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Crafting Foam: Every Cosplayers’ Best Friend

Crafting Foam: Versatile and Inexpensive

Crafting FoamCrafting foam has to be one of the most versatile materials around, which is especially good to hear if you are a fan of cosplay. Even as a beginning cosplayer, I have learned that you should never be low on crafting foam. Available in various sizes and colors, foam can be used to create endless costume pieces, including armor.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Because it is easy to mold, foam can be shaped into kick-butt armor without breaking a sweat or the bank. You can find numerous brands of crafting foam at art supply stores, and even Wal-Mart for cents per sheet, or in bundles like I have shown here. One of the most popular brands is Eva Foam, and it can come in rolls as large as twenty-four square feet! Well-know cosplayer, Detty Cosplay, uses Eva foam for most of his armor costumes, and he even shows the building process!

Since foam is so user-friendly, it means that even a less experienced cosplayer like myself can handle the challenge without much heartache. That means, no, you do not have to learn how to work with plastic, nor do you have to be a master clay sculptor and molder. All you need are some scissors,  hot glue, and maybe a heat gun (or hair dryer), and you are set! So say goodbye to poorly made, and designed, armor you find at the Halloween stores. You can make something much more interesting, and it will cost you less in the end.


3 Reasons Why You Should Cosplay

There are plenty of reasons why someone should start cosplaying, but here are three that will make you realize it’s time to get started!

1. Cosplaying is a Creative Outlet

Rogue Cosplay can foster our creativity in multiple ways. There is the most obvious form of creativity, which pertains to designing your costume. Now, that could mean designing a costume from scratch, or it could simply mean shopping for the right pieces to pull off your desired look.

The creative process also seeps into the makeup that goes along with the character. This can range from something drastic like painting oneself in full-on body paint to more minimal makeup such as a light beauty makeup regime.

Props are another avenue were you can get creative; you have to decide what props you would like to use, and you have to decide how you will make them. This can be extremely challenging, but so rewarding as well. I can tell you from personal experience that it is so gratifying to create something with my own hands, and it only makes the prop more special when I can use it to successfully become a character I love.

2. Socializing with Fellow Enthusiasts is Guaranteed

Bishop Cosplaying is not only innately creative, but it is extremely social. Cosplaying typically occurs at conventions pertaining to comics, art, and pop culture as a whole. These conventions then serve as a gathering place for people with have a strong passion for the various media present at the conventions. Theses means plenty of opportunities to meet new friends with similar interests to you.

Conventions have plenty of chances for attendees to interact with one another, in more ways than just taking photos together to commemorate each other’s costumes. Many times there will be contests and games for everyone to play. These can range from costume contests, board games, card games, or video games.

The discussion panels, shopping exhibits, and “meet and greets” with authors and actors are other ways that everyone can socialize as well.

3. Bringing the Characters to Life is Simply Fun

Storm CosplayHere we come to the essence of cosplay. Having a favorite pop culture character jump into our world is beyond exciting. You not only get see others’ portray your favorite characters through cosplay, but you can be your favorite characters too, and how often have we all wished we were superheros? I remember always being fascinated by the X-Men, wishing that I too could fight the bad guys and save the day.

The great thing about cosplay is that you not only get to look the part, but you get to act the part as well. The costume and makeup only take you so far; it is your demeanor that is really the cherry on top. Do not think that you have to be a super-star actor to cosplay. All acting abilities are welcome, and even those who are shy should give it a try. Why? The character’s persona is a reason to act differently, to step outside our normal selves and be something fantastical. It is liberating, thrilling, and only helps those that are more reserved find their voice. Not to mention, that it is just plain fun!

Azazel: His Origins and Cosplay

I mentioned in my Mystique cosplay post that I attended C2E2 just this last April in Chicago, but what I did not mention was that I had a fellow mutant with me. My boyfriend, Jeb, was by my side as Azazel, one of Mystique’s love interests and father to her son, Nightcrawler.

Who is Azazel?

In some traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Azazel is used as a term for a “scapegoat” or the name for a fallen angel or demon, and the latter would explain why Marvel creators decided to use the name for their red, demon-like mutant back in 2003.

Azazel claims that he is one of the oldest mutants alive and originated from an ancient horde of demonic-looking mutants from biblical times called the Neyaphem. The Neyaphem were involved in a holy war with a group of angelic, xenophobic mutants named the Cheyarafim over opposing views regarding morality.

Azazel The Cheyarafim were victorious in the war and banished the “demons” to an alternate dimension for all eternity; however the Neyaphem’s leader, Azazel, was the only one who was able to breach the dimensional void for brief periods of time due to teleportation abilities. His only hope to return to Earth for substantial time periods was by impregnating women; his children would serve as a link from Earth to his own dimension, allowing him and his people the opportunity to live, and rule, upon the Earth once more.

Jeb's MakeupThe Makeup Process

I have to say, this makeup was much easier to execute in comparison to Mystique’s, minus the slight blunder we had with the spray paint shown in the picture to the left (ha). It took just a quick stop to Party City for his supplies which consisted of: two tubes of red face makeup, black eyeliner, three cans of black spray paint, rubber ear tips, and a small bottle of flesh latex for scars (keep in mind is was for three days of wear).

Now, in regards to the face makeup, I was surprised that it worked so well since the blue paint I tried from Party City did not cover at all; however, it may have worked a little too well. With the Mehron makeup I ended up using, as soon as I hit the shower, it washed away by water pressure alone. Jeb’s makeup, on the other hand, was very difficult to wash off, so keep in mind that this makeup is inexpensive and offers great coverage, it does come at a slight price.

ReceptionAzazel and Mystique: Reed Pop

Over all, we happily took that trade-off. Our costumes were a great success, and I am very proud of how well we were able to capture the characters’ likeness, especially considering it was our first time heavily relying on makeup to complete our costumes. There were certainly plenty of double takes when we walked into a room, and I cannot even attempt to guess how many photos we took in the three days we attended the convention and even just on the street.

One of the best moments for us was meeting photographer, Corey M. Trotter. We ended up posing for him on the last day of C2E2, and boy did he surprise us with a stunning digital image a few weeks later. We were completely blown away by his skill, and Jeb and I were extremely grateful for such a great way to remember our time at C2E2 2014.

Corey Trotter: Azazel and Mystique


Cosplay: Getting Started with Mystique

IMG_3496 - CopyGetting Started

I cosplayed as comic book Mystique just this last April for the C2E2 convention (Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo), and as I have mentioned before, I have only recently entered the cosplaying world.

I thought that I would not have the skill needed to pull off a costume worthy of the characters I wished to emulate, but I proved otherwise to myself. The only thing that held me back from pursuing my dream was me, and the same holds true for you. It does not matter if you can sew, paint, or apply make-up, you can still participate in cosplay and have a great time!

There were plenty of things I learned while doing this cosplay, especially since it was based heavily on make-up, and I want to share my experience with you. Hopefully, with some tips and tricks regarding body make-up, you will decide to join me in the cosplaying world!

Picking Body Paint

MehronMy first thought was heading to Party City and using their face and body paint. Now, for my boyfriend, who was playing Azazel, the paint worked perfectly in red; however, the blue paint I needed was not the best consistency; it was runny and would leave patches of skin showing when I tried to apply more.

I did some research and I found Mehron Paradise Face Paint in Dark Blue. I highly recommend this makeup. It was a perfect consistency, and, as a beginner, it was very easy to work with the make-up. The coverage was excellent, and it did not appear cakey. I had smooth, blue skin just like Mystique!

Painting the Body

C2E2I did most of my own body paint, a fact for which I am very proud, but the painting process did require a helper for the hard-to-reach spots.

To paint my face, ears, and complete upper body, it took close to five hours the first day. By the second day of the convention, we got it down to four hours. By the third day, we had mastered the painting to under three hours!

What made the two-hour difference? Baby Powder. Though the paint did layer well, areas such as the forearm crease, neck, and armpit were difficult to paint without cracking. This is where the baby powder came in to save the day. I thought I needed many layers of paint before “setting” the make-up (applying power to keep the make-up from fading). What I learned is that it is actually best to alternate between make-up and powder. It allows the make-up to build much more easily, and the powder gives the make-up something to hold on to. Let’s just say that with this method, my make-up still looked fresh, even after six hours of wear!

Adding Depth to the Make-Up

EyeDustI knew that I wanted more than just blue paint, and I had to do something more for Mystique’s sake, because let’s face it; Mystique is gorgeous and some blue body paint would not be doing her justice. I had to glam up the look. I needed some sparkle.

Yes, it sounds silly, but a sparkle element would catch light and add some depth to the flat, dark blue paint. A sparkle element could easy help me highlight areas of my face and give the make-up a more realistic feel.

So how did I get my sparkle? Eye shadow was the answer. I found NYC Color Sparkle Eye Dust in Brilliant Sapphire. The shadow was more of a thick powder (hence the “dust” term in its name), and it did just the trick. Not only was I ensuring the makeup was safe to place around my eyes, but it also helped conceal any areas where the paint job was less than par and contained brush strokes.

Finishing the Look

Mystique Close UpNow that my skin was the right shade of stunning blue, I needed to do the beauty make-up! For Mystique, I did a liquid eyeliner, black mascara, a black eyebrow, and a red lip.

There was one aspect of the Mystique costume that did concern me and that was her skull headpiece.I had created my own out of foam, and then I painted the piece, but I had no idea how I was going to attach it.

All I could think of was glue, glue, glue. What could be my glue? I then had the best realization: False eyelash glue. I happened to have some because of a Halloween costume I did the previous year and it worked like a charm, even with the face paint and eye dust! The best finishing touch were my yellow contacts, completing the whole make-up.

I hope this has helped you realize that cosplaying is something anyone can do, and I hope even more so that I see you at future conventions!



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