Germia - gaming world

How to tell your value as a cosplayer?

The first thing you can ask about this article is what motivated me to write this:

It is simple:
1) I know it exists a great long article from Kamui cosplay about telling your value. And I really recommend you reading it! :)
But I still got a lot of questions after reading it: How high should be the fee? When I can ask a fee? Is it still my hobby when I ask money for it? I know these questions are too specific to be answered in just one way, but I'll try to bring in some arguments how to value yourself without having any doubts.

2) I still know a lot of people, cosplayers, that don't know the real value of their work and kinda fight with that problem. A lot of friends ask me what should they ask for their work, what should they do or how should they act and I think I am not the best person to tell them this, but I still feel like I have some experience from gaming and cosplaying community to guess what is a good and what is a bad treatment of cosplayers.


DISCLAIMER: Opinions written in this article are just my thoughts and you don't have to agree with them - they are there just to help you make cosplayers aware of value of their work and to let events and people know how much work is involved in making and wearing a cosplay.
I do not say cosplay should not be handled as a hobby and that you should earn money with it, I just say don't let yourself work to exhaustion and let other people earn money from your work and time.


Don't underestimate yourself!


As Kamui cosplay said in her article - with time, you get better in what you do and if you want to be better and better, your hobby (cosplay) consumes more and more of your time and more and more of your money. You need tools, material, time, knowledge to make a costume, but you also need a lot of time and knowledge to be present on social sites, to give back to your followers and to extend your fanbase (whoever said managing a social site is easy, never fully understood how it is done).
If you are working hard, you are present on social sites, you grow, attend contests, make panels - suddenly you start to be interesting for cons, gaming events, VIP parties or different events, where people in costumes are welcomed. And if you are contacted by event to appear on them, this is the time you have to start thinking about maybe taking some fee for your time and effort, since:

1) You spend time, energy and money by travelling to an event.

2) You spend more time dressing and undressing from costume for this event.

3) You use material to make your costume wearable - costume maintenance, wig styling, makeup use.

4) You have to spend time on the event doing what you are said to do (sometimes not having chance to enjoy the event).
ad 4) Sometimes you have to take free day off work to be able to go to an event, so you lose money and time not working (or not working on more cosplays or social sites)

5) You use your hard work put in your costume (sometimes months of work, material and knowledge) on set event.

6) If you have some special appearances on an event, you have to prepare for them - discussions, panels, workshops,...

7) You have to behave in set way - for example attract people to a stand or a product - you are sometimes better than a superhot hostess - you attract more attention, a lot of time speak in foreign languages and know the stuff you're supposed to know (games, PC hardware, ...)

8) You are not a guy in costume, you are a proffesional craftsman/woman, some cosplayers have to train ther roleplay, weapon handling, be electrician, armormakers, seamstress, technicians, artisans and even models. For most part, normal event attendees don't know the effort put into the costumes, so it is up on the event to make them learn about that.

9) You are a famous person - with more fans on social sites, there are cosplayers, that are sometimes more popular than actors or TV personalities.


You don't need hunderts of thousands of fans to be interesting for an event - sometimes, the event wants just "people in costumes", sometimes you are invited because of your achievements or because your work has high quality or is interesting. So don't say now these points doesn't fit to you!

You should always have all these things in mind when bargaining with an event!
And even if an event wants just a "girl in costume for hostess work", still you shouldn't ask less than a normal hostess would ask, since you have specialization and you are more attractive in a good costume than a hot girl in leggings and short T-shirt + you often know about the thing you should promote.
And now, let's look at the fees for hostess work in the second largest city in Czech Republic HERE - just for your insight  and it can serve as a BASE for you for setting your price here.


Consider pros and cons of the event



There are different types of evetns you can be invited to and the type of the event should be always considered when bargaining with it. Try to ask these questions:

1) Is the event used for earning money or is it rather a charity kind of event?
Be careful when contacted by charity event - always try to find out what is the charity thing about an event before bargaining more - there is a big difference between a charity event to make a workshop for kids vs. a charity event made to earn money from a streamed match where all the organisation is paid to make this possible and only the earnings from viewers are collected for the charity.

2) Does the event have potential for you to be seen, make connections or get new experience?
Can it bring something positive to you?
I always ask this question, since there is a huge difference between appearing on a Comic Con-like event with big admittance, lot of people, that can see your work and great experience being there and hostess-like work on a trade-fair for some company or a VIP game launch or other promotional event.

3) Always try to minimaze your expenses when you are invited to an event - try to have at least paid travel expenses, food and drinks and accomodation (for you and your helper - depends if you need a helper and if the con allows it). And if you are travelling really far, then parking spot or people who pick you up from the hotel and take you to the venue. For start you don't spend your own money to be at the event you have been inivited to.
Some cons will make you a great promotion, like for example Aniverture Comic Con in Bulgaria did when they made big banners to promote cosplay guests as their biggest stars and it really makes a difference to be treated like a star ;) 
PLEASE DISTINGUISH BETWEEN CONS AND PROMOTIONAL EVENTS! (ad 2)


This part is for cons:
And if then get into situation, that you're invited to such many events it is already taking too much of your time, it consumes so much time that it makes it harder for you to go to normal work - consider asking conventions for a fee in exchange for you to be a cosplay guest making appearances, promoting on social sites, doing panels or fan sessions,... Asking for a fee is really problematic and it is something a lot of cosplayers struggle with, but start small, consider always if you WANT to go and for which prize is it reasonable for you to go.

This part is for promotional events:
If you are doing a promotional work - doing a hostess kind of work - ALWAYS TAKE MONEY. This work is not about bringing back to cosplaying community, judging, sharing knowledge. It is about you standing next to a product and making a product look cool. It can be a gaming event where you are one of the attractions as 'girl in a costume' (compared to a con, where you are for example 'Germia, the european cosplay champion, judge and panelist' - insert your name and biggest achievement) - see the difference? Promotional work does not give a lot of things back. the only thing you can earn are some contacts on people you meet on promotional events, that can offer you a cooperation, but the chance for this is really small and depends more on your communicative skills and comes often rather naturally with your social media presence.

Promoting a company/product

Sometimes you can be asked to promote some kind of a product or company on an event or be interesting enough to have full cooperation with a product or company. There are some special things you have to bare in mind when promoting a product:

1) Don't promote a product you don't know just to have free stuff (credit on social site, free sample, free HW) - it will come back to you the hard way.
I can show you some of the scenarios I know:
- I was attending an event in a costume and a girl came up to me and gave me some new energy drink. I was like 'thank you' and wanted to go away and she stopped me and told me, that people who got the drink should take a picture with it next to a banner. And I just returned the drink to her calmly, since I know I would do them a big advertisment in exchange for something dispensable and worth almost nothing. I would also go against my partner RedBull in that matter, which is actually the only energy drink I like and I was eager to cooperate with this company because I love it and I know thier products and I know the quality of it.
Pic from 3/2015, coop with RedBull started 7/2017
- Let's say it happens again and instead of an energy drink, you got a gaming keyboard - cool, isn't it? Once again - think about it more - what are the positive and negative things of this? Positive - you get a keyboard and you'll be seen on the company's social sites (keep in mind a lot of companies are not used to give credits to you, so sharing like this is kinda worthless). Negative - you can promote a product you don't know and eventually get to know the keyboard is really bad. Or you can be seen with this product and lose oportunity to make cooperation with much better company you like or you use the and know the  products of.

2) Don't promote a product or do a costume for a company for free
It is a big advertisment for a company to cooperate with you, so always try to think about all the positive and negative things, that you can experience. Don't promise impossible things and don't work in a rush.
Also, take money for it - if your are doing hostess work, try to find normal hostess prizes and double them at least - noone can deliver such a full package as a cosplayer (more in Don't underestimate yourself part)
Own the chair since 2013, coop since 2016

3) Don't promote a product, that is not something you'd recommend - don't be a SELLOUT
You can see it everywhere on the internet - more or less famous people doing promotional work for almost everything - just to get their money - simple word is sellout.
I was asked twice to promote an alcoholic drink company and I refused them with me saying: I don't drink alcohol, so I can't recommend drinking your product. And they would reply: It doesn't matter, you don't have to drink it - just fake drinking it on the camera or let it stand next to you, that is enough...
Try to understand:  Me drinking an alcoholic drink would be misleading and I would totally and visibly betray the trust of my followers, who know that I don't drink alcohol at all!
And something similar works in every case - if it is keyboards, mices, computers, food products, drinks, clothes, cosplay products... There are always people who promote everything, sellouts, but if you are standing by the products you really like and use, your promotion will be much more effective, since people will recognize with time if you are just saying stuff to the camera, or if you really love something.

4) Be careful about the location you are taking pictures in
Some companies would ask you for a photo and let you stand next to their products and banners and post the picture on social sites, that it seems you are promoting their products. Be careful about that and be aware of the location where the pictures are taken!
It happened to me already and you can't controll it all the times, but be at least aware of it ;)


Hello from the other side



Since I've said to you how much worth a cosplayer is, let's talk about how a good cosplay guest should behave. I've said to you, that it is completely okay to ask for money or to get invites, but don't forget that attending a con or promotional event for money needs you to work and behave in a specific way. I thought it is something normal, but I've seen so many people disregarding stuff like that, that I write it rather down:

As a cosplay guest on a con (or even a hostess in costume):

1) Don't be late - and please, I mean it, don't be late - EVER.
You appearing later can move the whole program of an event and cause financial problems to organizers, you appearing late to prejudging as a judge shows big disrespect to competing cosplayers waiting in their elaborate costumes just for you to show up. People, who come late, are saying a lot about themselves even before they appear.
(I know flying can be really exhausting, but you have to be really strong!)

2) Show high quality cosplay work, not something incomplete or something you've just made in few days, especially if you are a cosplay judge. It is not wise to appear as a cosplay judge in an unfinished costume and then pick flaws on other people's costumes. Take care even of your costumes to be always in good and working shape.

3) Be polite and respectful - always try to be polite to people and respect others even you don't really get well with everyone. Always say please and thank you when requesting something and praise people for their efforts. If you see something is wrong, don't try to be bitchy about it, try to say it politely and rather tel people how it should be done better, than telling them something is wrong - simple constructive critique.

4) Be prepared - if you are holding your panel, make sure your panel is finished, understandable, you have all the needed materials and you are prepared to talk standing in front of crowd (in different language). If you are prejudging, know the rules of the contest, know your fellow judges and try to get as much info about the costumes of the contestants too. If you are promoting a product, try to get as much info about it too, since you are there to serve people not only as an attraction, but as a guide through the products.

5) Do a promotional work on your social sites - usually your followers want to know where and when they can meet you and the event would be glad for any advertisement. don't forget about it, since it is very important!

6) Be fair!
Always try to be as fair (objective) as you can - especially when you are judging a cosplay contest - try to look at all the people with the same eyes. Don't let knowledge about the cosplayers themselves influence you in any way.
I know it would sound harsh, but it happened to me, that some contestants tried to explain me subjective reasons of them being in a contest like:
-This is my last contest, since I'm ending with contesting after this event. This is my last chance in my life to be succesfull. - It can be heartbreaking, but it should be irrelevant for the judges.
- I was doing this cosplay because you were my inspiration and I want to make you proud since you are my hero. - It is really flattering but you really have to stay firm, since you cannot judge more sympathethic towardsd someone just because you are a hero for him.
- I brought some progress materials just to show you more - I know it wasn't in the rules, but maybe it will help me to get more points and win, since the organizers on Eurocosplay want something like that. - Previous experience in contests should not be taken in consideration by deciding the winner.
Also those thing can be said about friends in cosplay community. Don't make someone a winner because he is your friend, don't make someone lose just because you don't find him sympathic.
Be fair and professional.

7) Some words to the con organizers
Give your cosplayers as many things as you can - and I mean not only guests, but all cosplayers - for the most part, it is them who can attract more people to your event. Give the dressing room with place to sit, mirrors, light, electricity slots. If you can, give them something to drink or eat. Try to let them pass through crowds. Give them love.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Did I answered all my questions I had on the start? If you look into the article, I didn't write exactly how much you should ask, but I did find a site for you, that evaluates the work of hostesses and that is a good starting point for you. I did say to you what to request when you are invited for an event and I think it is really individual, but also - good starting point ;)
And if you are struggling with taking money for your hobby - why? Taking money for quality work is not something you should be ashamed of - It is still your hobby no matter what - just do what you like and do what you love! This article doesn't tell you what to do - if you want to visit as many cons as you can - JUST DO IT!
DO WHAT YOU LIKE AND WHAT YOU LOVE!




This article was made with support of my Patrons on my Patreon! There will be no article like this without them!

I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.

and if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON.

Yours


Germia
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Patterning my Anubis Pharah cosplay + free patterns

photo: Cyberhead design

Making patterns for your cosplay armor is one of the most exhausting things by making a cosplay. It's sometimes really hard  to transfer game concepts and skins into real life and make the proportions just right. Especially if you're making cartoon-like characters like the heroes from Overwatch, where the proportions are exaggerated. Just look on Pharah's tiny ankles and waist, Reinhardt's small head or Tracer's long legs.
By making my Pharah cosplay I wanted to achieve one of the most trustworthy look - small waist, small joints (ankles, knees) and one of the ways how to achieve this is to exaggerate other proportions more, so my normal ankles would look tiny for example in comparison with big calf. That's what I kept it in mind when doing the patterns and that's one of the reasons it took me so long. Second thing is the functionality of the armor - you have to be able to move freely, to suit up easily and simultaneosly be true to the game model. And I'm not mentioning, that some of the parts on my armor should move, but that's not something included in patterns, there's just enough space for me to fit the electronical and mechanical parts inside.

And as I spent so much time doing the patterns, I've decided to publish some of them (Unfortunately, I didn't save the patterns of my helmet, but as I'm doing Anubis skin, it doesn't matter - you're probably doing the default skin. Patterns for my boots were the second to do and I didn't save them either, but I think they're quite easy to do...).

Keep in mind, that I made them to fit on my body (180 cm, ~ 67 Kg, curvy), so it fits only me and you have to edit the patterns slightly to fit on your body. I recommend cutting them out and taping them together just to see how the fit to you. If your height is 180 cm, just adjust the character referrence (in this case Pharah) on your monitor to be 18cm high and count the measurements of all her armor pieces.
I decided to upload some patterns for you - All the pdf files with free patterns I uploaded so far for you are suitable for girls around 175-185 cm for the proportions to be just right, because I measure 180 cm.

There are some of the patterning techniques I've used to make my Pharah cosplay:

Helmet:


tin foil + tape -> pattern your head

 A sketch of the Anubis helmet from the up on A3 paper.













Boots:

Tin foil+tape -> pattern the shoe you'll use for the cosplay







Shin armor:


Pattern made from 10 different parts to be able to simulate the curvy shapes of Pharah's leg.





 The shin armor was one of the most difficult patterning challenges and since I am really proud of my work, have this pattern for free guys ;)












Left bracer:




 Bracer i made from 4 base parts,
Inner filling parts, decorative parts and on the wrist decorative lining.


 Body armor:


 I covered upper part of my figourine in paper and marked the basic shapes on it. I slowly added more and more parts with pins and when I was satisfied with the result, I connected the pieces together and trasfered them on the foam.



 The breastplate base is symmetrical horizontally and vertically, so I started the pattern with paper divided in 4 parts. I started adding pieces and I always checked if the fit proportionally to the rest of the armor.












The finished corset pieces were then transfered to foam and moosgummi and glued to the sewn corset base.












Thigh armor:

To trace my thigh and create a fitting armor, I traced my thigh with food foil and tape and since I filled the thigh armor with rockets, it served eventually mainly as a figourine part, that I tried my armor on rather than patterning tool.












Wings and gun:

I've already written an elaborate article about wings and gun pattern HERE. These are not drawn on paper or traced on my body. I traced those patterns in computer with the help of different graphic software in the right measurements, that correspond to my body.

You can download WINGS PATTERN HERE
and GUN PATTERN HERE

You can also read more about my gun build in ARTICLE HERE
and you can read about my wings in ARTICLE HERE.










This article was made with support of my Patrons on my Patreon! There will be no time doing this without them!

I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.
Photo: Creative Wolves

and if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON.




Yours


Germia




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Germia's corsets - tutorial and pattern

There are a lot of ways how to do a corset for your cosplay and I would love to share with you some of the ways and most importantly - how I do my corsets. So let's start!

Disclaimer - I am not a professional seamstress and everything I share with you I've learned just by making costumes. The corsets you make for your cosplay can tighten your waist a little and form your body in the costume. If you want to reach a body-changing results, you have to invest in professional-made corset with hard reinforcements and construction.


Why should I use a corset for my cosplay?

http://www.thelingerieaddict.com

I love to make corsets just because it accentuates woman's body perfectly! It fits every woman and even you don't look like a supermodel or you have some kilograms more- you can always form your body womanly and enhance your look perfectly!

Look at the woman on the picture - she is very sexy even she doesn't fit into today's harsh beauty standards!

And as a cosplayer, I dislike showing a lot of my body, but I still want to be sexy - Showing curves is one of the ways how to feel and how to be sexy without showing anything. And it really works! Don't you think?
It is also sometimes the only way to show your womanly me with all the helmets and capes and veils I wear :D















As you can see - I use corsets even in cosplays, where using a corset is not necessary - if you have to put armor on the belly - it can end for you in a bad way - making you look heavier and not so likeable. For example in a Pharah cosplay - the curves are really important in that cosplay, since her character in the games has great curvy, almost unreal body, and the only way how to achieve that, was a tight corset under the armor.

And a small tip: You can also reach curvy body just by making other parts of your armor bigger than your waist - like pauldron and hip armor!


How to make my own corset pattern?

There are several ways how to get your corset pattern - I can show you three of them:

1) Download a pattern from the internet

There are some sites, that will give you a perfect corset pattern for free (or for money - but I will show just sites with free patterns) or sites that will help you draw a pattern yourself.
But tbh I haven't tried using an existing pattern on my corsets, I always design my patterns.

SITE #1 - download will start when you click on the pictures.
SITE #2
SITE #3
SITE #4
SITE #5
SITE #6
SITE #7

2) Trace your body and draw  your own pattern

This is the most common way cosplayers do their patterns - just wrap yourself up in the food foil and tape your bodyshape all around the foil. Then draw the desired shape of the corset on it and cut yourself out from the tape shell. Cut all the pattern pieces, and trace them on paper - now you have your pattern!

3) Adjust an existing pattern to your own liking

The first corset I made was simply traced off a corset I bought. I bought a cheap corset on ebay (similar to this one for my Demon Hunter cosplay) and I traced just roughly the shape of all the corset pieces on a paper. I cut the paper out, connected it with tape and tried it on my body. Made a few adjustements and my first corset pattern was made! Then I traced it on brown leather, divided the front pieces into two, and sewn it together, made reinforcements and lacing and done.
Since that time I made it similarly - I already have a certain knowledge of how the pieces should look like and I just freehand draw them on a paper. I always use different pattern on my cosplay, because every cosplay needs different seams on the corset (compare Xena's corset and Demon Hunter's corset) Then I cut them out, tape them together and try if it fits on my body. I always make the middle part where the waist is smaller to be able to tighten it. I draw on the paper then how to adjust the pieces to fit better and that is how my patterns are made!





















Get my latest pattern for Xena and adjust it according to your body in THIS LINK!

How to make my own corset?


1) Choose the right fabric:

First thing you need to do is to choose the right material - keep in mind, that the material should not be flexible - it's purpouse is to hold it's shape, so don't use flexible materials! Also the material has to be firm, so don't use felt or other tearable materials.
I usually choose leather, but because some leather kinds are a little flexible, keep in mind to reinforce the material with other fabricfrom the inside. I made a small lit of materials I've used for different corsets:


Paladin: Black Leather with black cotton fabric inside












Pharah: Firm black cotton fabric with black unvowen fabric inside













Xena: Brown leather with black unvowen fabric inside













Ravenborn LeBlanc: Purple taffete fabric with black unvowen fabric inside













Auriel: Dark blue jeans fabric with metallic effect with black cotton fabric inside













Anna Valerious: Black leather with black unvowen fabric inside















Demon Hunter: Brown hard leather (my first corset - look how lame it looks)














As you can see I use a lot of unvowen fabric for my corsets - it is the cheapest fabric available, it doesn't fray, but you cannot use it by itself (because it is not firm enough - it is unvowen) - I use the kind of fabric used on the garden like THIS ONE and it can be bought in almost every hobby store like OBI or Baumax.

And yes, I am using a lot of leather - tbh it is my favourite material. I know it is expensive and animals die because of it, BUT I am using leather bought from second hand shops in form of leather coats or leather jackets for really cheap. Those pieces look mostly really awful and are not trendy anymore. I always buy them when they are on sale and if I wouldn't buy them, they would be otherwise thrown away later. It is the best source for corset leather or leather for smaller pieces of your cosplay and you can actually save money and spare some animal lifes too.
Just look at the jacket I've used for Xena's skirt:



2) Choose the reinforcement

There are several ways how to reinforce the corset. A corset without reinforcements cannot effectively shape and form your body. I use two types of reinforcements on my corsets (but of courset here is a lot of more different corset reinforcements from metal, bones and other stuff - if you use metal bones for your corset, it will make it more sturdy and forming)


The first type I use  is the sew-through plastic reinforcement, that I sew by hand into the seam of the corset. It hugs the seam from both sides then. It is actually a stripe of fabric tihh plastic tubing sewn inside of it. In order to hold it's shape it is necessary to melt the ends of these reinforcements by lighter. On the picture (Pharah's corset) there is every seem hugged with the reinforcement.















The second type is a cheaper plastic reinforcement. It is just the plastic tubing melted together without a fabric part and it is just inserted in the seaams of the corset (on the picture - corset for Auriel). By making a corset you have to make a double seam with a space inside, where you put this plastic reinforcement. This is much easier to do, so I use it for my latest corsets. It is also good to round the end of the reinforcement with a lighter.











3) Other stuff:

Every corset need some kind of a lacing and I use grommet lacing for most of my corsets. That means you make holes in both sides of the corset that are reinforced with a metal grommet and you put your lacing through those holes. I recommend using grommet kits with included piercing/forming tool and/or using a leather piercing shears. Keep in mind, that you need at least 8-10 holes on each side of the corset, less holes more space apart make the lacing uneffective and can bend the corset in unwanted places (Look at the picture of my Pharah's corset - it has only 5 holes on each side and it doesn't hold the shape as much as I would want to). Normally, a corset has a pieces of fabric to reinforce the lacing, but I make it followingly: I make the last corset part a lot wider than I need, and I fold the end inside of the corset, so the lacing has a double layer of fabric to hold onto (That is why my Xena corset pattern appears so wide on the end).


This article was made with support of my Patrons on my Patreon! There will be no time doing this without them!

I hope this article will be useful for someone and if yes, you can follow my work on cosplay (and other stuff) on my FACEBOOK PAGE or TWITTER or INSTAGRAM.
Photo: Creative Wolves

and if you like this stuff I do, you can support my work by donating on my PATREON.




Yours


Germia
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