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The Journey to MAGFest: Part 1

Happy New Year, everyone!

I’m happy to be back at my computer starting a fresh, new year with all of you. While I took a break from all projects and get together with family and friends, it’s time to get back into the swing of things. I have six weeks until I leave for the Music and Gaming Festival, also known as MAGFest, in National Harbor, Maryland… and I have barely started on my new cosplay project for it.

Since I’m starting on a new project and learning some new skills, I figure it’s a great opportunity to journal my progress with you. The final design concept will remain a secret until it’s done and you can see for yourselves how I do with replicating the design and giving it life. But you’ll also be able to see what’s really involved with creating a cosplay and understand how much is put into it, whether you plan to make your own projects or have pieces commissioned.

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Now it’s not to say I haven’t done “anything”. If you happened to catch AYBOnline’s Twitch channel on January 4th, I held a stream answering some of your cosplay questions while getting my torso wrapped in duct tape. In case you didn’t catch the stream, let me explain why I subjected myself to this.

For this cosplay build, I will be wearing some rather form-fitting armor pieces. This means I needed a model of my body to my measurements and dimensions. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is to create a cast of yourself out of duct tape. The process itself is very simple: Put on a fitted T-shirt, ask a friend for help, and wrap up your torso. Then you cut yourself out of the shirt along you back and tape it back up. Simple, right? There’s a bit of a technique to how to wrap, but you can easily find tutorials online. Bonus is if you wrap it thicker and use more tape, you can stuff the cast you make and turn it into a dress form.

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But I didn’t want a dress form, I wanted to make creating my armor a simpler process. So I did a thinner duct tape cast, one I could draw out my pattern on and cut apart to use as templates for the materials I plan to use for the finished product. Looking at an assortment of reference photos I’ve gathered over the holidays, I began tracing out my pattern. I’ve started drawing it out using dry erase markers so I could make adjustments as I was going. I also used a second colour to draft up areas that were raised, not exactly to their placement, but to help in spaces like along the ribs where I didn’t have reference photos to rely on.

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When I’m satisfied with a final pattern, I will go over the whole thing with a permanent marker, making the whole thing nice and… well, permanent. Then, I will cut apart the cast and start using the pieces as templates for cutting my Worbla BlackArts.

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I hope you’re as excited as I am to see how this project develops over the next few weeks leading up to its debut in Maryland. You’ll also be able to find more progress updates and developments on my Facebook page.

J. Tanooki is a Contributor for aybonline.com. She has been a lover of cosplay for over 10 years and regularly works on new and exciting cosplay projects. She actively posts about her cosplay plans, progress, and random shenanigans on her Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram. Her opinion is her own.

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