Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Trialling new techniques

I really can't stress enough how important it is to do test runs and samples when trying new products or techniques. Doing a test run on a sample piece may be the difference between an enjoyable hassle free experience, or severe costume malfunctions during a convention or outing.

The same could be said for trying on and wearing your costume before an event. Perhaps you followed the pattern or instructions precisely. But this won't always guarantee the comfort or fitting of a costume. It could be something as simple as a hemline not sitting how you would like it. Or various seems that rub your skin. Now, I for one am one of those people that tries a costume on the second the last stitch has been made. Pretty sure that's something we can all relate to. But things like manoeuvring around easily, up and down stairs, or getting through doorways (for larger armoured outfits) just a few things you may want to practice before heading to a convention and feeling like a fool while trying to figure out how you will manoeuvre through the door gracefully! 

As cosplayers we tend to tolerate a lot when it comes to looking your absolute best at a convention, but sometimes the discomfort can be very much avoidable.

But lets get back to sample pieces. I've found this particularly important when painting. You mix the paint and get it just the exact shade you want it, but come back once it's dry and it's now a different shade. Or perhaps that colour doesn't show through enough on that piece of fabric you want to paint, or that piece of armour.

Shading and highlights are a tricky one to master when painting a costume. It's easy to feel like you have gone overboard when you're applying the paint or product. But once dried the difference gradients may be hardly noticeable.

Also, when using a new product for the first time it's best to have a go on a small test piece. Or perhaps it's a product you're very familiar with, but applying it in a different manner than what you may usually use it.

I've used liquid latex on many occasions, but recently I used it as a primer for a foam suit of armour. My foam armour had many small pieces attached together with hot glue, and I was worried for the integrity of the glue should the weather become warm and the glue become 'melty'. 

So with my usually product, I trialled this new method on a small piece of foam. In my case, I was lucky, and everything worked the way I had anticipated. I then used this same latex covered sample piece to trial my painting methods. This is where I learnt something. Certain colours didn't work the way I wanted, so I was able to find a colour scheme that looked the way I wanted it to through the trial and error process.

So there you have it guys. Just a few more things to keep in mind to help make the costuming experience a bit less stressful and hopefully a lot more enjoyable :)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Courtesy to Cosplayers at Conventions

I've just had one of the most amazing weekends at a Supanova convention on the beautiful Gold Coast, Austartlia. The atmosphere was great, people were friendly, and the event was well organised. Aside from the usual mile long line to get in (which was to be expected IMO) everything moved along smoothly and seemingly hassle free. The event was entirely indoors, and I know I for one was grateful for the fully air conditioned convention centre.

There wasn't much I could fault about this event. There were plenty of food outlets, and if they didnt cater to your taste, it was only a short walk down the block to an abundance of caf├ęs and restaurants. There were. Plenty of drink and snack vending machines also, and staff worked well to make sure they were always well stocked. 

Now, from a cosplayers point of view, there was only one thing that left a slightly bitter taste in my mouth. And make no mistake, I don't think the event organisers are to be held responsible for this at all. I think it's just something that needs to be made aware to the public. Perhaps some printed posters around lobby and resting areas would be enough? Or perhaps a hall or room somewhere where cosplayers could go that's a strictly 'no camera' zone?

Well, before I get caught in rambling, let me tell you briefly about my personal experience. 

A friend an I had been at the con for quite some hours, and had met up in a hallway for a break. It was a hot day, the crowds had been thick, and many people had stopped us both for a number of photos. My friend was suffering from a headache, and I just needed to sit down after being on my feet for so long. But due to the nature of my costume I needed to remove parts of it in order to sit comfortably, as well as remove all my props, hood, gloves and gauntlets to cool off.

We hadn't been sitting long when a lady approached and asked my friend if she could get a picture of her costume. My friend was reluctant, but obliged anyway. As she was getting her photo taken, another man approached me, asking to photograph my costume. I felt mean in saying no. I felt rude. And I could see his disappointment. I didnt even get up off the ground when he asked me. But at the time, I really didnt feel like going through the hassle of replacing all the pieces of my costume I had just taken off so he could snap a picture with his cell phone.

I am fully aware that as a cosplayer you will receive attention, both good and unwanted. But I think there comes a point when we have to remind others that we aren't always the superheroes we sometimes dress to be. Extravagent outfits can really take it out of a person when worn for long periods, and I just think that sometimes the public needs a little reminding of this.