanese maid and butler cafe. It should be great next year.

Details:

Website: http://www.akumakon.com/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/Akumakon

Q-Con

Q-con is not only an anime convention but also is a gamer and sci-fi convention held in Queens University Belfast. Q-con runs the biggest cosplay events in Northern Ireland and attracts lots of cosplayers especially video game cosplayers. It runs in June 24th to the 26th.

Details: http://www.q-con.org.uk/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/QConBelfast?sk=wall

ArcadeCon

This is a brand new convention which only started running this year. It is a broad convention which rages from anime, manga, comics, gaming, sci-fi, music and films. It is ran by some of the people who run a geek website called the arcade. It is great for cosplay as you see all types of cosplay from anime, movies and comics. They have great events like the cosplay masquerade and skits, the same with Q-con and have a night time cosplay event being the Masquerade Ball.

Details: http://www.the-arcade.ie/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/ArcadeCon

Brocon

This is held in Limerick University and is a gaming and anime convention. They started running last year and were successful with a good few cosplayers attending. They had a cosplay competition and skits. They also were the first Irish convention to have a professional cosplay model guest being Francesca Dani which was an honour.



Details: http://brocon.skynet.ie/
FaceBook: http://en-gb.facebook.com/ULBroCon

NomCon


This is a specialised anime and manga convention like Akumacon. It only started running last year and was a success. There were lots of fantastic cosplayers at it, so this year will be very interesting! They have many events like the cosplay masquerade, skits, maid and butler cafe, cosplay speed dating and cosplay musical chairs. It runs in August 5th to the 7th, so if you are reading this blog and want to get into the Irish cosplay scene it is the next big cosplay event coming up! It is on in the D4 Hotel, Dublin. They plan on having more and bigger cosplay events this year like the Nomcon cosplay prom and more.

Details: http://www.nom-con.net/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/nomcom

Finally

Eirtakon

The oldest and longest running anime and manga convention in Ireland. It attracts a diversity of people and again lots of excellent cosplays! Eirtakon runs in the Helix, Dublin City University in November 11th to the 13th. Like many conventions it runs cosplay skits, cosplay competition, cosplay disco, maid and butler cafe and this year there will be lots of new exciting cosplay events. Also this year Eirtakon has the honour of having for the first time to Eirtakon, not to Irish cons :p a professional costume designer, make up artist and cosplayer, model YaYa Han as a guest. I am super excited over this! Yaya plans on helping out running cosplay events, judging and doing lots of panels on modelling and costume making. She also would be a great help to Cosplay Ireland.



Details: http://www.eirtakon.com/
FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/Eirtakon

That is for now with the Irish cosplay convention scene and hopefully you have been informed. If I missed out on any conventions that has cosplay please let me know. Also with Cosplay Ireland we plan on running major cosplay events, promoting cosplay in Ireland and who knows we might see more conventions. :)

Cosplay Portfolio Websites

As I explained cosplay is very broad and it is down your interpretation what it is. Some people just enjoy the occasional cosplay at events and some like to take it alot further. Over the last few years cosplay has so much evolved and expanded. It has even expanded alot more then cosplaying at a convention with cosplayers modelling in cosplay now. There was the fashion modelling then in the 1980s and 1990s alternative goth modelling became quite popular and over the last few years we now see cosplay modelling.

Like modelmayhem, folio32, liptick lenses and modelling websites where a model can showcase her/his work they are many cosplay websites where a cosplayer can showcase and show off their cosplays to a global audience. Now many of these websites are not very industry based and are hobby/amateur based but it is a start if you want to show off your work to the world and hopefully one day will get noticed.

Here are a few websites which I think are good for cosplays.

Cosplay.com

This is the main international cosplay community website. You can set up an account and upload your photos in the main gallery. Unlike many portfolio sites it is not a social networking site but the forums are quite friendly and very useful for costume construction, make up and on contact lenses. People will always help you out and offer advice.

Cosplayer's Cure

This is basically the Japanese cosplay.com but it is getting more international. This is a social networking site and has some industry and small cosplay businesses like cosplaygen. As Cosplayer's Cure gets bigger perhaps it will have more industry links and contacts. From an amateur point of view it is an excellent website where cosplayers look stunning so if you are researching how a person looks like the character in 3D you will find excellent examples. From a modelling point of view, Cosplayer's Cure is a great site as it advertises upcoming events in Japan and they are lots of cosplay models on it. The photos are artistic and you Will find that many cosplayers think out of the box. It is also a good site for people who are just fans of cosplay and they can sign up to the non cosplay account.

What is also great about this site, people can follow your cosplays, add you to favourites, get a fan club going so when you upload a photo they will be notified. You can also add cosplayers to your favourite too.

I find this site very friendly and have made friends and contacts.

Cosplay Island

This is a UK based cosplay portfolio website. I joined this as it is local. This is a good site, as it is somewhat linked to the industry and mainly reveals upcoming cosplay events in the UK. The forum is very helpful too. It tends to be abit dead for comments but I met one or two people who are nice and they seem to be always updates on events.

CosWorld


This is a new social networking site set up for cosplayers internationally to meet photographers. It was set up by a well known cosplay photographer Shiroin. It is very quiet as it is only new but hopefully it will pick up.

American Cosplay Paradise

I just joined this site and it is suppose to be the best for getting links to the industry. ACP work with anime industry people and promote events at American anime conventions and do photoshoots. There are also cosplay photographers on the site too, so it is somewhat a social networking site for making friends and for getting contacts. Cosplayers on the site are really good and many of them take part in proper photoshoots so you will be able to get advice on modelling and research what makes a good photo.

That's really it for mainly cosplay portfolio sites but they are many others that you can join but they don't just specialise in cosplay they are;

DeviantArt - Fantastic for cosplay portfolio as you can join cosplay groups submit your photos, get noticed and get fans, also network with fan artists.

ModelMayhem - A great site for models very international and has many cosplayers and cosplay photographers on it. Has many industry people on it who are linked to cosplay.

Irish websites

Folio32 - a modelling social networking website which has alternative models on it not just fashion so cosplay would be welcomed.

Lipstick and Lenses - Another Irish modelling social networking site, seems to be not that active but it is new so hopefully it will take off.

At the moment there is no dedicated Irish cosplay website but with cosplay, anime and comics getting more popular equals more events, I am currently working on setting up an Irish social networking website named Cosplay Ireland where cosplayers can showcase their work, meet photographers, make up artists, cosplay commissions, designers, become models and will hopefully have links to the industry and events. Please check out the FB awareness page for updates. :)


Saturday, July 16, 2011

How do I get into cosplay

Ok well this is Ireland, unlike Japan or Tokyo you can't just walk into a costume shop and ask for a Final Fantasy cosplay of your choice. I recall ages ago on a forum, a girl who was new to cosplay asked where in Dublin can you get cosplay outfits, the answer to this question is simply, no you can't, unless you went to Ann Summers which sell doctor, nurse uniforms. Just beause there is no way in Ireland you can buy a cosplay outfit doesn't mean you can't cosplay.

They are many ways a person can cosplay very successfully without having to go into a shop and buy a costume. You can always order pre-made cosplay online from ebay or cosplay magic and on many sites. If you decide to buy your cosplay online you would really want to be very careful as many sites either charge alot of money for a really good cosplay or charge reasonable or cheap amounts and the quality isn't really good. If you look around you might get somewhere in between. Many people who start out in cosplay, make their outfits with the help of friends or of the expereinced. You don't need to go way out and make the most flambyant, extravagant cosplay to impress people. You could go for an easy cosplay other words "closet cosplay" where you wear basic clothes or an outfit which was not that hard to put together and still really impress people at a convention.

Here are examples of very impressive "simple cosplays" which could be done very well.



L from Death Note, a very popular cosplay in the Irish con scene. All you need for him is a top and trousuars, do your make up good and you got an L.

Misa Amane from Death Note. A very impressive cosplay if you get the hair right and wear goth clothes, not a hard one at all. :)



Asuka Langley from Neon Genesis Evangelion, if you have her hair and eyes you could look really impressive. The uniform is not too expensive to buy but if you rather make it yourself you could easily buy a dress pattern resembling the dress and sew together or get the help from expereinced people. If you really want to get into making your own cosplay this is a good cosplay to start on.

Also there is Asuka's yellow dress. You could easily go into any boutique and buy a yellow dress that looks like Asukas and buy red shoes in Dunnes, Pennys what not.



It also the same with Reika from RahXephon.





Also Lara Croft from Tomb Raider seems like an easy cosplay to put together.



Finally our last example is from Bleach. I am not a fan of Bleach so I am unsure who this character is but I know she is one of the main characters. This cosplay can be done easily. Just buy a shirt in Pennys or Dunnes, get the school skirt easily enough in Arnots espcially near school season.



Best places I would recemmend to buy fabric for cosplays would be Wollen Mills at the Hypenny Bridge or Hickeys. Wollen Mills tends to be cheaper and they do student discounts. I also find Pennys is good for alternating cosplays and boutiques. My Rin Tohsaka cosplay from Fate Stay Night, I bought the top on sale in one of the clothes shops in the Ilac shopping centre in Dublin. Look around shops that sell skirts that may resemble your character, I bought my Rin skirt in a clothes shop in Henry St on sale too. So just look around, you would be suprised. ^^



The big key to a very successful cosplay is to resemble the character as in height, looks and build. I am quite tall so I couldn't pull of Chise from Saikano.



Also I couldn't do Yoko from Gurann langann as I don't have her build.



Thanks to make up we can achieve ways to make our eyes look like the character and make them really big. I will put up good make up tutorials later on. So yeah the key to a good cosplay is have the look of that character, you want people to think you are the real deal. Also wanted to mention not everyone takes cosplay very seriously, alot of people just do it for fun so in that case don't worry too much or stress over it, you want to enjoy it in the end.

What I find really helpful when I want to perfect a cosplay is research the character as in mannerism and look at other cosplay pictures of that character. Even save their pictures onto your computer so you can look at every detail on how to perfect your own cosplay. I have been cosplaying alot as Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Back in 2007 when I first cosplayed as Rei I just bought a blue wig in a wig shop in town. I thought it was good at the time but noticed I didn't come out the best in photos. I came across another very good Rei cosplayer from cosplay.com who had her make up perfect and had a very realistic baby blue doll wig. I noticed she was quite popular so I saved her photos on my computer so I can look at how I can better my own Rei cosplay. I really saw the diference in our wigs.

Finally I will talk about wigs and quality. I will not deny cosplay can be very a expensive hobby, it can be like being really into a sport or being really into photography. Then you got your good quality make up coming into it. Over time as a cosplayer you will expereince with many different make up types, wigs and outfits and you will know which best suits you.

I find these following sites are great for copslay wigs because the hair doesn't look as fake and looks great in photos;

cosplay.com Shop
Cosplaywig - Highly recemmend it
Fun Place by the Giety Theatre tends to sell high quality wigs.
Also shop around Ebay.

I hope all that helps.