Posts filed under ‘FAQ Monday’

FAQ Monday: Photos in a Cemetery

Every so often a thread will pop up somewhere asking people’s opinions on this: should it be done, is it rude and disrespectful, can it even be done? And there are a lot of different opinions on if it’s okay. Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with it, as long as you are respectful, and so my tips here will reflect that.

Outside the cosplay community there are photographers who do various shoots at graveyards, there are famous graveyards or memorials that are tourist destinations, and there are many movies that involve a scene at a graveyard. The latter two situations, involving tourists and film crews, are likely to be more disturbing than a small cosplay group and a photographer. Additionally some cemeteries are in very public places and are used to photographers and people walking through.

That said it’s still important to be respectful of the place you are in – remember this is the resting place of people’s friends and family members, and for some people this is a place that holds a lot of meaning.

Before Shooting:
» Think about your location: Does it have to be a graveyard? If you are just looking for an interesting backdrop, or a place with benches, try shooting at a public park. If you want a shot with a tombstone, would a Halloween prop work in it’s place?

» Research before choosing. You may be looking to pose with some awesome angel statues, but those aren’t in every graveyard. Some cemeteries have websites and published photos of the ground and monuments that you can view.

» Contact the graveyard owner if possible, particularly if it’s a privately owned one . There may be a fee for shooting in the location, and rules that must be followed (ex. no shooting in certain areas). Some are on private property and so just showing up and taking pictures can cause problems – including getting kicked out or being asked to delete the images!

During Shooting
» Avoid grieving families and funerals in progress, don’t include them in your shots and it’s best to give them room to do their thing.

» Pay attention to signs and if someone says something (asks you to leave an area) listen.

» Avoid involving nameplates in photos or edit them out in post processing. Including them can be an invasion of privacy.

» Avoid draping yourself over stones, sitting on the stones, or trampling on flowers or other things left for the departed. If you must interact with the stones, do so in a respectful manner and don’t disturb anything that was left by loved ones. To photographers: Tripods may not be allowed in some areas since it can disturb the ground.

»  Don’t horseplay. I know it’s fun when you get all costumed up, but don’t go running around and jumping over stones!

After Shooting:
» Clean up! Pick up your garbage and tidy up the areas you have used. LEave everything the way you found it, or leave it better.

Add comment September 10, 2012

FAQ Monday – What can I use to style a wig?

There are a variety of tools that can be used to help create the crazy styles that appear in anime, videogames, comic books and other forms of media. It helps to be creative, especially with more complex styles! This guide will go over the basic tools that are commonly used for wig styling.

Any pair of sharp scissors with a pinted tip can work for cutting a wig. To ensure that they are sharp it is best to have a pair just for wig / hair cutting, just as you should keep your sewing scissors separate from craft scissors. You can also look into professional shears, this is a guide for how to choose a pair of hairdressing sheers.

There are other specialty scissors available for hair cutting that also work with wigs: Thinning Shears (aka. Texturizing Shears or Chunking Shears) thins out the hair which works great for anime styles that tend to have a lot of volume at the top, but are very thin near the ends. Here is a quick how-to-use for thinning shears.

Styling and Spikes:
Most styles can be held in place with some hairspray. There are sprays made specifically for wigs but just some cheap hairspray works wonders. You can also use “freeze spray” which is quicker drying hairspray that tends to have a lot of hold, I see got2b Glued Freeze Spray suggested often and I also recommend it!

For more dramatic vertical styles, and for tipping spikes, white school glue (PVA glue) works really well and dries transparent, although it does have more drying time than hairspray. There are also products called “Hair Glue” which is very similar to school glue but is made for styling hair, it washes out a bit easier and is a bit thicker but also costs more.

Hair Wax also works, although too much will leave a residue. Hair wax is best used for minor styling (separating sections) rather than vertical spikes.

Extreme Styles:
The above methods work for spiked styles and normal styles, but sometimes you need a lot of volume or a very large spike. This section will cover some of the common ways to style those wigs.

Creating a Frame: Great for hair with a lot of volume (Felicia from Darkstalkers), a unique shape (Pheonix Wright or Jesse from Pokemon) or thick vertical spikes (Yugi from Yugioh)

Adding Wefts for Volume: Wefts are the strands of hair that are sewn onto a base to form a wig, by adding additional wefts you add more fibers to the wig and make it thicker. This will help hide your scalp / wig cap when wearing the wig, and help with many styles. This section has a ton of tutorials for adding / making wefts:

Other Stuff you Should Have Around:
– Fabric covered elastic bands / bauble elastics
– Butterfly Clips
– Alligator Clips
– Toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, or other rolls are great for holding curls
– Bobbypins
– Hair Pins (Hold wig on a wighead)
– Wide toothed comb or wig brush
– Wighead + stand or clamp
– Blowdryer

Add comment June 18, 2012

FAQ Monday – Can you cosplay outside of conventions?

Aside from the legal limits of your country, there is nothing to stop you from cosplaying outside of a convention. So yes, you can cosplay when a convention is not going on but it isn’t always a good idea.

If you are particularly antsy and can’t wait for a convention try checking cosplay discussion boards in your area. Some people run cosplay or photoshoot events between cons and they are both a great chance to wear your costume and make friends with other cosplayers. The bigger ones I know of in Toronto (Canada) are the Cosplay Skate where everyone goes skating in or out of costume, there is also the Cosplay Picnic that is a photoshoot / picnic hangout that takes place in the summer. If you can’t find anything in your area you could also think about starting your own event!

Please keep in mind that people will be looking at you funny, asking odd questions, and you may get some negative comments. Seeing costumes is not a normal thing outside of events and stage shows and not everyone is very open to the idea. Certain places, such as stores and malls, may kick you out if they believe you are a disturbance so it is important to choose your cosplay location wisely and be aware of your behavior. Remember it makes everyone who dresses up look bad when you damage property, try to freak out “normals”, and otherwise act rude or loud. This also applies to situations where you unintentionally cosplay outside of a convention, such as going outside of the convention area to eat, using public transportation to and from a con, pick up a last minute thing from a store, etc.

2 comments January 23, 2012

FAQ Monday – Can I change the color of a wig?

Yes you can! There are various methods available for changing a synthetic wig’s color such as:

  • Copic Marker

  • Wig Dye Kits
    These can be found online or at wig stores, and can also be used to change the color of wigs. For a rough pricing estimate, Karie Blair sells her 4oz kits at $16

Remember: Synthetic wigs can only go a darker color, not lighter. This is because the color is in the plastic and can’t be removed. For example, wigs that are a dark blue cannot become a light blue because you can only add more color on top. For lighter wig colors start with a white base, for darker colors blonde can help with giving you a slightly darker result.

Please note that wig dyeing can be very messy, especially the sharpie and spraybottle method. It is best to do this outside or have a drop cloth to avoid getting the dye everywhere.

Add comment January 16, 2012

FAQ Monday – Where can I find reference pictures?

It’s always good to use a variety of reference pictures, screenshots and official art, some fan art for ideas, other cosplays to see how people pulled it off, and sometimes even pics of makeup or contacts you might like for the character! Usually you should have at least one good picture of the front of the costume, and one good picture of the back of the costume.

If a character has inconsistencies with their outfit (colors change, pieces appear and disappear) choose one version to use for your costume and try to find consistent references for that version.‘s image search and‘s image search are great for all kinds of pictures, especially screenshots. Try variations of the names of the characters or show (for example try the japanese name) to find more pictures. Still having trouble? Try taking screenshots from or another site that has clips of the show. and are great for fanart, especially if you are looking for gijinka ideas or alternate outfits.,,,, and are all great for finding cosplay photos. It also helps to sketch out the character so you have a good idea of the pieces involved, even if you aren’t a great artist it can help to get your ideas out on paper.

Add comment January 2, 2012

FAQ Monday – Do I have to get a wig?

This is one of the most common questions I see being asked around Cosplay forums by those who are new to the hobby. If you look up pictures of cosplayers, particularly if you come across the more passed around photos,you’ll notice that many cosplayers do wear wigs but that some (such as this Aeris costume by Adella) don’t.

Short Answer:
You don’t have to!

Your costume is your creation, your representation of the character, and you can do what you want with the costume including use your real hair. Use your best judgement based on your budget and what is available to you. Not everyone can afford wigs, not everyone can buy wigs, not everyone can wear wigs or even wants to and the majority of cosplayers can respect and understand that.

Long Answer:
In most cases you should probably get a wig. There are quite a few reasons for this:
– Wigs can be easier to style since you can get a 360 degree view, which can’t really be done with your own head. The back can be just as important as the front, and in some cases is even more important.
– Wigs can be taken off, meaning no lasting damage. Extreme hairstyles and colors can have effects on real life, some workplaces and schools have restrictions on what is allowed.
– Wigs are re-usable. You’ll have to re-do your own hair each time you plan to wear the costume!
– Wigs don’t get a greasy unwashed look like hair can, wigs also hide dandruff.
– Wigs can have items hot glued to them, wires poked through them, be stubbed, and have foam pieces added in, real hair does not give you this luxury!
– Wigs are one consitant color (unless you choose otherwise), while your hair might have issues with certain dyes, color can wash out, or the roots might show depending on when the job was done.
– Wigs can be styled way ahead of time, meaning (a bit) less time in the bathroom on a convention morning.

Though that doesn’t mean that you must wear a wig, as mentioned in the short answer it is best to use good judgement based on your budget and what is available to you, real hair can be an option! Real hair works best if you have hair that is similar to the character’s in color and length that is doable with the regular styling products.

So how do you make real hair look it’s best?
– Get it cut, and colored if needed, right before the convention. It will still have the style that was cut into it, and the color looks best early on – before it has time to fade / wash out / grow out.
– Make sure you wash it the day of the convention and each day you pla to wear the costume. This will make sure that it isn’t oily or dirty which can make it look bad!
– Use products to help achieve the style. Spend time to make it look good!
– Avoid spray-in color, which often doesn’t color the hair well and can make the hair stiff and chalky – which often rubs off on clothes

Add comment December 27, 2011

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