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Dec. 5th, 2012


ARTICLE: Cosplay and Competitions

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

Cosplay competitions have changed radically since I started cosplaying almost 10 years ago. They have evolved from simple catwalk shows to full-on theatrical style performances, with the level of skill and craftsmanship rocketing as the community has grown.  Pre-judging, a.k.a five minute conversations with the judges, along with detailed progress books, have also become common place in the UK’s competition scene.

Along with the competitions found at many of our well known conventions, UK cosplayers now have the opportunity to enter the preliminaries for three international cosplay events:

Understandably, for some people heavy competition isn’t their scene. Don’t worry; there are plenty of opportunities to showcase your work on stage without the pressure. I recommend the costume parades at either London Comic con (formerly known as MCM expo) or Hyper Japan; these are also great events for people who have recently started out in the cosplay scene.

After many years of competing in, helping out at, and more recently judging cosplay competitions,  I’ve come up with some tips for this new age of international cosplay competition. Please note that most of these are drawn from my experiences and are meant as advice; this isn’t a full proof guide for winning competitions!

Since I got a little carried away with writing, i’ve split it down into two main sections. Please click on the links below:

What are the judges looking for? (includes tips for pre-judging)

3 Top tips for Performances

Remember It’s not the end of the world if you don’t win!

It’s almost impossible to predict the outcome of a competition, so there will be a chance that you won’t win even after all of the hard work and effort. Remember that cosplaying is a hobby! It’s for enjoyment and for making friends.

Please respect the judge’s opinions; it’s not an easy job to pick a winner as entrants often score so close. Don’t be afraid to ask the judges for constructive criticism, they’ll often be happy to give you some advice on how to improve your costume and performance skills for your next entry.

At the end of the day, remember you have a brand new costume to add to your collection. Plan a photo shoot and get some pictures to show off your hard work on Cosplay Island and Facebook.

I hope these short articles have offered you some useful advice. If you have any questions you can contact me through my website (www.cosplex.co.uk) or my FB page (www.facebook.com\cosplex)

I’d also like to thank Annette, for helping me edit my first article.


ARTICLE: 3 Top tips for Performances

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

1. Don’t forget about your Performance

With all the stress of trying to finish your costume on time, it’s not uncommon to forget about the performance aspect until the very last moment.

Performance can play a big part in the scoring, so check out the rules before entering.  Craftsmanship and Accuracy level are often very high amongst entrants, so a good performance can really differentiate your entry from the others. Consider what story you can tell on stage with your chosen character, and if any stage props can enhance your performance. Do you want your performance to have a comedic or dramatic style? It’s also important to consider your mobility in a cosplay; big costumes can look impressive, but if you can’t perform on stage you’re likely to lose out on points.

It’s wise to prepare a performance plan for the stage crew including: Stage layout for any large props, a lighting plan (if the stage set up allows) and notes on your audio (when to start your track). This will minimise any audio, lighting and stage mishaps during your performance.

2. Spend time on your audio

Clear, professional audio will also help your performance to stand out above the rest. I recommend using “Audacity” to edit sound tracks, which can be downloaded free from the internet.  Try to choose background music that compliments the theme and emotion of your performance.

It’s recommended to pre-record any voice work as microphones won’t always be available (or reliable). If your soundtrack requires voices, try to use the original character audio (Note that some competitions won’t allow this, check the rules) or record new voice work with a good quality microphone.  Try asking amongst your friends, you never know who has a hidden talent for voice acting!

3. Practise, Practise, Practise!

It’s vital to practice your performance, even if it’s a solo competition. Practise and listen to your audio over and over again until you know it off by heart. Remember that most of the audience will be watching you from far away, so it’s important to make your movements big and clear.

Get a few of your cosplay friends to watch the performance, as actions and movements that look good in your head may not necessarily work from the audience’s point of view.

Remember to also practise in costume and with your final props, particularly if they are heavy, or restrict your movement or sight.

Nov. 11th, 2012


2013 Cosplay Plans!

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

It’s sad growing old! As a student I had all the time and no money to cosplay, now its the opposite!

Now fully recovered from the WCS antics, its time to put together next years costume plans! Only two firm options this year.

1. Lulu from FFX.

Always been a dream costume of mine. I’ve been itching to attack that trim with my embroidery machine.

2. Something original!

I’ve been inspired by two of my favourite cosplayers; Yaya Han and Lillyxandra. Its time for me to create something original!

I plan to post my progress up here, so keep watching.



March from Eternal Sonata

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

Costume Inspiration


Costume Debuted at: WCS Championships 2012, Nagoya Japan

Construction Details

Cost: £150

Time: 100 hours


Photographers & Locations

Oct. 12th, 2012


Kasumi from Dead of Alive

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

Costume Inspiration

For our World Cosplay Summit Parade costumes, Laura and I wanted something cool, comfortable and classic. We instantly selected Dead or Alive characters, a game that I had played back when I owned a PS2!

Costume Debuted at: World Cosplay Summit 2012 (Japan)

Construction Details

For Fabric, I selected a Royal blue crepe de Chine. Crepe de chine is a wonderful fabric which benefits from a slight sheen and provides a flat woven base for painting on. It can sometime be a little thin, so its best backed with a co-ordinating cotton. The white trims are made from Duchess satin and the gold pieces are either Acetate or Crepe back satins.

The dress is made as one piece, fastening with an invisible zip at one side. I wanted to be able to pull the outfit on quickly without worrying about how the bodice would cross over. I also didn’t want any part to move or slip during a parade! The bodice and skirt sections are both fitted with darts and join at the waist by a small fabric waistband.

The front and back skirt panels are painted with acrylic paints. Each panel took 16 hours and I made a niffy stop motion video of the process in this post.

I appliqued large gold kanji on the back on the bodice, finishing off the small ones with gold paint.

For the shoes I dismantled a pair of shop bought summer sandals and created straps by plaiting strips of over locked gold satin. The arm and shin guards are interfaced and boned to give them structure and fastened with wristbands or shoe straps. For the waistband I covered an old belt with white satin to mimic a fabric sash. The belt is laced up at the back along with the short sword that was kindly lent to me by a friend.

The costume was completed with dance tights, opaque white stockings and my asuka wig (styled with a small ponytail).

Cost: £100

http://www.cosplex.co.uk/Time: 100 hours


Photos taken during the Nishiki Boulevard Red Carpet Parade in Nagoya, Japan. Photos taken by:  WCS USA, Ruby and Johnny

Photos taken during the Tanabata Festival Parade in Ichinomiya, Japan. Photos taken by: WCS USA

Progress Photos taken during Construction

Related Posts

http://www.cosplex.co.uk/Time Lapse photography: Painting Kasumi’s crane design

Progress: Kasumi from DOA

Sep. 16th, 2012


Amigurumi – Derrick the Dinosaur

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

Another cute crochet design that I whipped up from my book over several plane journeys. This one is a gift for a friend.

Tip:  If the toy is for a small child for baby, a cosplay friend once advised me to embroider the details to remove any choking hazard.


Sep. 12th, 2012


Graffiti or Art? – Norway

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

If you wonder around the city of Stavanger you’ll come across many buildings adorned with interesting graffiti. For several afternoons they provided me with a good opportunity to experiment with my camera.

Which one is your favourite?


Sverd i Fjell – Swords in Mountain, Norway

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

Next to the Hafrsfjord, just outside of Stavanger stand three giant bronze swords. They are set into the rocks along the shore line and stand at an impressive 10 meters tall.

The swords are a monument to commemorate the battle of Hafrsfjord in 872, where King Harald Fairhair united Norway under one crown. The larger of the three swords represents the victor, with the smaller two representing the defeated kings.

I’ve attached my attempt at taking a few photos of the swords. Alan and I were lucky enough to be graced with a sunny afternoon whilst we were visiting, which can be some what of a rarity for Norway.


Sep. 11th, 2012


Kimono Inspiration

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

It has been one month since I’ve returned from competing in the World Cosplay summit and I must apologise for the lack of updates! The first few weeks were spent catching up on sleep and I’ve been gathering photos of all the events ever since. I hope to have some interesting posts for everyone soon.

My first trip to Japan reminded me of my long lost kimono project…

A few years back I had begun to collect pieces for a full furisode kimono set, but as a student I was constrained by budget. To keep costs down I had decided to look  into buying a second hand karinui, a half finished long sleeved kimono.

I looked for one at an online kimono flea market called Ichiroya. After many weeks of searching, I found the perfect design. I aimed to complete it myself but unfortunately I was side tracked by my studies and other costume projects.

With new found inspiration for my forgotten project, I visited a wonderful second hand kimono shop in Japan and picked out a matching Obi. Then as soon as I returned to England, I dragged my Karunui out of it’s hiding space and to my surprise it was much more stunning than I had remembered!

What season do you think its for? Maybe spring?

May. 24th, 2012


Cosplay Line up for London MCM expo

Originally published at Cosplex. Please leave any comments there.

I’m really excited for the London MCM Expo this weekend. I’m attending on both Saturday and Sunday and will be helping out as part of the Totally Cosplay crew.

I won’t be holding any specific panels but if you have any questions about costume construction, patterning or working with fabric. Feel free to hunt me down for a chat!

I’ve been super busy with all the WCS preparations, so unfortunately I’ve had no time to prepare anything interesting cosplay wise. I keep a few comfy shop bought costumes around for such an event emergency.

Saturday: Asuka – School Uniform from Neon Genesis Evangelion

Sunday: Night student (Female) from Vampire Knight

Is anyone also coming to the expo? What will you be wearing?

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