Tag: Comic book



Monday, February 27, 2017 | By | Add a Comment


Semi-cosplay is what I like to call cosplay that can be considered more of a regular dress and activity than full-on cosplay.  It is not a movement, but just a term I will use to describe those of us who like to wear our favorite outlandish attire or pieces of outlandish attire on a regular basis without feeling too out of place or having to go through great lengths to dress up as well as fit in on a regular basis.

Although many of us who are into cosplay or semi-cosplay tend to have been originally heavy metal rockers, punk rockers, or rivet-heads/ cyberpunks that continue to wear their everyday get-up, some of us change our attire from time to time or have different costumes or looks we like to wear.

Heavy metal rockers and punk rockers are two examples of lifestyles of people who tend to dress with semi-cosplay articles on a regular, all-day-every-day basis, such as studs and spikes , shin and wrist guards, make-up, wigs, and designed pieces of attire.

Most of us like to dress up on our days and nights off when we are with our small group of close friends who partake in such activities while either just relaxing or indulging in some sort of gaming or partying.  Whatever the case, we do it to bring out our true selves, which most of us hide and wear our masks of conformity to adjust to our workday program.

Cosplayers obtain their apparel through many different methods.  Manufacturers produce and sell packaged outfits for use in cosplay, with varying levels of quality.  These costumes are often sold online, but also can be purchased from dealers at conventions.  A number of individuals also work on commission, creating custom costumes, props, or wigs designed and fitted to the individual.

Other cosplayers, who prefer to create their own costumes, still provide a market for individual elements, accessories, and various raw materials, such as unstyled wigs or extensions, hair dye, cloth and sewing notions, liquid latex, body paint, costume jewelry, and prop weapons.

With the advancement in robotic technology, robot or android/cyborg additions are becoming increasingly popular.  Semi-cosplayers or cosplayers often create add-ons that serve no useful purpose other than to make the individual’s costume look cool and unique.  That is the whole idea of being yourself and doing your own thing.

Take a look at the above video for a glimpse of creativity by a designer who created robotic spider shoulder wear and let me know what you think!

Straight Line Sewing Skills

Straight Line Sewing Skills

Sunday, August 7, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Straight Line Sewing Skills

Hello everybody, I hope you have all read my previous post on purchasing a sewing machine for your cosplaying needs.  Today, we are going to learn our first fundamental lesson in sewing:  Sewing Straight Lines, and how to sew our first straight line!  So, let’s begin, shall we?

First, we need to get a piece of fabric ready to practice with…just a scrap of something will do. Preferably just a basic cotton piece of fabric, not anything knit or stretchy. It’s going to be easiest if you fold it so that you are sewing through 2 layers of fabric while you practice.

Next, you need to thread your machine (including the bobbin of course). Make sure you have your machine set to sew at an average stitch length (your manual will probably tell you what that is). You can take some time to play around with this-testing shorter stitches and longer stitches.

Now, take your piece of fabric and place it under the presser foot. For starters I want you to line your fabric up so that the right edge of your fabric matches up with the right edge of your presser foot as you look at it like I have done in this picture below. Lower the presser foot so that it is holding your fabric in place.

Before you start to sew, use your hand wheel (or up/down button if you have a computerized machine) to lower the needle so that it is all the way down into your fabric (always do this when you begin to sew).

Now, slowly press your foot pedal down to begin to sew. Stitch forward for 1 inch.

Then push the reverse button or lever to back stitch for 1 inch (sew backwards over what you just sewed).

After you have back stitched over that 1 inch, proceed with a forward stitch again. You have just created a knot so that your stitches won’t come loose. You will do this whenever you sew unless otherwise specified.

Continue to sew forward. As you do, try to keep the edge of the fabric lined up with the edge of your presser foot. This will help you maintain a straight line. Also, try to keep a nice steady pace. You can also put a piece of tape on your fabric to use as a guide to practice getting a straight line.

Once you reach the end of your fabric, knot it again. (Sew to the end, back stitch for about 1 inch, then sew forward again).

Raise your presser foot and gently remove your fabric. Snip the threads that are attached to your fabric. Guess what? You just sewed your first straight line!

But wait, there’s more to learn.

What if you are sewing a straight line and you come to a corner (like if you are sewing a rectangle or square) that you need to turn to continue sewing. What do you do?

Sew almost all the way to the corner, but leave yourself about 1/4″-1/2″ of space between your needle and the very edge of the fabric. Making sure to lower your needle all the way into the fabric (this is very important), then lift your presser foot. Your fabric will stay in place because the needle is holding it, but you can now pivot it so that it is positioned to keep sewing, now in the new direction. Lower your presser foot and continue to sew.

Sometimes you will be asked to baste. A baste is a long stitch that is much looser than a typical stitch. When you baste you do not knot at the beginning and the end. This is because you will probably be picking the baste stitch out (if it is just there to hold your fabric in place for the time being) or you will be using it to gather. I will teach you what that is later in another post.

A hem is when you fold under the fabric twice and sew it in place to create a nice finished edge (like at the bottom of your pants). To hem you will first fold the fabric under about 1/2″ and press or iron it into place. Then fold it the same amount again, press it again and then do a straight stitch along it.

Here’s an important thing to know when sewing a hem or at other times. If you are sewing a small area, like a pant leg, guess what? You can take off part of your machine to make it easier. See how I can sew that complete loop so easily because the fabric fits all the way around? Give it a try-that part of your machine will come right off and then go back on when you need it back on.

I told you to use the presser foot edge and match it up with your fabric edge to sew a straight line. This is what I do at least 90% of the time when I am sewing, because it creates such an easy guide. But occasionally you will be asked to sew a certain seam allowance. When that happens you need to use your seam guides to guide you instead of the presser foot. In that case you will line up the edge of your fabric with the seam guide you need and try to keep it steady with that line as you sew.

So, there you have it! Now, go and sew, sew, sew away! This is just your first step into an exciting world of creating your own cosplay costumes and so practice makes perfect! Of course, your friends may think of you as an old granny that sits in the corner of her house and never leaves, but hey, that never hurt anybody, right? And you are learning something fun, and will make you wonderful, unique costumes and maybe even pay off in the future. So, my fellow cosplayers, stop reading and get at it!

The Canons in Figure Drawing

The Canons in Figure Drawing

Friday, June 3, 2016 | By | Add a Comment
So-called “Apoxyomenos” (“the Scraper”). Marbl...

So-called “Apoxyomenos” (“the Scraper”). Marble, Roman copy of the 1st century AD after a Greek bronze original ca. 320 BC. From the Trastevere in Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Polykleitos' Doryphoros (Spear-Bearer), an ear...

Polykleitos’ Doryphoros (Spear-Bearer), an early example of classical contrapposto. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Canons in Figure Drawing

Classical artists made it their business to apply established anthropometric systems of measurement, or canons, when depicting the human form.  The ancient Greek and Roman artists, as well as Renaissance artists, depended on such canons to determine the proportions and dimensions of the human figure.  In a canon, each unit of measurement is called a module.

Two of the most famous canons, the canon of Polykleitos (circa 450-420 B.C.) and the Apoxyomenos of Lysippos (circa 370-330 B.C.), used the head as the unit of measurement, or module.  In the canon of Polykleitos, the ratio of the head to the body was 1:7, so the body was seven heads tall.

Various canons were used through the Renaissance and later to depict people in different perspectives.  The three most frequently used canons were the heroic canon, the ideal canon, and the ordinary canon.

In the heroic canon, the human figure is eight and a half heads tall.  To this day, this canon is often used by comic illustrators to create “larger than life” superheroes.

The ideal canon was often used by painters creating allegorical works or commissioned portraits of powerful people.  This canon shows people as eight heads high.

The ordinary canon, which is seven and a half heads high, is used for lifelike portraits of real people and is the preferred approach used by realists drawing in a naturalistic way.  The early Realists popularized this canon in the eighteenth century as a reaction against the formulaic, idealized canons used at European academies.

Please return again soon for more posts about portrait and figure drawing techniques, tools, and standards.

Making an Iron Man Suit

Making an Iron Man Suit

Saturday, April 30, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Making an Iron Man Suit

Cosplay and semi-cosplay costumes can sometimes take a large amount of creative processes in order to achieve the desired end results of the designer.  3D printing is the favored process, since it is usually the most inexpensive and quickest way to create custom designed pieces.  Other processes, such as molding and casting can get to be somewhat pricey and time consuming, but they may also be necessary depending on the level of detail and expectations of the cosplayer.

The more complicated the costume is, the more detail and planning is necessary to create the costume in its entirity.  This often involves sketching the costume out to get a visualization of how the costume will look in different views on paper as well as creating scaled models of the completed costume design using a variety of materials such as wire frames, sculpting clay, manequins, plastics and many other materials to create your models.

If the costume involves moving parts or electrical configurations, then the designer must consider doing engineering tests and electrical layouts and testing as well.  Proper materials should be tested and used for different weight ratios and strength and durability depending on where each piece will be placed and the functionality of the piece.

These are just a couple of considerations to think about when creating a highly detailed and complicated costume.  Among those who create these cosplay costumes is James Bruton, a sci-fi and superhero fan who uses his Lulzbot TAZ dual-extruder 3D printer to create some very complex costumes ranging from an Iron Man suit to Android bipedal legs and even Star Wars replica parts.

In his free time, Bruton helps run the Southampton Makerspace and shares his builds on his website XRobots.  While he builds his complicated costumes using a variety of material types ranging from wood to plastic, the majority of the 3D printed parts used in his designs consist of ABS plastic and Ninjaflex.

The video above shows the processes involved in making an Iron Man suit with lighted configurations and engineered parts.  Many of the designer’s other costumes have much more complicated and technologically advanced components.

I hope this video gives you some inspiration on designing your own cosplay costume.  Thanks for reading and enjoy!

Making Molded Helmet Designs

Making Molded Helmet Designs

Sunday, April 3, 2016 | By | Add a Comment


Making Molded Helmet Designs

Another recommended accessory for the cosplayer or semi-cosplayer at heart, is, of course, the helmet or head wear.  This often requires making molded helmet designs of your own creation in order to fit your unique alter ego.  Maybe Bruce Wayne wouldn’t care if he were to reveal his identity as Batman as long as his job get’s done, but for the sake of his protection, along with some cool gadgets in his helmet, it is safer for him to don the bat helm.

So, how does the helmet wearing cosplayer or semi-cosplayer go about creating their own headpiece.  Well, there are several ways of doing this, such as creating a CNC manufactured or 3D printed helmet of course.  I am not going to go into great detail about the processes, but I will talk about a process which I am familiar with which involves creating a clay molding for preparation of creating a casted helmet, much like the helmet in the video above.  This way involves hardening clay around a replica of your own head which can be a lifecasting of your head or something that could be used in place which is the same size and formation of your head.

When purchasing a clay for the mold, it is wise to go with NSP clay which is sulfur free clay, since sulfur will react with the curing chemicals in the rubber that is used for the mold, causing the clay to warp and the silicone not to cure properly.  Other clays that may be considered are oil based clays as well.  Always make sure that your floor is protected with some type of floor cover to prevent stains or ruining any carpeted area.

Once you have the clay, then you can start builiding it up in block like formations on the head replica.

Once you have built the clay up to represent the basic blocking of the subject, you can start sculpting it down to get more accurate shapes, contours, and details using finer and more precise tools.

Symmetry on both sides of the helmet is very important for a good looking helmet, just like a good looking head in real life, and I’m sure all the ladies would agree with me there, right?  You can use mineral spirits and a paint brush to smooth out areas and make sculpting easier and cut down on sanding time at the end of the project.

Once you’re satisfied, what you want to do is prep the sculpture for the molding process.  It is good to go over the entire sculpt with a few layers of primer to seal up the clay really good.  It will also take out any small scratches that the brush may have left.  So, now you should have a wonderfully symmetrical molding prepared for the casting process.

I hope you enjoyed learning more about creating a sculpted helmet design, and for more information on casting and casted designs, please take a look at the video above and stay tuned to the same bat website for more blogging on helmet creation in the future!

Robotic Cosmetics Design

Robotic Cosmetics Design

Saturday, April 2, 2016 | By | Add a Comment

Robotic Cosmetics Design

In the accessorizing of the semi-cosplay group of dark electronic, science fiction lovers that I affiliate with, a common theme is robot or cybernetic add-ons such as robotic appendages and electronic, lighted body features in robotic cosmetics design.  There are specialty websites that are geared towards the hobbyist that have sections of DIY or do-it-yourself wearable components that you can use to aid in the design of your own custom attire.

Researchers are continuing to develop robotic like designs to aid disabled people and the elderly in rehabilitation and assisting functionalities.  A recently devised hand exoskeleton called the Assisted Finger Orthosis, is a hand exoskeleton can be customized for an individual using 48 parameters. The battery-powered device uses small linear motors that can be programmed to move the finger as part of a rehab process.  Parameters can be set for finger movement, the range of motion and the frequency.  Each finger on the exoskeleton has eight rigid parts and pins that can be made using a 3D printer.

Someone interested in these type of accessories can either pay for the individual parts through the developer’s means of selling the parts, or they can also decide to design and make it themselves.  This could be done using computer aided drafting and design programs such as AutoCAD and transferring your design to a 3D printer or CNC machine for your own custom made parts.  Many cosplayer and semi-cosplayer designs are now being made this way.

In order to get an individual effect that is unique to your cosplay make-over, then one must have unique designs to add to their attire.  This takes a matter of instruction and learning about a range of technology and other topics including electronics, drafting, design, CAD, CAM, CNC manufacturing, 3D printing, fashion, sewing and materials which would be best suited for your accessories.  If this is something you are interested in, or are considering doing, then you will need to learn these things as well as keeping up on the latest developments as well as the practices and processes of designing your own custom cosplay, or semi-cosplay design.  Take a look at the above video regarding an Iron Man robotic hand an arm accessory and lights that some innovative designer created to give you some inspiration.