Cosplay GEN #03
Cosplay GEN is a collectible magazine (due to its book-like appearance). It is entirely non-profit, self-financed and contains no advertising, therefore its purchasing for print version contributes directly to the next issue.
THE STORY OF A STORY Have you ever wondered what’s behind an object that you like? Have you ever been curious about the hidden story of a custom toy, of a fancy dress, of a cosplay costume, or, why not, of a cosplay magazine? Although different, all these stories have something in common: the will to create something delightful, to convey the passion of the creator for what he/she created. Like all else, Cosplay Gen has its own story, with its moments of joy or sadness, with its inevitable ups and downs, but essentially a cheerful and stimulating one. As we have already told our readers, it’s a project born from our love for cosplay and Japan, and I admit it was enchanting to see how an idea born out of an evening messenger talk turned itself into reality. We set out ready to use our previous experience in magazine editing, as we were all aware that the result we had in mind required seriousness and a lot of effort. The core story behind Cosplay Gen is pretty simple. We used to spend long hours watching various cosplayers from around the world, admiring their work and reading about them on one site or another. Then, one day, we told each other “What about a project that would host the best of what we see here?” Because, unfortunately, we sensed the lack of an international magazine, written in a wide-circulation language, which would be available for an extensive community. In less than two months we had already chosen our content-proposals for the pilot issue, and contacted all the persons involved, who kindly, sometimes even enthusiastically, agreed to contribute to our project. We were very excited to work with them, to find the best questions that would appeal to our readers, to know their own stories and what cosplay means to them, beyond what one can usually find on their webpage. And in the spring of 2010, after hours of talks and conferences within the tumultuous Bermuda triangle of editor in chief – content coordinator – publisher, after tons of e-mails, chats, and Dropbox “abuse”, the first issue of Cosplay Gen finally came to life. The same as all pilot-issues of a magazine, this first issue was an attempt to see what we can do. And we proved ourselves that, indeed, we can do a lot, but never without our extended team of contributors, and never without our readers. To us, Cosplay Gen is not only a mere incarnation of a hobby, a magazine we’re making for fun, but a constant and serious challenge, a permanent competition with ourselves. It’s a process undergone with much care for the end result; and our fuel is the constant feedback from our readers. For, as previously stated, no such project would exist without its public. And, to us, the public is not a mere a marketing tool, but people who share the same interest as us, cosplayers or cosplay fans like us. Cosplay Gen’s story has just begun, and, hopefully, it will continue for quite a long while, gathering more charming characters along the way. As with every other story, the more characters are involved, the merrier it gets, so we are always happy to receive a helping hand from the huge fandom of this art, to which our magazine is dedicated. Be it with a comment, a suggestion; an update or a review; an e-mail or even a submission, each of you, our readers, can make this project grow and last; because, like many other initiatives of this kind, it’s essentially a project made by fans for fans, whose purpose is to promote a wonderful and visually attractive hobby, and the talented people who represent it. // Ruxandra Târcă TABLE OF CONTENTS Article: A Little Dive Into Underwater Cosplay Photography 004 Profile: Calssara 008 Profile: Hydeaoi 012 Profile: Sushi Monster 016 042 Profile: Pixelninja 048 Profile: VickyBunnyAngel 050 Cover Story: TASHA Article: 058 Cinematic Photography 084 Profile: DEES 090 Profile: LennethXVII Profile: Ryoko 100 Worldwide Fans 4 96 020 Interview: Acksonl COSPLAYERS Article: Lolita: 062 From Dainty Doll to Pastel Princess 024 Interview: Lina Lau 032 Do It Yourself: Sword-making Tutorial: Cassandra’s Sword 036 Profile: OMI GIBSON 068 Do It Yourself: Make-Up Tutorial: Vampire Knight’s Kaname Kuran 072 Interview: Cvy 080 Interview: Bigwhitebazooka FRONT COVER: Cosplay by Go-Eun Oh / TASHA (Seoul, Korea) // Photo by Kim Tai Sik aka SINME FEATURED COSPLAYERS: Calssara (Saarbrücken, Germany), Hydeaoi (Hong Kong, China), Sushi Monster (Laguna Niguel, CA, USA), Lina Lau (London, UK / Hong Kong, China), OMI GIBSON (Tokyo, Japan), Jenni Källberg / Pixelninja (Stockholm, Sweden), VickyBunnyAngel (Toronto, Canada), Go-Eun Oh / TASHA (Seoul, Korea), Yan / Cvy (Singapore), / DEES (Hong Kong, China), LennethXVII (Singapore), Ryoko (Yekaterinburg, Russia) EDITORIAL BOX PUBLISHER: Otaku Entertainment EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Ruxandra Târcă // CONTENT COORDINATOR: Cristian Botea // ART DIRECTOR: Cyril Rictus ILLUSTRATIONS: Cristian Dîrstar // PHOTOGRAPHER: Bela Benedek // PROOFREADER: Oana Cristina Butta TRANSLATORS: Oana Cristina Butta (Japanese), Cătălina Stanciu (Korean) CONTRIBUTORS: Anthony Lee, Harrison Krix, William Wong, Cyril Lumboy, RainerTachibana, Mihai Marcu, Ştefan Tiron DISTRIBUTION & PARTNERSHIP: firstname.lastname@example.org // PRINT& PRE-PRESS: idea Design + Print Copyrights of all the materials (photos, text, illustrations) used in this magazine are the property of their respective owners. Any errors or omissions are inadvertent. Please contact us at email@example.com so that we can make corrections in subsequent printings. 5 Calssara Years of Cosplay: 7 Saarbrücken, Germany more-elegant.de calssara.deviantart.com Calssara is representing Germany at the World Cosplay Summit in 2011. She reveals all the deadly determination, red eyed accuracy and übercute efficiency of Siesta 45 as part of a bunny-girl commando. Many bewitching photos, full of mystery and intrigue, await you. Prepare yourselves for Transylvanian characters of noble and arrogant birth with multi-layered fabrics able to leech-out every lol and shout you’ve got in your carmine heart. 1 PROFILE Cosplay Gen: When did you start cosplaying, and how has your view on cosplay changed along the years? Calssara: I started in 2004, when I was 16 years old. Back then I just wanted to wear my costumes and have a bit of fun during a convention. Over time, I tried harder to express myself through my costumes. In the beginning, it was just “playing”; now it has become more and more “acting” and “art”. Currently the most important thing for me in cosplay is to express the emotions of the character as good as possible, as well as making my costumes better, cleaner and more detailed. CG: What made you cosplay both Siesta 45 and Ange Ushiromiya from Umineko no Naku Koro ni? Calssara: I’m a really big fan of the Umineko series. I have been interested in witches, magic and myth since I was a child. I love how the series combines the topic of witches and magic, with crime and mystery. The series created a lot of very unique and completely different characters. Siesta and Ange are very different from each other, but I loved their personality and behavior in the series. I tried to show that on my photos too. I will also pick a few other characters from Umineko to cosplay in the future! CG: You’re representing Germany in the World Cosplay Summit 2011, and you chose to cosplay Rachel Alucard from BlazBlue for the event; why did you choose that character, and how’s your costume-making progressing? Calssara: Rachel will be my costume for the press event. I had already decided to cosplay her next when we won the preliminaries. I’m a big fan of beat’m up games and the special character design of Blazblue caught my eye. So my WCS partner, Iris, bought the game and we started to play. Arrogant, noble girls were always some of my favorite character types *laugh*, and after I saw that her hobbies were “drinking tea” and “eating cake”, she got my affection. I finished the costume! I’ll soon show photos of me wearing the complete costume, together with my cat-umbrella Nago, and my little demon Gii. I needed a long time to make that costume. It is a very important one to me, and I wanted to show my very best. So I worked 4 months on it. It has a lot of fabric layers, and for the crosses and wings I used leather. All crosses are stitched on. The skirt has 6 layers, and I also managed to get heelless boots. I’m very content with the result, and when I’m thinking about wearing Rachel’s costume and taking photos in her outfit I’m already feeling nervous and excited. 2 Photo credits: 1, 7. Siesta 45 (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) by Mareike Hübner aka Catspassion (catspassion.deviantart.com) 2. Alice (Pandora Hearts) by Mareike Hübner aka Catspassion (catspassion.deviantart.com) 3. Lacus Clyne (Mobile Suit Gundam SEED) by Mareike Hübner aka Catspassion (catspassion.deviantart.com) 4. Megurine Luka (Vocaloid) by Sona Voss aka Aigue-Marine (aigue-marine.deviantart.com) 5. Ange Ushiromiya (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) by Iris Herrmann aka Lumis-Mirage (lumis-mirage.deviantart.com) 6. Nia Teppelin (Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann) by Nina Post (flickr.com/people/ninayasmine/) 8 5 3 4 6 7 9 Hydeaoi Years of Cosplay: 8 Hong Kong, China album.blog.yam.com/hydeaoi Hydeaoi revels in highly elaborate materials that she hunts down with great acumen. Complicated decorations and body-painted creatures are her trade. She will softly kiss a pink rose, or drown you in a sea of rustling flowers. Guns in hand, she leaves just empty shells behind. Get ready ‘cause the the Vocaloid cosplay tournament is just starting. Cloth Road’s June May is looking straight at you, while she prepares her next sartorial coup d’état. 10 1 PROFILE CG: What is the deciding factor in the next cosplay you want to do: the character’s background, looks, costume? Hydeaoi: I like to cosplay characters that bring forth certain challenges. Someone with complicated decorations, body-painted creatures, or an armored character. I’m attracted to anything I haven’t tried before. CG: One of your most elaborate costumes is your June May from Cloth Road cosplay; how did you make it come together and what were the most difficult parts? Hydeaoi: It took plenty of time to make this costume. To support the weight of the dress and for a better shape, a tailored hoop pannier was needed. Then I also needed to stitch the flowers one by one onto the dress; that was why this costume took much more time to make than a normal costume. This cosplay was made for a performance, and it had to cover up another costume. Therefore, the most difficult part was the cutting and preparation for its quick change. CG: What are the most common problems you face in cosplay and how do you handle them? Hydeaoi: I think it’s about the acquirement of certain types of fabric or materials. For instance, now I’m making the new test suit of Asuka. I know what material can show its transparent texture, but it is difficult to get in low quantity. Luckily, there are always some similar alternatives I can use, I only have to persuade myself to use it. CG: What’s your opinion on Vocaloid cosplay? Hydeaoi: First of all I want to thank Vocaloid, as the reason why I am still enjoying cosplay is greatly because its existence. I think not only me, but many cosplayers I know are inspired by Vocaloid. The variety of the song styles and PV interpretations was always interesting for cosplayers. As each song has its own costume, story and background setting, in my point of view I am cosplaying a single separated work more than a Vocaloid character. Therefore I don’t think there are too many people cosplaying Vocaloid. As nice songs are written and uploaded everyday, there will be new Vocaloid cosplays to be seen in different events. 2 CG: What sort of impact has cosplay had over your life? Hydeaoi: As I’ve been making cosplay costumes by myself for years, I developed a good tailoring and fabric/material choosing skill, which has became one of my competitive advantages in my career. And the most important thing is that I love to do it. From this point of view, cosplay really changed my life. Cosplay also brought me many friends, with different backgrounds, age, and personality. Of course, I’m happy to talk to someone who has the same interest in animation, comics, games and cosplay. Moreover, we share everything in daily life. Indeed, the friends in this network broadened my world and I have learned a lot from them. Photo credits: 1. Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA 2nd, Spacy Nurse version) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 2. June May (Cloth Road) by Harold 3. Asuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion) by Ken 4. Kanoko (Pop’n’Music Portable) by Wing 5. Cure Blossom (HeartCatch PreCure!) by LMF 6. SF-A2 Miki (Vocaloid) by Harold 7. Gumi (Vocaloid, Megpoid, Our 16bit Warz version) by Harold 8. Kagamine Rin (Vocaloid, Trick and Treat version) by Izumi 12 5 3 4 7 6 8 13 Sushi Monster Years of Cosplay: 5 Laguna Niguel, CA, USA the-sushi-monster.deviantart.com Californian Sushi Monster makes you wanna count every droplet of blood on Reiâ€™s battle-torn skirt. Sheâ€™s got tremendous amounts of umami-good taste and flavor for all of us. Her weapons of choice are cutting-edge scissors and dynamic paintbrushes. Her many facets and characters include Oerba Dia Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII, radiantly roaming on wild meadows, in a pink halter top with beaded necklaces and bracelets. 14 2 PROFILE 3 5 16 6 CG: Why did you choose to portray Rei for your Highschool of the Dead photoshooting, and, most importantly, how did you handle the make-up? Sushi Monster: I wanted to do Rei because my boyfriend is cosplaying Takashi, the main characters of the series, and he likes Rei. I personally like Saeko, but I knew I could pull off Rei better and give her a more “strong female character” feel. Make-up wise, since they are only highschool students, I did a more natural look, but with a stronger bronze contour since I wanted her to look more haggard and stressed out from Zombie killing. With the fake blood, my friends and I just smeared it all over, and then to get the splatter effect we poured blood on sticks and bats and swung it at me to get it as realistic as possible. I also took the bottle and just let it pour over me in spots and let the blood trickle freely on its own. I also handled the makeup for my zombies - I used a greenish white foundation to make them paler and grey shadow to give them the necessary contours. We used all the same methods of applying the blood on the zombies as we did for myself. 4 CG: You’re also a hairdresser; does cosplay help you improve your skills or challenge yourself such as with wig styling and make-up? SM: It goes both ways, cosplaying has improved my makeup skills while hairdressing has improved my wig styling techniques. Doing so many different types of characters, I have learned to do so many types of makeup not just on myself but on others as well. Wig styling is very different from styling real hair (You can’t just hack off real hair and reattach it to foam and glue it back on someone’s head), but the basic principles are the same, and I have used what I learned in hairstyling to help make nearly impossible looking wigs become reality. It really does help me hone my skills in hairdressing and cosplaying! CG: What is your favorite fabric to work with? Can you give us an example of where you used it? SM: I like working with cotton twill! It has a nice weight, is easy to work with, and is perfect for a big variety of cosplays. I usually use it for school uniforms such as for Rei or Vampire Knight cosplay. Photo credits: 1. R ei Miyamoto (Highschool of the Dead) by Abbott W. (abbottw.deviantart.com) 2. Rei Miyamoto (Highschool of the Dead) by Eric Ng (bigwhitebazooka.com) 3. Ken Amada (Persona 3) by Tony Quan (qcamera.deviantart.com) 4. Kagamine Rin (Vocaloid, Synchronicity version) by Minh Soi 5. Oerba Dia Vanille (Final Fantasy XIII) by Andy Lee aka Asian School Boy (asianschoolboy.com) 6. Kagamine Rin (Vocaloid, Black Rock Shooter version) by Andy Lee aka Asian School Boy (asianschoolboy.com) 17 A Little Dive Into Underwater Cosplay Photography by Anthony aka blur NaNeee.wordpress.com 1 ARTICLE Mention underwater photography, and most would think of thousands of dollars worth of equipment - camera, camera casing, diving equipment even. Well, that’s not necessarily true. Today I’m going to share with you guys, not just how to do it on a seriously tight budget, but also my own experience from the latest underwater shoot I did with Angie and Kazeki. But before we start, the question you have to ask yourself is how much risk you’re willing to take for an underwater shoot. Me? I did the shoot expecting a worst case scenario of damaging the camera’s electronics from getting wet. Read on if you are willing to take that risk. So let’s get straight to the point then... Making your own underwater casing. We all know you guys are dying to know how to do it. Well, the materials needed to make your camera submersible is common sense, really. A plastic bag, a piece of acrylic or glass, and lots of sellotape. Yup, it is as simple as it sounds. And it costs way, way less than buying underwater casing or a “submersible” camera. I’m talking about what... two meals worth maybe. Cheapest but again, risky. Plastic Bag (See on next page) Let’s start off with the plastic bag. Obviously, we do not use those you fill your groceries with. People use green bags nowadays anyway. Lol! Instead, find plastic bags made to hold or store food. Those you use to hold noodles or soup during take-aways. That way, you know the bag is clean and, more importantly, waterproof. And please, only transparent or white colored plastic bags. Acrylic Something strong and sturdy to be able to withstand the water pressure. I used one which was 3mm thick. You should be able to find this at your local hardware store. Remember to talk to the shop on whether they can help you cut the acrylic should the size you buy be too big. Sellotape Wider is better. End of story. Making the Casing Here is what you need to do. As simple as it gets. The first and most important step of the process is to cut a hole in the plastic bag, slightly smaller than the size of your acrylic. Stick the plastic bag onto the acrylic with sellotape, making sure it’s placed flat as you stick it, so as to make it leak-proof. Take off your shoulder strap from the camera. You do not want it messing up your grip when your camera is underwater. Then put your camera into the plastic bag, positioning it in a way that the lens is pointing towards the acrylic. Then tie up the opening of the plastic bag. Tie a few knots to make sure it is watertight. Camera and Settings It’s a given that the better the camera, the higher the chance of obtaining a good shot. And trust me, you will need all the dynamic range you can get. Especially in a shooting environment where you do not have the time to leisurely adjust the lighting and composition over and over again. Even while shooting at a pool, where there were no waves or water currents, we had difficulties composing our shots. So you can 19 imagine how much more difficult it will be at the beach. Another thing, as noobish as this sounds, is that you might also want to start firing rapid shots. There will be loads of eye blinking in your shots as cosplayers try to keep their eyes open under water trying to perform certain facial expressions. That and air bubbles coming out of the cosplayers’ mouth, nose, costumes, and “more”. Lol! You wouldn’t want to capture a perfectly composed shot only to have bubbles covering the cosplayers’ eyes. Yeah, photographers would know how that feels .. -.-” As for how I did my shots, I used local focus method. I picked a specific point I wanted my camera to focus on, then discussed with the cosplayer on how the pose will be like and in which direction they should be moving in, swimming or not. As I mentioned above, it is near impossible to stay still under water, even if you are a good swimmer. You’ll be surprised how much difference swimming with your usual attire and swimming with a costume is. Seeing as it is impossible to stay still, you might as well set the shot up in a way that the direction of the movement would be what you aim to capture, right? So you have rapid shots set, local focusing checked, next is continuous AF. Although the speed difference between manually refocusing the shot and have AF do the job is arguably minimal, there is still a difference. And as they say, a little goes a long way. Cosplayer As for the cosplayers, waterproof makeup does NOT work. The moment you get into the water, eyelashes will drift off, eyes with contact lenses on will hurt, powder and foundation will smudge, well, you get the picture. 2 Also, don’t even think about using double sided tape and elephant glue on costumes. The moment you go into the water, the pressure of the water pushing your costume up alone will tear it apart. Sewn costumes is the way to go. Finally, take note of the little details like accessories and ornaments. Make sure they are secured tightly. Helpers You will definitely need at least one other swimmer, someone who can help hold the photographer in place. In my case, I wasn’t a good swimmer, so I had a helper push me all the way down to the bottom of the pool, then hold me still and prevent me from floating up while both my hands were on the camera and I concentrated on shooting alone. In fact, I had another helper push Angie down to the bottom of the pool to get a certain shot. Plastic Bagged Camera Photos by Anthony aka blur (NaNeee.wordpress.com) 1, 2. Angie (angie0-0.deviantart.com) as SF-A2 Miku (Vocaloid) 3. Kazeki (champagne-meat.deviantart.com) as Gumi (Vocaloid, Megpoid) 20 That’s about it then. Before going for the actual shoot, test things out by dipping your newly-made casing into a bucket of water. Check for water entering the plastic bag. Take a few shots and see how it goes. If it all goes well, you’re good to go! 3 21 INTERVIEW 1 2 3 5 6 22 Acksonl Toronto, Canada youtube.com/acksonl Cosplay Gen: Can you tell us a few introductory words about yourself? Acksonl: I work for a large Canadian retailer during the day, fight crime at night, and shoot cosplay on weekends. As a kid, I’ve always loved playing around with moving images; I guess it all started back when Microsoft released Movie Maker. However, over the years I’ve transitioned over to the use of Apple computers systems because it fulfilled more of my editing needs. My first convention was Fan Expo in 2002 or 2003, which is held in Toronto, Canada. I mainly went to see the guests, and was really never into the whole cosplay scene up until a year ago. At heart I’m a Trekkie/Trekker. I cried hard when I met Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager) a few years back. As for filming gear, I get asked this question a lot; I usually carry around my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a Canon EOS 7D along with a camera stabilizer. Many cosplay enthusiasts who have seen the videos consider purchasing a digital SLR camera with video capabilities to make their own videos. However, I don’t recommend doing so unless the individual is comfortable in handling one and understands the fundamentals of a digital SLR. A digital 4 7 SLR with video capabilities is very different than a standard PRO/ SEMI-PRO camcorder. Any person who has had experience using both will tell you the same. I don’t really want to get into details but I recommend going online and doing research before investing in this technology. CG: Your videos are mainly oriented towards cosplay and you even have some costume showcases, why is that? What does cosplay mean to you? Acksonl: Before I started shooting convention videos, I use to do a bit of cosplay photography and a bit of wedding photography on the side. As soon as Canon released its first pro digital camera with video capabilities, I immediately sensed the opportunity to take cosplay documentation to the next level. CG: Your videos have a very artistic feel, compared to normal coverage videos; where do you get all those ideas and how do you convince the cosplayers to cooperate? Acksonl: I’ve seen many convention videos posted on the internet where it normally involves a cosplayer being interviewed by someone, which is also how I got started in filming my first anime convention at Anime North 2009. After I finished editing all the footage, I came to the realization that what I did was very generic when it came to video documentation of a convention. I’ve also noticed that many talented cosplayers weren’t that comfortable speaking in front of the camera. With that in mind, and with experience shooting weddings and some inspiration from Stillmotion (a popular wedding photo/video studio), I decided to combine contemporary cinematic wedding video techniques with the art of cosplay. Getting cosplayers to pose for the videos isn’t too difficult, just approach them and ask kindly like every other photographer or congoer. Sometimes they may decline because they need to get somewhere or are just not in the mood, but for the most part, cosplayers are more than willing to participate briefly at a convention. Getting cosplayers to go offsite to shoot around the city for a couple of hours is another story. 8 23 INTERVIEW CG: What sort of things have you learned since you started doing these videos, and what sort of tips can you give for people who’d like to start doing something similar? Acksonl: It can be tempting to fall back on whatever techniques you know will work time and time again, but videos will get stale fast if you always do the same thing. You need to be able to find a way to bring something new to every new project and try new things. Admittedly I can be guilty of this on occasion, but finding new materials by filming different cosplayers and locations helps keep things fresh. Experimenting is the key! In a way, shooting video is similar to shooting photography, except you deal with a moving image; there are more elements you can incorporate into the shot. Over time, as your portfolio increases from experimenting, your videos will become more dynamic. For those just starting out, it’s always best to do ample research, so that way you have a better understanding of what you need. Also, having a good idea about what, who and how you want to shoot will help you narrow down what you specifically need to get the job done. Screencaps by Acksonl: 1-8. ayareinami*YAY* (cosplay.com/member/25820/) as Asuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion) 9-10. LaurenBANG (cosplay.com/member/75507/) as Gwendolyn (Odin Sphere) 11. Horseman of War (original design) by Attyca (attyca.deviantart.com) 12. A katsukiSky (cosplay.com/member/111503/) as Kairi (Kingdom Hearts II) 13. InkyLink (inkylink.deviantart.com) as Link (The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Dark Link version) 14. Angathol (cosplay.com/member/33248/) as Marisa Kirisame (Touhou Project) 15. C upcake Disko (cosplay.com/member/211750/) as Oerba Dia Vanille (Final Fantasy XIII) 16. Tayyrex (tayyrex.deviantart.com) as Haruko Haruhara (FLCL) 17. ayareinami*YAY* (cosplay.com/member/25820/) as Asuka Langley Soryu (Neon Genesis Evangelion) and lulubird (cosplay.com/member/29357/) as Rei Ayanami (Neon Genesis Evangelion) 18-19. Akuriko (akuriko.deviantart.com) as Princess Zelda (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) Running off and buying things just because it works for someone else, might not work as well for yourself. Again, it all depends on the individual and the goal you want to accomplish. CG: Do you have any bigger plans for the future, such as a documentary or a much more comprehensive video? Acksonl: As it is just a hobby, I have committed quite a substantial amount of time and resources. I plan on continuing shooting similar types of videos in 2011. Currently I do not have plans to deviate too much from what I am currently doing. CG: What sort of problems did you run into when filming? Can you share with us an awkward or funny moment? Acksonl: I’ve found that filming at conventions is becoming harder as I gain more viewership. As much as I would love to converse with watchers I meet at cons, it takes away from time I spend filming. // Interview by Cristian Botea 13 16 24 17 9 10 11 12 14 15 18 19 25 Lina Lau Years of Cosplay: 5 London, UK / Hong Kong, China lina-lau.deviantart.com Cosplaying and holidays can have a lot in common if you are ready to prepare well beforehand. Leather and furs in hot summer, and sleeveless in the winter because you canâ€™t be choosy if youâ€™re close to the perfect backdrop. Infectious enthusiasm and a supporting crew is the fuel behind every effort put into refined and exquisite propmaking. Cosplaying in Hong Kong and elsewhere is much more than mere competitive drive or just wanting to outshine everybody else. 1 INTERVIEW Cosplay Gen: You’ve traveled to conventions to both East and West; what are, in your opinion, the most notable differences between cosplay communities? Lina Lau: Concerning the cosplayers, the one big difference I find between East and West is their motivation and the reason why they cosplay. In Asia, perhaps because the materials, wigs and props are all easily obtainable, costumes are typically not made by the cosplayer, since access to tailors and factories are so easy and it’s so cheap to do so. Of course, there are those who make their own costumes too, but there isn’t that stigma attached to “bought costumes”, which the West seems to have. Cosplayers in Asia in general also don’t put heavy emphasis on competitions - some of the so called really “famous” cosplayers don’t enter competitions at all. Another of the main differences is that in the West people put a lot of emphasis on the costume itself; in Asia it is almost entirely the opposite - people care more about your make-up, your wig and how you look. The costume itself is merely an accessory to add to the general effect, rather than the main element. That’s not to say that all cosplayers only care about how they look, but the general consensus is that people are more concerned with how much they look like a character and how good the make-up is, rather than the costume itself. I guess this naturally explains the lack of enthusiasm for people to enter competitions in general, since that’s not the best platform on which to judge how you look or how well you portray a character. The events themselves are also very different. In Asia, they don’t focus on your costume, but there’s a lot of pressure to look good all the time during the entire event; there are photographers every few steps you walk, and people can be judgmental, purely based on your looks. At cons in the West, outside the masquerade, it’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere, and people just hang out and joke around, so the pressure is considerably less. It’s a different type of culture and a different pressure in Asia, I guess. 2 CG: There’s a noticeable quantity of female cosplayers portraying male characters, and you’ve had your fair share of male cosplays as well. What sort of advice can you offer to those doing this? LL: I think the make-up is important, particularly for the eyes and eyebrows – it really gives you a good feel of the character if you can replicate those features well. Some shadowing and highlighting for the chin, nose and brow area help a lot in creating more masculine features too. Good binding is, of course, extremely important. Poses for male characters also tend to be very different from normal female posture; your shoulders are pulled back more, your back straighter, and you have to stand with your legs further apart with your feet facing outwards in order to appear more masculine. CG: Make-up obviously plays an important part in portraying your favorite character. What sort of tricks do you often use in make-up, and what sort of general advice can you give to our readers? LL: To me, make-up is just as important as the costume itself. I think of it almost as theatrical make-up; you have to change your features to resemble the character as closely as possible. Particularly for me since I work primarily in the medium of photography, and given the type of photography used in cosplay, where the exposure is high and flashes and lighting equipment are used a lot, you really have to make sure that it does not get completely washed out in the photography process. 28 4 3 5 6 29 INTERVIEW My use of shadowing and highlighting is quite prominent, particularly for the male characters, since their features tend to be more defined. Fake eyelashes are also very good, particularly for defining the eye shape and adding dramatic focus to the eyes. The make-up style that I personally do is geared towards a more photographic and theatrical style, which may look a little unnatural in real life, but if it was not heavy, the photos wouldn’t come out decent looking, due to the overexposure and flash settings. However, make-up is really a very personal thing; what works for one person might not have the same effect on someone else at all, so I think the best thing is just to experiment and have fun with your make-up – there will always be something to suit everyone, you just need to find out yourself what it is that works best for you. CG: Which is the most challenging and difficult costume you’ve made and how did you pull it off? LL: Quite a few of my costumes have been challenging in different ways. For the most part, it is usually the props that make them difficult rather than the costume itself. The highest degree of difficulty I had with props was probably my Chang An Fantasy Night costume, where there was quite a bit of armour, along with a rather large dragon head. It took me a while to figure out how to construct the dragon head and drawing up the patterns for the armour. In the end I sandwiched wire grids in between 2 sheets to create the 3D effects needed. Drawing the patterns on the armour was a lot of fun too – I did it using my hot glue gun. 7 10 11 30 The most difficult in terms of costume was probably the Setsugetsuka Gakupo one, since it had a lot of problems during the production process. The Japanese cloth I ordered would not take the dye at all, despite me using both hot and cold dye. Therefore, I decided to try to create the gradient effect using multiple layers of differently coloured organza instead. However, I had no serger and so had to double fold and sew the edges of each layer. Since it is a slippery material, it was difficult to make sure that in the end all the pattern shapes of the layers actually matched up again. For the flowers on the kimono and for the patterns on the gold trims, I used a combination of hand painting and stenciling. I also custom ordered a batch of iron-on embroidered sakura flowers from an embroidery factory in Hong Kong, who very kindly agreed to make them specifically to my requirements. This saved me a lot of time, though it also meant I kept burning holes in the organza while trying to make sure the flowers stayed on. All in all, I think almost every stage in the production process for it was disastrous in some way, but I’m glad that it (mostly) worked out in the end. CG: The characters you chose also have a lot of accessories. Do you make them yourself? What is the prop/ accessory that appealed to your creativity the most? LL: I always make my own props and accessories each time I can. I am drawn to costumes with quite a bit of decoration or with some sort of interesting accessories, and I really enjoy the process of turning something that is two dimensional into something which can be touched and felt in the three dimensional world. I enjoy making jewelry and metal accessories the most; the crown, armlet and cloak accessories set from Crimson Spell were really fun to make, and something about the delicacy and sculpted beauty of working with metal filigree pieces really engaged me. I also really enjoyed making Japanese hair forks for my Setsugetsuka costume too. I guess it’s a stereotypical girl’s ideal to have pretty and shiny jewelry and accessories, so I had a great time making and wearing them all. CG: Up to now, what is the character you loved the most to cosplay? What was the particular trait that has drawn you to that character? LL: I don’t think I have a particular character that I love the most; I love every character I cosplay, and each of them is special to me in its own way. I’m mostly drawn towards characters with strong personalities and presences, hence I really enjoy portraying them, whether they are strong feminine ones or more masculine and gentlemanly types. CG: You’ve made quite an extravagant cosplay after Yuuko from xxxHoLic. What was the most difficult part of it and how did you make it? What about the carriage photo-shoot for the Yuuko cosplay? Was it difficult to achieve? LL: The base for my Yuuko costume was made in collaboration with a tailor in Hong Kong. The details and accessories, such as the hat and props, were made or added on by me after the base was made. The photoshoot for Yuuko was done in a holiday resort in China, destined to couples for wedding photography. I was lucky to have a friend who had contacts within the management, who graciously allowed us to photograph there. The costume took up a lot of space and was extremely heavy, so transporting it around was somewhat difficult, and we went there during summer. In fact, the day that we shot this was the day before a major typhoon hit the city, so it was swelteringly hot and humid, and with the layers of fabric, the photoshoot itself was something of a sauna for me. The resort itself was also very large, and a lot of travelling was needed to reach the different backdrops. However, we were able to rent out mini golf-carts which could take us to the different areas that we wanted to go to; I’m sure other guests were highly amused to see someone dressed as I was, zooming by in a golf cart and looking highly out of place! 8 9 CG: Noticeable in most of your photos is the attention you give to the background. How important do you think backgrounds are to the final outcome of the shoot? Also, how hard is it to find the right place to shoot? LL: To me, backgrounds are very important, because I think that they set the right atmosphere. If I spend so much effort on the costume, the props, the wigs and the make-up, I want to document the costume in a place that would not let my previous preparations go to waste. I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist as well, so I do a lot of research and sometimes even travel abroad in order to find the best locations for shoots for a particular costume. It’s also a good excuse to take a mini-holiday and just go travelling and stay in gorgeous locations while seeing different cities or countries! I have been known to go to sometimes quite extreme lengths for a good set of photos; shooting in winter with a sleeveless and backless costume before, while standing inside the pool of a waterfall, and shooting in tropical and humid weather in the middle of summer while I was in leathers and fur. A lot of planning and organizing goes into each shoot, but I am very lucky to have friends and photographers who are equally enthusiastic, so although we may all be a bit crazy, we have a lot of fun in the process. CG: It seems almost all cosplayers have done at least one Vocaloid costume, ranging from the most simple Hatsune Miku outfit, up to the very stylish Gakupo you’ve also made. What is your opinion regarding Vocaloid cosplay? 12 31 INTERVIEW 13 14 16 17 32 LL: I think Vocaloid cosplay is so popular everywhere because there is something in it for everyone. Essentially, there is no limit to it; nor are there any set versions. Therefore, the creativity it gives, and the scope of the costumes are very varied; there is bound to be a version somewhere out there that will appeal to you somehow. I really enjoy watching some of the PVs that have been created so far. I think that the Vocaloids are an extremely good medium through which different artists can express their skills and originality due to their flexibility. I was impressed by the different character designs and by the story telling skills in some of the music and PVs; they really inspire me to recreate the world that they have built and bring it to life somehow, which is why I like cosplaying from it. CG: Do you think it’s important to have a certain attitude towards cosplay? Also, what does cosplay mean to you? LL: Personally, I think of cosplay as something like theatre; a recreation of the original. The emphasis is neither only on the costume, nor on the wig and face. It’s on the whole package; the atmosphere and the feel that is created, which is why the backgrounds of my shoots and the feel of the photos represent a major element that I concentrate upon. Naturally, this means that I’m neither very interested in competition results, nor am I concerned with who made what part of which costume exactly. What I look for is the overall effect, how well does a cosplay recreate the atmosphere and feel of the original work. 15 Partly, I cosplay because I can spend time with my close friends, cosplayers and photographers alike. Having a hectic schedule means that it’s not always possible to just go out and have a meal with a friend when I’m rushing a project, so planning a shoot and executing it is like extra incentive to finish everything I have on time, and be able to take a day out to spend some time in good company. Cosplay should be both fulfilling and fun – after all the effort and hard work that we’ve put into it, there shouldn’t only be focus on results. At the end of the day, it’s a hobby, and what is most important is that we should enjoy the process, as well as be able to admire the final product. // Interview by Cristian Botea and Ruxandra Târcă Photo credits: 18 1. Yuuko (xXxHoLic) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 2. Blood Dupre (Heart no Kuni no Alice) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 3. Kamui Gakupo (Vocaloid, Imitation Black version) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 4. Fon (Ilegenes: Kokuyou no Kiseki) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 5. Kamui Gakupo (Vocaloid, Sandplay Singing of The Dragon version) by Sidon (album.blog.yam.com/love77525) 6. Kamui Gakupo (Vocaloid, Setsugetsuka version) by Michy (hikaraseru.deviantart.com) 7. Kamui Gakupo (Vocaloid, Synchronicity version) by Harold 8. Rami Aikawa (DOLLS) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 9, 12. Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 10. Havi (Crimson Spell) by Shiroin (shiroin.deviantart.com) 11. Prince Ludwig (Ludwig Revolution) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 13. Radu Barvon (Trinity Blood) by Shiroin (shiroin.deviantart.com) 14. Syon (Wild Fangs) by Abel 15. Xima (Chang An Huan Ye) by TENSION 16. Mitsuru Tenjou (Barajou no Kiss) by Shiki (album.blog.yam.com/fs04) 17. Mukuro Rokudo (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Ten Years Later version) by GaGa 18. Kuja (Final Fantasy IX) by Ophelia Chan (album.blog.yam.com/FrIEndLeSs) 33 DO IT YOURSELF VOLPIN PROPS VOLPINPROPS.NET SWORD-MAKING TUTORIAL: CASSANDRA’S SWORD Tutorial and tutorial photos by Harrison Krix aka Volpin volpinprops.blogspot.com Disclaimer: Please make sure to follow all safety precautions when making props and replicas. Many of the chemicals used in paint and wood hardening processes can be quite dangerous, so wearing a respirator and eye protection when performing these steps is a must. If you’re going to use powertools, make sure you know how to use them safely. NEVER use a tool for the first time unsupervised, or just try to “figure it out.” Be safe! 34 1 The first and best step to take in any prop build is to make blueprints! Make them full size and reference them often for how big to make your project. It’s much easier to know that one part is exactly 24 inches long instead of guessing that it might be about 2 feet. 3 After cutting a channel in the wood with a router or dremel, glue the two pieces around the support rod with wood glue and clamp overnight to dry. If you don’t have clamps, a set of heavy books will work fine. 5 2 4 6 Most cosplay swords have to be convention safe, lightweight, and fairly durable. A lot of them also have to be made fairly inexpensively as well. For these reasons it’s good to start out with an inexpensive kind of wood, like poplar, for the blade. Longer or thicker blades like this one may need a rod inserted in the middle for stability. A support rod also makes fixing the handle much easier later on. When the glue dries, cut out the general shape of the blade with a bandsaw, jigsaw, or scroll saw. Making the “blade” part of the sword is usually done with an orbital sander, belt sander, or hand rasp. Take your time at this step and make sure to take material off gradually. It’s a lot easier to sand things down than to build them back up! Smaller parts around the hilt can be made from extra scraps cut off the blade from earlier. The small “wings” on this sword were trimmed out first to their teardrop shape. If your sword had a cross hilt that isn’t two parts like this one, you can drill a hole in the middle and slide it up on the support rod. 35 DO IT YOURSELF 7 The wing guard is shaped with a dremel tool, and small accent pieces are added in styrene plastic. One of the best places to get small styrene scraps is local sign shops. Often times they’ll sell them for cheap or give them away for free! 10 Primer is a good idea, even before painting, to see what areas need to be sanded or filled while you’re working. When a piece is all one uniform color, small dents or lumps are easier to see and fix. 13 8 I made the grip on my lathe, but for more generic shapes you can look at curtain rod ends at your local hardware store. Don’t forget to drill a hole in the middle to affix it to your support rod later. 11 There is a long accent piece that sits on top of the blade with raised Greek letters. The accent piece itself was made from 1/4” MDF wood, and the little ridges on the sides are half-round styrene bar. You can find detail pieces like these at hobby stores, in all shapes and sizes. 14 Glue the handle onto the support rod with Gorilla Glue or other expanding glue, and leave it to sit overnight. The glue will grow and fill in the cavity in the hole around the rod, holding it very tightly. Don’t use a lot of it - a little goes a very long way. 9 12 15 The raised dome on top of the hilt and blade was made in a similar way to the wings - layered styrene over a wooden base. Many accent pieces like these on swords can be made by carving down blocks or by sculpting the pieces in clay. In this picture it’s been painted with primer. 36 For small pieces like this, its difficult to get crisp, clean detail. If you can make friends with your local sign shop, they can print out lettering from vinyl sheets. I designed these letters in Adobe Illustrator. When painted over, the lettering will look like it’s made in the material, and form a subtle raised surface. Here’s all of the final pieces before paint! I decided to make molds of the pieces so I wouldn’t need to make all of them twice, but that’s not a necessity. At this point, put everything together as a “test fit” to make sure everything goes together like it’s supposed to. You don’t want to paint your whole prop then find out something doesn’t fit right. Spray your basecoat in large passes. For parts that are different colors, paint them first, and then assemble them later. It’s a lot easier to spray a silver part then a gold part and glue them together than it is to try to mask off one part and paint them as one piece. For silver metal, I prefer Krylon Hammered Silver paint. A lot of people end their builds here, but weathering a prop is really what makes it stand out. 16 For the lettering, try painting on a thin coat of brown acrylic then lightly scuffing the surface of the piece with some high grit sandpaper (600 grit or higher) wrapped around a flat block. As you scuff away the brown to show the gold underneath, the part will start to look aged and more metallic. Instead of gold paint, you now have something that looks like antique brass. Once these pieces have been weathered, glue them onto the sword blade with 2-part epoxy. Be careful not to use too much; a thin coat will hold better than a big blob. 18 After you wrap the hilt in leather or vinyl, it is ready to go! If you like, you can paint the sword with satin clearcoat paint to protect the weathering work and your paintjob. 19 Be careful with these at a convention! Even though they’re not sharp, they’re still pretty pointy. Good luck and have fun! 17 The rest of the sword can be weathered in a similar manner. To accent the edges of the blade, paint just the sharp line with a lighter silver paint or with Rub’n Buff wax. 37 OMI GIBSON Years of Cosplay: 20+ years Tokyo, Japan ameblo.jp/omi-kero-gibson akiomi.deviantart.com If the Japanese cosplay community is â€œfairly closedâ€? then it can surely bring out the best in you. OMI GIBSON is not only a long-time veteran cosplayer, she is also a multifarious and polymorphic being unleashing her sexy army of strong characters upon us mortals. Jumping at you, swinging a murderous baseball bat or just quietly sipping dark red wine. Clearly there is no quick getaway. Seductive, brash and self-reliant, she is teaching us hard lessons about how video game characters can change your life forever. 2 4 5 3 PROFILE Cosplay Gen: Your cosplays include a wide variety of video game characters, how have video games influenced you along the years? OMI GIBSON: Most of my cosplays are video game characters. Video games are a huge influence not just for cosplay, but in my day-to-day life as well. I learned many important life lessons from video games, so in return, I want to show my love for those games by cosplaying their characters. CG: Considering the number of costumes you’ve done so far, you’ve had to work with lots of materials; which one is your favorite type of material to work with? Can you provide a few tips on how to work with it? OG: To be honest, I’m not that good with working with fabric. I’m a lot better with plastic, polyurethane and other hardened materials. Lately, I found a brand of polyurethane named “PH9” that is very easy to work with, and I like it very much. On the other hand, plastic and foam are fairly pricey here in Japan. I heard it’s cheaper abroad. CG: Many of your characters of choice are sexy and powerful women. Do you consider it a challenge to cosplay such characters? OG: Most of my cosplays are a way for me to show my true personality and personal qualities. That’s because it’s really hard for me to portray characters who have something I don’t. I see myself as someone who has very little self-confidence and a fairly unimportant life. That is why, I cosplay a character who is very strong and beautiful and by doing that, I imagine myself to be just like her. This is probably why I started cosplaying as well. 6 CG: You have been cosplaying for over 20 years, how has your view on cosplay changed throughout the years and what sort of influence has it had in your life? OG: I love the work that is involved with cosplay. I think that if you want to be successful at cosplay, you need to love both the characters you cosplay as and the manual work side of it. I’ve been doing this for so long now, and I’ve come to think that there isn’t anything I can’t do as a cosplayer. I’m still exploring that side of myself even now. I think if I hadn’t started cosplaying, my life would have been much boring now. Cosplay is my life’s work. CG: What’s your view on the cosplay community in Japan? OG: To be honest, I think that the Japanese cosplaying community is fairly closed. While cosplay has certainly become more of a culture than it used to be 10 years ago, there are still people who not only disregard its beauty, but also misunderstand what it’s all about, and I fear that this will be the case for a while still. I want to do whatever I can to change this. CG: Have you ever considered pursuing a professional career in cosplay? OG: I’ve never thought of it (laughs). There’s no such thing as a ‘professional cosplayer’ job in Japan, even though sometimes my company asks me to cosplay at certain events. Still, everything I do, I do as an amateur. Either way, I’ll keep cosplaying as a fan. 42 9 Photo credits: 1. Old Snake (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Raiden mask version) by JIRO (blog.livedoor.jp/semarring1985/?blog_id=2066248) 2. Gokico (JUNNY Artworks) by Ryohei Takanashi (cosp.jp/prof.aspx?id=112326) 3. Rowdy Reiko (Rumble Roses) by MATU 4. Bad Girl (No More Heroes) by Ryohei Takanashi (cosp.jp/prof.aspx?id=112326) 5. Catherine (Catherine) by Ryohei Takanashi (cosp.jp/prof.aspx?id=112326) 6. Sylvia Christel (No More Heroes) by JIRO (blog.livedoor.jp/semarring1985/?blog_id=2066248) 7. Poison (Final Fight) by MATU 8. Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell) by MATU 9. Tae (Zone-00) by JIRO (blog.livedoor.jp/semarring1985/?blog_id=2066248) 10. Cloe Walsh (No More Heroes 2) by MATU 11. Belladonna (Thrill Kill) by MATU 7 8 10 11 43 Jenni K채llberg / Pixelninja Years of Cosplay: 12 Stockholm, Sweden pixelninja.se Some of the most impressive galactic bounty hunters definitely come from Sweden, and they are both fierce and sporting some killer looks. Pixelninja is guiding us into the avianoid Chozo workshops and their deep knowledge of Power Suit technologies. Otherwise how can one account for such DIY skills of bending and seamlessly joining earthly lion boards and larissa fabrics? As always, video game heroines are full of unknown and phenomenal power-ups. 44 2 PROFILE 3 5 46 6 4 7 8 47 PROFILE Cosplay Gen: You’re very well known for your Samus Aran from Metroid cosplay; what does this character mean to you? Pixelninja: She has been one of my favorite video game characters ever since I played Super Metroid when I was little. Besides that I love the Metroid series, I really admire the fact that there is a strong, fearless woman underneath all that armor CG: You first made Samus Aran’s Varia Suit in 2007 and remade it in 2010; what changed since then, and what sort of improvements did you bring to it? Pixelninja: I changed everything. The armor on the first version was mostly made of thin foam or cardboard so it was a bit fragile and some details weren’t accurate, so I wanted to improve that. I used lionboard and larissa fabrics for the new armor, which I had to import from Japan. It’s the same materials the mecha cosplayers often use over there. I’ve been working hard on the costume so it would be more accurate this time and I’m happy with the result! I’ve also added 184 LED lights on each suit, which is powered by 20AA batteries. CG: Samus Aran’s Gravity Suit, which you’ve also made, is the upgraded version of her Power Suit and in some of the games, the final suit she acquires; What can you tell us about the creation process of this costume? Pixelninja: For the references I just googled all the pictures I could find of Samus in her Gravity Suit. The details that I made different from both new suits, except for the color, are the details on the legs, which are different; also, there are blue LED lights instead of green. The best was to learn how I made the costumes is to look at the progress pictures I’ve uploaded on my homepage: http://www.pixelninja.se/progresssamus.htm. Basically I used the vinyl over foam technique for the armor, and then I airbrushed the purple color on the fabric because I couldn’t find the vinyl in that particular purple color. After airbrushing, I sprayed everything with a clear coat to protect the surface and make it shiny. 9 CG: What is the most challenging thing for you in cosplay and how has it influenced/helped you? Pixelninja: The most challenging for me is when I have to make something complicated that I haven’t made before; for example, I struggled a bit with the helmet and the waist part of the body for the Metroid costume, and I wasn’t happy with the first result, so I had to remake it from scratch again, but the second version turned out much better. There is a lot of trial and error involved in costume making, but you also learn and improve with each costume you make. Photo credits: 1, 10. Samus Aran (Metroid, Zero Suit version) by Rikard Lb 2, 4, 7, 8. Samus Aran (Metroid, Gravity Suit version) by Rikard Lb 3, 5, 6. Samus Aran (Metroid, Varia Suit version) by Carl Oscar Aaro 9. Raiden (Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) by Rikard Lb 11. Saya (Blood: The Last Vampire) by Rikard Lb 12. Princess Peach Toadstool (Super Mario) by Rikard Lb 13. Princess Zelda (The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess) by Rikard Lb 48 12 10 11 13 49 PROFILE VickyBunnyAngel Years of Cosplay: 7 Toronto, Canada vickybunnyangel.deviantart.com Cosplay Gen: What made you choose to portray this particular version of Astharoshe Asran from Trinity Blood? VickyBunnyAngel: I immediately fell in love with the design of the dress when I came across this image online. I ordered the Trinity Blood Limited Edition DVDs just so I could have a hardcopy of the artwork to look at. As a cosplayer who is generally attracted to obscure characters and designs, the fact that only a few other cosplayers tackled this dress design made me want to do it even more. There is no reference for the bottom of the dress which allowed me to interpret it however I wished and ensured that my Astharoshe would be unique to me. CG: Can you share with us some information about the dress and how it came to be from sketch to what it is now? VBA: This costume took about 3 months for me to complete, and probably 1 month worth of solid labor if you subtract all the other distractions in life (school, work, social life, sleep etc.). My design for the dress consisted of 3 separates: a jacket shrug, the white top, and a blue skirt. I chose to do it this way to make it easy to wear, and the jacket can be taken off if the weather gets too hot. The blue skirt is made from silk crepe that I custom dyed to match the blue fabric paint I used for the white top. I was very obsessed with color matching for this project since I knew I was working with a diverse range of materials which presented a greater chance of different blues. The way a fabric’s texture and color will photograph should always be taken in consideration. I meticulously photographed all my materials using different conditions to ensure that the blues all photographed the same. I even scrapped 7m of expensive blue silk fabric because the color just wasn’t right after I took it home. The white top, jacket and hat are made from the same matte cream rayon crepe. Notice I say cream and not white. Cream/ivory/off-white photograph better than bright whites. This is a tip I’ve learned from working in the dye industry and dealing with clients who have to tint their whites for film, television and photos. The white top, hat, jacket, gloves and any other hand painted part of this costume were the most time consuming. I drafted my own pattern for the jacket and top using cheap broadcloth. When dealing with expensive fabrics for a costume, it’s always a good idea to do a mock-up with cheap fabric. You will cry less when you make a mistake. I learned this the hard way from a previous costume. I couldn’t start painting until the costume was sewn and tailored perfectly. This may seem like a no-brainer tip, but always press your seams! It’s an integral part of garment finishing. In addition, if you plan on doing painting it helps if the seams lay flat and don’t puff up. The painting took the longest, and I spent 3 weeks worth of pure labor working on every painted aspect of the costume. I freehanded the entire thing and didn’t use a template. First, the design was painted in gold. When that dried, I’d fill in parts of the design with blue. After that dried, I outlined every gold line with a 3D foiling glue that takes several hours to dry. When the foiling glue dries it becomes very tacky and that’s when I pressed gold foil sheets over my lines to make them extra shiny. Unlike most puff and 3D paints I’ve seen that have a dull gold finish; this product gave me an almost mirror-like shine. This made my gold lines 50 pop and added texture to the costume. The fun part was sticking rhinestones everywhere after all the painting and foiling was done. CG: The wig and the hat look just as extravagant as the dress does, how did you make those? VBA: The braided buns are clipped onto a base wig. I created a cone shaped base out of craft foam and then covered that in fabric so I’d have something to sew the wefts into. This allowed me to cheat a bit with the volume and save on buying too many weft extensions. I sewed 4 tails on the inside of the cone, and then braided each tail into 4 braids. I brought these braids out from inside the cone and began weaving them outside of the cone. As I wove the braids I had some needle and thread on hand to stitch them in place. I used a total of 3 packs of cosworx’s wefted extensions to create the two buns. I sewed a hair clip on the inside of the buns so I could attach them to my head. The brim of the hat is made from wonderflex. It’s what I had on hand, but I’m sure any rigid material like buckram will do. Although using wonderflex guaranteed that it would travel well in my squished suitcase and still keep its shape. I covered the wonderflex base with my cream rayon and hand painted it like I did the rest of the dress. The feathered accessory in the middle was made from Sculpey, and I stuck a large smooth pebble in the middle. Then I embellished it with 3D gold foil to bring all these elements together. The top of the hat features a quilted blue cushion I made, but too bad no one really sees it. Photos by Jack Liu aka Alucard_leashed (flickr.com/people/alucard_leashed/) 51 Go-Eun Oh / TASHA Years of Cosplay: 12 Seoul, Korea blog.naver.com/dhrhdms1 spcats.net TASHA from Korea is a hyper spiral cat. So, get a glimpse into the never ending rehearsals, endless presentations and utter exhaustion going on backstage and on-stage. But look at the stunning results! Sheryl Nomeâ€™s galactic fairy wardrobe might lie close at hand and wig styling may open up a new world of curly whiplash wonders. Teamwork and group decisions are vital for choosing the best match, and photographers are always key players themselves. 2 3 COVER STORY 4 5 6 7 55 COVER STORY Cosplay Gen: When and why did you start cosplaying? TASHA: When I was about 15 years old, I went to an animation festival where I saw a cosplay stage for the first time. Afterwards, I started to create my own costumes and participate in such events/festivals. CG: How do you pick the characters for your cosplay team, SpiralCats? TASHA: The characters cosplayed by the SpiralCats team are chosen after a meeting of the team members. The next step is the deliberation of the team members. Sometimes I also want to cosplay a cute character, but I give up if it doesn’t coincide with the image. I take as an example Ore no Imouto: my favorite character was Kirino. But, since one of the team members suggested that Kirino wasn’t appropriate for my image, we chose Saori Bajina, which was my second preference. In our case, team cosplay is focused on the satisfaction coming from a group photo rather than on the satisfaction felt while cosplaying only one character. CG: What can you tell us about the cosplay community in South Korea? TASHA: There are many Korean cosplayers who simply quit cosplaying after graduating from university or while being employed. Thus compared to other countries, Korea doesn’t have too many cosplayers. On the other hand, there are many photographers, so, in most cases, there is an experienced cosplay photographer who manages the community. It is good that a cosplay photographer manages the community; still it would be better if one day the community was coordinated by a cosplayer in Korea too, same as in other countries. 8 CG: What is the costume you’re most proud of? Can you share some tips and tricks on how you made it? TASHA: I like best the one-piece dress of Boa Hancock. I also like Luffy and Boa Hancock as a couple. Boa Hancock’s annoyed facial expression was very difficult to be performed. A method was to take pictures of people I really liked. CG: What did you like about the Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt anime series and what made you cosplay both Panty and Scanty from this series? TASHA: First, I chose GAINAX (the animation studio that created the aforementioned series - editor’s note) as a curiosity, but then I grew fond of the creation of such special characters. I also liked the Comedy very much. Because I got attached to the scene of Panty and Stocking’s metamorphosis, I tried to present that scene. I think the effect of the smoke I chose was very good. CG: How do you identify yourself with Sheryl Nome and what makes you always come back and make another alternative costume of hers? TASHA: I think our style is very different. Actually if Sheryl Nome had existed in our times, I would have been a member of her fan club. She is a character I admire a lot. I like her authentic personality very much. First, only a few costumes I liked represented a challenge for me. And then gradually their number started to increase. So, trying to cosplay all of Sheryl’s costumes became my target. I would be very happy if the cosplays I had to do were more numerous. I would also be very happy to keep on making Sheryl’s new costumes. 56 11 9 10 12 13 57 COVER STORY CG: You cosplay a wide variety of female characters; what makes you cosplay male characters such as Takuto Tsunashi from Star Driver or Hijikata Toshizo from Hakuouki? TASHA: I cosplayed them because I like them very much. But because I realized that some of the characters are not matching very well, now I’d recommend to my cosplayer friends the male characters that can easily match. CG: What sort of advice would you give regarding the wig and make-up to someone who’d want to cosplay a flashy character such as Takuto Tsunashi from Star Driver? TASHA: Because the cosplay of Takuto Tsunashi was very unsatisfying, I can give no advice on the make-up. However…: When cosplaying, there are some tips regarding wig styling. The best wig I’ve ever styled was with WoodRock Bond. The wig styling with WoodRock Bond cannot be discussed in terms of hair gel/wax/hair spray. If you use it, you’d understand, and chances are that you also become WoodRock Bond’s slave! Even without any help, you can easily style the hair by yourself. You can make a nice wig even only with WoodRock Bond and one knife. I highly recommend trying to use it at least once. CG: You have been selected, along with SINME, as Korea’s representatives for World Cosplay Summit 2011, with your Monster Hunter cosplay; what can you tell us about this experience until now; and why did you choose Monster Hunter? TASHA: My favorite animation genre was very different from SINME’s. For that reason, in the beginning it was very difficult to choose the themes. At the same time, the suggestion was Monster Hunter. Since only the two of us were preparing the show, we thought that such characters as Hunter and Monster could be effective on the stage. 14 CG: What is the biggest challenge that cosplay offered you until now? TASHA: It is the participation in World Cosplay Summit. Two months = 60 full days of continuous pre-elections. Stage presentations. Stage music. Stage props. Costume manufacturing. Stage rehearsal. A lot of things to do, but not enough time. Extremely tiresome. After WCS finished, I went back home and I was so exhausted that I slept continuously for 22 hours. I went to sleep, and when I woke up it was night. // Interview by Cristian Botea and Ruxandra Târcă // Translator: Cătălina Stanciu Photos by Kim Tai Sik aka SINME (blog.naver.com/kimtaisik/) 1, 5. Saori Bajina (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai) 2. Scanty (Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt) 3, 6. Black Rock Shooter (Black Rock Shooter) 4, 9, 13, 14, 16, 17. Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier) 7. Boa Hancock (One Piece) 8, 11. 8, 11. Panty (Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt) 10. Thanatos (Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai) 12. Bad Girl (No More Heroes) 15. Virgilia (Umineko no Naku Koro ni) 18. Umi Ryuuzaki (Magic Knight Rayearth) 19. Hijikata Toshizo (Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan) 58 17 15 16 18 19 59 Cinematic Photography by William Wong aka Rescend rescend.deviantart.com For him, it all started as a promise; a promise to deliver photos if nobody did. That promise was made by William Wong aka Rescend to the Singaporean cosplayer Blacklash when she started cosplaying. That promise has since extended to those he had the honor of shooting for, and everything went in fast forward ever since. Renaming himself Omake-sama after Cosfest VIII, he founded Omake Studios shortly after, with the help of the photographer Swiftwing. With numerous videos and photoshoots under his belt, he has proven to be able to adapt to any situation and make the best out of it. His love for cinematography and movies has influenced his style of photography and has since evolved into a self-named style called “Cinematic Photography”. Introduction – What is Cinematic Photography? Whenever I get asked for shoots and I meet up with cosplayers to discuss the directing of the shoot, I often get requests to give some of the shots a “movie feel”. When I first got this request, I was confused. What exactly was this “movie feel”? Why do people like it so much and how can I portray all that into a single frame instead of a video? Thus began my journey into the aptly coined term; Cinematic Photography. So, what IS Cinematic photography? It’s not exactly a recognized genre of photography, but a term to simply describe photos that have the “Cinematic”/”Movie” feel. More often than not, the shot ends up looking like a screen grab from a movie. Like photography, there are many factors involved in Cinematic Photography that make a good shot. There are generally a few “rules of thumb” to follow. Here are three simple things to look out for if you want to do your own Cinematic Shots. Rule of Thirds is your Friend Rule of thirds is a touchy issue with many photographers. Some believe it’s a silly rule, some swear by it. While it is not ALWAYS necessary to place the subject on the left or right third of the shot, it usually works well. Due to reasons that warrant an article of its own, The Rule of Thirds basically has a strange effect on our eyes; when the subject or certain objects are placed at certain parts of a shot, they draw our attention. You can easily google up on Rule of Thirds for further reference. Again, as I mentioned, this is a touchy issue. While it is NOT MANDATORY that the shot has to be framed using the Rule of Thirds, it usually works better that way, as you will see from my example shots (see photos 2 and 6 on page 60). Ask yourself honestly, which of the two shots do you find more “movie” like? ARTICLE Having a Wider Perspective Ever notice how we always say that a Home Cinema can’t beat the “feeling” of a REAL Cinema? Have you ever wondered why? Most cinemas use the 16:9 or 16:10 perspective. While most HDTVs nowadays do offer 16:9 formats, our cameras are still taking photos mainly in 3:2 or 4:3 formats. While newer cameras offer to shoot in 16:9 crops (like the multi-aspect sensor of the GH2), most mainstream DSLRs (short of those offered by Sony) do not offer such options. So how do I do it? (My Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 is not my main stills camera and the Canon EOS 7D and Canon EOS 5D Mark II do not offer 16:9 aspect ratios) The honest answer: I can visualize the crop lines when I look in my viewfinder. After cropping dozens upon dozens of 3:2 shots (which both Canon cameras default at), I have gotten to the point that, when I look through the viewfinder and I’m framing for a Cinematic shot, I can picture the crop lines there. After cropping dozens upon dozens of 3:2 shots (which both Canon cameras default at), I have gotten to the point when I look in the viewfinder and I’m framing for a Cinematic shot, I can picture the crop lines there. Will you gain this ability? My answer is yes, most definitely. It is a simple matter of training yourself to the level of unconscious competence. I know that it isn’t exactly a fair answer, so here are some real tips. Canon and Nikon cameras that I’ve worked with are mainly HDSLRs (Hybrid DSLR) that are capable of recording video. These cameras shoot HD Ready / FullHD video in 16:9 perspectives in the camera’s respective Live View modes. While the LCD Screen is not in the 16:9 ratio, they have crop lines that actually show what you are recording (everything outside the crop lines is not 62 Photos by William Wong aka Rescend 1. Blacklash (blacklash90.deviantart.com) as Lady Sio (Afro Samurai: Resurrection) 2, 6. Holydust (holydust.deviantart.com) as Rinoa Heartilly (Final Fantasy VIII) 3. Yakukaen (yakukaen.deviantart.com) as Chizuru Yukimura (Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan) and Winter Sakura (wsakura.deviantart.com) as Okita Souji (Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan) 4, 8. RainerTachibana (rainertachibana.deviantart.com) as Noctis Lucis Caelum (Final Fantasy XIII) 5. Daryl aka deathjok3r (socialriotmachine.deviantart.com) as Kenshin Kimura (Rurouni Kenshin) 7. Holydust (holydust.deviantart.com) as Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass) and Athensis (athensis.deviantart.com) as Suzaku Kururugi (Code Geass) 9. Sakana (sakana.deviantart.com) as Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid, Love is War EAGER LOVE REVENGE version) 10. RainerTachibana (rainertachibana.deviantart.com) as Sheryl Nome (Macross Frontier) 11. Zeph (prescenez.deviantart.com) as Miwayama (Zone-00) recorded). These cameras, while not recording video, can take still shots in Live View mode while having the crop lines present. So you just simply have to frame within the crop lines, take the photo and crop it in post-processing! Color my Life! What a lot of people miss out when they attempt Cinematic Photography is they fail to post-process the colors. Even in movies, the colors are post-processed, in order to give the movie a movie-like look. This is simply done by using complimentary colors shades. Hold it, hold it. What the HECK are complimentary colors? Like the Rule of Thirds, complimentary colors have a weird effect on human beings. Things done with complimentary colors are aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. In this case, most of my photos involve human beings, which are some shade of orange/beige. The Complimentary Color to Orange is Blue, which is why, unless the mood calls for it, my photos have a slight hint of blue in it. Of course, how you balance the colors depends on you. Those who do post-processing know that when you increase the “blues”, the whole picture becomes cooler (and the skin tone gets messed up). However, you can “fight back” the blues by applying a bit more orange so that the skin doesn’t look pale while the blue overcast is maintained. Conclusion Like any other genre of photography, Cinematic Photography isn’t limited only to these 3 factors. There are many other minor factors within each major one, and, possibly, there might be more major ones that I have yet to discover myself. Of course, I have more to share for each listed factor, but that will be probably covered in future articles; or you can contact me in the many forms on the right. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Find Omake Studios on Facebook www.facebook.com/OmakeStudios Find Omake Studios on Tumblr omakestudios.tumblr.com Find Rescend on Facebook www.facebook.com/Rescend Find Rescend on DeviantArt rescend.deviantart.com 63 Lolita: From Dainty Doll to Pastel Princess By Cyril Lumboy dolldelight.deviantart.com Photos by China Mungcal shinyredballoon.deviantart.com ARTICLE If there was one Japanese streetfashion genre that has truly evolved, it has to be Lolita. Browsing the Gothic and Lolita Bible (or simply GLB) volume by volume, one could readily see the changes the fashion has gone through. The earlier look of Lolita is plain in terms of print but lavish in lace. The style is more to the Gothic and/or Classic side; black, white, deep red and blue were popular colors. Make-up was minimal and girls wore simple hair or wig, either straight or curled. Who would have thought that these porcelain dolls would one day morph into Gyaru-hybrid mannequins who had cotton candy for their hair with poodles, ponies, and pastries popping from their pastel-colored dresses, all adorned with an entire stash of accessories? While there are those who long for the times of muted daintiness, there are others who bask in the explosive cuteness, or should I say kawaiiness, of the rather OTT (that is Lolita jargon for over the top) look of the new breed of Lolitas. This Lolita enjoys the “big is beautiful” trend of the fashion, a product of the hybridism of Lolita and other styles. Despite these differences, however, there still are elements that keep the fashion distinct. Let us see what has changed and remained the same in Japan’s most popular style. Perfect Poof A girl dressed in frills could nowadays be mistaken for a Hime Gyaru or even a Mori Girl, if it were not for Lolita’s signature silhouette. Indeed the petticoat is the Lolita’s best friend. It does not merely give the “poof” of a Lolita’s dress as more than that, it makes the style distinguishable from all its other sister styles. While this piece has remained a must in the Lolita ensemble, it seems to be most important to the new breed. Comparing all the Gothic and Lolita Bible volumes, it is evident that the silhouette is now more round and pronounced, especially for the Sweet Lolita style. The Angelic Pretty brand tends to do more cupcake shape while Baby, The Stars Shine Bright boasts of its bell silhouette. While the style of skirt has a lot to do with the resulting shape, it is important to note that the petticoat contributes to this as well. Take Angelic Pretty for example. The line produces a somewhat empire waist style. The skirt begins around 2 to 3 inches after the bust. To get the cupcake shape, the petticoat must be already full or poofy around the waistband, matching were the 65 ARTICLE bust and waist of the dress meet. Obviously, it would look odd to wear this style with a petticoat that poofs near the hips or lower. However, such a petticoat would work well for Baby’s bellshaped dresses. The skirt of this style begins at the waist and partially flares. Having the petticoat poof near the hips makes for a curved silhouette. While Sweet Lolitas have been digging the bigger, rounder dress shape, petticoats are still favored by those who wear the more mature Classic style too. Dresses from Victorian Maiden and Innocent World are of this variety. As these are usually of the a-line cut, the waist being tighter and the skirt being more flared and angled, a petticoat that poofs minimally and evenly then increases as it nears the bottom is preferred. Indeed, for a Lolita, a dress without a petticoat is a dead dress. However, it is important to remember that not all petticoats are the same. It is vital to know the proper poof your dress needs to get the best silhouette. Tip: To maintain and extend the life of your petticoat (its poofiness and fluffiness), hang it upside down. Trick: Layering petticoats is a good practice if you are going for a more round shape. Layering ruffled skirts is a good, though rather uncomfortable substitute for Lolitas on a budget. Hair Raiser In the past, girls were acknowledged as Lolitas only because of what they wore. Now, there is such a thing as Lolita hair. By hair, I mean wigs. Just like what I’ve said above, it is the reign of the Afro Lolita, the Lolita who has cotton candy for her hair. The Lolitas of old, those with their tender ringlets, classic curls or simple straight locks, (be it real hair or wig), might condemn their current reincarnation as rather cosplayish but color and volume is clearly the trend of the times. This movement is, again, led by the Sweet Lolitas. They are the ones to blame or thank for (I choose a little bit of both). Browse the pages of KERA and GLB, and you see these ladies sporting an elegant Marie Antoinette-inspired bouffant or these gals wearing candy-colored clouds for their hair. Now I am starting to think that aside from bunnies and ponies, the sheep should definitely become one of the fashion’s favorite critters. Perhaps what has further fueled this craze is the availability of such wigs. GothicLolitaWigs.com is a American-based company that has allowed for the creation of Lolita hair. They began with a batch for the Sweet Lolita style then moved to making Gothic and Classic ones as well. Aside from catering to the different Lolita tastes, their wigs are released as series. Their first series were the Miwako-type, tight curls, and wavey styles. Their popular ones are the split and blended series. The split series are twotone wigs while the blends are, true to the name, a combination of colors. These are all 3-piece wig set: either a bob or long base plus two clip-on ponytails. Their newest series are a diversion as they are sold as one-piece. The classic series can be best described as Rapunzel’s hair (though not as long), as there are delicate ripples on the wig. The other series borrows the look of the traditional Japanese princess, straight and long – the hime cut. This Lolita currently owns three wigs from the said company and is satisfied not only with the quality of the wigs but also with the excellence of their customer service. While the shop already offers a variety of wigs to choose from, they also do special commission where a client could customize 66 the colors of an existing design. The current cost of this is only 10$ more. However, if you really want your own wig dream to come true, you could always ask them to experiment for you. That is if you are still not satisfied restyling their high temperature fiber wigs which you could curl or straighten with a low-set iron. All this is made possible by the open communication between the company and its clients. The company has its own page (facebook.com/GothicLolitaWigs) where clients could purchase and post photos of themselves wearing the wigs. More than that, it is the place to contribute to the creative process of either improving existing pieces or coming up with new designs. Needless to say, GothicLolitaWigs.com has become more than a company as it is now a community in itself. While bigger hair does not necessarily require bigger hair accessories (though most Sweet Lolitas do prefer the big bow), the art of adorning one’s hair has become more important now than ever. Again, we have the Sweet Lolitas to look up to. Not only do they wear their hair big and colorful, but they also decorate it with clips of equally colorful ribbons, candies, and other such sweetness. This is, of course, borrowed from decora kei, a separate style of Japanese streetfashion. While Lolitas of old might have been content with their monochromatic mini tophats and most of all, their maxipad headdresses, the Deco Lolita boasts of having the best of both Lolita and Decora worlds. Tip: Wigs mounted on a stand last longer than those kept in containers. Trick: If you want thicker hair but could not afford a wig, curl, tease (backcomb), and spray your hair. Going Gyaru Indeed, big hair has become so much part of the Lolita look that it almost resembles its sister style, the Hime Gyaru. That does not stop with the hair as Lolitas also prefer bigger eyes now, another signature of the said fashion. If early Lolitas generally went for a clean face, as that depicted youth and innocence, and left make-up to their Gothic cousin, the new breed favors eyes that pop, and that is done by Gyaru make-up. Interestingly, the dark eyes make for a dramatic contrast to the overall pastel perfection of the Sweet Lolita. Achieving such eyes is now as easy as typing Gyaru in Youtube. While you are at it, you could also take a look at Michelle Phan’s Gothic Lolita make-up tutorial, that is, if you prefer to look like a Pullip doll. Of course, there would always be those who look down upon the Gyaru Lolita hybrid, as there are those who dislike the OTT accessories of Deco Lolita. However, it should be understood that Lolita exists alongside other streetfashion styles. It is only natural that borrowing of certain elements from one style to another should happen. Tip: For bigger-looking eyes, take note of the eye shape before applying eyeliner. Round or almond shaped eyes would benefit more from additional length. Achieve this by doing the “wing”, eyeliner applied to the sides of the eyes. Conversely, long, slanted eyes need more width. Eyeliner should be applied to the upper lid (you could do the lower too, for a more Gothic touch), to get rounder, bigger eyes. Trick: For eyes that pop, apply white eyeliner from the waterline up to part of the eyes nearest the nose bridge. 67 ARTICLE Still the Blacksheep Admittedly, much of the discussion has been about the changes in Lolita fashion, as represented by the Sweet substyle. This is because the brands that cater to this style have been the ones constantly updating their designs. One simply needs to revisit old GLB volumes to see how huge the change is. For one, solid colors such as black, white, blue, and red have given way to softer pastels. And then there is the issue with OTT prints. However, the change is not limited to the dresses just as the Lolita hybrids demonstrate. Bigger hair and eyes and an entire stash of accessories have come to complete the Lolita look. While Sweet Lolita is the fashion’s icon of change, Punk Lolita maintains its reputation as being the hardest to pull-off among all the other substyles. Why is this so? One reason is the belief that Punk Lolita, per se, does not exist. To some, the style belongs more to the side of visual kei, rather than Lolita. To the purists, it just is not Lolita as it deviates from the supposedly demure and dainty character of the fashion and is sometimes reduced to club wear. Another more obvious and somewhat silly reason is that this is what the style has come to be defined - difficult to do and do right. With such a stigma attached to the style, it is not surprising that only few should want to try it. Moreover, even if there are willing ones, they are more likely to be labeled as Lol-Itas, a pun on the original name which is synonymous to epic fail. This Lolita, however, believes that the problem of the style lies in its perceived difficulty. It is hard to do because the style is made to conform to the fashion’s rules when its other half, punk, is all about breaking rules. Indeed, for this substyle, it is best to be open-minded, not to mention, creative. Whether Punk Lolita is Lolita or visual kei or just punk, we could all agree to disagree. What makes this substyle worth mentioning in our discussion of trends is that, out of all the substyles, Punk Lolita remains loyal to what was once esteemed as one of the Lolita shoes (that is, aside from the rocking horse) – the huge and chunky platform Mary Janes. These were the Lolita shoes of long ago, especially of the Gothic ones, which have been recently argued as the shoes of Cosplay Lolita. Unlike the rest of the Lolita ensemble that has gotten bigger, the new breed prefers their shoes in low heels and, as expected, in rainbow pastel colors. Why this happened, this Lolita could only infer. It could be likened to the growing distaste for lacey Lolita. If lavish lace was once a statement of elegance, any Lolita caught wearing the style now risks being branded as a lace monster, or even worse, an Ita. Certainly, much has changed in Lolita fashion. Its marriage with other styles has not only made the look more creative but has also kept it updated. It is interesting and intriguing because it evolves. Needless to say, Lolita boasts of two things: its diversity as represented by its various substyles and its flexibility as a hybrid fashion. What Lolita needs now is an open-minded community that celebrates creativity over conformity to rules. Disclaimer: What is written here is based on the author’s personal observation of Lolita culture on the Internet. While a comparative and historical analysis of Gothic and Lolita Bible and KERA magazines has been made, this should not be treated as an academic discussion of the said fashion. Sources: community.livejournal.com/egl/ www.fyeahlolita.com 68 DO IT YOURSELF Make-Up Tutorial: Vampire Knight’s Kaname Kuran by Shizuka aka RainerTachibana rainertachibana.deviantart.com This tutorial will cover two basic makeup looks that I use for Vampire Knight’s Kaname Kuran. Of course, different faces take differently to makeup, so I hope that instead of following this tutorial to the T, readers will be inspired to play around with techniques and come up with looks that best suit them (and their characters). 1 2 3 Start with a clean face, and a good skincare regime, and then apply the basics – concealer, foundation, and loose powder. This is a must for an even and cleanlooking skintone that shows up well in photographs. Apply just a little concealer or foundation on your lips too. Using a black liquid or cream eyeliner, draw a heavy line on the upper eyelid, and wing out the tip on the outer corner. Because I have single eyelids, the line needs to be thicker; people with double eyelids should draw a thinner line. Continue applying eyeliner on the lower lid. Lining the inner corner of the eyes is important if you want to emphasise the sharp eyes of the character. Be careful not to line the lower lid too heavily. It should be thicker on the inner and outer corners of the eye, and thinner in the middle. Eye makeup can be used to reshape and redefine your eyes, which is crucial for cosplaying different characters, so don’t rush through this step. 70 4 5 Using a brown pencil, draw a fake eyelid crease along the socket of your eye. Those who already have double eyelids may either skip this step, or run the pencil along to crease to define it further. Make sure the line isn’t too harsh. For this character, I’d want to fake the effect of dark under-eye sockets. Apply a non-shimmer pigment (I used a dark peach blush for this), and blend the color gently, sweeping it up to your temples. Blend a dark brown eyeshadow above the eyelid crease to make your eyes appear more deep-set. This step is optional. Some people won’t find it appropriate for male characters but personally, I think that it emphasizes the eyes more. 6 7 8 Using a shimmery highlighter or white eyeshadow, define the inner and outer corners of your eyes. Take care not to apply it onto your black eyeliner, you want the black to be black instead of diluted with glitter and shimmer pigments. Also, make sure the highlighter is very subtle or you run the risk of looking too theatrical. The completed look – with an emphasis on the eyes. The second look is best fit for people who prefer a more natural and realistic approach to cosplay makeup. Finally, fill in your brows. Since it’s a male character, take care not to make them too arched or too high. Instead of using eyeliner to define your eyes, invest in a pair of fake eyelashes. We’re doing a male character here, so be careful when choosing them. Select a pair with straight (not crisscrossed) lashes, and not too long or thick. Specifically, I’m using Canmake 01 for this. 71 DO IT YOURSELF 9 10 Because we’re going for a more natural look, we’ll not draw in the double eyelid crease. Instead, use eyelid tape to create a temporary (but otherwise very real) crease. Carefully apply the sticker to your eyelid above the eyelash. People who already have double eyelids can also use this to deepen or raise your double eyelid crease. Using a brown pencil eyeliner, line the outer corner of the eyes, and also the lower lids along the lashline. When lining your eyes, make sure to extend the line on either corner, this will make your eyes appear longer and sharper. At this point you can also run your brown liner lightly along the eyelid crease for extra definition; again, for this character I’ve applied color along the lower eye sockets. There are different types of eyelid tape for different eye shapes, so you’ll need to do a bit of experimenting to find the kind that works for you. You’ll also probably need a lot of practice to get it to look right. I know I did. 11 Emphasise your features with a highlighter. For the purpose of this tutorial, I’ve blocked out on the first photo areas on my face that I want to emphasize. The cheekbones, chin, brow bones and bridge of the nose are the most important. I’ve also shaded very subtly along either side of the bridge of the nose, and added highlights to the inner corner of each eye. Remember to apply a little at a time and blend well. Photos by Rieyn (rieyn.deviantart.com) 72 12 Fill in your brows and youâ€™re done. INTERVIEW Yan / Cvy Years of Cosplay: 8+ Singapore cvy.deviantart.com Cosplay as body art. Cvyâ€™s Alice in Steampunkland Singapore team was steadily growing since we bumped into them last time. Now Cvy teaches us how to confront logistic nightmares linked to limited locations and tight schedules. You need a cool head, and a healthy dose of enthusiasm coupled with critical self-appraisal. You may also need kung-fu sewing skills, a taste for detail and rigorous planning ahead for the one-and-only photoshooting event. Lots of survival tips and ways to hone your handicraft, as we may yet save your pockets! 3 74 1 2 75 INTERVIEW Cosplay Gen: You have a very wide range of costumes. What are your main criteria when choosing a character to cosplay? Can you find a common feature for the characters you’ve chosen until now? Cvy: A character or series I affectionately love. I had an intense fondness for Gaara from Naruto then, and he eventually led me into discovering cosplay, and making my first attempt in sewing and cosplaying. Since I’m vertically-challenged, the prominent common feature for the chosen characters would be, undoubtedly, my petite physique, thus pint-sized characters. Tall or muscled characters are normally out of my league. But I’ve been told I am too tall for Onion Knight. Life is so hard. CG: What was the most difficult costume you’ve made until now? Can you detail the process? Cvy: Freya Crescent from Final Fantasy IX. Only because she is not human. She is a Burmecian dragoon, a rat-like being. I took a considerably long time on figuring out how to make the costume, her face, hands and hoofs. I cannot remember exactly how long it took, but it got to be over 3 months (including commitments and other various priorities that came along the way). I used a non-woven cloth to sew the hands and hoofs, and then jammed with bear stuffing. Carved and sanded styrofoam for the nails. The face is built on a mask with paper-mache. This part is rather crazy; I applied paper-mache by cutting a gazillion of tiny pointed strips so as to resemble a wave of fur, and it kind of did, only that it doesn’t show up in photos. What a darn despair. 4 At that point, there wasn’t a big variety of PVC leather sold locally (speaking of which, it is still scarce), so much the less red-colored, but it was still my preferred choice of material. At last, I finally found it, like a rice grain in a pile of sand, but it was extremely thin and fragile; I chose it still because it looks slick and matte. I used fusible interfacing to strengthen the leather, sewed lining, with 4 meters of stuffing sandwiched in between. Due to its poor quality and pressure, it started to tear on the surface exposing a white base when I wore it at an event. The red above had torn to bits; it was my first and forcefully the last time too as Freya. I actually knew the severity beforehand, so I had prepared a red marker and had my adorable friends colour the obscene torn areas just so I could last those 2 hours in order to have some decent photos taken. The best part is that I found an awesome high-quality red PVC cloth a few months later. It may be my most difficult costume, in both portrayal and the making, but I find my cosplay a bit lacking still; it has too many imperfections. CG: Your portfolio also includes characters that, unlike Black Butler for instance, are less exploited (such as Naota from Furi Kuri, Haku from Spirited Away, or Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle). How did you come to cosplay characters such as these? Cvy: I’m a big fan of Studio Ghibli, so basically this is the reason why I cosplayed Haku and Sophie. I planned another couple of cosplays from the works of Studio Ghibli, but for some unusual reason, I never get around making them; I’ve even bought the cloth! As for Naota, it was for my good friend, Lynn; she is our team leader and our excellent Haruko, and it is always fun with her. She has so much optimism and striking ideas. Anyway, I enjoyed the well-animated graphics in Furi Kuri a lot, being an animation student myself. 76 6 5 INTERVIEW CG: You also have some very complex props such as those of Rin’s Meltdown Remix guitar, Onion Knight from Dissidia Final Fantasy, or Halloween Town Sora from Kingdom Hearts. What are some of the props you found most challenging to make and why? Can you tell us in a few words how did you make them? Cvy: Rin’s Meltdown Remix guitar ranks the first in complexity. Mainly because I am not a precision planner and her guitar needs every precision in the world. Every connecting shape herein affects another a lot, so accurate measurements had to be made, or at least close to it; if not, I believe even untrained eyes can see the faults. I’m not too happy with it, but it still is a gratifying experience. Halloween Town Sora’s keyblade is quite exerting too because of its irregular shape, I wanted to have it look tridimensional, though depressingly it still ends up looking flat in some angles. It was the first time I carved a 3-inch thick styrofoam… with... a puny penknife, and I wonder why it was exerting, hmm. CG: Cosplay can sometimes be a wallet-wrecking hobby; what sort of tips can you provide to our readers for minimizing the costs? Also, which is the costume you invested the most in? Cvy: One - If you pick up sewing you can save A LOT. I know that not everyone can sew, but I started from ground zero too, with no mentor, only by studying the clothing in my wardrobe and reading tutorials. Don’t give up ‘til you try, like, many times. Unless your tailor gives you a gosh-darn good discount or if you are willing to spend on a commission. Two - Reuse your wigs! Hair-colour is not a big problem because you can dye using FW acrylic ink – unless is dark based. If the character has wavy hair and your straight fibre wig is heat-resistant, you could try curling it with a low-heat temperature curler. One point of caution: don’t trim a long wig to boy style, as it might look odd, depending on the weft-arrangement. 7 Three - Footwear is also another money consuming item because there are all sorts of designs an artist could easily whip up, but a nightmare for cosplayers (goes the same for wigs). Does that mean we have to find and buy a new pair each time? Yes. But if within your ability, try to make shoe-covers, or simply modify. But only if it is a unique design that can be manipulated with your existing footwear, so if it is a pair of sneakers or loafers or any that is already available in the market… ah well that’s all the luck we have, spare yourself the trouble. Up to this point, I still find it hard to make boot covers though, so I ended up buying. Four - If you have close friends who are generous and have what you needed, borrow from them. Ask politely and take good care of it. CG: In our pilot issue we interviewed your Alice in Steampunkland team which consisted of only 3 members at the time. Now the team consists of 14 members; what can you tell us about the evolution of this project? Cvy: Word went around in our little circle that I was ‘recruiting’ so it cut me some slack there with the gathering of members. I’m VERY thankful to them for faithfully walking along with my pet project up to the end, er ok, not the end yet. Most thankful to BanditYing and Dan, the initial team; it was harder to gather members then because all we had was a concept, and you can’t exactly call this a cosplay. When our ideas came to birth and our concept accepted, it was an extraordinary feeling, distinctively different from completing a cosplay. 78 8 10 9 11 79 INTERVIEW We had a few group meet-ups to discuss each of our plans, to follow a certain consistency in our costumes; some had sketches of their ideas and we would each offer creative input. I set up a private Facebook group because apart from the 14 cosplayers I gathered 6 photographers as well, and it was easier to update at one time because a group of 20 people is too big for me to handle on my own. Lynn (Madhatter) and Xiaobai (March Hare) helped out a lot too with their advices and with putting things together while I went mad myself. Really. Again, apart from having 20 people now, we needed helpers too for the shoot. So, having over 20 people makes it nearly impossible to hold a shoot anywhere with the already limited locations we could go to with a massive team, let alone a location that is suitable for a steampunk theme. There were two places we would risk it all and ‘infiltrate’, but a couple of members voiced their worries. Legally, we could only go to a boring public park in the end. I planned the logistic part of the photoshoot in… a PowerPoint presentation, with assignments, charts, timetables, all written neatly, in a corporate style presentation - I know it’s hilarious! But it’s the only way to be more efficient, especially when it involves so many individuals. 12 And, although it is Alice’s whimsical dream, I didn’t want our version to focus around her too much, like the original. I found it essential to have more interaction between the cosplayers, and each character’s ‘screen-time’ to be of equal lineup. So I conceptualized my own storyline using a few references from Lewis Carroll’s book to retain the familiarity, doing the best I could to have each of them as involved as possible. But unfortunately, a few of our members could not make it for the shoot, so we had to scrape a big part of the plan. But all was well, it still turned out good! CG: In 2010 you made a cosplay music video based on the Hatsune Miku - Rolling Girl video. What can you tell us about the work done behind the video and how did it all come to life? Cvy: I’ve wanted to make one ever since Kaika and Reiko’s Just be Friends cosplay video. I’ve got some wee bit of hands-on knowledge in videography and post-production because of school and my ex-job in a movie distribution company, so I was keen to try it out. Found out about Rolling Girl from Reiko, and I’m going to say it as cliché-ish as possible - I fell in love. Immediately. It is something I could profoundly relate to too. The only thing I sew was the skirt; thank goodness I had the rest of the clothing. The photoshoot part was brisk; it was made more efficient because we had a storyboard to follow through. The more mind-boggling portion was the editing; a 3-minute video means weeks of work! I used Adobe After Effects, spending every weekend to edit - the amount of hours can easily exceed the making of one semi-complex costume. I have to arrange stopmotion onto every photo and scene so that ate up more time along with the rest of the nitty-gritty blink-and-you-will-miss effects. Lynn helped with the tracing of the lyrics, each and every Japanese character; I cannot be more grateful! Great thanks to Wowaka, Akiakane and team, the original creators of the video we based it on. 15 80 CG: In your opinion, what is the most important thing in a photoshoot? And what do you think it’s the difference between individual, and group photoshoots? Cvy: With a group, you get to have interactive shots with your 13 14 team members, and get to reenact a lot more scenes… but you might confront with the lack of time, depending on the size of the team. Putting a team together requires a certain amount of effort, for example arranging a date whereby everyone is available, ensure consistency in materials and costumes, keep up to date with them all the time etc. But the returns you get can be very fulfilling. For obvious reasons, you don’t encounter those situations if you are arranging your own solo shoot. The varieties in poses/ photos are more limited, but you have all the time, plus freedom to further explore aesthetically to some degree. events that welcome the notion of cosplayers because we ARE a colourful bunch, so we do draw a lot of attention, a magnet for huge crowds attracting absurdly ill-mannered humans at the same time, who lack the etiquette especially in photo-taking (acting like we are some circus freaks but hey, at least they are paid), they are probably ignorant about the subculture, even though I still think it’s just basic courtesy. This makes an exclusive event more sought after, at least for me. But then, being less commercialized would also mean a lack of capital; if only I was filthy rich... The most important thing in a photoshoot is that you must be comfortable with your photographer/s and team members. If you are not, this could show in photos a sort of restraint with your expression or body language and the effective communication with the artistry approach you or the photographer might want... unless your adaptability is incredible. CG: In the now 8+ years you’ve been into this hobby, how has your view changed about cosplay and what does is it mean to you? Cvy: Comparatively to how cosplay is now, you can say it had changed more than in my point of view. My mentality towards it remains, at least a big part of it; I do it for fun, to exhibit the great passion I have over something I’m enjoying for a long time - watching anime or gaming that eventually lead me into cosplaying new characters. And expectations of myself will raise a few notches too, I guess. I treat it as an expressive form of body art as well. The good part in the evolution of cosplay is that there is a bigger range of choices in wig styles, materials, ready-made costumes etc, unlike the previous years; regarding the cons, people get all pampered by the increasing convenience, but that’s expected when business heads come into the picture. So for everything else, it’s all good. CG: Your country offers a lot of possibilities for cosplayers. Still, if it was up to you, what would you change in the cosplay scene in Singapore and why? Cvy: Wow, I haven’t thought about it because I see no way in having the ability or power to ever change. Well, I would like the event/con to be more intimate, less commercialized, not open to the public, and more exclusive to the people who share similar taste. Not only to cosplay, but catered for artists or people who genuinely like anime, seiyuus, games etc. We did have a ‘For Fans By Fans’ Hetalia only event last year, but sadly I could not make it… What I am looking at now are (some, to put it humbly) // Interview by Cristian Botea and Ruxandra Târcă Photo credits: 1. Tetsunosuke Ichimura (Peace Maker Kurogane) by Decadence (koshinaka.deviantart.com) 2. K agamine Rin (Vocaloid, Sandplay Singing of The Dragon) by Victor (vgwong.deviantart.com) 3. Hao Asakura (Shaman King) by Decadence (koshinaka.deviantart.com) 4. Freya Crescent (Final Fantasy IX) by Shuui (shuui.deviantart.com) 5. Kagamine Rin (Vocaloid, Meltdown Remix version) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 6. Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid, Rolling Girl version) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 7. S hizuo Heiwajima (Durararara!!) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 8. Hotaru (Samurai Deeper Kyo) by Ying (banditying.deviantart.com) 9, 11. Killua Zoldyck (Hunter x Hunter) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 10. Killua Zoldyck (Hunter x Hunter) by Kulagg (flickr.com/people/kulagg/) 12. Onion Knight (Dissidia Final Fantasy) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 13. Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle) by Decadence (koshinaka.deviantart.com) 14. Syaoran (Cardcaptor Sakura) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 15. V entus (Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 81 INTERVIEW 1 3 82 Eric Ng / Bigwhitebazooka Glendale, CA, USA bigwhitebazooka.com Cosplay Gen: Your portfolio also includes photos from different sorts of events involving music, vehicles, sports etc. How do you think anime conventions and cosplay in general differentiate from the others? Eric Ng: The uniqueness of an anime convention is that it’s a really welcoming and supportive network of people who really enjoy themselves at their craft and hobby. Those people have a passion for that they do, so when I take their pictures, they’re much more able to manifest the idea of cosplay and costume design, which in turn yields a much better picture at the end. I appreciate all the relationships and friendships that I have run across in the last few years. Shooting photos of cars or sports don’t allow me to have direct interaction with people, which I really enjoy. As photography is evolving for me, I try to bring different techniques or styles of cosplay photography into other venues, such as music or even fashion photography. CG: What camera do you use to shoot with and what lenses? Eric: I’m shooting with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Canon EOS 30D body. Lenses include: 70-200 mm 2.8 L, 24-70 mm 2.8 L, 50 mm 1.8, 85mm 1.2 L, 10-17 mm. 2 I like playing around with different lenses, in order to create different depths and focus on different aspects for the shot. As of late, I enjoy using the wider lens (24-70) for location integration as well as the 85 prime lens to capture shots that highlight the emotions of a cosplayer. CG: Since cosplayers aren’t most of the times professional models and they do what they do as a hobby, do you think it’s important to exist a certain relation between the photographer and the cosplayer? How do you communicate with them? Eric: My type of cosplay photography is based on character as opposed to convention coverage. I think the relationship between cosplayer and photographer is very important. Personally, I’m very vocal during shoots. A powerful tool for a photographer to have is verbal direction. Communication comes through practice. You don’t want to be too pushy or too shy. Being polite and cordial will stop you from being a creepy photographer. I don’t agree with photographers who are touchy; show by example or learn to verbally explain better. 4 CG: What can you tell us about the preparations you go through before a photoshoot? Do you make a plan yourself or leave it more to the cosplayers and their ideas? Eric: With a more involved location, I try to explore and find places that will be checkpoints during the shoot to hit. However, I like the challenge of coming up with different ways to best showcase the costume on the spot. Working with locations at convention centers and hotels have taught me to be creative in the worst of environments. I like a cosplayer’s input for characteristics of their cosplay, but I like to give it my own spin. Generally, cosplayers have 2-3 poses that they’ve seen from the series which they do for every photographer at a convention, so I like to change it up a bit to get a unique shot. I ask for how the character acts and come up with ways to show that. If you have a person whose 83 INTERVIEW character is brave or scary, imagine how to act it out and try to emphasize that through body posture, facial expression, and hand placement. With closer friends and more seasoned cosplayers, it becomes very fun to work with, as they are very dedicated. CG: What special advice can you give to novice photographers who want to pursue cosplay photography? Eric: Good photos come from good relationships. Your models are more like to have a better experience with you if you establish some form of friendship with them. The connection between photographers/models helps the photoshoot as a whole. Because there’s a sense of trust and comfort, the models are more relaxed and willing to take shots that can be outside their comfort zone, which as result can produce some amazing shots. Also, take more photos and have a sense to edit out some of the more unflattering parts. Cosplayers will appreciate and would want to shoot with you again if you share with everyone the prize winners rather than everything that’s in your camera, remember its “quality over quantity“. Always keep in mind how to take an image that is better than what you can see in real life. Don’t be afraid to crawl, squat, or climb to get the photo with that special eye level that will be magical. And in some cases, don’t be scared to get some dirt on hands and knees. I have so many weird ideas and demonstrations of poses, there is usually laughter. So above all, have fun. // Interview by Cristian Botea 5 Photos by Eric Ng (bigwhitebazooka.com) 1. PhDPepper (socophdpepper.deviantart.com) as Raiden (Metal Gear Solid: Rising) 2. Akusesu (akusesu.deviantart.com) as Faith (Mirror’s Edge) 3. Kay as Aeon (Castlevania Judgement) 4. Takaaa (takaaa.deviantart.com) as Shinjuro (Zone-00) and shx0 (ihitoq.deviantart.com) as Ruiko (Zone-00) 5. Tako (shirogami520.deviantart.com) as Ciel Phantomhive (Kuroshitsuji, Noah’s Ark Circus, Smile version) Takaaa (takaaa.deviantart.com) as Dagger (Kuroshitsuji) Bobby (evalime.deviantart.com) as William T. Spears (Kuroshitsuji, Noah’s Ark Circus, Suit version) Ivy as Beast (Kuroshitsuji) Pho3nix (waselreins.deviantart.com, cosplay.com/member/32551/) as Doll (Kuroshitsuji) Tasu (ritasuka.deviantart.com) as Dagger (Kuroshitsuji) 6. Jimmy (ohjimmyboy.deviantart.com) as Ingway (Odin’s Sphere) 7. Priscilla (xstarcrown.deviantart.com) as Gwendolyn (Odin’s Sphere) 8. Vivi (vi-ki.deviantart.com) as Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid, Synchronicity version) 9. Court (courto.deviantart.com) as Axl (Mega Man X) 84 7 6 8 9 85 PROFILE / DEES Years of Cosplay: 5 Hong Kong, China album.blog.yam.com/dees dees2013.exblog.jp Her Hong Kong cosplaying expertise reenacts stylish and sophisticated male characters from a wide selection. Ishida Mitsunari from Sengoku Basara 3 comes to life after tedious and relentless work and advanced armor making. We learn that good backdrops and proper locations are hard to find, but once youâ€™re there, nothing can stop her becoming Hotaru from Zone-00, a rather slick and complicated kind of guy. Tailored smoothness comes to town. 1 3 86 4 2 5 87 PROFILE 6 7 9 10 88 8 PROFILE Cosplay Gen: You have cosplayed a wide variety of male characters; what makes you choose male over female characters? DEES: It has just come very naturally... I never think about this. I just love to cosplay the male characters that I like from games/ manga/animation, to feel what they feel, and convey the emotion of the scene of the photo. Anyway, it’s too hard to imagine myself cosplaying as a female character. CG: Which of your cosplayed characters can you relate the most to or identify yourself with, and why? DEES: I think I can identify myself with many of the characters, in different ways and as a different side of myself. But, for now, Ivan from Hetalia: Axis Powers relates to me most. Ivan’s character is so complicated, and everytime I cosplay as him, many stories and ideas emerge from my mind; and I keep thinking when can I take the photos again next time. CG: What was the most difficult costume to make? Can you tell us something about the tailoring process? DEES: It was, most definitely, Ishida Mitsunari from Sengoku Basara 3! I started to prepare it for about two weeks before the event and still lacked time, as I kept doing the same work... About the armor, it’s the very first time when I tried to do such thing, and thank God I’ve got many good friends that can teach me. I’ve learned a very good lesson. Anyway, I must redo some part of the costume when I re-take the photos. CG: Which character has been the most difficult to express for you and why? DEES: I think... I found it’s quite difficult to cosplay as Hotaru from Zone-00. How can a person be so complicated!? A cute, also very strong male, but at the same time needing to be a little bit dull... 11 CG: How important is the photoshoot location for you and how hard is it to find a proper location? DEES: It is very important. It decides the mood, and the final outcome, especially when choosing a story with lots of feeling. Sadly, it’s very difficult for us to find proper locations. Hong Kong is so small, and there aren’t many areas to take pictures at; sometimes we need to book a hotel room or go to China to take photos. But, anyway, it is always fun inside too. Photo credits: 1, 2. Okita Souji (Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan) by KOKO 3. Sebastian Michaelis (Kuroshitsuji) by SILVER 4. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass) by Harold 5. Musashibo Benkei (Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 3) by Little K (blog.yam.com/littlekstyle) 6. Alfred (Moujuutsukai to Ouji-sama) by SILVER 7, 8. I van Braginski (Axis Powers Hetalia) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 9. Bernardo Ortolani (Lucky Dog) by KIT (album.blog.yam.com/moeboy) 10. Ivan Braginski (Axis Powers Hetalia) by KIT (album.blog.yam.com/moeboy) 11. Ishida Mitsunari (Sengoku Basara 3) by SILVER 12. Fei Long (Finder no Hyouteki) by Toto (blog.yam.com/tsubasa2005) 13. Haruki Koutake (di[e]ce) by Dajun (blog.yam.com/dajun) 14. Kamui Gakupo (Vocaloid, Fleeting Moon Flower version) by Wing 15. Hotaru (Zone-00) by Alan (blog.yam.com/alan916) 16. Housei Toki (Kin’iro No Corda 3) by Harold 17. Giovanni (DOGS: Bullets & Carnage) by Leo 90 14 12 13 16 15 17 91 PROFILE 1 LennethXVII Years of Cosplay: 8 Singapore lennethxvii.deviantart.com Creating costumes on your own is not just dress-making. LennethXVII tells us a gripping tale of pushing ahead in the face of incredible odds, measured in sacrifice and immense perseverance that every cosplayer will appreciate. Growing up in a cosplay world entails challenges that only now we can fully recognize. Sleepless nights, constant precision work and tireless improvisation are needed to bring forth such glamorous divas. 92 Cosplay Gen: What is the costume youâ€™ve had the most trouble with and how did you manage to complete it in the end? LennethXVII: Honestly speaking, there are many costumes I had a lot of trouble with, because of time constraints/sourcing etc, though at times it may not look like it. But if to choose, I would say KOSMOS ver.4 from Xenosaga Episode III â€“ Also sprach Zarathustra. At that time, it seemed almost like a curse! I love KOSMOS as much as Lenneth from Valkyrie Profile, and debuted at a local event (Cosfest 2008); that costume itself was already a redo. 2 I first rushed it for an event 2 years before, in 2006, but because of my lack of experience in handling armour, the securing of the pieces onto my body started to show its flaws on the debut day. Thus I made the painful decision of scraping it. For the second try, I decided to pick up the challenge once more and learn from the mistake I made then. The main surface of the armour and weapon is made from art card, with much experimenting and measuring for countless prototypes before settling down on its final version. I made the headgear functional, and also equipped with a light like she had in the game. As much as I was aware that the cut of her costume isnâ€™t flattering, I tried to control it within proportion. I suffered many cuts, burns, and sleepless nights working on it, but whilst almost completed, I was cheated by a cosplayer who underhandedly shipped me a wig she did not want, instead of buying it from a wig shop in Taiwan like she promised. As I had no other choice, I paid twice the amount to have it customized from China. While panicking and dyeing a light purple unused wig as last resort, the postman came by! But, unfortunately, that was not the end to it. Finally, the event day came, and I was all dressed; but I knew that to me it was not good enough. The costume could be more fitted, the armour pieces could be used with another material to be sturdier, the wig could be thicker....etc. I am usually very harsh on self-QC. But the need to pull myself together to still give a good portrayal and be proud of my work is necessary. I wore the costume for only 2 hours, bearing extreme pain, as I chose to wear a pair of boots that were too small, just because the design of the heel was accurate. Moreover, the light bulb in my headgear burnt through the protection layer, injuring my 93 PROFILE 3 5 94 6 4 7 8 95 PROFILE forehead. I was pretty much unable to walk for 2 hours and had to be tended to by several friends, who massaged my cramped feet and disinfected my wound. Above all that, I did not have a decent shot at all! It was basically a nightmare, but I am still glad I went through the process, as I learnt a lot from this tough lesson. CG: If there’s a past costume you would redo, which one would it be and why? Lenneth: The chances of me redoing a costume are pretty weak, because when I start and complete a costume, I treat it as a onetime shot, considering all the effort, time and money I invest in it. Nevertheless, the same as many other cosplayers, the costumes whose quality I would like to increase are probably my earlier ones. Reason being having matured further in this hobby, I could nitpick on more details. But, more importantly, at that time there was no tailor whom I felt was good or open-minded enough to break away from the traditional mindset in dress-making. The costumes I commissioned them were usually disappointing to me, despite the fact that it was just the base costume, with no further details. As we all know, in cosplay there is just about any kind of costume! I had a stronger confidence in cosplaying only after starting to sew all my costumes by myself; like this I am more cautious and I can only blame myself, and not others, for any mistakes. However, other than KOS-MOS, I would wish to redo Ignis (Jingai Makyou), as that costume was not personally sewn, and there were certain areas of the cosplay that could be better. I would want to portray her character better now. 9 CG: What is the most fulfilling thing in cosplay for you? Lenneth: The indescribable sense of achievement, satisfaction, and pride of your work, for the effort used in the portrayal of the characters you love so much. Being in this hobby for 8 years and looking back, the struggle of constant wishes of improvisation and precision does bring warmth to my heart. I appreciate and humbly thank anyone who comments on my costumes, because I have learnt a lot from the inspiring cosplayers around me whom I can trust when they tell me I have done well. Photo credits: 1. Kaito (Vocaloid, CocoonS version) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 2. Megurine Luka (Vocaloid, World’s End Dancehall version) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 3. K aito (Vocaloid, Musunde Hiraite Rasetsu to Mukuro version) by William Wong aka Rescend (rescend.deviantart.com) 4. Okita Souji (Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan) by Yan aka Cvy (cvy.deviantart.com) 5. Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland, original steampunk version) by roxwindy (rox-windy.deviantart.com) 6. M egurine Luka (Vocaloid, Sandplay Singing of The Dragon version) by Adrian Song (songster69.deviantart.com) 7. Myoubi (Alichino) by Yan aka Cvy (cvy.deviantart.com) 8. Suzaku Kururugi (Code Geass) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 9. Lelouch Lamperouge (Code Geass) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 10. Megurina Luka (Vocaloid, AVTechNO! 9 version) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 11. Megurine Luka (Vocaloid, based on Yunomi’s artwork) by Shiro Ang (shiroang.deviantart.com) 96 11 10 Ryoko Years of Cosplay: 9 Yekaterinburg, Russia ryoko-demon.deviantart.com Ryoko from Russia inhabits a vast fairyland together with her R&R team members. In an enchanted grove she will embody very different creatures of the forest. In lush surroundings, the mischievous and threatening Lum Invader barely hides her savage temper under tiger-stripped bikinis and Go-go boots. Yet take a turn beyond the FernGully and you will bump into Crysta, a winged crystalline girl hiding behind the damp carpet of moss. 1 98 PROFILE 2 3 4 99 PROFILE Cosplay Gen: How did you make the wig for your Jessie from Pokemon cosplay and what sort of difficulties did you meet along the way? Ryoko: Lots of people asked me about Jesie’s wig, that’s why I decided to make a detailed tutorial. You can see it on my deviantART journal here: http://goo.gl/teJh3 The most difficult was to build a basic frame, and to make the wig stay still on my head. I was afraid I’d fail, but at last it came out not that bad. Before I started to make Jessie’s wig, I’ve been practicing for a month or so styling wigs for my friends who took part in the Pokemon project with me. CG: What can you tell us about your original version of Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland? How did you come up with it? Ryoko: I wanted for a long time to cosplay Cheshire Cat. Together with my cosplay team, R&R, I decided to make a small performance in verses, based on Alice in Wonderland. The performance was called “Alice from Wonderland”. It’s a new interpretation of an old story. I was inspired by Disney’s cat colors, but as our performance was rather gloomy, I wanted to make a scary, and, at the same time, charming character. Some people say that my cat reminds them of the musical “Cats” in style, but when I designed this costume I did not think of this musical. I guess everything is because of the wig, but it’s just pure accident. You can read about our performance in a journal entry made by Rei (she was the Queen of Hearts): http://goo.gl/8LlsJ CG: Can you share with us some of your future cosplay plans? Ryoko: My plans and ideas are always kind of surprise for the audience. I can only say that I’m going to turn my interest again to Disney’s characters, especially Ariel. And there’s going to be other projects also, just as interesting. I promise to rise to their hopes! 5 Photos by Kifir (flickr.com/people/kifir/) 1. Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland, original version) 2. Lum Invader (Urusei Yatsura) 3. Mozenrath (Aladdin) 4. Medusa (Pet Shop of Horrors) 5. Gypsy (Ragnarok Online, original version) 6. Jessie (Pokémon) 7. Crysta (FernGully: The Last Rainforest) 100 7 6 Worldwide Fans We feel we owe a lot to a wide community of worldwide cosplayers without whom we would still sob after superheroes/heroines existing only on screen, paper, in video games or OVAs. Now we believe that they truly walk the earth and are living all around us. You brought them closer than ever before. In each Cosplay Gen issue we would like to celebrate this ever-increasing multitude and sheer diversity with a new mosaic displaying fabulous incarnations from around the world. We strongly believe each one has its own merit, dedication and special place. This is our way to simultaneously celebrate the limitless possibilities of worldwide cosplaying. Remember: You are always welcome to submit your work to our deviantART group: cosplay-gen.deviantart.com 102 WORLDWIDE FANS PHOTO CREDITS 1 2 3 4 5 6 9 10 11 12 13 14 7 8 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 01. the-mirror-melts.deviantart.com/art/Granado-Espada-Scout-I-160962667 02. vicissijuice.deviantart.com/art/GaRei-Stain-Blood-202654450 03. lady-i-hellsing.deviantart.com/art/Flower-Doll-187105189 04. nexitahinnocentlover.deviantart.com/art/Flamboyant-Villain-200905203 05. style85.deviantart.com/art/Fatalis-monster-hunter-202143561 06. cutepetz.deviantart.com/art/FairyTail-Bookworm-174177539 07. sunnydesu.deviantart.com/art/Miku-Hatsune-01-176523938 08. blacklash90.deviantart.com/art/Fearless-198779291 09. z3llll.deviantart.com/art/Gintama-Okita-Sougo-200983245 10. giadarobin.deviantart.com/art/Emma-Cosplay-201783826 11. xsaye.deviantart.com/art/Doki-Doki-Gakuen-196216500 12. drummerina.deviantart.com/art/Dinah-Bizenghast-166901834 13. ai-kiren.deviantart.com/art/Dark-Magician-Girl-Loves-You-190682563 14. macmurdock.deviantart.com/art/Cute-Death-201622662 15. shamanrenji.deviantart.com/art/Ciel-Under-the-Bridge-193565275 16. o-gothic-angel-o.deviantart.com/art/CCS-Sakura-Prince-2-180955176 17. adelhaid.deviantart.com/art/Castlevania-Succubus-187043282 18. 4ever-in-a-dream.deviantart.com/art/Bring-on-chaos-157942701 19. darkbellphon.deviantart.com/art/Blue-Eyed-Doll-196410872 20. shiroi-kishi.deviantart.com/art/the-evil-lord-182913892 21. lleye.deviantart.com/art/Bizenghast-cosplay-Wherever-189015542 22. fresia89.deviantart.com/art/Akiyama-Mio-159462325 23. reki-konran.deviantart.com/art/Pentagram-177268243 24. ailish01.deviantart.com/art/Teaser-Shot-202734944 25. shizuku-seijaku.deviantart.com/art/Lightning-Just-another-battle-203797327 26. gonline.deviantart.com/art/White-Flash-201208515 27. stargazer-gemini.deviantart.com/art/What-Are-You-Afraid-Of-186602985 28. yume-ka.deviantart.com/art/Velvet-202166943 29. kazuhyun.deviantart.com/art/Ultraman-Beam-199557958 30. hybridre.deviantart.com/art/THE-END-OF-EVANGELION-139669544 31. crystalpanda.deviantart.com/art/A-Fantasy-based-on-Reality-203857282 32. kurayamiii.deviantart.com/art/That-Butler-so-Serious-198939430 33. chidori-sagara.deviantart.com/art/TAKI-soulk-calibur-IV-202680360 34. paper-stars.deviantart.com/art/Polaris-Magnetic-Prowess-193548882 35. seranaide.deviantart.com/art/Myoubi-Milan-Expo-201259692 a b c d e f g h 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 i j k l m n o p 36. mmmhomoshiroi.deviantart.com/art/Miku-Htsune-Flowers-201740324 37. kotodama.deviantart.com/art/Suikoden-Cosplay-Luc-2-165111178 38. radioactivepanties.deviantart.com/art/Soul-Eater-Maka-chan-2-163901162 39. sweetcandycupkake.deviantart.com/art/SF-A2-Miki-Furoito-Keroido-200333371 40. onpaperwings.deviantart.com/art/Midnight-Shadow-Old-Snake-203674521 41. celestial-ceres.deviantart.com/art/Mari-Makinami-Smile-199931328 42. dreamhunter707.deviantart.com/art/lifeless-desolation-179322778 43. o0ofairyo0o.deviantart.com/art/Setsugetsuka-Spring-flower-201279710 44. nyaomeimei.deviantart.com/art/Setsugetsuka-Snow-202868070 45. angie0-0.deviantart.com/art/shinobu-2-202690422 46. arzeroth.deviantart.com/art/Kushala-Daora-Blade-Master-203393684 47. suigeneres.deviantart.com/art/Grandiose-Madame-Red-182002659 48. mrkittycosplay.deviantart.com/art/Irvine-Kinneas-FF8-182391020 49. alberti.deviantart.com/art/Samurai-Warriors-Nou-Hime-193694923 50. dessi-desu.deviantart.com/art/Rydia-of-the-Mist-III-199297228 51. bnnnn.deviantart.com/art/Reminisce-201508179 52. asukabmz.deviantart.com/art/I-will-show-you-true-love-187682608 53. hexreedfly.deviantart.com/art/Knight-of-Rayearth-201874206 54. miciaglo.deviantart.com/art/Kirin-Cosplay-201663619 a. yukigodbless.deviantart.com/art/BelethInBlue-190311406 b. fiathriel.deviantart.com/art/The-Malevolent-Ruler-201491944 c. wisecraxx.deviantart.com/art/A-Rose-for-the-Ladies-199523411 d. sleepycreator.deviantart.com/art/Photo-YGO-Of-the-Darkness-199146302 e. aicosu.deviantart.com/art/Kuroshitsuji-Shades-of-Red-202886723 f. spazzer-bot.deviantart.com/art/Get-Ready-for-This-200342178 g. ayashige.deviantart.com/art/Death-Note-Misa-184923505 h. jiakidarkness.deviantart.com/art/JiakiDarkness-Vampire1-196120703 i. athelloren-wardancer.deviantart.com/art/Bakuman-Photoshoot-2-201165213 j. sunymao.deviantart.com/art/Caha-the-Hellequin-202014301 k. zerartul.deviantart.com/art/Mizu-no-Akashi-Lacus-Clyne-201538347 l. indecisive-persona.deviantart.com/art/MF-Pau-Anyone-194600869 m. takato-matsuda-xcess.deviantart.com/art/Holding-the-Gunblade-187368545 n. itchy-hands.deviantart.com/art/It-s-Show-Time-203416365 o. pinapplegum.deviantart.com/art/Ho-Hum-202883071 p. beethy.deviantart.com/art/Macross-Sheryl-Nome-01-201633974 COSPLAYGEN.COM