Sunday, August 15, 2010

Website and Research

Hello, everyone! (Is anyone out there still reading this blog? Hello?) I know it's been a while since I posted, but I have quite a few bits of exciting news!
First off, you're looking at the Cosplay Guest of Honour for SoniCon! That's right, it's my first invitation to be a cosplay guest at a convention! I'm super excited, but also crazy nervous. I've never had a great time speaking in front of crowds, but now I'm going to be doing not one, but THREE panels on cosplay. They are panels are going to be:

Cosplay 101 - Whether you're new to cosplay or have been doing it for years, stop by to learn how to get the most out of your costume. Having trouble with a part of your costume? Have questions about construction? Want to know how to pull off cosplay on a tight budget? Whatever your needs, Kaede of Better than Stuff cosplay will help you make your cosplay shine.

Advanced Cosplay - Have you been cosplaying for a while and are ready to take it to the next level? Learn how to elevate your cosplay with tips on everything from construction and styling, to networking and photography.

The Joys of Fun Foam - Have a tight budget but still want amazing props and accessories? Welcome to the wonderful world of fun foam! Learn how to bend this marvelous material to your will to make the prop you wanted without having to break the bank.

I'll also be judging and helping run the cosplay contest on Saturday night, which I'm very excited about! I feel like my cosplay career has just taken a big step in the right direction, so I'm extremely pleased.

Second bit of big news is that my cosplay group, Better than Stuff, finally has a proper website! It'll be a showcase for our costumes, be full of tutorials, how-tos, useful links, schedules of appearances, and so forth. Please go check it out and leave us some love in the chatbox! ^^

In cosplay related news, AnimeFEST is coming up, and there's a huge crunch to finish costumes in time. I have three rush orders that I need to finish before the Con (thankfully, none of them are too involved), plus Better than Stuff is trying to have a House of Flying Daggers group cosplay together in time. I'm pretty sure there's enough time to finish everything, but I'm not going to stress myself out over finish HofD in time and just concentrate on getting my orders filled.

I've also been toying with the idea of cosplaying Suki from Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is one of my all-time favourite shows. I like Suki, she's a cool warrior chick with great clothes, and though she isn't my absolute favourite character, I do love her clothes. (Favourite characters are Zuko and Katara, for those wondering. Katara and I have very similar personalities, and her waterbending is pretty awesome.)
Anyway, back to Suki. I've been doing a bit of research on traditional Chinese hanfu to see if I could possibly make Suki's uniform somewhat historically accurate. Turns out that she wears a mish-mosh of Chinese and Japanese styles, so it won't be a 100% accurate costume. But, I think that I can make it work.
Here's what I've come up with. Her main gown, meaning the lighter green layer, seems to be your typical wrap around hanfu. I'll probably make the front left panel longer and tapered to a triangle that ends with a sash, that ties closed the entire thing with a sash on the right side seam, something like the shenyi style hanfu to the right, but modified so that the centre front of the skirt section would hang open to reveal the underskirt.
The underskirt is a bit tricky because of those strange diagonal pleats. The only thing I could come up with is that it was some sort of wrap around skirt with multiple layers of fabric, each a different length to reveal a few inches of the layer underneath. Pretty spiffy, but I couldn't find any sort of correlating hanfu style. The closest I came was with what's called mamian qun or "horse-faced skirt" (terrible name). It's basically a wrap around skirt that has flat front and back panels, with the side panels pleated in anywhere from 4 to 15 pleats. The construction is super simple and it gives some of the same effect of Suki's pleats, so I'm going with that style.
Here's where the Japanese comes in. The armour is pretty straight forward yokohagi Okegawa do, which is samurai armour (the do is the clamshell part that encases the torso) which is made of horizontal plates that have been riveted together. The armour in the show is pretty much a dead ringer. Suki and the rest of the Kyoshi warriors wear it with kohira, which are little 'winglets' that attach to the shoulder strap. Kohira typically weren't worn with Okegawa do, but I'm willing to overlook that.
The other aspects of the costume - facepaint, headdress, bracers, etc, I'm not really going to change. The facepaint and headdress is iconic of the Kyoshi warriors, and the bracers are generic enough that they are historically passable.
I'm hoping to get this cosplay started after AnimeFEST is over and all my larger orders have been filled. I really want to step up my cosplay photos with this character, since she's a warrior and is just bursting at the seams with potentially amazing poses. I'm going to study some online videos of Shaolin steel fan fighting and the like to hopefully mimic their movements with a bit of believability. (I also need to get into better shape so I can hold those forms for pictures without keeling over!)
Right now I'm shooting to have this costume done in time for either SoniCon or YuleCon. If I make the armour out of fun foam, which I fully intend on doing, then it would make a great display pieces for my Joys of Fun Foam panel!

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