Your Head and Your Costume:Millinery, Wig & Makeup Design for Cosplay
Planning Your Headpiece: Create a Visual1) Start with a sketch and research images to give yourself options. Seeing realistic ways to build something that was originally created for an imaginary, two-dimensional world will provide realistic options for executing your own design.
Know Your Materials 2) As a beginning milliner, approach projects earnestly. Stick to supplies that are available from craft, hardware and floral supply shops. They are often the most affordable and adaptable, easily combined with adhesives and changed with a few coats of paint.
Keep Your Costume in Mind 3) When building your headpiece, consider how it will fit on your head, especially if you’ll be wearing a wig with it. Consider height and balance issues and make sure to have a way to secure it to your head, preferably with long wig pins that go into pin curl preps or flat barrettes.
Work your Work! 4) When having your finished design photographed, keep in mind all the angles and details you want captured beforehand since you can’t see it once it’s on your head. Know how to maximize your design potential! Photos by Kevin@stillvisions.com
Styling Your Wig: From Fantasy to Reality 1) Start by translating the illustrated hairstyle into real-life looks and techniques. It may help to understand the style by sketching the character’s hair to analyze its shape and texture. If you’re not confident in your sketching abilities, you can also use research images.
Understanding Your Wig’s Properties 2) Next, find out what materials your wig is made of. Synthetic or plastic fiber hair can only be styled with gentle heat or, preferably, steam for a better, longer-lasting style; you can use a garment or hand steamer. You can also do a wet hair set and let it air dry or blow dry it (on LOW HEAT) for a softer curl. NEVER USE NORMAL HAIR- STYLING TOOLS ON A SYNTHETIC WIG; THEY WILL MELT IT!!!
Wig Styling Tools 3) Knowing your options in wig tools and what they do can help you figure out how to achieve the look you want for your wig.• Mesh Rollers – allow for good steam circulation, faster drying time• Electric Rollers – provide gentle curl; take longer to set and cool• End Papers – Keep short hairs close to roller for neater curl set
Wig Styling Tools continued • T-pins – Hold mesh rollers in place on head form• Rat-tail comb– Tool with point for separating layers of hair• Steamers – Hand and garment versions used for synthetic wig styling
Wig Setting Options 4) Straightening a synthetic wig is as easy as separating the hair into small sections and, working from the bottom up, brush each out. Then pull the brush through each piece from the underside with one hand while working the steamer down from the top; repeat as necessary to work out all the kinks, then brush through the entire wig and let it dry.
Wig Setting Options 5) When curling a synthetic wig, the look will vary based on the size of the roller. Larger rollers give softer, wavy curls; the smaller the roller, the more springy the curl. Separate the hair into small sections working from the top down, front to back. Wrap each tightly around the roller, tucking the ends under, and secure to the wig head with at least two T-pins. Steam for several seconds from about an inch away, and make sure all sides of every curl get hit with steam and let dry for about a day.
Securing and Styling Your Wig 6) To prep your hair: If it’s very short, use bobby pins crossed in an X as anchors. With longer hair, secure pin-curls in the same way on the crown of your head, in front of each ear, and at each corner of the nape of your neck. French braid and wrap the rest around your head and pin flat. Pin your wig cap on and push back from the hairline. Put the wig on with the pointed tabs inside centered in front of your ears and the hairline just in front of your own, as it may slide back during the day. Secure the wig with long pins that hook under the pin-curl anchors.
Finishing The Look: The Painted Illusion 1) As with your other designs, begin with a makeup plan and/or research images based on your character’s look. Try to break it down into color and accessory elements (such as false lashes, colored contacts, prosthetics, etc.)
Test Drive Your Look 2) It’s always a good idea to apply your makeup and accessories ahead of time for several reasons: you can see how long it will take to do on the day of the con; make sure it matches your vision of the character; get comfortable with the necessary techniques, and make any changes ahead of time.
Create the Character 3) Take note of the character’s features where they differ from yours and use your products to alter the look of them. With most female anime characters, you’ll need to make your eyes look bigger: line the inner rims with white pencil, apply thick black liner on top and add false lashes, then finish off with mascara on top and bottom. To change lip shape, conceal and powder around your natural lip line, then re-draw the desired shape with liner and fill with color.