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    Friday, November 06, 2009

    Visual Kei On a Budget: A Photo Tutorial

    Okay, I know it is almost an oxy-moron. Visaul Kei and budget don't even belong in the same post, much less the same sentence!

    If you are familiar with cosplay, the Final Fantasy games, J-pop, or anime at all, then you have an idea of what Visual Kei is.

    But only the vaguest of ideas...

    See, Visual Kei is a music genre that encompasses a bizarre combination of what happened when 80's hair bands, Jpop, and punk smashed together, and created something altogether new. Born in Japan, it mixes cosplay, metal, gothic and glam. Visual kei bands are very extravagant, and you can usually tell a Visual Kei band or artist by their elaborate costumes, crazy-impossible hairstyles, and bold, daring makeup, usually applied over some variety of lighteining foundation. Want an idea of what I'm talking about? A simple example:

    "Dir En Grey" Get the idea? Of course, this is not our favorite Visual Kei band, but this promo shot has the most varied imagery on which to base a generalized idea of the genre. *smile*

    So, two days before Halloween, Willamina tells me she would love to be Visual Kei for her costume. Being me, I tell her that's no problem, and I can make that happen. She protested, saying we had nothing that would work for a costume that elaborate, and I gave her a short list of things to acquire from our closets, and the costuming bucket while I went out shopping.

    A little while later, I returned with a can of hairspray, some red lipliner (I needed some anyway), a small jar of ivory foundation, a tube of white clown makeup, and some black eyeliner (useful for both her and her sister's costume). Total cost; about $20

    Yes, that's all we're working with here. Budget-minded enough for you yet?

    No? Okay, I didn't really have to buy the $7 hairspray, and I couldn't find red lipliner at the dollar shop, so sue me. *wink* If I had, though, or we'd had some liquid foundation at the house, I could have gotten away with spending a mere $6, tax included. Better? *grin*

    When I returned, she had gathered my little stretchy vest, a red scarf, some leftover red hairspray from some other event, her little sister's white dress shirt, a couple of punk lace-up arm warmers I got on clearance last year after Halloween, some gold chains she had lying around, her black exercise pants, a punky leather collar, black pleather boots, and a sleeveless little t-shirt-like overcoat that buttons in the front. You know the kind that proper young ladies wear over their plain, long-sleeved dresses in the winter?

    So with all of these disparate items, I got to work.

    First came the sketch. A working example of what I planned on creating. Not pretty, but functional, and it gave a decent idea to W as to what I intended for her. But still she couldn't fathom how, exactly, I was going to pull it off with the seemingly meager supplies we had brought together.

    Then I dressed her partially and set her in the chair for hair and makeup.

    Doesn't she look so very excited? This, my loves, is a picture of teen disbelief. She was willing to let me try, but didn't think it would turn out very well, despite the fact that I told her that her hair alone would take me nearly two hours to complete...

    Somewhat more excited here, about 45 minutes into her hairstyling. Resting frequently to assuage the complaints of "yanking my hair out of my head", these sacrifices were necessary for "the look" she wanted. We still have not touched the colored hairspray in this shot, this is the (dyed) color of her hair.

    Of course, after a lot more time, and application of the colored hairspray to the tips of her spikes only, we achieved this (spray drift caused the blended-color effect).

    Makeup was quick by comparison, custom-mixing the shade of pale that I could easily blend with the natural shade of her neck, drawing on the bold lip design and eye makeup, and finishing off with kanji on her cheek just for spice; the Japanese character for "candy". Perfect for trick-or-treating!
    Hoping to grab a cheap pair of ears for her sister's costume before our homeschool group's Halloween party, we dropped off at a local big box store. We didn't find any pink kitty ears, but we did find something perfect for W's costume!

    A broken umbrella, and I knew just what to do with it, too!

    Ah, sweet broken umbrella, discarded, unloved. The most overlooked piece of costuming potential to ever sit abandoned on the ground at my feet...

    Oh yes, I had plans for that umbrella, and my plans involved a pair of scissors and some safety pins.

    After that, it was simply a matter of finding a suitable backdrop for a photo of the finished product.
    Costume bonus; every time the spikes were pushed down, they sprang back into place!


    Evil said...

    Amazing, you have mad skill when it comes to dress up.

    Whimspiration said...

    Thanks! :D

    Unfortunately for me, however, this has again spurred her into her game of "break the mommy", wherein she comes up with increasingly elaborate costumes as time goes by, and asks me to do them for her.

    The request that stopped the game last time: 'mom, I want to be a baby dragon with fully functional, articulated wings.' It was the first time she had ever heard me say no to a costume! LOL

    Prior to me saying no, her costumes included Pippi Longstocking (braids stuck out so far, she had to turn sideways to get through doorways), a Christmas tree, and a one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater!

    She already has another request, and is delving deeply into the art of cosplay, asking to be a character from an anime! I'm studying the makeup techniques necessary for making her look like a plastic little cartoon, and she wants to buy contact lenses. :P

    TheOrganicSister said...

    This is so awesome! *Love* the "candy" on her cheek. I'm seriously impressed!

    Whimspiration said...

    Now if I could get paid for doing the full time, I'd have it made! :D