Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday Workout: ........


Hey All!!! 

Sadly, I have nothing to report today.  This past week has been crazy.  I just got a new job and started working there today.  I still have to finish my last 2 weeks at my old job.  And I still have a pile of costumes to build.

It doesn't look like Crona will be done for All-Con... I could probably, maybe, possibly, finish the costume but I would get the wig or the Ragnarok done.  Also, I'm pulling several double shifts this next week... so I'll probably, most likely, definitely be sleeping a lot.  

But I will still be hosting panels at All-Con!!!  I think they're Friday at 12:00 noon and Sunday at 10:00 AM.  I will take lots of pictures!!! 

And actually, I'm very much considering doing this con in Not Costumes.  I might just Tshirt and Jeans it. 

But who knows... I'll see what I feel like when I get there.

Talk to you soon!
If I don't die from exhaustion

Jason

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday Minute: Cosmetic Cop (Website)

Hey All!!!!

So the other day I was in the bookstore and I came across a book called "Don't Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me".  I picked it up and flipped through it and immediately fell in love with it. 

The book is basically a review of all of the beauty products/skin care products available on the market today.  It tells you which products are good and which aren't.  

But what I REALLY love, is that the information is available for FREE online.

The website is...

www.cosmeticscop.com

or

www.paulaschoice.com

Now when you click on the above links you're going to see a website for a skincare line... which is fine.  But you can ignore that you can also ignore the 'Sign Up'/'Login' stuff... unless you want to buy some of the products.

What you really want to look at is this...


First of all the Expert Advice tab is awesome... It covers all kinds of skin care for all skin types.  Have oily skin? Acne? Dry Skin (like me)? This site offers information about which products are better suited for your skin type and why.  It also has a lot of information on how to properly care for different skin types.  Everything from moisturizers, cleansers, toners, makeup, etc.

The other cool think is the product reviews.

I just went through almost every product that I own or use and checked them to the reviews.  Surprisingly, a LOT of my products aren't that great... or are good products, but not for someone of my skin type. 

So I fully plan on utilizing this site when next buying some of my skin care products.





The Best Products and the All Products Review links are pretty amazing.  




You can search by brand... everything from Drugstore to High End is represented.




And what's best is you can search by specific products... list by name, by brand, by product and by price.  

For example I was looking at good moisturizers and could list them from cheapest (10-12 dollars) to the crazy expensive  (over 100 dollars) 


So, yeah, check out the site... play around... rate your makeup kit, like I did.  And stop wasting your money on sub standard products.  


Awesome Skin and Happy Pockets!

Jason



Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Favorites: X-men cosplay

I've decided to change my original idea a little... originally I was going to pic one costume or cosplay and critique it.... Well that proved way too difficult so instead I'm just going to grab several various pics... themed of course, and run with that... I'll try to make a few comments on each so you can maybe see it how I see it.

So today's cosplay theme will be X-men.  Why? Because X-men are awesome!!



Here's a really good example of Colossus showing the power of makeup and simple cosplaying.  This guy isn't that muscular... don't get me wrong, he's not scrawny, but with makeup and using highlight and shadow he's given himself the illusion of a much more muscular physique.  The rest of his costume is just a pair of cargo pants and an X-men belt buckle... a buckle of which I need to find one for my very own.  I really would have like to seen one of Colossus' more recognizable costumes though... But that's okay.  You don't see a lot of of the male X-men... besides Gambit and Wolverine... and Colossus is my favorite!!!
 

Here's another easy clothing cosplay.  This is Beast. His costume is just a suit and a lab jacket.  I'm assuming the flash is making his blue makeup much brighter than it actually is. You can tell he did a little contouring/shaping on his face with the makeup instead of using prosthetics.  Although there may be some on his ears.  There's probably a few more things he could have done... maybe a wig, a little more detail in the makeup, possibly some acrylic fingernails for claws.. but you don't see many Beast costumes so anyone who attempts such a complicated character gets points in my book.


This Jubilee is just adorable.  I love it.  I love her posing (which is super important in cosplay photos) I love the bubble gum "prop".  The makeup is great.  And again, here's another cosplay that wouldn't be too difficult.  Some jean shorts, a pink tank top and a big yellow jacket.  

I also like the yellow she used... it isn't overly bright so it doesn't compete with the neon pink top.



Let me tell you what I love about this Jean Grey.  The mix of fabrics. I like the metallic blue accents with the matte yellow body suit.  But then she used some of the yellow vinyl on the gloves and the hips so the boots tie into the rest of the costume.  The costume itself is just really well done.  The proportions are great and the "armored" bits don't look clunky or out of place. 


LOVE the hair and makeup on this one.  The wig is awesome and those crazy 80's/90's hairstyles are hard to pull off even with wigs.  The makeup not only looks great on her but it fits with the character as well.  And if I'm not mistaken it's pretty accurate to the comics/cartoon. The costume is really cute too, though the center seam line down the front is kind of strange... I would have tried to avoid that... also the jacket could have been done in leather, maybe?  But those are just nit picky things... the whole costume as is is amazing.


I'm not sure how much of this Gambit was made and how much of it was just pieces put together but I love it.  I wish I could have found a lesser photoshopped version of it. 


Never forget the power of props and details.  This is an amazingly done costume.  I think that's her real hair and I LOVE her Lockheed.  It'd be really cool if it could move like those dragons you get a renfaire.


Sometimes a simple costume is just pulled of by attitude.  I really dig this Mystique. I also like the use of the bodysuit to avoid having to paint yourself blue everytime you wear this costume.


An adorable Pixie.


I believe I read that this guy half made half altered store bought things for this Gambit... but it is awesome.

There are TONS of X-men cosplay photos out there... Mostly Jean/Phoenix, Rogue, Psylocke, and Emma Frost.  But I'm really trying to avoid half-naked girl costumes because most of them are essentially a bikini and a wig... not really much to critique or talk about.  

If there's any theme you want me to cover or if anyone knows of some great cosplay gallery sites... let me know!!!  Hope you guys enjoyed this new Friday Favorites!!! 

See ya next time!!!

Jason

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday Workout: Steampunk Opera??!?!?

I really wish that was on the agenda... but it's not.  But it is KINDA on the agenda.. 

I've started on the outfit for the Sorcerer's Apprentice.  I had half the jacket made from muslin, but I forgot to take a picture and I left it up at the shop for the actress to try on.  But take a look at this...

 
Here are the fabrics I'll be using.  The black brocade will be the skirt, the red/black flocked taffeta will be the coat and the black bubbly stuff will be trim around the neck and cuffs of the coat.  This will very likely be my favorite costume in the whole show.  The pattern picture shows a bustier/corset beneath the coat that the costume designer already purchased so the actress will just be wearing that underneath the coat... the corset is red and black also.  

I also drafted a bodice for one of the other actresses which I have not made yet, but will... soon.

Here's how I spent my past few days.



I have a few more jackets to come up with for the opera.  

For those of you not familiar with Gilbert  & Sullivan... I suggest you check it out.  They're great operettas written in the Victorian era.  They're more like musicals than opera and they're wacky and fun. 

I was just telling the designer how awesome it would be to do a few of those shows in a Steampunk design.  I really think the two would blend together nicely.  Especially one of the shows like Pirates of Penzance or HMS Pinnafore.

I also did a little work on Crona... I tried to get the pleats in the back of the coat worked out where they look good... but they're still being difficult.  I'll probably do a little more work on it before the weekend's out.  I'm not really loving the pattern I chose.  I like the look and I will stick with it because I want that look.  And the pattern isn't all that difficult.... but the way the instructions suggest you put things together is weird and I feel like there could have been a better way to do it. Anyway...  I'd really like to have it ready for All-con... I'm just not sure if that's gonna happen with opera stuff. 




Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday Minute: Pattern Copying/Transferring

Hey All!!!

For today's Monday Minute I've got a brand spanking new video that I made just for you!!!  

This is my favorite method for transferring patterns.

Why transfer patterns, you ask?  Why not just cut them out like you're supposed to, you wonder?

Well, there's nothing wrong with doing it the way you're supposed to.  But if you do, you're limiting your options. If you cut out a pattern on a certain size, then the pattern will only be good for making that size forever.  Also, once you separate the pieces, it's a lot easier to lose them. 

 By using this technique, you'll get a lot more use out of your patterns. You'll be able to use ALL of the sizes and it'll be much harder to lose any of those little pieces.

In the video, it takes me about 12 minutes to trace one piece, but I'm stopping to explain the steps.  In actuality, I can usually trace all my needed pieces a lot faster... A piece usually takes about 5 minutes or less.  

 

Stay tuned for more videos and tutorials!!  And comment to let me know what kind of videos you want to see!!!

See you soon!!!

Jason

PS.  I know I missed Friday's Favorite post but I ran into a bit of a problem.  I was searching for cosplay photos and I'm having trouble finding decent pictures that show of the costumes. 

Most pictures are either too far away, too close up or too artistic/photoshopped. 

If anyone knows of any decent resources, let me know.  I will keep searching and hopefully have something for this weeks post. 



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Workout: Sorceror (Opera) and other stuff


Hello again!  In keeping with the weekly themes, Wednesday will now be Wednesday Workouts!!!  This will be my weekly status reports on all of the projects I'm working on in their various stages... Mind you I have a LOT of projects that are in various stages of completion.  So here's this week's rundown.

1. Sorcerer:  As I've mentioned, I've been hired by one of the local colleges to make some more costumes for their opera.  This opera is called The Sorcerer and it's by Gilbert & Sullivan who also wrote Mikado and Pirates of Penzance.  

I'm set to make several bodices for the women and some vests and pants for the men.  I'm also going to make a jacket (the one pictured above) for an added character, The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  

Since the era of pretty much EVERY Gilbert & Sullivan show is in Victorian, we can definitely sneak in some Steampunky goodness.  

2. Crona: Sadly, Crona hasn't progressed at all.  I still only have the back of the coat sewn... Also I didn't like how the pleats in the back were behaving so I'm going to have to get in there and mess with them.  Honestly, the coat should be done because there really isn't much to it, but I'm hoping to make some major progress in the next couple of weeks.

I've also been thinking about how to make the Ragnapack.  (The Ragnarok Backpack puppet thing)  I want him to be able to be posed.  So I've been looking into ball-jointed doll construction.  PS. Wanna know a secret.  Those dolls kind of freak me out.  

3. Prince Diamond: Poor poor Princey Poo.  I got my fabric swatches for the coat in, but I don't know... I just don't love the fabric.  There's no way I can finish him before All-con, so I'm not even going to try, but I might be able to get him done later...  once I find a fabric I like... till then, he's just a wig... but maybe I can start on the trousers and the cape.  I've got the wig mostly done and the jewelry is also good to go.

4. Jack Skellington: So I have a half finished mask that I started ages ago.  The bad thing is I live in Texas and the weather is very temperamental.  So, every time I want to work on this mask, the weather doesn't want me too.  It's either too cold/wet outside or 800 degrees outside.  And since I'm working with resin, I have to work outside.  

So that's it for this episode of Wednesday Workout!

Tune in next week to see how much I actually get done!!!

Jason

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Minute: Kandee Johnson

Hello again everyone!!!

So, in keeping with my new more schedule releases of blog posts, I've decided that Mondays will become Monday Minutes.  Each Monday I will feature a website or YouTube Channel or Blog... or even something simple like an organizational tip or a quickie tutorial.  
For today's Monday Minute I'd like to introduce you to Kandee Johnson.  Kandee is a makeup artist/youtube beauty blogger guru and she is beyond awesome.  

Have you ever wanted the look of perfect skin for your photoshoots?



Maybe you'd like to recreate the Queen of Hearts from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland?


 
Regardless of what you're looking for, Kandee offers so many awesome tutorials.  She covers just about everything from basic makeup techniques, costume looks, product reviews and general silliness.  The only small downside is that a lot of the products she uses are more high-end/professional grade makeups, which can get expensive if you're trying to re-create her looks using the exact same products... but in some of her videos she will tell you a couple of different brands which will give you different price options.

She also has a blog here on blogger:

http://www.kandeej.com/

I've been a Kandee fan for over 2 years now and I've learned so much just from watching her videos.  Her drug-store brand prom looks video is one of my favorites and the basis for my Sailor Uranus makeup.  

I highly recommend her to everyone looking for makeup know-how.

Check her out sometime and check ME out on Wednesday for the new Wednesday Featured spot.

Till next Time!

Jason

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Favorites: Maes Hughes

Hello All!!!!

So, I've decided that I WILL, in fact, start doing more of a scheduled posting thing... 

SO! Henceforth, Friday will become FRIDAY FAVORITES!!!  Each week I will pick a cosplay or a costume and review it... what I like, what I don't like, what I would do differently.... all of that... It isn't meant to be mean or hurtful.  I do NOT wish to bash anyone's work or criticize it... I just want to objectively critique other costumes and point out what makes them good or not good... 

And to start, I will start with one of my own costumes.  After all, how can I possibly critique other people's work if I can't critique my own.

So I'm going to choose Maes Hughes from FullMetal Alchemist.  Actually, this uniform applies to ANY of the FMA characters.

First a few pics.


 I've actually made these uniforms twice.  The top two pics are the first attempt and the bottom two were a later attempt... and a better one, in my opinion.

So let's start with the first one.  First off, I love the fabric.. and it's actually the same fabric in both pics... it's amazing what a difference different lighting will make.  It's comfortable and as you can see even though it's navy fabric it shows up as a really nice blue in flash photos... but not super technicolor electric blue like some of the pre-made costumes from over seas do. 

And that's pretty much all I love with the first attempt... The jackets both used the same pattern and the trousers also were the same pattern.  But I really didn't like the silver metallic trim on the first jacket and I totally botched the epaulettes -- they signify no rank even though they were have supposed to... by the way this was a commissioned piece and the buyer backed out... I also really don't like the pant flap thing because honestly, I drafted it wrong. And lastly some of the details just weren't there. 

Now let's look at my later attempt... this one came out much better... I still love the color.  The details are accurate...ish... the shoulder braid was actually tied in a cobra weave where in the source material it appears to be braided traditionally... I liked the cobra weave better. And the epaulettes were the right rank and the collar pins were the official replica pins I snagged on ebay.

The jacket came out nice but if I ever remake it I would change a few things... first the collar should still meet at center front.  My sleeves came out too short so to hide this, I made the cuffs bigger which looks... odd.  The piping makes the jacket a lot more technically advanced but the trade off is that you can't get sharp corners which I wish it had because I DO like that about the first jacket... I added breast pockets to the front of the jacket which come in super handy... but for some reason the jacket bunches funny below the lapel... 

The pant flaps in this second are way better too.  This time I gave them a slight a-line flare and I interfaced the hell of them.  They're still they're own separate piece but they look much better.  And I used vinyl for the belt instead of nylon strapping.  

Hair and makeup for Hughes has changed slightly over the time I've worn him.  I usually use my hair which works fine when it's shorter, but in the right picture it's long and looks kind of dumb... I couldn't get it to spike like I can when it's short.  I also used to wear my actual glasses because I'm a firm believer in making what you have work for you.  But I later bought golden-brown circle lenses and set of frames that looked more Hughesy.  

It's pretty much time to retire ol' Hughesy because he's been touring the con circuit for the past 3 years and he needs a break... I love him though so I know he'll have a comeback someday.  

If he does, I'll probably rework the jacket -- new sleeves and cuffs and a new collar.  I'll also probably grab a wig for him as well... in the anime, his hair is painted black but the highlights are done in green... so I'd maybe do a dark green/black wig... that way Hughes hair would always be ready to go regardless of what length or color my real hair is.. 

 Tune in next week, where I'll actually look at a costume not made by me!!!

Hope your Friday is Fantastic!!!  

Jason