Tagged: orphan black

Emily S. Whitten: Adventures in Costume-Making, Halloween Edition

Hot TopicHappy post-Halloween, everyone! I hope it was spooooky and fun and sugar-coma-tastic. Man, I love Halloween. And this year I had a big party to go to, so I decided to go all out on my costume, a creepy “broken doll.”

Even though this year’s costume was not specifically geek-related (unlike that year I went as Black Canary and everyone thought I was Lady Gaga… sigh), I had a great time putting it together, and since putting together a good costume is part of the fun for me at some conventions, and I haven’t done a costume how-to (Emily-style!) in a while, I thought I’d give it a whirl with my Halloween getup.

I am unashamed to admit that this year’s costume idea came from an email Hot Topic sent out advertising their Halloween costume pieces. (And FYI, if anyone else is remembering the days when Hot Topic mostly contained black things covered in spikes, you are now on notice that these days it also contains a lot of awesome geek and pop culture clothing and collectibles.) Although I do like to try to come up with my own spin on costume things, my starting point was definitely the Doll Leg Tights on the Hot Topic site. I saw them and just thought, “A life-sized doll. What a cool, creepy idea.” Especially since I have a weird fascination with the idea of dolls (and other toys) coming to life (wherein depending on the toy, you either wind up as one of the humans in Toy Story or in Chucky and who can say which it will be until it’s too late? See also: the evil doll in the new Ash vs. Evil Dead show, which is hilariously cute-evil).

Unfortunately, by the time I realized I wanted to do a creepy doll costume the tights were all sold out. Undeterred, I thought, “How hard can it be to make doll legs?” Well. Not as easy as you’d expect, actually, but then again, nothing ever is in costuming. That’s what makes it fun! (And after all, it’s not Emily-style costuming unless you attempt to make something you’ve never made before from scratch with little idea how and almost no time to spare.) I decided to give it a go, and ran through the options of drawing them on with makeup, creating some custom temporary tattoos as I have for previous costumes, or using permanent marker (either directly on my skin, or on tights).

I nixed the idea of makeup because I didn’t want to have to worry about it smearing and coming off on things, and I decided against the temporary tattoos because I didn’t have time to properly fit and scale them in Photoshop. A friend informed me that drawing on yourself with ink or permanent marker is bad for you (oops for all those years I waitressed at the Arts Center and doodled on myself in between orders). So I decided to try permanent marker on light-colored hose. It…did not go well. It turns out, permanent marker is not actually permanent on hose. Instead, it gets all over everything. Ick. Fortunately, at that point I remembered my cache of fabric paint (d’oh!); and in the end, that’s what I used. (I have been informed that Michael’s also has fabric markers, so that might be an option for other DIYers, but I didn’t have time to go buy any).

The fabric paint worked pretty well, considering. It’s not super easy to paint on your own legs, but in the end, and using some photo references, I managed some acceptable doll ball joints. Given I was going as a broken doll, I then added a bunch of cracks, which was the fun part. It was kind of like painting lightning; and I also discovered that making some of the cracks really black in the center gave them a more realistic look, for added creepy brokenness. I then managed to create arm-hose by cutting apart a pair of regular hose and then cutting finger-holes in the toes (pro tip: because hose stretch so much, the finger-holes can be only a few millimeters across when you cut them; and you can then use a thin line of clear nail polish around the cuts to stop runs). And then, of course, I painted on them, too.

I was pretty happy with the end result for a first attempt, although as a fair warning to anyone else who wants to try this, some of the paint does bleed through and will thus have to be scrubbed off afterwards, and also touched up on the hose before a second wear. But the Tulip brand of fabric paint I used wasn’t hard to get off.

Once I had the arms and legs out of the way, the rest of the costume wasn’t too challenging; although I did also do some fancy-schmancy nails in one of my favorite greens to match, and those took some time. But fancy dolls have to have fancy nails! (For my fellow nail polish addicts, that’s China Glaze Smoke and Ashes from the Hunger Games line, Wet N’ Wild Spoiled in Correction Tape, and Sally Hansen Lacquer Shine in Glow.) As per the Emily-style costuming method, I love to repurpose costume pieces I’ve used before. Therefore I decided that this doll was going to be a sort of dark harlequin/ballerina-style doll, and pulled together the green corset and fluffy black skirt that originated in an Absinthe Fairy costume, a black lace shirt with puffed sleeves that’s played its part in my Discworld ensembles, and ballet flats that, quite honestly, are part of my regular work attire.

That just left hair, makeup, and accessories. For whatever reason, despite my hair’s inherent general inability to hold any curl whatsoever, I discovered recently that it will stay naturally in simple curled pigtails (weird!) so I opted for those, helped along by hair spray for a little extra staying power, and accented with black ribbon bows. The necklace was actually a Hot Topic purchase I’d never found anything to wear with before, but it set this ensemble off perfectly; and the earrings added a nice additional pop of green to a fairly dark outfit.

The makeup job was a bit tricky, I’ll admit; but it had to be right to pull the costume together. Fortunately, the set of colors I usually use for Harley Quinn could be repurposed for this (and can be acquired at your local CVS). For anyone who wants to replicate the look, I started with circles of Maybelline’s “Dream Bouncy” blush in Plum Wine, which is a cream blush that stays put and shows up well under powder. The powder went over my whole face and is Manic Panic’s “Virgin” Pressed White Powder, which is of excellent quality. I then drew on dark, fairly thin eyebrows with a black brow pencil to get that more doll-like look.

Next up were the eyes – with white around the outside on the bottom, and on the upper lids, to make them look unnaturally large and doll-like (Milani’s Runway Eyes in Backstage Basics has a pearly white that I used). Under the eyebrows I used the basic brown in Revlon’s Illuminance Cream Shadow set, with a touch of the shimmery brown on the inside areas, to make the eyes look like they were more deeply-set. Once I had the basics done, I drew the shape of the bigger doll “eyes” and eyelashes underneath in black liquid eyeliner, and filled in the lower half of my upper lids with the same, getting wider towards the outside of the eye. I finished the eyes with some fake eyelashes on the upper lids to add to the blinking doll effect.

The black eyeliner was also what I used to draw the “cracks” on my face, and worked very well for that because of the liquidity and fine tip on the eyeliner brush. I finished off the look with a lipstick base of Maybelline “Bare All” (originally acquired for my Orphan Black Helena costume) to get rid of my natural lip color, then drew on a smaller, rounded pair of doll lips using Milani Easy Liner in Sugar Plum, Revlon Ultimate ColorStay Liquid Lipstick in Brilliant Bordeaux, and Revlon ColorBurst Lipgloss in Bordeaux. Et voilà! Creepy broken doll face, and Creepy Broken Doll.

After that, all that remained was to go hang out at an awesome house party with the likes of Rose Quartz and Miss Fisher and Daredevil and to happen upon some great settings like this pumpkin-filled alleyway or this old trunk and stone wall in which to take some super creepy doll photos.

So there you have it, folks! A Halloween how-to. Hope it’s helpful to any fellow costumers out there; and until next time, Servo Lectio!

…Because if you don’t? I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL.


The Point Radio: DARK MATTER Explodes Tonight

The new SyFy (and former Dark Horse) project, DARK MATTER premieres tonight on SyFy, and we begin our coverage with actor Roger Cross who tells us why this might be his biggest genre roll yet. DARK MATTER premiere tonight on SyFy, Then Dania Ramirez from HEROES and X-MEN LAST STAND takes us into the third season of Lifetime’s DEVIOUS MAIDS plus her new indy film project.

 We’re back in a couple of days with more on DARK MATTER.

Jen Ernst: Orphan Black at WonderCon Interviews Pt 3: Graeme Manson

In this final video, it’s time to chat with Orphan Black co-creator and writer Graeme Manson.  While, it took great restraint for me not to ask about his episode of Being Erica (possibly the best time travel show this side of Doctor Who), there were plenty of on-topic related questions to pose.  Like:  Will Sarah ever get to stop running? Or which characters are the most interesting to write for this season?  And how has the original plan the show deviated after the first two seasons?  Manson also gets a chance to speak about Donnie & Alison and clone dance parties. But I suggest watching him answer the questions closely. Perhaps, if you are as mental as I am, you’ll be able to suss out spoilers in his eyes.

Orphan Black returns at 9pm on April 18th to BBC America.

Jen Ernst: Orphan Black at WonderCon 2015 Interviews Pt. 2

According to Orphan Black’s Evelyne Brochu Season 3 (premiering April 18 at 9:00pm on BBC America), if the show were a spiral, this season would be getting closer to the center, moving at a faster pace, and creating more danger for the characters. “When you are in danger,” Brochu says, “you rise up to the challenge.”  This explains why Brochu and her fellow castmates Kristian Bruun (Donnie) and Dylan Bruce (Paul) showed so much excitement for the new season at WonderCon last weekend.  Bruun went as far to call it “the most action-packed season so far.” There were promises of darker storylines and more raw emotional story telling.   So, basically yea!  I’m also intrigued by what Brochu calls a “heartbreaking season” for her character, Delphine.  Heartbreaking in what way she wouldn’t say, so basically I’m already worrying about Cosima.

Of course, I expect to hear all kinds of buzzwords and hype from actors as they are doing PR for a project, but I believed them this time.  With Paul’s involvement in a more militaristic world, there’s going to obviously be more violence and intensity.  And while I’m okay with that —- a little bloodshed’s cool if it moves the plot along in painfully interesting way – I’m more excited about Bruun’s admission that we’ll be seeing deeper into Team Hendrix.  Yes, I do totally relate to the most suburban of the clones, but my favorite part of Orphan Black is the comic relief — that’s where Donnie & Alison excel. Bruun teased that Issue 3 of the IDW comics will explore the couple’s early relationship in college and then in the show itself we’ll get a glimpse into what they were like as newlyweds.

The interview video has all the deets – and you get to look at Brochu’s amazing hair.

Jen Ernst: Orphan Black at WonderCon Interview Pt.1

Orphan Black, BBC America’s addictive science and morals showdown series is back on April 18 at 9:00 ET.   Season Three throws Tatiana Maslany, in her gazillion (give or take) clone roles, into unexpected territory as they deal with the revelation of  a new line of militaristic male clones played by Ari Millen.  It also hopefully brings more sass and wit from more sassy Felix (the British-accented artist/rent boy foster brother we all wish we had.) And fingers crossed it will answer the questions plaguing me since last season ended. Now that Project Leda know they are not alone, what’s next?

There are a bunch of questions that need to be answered! Who survived? Where did they take Helena? Is she preggers?  Will Rachel will be rocking an eye patch? I can’t wait to see those play out.  But, what’s been plaguing me in the hiatus has been Mrs. S.  What’s her deal?  Who’s side is she on?  How pissed is Sarah going to be?  There’s something about Maria Doyle Kennedy’s portrayal of Mrs. S with her brand of harsh compassion that is so compelling.  Maybe I just have huge girl crush on MDK ever since The Commitments, IDK.

So, of course I was totally beside myself at Wondercon last Saturday when members of Orphan Black’s cast were on hand before their panel to give some insight on what’s to come.  And yes…Maria Kennedy Doyle was there.  And no, I didn’t fangirl out.

In this first video, Jordan Gavaris (Felix) and the lovely Maria Kennedy Doyle talk about their characters’ relationship, if we should trust them, and skillfully answer questions without getting spoiler-y.   Oh and yes, there is a Mr. S!

The Point Radio: Still UNDATEABLE Still Funny

UNDATEABLE has returned to NBC with more fresh comedy and a few changes, all detailed for us by cast member Ron Funches and creator/EP Bill Lawrence. Plus ORPHAN BLACK saves the comic stories in February.

In a few days, we circle back to BATES MOTEL for a talk with Norman Bates himself, Freddie Highmore.
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