January 30, 2014

Liquid eyeliner test


For quite some time now I've considered buying a liquid eyeliner for cosplay because some things you just can't do with a pencil one. Last week or so I figured it's time I get one and so I went to the makeup shelf of the store and felt awkward as always #guyproblems, pretty much took the first one and did a quick test stroke on my arm. It seemed good enough so I rolled with it.
Funny thing is that I had this test stroke still on my arm for the coming week and barely shit happened to it; it didn't flake or fade or anything... or wait, correction, veeeeery slight fading around the fourth day or so. But whatevs, yesterday I decided to do a quick test à la Okita edition (because Hakuouki characters are half the reason I wanted a liquid one lol) and well, for a first try it's not half bad I guess?

Sorry for the slight blur.
Oh, and if you wonder the contacts are Volte Green.
I'll be practising some more before I attend my next con but it should be okay, I'll get the hang of this!

Oh, and about the eyeliner itself, well, have some photos:

Rimmel's  Exaggerate Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

I must say I'm pretty fond of the tip; it's basically like a thin marker but you have to dip it like a paint brush – best of both worlds if you ask me! Yes, that's actually a big reason why I took this as well as the fact that it's waterproof (I tried) and wasn't all that expensive. I think it's pretty good, then again it's my first liquid eyeliner so I don't have anything to compare it with. But yeah, it's easy to use, fairly precise and holds nicely. I've noticed that sometimes after some hours it might flake a bit, especially at the corner of my eyes. Also it doesn't dry instantly so be careful when you apply it on your upper eyelid etc.

Oh, and before I leave you guys I must show you the newest addition to my bed space stealers plush collection. I just couldn't resist, okay? ;_;

Okita please <3
That's about it! See ya!

January 27, 2014

Fabric found for future dream cosplays

Sometime last week I went to Eurokangas to check for fabric and well, I didn't find what I was originally looking for but I found something else equally interesting.. namely this:

Reddish brown fake leather (sorry not the best lighting)
Actually I had seen this one a pretty long time ago but never really thought twice about it until now.. because I happened to realize the color is just about perfect for two of my future cosplays.
So, obviously the coming days -since my brain registered this fabric's potential- I kept thinking that the next time I go to Rajalla I should swing in at Eurokangas and buy a piece of it. Today I then went there and bought it! 1 meter cost me almost 10 € but oh well, it's worth it.

- What future cosplays you say? 
- Well, this fabric I would use for western!Okita's gloves as well as the gloves (again) and the feet protectors/shoes/whatever of this one calendar/Musouroku version of, well, Okita again, from Hakuouki. Because I love him to pieces. ;A; /allmyfeels

Western clothes version Okita, aka season 2/Hekketsuroku
(Japanese clothes/season 1 version in the background)
Calendar/Musouroku version (can't see the feet thingies on this pic though)
Well there ya go! Yes, I'm gonna do both of these and more versions *cough* because I'm gonna die if I don't. Period. But don't get your hopes up just yet because I won't do these this year, if even the next. Sorry. :'( I'm gonna work slowly because I want to do these cosplays as good as I possibly can and the reason is that, hands down, Okita is my number one favorite character, ever. <3
So yeah, now you know two of my many dream cosplays that I will end up doing before too long.. heheh... oops...

January 25, 2014

Lens review: Princess Pinky Orange Werewolf

Hi guys!

Back when I cosplayed Ibuki I promised to make a review of the orange contacts that I wore for him and well, it has been quite a while so I figured it's about time I do it now.

I spent quite some time looking for yellow/orange lenses and finally decided to settle on the Orange Werewolf lenses, made by the Princess Pinky brand. These were my first obviously costume-y lenses and I kind of saw it coming that they would be very bright and opaque. They were. Then again, it's what I wanted!

All photos except the first one with the contact lenses in solution are taken in bathroom light by me. There is no color filters and that's to show how the lenses really look!

Lenses in solution. (left one shows "wrong" side)
It's super easy to tell which way you are supposed to put
them in the wrong side is considerably lighter!
Base curve: 8.6 mm
Diameter: 14.5 mm
Water content: 38%
Life span: 1 year (I recommend 6 months)

I like the design on these, they are mostly orange with a yellow circle closest to the pupil hole and soft spike-y black outer rims. They should be enlarging 14.5mm diameter but I have a hard time telling if there's any difference at all. xD Very slight size difference and I actually like it like this.

With just one lens in.
The pupil hole is rather small which means that barely any of your natural eye color shows through the center. One thing though, with these contacts I almost always have a minor blurriness and/or the corners of my vision are orange; then again, it depends on the light of my surroundings. It's not really a problem but it's noticeable, especially when I move my gaze. It doesn't really bother me though and otherwise these lenses are really comfortable if you ask me.

Both lenses in.
Flash photo.
As you can tell these are really IN YOUR FACE bold no one who looks at you will miss seeing them. Super noticeable even from a distance!
I think they look really badass; I would consider wearing them out in town just to have people do double takes and/or freak out. :'D Especially with some fitting clothing. Mwoahahah...

And lastly I of course have the from-a-distance photos!

I like how wild these look, like some sort of wolf eyes; definitely a very cool pair to own if you ask me. Then again, I really love wolves. <3 I kind of wish I had more cosplays to wear with them than just Ibuki but I think these could look very cool for Inuyasha as well, for example. I want to cosplay Inuyasha someday, my first manga that I started collecting. ;w;

Short summary:

Color: 10/10 
Bold in-your-face color that's very noticeable from a distance.
Design: 8/10 
Solid simple design that looks like a wolf's eye. It's cool.
Opacity: 10/10
Currently the most opaque lenses I own. My real eye color is completely blocked out!
Enlargement: 5/10 
Doesn't seem to enlarge that much.
Comfort: 8/10 
Surprisingly comfortable for being more "crazy" contacts. Only minor problem is orange corners in my vision if I move my eyes and slightly blurred vision in insufficient light.
Naturalness: 0/10 
Good luck getting someone to believe these are your real eyes... xD

Howl and run, I'm out!

January 16, 2014

Haidate for Date!


On 22 September I was at mom's place and started working on another part for my Masamune cosplay, namely these.. things.. that he seemingly has (on some pictures at least) for some sort of protection or whatnot.

These two black flaps that start just under his belt
Pretty visible on this game screenshot
I did some searching online on Google and ended up with the conclusion that these could eventually be some sort of haidate armor.. if they aren't part of his undershirt that is. Maybe. I don't know, I couldn't come up with any other explanation for what they could possibly be otherwise that would make some sort of sense.. not like Sengoku Basara makes much sense to begin with though. :'D

Haidate set example - a pretty fabulous one at that
(photo is not mine, I found it somewhere in the dark corners of internet)
I don't plan to be historically accurate or anything and I don't have time for traditional methods so I decided to just go cosplay style over the making of these. I thought taking some craft foam and putting fabric over it would be sufficient enough and then just attaching the things to a tie -that I wrap around my hips- would do the trick. Off to test if it works!

Starting position - a piece of craft foam and black elastic
On this day I didn't really do much progress on the haidate because I was busy finishing the arm guards for Masamune. I did cut the craft foam in half and pick a fabric though (black PVC fabric) and measured and cut out fitting pieces of it. I planned to make a sort of "pouch" to fit the craft foam pieces into because this would be the cleanest and probably easiest way to do it; I didn't feel like wrapping fabric around and hot gluing it or anything messy like that.
So yeah, for that "pouch" I needed pretty much the double of the length of the craft foam piece in fabric, along with some seam allowance just to be on the safe side. I did mark and cut the fabric in half before calling it a day though.

Fabric cutting in progress

Okay, so I started these things on 22 September, right? Well, time passed somewhere before I knew what was going on and boom 16th January happened, aka today. I have currently borrowed mom's awesomesauce sewing machine (along with some sewing equipment) to my apartment so it's about time I finish this thing, don't you think?

I started by sewing both the fabric pieces into pouches and that's easy peasy - just folded the fabric in half -right sides against each other- and sewed a straight stitch (I don't need to zigzag PVC, it doesn't fray) at both open sides. Then I just turned the thing inside out which wasn't the easiest because PVC seems to almost glue itself when you put the right sides against each other and put the craft foam piece inside it.

Sewed "pouch" with craft foam going inside
Next up I cut out a fitting piece of elastic black ribbon. I used elastic because it's what was easy to find at mom's place.

Elastic cut out
Of course before I started sewing I zigzaged the ends of the elastic. You don't want it to start unraveling everywhere so that everyone can find you by following the threads...

Ends secured
I noticed at this point that I maybe should have had a little bit more fabric because I didn't have enough to fold the top part of the pouch nicely without it folding over where the craft foam was and well, you don't want to sew over the foam. Oh well, I just put the elastic over the very top edge of the fabric and sewed it on with a straight stitch through the middle. Of course I measured the elastic ribbon prior so that both the fabric parts would be on the middle of it when sewn on.

Sewing about to start..
I repeated the process for the other pouch and just trimmed the fabric that showed above the ribbon and ba-wham! Done!

Finished haidate-ish thing :'D
I wanted to see what it would look like when worn as well so I quickly threw on my Masamune coat and the belt and tied this newly finished thing on. Pretty cool if I do say so myself, even though most of it gets hidden by the coat anygay.

Sorry about the mirror photo (mirrored, duh) and that it's, well, dirty.. and checkered-shirt-Masamune.
Eeyup, that's it for now. I swear I'm relieved of finally having more progress on Masamune. Sure, it's not much at all but I reaaaaaaaally need to finish this cosplay for summer. Gonna work on it more from now on, go me!


January 14, 2014

Guideline approach: Cosplay decision process

Hello everyone!

Now -for a change- I'm going to write about how I personally choose my cosplay candidates - also known as "how I decide on who/what to cosplay?" :'D This is mostly just for fun and yeah, I am going to list my cosplay decision process generally; this is just my way of doing it and by no means am I saying that it's the only way or something! Everyone is free to cosplay and have their own decision approaches as they see fit and all that jazz that we should know by now but hey, now I'll tell you how it works for me! .. and it might work as a sort of loose guideline for newcomers to the hobby as well. Maybe.

Get ready, here it comes!

• First things first, number 1) I need to find a character to cosplay. How do I go about doing this?

It's obvious enough for everyone and their uncle's dog - I watch anime, read manga, play video games, watch movies or do anything else where you have characters that could make my "I like this guy" meter go up. No, not in that way. Oh, and if I'm honest sometimes I tend to pick what anime to watch/manga to read partly based on if there's any interesting character designs in the source material. :-D Yeah, that feeling when you watch/read something and then first you go "oh, this character looks cool, I want to know more about them" and then later have it evolve into "I fucking need to cosplay this character because their design is fabulous and so is their personality/story/whatnot aghdsjha;sgjh". In short, don't cosplay a character that you don't care about. You will likely regret it at some point; for example not having inspiration to work on the costume and you might even have your con experience suffering because of it in the end. So yeah, choose a character that you like! (and it doesn't matter if they are popular or not)

• When I have my eyes on likable character X it's time for number 2) Do I like this character enough to want to spend time/money on making the costume?

This should be obvious because cosplays don't get magically delivered to you from the sky by the Cosplay Gods sometimes you wish they would when you have decided on what costume to make. Either you decide on busting your ass off sewing, burning your fingers with hot glue and looking for the cheapest way to make that mega-armor-futuristic-super-samurai-guy come alive or.. you order the cosplay from an online cosplay store, hire a commissioner or buy/modify ready-made clothing parts. Whichever one you choose to do (or even a mix!) they are all good approaches to get closer to your cosplay. All these options have one thing in common -at least- and that's the sad fact that you will have to open that wallet of yours. Yes, the one that saw its grim fate approaching far too quickly after you started this wonderful hobby.. according to you, that is; I'm pretty sure your wallet has been crying and befriending spiderwebs in it's echoing cave since then. Money dear, I miss you, come back soon okay? It's cold and empty in here... *sob* The silliness aside it's pretty clear that if you don't like the character enough you won't be too happy about spending your hard-earned money (and limited time on this Earth) on making the costume or well, at least I wouldn't. I know I wouldn't be too keen on spending 500+ € or something on a cosplay that I would wear just once and then have it spending the rest of its life as just another dust collector in that graveyard-y part of the wardrobe. Brrrr.
So yeah, before I think so much more about how to make/get the costume I decide if it is worth the money, time and effort for me. And rage. 

Oh, and for the love of pasta, when you have decided that the cosplay is worth it then START WORKING ON IT IN TIME. Don't procrastinate for four of the five remaining months.. even though we end up doing it anyway because little pesky procrastinator goblins live full-time in us.. or well, in me for sure.

• Okay, character X is awesome enough to be worth the last of my last savings. But money isn't the only thing, so here comes number 3) Do I have enough skills in sewing/crafting/whatnot to make this costume? (only applies of course if I decide to make the costume. Duh. But in most cases I end up making the cosplay so I'm going to take it as the default on the follow-up "guidelines")

Sure, "you won't learn much if you don't try new things" in all its glory and all that but if I know where my current limits are I'm not going to jump straight into the massacre of Complicated Small Details of Hell.. even if I would love the character enough for it to be worth the eternal tantrum-cryrages it would take to eventually finish the costume. I'd rather take it a bit safer and build up my skills over time with more and more challenging projects. Also, I guess I wouldn't be all that happy if I made a complicated cosplay that cost me half my limbs and then, a few years later, want to burn the whole thing on a bonfire because it's falling apart of bad material choices or/and crappy craftmanship. And guess what, if I still loved the character I would maybe want to remake it with my improved current skills and well.. have to pay with my remaining limbs. Wonderful.
In other words - I'm going to pick my cosplay candidates based on current skill level in addition to the love for the character/design.. which means saving the hardcore costumes for when I have hardcore skills.

• But we are not done yet! Number 4) I like this character, I have the money and the skills to make it.. what am I missing? - It's called your own comfort zone, dude.

At least for me it is a rather important thing to consider how comfortable I would feel/be in the cosplay when I finally get to wear it. It doesn't always have to be about pure physical comfort (I get it, we've all probably had that cosplay with the shoes that killed our feet..) but mental comfort as well. The most common example would be if the character is wearing an outfit that you might not feel perfectly at ease with, for example too high amount of skin showing or having their hands constantly bound or something. Sure I know some people find it more of a challenge to actually go past their comfort zones but personally I'd rather stay in mine.. for now, at least. Thing is, I've had a few instances when I cosplayed a character that I liked and everything was all fine and dandy.. until the con morning when I had to wear the costume to a place where people would be looking at me and then realize that, well, I wasn't actually at ease with how some parts of the costume looked on me or whatnot. It can be anything, really. Sometimes you just don't realize how much some small things can start to eat at you after a while. Then again, I do try to figure out what the costume will look like on me before I start working on it but sometimes you still get these not so funny "surprise, motherfucker!" moments when you just go self-conscious for reason Y and Z and, well, you are already at the con so not much you can do. Not like I've personally had a bad case but there are maybe a few costumes I've made I wouldn't wear again just yet because of comfort issues.
Make sure that the cosplay you are doing won't make you feel too uncomfortable when you actually have to wear it. Focusing too much on what is bothering you can take the fun out of wearing it - no matter if it is uncomfortable shoes, the sixpack that is shining with its lack of presence or a part of the cosplay that you think just looks unflattering on you. 

Sometimes you can fix the issues but then again, most times people won't even care/notice the smaller things that bug you as much as you do.
*lifts index finger* Not to mix things up but remember - never let things like age, gender, height, weight, skin color or anything else that you have little to no control over affect your cosplay choices, everyone can cosplay and screw the people who say otherwise!

• Guess what, guess what? We actually have another one! Bonus final number 5) With all the brainwork done, all the sewing/crafting/online shopping/waiting/thrift storing/whatever done and the cosplay is ready and the con is closing in. What now?

Okay, so you are dressed up as probably one of your favorite characters from whatever fancy you have for the moment and ready to show the world what you've accomplished and you've likely been severely sleep-deprived because of last minute sewing through the last night, but let's pretend cosplay is always wonderful, okay? So, the con is this weekend and you know that soon it's gonna be one hell of awesomeness with friends and fellow cosplayers. There's only one thing left to do - wear your cosplay with confidence, enjoy your time and remember to be a good peep to everyone else!

And when the con is over and you've survived the post-con lag and possibly depression then it's time to roll over and start anew with another cosplay to put on the table of creative.. creations. If you want to make another one just yet, that is. It's just as fine to be green in this hobby as well - recycle your cosplays as long as you find the sparkle of joy in wearing them.

Now I've told most things that I can think of for the moment and I've spammed you with Pokémon gifs and whoever actually read it all gets a virtual cookie from me! :'D I might have missed something but I'm too brainfried to think any longer and I'm freezing to death. Oh well ~

Oh, one last thing! If anyone's interested I could do a follow-up post to this one where I write more personally about what kind of characters/series appeal to me cosplay wise and make me inspired to cosplay them; personality traits, clothes, weapons and stuff like that. :'D Shout out if you want to read about this in the future and I might make it happen!

Live and cosplay guys! <3