Thursday, September 30, 2010

Casualty Cosplay as seen at Tracon V

Sorry, I lied! There is still one Joxter and Muddler themed post! I had almost forgotten Tracon’s photobooth and got a nice surprise when I noticed that they were added at the photo section of Big thank you to Miika Ojamo and everyone who made the photo service possible for con-goers!

All the pictures were taken by Miika Ojamo.

My favorite thing in these photos on my behalf is the peeking granny sock at the last shot! I laughted so hard when I saw that sneaky bastard. Again I remind myself, that checking the costume before a shoot is never a bad idea. Well, in this case it was because of the pose...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wet socks, apples and variable shoot script

I thought that I’d open up how Joxter and Muddler photoshoot was planned and how everything turned up. We actually filmed all the material the same time with the photos I posted over a week ago. But because we had just uploaded a video on Youtube, we decided to publish Joxter and Muddler later.

For me the day started at 7.15 AM. After some breakfast I prepared base for the make-up and started with the eyes. I only did upper eye lid and without mascara, because I was going to put on the contact lenses at the destination. The nose I left also to be done later. There would have been nothing left after few sneezes. Then I smashed my hair under a wig cap (or the crotch part of tights) and slide my newly styled wig on. I don’t know was it the damp weather, lazy styling with only hair spray or my habit of getting sleepy in cars, but when we started to shoot there where zero flipped ends on the wig.

When I had packed my two cameras, medicine for my lovely flu and make-ups I headed to Yoki’s. When I got there I first put together the denial signs we were going to use as props. I was bit surprised that Yoki hadn’t done it. When I got in I ordered Yoki to do her base make-up and at that time she revealed that she had some problems with the wake up call. In other words the alarm never set off. Eila followed our routine with patience, which was nice, because it caught to me too. It was a blessing that we had gone trough everything the previous day. The costumes were on hangers and in good condition. We packed the car while Yoki was preparing herself and took off little past nine. Pretty well, we had scheduled the departure for nine.

After two turns I asked about our shoot script fromYoki and I think she answered with some mild curse word. It had never been printed. Eila was ready to turn the car around, but we decided to trust our memories. We had gone trough it few times, so it wasn’t a challenge for Yoki to write it down on a back of a trivial invitation we found from the car.

At ten we arrived at our destination. We unpacked the car and started to finish the make-ups. Yoki put on her contact lenses first and had to take them off right away. For some reason they weren’t comfortable to wear, so Yoki decided that she would go without them. Mine were alright, they didn’t bother me. We need to see if there are scrathes on the lenses if Yoki plans to wear them again.

My costume is really quick to put on, so I went outside before hand to map out the places where we could shoot. When Yoki was ready we changed the script the first time. The landlord of the neighbour farm was driving around with his tractor, so we had no choice than to first shoot the takes which could be muted. Then we moved on to the next bulk of takes, in which we needed the aid of Eila. Particularly on take, where the camera turns to follow Joxter and Muddler. It’s on purpose identical with one take on the Snufkin video. The order of the takes changed a bit and we were able to shoot some that we had planned for later.

Drunken style Moomin.

During the last take it started to rain so we headed to our headquarters as fast as we could with my size too small shoes and Yoki’s… toes. While Yoki took over the lunch part I headed back out with slightly different gear and shot one take I could handle on my own. When I went back in Yoki stood there with a coffee pot, which she had found leaking. I was devastated, but made a swift recovery with an idea called “a cup in a pot”. This idea might get some air time if we ever add bloopers. But in short, it’s what it sounds like and I got my cup of coffee.

When we were eating lunch we ended up deleting one take from the script. It would have required much work compared of the importance of it. Actually the whole thing worked better with out it. We only had left two different situations and about six takes. Eila also got her chance in front of the camera! After the filming part was wrapped we moved on to photos. And after that I took photos from Yoki for her graduation thank-you cards. They surely are different from the assumed.

Before we took off the costumes we went to say hello to the neighbors. They hadn’t seen us even if we shooted only twenty meters away from their house. They were pleased that we paid them a visit and really exited about the costumes and the over all concept of performing. Here you can see the difference in attitudes towards cosplay between generations. Adults, well, older adults seem to be more open and appraising than you could think of. But then again they are not usually familiar with the scene good and bad included. They view cosplay as crafting and creativity of a person. The neighbours laughed at us, but that was because we looked funny, not because they wanted to downgrade us.

When we took our costumes off it was time to investigate how much damage was taken. There where slight pain on my toes. It was manageable, not as bad as after Tracon. Some make-up had worn out from my nose, because I forgot about it many times when I felt like sneezing. About my wig I already mentioned, so nothing more about that. Yoki’s whiskers had endured the shoot well. Thank you Mastix, you are great! The next time I need to focus on applying it, though. Yoki let out some bad words when she had to rip the scalp off, which I had glued on her hair. The biggest damage or the part that had suffered from the shoot the most has to be Yoki’s shoes/socks! They were black not only from the bottom put also from the top and soaking wet!

The only thing left was to pack and head back. We went to Yoki’s place for the editing and got it finished before the day ended. I think I got home at 11 PM. In all the day had went as expected. The shoot took little over five hours and editing about three with breaks. Oh, and Yoki got a flu. I don’t know was it because of me all the soggy wet socks. That can be counted in the casualties still.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Spontaneous and cheap Halloween make-up trial

Wow, it's been over a year of existence for our blog. Somehow it hit me when I thought back to my Bubblehead costume and posts I made last Halloween. Yoki was as puzzled as me about the matter, but she doubted that it was only a year. Well, maybe Yoki’s conception of time is different from mine, but all the less, one year… So dear readers, I dare you to comment, because a) I want you to, because we get way too few comments and b) you could tell how we could improve our blog on its second year. Is there any layout problems I haven't thought of? Or content ones? I know thanks to all mighty Analytics, that we have Finnish readers. Would you like to read the posts in Finnish?

Now back to the topic which is Halloween. I think I might be bit early with this one. Last year I started the costume a week before and didn’t have any problems with time. But I had a day off. What an excellent reason to mess yourself with bodypaint and toilet paper!

My head looks weird.

As you can see my theme for Halloween is again undeadness. I haven’t done zombie make-up before, so I went and tried it. What you need for this type of a result is glue, which is not harmful for your skin, like school glues and ones you could think children can safely play with. When you have applied glue on your skin you cover it with sheet of toilet paper, from which you have ripped off the straight edges. Crease the toilet paper a bit, apply more glue and stick it on your face well. More texture you get out of it the better. Then you let it dry, about 15-25 minutes, depending how much glue you have used.

After the glue has dried you can apply desired make-up. I used white and black water soluble bodypaints from Grimas and fake blood from the same company. Before I started with the gluing, I prepared my skin with heavy moisturiser, that being Bepanthen. I thought it would protect my sensitive skin. Well, good thinking, but it also made it impossible to put on any make-up on the particular areas, because it would not attach. So, which ever suits you better, both have downsides. But glue will still stick, that I promise.

The add-on is easy to take off with the help of water. Suitable glues for thi project are water soluble. Or you can rip it off without any assistance. It will sting, especially around the hair line. Use moisturiser afterwards and don’t be shy with it.

As a conclusion, with little tweaking I think I’ll have nice, undead look for Halloween. And cheap one too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New upload starring Joxter and Muddler

Joxter and Muddler are now viewable on Youtube. This was really nice project to work with, even if we had few bumps on the road. Again the music is from by Kevin McLeod. Great man, I must admit. Enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Joxter and Muddler exploring a hotel room

After this there will only be two more Joxter and Muddler themed posts. One will be an upload announcement and the second a report from the photoshoot. Once they are out, I feel like I can leave these characters to be. I’ve gone through and through with Joxter and Muddler, so it doesn’t bother to move on. I’m quite sure that we will cosplay as them again, because they are timeless and it would be neat to have a big Moomin group someday.

These photos were taken on our hotel room when were at Tracon. We imagined how the characters would act in a place like that. Muddler would naturally be curious about anything and Joxter would take advantage of all the “free” stuff.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Option for real leather work

I’ve been searching information about leather works for quite some time now. I’ve found some results in English and in Finnish, but the over all picture of how to actually do it is still little blurry. And somehow I don’t feel comfortable with the whole thing. I mean, that I’m not sure if I’m ready to learn it or invest in it. And the leather should be bought “new” if I’m not wrong and I really try to avoid using leather if it’s not recycled. But then again our next costumes include leather details and accessories. So I went and tried something.

This is the result of mixing book making methods with fake leather. In all the materials are cardboard, glue and pleather. I’m pleased with the first attempt. It doesn’t look horrible at all and with little upgrading the result should be fine.

The first piece is made from leftover pleather. I’ve purchased more suitable fabric for next try out, but before I move on to that I think I’ll try painting the first piece. I’ve hear that acrylics could work. If anyone has any information or knowledge about this I’d be grateful if you shared.

Back to the test lab then.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pattern pondering trough webcam and Yoki’s revelation

Yesterday evening we ended up talking about Luminara’s and Barriss’ capes via Skype. We haven’t yet found right fabrics for either one of them, mostly because we would like to buy close to right amount. The fabrics we have thought to use are not from the cheapest end. That is why we need to make the patterns and estimate the consumption of the materials. Barriss’ cape is rather easy task to figure out, but Luminara’s has taken more brain work.

We were going trough some references on our own when I started to think aloud how the sleeves on the cape are accomplished. Yoki was silent for a while and then she said, “I think it’s-“

“Shut up, you are confusing me!” was my friendly answer and I went on with my guesses how the cape was constructed.

In English from up: "There's the corner which has been lifted up. It forms such a nice small pocket."

After some minutes Yoki sent me a picture, stating, “See, this is what I meant.” I stared at Yoki’s draft and didn’t understand a thing. I got another picture and still no light bulb over my head. “I’ll show you”, Yoki turn on her webcam, grabbed her towel and started draping it on her. I was like, “Yeaaaaah! Now I get it… Actually, you are right about that!”

“Really..? Am I? Yeaaaah! I’m right about it!” was Yoki’s happy counter reaction.


I gave Yoki few well earned compliments and said I’d try the idea out with bigger piece of fabric to come up with the whole pattern. But it should be easy; the sleeve construction was the part which bugged me.

I underestimated Yoki, because usually I’m the one doing patterns and layouts. But in this you see the great thing about cosplay, the development. You can get better at things not realizing it yourself. You only need some airhead, stuck on her ways to show to.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

First moment uploaded

As the title says, the first part of Sasori-Deidara moments has been uploaded. This happened yesterday, when our account scored 500 subscribers... which for some peculiar reason has dropped to 499 even if the insight doesn't show any unsubscriptions. Well, who knows about Youtube really...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Little update before giant photoshoot post

I’ve had flu for two and a half weeks now. And my back is killing me. The previous causes the inability to do anything with the Snowtrooper costumes, because it would require bad ergonomics and a respirator. I already have trouble with breathing and coughing with respirator on doesn’t sound too appealing.

Mostly I have been stalking the weather forecast for the weekend. We have planned a photoshoot for Saturday for Joxter and Muddler. Keeping an eye on that, I re-styled Joxter’s wig in hopes of good close ups. Tomorrow, when Yoki’s been picked up from the train station, we will check the costumes and see do we need to build any props. There is “denial signs” on the list at the moment. Apparently the ones we used on Snufkin shoot got burned, which somehow feels rather right.

I have made small progress with Luminara’s outfit. And I truly mean small. I have braided nearly two meters of pleather strips, which I first cut to width of 0,3 centimeters. They will be the detail on the shirt. I first thought they were velvet ribbon or something of that type, but after some investigations with reference pictures it came clear that it was leather of some sort and braided one as well. I had pleather at home which really saved some money. If I hadn’t found the fabric I might have ended up buying nearly six meter of pleather ribbon. Sheesh…

I have also worked on Luminara’s brooch. It’s coming together nicely, but at this point I’m thinking of doing the five small pendants again. I’m not satisfied how different they look compared to the brooch part. The shapes on the wire are too symmetrical. Gladly there is no hurry, so I can put off the brooch for a while and take it out when I want to ruin my nails with the wire work. I also could buy pliers… I think about that too.

The brooch is made from nightmarish molding material, poster board as the base. The decoration is twisted wire.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Costume cross-section- Muddler

Compared to my Joxter costume, Muddler has more pieces of clothing; seven different garments plus the “skin” parts, which include the tail and the ears. From top to bottom, Muddler wears a pot (as a hat), shirt, vest, muffler, trousers, legwarmers and “socks” as shoes. He also has a giant safety pin holding his muffler.

The vest is made from similar brushed cotton as Joxter’s anorak, only deep navy blue. I altered the pattern from the anorak pattern, lined the whole thing leaner and re-styled the hem and the front. We chose to do a normal hem, not a sliced one as seen in the animation. I thought that it would look bit ridiculous after all the effort of making the duo look realistic.

Yoki painted two big plastic buttons brown to imitate wood. The other one act as an attachment, while the other is there for esthetic reasons and also because one of our references showed that there could actually be two of them. As an addition Yoki sewed poppers underneath the second button to secure the attachment.

For the undershirt I chose forest green linen, because of the nice attributes of the material. For the first time I used a ready made pattern for cosplay, because I wanted to make the shirt look like something recognizable. The design of the shirt is from old peasant shirt with button list, low collar and wide cuffs on the sleeves.

The trousers are based on the basic pattern, with straight leg, zipper in the front and a waistband. We had bought beige corduroy because it was on discount on our local fabric store. Obviously it was wrong color. I dyed the fabric based on a hunch with antique grey and extra material to make the color lighter. The result was more than I expected. We ended up using the wrong side as a right because we wanted the trousers look different from Joxter's and because Muddler had already lot going on texture-wise.

The muffler and leg warmers Yoki knit from orange yarn. Label was “Seitsemän veljestä”. The stripes on the leg warmers were achieved by knitting a wrong layer in middle of right layers. The muffler was right trough the whole thing. The safety pin is bended aluminum stick and horrible “molding material”, which is painted pink.

The socks were real pain. I had to redo the pattern twice before Yoki was satisfied. Yes, I’m a type of a person who doesn’t settle for “yeah, they look OK”. The shape of the pattern was achieved by making shoe covers and mixing some glove pattern in them. The material is pale yellow linen, a bit thicker that linen usually is. Inside of the sock is a base shoe, painted yellow so that they would not shimmer trough the light fabric. Before the base shoes were put in the sock, the toes were stuffed with cotton.

The skin parts on the costume are recycled leather. We came to notice that hot glue and basic wood glue works well with leather. We will explore the possibilities with them in the future. The tail is made from two pieces of leather, rolled to form a tail. The seam part we hid underneath gauze, we thought that the tail got pinned in the coffee jar's lid. The tail was sealed with hot glue and sown in the back of the trousers. Inside the tail we put some rice to maki it move more realisticly.

For the ears I made pattern according to references but the scalp was bit harder. In the end I just estimated, taped the pieces together and fitted it on Yoki’s head to find the correct shape and size. I stiched the scalp together with zigzag and reinforced the seams with glue. The ears I zigzagged on the scalp after they were stuffed with cotton and rice. Inside of the ears there are holes were Yoki stuck her ears trough so that they would not be visible from any angle.

The sauce pan in Muddler's head was hammered from an aluminum pot. The handle was replaced by one drawn based on the references. The scale is not right, because if it were Yoki would wham people in their faces. The construction of the handle and the beating of the pot was done by our metal expert Esa.

Specific make-up weren't needed for Muddler. Yoki had basic foundation with eye make-up, emphasis on the lower eye-lid. The whiskers were cut from fishing tackle and attached with mastix.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Costume cross-section- Joxter

Joxter is by far the most colorful cosplay experience for me. Also first cosplay experience from Moomin. Yoki got a head start last year when she did Snufkin, while I was pretty much hung from doing anything because of horrible back pains. The construction pf the costume didn’t include anything too fancy or complicated. The only relatively new thing for me was needle felting, but it wasn't too hard to accomplish.

The costume consists five main pieces: trousers, anorak, shoes, scarf and hat. In addition I had an old leather backpack, which suited the character surprisingly well. It hold our water bottles, snack and a emergency sewing kit. For pictures I prepared a pipe and a tobacco pouch. It's mentioned on Tove's books that Joxter carried them around (and enjoyed smoking). I have written about the make-up few times, but worth mentioning is the brownish nose. Because of that, I was accidentally mistaken for drunken Snufkin.

For the trousers I used simple basic pattern with carrot legs. String on the waist act as an attachment. The fabric is brown corduroy, which I stressed with sanding paper and grater.

The anorak I made from green “brushed” cotton. Again, I’m not sure about the correct word for it, but the surface is almost similar as in velvet. The pattern I had made year earlier for Yoki’s Snufkin worked well, but I added darts to make the stiff fabric fit nicely. For Snufkin’s anorak they were not necessary, because the material was really limb and draping. I soaked the anorak in tea dye after it was ready to age the color a little.

Pockets I placed on the side seams. I didn’t find any references with attachment visible, but I still chose to do one at the back of the anorak. While Snufkin has buttons running down the length of the anorak, I put three for Joxter. As a detail, it adds a nice touch. It’s quite easy to quess that the anorak was somewhat hard to put on with wig and make-up, because it’s fitted from the waist and the opening on the neck doesn’t really help much.

The hat has its own post. It was made mainly from wool. The scarf is rectangular piece of linen, finished with baby hem. The shoes are leather and found from flee market for about three euros. I only redid the lacing to match Jocter’s shoes. The wig I used for Joxter was purchased from Punanaamio. I'm not sure was it Cristelle or Juliette, because I bought it fairly long time ago. It was originally long, so I cut and styled it to suite the character.

I almost forgot about the black gloves (and also forgot to photograph them). I, or Yoki if I'm honest remembered them when we went to a supermarket and there were leather gloves on sale, about five euros a pair. I was laughing that now we only need a cosplay with particular gloves, because they are so cheap. Yoki was looking at me like, yeah, do you have gloves for Joxter or are you planning to use Snufkin's?

By the way, trying to quickly pull snug leather gloves on your hands when they are tacky and a bit sweaty isn't easy. I felt little sorry for the photographers who needed to wait for the picture because of my costume malfunction.

And I really need to add, that whoever came up with Joxter's color scheme must have been somewhere high above. It makes no sense at all!