Top YouTube Channels Cosplayers Should Be Subbed To

YouTube is a treasure trove of cosplay videos and any cosplayer should definitely be making the most of what content is on offer. It can be overwhelming; however here a few suggestions of channels that cosplayers should certainly hit that subscribe button for!

Best for overall cosplay advice:
Mango Sirene
You cannot go wrong with Mango Sirene. An American cosplayer who covers everything cosplay, and I mean everything! Her 'Cosplay 101' series explains pattern drafting, finding hotel rooms, wig styling and more. The convention vlogs are entertaining and beautifully edited and there are also the odd fun craft or challenge video. A well rounded channel that is both entertaining and educational for new or experienced cosplayers. If that wasn't enough, become a Pateron and there are addition live streams to see what Mango is making next! If only I could be half as productive as her!

Best for Prop Making
Punished Props/ Bill Doran
The guy who knows the most about foam! If you are thinking of making armor or props, you should stop here first for tips and ideas. There are also tutorial series on resins, sculpting and metal casting. Bill also has 'Foamsmith' books available for any additional help you may need to create your foam creations.

Best for Varied Character Creation
Axceleration Cosplay 
A good proportion of cosplay videos on Youtube are anime inspired, so if you are like me and don't make anime costumes or fancy a change, Axceleration has a good variety of costumes that you don't often see tutorials for. Like Mango, her 'Introduction to Cosplay' series covers a lot of basics and is a great starting point for any cosplayer. Her enthusiasm certainly comes through which makes her a joy to watch. 

The Best for Cosplay Music Videos (that isn't Sneaky Zebra ;) )
The 86th Floor
Okay, I know Sneaky Zebra are the kings of the CMV, but you are probably subbed already! So I'm suggesting 86th Floor, a British team who have produced some great CMVs in 2016 and have some great choreographed segments with my particular favourite being the Overwatch team from Manchester MCM 2016.  

Best for Wigs
Alexa Poletti
Anything you could possibly want to do with a wig, Alexa will know how! After collecting a following on Instagram, Alexa set up a YouTube channel which has grown at an unbelievable rate; and rightly so with her informative wig tutorials. 

Best for Worbla
Kamui Cosplay 
What Kamui can't do with worbla, I'm pretty sure can't be done at all. All the videos are fairly short in length and presented in a lighthearted and fun manner. So it is easy to watch a full series at a time. The channel is especially useful if you are planning on making Blizzard characters. If you need more help, Kamui has a range of books including her latest, 'The Costume Making Guide' which has a collection of worbla armor and prop tutorials.   

Best for MakeUp
Emma Pickles 
Although not a cosplay channel, Emma Pickles has a good mix of recognisable characters that you may be cosplaying in addition to general SFX and makeup tutorials that you could adapt for your own cosplay. For UK cosplayers it is great to see someone using products that you have access to!    

So here are a few channels that if you are a cosplayer, you should be subbed to! I still have many more in my subscriptions so will probably do another version later on in the year!

5 Reasons I Like Reboot Lara

Reboot Lara has been the target of much disdain since she came on the scene in 2012. While I adore the traditional design in all her green vest top, brown shorts, gun-toting badassary; the new vision of Lara arrived at a time when I very much needed her. Like Lara, I was a recent graduate trying to make a smidgen of a mark on the world and I warmed to her new design. As I was attending my first comic con in 2013, it was my first choice and creating it was a fantastic distraction from being a carer and dead-end part time jobs.

So aside from personal connections to reboot Lara, here are five reasons why I like the reboot Lara design:

1. Bow
The addition of a bow to Lara's arsenal I believe was a fantastic choice. It is great for stealth and it feels pretty badarse to finish off a hoard of attackers with only arrows. For the 2013 game, it worked well to show development as Lara built on her crafted bow that started as a few twigs and string. Mechanically, I love using the bow and feel like Tomb Raider has mastered it better than any other game I have tried.

2. Jewellery 
Sean Nash Deviantart
Hear me out, I know this sounds like a stupid reason to like a character design, but I feel the jade necklace and the three earrings add a finish touch to the overall ideology of who Lara is. In case you have missed it, I discussed possible origins of Lara's necklace in this blogpost and I still believe there is something more to that necklace than has already been revealed. The two earrings on one ear and one on the other appears quirky (and yes, I know of the possible insinuations that the piercings can mean, however with the rise in people obtaining a greater number of piercings, these hidden meanings don't account as much as they may have done in historical subcultures). I like the earrings so much, I replicated the second piecing position for myself!

3. Comebacks

While classic Lara holds the number one spot for one liners and comebacks, reboot Lara came out with some corkers, mainly while being held hostage in Rise or after a grueling fight. They are slightly darker in tone and I really didn't expect them while playing the 2013 game; but the 'go to hell' one fitted perfectly after being caught out and fighting waves of Yamatai's residents.  So much so, I reloaded my save to hear it again!

4. Ice Axe

Again, mechanically it works very well and the ice axe works brilliantly as a melee attack, especially to get out of a sticky situation. As a gamer, I'm very much a melee person so having this option was a godsend. It was also the first weapon I created from scratch so holds a special place for that reason in addition to clearing a path at comic cons when held up in the air!

5. Survival Nature 
More so in the 2013 game, I enjoyed the way survival elements were integrated. Admittedly, I did expect more in regards to hunting and crafting and while Rise did respond to this; there is a lot more that could be intergrated into the game. Nevertheless, some of the cutscene's imaginary of survival makes for some beautiful scenes of struggle and determination.

2016 Cosplay Review and 2017 Goals

For cosplay, 2016 should have been the year where I made a nice dent into my cosplay wishlist as I had increased free time, but due to personal circumstances, this did not happen. I made a total of three costumes this year: Chloe (Life is Strange), Rise Lara Siberia (Tomb Raider) and Rise Lara Syria (Tomb Raider). My Etsy store had a particularly busy year and a good chunk of my crafting time went into helping other people create thier costumes! Though I wouldn't change a thing, I have enjoyed making these three costumes and getting the most out of my Lost Valley Lara.

So what for 2017? As with all my costumes, I want to get the most out of what I make so both of the Rise costumes will be returning in 2017 as will Chloe. I will make a new bow for Rise and tinker with the rest of the costumes. As for new costumes, I am hoping that 2017 will be the year I finally remake my GLaDOS; I love that costume so much and only wore it once in 2013. In addition I have a full choreography performance planned. I just need to do it! Below are a little collection of characters I am thinking of making for 2017; again I'll probably only make 2 or 3 as I am currently pretty busy between my PhD and Etsy.

Oh and Ellie (The Last of Us 2) ;)

As for cosplays goals/aims in 2017 they are:

  • * Tackle more machine sewing projects - I can sew and draft patterns however in 2016 I felt like my poor little machine was barely taken out of it's case! I am also considering a new machine, so if I use my own more this year, I can see if that is a reasonable decision or not! 
  • * Get over my worbla armor fear - In my shed, I currently have half a Thor breastplate that went horribly wrong! I have no plans to resurrect that cosplay, however I would like to use worbla for a costume piece rather than just accessories and weapons which is what I do now. GLaDOS would help with this aim.

  • * Plan ahead more successfully - I am sure this is one for 99 percent of cosplayers. Why we often leave things until the last moment I will never know! So I am hoping to schedule my time more efficiently in 2017 - between cosplay, PhD, Etsy store, blog and general life.
  • * Create a 'cosplay purgatory' - I am terrible for starting a game or watching a film and getting all sorts of ideas of how amazing a costume would be. This is all well and good but in 2017 I am hoping to create a 'cosplay purgatory' that is that I do not buy anything for a costume until at least 6 weeks has passed. I can research and add to lists but I am not allowed to buy anything. In my cosplay supplies I have materials and wigs for Thor, Rey and Female Titan from AoT. I have no plans to cosplay these now, but I got swept away in my own hype. 2017 is where I cut down on this!
  • * Set up more photoshoots - This is the one thing I say every year, I need to stop thinking that I would be a burden to photographers and holding up my friends at conventions and actually get some photos done. I enjoy doing it even if I often am not the most photogenic person in the world! I just like having a record of what I have done. So many of my costumes get made and then hardly see the lens of a camara; Angel of Darkness Lara, Egyptian Assassin and Ellie from The Last of Us to name a few.

So that is it for 2016 and looking forward to the 2017 con season. What are you planning to make in the next year and what are your cosplay goals? Comment below or tweet me @Lady_Scion.

2016, In Memoriam

Let's face it, 2016 hasn't been the best of years. In fact, it has been quite dire. As I am writing this it has just been announced that Carrie Fisher has sadly passed away, another icon and influential person that has been took away from the world. Every year there are people we know - friends, family and people we hold dear that may not even know we exist but still mean a great deal to us, sadly die. However this year something feels different, the rate appears accelerated. I asked my mum, was it because I am getting older? Is it because I am getting older that I am aware of and have memories tied to more people than when I was younger? My Mum, who is 60, the same age as Carrie, replied that no, she has never known a year like it.

Of course, the whole essence of time, the calendar, a day, a month, ages etc are a man made creation. They are handy shortcuts to understand how we exist and provide a structure for the human race; with subtle differences between cultures. We can say that 2016 is cursed, that it is the worst year ever however in the Ethiopian calendar we are in the year 2008/2009, the Javanese is 1949/1950 and the Byzantine calendar is 7524/7525. In South Korea, when a person is born, they are one year old and at the start of the new year everyone turns one year older. Our awareness of other humans have increased with a growing media consumption and greater communication devices means we can stay in touch more efficiently than ever before. 2016 probably won't be the last year that we are shocked by the sheer volume of deaths of our idols. 

On a more personal note, 2016 has seen both myself, my friends and my family go through so many challenges including deaths, illness, unwanted house moves, redundancies and debt. Brexit brought about divides, as did the election of Trump. Everything, it seemed, happened at once.

However it is important, when it seems like 2016 has got us all down to pick out the positives and firmly hold on to them. I may have not had a 'job' in the traditional sense this year, but I am a creative person and ended up creating items to sell and took on freelancing roles. I then made it my mission to enjoy this extra time I sometimes had as in the near future, I will more than likely not have it. I aimed to read more of my books that I kept on buying and found that the time sat on trains really ate away at the bookshelf. I also took the massive risk of embarking on a PhD in lieu of of permanent job, and while I have struggled to get back into academic life and considered dropping out just so I can feel like I am getting on with life. I am still there, and hopefully very soon I will feel like I am achieving something, not just hiding away from the real world in my old university. The fact is, I am not really a student anymore, I have teaching duties and I am expected to publish articles before I graduate. There are roles and expectations from the department that I must meet. I was scared by the prospect of three more years, minimum, however I am already halfway through the first. Time, as it is constructed, gets away from us all. It is important that we do the best we can to fill it with what we want and need to do. However time out to reflect, to chill, to do 'nothingness' is also vitally important. The departure of our inspirational people this year should remind us of this. 

I'm not really expecting anyone to read this blogpost, it is a change from the usual and something that I normally keep to my private journals. I just felt, for 2016, it needed to be typed out to try and absorb and reflect on it all. Because constructed or not, it has been one hell of a year for almost us all, and I hope that 2017 is a better one.

Have a wonderful New Year.