ConstantineInTokyo.com http://www.constantineintokyo.com Thu, 08 May 2014 17:57:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.6 46307830 ‘JUSTICE MAGAZINE’ Inspired Cosplay Magazine Covers http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2014/05/08/justice-magazine-inspired-cosplay-magazine-covers/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2014/05/08/justice-magazine-inspired-cosplay-magazine-covers/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 17:57:03 +0000 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/?p=2339 Ninjas, I’m super in love with the ‘JUSTICE MAGAZINE’ series from Artgerm (AKA Stanley Lau) over on DeviantArt! I definitely wish this was a real magazine, but since it isn’t, I figured the next best thing would be to place a few of my cosplay pals on some imaginary covers. And here it is! My version of JUSTICE MAGAZINE! While I am definitely not as talented as Artgerm, I hope you enjoy these images!

First up is May 2014, featuring the lovely Ani-Mia as Zatanna and a photograph by Ron Gejon:

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Next is June 2014, starring Abby Dark-Star as Jim Balent’s Catwoman and photography by Benn Robbins:

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For the month of July, I thought JUSTICE would featuring something patriotic – and there’s nothing more patriotic than Ivy Doomkitty as Wonder Woman. Photography by Geri Kramer:

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JUSTICE is obviously based in the DC realm, but I don’t think that would stop them from occaisionally showcasing characters from Marvel. For August 2014, JUSTICE features Kristen Hughey as Felicia/Black Cat and photography by Jay Hooker:

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And finally, for September 2014, JUSTICE features myself as the redesigned Magpie from ‘Beware The Batman.’ Photography by Geri Kramer:

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And that’s all for now Ninjas! Please check out the links to all of the wonderful cosplayers and photographers who inspired these covers, as well as ARTGERM on DeviantArt! And, if you want to repost these images, please make sure to include credits <3 <3 <3

XOXO,

C.

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Bombshell Harley Quinn Jacket Patch Tutorial http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/12/06/bombshell-harley-quinn-jacket-tutorial/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/12/06/bombshell-harley-quinn-jacket-tutorial/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 20:34:28 +0000 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/?p=2201 Today I’m going to share with you Ninjas how to make Harley Quinn’s ‘Bombshell’ bomber jacket. This tutorial is basically how I make most of my patches for cosplay!

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Materials Needed:

  • Bomber Jacket (You can make your own or buy one that resembles hers)
  • White Fabric (I prefer matte white spandex, but white cotton will also work)
  • Double-Sided Adhesive, like ‘Fuse’N Stick’ or ‘Wunder Under’ (this is used for applique – it is a heat-activated adhesive that comes attached to paper in large sheets. You can get it at any hobby store.)
  • Pencils, pens, scissors
  • Sharpies in the colors you’ll need (for this: black, red, yellow, and green)
  • An iron and ironing board

Step 1: Draw your design on paper. I sketched her jacket design onto regular paper — the size I wanted the patch was larger that standard 8″ x 10″ computer paper, so I just taped a few pieces together to have a large enough sheet.

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Step 2: I then traced over the pencil with a black pen to darken the lines. As you can see, I added a bit more detail into my design with the 6 bombs along the bottom – this is more similar to actual bomber jackets from the 1940s!

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Step 3: Flip the paper over and RE-TRACE the lines onto the back side. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT — when you transfer the design to the Wonder Under, it needs to be the MIRROR IMAGE.

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Step 4: Now, transfer the design (mirror image!) to the paper side of the Wonder Under. You can just trace the design by the laying the Wonder Under over the paper, duh. I do this in pencil so I can correct mistakes and keep things neat.

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Step 5: Cut out a piece of white spandex that is larger than the Wonder Under paper.

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Step 6: Now, iron the Wonder Under onto the spandex. This will activate the adhesive and fuse the two pieces together. NOTE: Don’t let the adhesive touch your ironing board (only the spandex) or else you’ll fuse the Wonder Under to your ironing board and it’ll be sticky forever.

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Step 7: With an ultra-fine tip black sharpie, darken the pencil lines on the Wonder Under paper. This will make the design easier to see.

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Step 8: Flip the whole thing over to the FABRIC side. As you can see, the design is easy to see through the fabric.

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Step 9: Now we can start transferring the designs onto the fabric with Sharpies. Yes, you are basically just coloring the fabric with markers – it is SUPER SIMPLE. I start with the line work, using an ultra-fine tip Sharpie for precision:

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Step 10: Then I add in the black.

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Step 11: Then I add in the color.

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Step 12: Here is the fully colored patch with the Sharpies I used.

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Step 13: Cut out the patch with scissors.

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Step 14: Now we are ready to iron the patch onto the back of the jacket. Peel the paper away from the fabric. As you can see, the adhesive is now fused to the fabric and the paper will easily peel away.

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NOTE: If you made/bought a jacket that is VINYL or FAKE LEATHER, you CANNOT place an iron directly onto that material. It will MELT away the ‘plastic’ part of the fabric… the part that makes it look like leather. You CAN place the iron on the PATCH. So just be careful and take your time ironing this onto the fabric. 

Here is the back of my finished jacket. I kept a white border to help the design pop, but I might go back in with a black sharpie and make the border less thick. BOOM! You are finished.

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And there you go! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!!

XOXO,

C.

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Cosplay: July 2012 – November 2013 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/11/13/cosplay-july-2012-november-2013/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/11/13/cosplay-july-2012-november-2013/#comments Wed, 13 Nov 2013 21:45:44 +0000 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/?p=2166 I’ve been wanting to make one of these mosaics for a while now – HERE IS ALL THE STUFF I’VE MADE!! (You can click it to make it bigger!)

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Silent Hill Nurse Tutorial http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/10/15/silent-hill-nurse-tutorial/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/10/15/silent-hill-nurse-tutorial/#comments Wed, 16 Oct 2013 04:13:52 +0000 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/?p=2030 Looking around the internet, I feel like there is sometimes a high barrier to entry when it comes to cosplay. People are always posting about the complexity of BLAH BLAH BLAH. Cosplay isn’t something that only professional seamstresses can do…it’s not something that only professional SFX/makeup artists can do. Literally ANYONE can cosplay. Without sewing. Without professional training.

Silent Hill is an iconic game, and the Silent Hill Nurse is an iconic ‘character.’ Here are steps to follow to make one:

BUY A NURSE COSTUME

1) You can sew your own Silent Hill Nurse dress, but you honestly don’t need to. Search Halloween Nurse costumes and pick the design you like (preferably one with a HAT).

2) Fill a sink with hot water and soak several teabags in it. Use brown tea – Earl Grey or whatever – you can literally get tea bags for free at some restaurants.

3) Soak your white nurse dress in the tea for about an hour. The tea will stain your dress so it isn’t pure, clean white. Remove it and let it dry. (Save the tea bags!)

4) Re-soak the tea bags in hot water (you can also use new ones if you wnat. Then press them against the dress — preferably along the seams and edges, but where ever you want the dress to be stained darker. Let it dry.

5) Along the edges of your DRY nurse dress, take a pair of scissors and distress the edges. Tear them, make the fabric fray — whatever you think looks good. Then take some brown eye shadow or bronzer and add in some detail. Basically make it look dirty and gross.

Here is what my final dress looks like, under two different kinds of light/contrast so you can get an idea of what it looks like:

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THE MASK // HEAD

This is the most daunting part of the costume – but it shouldn’t be!

1) Take a plastic grocery bag and put it over your head. Mark where your eyes and mouth are.

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2) Cut out eye and mouth holes with a pair of scissors. Put the bag bag on your head and tie the handles around your neck (DON’T SUFFOCATE!!)

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3) Wrap Rigid Wrap Strips (or paper mache) around your head. BE SURE THAT YOU LEAVE SPACE TO REMOVE THE MASK (AKA, pull the damn thing off your head. You don’t want to have to cut it off)!!! Let it dry….

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4) Place the dry Mask/Headpiece onto a wig form (this isn’t essential, but it helps). Trim the excess plastic away.

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5) Take strips of tattered white fabric (any fabric, but I used gabardine and distressed the edges with a pair of scissors) and wrap them around the plaster mask. Use glue (Tacky Glue, Fabric Glue, Elmer’s Glue) to attach the strips to the  mask. Let it dry.

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6) Coat the mask in Liquid Latex. You can purchase this from most Halloween stores or online. You don’t want the mask to look smooth. Take the tattered edges and coat them with latex. Build something gross around the face. Whatever image you’re going for with the nurse…build it with latex. Let is dry.

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7) Take a white see-through fabric (chiffon, rayon, whatever) and glue it over the eye and mouth holes. Let it dry.

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8) Blend the new fabric in with the old fabric with liquid latex. Tattered edges along the face are great! Don’t make the face smooth. This is when you give the mask the shape you want it to have and it’s really up to your personal taste. If you prefer a more bandaged look, emphasize that. If you like the bloodly flesh-bandagey type look, cool. Whatevs you want. Let the latex dry.

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ADDING MAKEUP TO YOUR MASK

This is how your mask is going to get its detail. This is when you make it look cool. For makeup, I used a standard pressed powder bronzer, several shades of brown eye shadow, a Ben Nye burn and bruise SFX wheel, and Kryolan coagulated blood (it’s thicker and darker looking than fresh SFX blood).  I use a regular powder brush and those eye shadow sponge applicators. Here’s a pic:

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1) Here is what the mask looked like with just dry liquid latex (no makeup):

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2) Apply the bronzer powder over the whole mask. As you can see, it darkens all of the areas that looked too white.

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3) Apply brown eye shadow along any details you want emphasized or areas you want to look dirty. I emphasized the edges of the bandages and the texture on the front of the mask.

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4) Take the Ben Nye burn/bruise wheel and add the reds/purples/blues as well. Again, anywhere you want to emphasis and make look dirty/bloody. As you can see, I created deep, bloodly looking gashes by adding these colors into the cracks and crevices on the front of the mask. Just using red will make a very shallow looking cut, darkening it with purples and blues will make it look deeper and more gross. The picture below shows this progression, from left to right:

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5) Now, apply the green and yellow colors to other areas of the mask. You don’t have to do this, but it adds to the gross, old, decaying look of the mask.

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6) Take the SFX blood and add it to the cuts and gashes on the mask with a brush. This is what makes the mask look wet and yucky…and more realistic. This step should be repeated RIGHT before photoshoots, as the fake blood will eventually dry and lose its wet shine. Here is the finished mask:

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And on my face:

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And a test shot in the bathroom with the nurse dress and hat on. A note on the hat – I just cut out two peices of fabric in the shape of a nurse hat, sewed them together, turned it inside out so the raw edges of the seams were on the inside, and then GLUED the base to the mask head. The fabric is stiff enough that it can be folded to stand straight up. It looks very 2-dimensional from the side, but from the front it looks fine. If you have a real nurse hat, then just attach that to the mask head. Whatever works y’all!

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And a final pic from my photo shoot with Geri Kramer Photography and Silhouette Realm Cosplay (she built her mask in a similar, but slightly different way. If you like her method, check out her COSPLAY PAGE). For the shoot, be sure to make you skin look dirty and gross (or a pair of pantyhose) with the same Ben Nye burn/bruise wheel and fake blood you used on the mask!

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To see more photos of my finished costume, CHECK OUT THE PAGE FOR THE COSTUME!

Good luck! Feel free to leave questions or comments below!

XOXO,

Constantine

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Tutorial: Making Armor Breast Plates with Worbla http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/09/22/tutorial-armor-worbla/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/09/22/tutorial-armor-worbla/#comments Sun, 22 Sep 2013 22:13:07 +0000 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/?p=2007 Based on the feedback I received from my Lady Skeletor tutorial, I wanted to make another post that takes a closer look at some of the armor breast plates I’ve made out of Worbla.

This isn’t really a step-by-step tutorial, as the process I use to make these breast plates is pretty straightforward (molding Worbla directly over my dress form). This is mostly just a collection of WIP photos I’ve taken while making these breast plates. NOTE: I’m usually working under pretty tight time restrictions (all of these costumes were made in under 7 days) and quite frankly I think certain pieces could have been done better, done with more detail, or done with more dimension and depth.

Here are some of the costumes I’ve made with Worbla: in chronological order from left to right – Dr. Doom, Athena, Skyrim, Skeletor. To see these actual costumes, visit my COSTUME PAGE.

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Dr. Doom was the first time I ever worked with Worbla OR attempted to make armor. It’s a very simple armor ‘bra’ that I molded over my dress form. The raised detail along the edge was added by cutting a 1-inch strip of Worbla (in the same shape as the neckline of the breast plate), heating it, and then letting it adhere to the breast plate. The metal rivets were circular metal pieces I purchased from Michael’s and then glued onto the breast plate. The entire thing was then primed with several layers of gesso, sanded, and painted with metallic spray paint. The breast plate is held to my body with elastic straps that attach to the armor with heavy duty snaps (applied with an industrial plier tool). It’s very straightforward and entirely simple:

Boobs....er, Armor Detail - Click to Enlarge

Boobs….er, Armor Detail – Click to Enlarge

NOTE: To get the cleavage, I wear a push-up bra underneath the breast plate. COSPLAY BOOBS ARE MADE OF LIES!!

After my first attempt at armor-making was fairly successful, I decided to make a more detailed and complex costume — Athena from Dynamite Comics. Here are some close-ups of the breast plate:

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I pinned tissue paper to my dress form (loosely, as tissue paper does not stretch and won’t lay flush along the curves of the dress form) and drew out my basic shape for the breast plate. I then transferred that pattern onto Worbla, cut it out, and molded the Worbla over the dress form. NOTE: My boobs are bigger than my dress form’s, so I pad the bust with THREE bras to increase the bust size.

As you can see from the detail images, Athena’s armor attaches to her with white straps. I took the breast plate off the dress form (at this point there was only one layer of Worbla) and installed six heavy duty snaps onto each side (the matching snaps were put on elastic straps covered in white spandex to attach to the breast plate and hold it onto my body).

To get the layered look on the breast plate (the three layers underneath the bust and the fleur-de-lis-like design in between the boobs), I cut those shapes out of Worbla and also molded them onto the breast plate.

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I primed the breast plate with multiple layers of gesso, let it dry fully, and then sanded the crap out of it to make it was smooth as possible. Gesso is very thick, so if you don’t sand it you’ll still be able to see brushstrokes on the armor after it is painted.

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I then spray painted the breast plate (and other armor pieces) with metallic gold paint and let it dry. I applied a slight about of black paint along the raised edges and buffed them with a cloth to slightly weather the armor. This picture also shows pretty clearly how the elastic straps attach to the armor:

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While I was finishing up the Athena costume, I went insane and decided to make a Skyrim costume as well (to wear at SDCC 2013). I always loved the Savior’s Hide armor design and picked that to make. In truth, I don’t really think that my breast plate is a very accurate representation of the detail and complexity of the original design. It should be more 3-dimensional and I honestly should have sculpted a lot of the element out of clay to give it the right look. But, I also had two days to make this costume so…whatever.

The key different between the Skyrim armor and the other breast plate is that it is essentially a corset made out of Worbla. It wraps entirely around my torso and laces up in the back like a corset (I cover the lacing with an additional Worbla piece that velcros onto the back).

So yeah, I cut my base piece out of Worbla and molded it onto my dress form. From there, I sketched the design of the armor directly onto the Worbla to make sure it looked right. As you can see, this took me several tries:

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If you look close at this picture, you can also see some of the wrinkling that can occurred when you shape Worbla around non-flat surfaces. You can to be very careful to try and avoid this, as these flaws are hard to cover. In this case, I knew that I was going to be layering quite a few more pieces of Worbla onto the front of the armor, so I didn’t worry about it too much.

I transferred the design onto tissue paper, then again transferred it onto another sheet of Worbla.

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This design was translated onto the breast plate in several stages. You can see all the pieces I used here:

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This is what the armor looked like after all six of those pieces were molded onto the breast plate:

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As you can see, six layers of Worbla more than covered the wrinkles that were present on the base layer. I also cut out a series of diamond-shaped scale things and attached them along the bust line of the breast plate:

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The armor was then primed with gesso. I glued four circular coins onto the armor to add in a bit of detail, but this was all done on WEDNESDAY (SDCC started on Thursday, I was running out of time fast!). Then, of course, the armor was sanded a bit (but not as much as it should have been, I didn’t have time):

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Literally, the night before we were going to leave for SDCC, I painted this armor with metallic silver spray paint:

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As you can see, the gesso wasn’t sanded smooth enough in certain areas and you can still see brush strokes. Since it’s Skyrim armor, that’s ok because it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth.

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I woke up at 4am and packed this into the car. Howard and I drove down to San Diego and enjoyed the first day of the con. That night, I added in the weathering details to the armor with black paint:

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Overall, I would say I consider the Skyrim armor to be moderately successful. It looks good on, but there are many details that I don’t think I did a good job translating into reality. The armor is too flat and many of the details should have more dimension and depth. I also chose a construction method that used a LOT of Worbla (which is pretty expensive). If I were to make this again, I’d definitely do a lot of things differently!

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To date, I would say Athena and Lady Skeletor are my two most successful armor costumes. The most important element of cosplay is the determination to try new techniques and push yourself to do better with each and every costume you make. Sometimes things might not work out 100% and the process of learning can definitely be frustrating. But with a bit of commitment and determination, there’s no limit to what you can do!

If you’d like to see the detailed tutorial on how I made Lady Skeletor, CLICK HERE!

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Lady Skeletor Tutorial: Making Armor with Worbla and Craft Foam http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/09/21/armor-tutorial-worbla-skeletor/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2013/09/21/armor-tutorial-worbla-skeletor/#comments Sat, 21 Sep 2013 23:52:50 +0000 http://www.constantineintokyo.com/?p=1942 When I first started making cosplay outfits, armor always seemed like a very difficult thing to make. It requires materials other than fabric and, in a way, making armor requires a different mindset than sewing clothing. But, what I want people to understand with this tutorial, is that armor ISN’T something that you should be intimidated by! It’s 100% possible for even novice costumers to make armor! Worbla is also a material that I don’t think people should be scared of. With a bit of practice, there’s absolutely nothing you won’t be able to make. You are limited only by your imagination!

And when it comes to cosplay, it isn’t about the having the most expensive materials or tools, or have extensive experience with costume-making. The most important component of any costume is PATIENCE and the determination to get it done! A lot of people might look at this tutorial and think – Ugh, your costume is shit. Maybe it is, I’m new to this whole armor thing and I certainly still have a lot to learn. But I’m a firm believer that costumes are more than just the sum of their parts. I’m not a professional – often I have to use creative methods to get stuff done. What makes a cosplay good is that it looks cleanly constructed and well-put together once the whole thing is on your body. I also made this costume in FOUR DAYS. If I can do this in four days, anyone can make armor costumes!

I think it’s really important for cosplayers to share their experiences with others. We all start somewhere and I really admire the cosplayers out there who take the time to document their work and make tutorials that help other people learn. With that, here is an annoyingly detailed look at how I made my Skeletor costume! <3

Lady Skeletor Materials:

  • Worbla
  • Craft Foam
  • Wood Glue
  • Spray Paint (purple and gold)
  • Acrylic paint (in silver, black, and white)
  • Heavy Duty Snaps and Snap Tool
  • Elastic bands
  • Gemstones (in red and yellow)
  • Heat Gun OR Hair Dryer
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes (both small and large)
  • Purple fabric (for the hood/cowl)
  • Black fake leather (vinyl, pleather, etc, for the loincloth strips, shorts, and gloves)
  • Super glue and tacky glue

** Let me apologize in advance for not having images of each of these steps. The next tutorials I make will be better documented! **

1) FORMING THE BREAST PLATE

Worbla is a type of moldable thermoplastic that is fairly thin and easily shape-able when heat is applied. You really only need the heat from a hair dryer, though heat guns can also be used to heat the Worbla faster. You can buy Worbla from CosplaySupplies.com.

I have made several breast plates with Worbla before (Lady Dr. Doom, Athena, Skyrim, and Lady Skeletor). There are several ways to make breast plates from Worbla and Google will be a helpful tool for discovering different methods.

Personally, I will shape my breast plates directly over my dress form. I’ll write more about this process in another blog post, but here is the process I followed for Lady Skeletor:

– First, I drafted a base pattern from tissue paper by loosely pinning the paper to my dress foam and sketching the basic shape onto it. Then, I transferred this pattern to the Worbla and cut it out.
I then molded the Worbla over my dress form. Be very careful with this step – it’s quite easy to stretch the Worbla too thin and rip holes into it or to have bumps and creases appear. Just take your time. If you DO pull the Worbla too thin, don’t fret, you can always add an additional layer of Worbla over it to cover the error. NOTE: Worbla becomes rough when it is stretched too much. Sometimes these errors can be concealed during the priming stage – covering the Worbla with gesso or wood glue and then sanding it smooth. It will require quite a few layers of gesso to achieve this though.

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Unpainted Breast Plate – Click to Enlarge

– As you might be able to see, there are actually three layers of Worbla on my breastplate (look right beneath the bust to see them). I started with the largest piece first, shaped it over the dress form and then added the next, smaller layer, and the next, smaller layer. Worbla will stick to itself when it is warm. Once the breastplate was the shape I wanted, I let it cool before removing it from the dress form. If your bust is a different size than the dress form, you can add padding by using a push-up bra (I have to add three bras to my dress form to get it to match my bust size).

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Plier Tool & Snaps – Click to Enlarge

– I then installed heavy duty snaps to the Worbla. These snaps are easiest to install in ONE layer of Worbla, so I made sure the areas where the snaps would be put in place where only one layer thick (the sides of the breast plate and the top of the breast plate). I use a Dritz Heavy Duty Plier Kit install heavy duty snaps (#5 and #105 AKA 5/8 inch snaps). The matching set of snaps were attached to elastic straps to hold the armor onto my body.

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Snaps & Elastic – Click to Enlarge

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Breast Plate Interior – Click to Enlarge

2) THE NECK PIECE

Skeletor has these armor pieces that stick out from his shoulders. Depending on the reference art you’re looking at, these either look like leather or like armor; sometimes they are straight and sometimes they are curved.

– I cut six straight pieces out of craft foam (two inches thick and of varying length). One side of each piece ends in a point, the other side is straight.

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Craft Foam Spikes – Click to Enlarge

– I pinned these craft foam pieces along the neck of my dress form (and over the breast plate) to figure out how I want to position them

– I then transferred the pattern for these pieces onto Worbla, but added an extra 5/8th of an inch to each side. This is, in theory, similar to the seam allowances for clothing. You’ll need this allowance to wrap the edges of the Worbla around the craft foam.

– I heated the Worbla over the craft foam and wrapped the edges around the base craft foam piece. From the inside, this looks quite ugly. From the outside, it looks just fine.

Shoulder Spike Outside - Click to Enlarge

Shoulder Spike Outside – Click to Enlarge

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Shoulder Spike Inside – Click to Enlarge

– I then cut a circular ‘necklace’ type thing out of craft foam and also covered that with Worbla. Please make sure this fits around your neck comfortably.

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Finished Neck Piece – Click to Enlarge

– The Worbla shoulder pieces were then reheated and attached to this neck piece. Remember, Worbla adheres to itself when it is warm, so you shouldn’t need any additional glue to attach these pieces. Again, I wanted these shoulder pieces to be straight. If you’d like them curved, you can always form the Worbla to whatever shape you want. As you can see in the picture below, the Worbla is wrapped around the edges of the craft foam:

Neck Piece Inside - Click to Enlarge

Neck Piece Inside – Click to Enlarge

– Finally, one set heavy duty snaps were installed at the back of the neck piece so it can be snapped in place to wear. NOTE: It is still easy to install these snaps through one layer of craft foam and one layer of Worbla.

Neck Piece Back - Click to Enlarge

Neck Piece Back – Click to Enlarge

3) THE BELT

Once you’ve made a breast plate out of Worbla, pretty much everything else is easy. The major difference, however, between my breast plates and other pieces of armor is that I don’t use craft foam with the breast plates (in order to get it to match the shape of the dress form as much as possible). On it’s own, one layer of Worbla is quite flimsy and hard to shape smoothly into belts, gauntlets, etc. Shaping Worbla over craft foam will help make your armor much more sturdy and easy to shape!

– I cut the base pattern for my belt out of craft foam. Craft foam can be bought at any craft store (Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, etc) and is very inexpensive. Obviously, the belt is much larger than just one piece of foam, so I cut it out in three pieces and then taped the pieces together. NOTE: Belts are NOT just straight lines. All belts are actually curved to follow the lines of your hips/waist. Use an existing belt to help you understand how it should be shaped. Once you have the belt cut out of craft foam, hold it up to your body (or your dress form) and make sure it fits you the way you want it too.

– As you can see, my Skeletor belt actually has dimension – the edges are raised and so is the circle pattern around Skeletor’s face. These were cut out of craft foam and then glued to the craft foam belt. (If this is unclear, I’ll go into more detail on this in a bit). NOTE: This is also a really good way to conserve your Worbla and – by extension – save money. Worbla is SUBSTANTIALLY more expensive than craft foam. But using a craft foam base to add in details and reinforce your armor, you can use only one layer of Worbla and achieve fantastic results!

– Once you have the craft foam base for your belt done, trace an outline of it onto a single piece of Worbla. Then, add an additional 5/8th of an inch or a full inch around that border. Remember, this is your ‘seam/edge’ allowance. You’ll need this allowance to wrap the edges of the Worbla around the craft foam.

– Heat the Worbla over the craft foam and start pressing down along the details with your fingers. Once you have the outside of the belt shaped over the craft foam, flip it over and start folding the edges inwards, over the craft foam.

– Heat the Worbla again so the entire piece is flexible. Then, form it over your hips (or your dress form) so it conforms to your shape. Let it cool enough so it will hold that shape.

Belt - Click to Enlarge

Belt – Click to Enlarge

– Next, I attached two pairs of heavy duty snaps to the back of the belt. This way, I can actually snap the belt on and off when I wear it.

Belt Back Outside - Click to Enlarge

Belt Back Outside – Click to Enlarge

Belt Back Inside - Click to Enlarge

Belt Back Inside – Click to Enlarge

– Finally, I drew Skeletor’s face on a piece of paper and transferred it to craft foam. I cut the face out of the craft foam with an exacto knife and then glued it onto the belt.

Belt Detail - Click to Enlarge

Belt Detail – Click to Enlarge

 4) THE CROSSBONE DETAIL

Skeletor has a pair of crossbones strapped across his chest. For my Lady Skeletor, I decided to attached the crossbones directly to the armor breast plate and forgo the straps – I don’t feel like it’s a design element that would translate well onto a (relatively) curvy lady! For my belt, I cut out a base belt from craft foam, then cut out the raised edges, glued those details onto the craft foam base, THEN covered the whole thing with ONE layer of Worbla. The process I used for creating the crossbones is identical to this. NOTE: If I had more time, I would have sculpted the crossbones out of clay, let it dry, and then attached it to the breast plate to give them even more dimension. I had 36 hours left at this point and not enough time to make that happen.

– I drew my desired crossbone shape onto paper, then transferred it onto craft foam. Basically, I wanted a circular base, then the cross bones, then a circular ring to set the gem into. So, there are several layers of craft foam here. NOTE: Make sure the craft foam circle is large enough to place the gemstone into. Adding Worbla will make the opening a bit smaller, so cut the circle a bit larger than just the outline of the gemstone.

Craft Foam and Worbla - Click to Enlarge

Craft Foam and Worbla – Click to Enlarge

– The layers of craft foam were them glued together. I traced the shape onto Worbla and again added my 5/8~1 inch edge allowance.

Crossbones Front - Click to Enlarge

Crossbones Front – Click to Enlarge

– The Worbla was molded over the craft foam and then the edges were wrapped around to the inside.

Crossbones Inside - Click to Enlarge

Crossbones Inside – Click to Enlarge

– I added an additional Worbla circle to the inside of the crossbones to help it stick to them breast plate.

Additional Worbla - Click to Enlarge

Additional Worbla – Click to Enlarge

– The crossbone piece was then re-heated and attached to the breast plate. The crossbones were pressed down onto the breast plate to make sure they followed the breast plate’s curves.

5) THE LEG BRACERS // LEG ARMOR

By now, you should have an idea of how these were made!

– I cut out my base pattern for the leg armor with craft foam. I added in raised details – a raised edge that mirrored the top of the leg armor and three circular inserts for gemstones on each leg piece – glued them to the craft foam base, then traced the shape out on Worbla, added the edge allowance, and shaped the Worbla over the leg pieces.

Unpainted Leg Armor - Click to Enlarge

Unpainted Leg Armor – Click to Enlarge

– The leg pieces were heated so the entire piece was flexible and then shaped over my legs. The pieces were allowed to cool and then removed.

Unpainted Leg Armor - Click to Enlarge

Unpainted Leg Armor – Click to Enlarge

– Heavy duty snaps were installed in the back so I can snap the leg bracers open and closed to wear.

Leg Armor Back - Click to Enlarge

Leg Armor Back – Click to Enlarge

6) PRIMING WORBLA

As I’m sure some of you have read – Worbla needs to be primed before it is painted. This is because unprimed Worbla looks rough – almost like painted sand (if you look at the back detail of my neck piece, THAT is unprimed Worbla. It wasn’t primed because the cowl would cover it). Of course, if you prefer this look then you can skip the priming step. But for armor, priming Worbla will help you achieve the look of metal. For other costumes, I primed my Worbla armor with gesso (a thick acrylic primer). I like gesso – I think it’s easy to paint on, it doesn’t drip or run, etc. HOWEVER, gesso still needs to be sanded before painting and I honestly didn’t have time for that. Instead, I chose to prime my armor with wood glue.

Priming Leg Armor - Click to Enlarge

Priming Leg Armor – Click to Enlarge

Overall, I think the results were decent and priming the Worbla with wood glue definitely gave the final painted pieces a lot of shine. HOWEVER, it was very difficult to apply the wood glue smoothly. It runs very easily and kinda clumped into little bubbles. It was also hard for the three dimensional pieces that needed to be painted in stages (as in, painted, allowed to dry, then rotated and painted again) to be painted smoothly and seamlessly. I hear applying multiple coats of wood glue helps correct this and you CAN sand wood glue. Ultimately, I only applied 2 layers of wood glue. It turned out ok…I guess…whatever. I also think that wood glue is more prone to flaking off or chipping that gesso (you can see a small piece on the back of my belt chipped off.

Priming the Breast Plate - Click to Enlarge

Priming the Breast Plate – Click to Enlarge

7) PAINTING AND DETAILS

I used purple spray paint to paint all of my armor pieces.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Tips on Spray Painting – apply one coat evenly, don’t position the can too close to the armor or else the paint will run. Allow each coat to dry before applying new coats to prevent running and drips. Don’t let your armor dry in direct sunlight, the heat can cause bubbles to form.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

After the armor was dry, I painted the crossbones silver, white and black with a brush and acrylic paint. I also painted black along all of the details on the armor to help them stand out more clearly.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I painted the recessed areas on the belt around Skeletor’s face black as well, to make the skull detail stand out more clearly.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I glued red and yellow gemstones all over the armor – that’s the reason why the circular insets were added with craft foam. For flat areas, I used super glue. For the less flat areas, I used tacky glue (it helps fill in the gaps better than super glue).

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

After the belt was dry, I attached black fake leather strips on fabric to the inside. If I had more time, I would have added more details to these strips of fabric. Maybe I will in the future!

I wore some crazy tall shoes for the costume – they make me over 6 feet tall! MYAHHHH!

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

8) THE COWL // HOOD

I drafted my own pattern for the cowl out of white cotton muslin and tried it on to make sure I liked the fit.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I then cut the pieces of out dark purple sateen and sewed it together.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

9) THE HAVOK STAFF

For Skeletor’s staff, I purchased a real ram/sheep skull off of Ebay. Weirdly, real skulls are cheaper than replicas. If you use real skulls, make sure they have been properly cleaned, boiled, and bleached or else they can attract gross insects.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

I paint the horns gold with spray paint.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The skull was ultimately taped onto a 6 foot tall wooden pole (purchased from Home Depot) that had also been spray painted purple. At one point, I wanted to break a hole into the back of the skull and insert the wooden pole into it, but after hammered on the skull for about 15 minutes (while wearing safety glasses), I realized that wasn’t going to happen and also it felt a bit morbid. If I’d had more time, I would have added more details to the staff as well.

10) THE FACE/BODY PAINT

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

For more information on the body paint, CLICK HERE!

THE FINISHED COSTUME:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Too see more images of the final costume, CLICK HERE!

Well! There you have it! If you have any specific questions about this costume, please feel free to leave a comment of shoot me an email. Thanks so much for taking the time to look over this tutorial, and I hope it helped give you ideas for your own future costumes!

XOXO,

Constantine

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Interview with Steve Aoki for JapanCinema.net http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2012/11/01/interview-steve-aoki/ Fri, 02 Nov 2012 01:04:24 +0000 http://constantineintokyo.com/?p=1135 Hey everyone! I got incredibly lucky and had the opportunity to interview Steve Aoki for JapanCinema.net!! Check it out!

 

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JapanCinema.net Interviews http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2012/10/15/japancinema-net-interviews/ Mon, 15 Oct 2012 17:34:59 +0000 http://constantineintokyo.com/?p=1129 Recently, I had the opportunity to interview two amazing individuals for JapanCinema.net‘s ‘Creative Interviews’ spotlight!

 
First up, legendary Hong Kong director TSUI HARK, the man responsible for films like ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA and FLYING SWORDS OF DRAGON GATE. I was super nervous for this interview, because Tsui Hark is an extremely influential and prolific director who creates absolutely beautiful wuxia films. CLICK HERE for the interview!

 

Next is classical music superstar Anne Akiko Meyers. One of the world’s premier concert violinists, Anne is hands down one of the most talented and elegant people I have ever had the chance to speak with! CLICK HERE for the interview!

 

Stay tuned for more interviews over at JapanCinema.net!

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Japanese Film Review: Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s RETRIBUTION (2006) http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2012/02/20/kurosawa-kiyoshi-retribution/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2012/02/20/kurosawa-kiyoshi-retribution/#comments Mon, 20 Feb 2012 17:20:39 +0000 http://constantineintokyo.com/?p=1019 Kurosawa Kiyoshi should be considered his own genre. While primarily known for his horror films in the West, he got his start with pinku eiga movies (like many other Japanese directors) then moved into yakuza territory before making the switch to horror. Highly skilled, Kurosawa can successfully move between genres but every film he has made is distinctly and undeniably his. He uses unorthodox techniques and favors convoluted storylines with intense thematic complexity. He likes playing with experimental techniques; in his work you will find everything from disorienting shot placement, to musical numbers, to short silent films. There are a few things, however, that he uses with regularity and have become part of his style – ambiguous narratives, the use of both static and tracking cameras that form exceedingly long takes, the tendency to film his characters from a distance, the use of reflection and light, illogical editing, extremely deliberate pacing. He also has very important things to say about Japanese society – social alienation, the gap between generations, the modern family and workplace, morality. But what makes his films so special is that he does these things while scaring the hell out of the audience.

RETRIBUTION (2006, Japanese title Sakebi, ‘scream’) isn’t the best Kurosawa movie and it isn’t the scariest, but it is a great example of what Kurosawa does. The film opens with a static shot of a murder, viewed from Kurosawa’s recognizably distant vantage point. A man in a black trench coat is holding a woman in a blazingly red dress face down in a muddy puddle. The scene is completely silent; when the man finishes his task he walks away. Detective Yoshioka (played by Kurosawa’s cinematic alter-ego Yakusho Koji) is tasked with investigating the murder. However, he begins to wonder if he is the murderer, as he uncovers evidence that seems to point to him and is haunted by images of the ghost in red. As he attempts to discover her identity, a series of similar killings take place in the area – seemingly random people are all drowning loved ones in seawater.

 One of RETRIBUTION’s biggest problems is that it revolves around one of the most common Japanese horror conventions – the vengeful female ghost. I discussed onryo previously, but Kurosawa’s depiction of the dead girl with long black hair is so based in Japanese folklore that most of the nuance will likely be lost of American audiences. Like most onryo, the ghost in red died by drowning, but Kurosawa does not depict her as wet or decayed in anyway. She periodically emits a shrieking scream – an obvious reference to onryo like Okiku – and her connection to water and drowning is reminiscent of Oiwa from Yotsuya Kaidan and Kobayashi’s Kwaidan. Most importantly, this ghost is uninterested in jumping out and scaring characters for the most part and actually has several long conversations with Detective Yoshioka. None of these things will likely strike Western viewers as particularly terrifying, but this also isn’t what Kurosawa is trying to do. Instead, he is using and subverting these well-known Japanese horror conventions to create an atmosphere of surrealism and uncertainty.

That said, Kurosawa still creates his trademark atmosphere of imminent dread and despair. Kurosawa uses some really notable imagery; puddles of water that inexplicably ripple, the slow movement of the light from a window pane, reflections of the ghost, feet sticking out from beneath sheets in a morgue, and the ghost’s slow advance towards a static camera that refuses to cut away from her face. This is all very creepy and Kurosawa films his movies with a clinical detachment that makes them extremely uncomfortable to watch. The environment of RETRIBUTION is severely decayed. Externally, the city is racked with recurring earthquakes and the area is undergoing frequent building demolitions. Internally, the deteriorating psychological condition of Detective Yoshioka and the other characters mirrors the crumbling of society.

 In typical Kurosawa fashion, the nature of the ghost’s grudge is never fully explained. The film’s conclusion – in which Detective Yoshioka walks alone through a seemingly deserted neighborhood – is marked by the ghost stating, “I died, so everyone else should die too.” The resident of an abandoned mental institution, the ghost mostly seems resentful that society forgot and abandoned her. Her attachment to Detective Yoshioka and the other murderers is equally random – 15 years ago they all rode a ferry that passed by her window. Thus, the collective guilt shared by the characters of RETIBUTION is not connected to their actions but their inactions. Similarly, the lack of one serial killer or culprit – a move that is reminiscent of the viral spread of murders in Kurosawa’s CURE – implies that all of the characters are responsible. The state of society is not the fault of one bad individual, but of everyone. In RETRIBUTION, the ghost in red has taken it upon herself to hold them accountable.

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Japanese Film Reviews: Yaguchi Shinobu’s ADRENALINE DRIVE (1999) http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2012/02/16/adrenalin-drive-review/ http://www.constantineintokyo.com/2012/02/16/adrenalin-drive-review/#comments Thu, 16 Feb 2012 14:43:43 +0000 http://constantineintokyo.com/?p=1010 ADRENALINE DRIVE is one of the first movies I watched when I was initially getting into Japanese film. Back in 2000, VHS still reigned supreme and it was pretty difficult to get your hands on Japanese movies in Colorado. Upon realizing that I had exhausted most of the sci-fi movie selection at the local Hollywood Video (remember when people used to RENT movies from STORES???), I stumbled upon a VHS copy of ADRENALINE DRIVE. Up to that point, I had really only watched jidai-geki style samurai movies, so my 12 year old brain was pretty interested in seeing a ‘normal’ Japanese movie. Though I bought it on a whim, ADRENALINE DRIVE turned out to be a ridiculously fun parody of yakuza caper films.
The movie opens with Suzuki (Ando Masanobu), a spineless rental car clerk, accidentally rear ending a car full of yakuza. Always ready to exploit the situation, the yakuza force Suzuki to visit their office and settle the debt. After an uncomfortable moment with the yakuza leader Kuroiwa (Matsushige Yutaka), Suzuki is let off the hook when a gas explosion destroys the office. Hearing the blast, an off-duty nurse Shizuko (Ishida Hikari) rushes into the building to help. Seeing the dead yakuza, Suzuki and Shizuko leave with a case full of blood-soaked cash. However, a badly injured Kuroiwa knows their identities and, now bed-ridden in the hospital, sends a group of low-level chinpira after them to retrieve the stolen money. Now on the run from the yakuza, ADRENALINE DRIVE is about the bizarre misadventures the unlikely pair experience.


Obviously, the ‘take the money and run’ premise of ADRENALINE DRIVE is overdone. However, Suzuki and Shizuko make such a timid and hapless team that it’s impossible not to find their efforts endearing. Meanwhile, the chinpira chasing them (played by comedy group Jovi Jova) are inept to the point that it becomes difficult to consider them a serious threat. What makes ADRENALINE DRIVE enjoyable is writer/director Yaguchi Shinobu’s recognize the obvious clichés in this genre and then give the audience something unexpected. As a result, the entire film is whimsical and very tongue-in-cheek. Most interesting, perhaps, is how Yaguchi injects the mundane into the film’s plot points. When Suzuki is brought to the yakuza headquarters, the yakuza leader stands up and begins unbuckling his belt. Of course, this makes the audience suspect that something horrible is about to happen to Suzuki, but the man is merely untucking his shirt. Rather than the headquarters being destroy in a gun fight, the simple act of making tea on a stove with a gas leak destroys the building. Later, because the money is covered in blood, the duo decides to ‘launder’ it – literally, in washing machines.

ADRENALINE DRIVE isn’t an art house movie and it certainly it’s particularly deep. It’s just the cinematic equivalent of candy and a fun flick to watch on a rainy day.

 

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