You’re worried about breaking, tearing, and, of course, forgetting.
That’s why I’m here! To share with you guys how I pack my cosplays
As always, list. You want to make a list of the components, props being last, of all the cosplays you are bringing. I draw little arrows to remind myself that there are things that are for more than one character.
In this case, it’s blue contacts.
Character by character, stack the clothes somewhere – table, bed, wherever.
Put all the wigs together and all the props in their own pile too. Now you have a bit more order.
Now pack them. I know I didn’t mention contacts, but wait. My Packing for the Con post shows how I pack, but your process might be different.
If you wear make up with your cosplays, I do, I find it’s easier to stack the contacts in with them. Also seen in my Packing for the Con post, I use a big strawberry make up bag, and I keep my contacts and contact case in a small box. It fits right in there, and makes sure I can double check them easily.
Pack your props appropriately and safely – bubble wrap is a good way to go.
And that’s it! That’s all you need to be sure you don’t forget anything.
My next convention is Akumakon in Galway from January 22nd to 24th.
A lot of plans have already been sorted, but let’s act like I haven’t! Okay, from the top!
Make a budget! In this, include accommodation, food, con price, and emergency money at LEAST. This should come out of extra money you have, not your money for living(i.e. rent, food for the week, etc.) The reason this comes first is because of your accommodation.
Accommodation. It is so important. It should be done about 6 months in advance. Have a scout around Google and look for hotels/hostels close to your convention location.I am a bit older on the con scene and I have no desire to stay in a hostel. The times I have stayed in a hostel for a convention, it has been with a society in college and has been with at least 6 other people and it was not pleasant. I know others enjoy it, but I am a creature of luxury at this point, so I opt for a hotel. It is more expensive. In Ireland, a hostel will normally cost €30 odd each. And yes, there are cheaper hotels, but not always.
But the perks are definitely worth the cost:
You stay with just one or two people max. For me, it’s Anonjames.
You have a shower right there! And you don’t have to make an agreement on who showers when.
You have a quiet place, and this is definitely necessary for some con weekends. They’re a hectic event.
You have far more privacy. Sometimes, con weekends bring out the worst, and you might feel yourself wanting to go have a little cry. When you have a hotel, that’s a lot easier.I know there are people who prefer the hostel scene, and that’s fine too. Go with what your comfortable with. This is just my preference, as well as my suggestion to new con goers.
Plan your cosplays. I tend to do this very far in advance. Literally like a year in some cases. When you cosplay a lot, you end up with a big mess of projects, and you’ll have something else to wear if things don’t go well. (I still recommend planning ahead, though.) Any plan is a good one, and it will destress your con experience. My Cosplay planning worksheet(of sorts) can be found here.
Work on them!
No seriously. The number of people who put off their cosplay work to the last minute is insane. Try to get it done with enough time to try it on and make changes if necessary. Don’t forget your wig styling and your make up test.
Make your packing list.
This can be left until about two weeks before the con. It helps to make sure you have smaller essentials, covered in this post.
Plan your travel accordingly. I travel by train often. I don’t book in advance because sometimes I just don’t know when I wanna get home, but if you’re trying to ensure your budget is safe and sound, I recommend booking your train or bus in advance, or setting fuel money aside if you’re going by car.
DOUBLE CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE. Seriously, do it.
What would it be like if you got to the con and you were missing something essential? A wig? A costume? A main section of your character’s design?!
Familiarize yourself with the con venue and the con rules. Every con is different. Some I have attended, particularly in hotels, do not allow use of plug sockets, and this can cause a problem with hotel staff more than con staff. Look up their prop rules, their coverage rules (usually what a standard bikini covers), and their general rules. This is particularly important if you are new to conventions. Pay particular attention to this post too. It’s important.
Remember to have all your communication devices charged, make sure your parents know where you’re staying and who with, and make sure you have a map to your accommodation if it’s in a new place.
Seriously, that is my last step for you guys.
It’s lame, but please, remember your weekend is about fun, and seeing lists like this make it seem scary and stressful, but these lists are here to help, especially if you’re a first time con goer.
Every time I want to start something new, it’s a trial in itself.
So generally I think about a few things:
What characters do I like right now?
What outfits for them do I like?
Can I make this outfit or do I have to buy it?
Can I afford it?
Can I get it done in time?
These are the basics. If any of these are a “no”, it’s back to the drawing board.
In some cases, I pick a character and ignore cost and make them a “long-term project”. That is Verbal Typo speak for “this is rad but I am poor”.
But when these all get a “yes”, I get so excited!
A new costume means lots of planning and lots of making, and that is something I love. I generally opt to make over buy.
Making a checklist ensures you don’t make massive plans for a con that you cannot finish everything for. Your skills should be incorporated into these lists.
For instance, Akumakon is coming up in January.
Right now, I have planned Sailor Moon – the plan can be seen here.
I also am interested in cosplaying Genos from One Punch Man.
There is a very clear difference in the difficulty of these.
Sailor Moon is all sewing with a little bit of building, Genos is all armour. I have never made armour, so trying to get this done in time for a January con, with college work, my job, my life, everything, it’s not possible. I would end up working either too late or too fast and the result would likely be a cosplay I am unhappy with.
So we opt for the simpler of the two.
When it comes to cosplay, if you are working on a time limit, you’re safer to go with the thing you understand. You might be in the opposite boat.
Jessica Nigri’s most recent big armour build took her just two weeks.
This beauty took two weeks.
Maybe you’re talented with foam and worbla, then, you could get your Genos done in a week or two, but if you’re new, you need to take your time.
Another thing people tend to forget about on their lists is wig delivery time.
I plan out my wigs months in advance, they’re normally one of the first parts I plan. Usually, I order from Cosplay Salon or Coscraft – both are UK based and deliver to Ireland in 3-5 days. This makes the wig a bit less important and gives you time to save, considering wig prices. (Usagi’s wig is normally upwards of €50…yikes!)
Contacts are similar, though the companies I use most often as of late, Uniqso and Honey Color, both have an express shipping option and in my case, have only taken 3/4 days. It is a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it.
Just remember to take your time. Planning seems annoying and like a waste of time, but I promise you, it’ll make your life a lot easier.
So, let’s talk about an upcoming cosplay of mine; Sailor Moon.
I have planned her for Akumakon in January.
First, we list what we need:
White stretch fabric
Red, white, and blue shiny fabric
Worbla(Tiara, locket, small moonsx3)
Shoes and shoe covers
From this list, we can plan where we can get things. So we copy paste it and start thinking!
Wig – I took a few places I CAN order from, or like ordering from. For me – Cosplay Salon, Coscraft, and Ebay. I tried Epic Cosplay Wigs and Arda too but couldn’t find it. I did consider building this wig in a way – a base wig, twin tails and twin buns, but that’s a lot of money and too much time. We want to keep it simple. I didn’t like Cosplay Salon’s colour for this wig, so I chose Coscraft. The colour is right, the quality is nice, and the delivery is fast.
Fabric – If you live in the back of nowhere, you might not have an easy time looking for fabric. I planned to use Tiaknight.co.uk, but by the luck of things, I was in Dublin shopping with Anonjames, and while in Hickeys, I found fabric for her. I got two meters of white two way stretch, a meter of red shiny fabric and two meters of shiny blue fabric. I will need more, but this was a good start.
Worbla – I recently bought some Worbla to learn to use it, it can be found at Anathiell’s website for a pretty good price. A little will do fine.
Foam – This is something I can get for free from my grandfather. Where you can get it for free, do!
Shoes and shoe covers – The easiest place for me to buy simple red heels is Penneys/Primark. For the covers, I will use the method used by Mango Sirene in her Starfire Work Log, but I will also be using an invisible zip because I want to match the fabric with the bows and gloves. the zips can be purchased at Hickeys, where I also got the fabric.
So now, we talk about patterns.
I normally make my own patterns, though I have used preowned ones in the past. I find that it’s straightforward if you can handle an item you want to make before you make it. For Sailor Moon, I want to make a main piece first that is similar to a swimsuit with a high neck that will button shut at the crotch. I will add the other parts to this, but this ensures I am covered and that the whole thing fits together.
For that, we take standard measurements – shoulder, bust, waist, hips. The buttons will go in last.
After this is complete, I will add the skirt. It is a simple circle skirt that will be attached with a V shape in the front of the swim suit part.
Then, I will attach the arm…bubble…cuff…things. These:
I will use the same method off stuffing and sewing for these, the ends of the gloves, and the V-shape on the suit.
I will sew a rectangle the width of my arm and the length of my shoulder to the top of my upper arm and stuff it. Then I will sew lines through it to make 3 even spaces. I will attach this to the suit then sew the ends of the rectangle together to form a sleeve. I will repeat this on the other side.
For the gloves, I will follow the same beginning procedure.
The V will be just one piece, cut to follow the shape of the skirt.
I really hate doing collars, I mess them up a lot, but for Sailor Moon, I think this will be easier than before. Because I made the body a higher neck, I can increase the V shape of it (this piece has so many V-shapes…) and pin the Sailor collar to that before cutting the shape from it. This way, it will hang down the back. I will add the white and then attach it to the collar properly.
Bows are also difficult, though wire and stuffing inside an actual bow shape should do the trick. I’ll get back to you on this bit.
The last of the sewing, the boot covers, will require following Mango Sirene’s tutorial for the most part. I will leave extra fabric at the back, and instead of sewing it at the calf area, I will install an invisible zip back there, following this tutorial.
For the tiara, I will use a strip of Worbla, heated slightly and formed to the shape of my forehead. This will be primed, sanded, painted and a red gem will be attached in the middle. I hope to buy this gem to avoid any casting, but casting might be necessary.
The choker necklace will be a simple clean sewn piece of fabric that ties with velcro. The moon for it and the two boot covers will be made of Worbla and finished with the same primer and paint as the tiara.
And finally, the locket.
I will use a compass to mark a small circle of foam and cut it out. Before it gets Worbla’d though, I will use a thinner foam to make the middle circle first and the crescent moon at the bottom will be another piece of foam over it. Then, Worbla!
I am considering painted mini googley eyes for the outside gems, and a big one in the middle.
This is the basic plan, and it could change, I could end up doing things differently, thinks might actually not work or work out a bit differently.
Over the weekend of the 13th, I was given the opportunity to have a small photoshoot as Ranmao from Black Butler, and I thought I would give you guys some small tips for preparing for your photoshoot.
Prepare, prepare, prepare! In impromptu photoshoots, you might not be too prepared. That was the case on Sunday when Anonjames and I were offered a photoshoot with Rian Creighton. He’s a great guy, a great photographer, and normally has his own ideas. Luckily, he had ideas for Howl and Sophie both separately and together. That was pure chance. If you know the shoot is coming up, save a bunch of photos as reference – I did this for Ranmao. I went to Google image and just saved about 4 pictures with different poses. Otherwise, I would just feel awkward, and if you’re working with a professional, they might not be too forgiving of you wasting most of the shoot time with trying to think of poses.
Angles! I am short. Let’s not fool ourselves. I’m 5’2″, and while I’m not too concerned with my height, it can really show in pictures. I am small and chubby, and for Ranmao, I didn’t want to show her that way. If you are in the short category, ask your photographer to take the pictures lower angle. For example, Anonjames took this photo of me from a lower angle and I look like I am taller and a bit thinner(though we’ll cover that next).
Even though it’s only a little lower, I look far taller than I am. The magic of angles.
Streamline yo’self! By posing the correct ways, and not slouching like a troll, you can look like a different person in photos. Again, I am short and chubby, and my posture is not great. For this shot, I crossed my legs, straightened my back and put my chest forward. While the corset helps with the chub, the posture helps to make my legs look more shapely. This might not be helpful if your character is a bit more cutesy. In those cases, you want to consider slouching, hiding yourself to show off a more adorable demeanor. In all cases, ask your photographer. They can see how the shot looks and would be delighted to correct things.
Don’t take it too seriously! You’re likely not getting paid for this, and there’s no need to treat it as you if you are. You can get amazing shots and still have a lot of fun being silly, or joking around. Bond with your photographer and make sure you enjoy it and they enjoy it.
Have a friend with you. Having a friend means having someone to check your costume, hold your bags, check your poses, move you around, and to toss capes/wigs/jackets. They can also help talk you through things that are a bit tough for the photographer to explain.
Finally, remember your manners. Photographers at cons rarely get paid, and in Rian’s case, and Anonjames’s, they did photshoots out of the kindness of their hearts. Thank them, buy them a drink, maybe drop a tip if they take them. Also, credit them if you use the photos.
There are a million tips in posing out there, but the top one is reference. That’s why it’s up there first. It’ll be less stress for you, the photographer, and it’s an excuse to have a bunch of pictures of your favourite characters. Have fun with photographs, remember this person is enjoying photographing you, this is what they want to do, and even if your photos are bad in the beginning, you’ll learn as you go!
If you guys have any additional tips, pop them in the comments. 😀
Unfortunately within the con-scene, consent becomes a skewed concept.
We know in our every day life, touching people (within reason) is okay!
As a shop assistant, I get little old ladies grabbing my elbow or hand when they ask me for something, that’s normal for where I live.
However, in a convention, where the intentions of the grabber might not be too clear, I would get uncomfortable if someone grabbed me. Whether it was because they wanted a photo, they thought they knew me, or maybe they’re just touchy, it’s awkward.
But, this is something I can deal with, again, as a shop assistant, it’s common.
However, when I have stepped away from someone, and they’re still grabbing at me like I’m one of their nearest and dearest, this becomes a problem.
I am lenient, but I am also older than many people within the Irish con-scene. At 22, I know how best to act.
I know it can be exciting to see someone dressed as a favourite character, or maybe when you see someone really attractive.
That does NOT make it okay to touch, hug, or take photos of them without their permission.
Touching or hugging someone without asking can lead to a bunch of problems.
Damaging their cosplay.
Smudging makeup on their cosplay.
If they have an injury, making it worse.
Or simply, making them uncomfortable in any way.
It’s simple, just ask.
And respect their right to say “no”.
Likewise, with photographing cosplayers.
If someone is already posing, and a few people are taking a photo of them, that’s fine.
Taking a photo of someone’s assets without that being their intention is rude and makes you seem like a pervert.
If you’re doing this, you probably are a pervert.
Most cosplayers will be fine with having a photo taken, all you have to do is ask.
So one of the biggest problems with cosplay is how to get things to the place. Whether that relates to costumes, props or, even something wigs, travelling with bulky, delicate baggage is tough. Even this year, when packing Ranmao’s props, we had planned to ship them over with no luck, and were lucky enough to get a suitcase just big enough. But that still leaves 3 full costumes, wigs, accessories, shoes, underwear, and if I’m lucky, some normal people clothes for any time I’m not swamped in convention. Never fear, kids! There are plenty ways to pack efficiently.
First off, list everything.
Yes, everything. Right down to the underwear. It seems silly, but it’s always the small things you forget. Other items frequently forgotten are toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, and even protection. You never know position what you’ll be put in.
Second, shoes at the bottom.
I find it’s easiest to put your shoes in the bottom since they tend to be the main bulky item. My suitcase has a separate pouch that can be used for shoes in here at the top, and my shoes this time are pretty small (ballet flats, sandals, and boots) thankfully, but you may not be as lucky. Also, it’s a good idea to pack them a bit more neatly.
Third, your clothes.
This is appropriate time to put in costumes that are able to deal with a bit of roughness. If you have something of a light colour, a suit bag would be a good idea to make sure it doesn’t get stained from your shoes (If they’re in the same pouch) or bag itself. If your suitcase does not have a pouch like mine does, you can put your underwear in here too.
Fourth, your wigs.
Of course, your wigs can go in your second pouch if you have one, but in my case, I like to keep them with my clothes. I squeeze as much air out of them as I can, and lie them down. Do not forget your wig comb.
Fifth, make up and toiletries!
This is where the main variety will be. I have all my make up and contacts in this cute bag from Tiger and it can just sit right in with my shoes.
I also received this sweet little contact lens case from Anonjames Cosplay, and it is a dream! It has a safe tweezers, a tiny bottle for solution, a small lens holder, and a mirror!
Because this con involves a hotel stay, I’m bringing a travel set of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and moisturiser. I got this set of bottles from Penneys for €1.50, and just filled them with my regular toiletries.
Do not forget pads/tampons, just in case.
Last, underwear, socks and other little extras.
If you put your underwear in earlier, this isn’t for you.
I keep my underwear in the end pockets of my bag, though you may not have one. This makes it a bit easier for me to not accidentally pull them out, and to know that I’ve packed enough. If you’re bringing accessories, I advise putting them in a small bag and keeping them in one of the smaller pouches.
And you’re done! I’m ready for Expo at last, and I am so excited!