Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Girls: Scarlet (Cosplay Overview)

Cosplay I: Scarlet (a.k.a. Stern Red)

Scarlet, age nineteen, is the eldest of the six sisters. With their parents absent for reasons unknown, Scarlet has been left to take care of the family and, in consequence, was forced to grow up too fast. She is a dutiful and effective caretaker, though introverted (preferring books to people) and detached from her sisters.  Not much else is known about Scarlet's history save that she is adept at playing the piano, but hasn't touched one in many years.

Scarlet holds her position as honorary 'Lady of the House' with a touch of bitterness. She often complains about the immaturity of her sisters (and others) and holds herself above the chaos of  childhood and emotion. At the same time she perceives her world as bland and oppressive, feeling more like a puppet than the 'in-control' adult she attempts to be. However, upon hearing music or seeing an instrument, that bitterness melts into poetic infatuation. She has a deep passion for the arts and views her life as a dark and empty void without them. For this reason Scarlet is wrapped in a sorrowful loneliness that she hides beneath her high-strung, serious, proud and intellectual persona. So long as she must raise her younger sisters, she feels she cannot pursue love; for the piano or for others.

Scarlet loves music, books, quiet and the arts. She likes stability and order. She openly declares that she dislikes chaos, something she her life has in spades as a segregate mother to five emotionally unstable younger sisters. As a frustrated 'adult', she also dislikes the instability of nature and chores showing particular vehemence towards hanging laundry and cobwebs. In the game, cobwebs are shown in association with Scarlet's piano, a metaphor for disuse despite desire.

Character Memes: 
Unfortunately The Path isn't popular enough to have memes. Many of the poetic quotes within the game are referenced here and there, but no on has yet associated humor or tropes with The Path that have stuck. If any of you talented cosplayers decide to create some for Scarlet, let me know and I'll cover them here! 

Game Quotes:
"Chaos awaits order like you await me. Let me silence this madness and sing for thee."
"I don't understand people who think nature is lovely. It's messy and it smells and it makes you get lost."
"Art is where the nobility of the world is expressed. I cannot live in a world without it."
"Men can be such monsters. It's simply disgusting. Whatever happened to elegance and sophistication?"
"A serenade in the woods. Somebody is playing my song. Long slim fingers caressing the keys of me."
"Get dirty to be clean. No light without darkness. A tear and a smile." 

Fun Extras:
To promote the game, Tale of Tales created a blog for Scarlet's character.
Check it out here!

Costume Breakdown  

Scarlet's outfit is very basic and gives the overall impression of a modest, 1960's mom. Her hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail and every part of her body is hidden save her hands and face. Her breakdown is equally sparse of items, so we can afford to be extra attentive to detail.

Now, normally I would warn you that the acronym 'F.O.Y.O.' next to any item listed below means 'Find On Your Own'. However, since Scarlet doesn't wear any unusual props, you won't see that acronym here. Now, let's break down the items!

1. Short Cherry Red Poncho:
The in-game graphics and the concept art for Scarlet differ in what it's supposed to look like, but one thing's for sure, it's a poncho not a shrug or caplet. You may have notices that some pictures, such as the one to the right, seem to hint that Scarlet's poncho has sleeves despite the absence of viable seams. After staring unblinking at my computer screen, I needed some nearsighted glasses. Oh, and I found that Scarlet's movements indicated a free flowing poncho. This is a good thing, because designing a sleeved short poncho is possible, but would be capital 'B' to explain.

Anyway, take another look at the concept art above. Scarlet's poncho is very simple, definitely knit since there are no clasps, zippers or buttons, with a high, round collar. Two pieces at most since there are no perceivable seams.

 Now look at the in-game graphics at the top of the 'Costume Breakdown'. Scarlet suddenly has a line of black buttons lining the side seams of her poncho. There is also a back seam, indicating that the back of her poncho is two pieces instead on one. So what do we make of this? The in-game poncho is more dynamic and can feasibly be made of felt or wool as opposed to a stretch knit, provided the buttons are functional.

I'll be teaching you how to make an in-game version, but if you prefer the concept art poncho, with a little tweaking, you can take my tutorial and simplify it as you choose.

2. Cherry Red Head Band:
This is easily made. Trust me, even someone who has never seen a needle and thread before can make this. If you want to buy your own headband and hope that it matches the rest of the outfit, go ahead. I'm telling you though, you can whip one of these together in minutes.

3. Sleeveless Black Top:
You hardly see it, but it's still important. It's safe to assume that the shirt is sleeveless since Scarlet's arms are bare and there's no bunching of fabric under the poncho. Then again, in video games, physics isn't always a factor in costume design (curse you Soul Caliber!). I'm going to teach you how to make a fitted spaghetti strap camisole for this, but you're welcome to buy something if you're feeling lazy. Just make sure that it's plain (no decoration) and will lay flat beneath the poncho. Whatever you buy should also be long enough to tuck into your pants.

4. Red Striped Jogging/Yoga Pants:
Once again, the concept art and in-game graphics don't agree. In the concept art, Scarlet's pants are executive-cut black pants with a red sash through the belt loops. In-game Scarlet wears fitted, stretch pants with the addition of a red waistband and piped stripe down both sides. This make the pants look less formal and more like jogging sweats. They must be stretch since there aren't any visible zippers.

5. Red Shoes: (F.O.Y.O.)
Okay, I lied. I'm not a cobbler, so I cannot give you a tutorial for these. Fortunately, red shoes should be relatively easy to find. Most of the Scarlet's shoes are covered by her pants, so you could feasibly use a pair of flats or boots. Whatever you can find. Otherwise, you're all crafty folk! You wouldn't be here if you weren't, right? If you're stuck you can always paint a pair of white shoes.

Are you ready? Let's get started!

Let's Make Item 1: Scarlet's Red Poncho------> 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Little Girls: The Path Cosplay Creation

Cosplay Breakdown: The Path
Soundtrack Category Name: Track 3 'Little Girls'


Okay, this is awkward...

It seems I was a little too ambitious when I first started this blog. Making a full cast of cosplay costumes by crunch time is one thing, but making a tutorial about it … well, that’s a bit more difficult. Especially when you’ve found that you’ve reached the end and didn’t take any photos. Anyway, yes, I fail and to all you tutorial writers who don’t even break a sweat *salute*.

I will be doing a 'Resident Evil classic’ tutorial in the future, but for now I would like to start with something simpler to earn my sea legs. Or tutorial hands … as the case may be.

Since we’re starting small and simple, I thought it might be appropriate to feature a small, hindi gaming company and a deceptively simple game. I am of course talking about, Konami’s hidden treasure, Metal Gear Solid.

Wait, *flips through book of important stuff* what I meant to say was Tale of Tales’ modern rendition of Little Red Riding Hood, The Path. Now I’ve already reviewed this game in my deviantart account and I’m a very busy (lazy) person. Therefore, I’m only giving a quick recap.

Now, I’m assuming everyone is familiar with a version of the story 'Little Red Riding Hood', right? Little Red is sent to visit her sick grandmother and on the way she meets a wolf? Well, on the surface, that’s exactly what happens in The Path. You play as one of six sisters (Robin, Rose, Ginger, Ruby, Carmen, Scarlet), as you explore the mysteries of a ponderous, eerie and beautiful forest landscape on your way to Grandmothers’ House. However, what really happens to each girl is a heated debate on blogs and gaming sites everywhere.

Why? Because The Path is a highly unconventional gaming experience that deals with serious life issues indirectly. The main characters, despite being sisters, are not a Huey, Dewey, and Louie deal. Though they all explore the same forest and interact with the same items, the way they view the world differs based on their age and emotional maturity. The problems they are facing outside of the woods also vary and each girl is grappling with some aspect of life/womanhood before the story begins. Consequently, the Big Bad Wolf waiting for them in the forest comes in many shapes and sizes. 

Perrault's tragic version of the fairy Tale, 'Little Red Riding Hood' bares the heaviest influence upon The Path. The final 'Moral' of the tale (from which this cosplay series got its name) is even recited during the game trailers. 

 Little girls, this seems to say,
Never stop upon your way.
Never trust a stranger-friend;
No one knows how it will end.
As you’re pretty, so be wise;
Wolves may lurk in every guise.
Handsome they may be, and kind,
Gay, or charming never mind!
Now, as then, ‘tis simple truth—
Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth!

If you’re curious or just like running through a simulated fairytale wood, then you can find The Path here at the Tale of Tales website.

That takes care of the unfamiliars. Now, I imagine that most of you are here to make a cosplay, so let's get to it! I'll take you step by step through each of the sisters, from story to costume, beginning with the oldest. 

Now, out of principle and respect for those who still love surprises, I try to keep these tutorials spoiler free. I will do my very best as I break down these cosplays, but please understand that you will then have to play the game to completely understand how to embrace the attitudes of each girl. I will give you as much as I can without ruining anything.