September 14, 2016

Costume Lighting Round: Ren Faire Edition

So this past weekend, I had signed up to visit our local Renaissance Festival with an old Rennie Pal of mine (that's a code word for people like to do the Ren Faire thing) - turns out she was taking a RenFest newbie, so I was more than happy to tag along!

I of course have not been to a festival for the last like, FIVE years, so I had to go unbury all my garb from the costume archive. Upon trying on garments I had intended to wear, I realized I didn't quite... erm... fit the pieces like I did before.

And I realized I can sew like 10x better now, (#cosplayerproblems!) and wanted to wear something new.

I decided this Thursday Morning. I literally had two days.

When it comes to Garb, you don't necessarily get to just pick a picture (though many people like to use the old paintings as reference!), and go with that character. You kinda get to make one up. So I spent most of Thursday ruminating and browsing around trying to figure out what I was gonna be. I had intended to be a fairy at the faire before, so I figured I'd do something fantastical again.

That's when it hit me. I'll make a GENIE! The theme that weekend was Wonders of the World, so I'd fit right in, and I happened to have dyed my hair a bright orange for the holidays so I'd do a fire genie! And thus I made the following:



So I was super unlucky at the stores until Dave got home, and we went searching and found this weirdly iridescent fabric. I wanted to do the dorky beaded lamp trims because FANCY but I wasn't sure what to get. And that's when the Voice Of Reason (Dave) said to get something I really liked because if I cheaped out on the trim, and just got whatever I wouldn't want to wear it again, and why waste the money like that, right?

So I picked this one out:


It totally looks like rupees from Zelda, and I am thrilled

He is a wise man.

I washed fabric and then stayed up way too late thursday night making pants. With, I might add a very frustrating set of pattern instructions. I'm not sure if I was just super tired (possibly) or if the editor who designed the weird hopping around directions wasn't paying attention. Either way, I schlepped the pant pieces together in the way I know pants go (see, these are the things you learn by making a bazillion costumes), and slapped in an invisible zipper.


These pants were plain. I decided Friday to change that.

Because I can't be super normal when making any pattern, I overlayed the orangey fabric with a sheer shimmery red, so in the sun you sometimes see a glimmer of orange. Like fire.

Also, I wanted to put the red as a trim on the shirt. Which then induced more swearing as I had to make a pattern piece on the fly and do the fold over and hide in the seam trick, but I think it came out well.


These sleeves will be getting remade because
I'd like to be able to move my arms when wearing it.

And then last but not least I wanted to have some matching genie-type earrings and I had some beads that came off the trim as I cut parts, so I used those for a whole cohesive look! And the beads were plastic so they're effectively weightless.

RUPEE JEWELRY!
Since I work at home, and costuming is part of the stuff I do as a job now, I took friday afternoon and sewed up the top. So within about 24 hours I had a complete new costume! (I borrowed some parts from another old cosplay of mine too).

Got to go to the faire, all blinged out, and the test run was a success!

And this was moments before the sky opened up on us

TL;DR

I sewed a Ren Faire costume in a day, and it was pretty fun. A little frustrating now and then, but simple enough I could hack it together. I wouldn't recommend it for beginners to try doing (seriously staying up way too late isn't the smartest thing to do when dealing with fast moving needles), but it was a fun experience.

Costume is 8/10 will wear again - I just need to make better moving sleeves, thankfully these ones are easily removed!

September 12, 2016

Books in the Wild!

Epic Cosplay Costumes is on Amazon now! Go here to check it out: https://www.amazon.com/Epic-Cosplay-Costumes-Step-Step/dp/1440245770 (and leave a review if you enjoyed it!)

Before we return to our regularly scheduled blog posts, I wanted to make one last post about books! We're now in the throes of September and the books are officially "Out!"


They're real! *cue anxiety attack*


Books in the Wild - What Can Readers Help With?

So now that the books have manifested into reality, there's still some steps in the book process! Firstly, I want to know if you're making things!

Have you made a costume using these tutorials? 
If so, PLEASE! Send me a link to my cosplay page! (facebook.com/karmadacosplay) I would love to start a gallery of people making use of these tutorials. I love seeing the creative work y'all come up with, so let me advertise you!

Did you enjoy the book, or have something you really liked about it? 
Leave a review! That means either on the Amazon page (see link at top), or at the Barnes and Noble website. By leaving your happy review, means that the publisher knows the book was a success! If it gets positive enough reviews and sales, there's a chance more cosplay books could be coming your way.



Share These Links!

Because it's not a huge distribution (yet), sharing any sorts of links, tumblr posts, twitter posts and the like are a BIG help! If you know people who might be interested in a book like this, SHARE the posts! I can be found at the following social media sites:


I have some other sites, but those are more art related, if you are interested they are here:




Once again, thank you so much for your support for Epic Cosplay Costumes! My hope is that I can help many more people enter the magical world of Cosplay. It's fun, educational, and FANTASTIC! So get out there, and start MAKING COSTUMES!

~karmada


August 30, 2016

Epic Cosplay Costumes: Happy Publication Week!

Epic Cosplay Costumes is set to be released in stores September 1st of this year, and you can get it on Amazon now! Go here to check it out: https://www.amazon.com/Epic-Cosplay-Costumes-Step-Step/dp/1440245770



A Beginner’s Guide & Veteran Handbook

This week marks the official release of Epic Cosplay Costumes. I hope that you’ve all enjoyed a sort of preview of all the interesting things I’ve included in the book (asides from the many tutorials)!

I wanted this book to not only be a tutorial guide on how to make some basic types of costume pieces, but to also be a welcoming guide to cosplay itself. I’ve found there are a lot of people out there who are curious about cosplay, and want to start, but get intimidated or don’t think it’s “for them”. I wanted to show them that it’s okay, and it’s not as complicated as one might think.

At the same time, I wanted to make a book that would be useful for the more ‘veteran’ cosplayers out there. Those of us who’ve put together our own costumes, but looking for more information, or a guide to help out. I designed all the tutorials with an easy-to-follow customizable sizing layout, but at the end of each project I added tips on how to alter these items. In fact, I STRONGLY encourage it! Mess with the patterns, experiment and alter them to make the costumes of your dreams!

All the Things to Learn & Grow

I would like to leave you all with some food-for-thought, though really it’s me kind of getting a little mushy about the whole thing. Cosplay is an amazing hobby. You learn all sorts of wonderful new skills (all the time, don’t worry you’ll ALWAYS find something new to figure out), meet cool people, and it even can help you boost your own confidence!

The TL;DR list of neat things you learn (just in case you get any naysayers ;) )

Puzzle Solving/Problem Solving
AKA “how do I make THAT”

Research Techniques
Finding your reference images, looking up styles of clothing, how things are made, trying to find that tutorial that’ll help you make that one odd thing

Following Directions
Making stuff with patterns and following the instructions provided. Following tutorials.

Sewing
You’re putting fabric together! This includes all sorts of stuff from plain seams, to ironing, buttons, spacial awareness, and so much more.

Instructional Writing
A lot of us write up about how we made our costumes – for other cosplayers to find and use our tutorials!

Event Planning/Scheduling
How to coordinate a group project, travel planning (going to conventions), event coordinating (signing up for things like Masquerades)

TIME MANAGEMENT
AHAHAHAHAH sure. Yes. We totally learn this.

Budgeting
You learn how to save up monies for that fabric you really want, or that show you want to visit, you learn to clip coupons and wait for pattern sales.

Social Skills
One of the best parts of cosplay is how it can change your outlook on social interactions. It helps create great conversation starters, and helps you find fellow fans. It’s been known to boost social self-esteem, and I know I feel a lot more confident in a costume than in regular clothes when I’m at a convention.



You Can Do It!

The long story short here, is that cosplay can be a very fun, rewarding hobby, and if you’ve ever wanted to try it out – now’s the time to start! There are all sorts of information sources out there, and handy guides like Epic Cosplay Costumes to help you along the way.

Get out there and DO THE THING!


I believe in you! See you at the convention! ;)

August 23, 2016

Epic Cosplay Costumes: Convention Survival Kit

Epic Cosplay Costumes is set to be released in stores September 1st of this year, and you can get it on Amazon now! Go here to check it out: https://www.amazon.com/Epic-Cosplay-Costumes-Step-Step/dp/1440245770

Cosplay is More Than Just Sewing

Epic Cosplay Costumes (ECC) is at it's core, a book about how to make costume pieces that can be used to create many types of cosplay. However, as you've noticed throughout the last several posts I've made regarding the book, I included a whole bunch of other topics that can be helpful in creating and wearing the costumes of your dreams!

I wanted to save this introduction for last, because it's one that I feel very passionately about:

Conventions.

That's right. You've probably seen em on TV, in the news, and so forth, but one of the biggest places people take and wear cosplay are to conventions!

So far, from my knowledge there is no actual "Stuff Con"
It a convention... about STUFF. Stuff you like!
Like anime. Or comics.


Convention Survival Kit

Conventions can seem big, scary, and intimidating, but many of us want to visit one(and cosplay too). To a fledgling con-goer (or their parents), all the sign ups, travel and set up to even get ready to go to a convention can be very confusing or overwhelming.

I wanted to use this section to give the general ins and outs about what it takes to actually get to and participate in an actual convention. While they're all different, there's a lot of similarities between the hundreds (if not thousands) of conventions out there!


THE INTERNET.


Topics include:

  • Signing up to attend
  • What sort of events they'll have
  • Where to find information like cosplay and convention rules
  • Traversing the hallways (and watching for attendees so your costume and/or props stay in one piece)
  • Getting photos
  • ...and more! 
Some of it's technical know-how mixed in with some general attendee etiquette - this includes what you, as a cosplayer, should be aware of, as well as what attendees should know regarding cosplayers and convention behavior too!

This section is devoted to helping make YOUR experience at a convention as smooth and stress-free as I can through text. I want to not only see you all make great and wonderful costumes, but I want to see you wear them with confidence. Conventions aren't as insurmountable as you think - in fact, they can be a very fun and rewarding experience!

So go on! Go sign up and get out there, meet other cosplayers and fans - have a great time!

August 19, 2016

Super Tiny Recap: JAFAX 2016

We're back with another Sort-Of-Retro-Recap-Because-I-Was-So-Busy-Traveling about yet ANOTHER convention!

This week's recap is JAFAX.

more information found at jafax.org


I only ended up spending a single day there due to traveling logistics, but I wanted to chime in on the new location and show!

For many many many years, JAFAX has been a small anime convention taking place at Grand Valley State University's campus (and I'd say is responsible for me really getting into the convention scene in general). Over these many many many years, the number of attendees has grown what feels like exponentially. And grow it did, so big that it could no longer be contained on a campus easily.

And thus they took a year off, and relocated to downtown Grand Rapids and the DeVos Center.

Check In & Entryway

Finding the show wasn't too hard - the DeVos Center is directly off the freeway, so for us single-dayers or commuters, it wasn't too hard to find. The center itself is HUGE and so very pretty. I hadn't pre-registered because I am basically a giant doofus, and I figured they're really expedient with other stuff, this should be okay, right?


I later discovered this further wrapped around around the corner!


When I got in to the show, the line was IMMENSE. And while yes, it was a bit of a bother waiting (because I was a panelist I got to flag a volunteer to help me out. I wasn't even able to drive up until the early afternoon due to scheduling and I felt so bad about it! That's all on me though), I was so happy that there were so many people trying to get into the show.

And JAFAX handled it as best as any show could! They knew things weren't working right, the system was running extra slow so check in wasn't working as efficiently as planned. But they worked with the attendees, providing next day badges and the like. Because that's the kind of show they are. I'm proud to know them.

Dealer Hall

I didn't have a lot of time to spare, so I quickly dashed to the Dealer Hall, which had a very nice set up. It was in a big ballroom type room, and had carpeted floors and sound absorbing walls. I can't tell you how happy that makes me, because sometimes the din of crowds and people talking make my head hurt.

ANOTHER TRASH CAN I AM SO BAD AT PHOTOS

The artists and the vendors were vaguely separated into areas, but in a way, also interspersed, which worked for the smaller nature of the vendor hall.

Other Stuff

Check in for panels was great - staff was really nice. The panel rooms themselves were lovely!

They also had a couple of food booths set up by DeVos center themselves, and I am always so happy when conventions have instant ramen bowls available. I will eat that in a heartbeat over fast food at conventions!

I got one of the last spicy bowls. MWAHAHAH. It was DELICIOUS.

I was literally only there for a handful of hours, as I drove home immediately (as in 3 days I was driving to Texas), so I can't really comment much on the good, the bad, the suggestions like I normally do.

I really liked the new center. It had a LOT of potential for future shows, and I hope next year to attend the full weekend! This show has a lot of space to grow into, and I bet it can. I can't wait to see what it turns into!

August 15, 2016

Epic Cosplay Costumes: Cosplay Wigs

Epic Cosplay Costumes is set to be released September 1st of this year, and you can pre-order it on Amazon! Go here to check it out: https://www.amazon.com/Epic-Cosplay-Costumes-Step-Step/dp/1440245770

Other Pieces of a Costume

Many people see photos of fantastic cosplays and they get a tad overwhelmed, or unsure of how to create the same effects on their own. A common question I've gotten is actually about something OTHER than the costume pieces to make.

Wigs.
FUN FACT: Some of these wigs are based on ones I own ;)

The world of cosplay wigs has transformed from scrounging around on the internet and in Halloween stores hoping you can get something to vaguely work with (and use mysterious things like caulk or heat sealers - it was a dark time) to a big business! Technology has advanced so much that cosplay wigs are extremely easy to come across these days and can make your costuming even easier!

I wanted to introduce cosplayers who might not be familiar with some of the terminology or basics of wig finding/wearing. Let's be honest here - you can write an entire book on wigs alone (in fact, some people have!) - so I didn't want to get too mired in in-depth explanation, but more of a general overview so it's not so scary!

Side Note: I also wanted to mention that in this section I also talk about the fact that you don't have to wear a wig if you don't want to. This chapter is merely to introduce the inexperienced wig users with some handy info on how to wear and care for their colorful hairpieces!

How to Wear & Care For a Wig

This particular section in the book, while smaller, is here to provide you some interesting general information regarding wigs and their wear and care!

Throughout the chapter, I talk about supplies you'll want to have on hand if you're going to be wearing and/or styling wigs, as well as how to put ON a wig.

That's right! I'm going to tell you how to put a wig on your head - because I'll be the first to admit, I had no idea what I was doing back in the day. I explain what to do with your hair underneath (wear wig caps, people!), how to place a wig onto your head, even where you can sew in snap clips or where to place bobby pins.

THE FUTURE IS NOW!
Heat Styling! OH MY!

It's Not That Scary!

Cosplay wigs aren't as much of a scary thing any more, and they've made it 1000 times easier to find and style them than way in the past. I hope that when you peruse through this section, perhaps you too will find that cosplay wigs aren't as daunting as you once thought!

Places to Find Wigs

Here's a couple of my favorite online stores, with tons of colors and styles available!

Arda Wigs

Epic Cosplay Wigs


NEXT WEEK: A Special Section about Conventions

August 12, 2016

Retro Recap: Indy Pop Con 2016

Indy Pop Con 2016 was mostly a blur to me this year for a couple of reasons. I was giving a whole host of instructional panels (one of my favorite things to do!), but more importantly I had literally gotten back from Europe about 3 days before the show. I was super jet-lagged the day I got back, and never had the chance to actually just rest.


My Day of Rest was actually Re-Writing Panels and
Designing Booklets for 14 hours straight.

Word to the wise, this is NOT a smart idea. I think I still managed to teach pretty darn well at all my panels and much fun was had! But I'll talk about that in a little bit. Time for another Retro Recap (mostly because it happened like 2 months ago and I'm super behind in my recaps)!


INDY POP CON 2016



I had ended up missing last years IPC due to conflicting events, and I had longed to vend at this years show but stuff and timing just didn't end up working out as I had hoped. BUT! I was presented with the opportunity to present make and take workshops all about drawing and artwork, and how could I resist?

I did spend most of my time in a panel room, or behind a booth helping my art pal Tiny T-Rex Studios watch their stuff. (and making buttons on the spot for people!) So I didn't see nearly as much of the show as I'd like but I have my general thoughts on how it went, and my suggestions and feelings on the show!


I am a great dinosaur babysitter.


Click the READ MORE for the rest of the post!