Archive for September, 2012

A few weeks ago I got to take a behind the scenes look at Animaine 2012, one of New England’s up and coming anime conventions. We toured the staff facilities, met with the team, and even had an exclusive interview with the con chairman and chief of staff. If you would like to read my article from the standpoint of a NerdCaliber representative, please follow this link: http://nerdcaliber.com/a-convention-behind-the-scenes-animaine-2012-staff/

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Your costume looks great! Someone wants your picture! ….and you just stand there with a goofy smile, feet together, arms at your sides… Don’t just stand there! POSE! But how!?

Cool poses are how you sell your costume to the camera. Your pose completes your costume by putting you into character and giving your outfit context. Without a good pose your costume isn’t going to live up to its full potential. No one wants a picture of you blankly staring at them, even if your costume is the best they’ve ever seen. The photographers want a little bit of acting, attitude, and style. People appreciate it when a cosplayer looks rehearsed, and they really appreciate it when a whole group of cosplayers can get into an interesting pose quickly and make it look natural. Group shots that are well planned are some of the most impressive photo-ops that a convention has to offer.

How can you pose better? All it takes is a little practice.

You can start off by drawing the poses that you want to enact. Not too many, start with three or four. When I say draw, I don’t mean that you have to be an artist. Just do a little stick figure doodle of different poses that you think would look cool. If they look good as a doodle on paper, they will probably look good in person. This is especially helpful for group cosplays because it allows you to get all the messy coordinating out of the way on paper, and it allows you to show people where to stand without showing them physically where to stand.

Practice your poses in a mirror and as a group if you are cosplaying as a group. You need to see what you look like in order to get the pose down right. Have your sketch handy so that you can refer back to them, and talk to each other about how to change things up. Once you have your pose down, practice getting into pose from standing so that when someone stops you at the con, you all know where to go.

What are some good rules for creating a good pose? Generally speaking you want to lift your limbs away from your body. The idea is to break up your silhouette to make your pose very readable in any light. Always lift your elbows beyond the point of feeling stupid, and spread your legs in an uncomfortable fashion as well. Typically the more uncomfortable you are, the better you look. Also always try to stretch while posing. If you are standing, elongate your neck and spine. If you are pointing, really point. Over articulate everything. If you are squatting, get really low until it burns. Which brings me to my next piece of advice: start doing squats. It will help you hold those low poses longer without shaking.

When planning a pose you want to think in levels. You need to fit your group into a fairly small space in order to all fit inside the camera lens. In order to do this, you need to stack people. Have some people reaching up high and elongating, while others are crouching, or even sitting.

STRETCH AGAIN! Start stretching daily to improve your range of motion. On the day of the convention, take ten minutes to get in a good stretch before the convention so that you are all warmed up and ready to strike some intense poses.

Don’t forget the face. Practice in a mirror from time to time and find your best angle. Do you look better with your chin up or down? Straight on or head slightly turned? Remember what your face feels like when posing so you can recreate the look for the camera without the help of a mirror.

That’s about all there is to it! Keep these things in mind and you will be posing like a pro in no time. Please feel free to look through some of my cosplay pictures to get a better idea of how to coordinate a group pose if you need more help.

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Hey readers,

As per requested, today I have some low-resolution progress pictures of my upcoming steampunk which will debut at this year’s New York Comic Con. These pictures were either taken on my cell phone, web camera, or in low light so I apologize for the grain or blurriness, but at least the debut will be that much more special for the image quality.

This first picture of a progress picture of the skirt. I drafted the pattern myself and it involves a lot of ruffles! The skirt is now complete and this garment alone took about 30 hours to complete.

Here’s a picture of the incomplete bustle, which is now also complete. I once again drafted my own pattern and constructed the piece myself using some beautiful brocades and a textured satin.

This picture isn’t exactly of progress but it is a compilation of patterns that I ALMOST used. There was a pattern sale going on while I was constructing my steampunk, and while I only used one of the patterns featured here for the top of the costume, I got a lot of inspiration from the pictures and did a lot of sketching and revising on their account. They would all make great steampunk patterns and hopefully they can be useful to you.

This is a quick shot of the vest in progress. Those laces will not be final and are just to test what kind I need. Not that kind, that’s for sure. The laces will ultimately go down my whole back. You can also see some of the back of the finished skirt. That’s my process update for now! More to come later this month.

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Hey Readers,

I have recently entered JoAnn Fabric’s September “Sew Unique” National Sewing Month Photo Contest. Contest rules state that you must submit a photo of something that you made using all JoAnn materials, preferably including some unusual fabric. I decided to go for it and submit my original steampunk outfit seen below.

If you’d like to vote for my costume, please follow this link to my entry: http://bit.ly/NKojzi

In order to vote you must “like” Joann Fabrics first, then a vote button will appear under my submission.

The judges are looking for creativity, skill, and use of unusual materials. My use of upholstery fabric may not be as innovative as making a dress from plastic-wrap but I still love the way this costume turned out, and if I have even the slightest shot at winning a prize, I have to go for it.

Thanks for your support!

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My next article for Nerd Caliber is live! Nerd Caliber is an online nerd news network that brings convention coverage, cosplay advice, and nerd politics to the masses. My role as cosplay correspondent and blogger is primarily to write articles about how to cosplay better. This week’s article is about food; specifically what foods will make you look great in costume, and what foods to stay away from during a convention. This is not a lecture on how to eat right year-round. This is simply about nutritional choices can make you look instantly better or worse.

Sticking to a healthy diet a convention can be a real challenge. Convention center food courts and hotel neighborhood are littered with fast food options. But hopefully the super easy tips in this article will help keep you on track.

You can read the full article here!

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Hey everyone,

I have a little treat for you today. This October my cosplay group MetaCosplay and I will be debuting a new steampunk group at New York Comic Con. Here I have a fashion sketch on which I am basing my costume. I did this little doodle in pen and colored pencil one day while I was trying to work out all the colors. Now, I may not end up following every detail to the letter; I edit costumes heavily during construction as I see exactly the way things fall. In fact this is not my preliminary sketch by any means, but actually my third or fourth revision. But seeing as I am already half way into this costume’s construction, I think that it will come out looking pretty close to this particular sketch.

This method of costume planning may be helpful for you to see if you like to make original works. I always start with a sketch, even when cosplaying an existing character. I can better get my head around a costume’s construction if I draw it out myself, even if I know exactly what it is going to look like because I am following another’s design. But in the cases of original costumes, I find sketching and re-sketching to be an essential part of the process.

Here are some tips for designing your own original costume:

1. Start with the silhouette. Details, in the beginning are not important. Start with the general shape of the costume, and chip away at it as if you were carving a block of wood.

2. Have a color scheme in mind from the start. Don’t just make two garments in two random colors and hope that you can find a third color to tie the two together. Have an idea of a color family that you want to stick to. If you do get in a color pickle, remember the neutrals. Neutrals help tie together colors that seem totally unrelated.

3. Look at what you already have to work with. Dig through your fabric bin at home, get out all your old patterns, and see what undergarments and accessories you can already use to cut down on your work and expenses. I’m not saying you should assemble things you already own and call it a “new” costume, but if you already have a boat load of blue fabric, maybe you should consider using blue in your design. If you already have a hoop skirt, you can achieve great skirt fullness without that added expense. Etc.

4. Remember that light colors make you look bigger, and dark colors make you look smaller. Keep this in mind when placing your colors on the body. If you want your waist to look smaller, don’t wear a yellow belt. If you want your shoulders to look wider, don’t wear a black sweater.

5. Don’t forget the footwear. Shoes may not be the star of your costume but they can ruin the illusion if they don’t fit the style. For an original costume, why not look at the shoes you already have and design something that goes with? Or you can use your costume as justification to buy shoes that you’ve wanted anyway. Unless you have extra money to burn, don’t buy shoes that you will only wear once for an original costume. You have flexibility here! So flex.

6. Be realistic about what your body will look like when the costume is done. Don’t design a risqué costume with the intension of losing weight. Don’t make a costume a size bigger because you plan to “bulk up.” Even if you manage to lose or put on the weight, it doesn’t mean you are going to feel any different in your skin. Design a costume that you would be comfortable wearing TODAY. If you look even better in it in three months, that’s great.

One final thought: I always like to make things that I can wear on multiple occasions and with multiple costumes. This isn’t always possible, especially with statement pieces or costumes that are made as one big piece. But things like your standard white bloomers, khaki adventure pants, a white chemise, or a black belt are things that can act as a base for thousands of costumes. Try working some of these basics into your design and then when you’re in a pinch for a halloween costume, you’ll have plenty to start with.

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