The first finished photo of my Zelda cosplay. 👑
I constructed this costume over the course of about six weeks, but I spent just as long planning and researching the techniques that would go into it. Despite my time crunch to finish it for Katsucon, I am proud of myself for not cutting any corners or sacrificing my commitment to quality to get it done. (I just worked crazy long hours every day for weeks instead, haha)
This is probably the most complex project I’ve tackled to date. Although there are some small improvements I would still like to make, I’m really pleased with how it came out overall. Get ready to see lots more photos of this one!
Photo by @josephchilin
Costume made and worn by me
Is there a step by step guide to build a village, town or city for a DND game? I have trouble getting my ideas down on paper. I feel a guide may help.
This is how I make mine:
Pick if I want it to be coastal, in a forest, desert, etc.
Pick a cool name.
Decide if this town is mostly for passing through, or if major things are happening here.
Decide if they’re cut off from other towns or near others.
Decide on population, race majorities and minorities.
Pick how the town makes money, what are its imports and exports if any.
Who is the leader? How do people like them?
What is the towns major problem? Starvation, rats, monsters, etc?
How strict are the guards? Do the villagers trust outsiders? Do they hate any race or class?
Come up with a bar, inn, weapon, and armor shop name and staff for each. If they’re known for anything, what are they known for?
How does this town get along with outsiders/other towns?
Any well known locals? What are their names, what are they known for?
If your players are good, evil, or neutral how would the townsfolk react? How would your players react here?
A lot of times some of this info is never asked about from my players. I recycle and use that info for other towns if need be. Half the time no one asks about the armor shop, or the potions shop. But its nice info to have on hand.
I also sometimes make mini flash cards detailing the important bits like:
Inn: Sleepy Fellow. Run by Ma. 5 copper a night. Worlds best pillows, they’re always stolen. Ma is sick n tired of it and will gut any thieves.
Here are some little extra tips and tools, too.
Plan your city around your landscape. If its a thin and spindly island, you’re not going to have a ton of open space. If the city is in a desert, there are probably very tall walls to keep the sand from blowing in, or the houses might be below ground, etc.
Here is a cool map maker to help visualize things.
Think about what you’d typically find in a town. Inn, bar, and leather working shops will be basically anywhere. Larger towns will for sure have armor, weapons, potions, etc. Farmer’s markets, hospitals, etc. are also usually present.
What kind of town is it? Is it peaceful, do they forage and lack trade routes? Is the town large, have a large guard presence?
How does the town make their money? Hunting, gathering, self sustaining, making crafts?
I use this sometimes to give me town ideas. I don’t really hit generate tbh, just the options alone help me out a lot.
How can your town serve the quest[s] and your players? Is it the main place where quests are given/done? If so, it might need to be more fleshed out. If they’re just passing by you don’t need a lot of detail. Maybe just one quirk or two to make each town unique. e.g. “Every Thursday is bring your pet to work day” for the local guards.
My newest little buddy! The Calimacil Lucrezia dagger. Also, check out this super awesome and incredibly cute hand cut, dyed and sewn sheath my friend Dave made me for my birthday! He made it specifically for this dagger and I love it! It fits my kit for Melodia so perfectly, and I can’t believe how generous my friends are.
Kind of a weirdly specific question to ask, but do you have any advice for drawing leather biker-style jackets? I notice you draw them in a lot of your stuff and they always turn out great. I have a male OC that wears one and I can always get the top part/collar right but something about the bottom and the way it's supposed to sort of interact with/hang off of the torso while unzipped is really weird to draw and I always end up making it like hug the skin in weird ways. Adore your art btw!!
Hi! Sorry late reply. I love costuming and I wanted to answer this properly.
I A D O R E leather jackets/biker jackets. And a lot of my understanding of jackets comes from knowing how real leather works vs fake leather/pleather/vinyl. Leather is generally very heavy. So its not going to fold or lay the same way a regular jacket or even vinyl will lay.
So first stop REFERENCE! If you own a leather jacket or a biker jacket try that thing on and look at it in the mirror. Then look at what its doing to your clothes/undergarments.
If you don’t own a leather jacket (like a lot of people lol. I own a fake one from forever 21) google or pinterest! Pinterest is both a blessing and a curse. Its a curse for unsourcing artists BUT is a REALLY good way to put together visual research quickly. I just used google for this so here’s some pics I thought were useful
So a thing to remember is typically people wear light clothes under leather jackets. Real leather like I said is very thick with an intent to protect as well as look just dang cool. Ewan is an avid bike rider so he’s usually wearing it for bike purposes. Wearing a big sweater or a flouncy shirt under a leather jacket is just going to be uncomfortable.
Leather and fake leather typically hang straight down unless they’ve got a belt at the bottom to cinch in.
So going off of your question about how it would hang it basically would hang straight down and a little away falling off of the chest muscles. Depending on whether the jacket is a very form fitting jacket or if its k inda loose to begin with will add to that as well.
So you’ve got your reference here’s a very minimal tutorial. There’s a lot about fabric and costume drawing theory I’m skipping over.
But typically for any sort of costume. Understanding the form underneath is important. You can fudge it later once you’ve got enough practice at it but its more believeable to just lay in a sketch or a light drawing of the figure on its own. You don’t have to go crazy into detail just remember where the bigger or muscles that are interacting are.
And then on another layer or if you’re using the same sketch layer draw in that jacket.
Points to remember is where is the fabric being stressed/stretched. Where is interacting with the form. Remember that bottom hems typically move out and up if the arms are outstretched. Even if its zipped the rest of the jacket will still move even if its minimally. An open jacket is fun to play with with action so don’t be afraid to fake it a little. Don’t go to town on the wrinkles because Leather is a heavy fabric and while it will remember wrinkles in elbows typically it just sorta hangs there. There’s always folds on the sleeves or where the body bends. Don’t forget the details so if it has a zipper remember that zippers have two parts. Buttons and seams are going to make it a more believable leather jacket.
Example if you’re drawing jeans as opposed to suit pants jeans have reinforced seams because they’re originally intended for heavy duty work where as a suit is typically worn in an office so the seams are cleaner and often hidden. Leather jackets fit into the first group like jeans and since the fabric is so heavy seams are pretty obvious and prominent. Buttons are typically big because they have to penetrate through the heaviness of the jacket. Even fake leather jackets have big buttons/zippers/seams to replicate the look of an authentic leather jacket.
I think that’s the short and skinny of it without getting into a 14 week class on fabric lol. Hope that helps!!
Levi’s Nightmare: Having a heart-to-heart with Pastor Nick.
“Are you worried about your wife?”
The question shocked him out of his musings.
Levi looked up, “My what?”
But the pastor was already speaking, “You’re obviously beside yourself with stress – and it’s understandable. Not knowing if your wife has survived-”
Levi cut him off, “Mywhat?”
The pastor hesitated, apparently realizing he’d made some mistake, but misunderstanding precisely what it was. “Your…wife? The woman we traveled with before? She’s ah – forceful. You two uh – have the same, er – strident personality. When we first met, she dangled me off the wall.”
“You’ll look like a boy,” my mother tells me. The implication is that I will be uglier than I already am: pimpled, greasy, in sore need of braces. “Your face isn’t the right shape.”
I notice no one ever tells boys these things, giving them haircuts. I am a spindly, pointy little creature – a bag of wire hangers, as my father says – hiding behind a long curtain of dark brown hair. It is consistently a rat’s nest of knots and dingy-looking oil. I have a muddy look about me, a certain dullness. At nearly thirteen, the average observer tends to guess my age around nine; my slim hips and small, vestigial-looking breasts might almost give me a chance at androgyny, if I didn’t have ten inches of pure and unadulterated nonsense growing out of my scalp. I am the only girl in my grade who takes no pride in her appearance. Perhaps if they had to contend with the face in my mirror every morning, they wouldn’t either.
“What do you want to cut your hair for, anyway?”
There is no telling my mother that in spite of the topographic map of flaws which comprises my face, I have kissed a girl. I look for women like me on television, in books, and I find them, but they cut handsome figures, short of hair, strong of jaw. I am weak and flowery in comparison. I want that kind of strength, that thing called butch which seems to elude me.
“It gets in the way.”
My mother huffs, irritable. “It’ll look greasier the shorter it gets. All that oil will stay on the top of your head.” She gestures to my limp, ugly strings. I flush. “You could have such pretty hair if you took care of it. There’s no reason to chop it all off.”
Here she strikes a sore spot. She knows I crave some kind of beauty, some meager peer approval. To say I don’t want pretty hair, no matter the length, would be a baldfaced lie. I try to say it anyway. She rolls her eyes.
“You can cut it to your shoulders,” she says decisively, “but that’s it. And we’ll get you layers, that’ll look nice.”
I mumble thanks, and three days later come home from the salon looking like a young man’s senior yearbook photo from 1975. It looks horrible, but I take a grainy, yellowish webcam photo anyway, an autistic’s poor approximation of an enthusiastic smile pasted on my face.
Seven years later, I find myself in another salon. I have forgone the lumpy, monochromatic, slightly feminine clothing of my childhood for men’s work shirts and polished leather boots, and I look good, but my hair is the longest it has ever been. I almost feel a kind of pride in having generated so much dead protein.
“So what kind of cut were you thinking of?” the stylist asks.
My mother and I fought about this until the very second I got into the car to leave. She insists upon me leaving some kind of long, wavy bit at the top of my head, enough perhaps to sweep girlishly over one eye. I want it off. “Don’t do anything too drastic,” she warned me as I stepped out the door.
The picture I bring with me has no such extraneous length. Short on all sides, a little longer on top. All-purpose, utilitarian, not a trace of anything lacy or lissome. The stylist nods and gets to work, shows me the ways to make it as masculine as possible. She sweeps it back handsomely with men’s gel and pomade and when I leave I have never felt better in my entire life.
My mother’s horrified shock is temporary, but my father approves. “You feel good, kid?” he asks.
Here’s the process I used to weather my Abyss Watcher jacket. I bought budget upholstery leather from ebay, which was close to the right color, but unfortunately turned out to be more glossy than I wanted. This process got rid of the glossy coat, darkened the color a bit, and also gave it a more worn appearance. I’ll show the final result later this week!
I recommend either doing this outside or wearing a respirator, as some of the chemicals release fumes that probably aren’t healthy to be breathing in. Nitrile gloves are also a plus. Rubbing alcohol and acetone in particular severely dry out skin (that’s why they work well for weathering leather :-P).
1) Apply isopropyl alcohol (IPA, aka rubbing alcohol) to remove the gloss coat. I squirted it on liberally and then rubbed it off with a paper towel. You’ll need to rub the leather quite a bit to remove the gloss coating, adding more IPA as necessary. If you want a more harsh effect, you could use acetone (found in nail polish remover) instead of IPA. Acetone tends to leave a residue, so you’ll probably need to use IPA afterward. The leather should have a dull, matte finish after this step.
2) Use shoe polish to both darken the leather and to simulate dirt and grime. Shoe polish comes in a variety of colors. I used black, but what color you use depends on the leather. Again, I rubbed this on with a paper towel. I focused more around seams and areas that might accumulate dirt with use. I also made random speckles and streaks. Be careful not to buff the leather too much, since this will make it shiny again.
3) Lastly, apply a leather conditioner. I used Pecard’s leather dressing, but there are a variety of different types out there. This serves three purposes. It moisturizes the leather again, since IPA/acetone dry it out, extending the lifetime. It tends to darken the color slightly, and it also keeps the shoe polish from rubbing off. Wipe on a thin coat, being careful not to buff too much if you don’t want a shiny finish. It takes a while for the conditioner to dry, maybe an hour or two. If, after that, it’s still feels kind of oily, you can wipe off the excess conditioner with a rag or paper towel.
4) Update (optional step not pictured) - After making this tutorial, I also applied some fake black dirt (Ben Nye character powder, Charcoal), which helped remove even more of the shine, darkened the leather a bit, and gave it a more grimy texture. This powder comes in three different colors, ash (white), prairie dust (brown), and charcoal (black), so there are a lot of options for getting different effects. It washes off with water, so if you apply too much or get it on your clothing, it’s not permanent. This also means that it does rub off a bit. I haven’t tested this yet, but it seems like it should be fine for a day’s wear, but you might need to reapply if you’re wearing for multiple days at a convention.
And you’re done! You may want to repeat some of the above steps if you’re not completely satisfied, or it’s still too shiny. I’ve also heard of people using sandpaper to scratch up the surface, but this damages the leather and didn’t quite give the appearance I wanted for my project.
Trying out silver gilding for the first time ever. The first picture is the tooled book before applying the silver and the next one is with it on top. Tomorrow I’ll post the finished decoration and I have to say, it was quite a difficult task working with loose leaf. For a first time experience however, I think it was quite satisfactory.