Cosplay Article by Cheyanna Gayle Shypitka

Greetings, fellow geeks!
I am Cheyanna, and I cosplay. I’ve done several large cosplay outfits in the past; I design and build jewellery, and I am also a face painter/ entertainer for events and parties.
I have been invited by Geek O Rama to write a bit about cosplay, and I’m pleased to oblige. I love cosplay, not only because it gives me a way to spend money that I otherwise would waste on silly things like bills and Pokemon cards, but also because the community and people I have encountered while building my costumes have been so supportive and helpful. I love to commemorate the characters that have influenced and entertained me!
Here’s a couple of costumes I built  before realizing the importance of creatively documenting my work. Few pictures survive, but definitely chronicle my love for gigantic headpieces.
This year for my birthday my hubby bought us four-day passes to the Calgary Comic Expo. I  thought this would be an excellent opportunity to build a new costume, something I haven’t been able to do for the last year or so. I  tend to procrastinate, so having definite deadlines is essential for my methods, which usually involve staying awake to all hours of the night the day before I need to showcase something. Hopefully you will all find better time management techniques than mine.
I thought I’d add my voice to the chorus of cosplay blogs to show that the process need not be intimidating or even especially difficult. I’ll be showing you my own personal process, from concept, design and materials sourcing, right through to construction and documentation. Hope you enjoy!
The way I start every costume is pretty much the same. I sit down with a beverage and my laptop and ask myself, “Who do I want to be?”
I consume a fair bit of media, from TV and movies, to books and anime. It’s important to me that I remake a character I truly care about. I think about my favourite films, TV shows, etc, and list characters I’d LOVE to bring into my closet. (Dream cosplays for the future include Arthur Dent, the Faun from Pan’s Labrynth and a Boxtroll)
This year, I’ve decided I want to do a Studio Ghibli costume, and have settled on San from Princess Mononoke as my inspiration.
Once I know WHO I want to be, I study the source material well. I’ll likely rewatch Princess Mononoke dozens of times as I work. I draw out the entire thing, and then I break the costume down into its key components. Once I know which pieces I need to build, I can decide which materials I can use to best make the costume. I always look to make a costume  a) affordably b) convincingly c) using skills I already possess. I might not always abide by those three rules, but they are an excellent guide when starting out. I have approximately six weeks to complete this costume, so learning an entire new skill set is likely not going to work for me.
You don’t have to be any sort of quality artist to draw out your costume. Here are my costume design sketches. 
I am definitely not DaVinci here by a long shot, but I know from these sketches how I want the pieces to fit my body, I know how large I want the various bits to be, and I have a cohesive list of the things I’ll need to acquire to make this costume a success. I’m currently in the process of sourcing affordable faux fur for the mask hood and cape. I’ll be buying sculpting materials for the mask, as well as designing the necklace to be built in my jewellery shop. I’ll comb thrift stores and rummage sales for bits of shiny glass I could use for the crystal dagger, off white fabric to make the apron/outer dress dealy, a long sleeved navy blue or black dress I can alter for the inner dress, etc. Once I have my materials together, I’ll begin building! Stay tuned, my next article will show where I got my materials (or failed to get materials) and will begin building!
~Cheyanna Gayle Shypitka

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