Cosplay tips!

Writing my cosplay blog of a few weeks ago, a lot of issues came to mind where I have struggled with or where I’ve seen others struggle with. So here are some tips I can give to aspiring or beginning cosplayers. Some of them are based on my personal opinion on cosplaying (or how cosplaying should be), so feel free to disagree with me! It’s just some simple stuff you can do (or shouldn’t do!) to make you cosplay a little better 😉

Also, click on the picture to go to the original location 🙂

Wigs

There are wigs in all kinds of colors and styles!

Wigs are expensive, but whether you like it or not, it’s the best option. I’ve experienced myself that you can never get your hair the exact same way as the character you’re cosplaying, and it just looks better than your own hair. Unless your own hair is by chance perfect for what you’re cosplaying or your hair doesn’t really matter for the outfit. I’ve seen people doing a perfect cosplay, but they didn’t bother to get their hair in the right model or color. It just looks so unfinished! Also, buy quality wigs, not cheap ones from party stores. They suck. You can buy wigs on most websites where they sell cosplay and on amazon. Also, make sure all your hair is properly tucked away under your wig!

Make-up

When it comes to make-up, I usually believe in the rule ‘less is more’. In cosplay, that rule doesn’t count! Anime and manga characters have eyes that really stand out. I even encourage male cosplayers to try on some eye make-up. You can google tutorials if you’re not good with make-up (like me!).

Glasses

I wear glasses myself, but most anime characters don’t. Now my eyesight is still pretty good, so I can manage without glasses for a day (I still wear them during AMV-compo’s and such, or I can’t see the stage very well). But if you can’t: Please wear contacts! I personally hate contacts, so I’m happy I don’t have to wear them (yet). But honestly, if you’re cosplaying a character who doesn’t wear glasses, don’t wear glasses! It just doesn’t look right and unfinished. Also, you can do awesome things with colored contacts!

Originality

If you’re going to cosplay as Hatsune Miku, you’re not going to be the only one.

I’d like to be original with my cosplay, but that’s a choice everyone has to make for him- or herself of course. But don’t be surprised if you find at least 10 other Hatsune Miku’s or 20 other Akatsuki members if you’re cosplaying as one of those. Recent hit anime will always be cosplayed a lot (right now, that’s Attack on Titan). The advantage of cosplaying popular characters is that you are likely to be recognized by others and store bought cosplay is easier to find on the web. The downside is that you’re not standing out as much and you’re likely to find someone else who’s doing it better, which isn’t good for your self-confidence. The downside of cosplaying an unknown character is of course that most people probably won’t recognize you. The trick is to find a good balance. But don’t let anyone stop you from cosplaying the characters you like! If you really want to cosplay as a certain character, f*ck everyone else! Also, an easy way to make a popular characters more original is to genderbend it or to give your own original twist to it.

The weather

This is some amazing cosplay! But how long until you drop?

A lot of female characters in anime and manga don’t wear much clothing, and if you’re comfortable showing skin, I’d say, go for it! But keep the current season in mind! I’ve seen girls in bikini waiting in line outside for an hour while it was snowing. You don’t want that. There are conventions which are partially outside so check that before you choose your cosplay. Same counts for summer of course: you don’t want to cosplay as a fully armored Gundam when it’s 35 degrees Celsius outside.

Comfort

Is this a cosplayer or a stripper?

The most impressive cosplay is usually the most uncomfortable cosplay. Think about heavy armors and huge wings. Try to think about how long you want to wear the cosplay and how long you can bear to wear it. You want to have fun at the convention itself too after all. Even small things such as high heels or ill-fitted shoes can ruin your day. Also, don’t show more skin than you’re comfortable with! There aren’t much things more embarrassing than a nipple-slip and people can see it if you’re not comfortable with how much you’re showing. Things can be easily solved with skin-colored underclothing! And if you’re comfortable with showing skin, try to make your cosplay not too slutty. People appreciate it when you’re staying true to the character, so don’t make it more naked than it is. You’re a cosplayer, not a booth-babe. There are other ways to make a character look sexy!

Bra’s

A lot of cosplay outfits have open shoulders. Make sure your straps aren’t visible! You can choose for a strapless bra, transparent straps or maybe skin-colored straps. If you wear cosplay with an open back, try if you can sew cups into to cosplay outfit itself.

Have fun!

The most important thing about cosplay is to have fun. So what if you’re cosplaying a slutty version of Hatsune Miku with your regular hair and glasses on, and there are walking 1000 clones of you around. As long as you have fun, it doesn’t matter! There will always be people who bash your outfit and you’ll always find someone who does your character better than you. Don’t let that get you down. The only thing that counts, is that you have a great day!

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Alternative Cinema Festival: 5 movie reviews

Once every 3 months, our cinema has an alternative cinema festival, where they show five alternative movies which haven’t been released in cinema’s yet in the Netherlands. This time they showed Her, Ain’t them bodies Saints, August: Osage County, Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Keeper of Lost Causes.

 Her

IMBD abstract (very light spoilers):

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he’s not working as a letter writer, his down time is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states. Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1 (Scarlett Johansson). As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt. As an OS, Samantha has powerful intelligence that she uses to help Theodore in ways others hadn’t, but how does she help him deal with his inner conflict of being in love with an OS?

My opinion

This movie has 5 Oscar Nominations and I understand why. The genre of this movie can best be described as a comical drama (or dramatic comedy). I struggled with to fully gasp this genre until I saw this movie. It shows us a bizarre but maybe realistic image of the future and it’s interesting to see how both Theodore and Samantha each have their own problems and struggles with a relationship between an human and an OS. This movie is a must-see if you are a person who can laugh because of the bizarreness of situations, even if they’re sad. Or maybe just because you want to hear Scarlett Johanssons voice being sexy.

Ain’t them Bodies Saints

IMDB abstract (no spoilers)

The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met.

My opinion

Well, that is a short abstract. You know why? There is nothing more to tell about this movie. A guy and a girl commit crimes, he gets caught, she gives birth while he is in prison. She manages to have some kind of a normal life with her daughter, but he escapes and want to be reunited with his girlfriend and daughter. There is some shooting, that’s it. Characters show no emotions whatsoever and nothing is explained about the inner thoughts, motivations or back stories of the characters. Don’t go see this movie unless you like long movies where noting happens. Also, I don’t understand the title (but maybe that’s because English isn’t my native language).

August: Osage County

IMDB abstract (no spoilers)

A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

My opinion

I really enjoyed this movie. The catch-line of this movie should be ‘it’s funny because it’s sad’. This family gives the word dysfunctional a deeper meaning, although I’m afraid that there really exist families like this. This movie has a star cast of, among others, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, and, dumdumdum… Benedict Cumberbatch! I was really surprised to see him here because I didn’t check the movies before going to the festival. I only know him as Sherlock, so it was nice to see him in a totally opposite role (a shy, unsure, and maybe slightly mentally disabled man). Anyway, go see this movie if you like Benedict Cumberbatch, go see this movie if you like good movies. From now on, whenever I am irritated because some of my family members, I will remember this movie and think it always can be worse.

Grand Budapest Hotel

IMDB Abstract (no spoilers)

GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

My opinion

Before this movie started, we were told we are normally not allowed to make recordings, but with this movie, we were extra not allowed to make them. Because we got the honor of seeing a world premiere of Grand Budapest Hotel, and they were only allowed to show us if they extra warned us and checked with night vision goggles during the movie. With this announcement, expectations were raised, and they were double met.

This is by far the best movie of the day and the other movies set the bar high already. The movie starts with a flashback in a flashback in a flashback and that sets the type of humor for the rest of the movie. The type of storytelling and humoristic logic used makes me think of the first part of Life of Pi. There is also a hint of dark humor that reminds me of Tim Burton movies, but the overall setting is a chaotic and cheerful. The background and scenery in this movie is beautiful, but really you should just go see by yourself when it is in cinema’s.

Some deeper thoughts: The story takes place in a non-existent Eastern European country called Zubrowka in a village called (if I remember correctly) Lebensbad. Although, the architecture of the hotel and the fact that they mention hot water springs strongly remembers me of Carlsbad, a spa village I once visited in the Czech Republic. So I wonder if Lebensbad is based on Carlsbad.

The Keeper of the Lost Causes (Kvinden i buret)

IMDB Abstract

The Keeper Of Lost Causes tells the story of chief detective Carl Mørck and his assistant Assad who become involved in a five-year-old case concerning the mystery of politician Merete Lynggaard’s disappearance – a journey that takes them deep into the undercurrent of abuse and malice that lurks beneath the polished surface of Scandinavia.

My opinion

A Danish movie to close the day. This movie made me wonder what the requirements for alternative cinema are. I have the feeling that if this movie wasn’t Danish spoken but English, it would’ve been a mainstream movie. Now I usually don’t like crime mystery movies, but I kinda liked this one. The plot was exiting and I really wanted to know how it ended. But compared to other movies of the same genre, I would say this one is mediocre. There are some much used tropes (good cop-bad cop, rogue agents, rooky agent-experienced agent, among others), which makes the story predictable. You can clearly see that this movie is based on a book, because certain plot elements are inserted  but have absolute no added value at all (like the step-son of the main character). So, you can go watch the movie if you’re a fan of the genre, otherwise, you’ll miss nothing if you stay home.

My 2-year anniversary of a cosplayer: an overview

With my third Tsunacon (see my previous blog) it is also my second anniversary as a cosplayer! Time for an overview. I cannot call myself a ‘pro’ cosplayer though, since I cannot make clothes myself. I just do what I can with clothes that I can buy in stores. But maybe, if you are an aspiring cosplayer with no clothes-making skills, money, or time like me, you can find some inspiration from this blog!

Tsunacon 2012 (February)

My first convention! If course I wanted to cosplay, and it was not very difficult to decide what I would do: Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate. Steins;Gate was the hit anime of the summer of 2011, and it’s still one of my favourites. The main characters didn’t wear really difficult clothing, and by pure chance I already owned a black hotpants, a white shirt and the right shoes. The only things I needed to buy were tights, a red tie, a white belt and a labcoat. That turned out to be more difficult that I thought, but I managed to find everything in time! My boyfriend cosplayed as Okabe Rintarou, so we were a set (which is always good for photographs). In retrospect, I should’ve gotten a red wig, but at that time I figured that it was good enough if I just dyed my hair red. Tsunacon 2012 was an amazing experience nonetheless. People wanted to make pictures of me, like I was the character itself, and that’s the biggest compliment you can get as a cosplayer I think. The whole day was filled with new and amazing experiences!

Abunai 2012 (August)

Abunai is one of the largest conventions in the Netherlands and it takes three days. So or course, I wanted three different cosplay outfits. For the first day, I wore a steampunk-ish outfit, not based on any manga, anime or game. I just thought it looked cool (and it did, hehe). I already owned the shoes and the stockings, I bought the suit on a market in Italy for 5 euro’s or somehting, and I ordered the goggles online (I don’t remember where though, I guess it was amazon.uk). This is one of my cheapest outfits. On the picture you can also see I’m getting a little better with make-up. In daily life, I only wear some mascara and eye-shadow, so I asked my sister to learn me how to put on eye-liner :p .

The second day I wore my Makisu cosplay again. For some reason I still didn’t buy a wig and I didn’t feel like dying my hair red again, so I just managed with with my usual hair style. Me and my boyfriend were dressed as a set again, so a lot of people took pictures of us, and we met people who were also cosplaying as characters from Steins;Gate, which is also good for a lot of pictures 🙂

The third day I did a cosplay of a female form of Death the Kid from Soul Eater. This cosplay didn’t turn out the way I wanted though. I bought a wig at a party-shop and painted white stripes on it. I bought a skirt and a waistcoat, and sewed white stripes on it. But it just all looked better in my head. I think the wig was the biggest problem. I should’ve have bought better quality. But hey, I barely had half a year of cosplay experience at that time!

MGC-Experience 2012 (November)

Recycled my steampunk outfit but added gloves. No pictures.

Tsunacon 2013 (February)

Another failed experiment. I wanted to do a human form of the pokémon Umbreon. I bought a black dress and attached yellow rings to it with double-sided tape. I already owned the gloves and I wore my hair in pigtails to resemble the ears. But it turned to look very amateurish and I was not really happy with the result.

Abunai 2013 (August)

After some failed experiments, it was time for a comeback! For the first day I re-used my steampunk cosplay again, now with better gloves and a difference necklace. I kept my real cosplay for the second and third day: Wii Fit Trainer. Only two months before Abunai, the new Super Smash Brothers for Wii-U and 3DS was announced, with a few new characters, among which were Animal Crossing Villager and Wii Fit Trainer. I got inspiration for this cosplay when I saw two people make a kind of spoof cosplaying them on youtube. I was really excited over the idea of cosplaying Wii Fit Trainer and my boyfriend cosplaying Animal Crossing Villager, because the combination of the two was still very new and original. I even kept it a secret until the last moment because I was afraid that people would ‘steal’ the idea. I already owned a blue tanktop and black pants, and I bought white tights for my legs and white body paint for my face, arms, upper body and belly. Easy cosplay, wouldn’t you think? WRONG! Painting my body every morning was hell (couldn’t have done it without help of my boyfriend)! It took 1.5 hours to get everything an even shade of white! But the result was awesome, and we were the only ones!

Mendy’s B-day (November 2013)

As you guys might know, Mendy had a Doctor Who themed B-day party and she wanted everyone to do Doctor Who cosplay. I’d never watched Doctor Who at that time, so I decided to watch ‘a few’ episodes to get cosplay inspiration. ‘A few’ turned into an obsession and I watched all new seasons in three months. Even so, cosplay inspiration didn’t come until I just googled ‘doctor who cosplay’. But after that, I quickly found it: Tardis cosplay! This is my cheapest but one of my most awesome cosplays! I already owned a Tardis-blue dress, and I made the windows with regular paper and double-sided tape. The only thing I needed to buy was black tape (which I couldn’t find btw, I ended up with black-with-white-dots tape, but it turned out alright). The cosplay turned out great and I even won the first prize at Mendy’s cosplay contest!

Tsunacon 2014 (February)

I couldn’t get inspiration for cosplay this time and I was seriously considering not doing cosplay at ll. Lucky for me, Mendy had a newly developed knitting addiction and she asked me if I wanted to buy a Zelda themed hat from her. And then inspiration struck me: Knitted Female Link. With barely 2.5 weeks until Tsunacon, I didn’t have time to make an entire Link outfit, but Mendy knitted the hat for me in just one weekend and I managed to knit the gloves and belt within 2 weeks (I did not have knitting experience at all). I bought a green tunic (which perfectly matched the color of the hat!) and ordered elven ears. I already owned the boots, white shirt and tights, so this cosplay was done surprisingly fast. Costs for everything (including shipping) were a little higher that expected though (€75), but together with my improved make-up skills it turned out to be awesome!

My journey as a cosplayer was one with ups and downs. I’m still planning to learn how to really make clothes one day, but right now I just don’t have the time and money. I do plan to make a fully knitted link for Abunai 2014, so I’m going to knit a green tunic before August! I’m planning to make something also Zelda-related for Abunai, but I’m going to keep that a secret because I still have some difficulties with it and I don’t know if it will work out.

Do you guys have any cosplay experience? Share them in the comments!