So super, super last-minute, I decided to go to the NorCal Spring Gathering this past Saturday (I'll do a write-up separately). I remembered that I had my fem!Link cosplay already finished, and I had only worn it once and gotten no pictures, so I figured I'd wear it again.
The night before the gathering, I went over to a cosplay buddy's house and ended up helping her sew some of her stuff for the gathering. I was surprised that I actually enjoyed working on a costume for someone else as much as I did. I mean, I make costumes for my boyfriend on occasion, but I stress just as much about those as I do about my own costumes. Working on one for someone else, I was just as careful (if not more-so) than I am with my own cosplays, but it was more relaxing for some reason. Maybe because I didn't feel particularly rushed because, quite frankly, it wasn't my responsibility to get it finished by the end of the night, I was just doing whatever I could in the given time frame. In any case, I enjoyed it. I think I've mentioned somewhere before that I would enjoy doing costume commissions if people were willing to pay what they're worth.
I also sketched out the designs for my White Mage and my boyfriend's Black Mage cosplays. We thought that the basic pixel designs from Final Fantasy 1 were too simple and would look boring if we tried to translate them into real life. (Also, I've seen one too many Black Mages that look like a scarecrow in a snuggie.) So we talked about taking the basic design and adding minor details to make them look a little more interesting. Knowing how badly these things can go, we kicked around ideas for a long time, thinking about what would look good, how to keep close to the original design, and what would be too over-the-top or far from the original.
I had all of these ideas floating around in my head and decided one night that I needed to just put it down on paper to see what it all looked like, because no matter how good it looked in my head, I knew that the reality would probably look really different.
I compiled a bunch of reference pictures, starting with the Black Mage first, since that was the design I was most concerned about. I noted which game each of the references was from, and picked out things that I liked from each design. To me and my boyfriend, the most important thing was that the designs stay simple. So keeping that, and the basic shape from Final Fantasy 1, I began sketching. I don't have the sketches is digital format, but here are the reference pictures I used from Black Mage. (Note: The costume in the top right is what I didn't want it to look like.) I took structural elements from the first Final Fantasy Tactics reference (on the left), and yellow details from the Hume Black Mage (Final Fantasy Tactics also) in the middle. I kept the basic shape of the design in the bottom right (FFI), and I ended up completely disregarding the Mario Sports Mix design. My boyfriend had told me that he wanted a staff, and he wanted the gnarliest, most branch-like one, so I looked up a list of all of the staffs used in Final Fantasy and chose the one that was closest to what he wanted, it ended up being from Final Fantasy IX. It's not 100% decided yet, but I believe we're going with the shoes from the design on the far left as well (or at least something similar, since they'll most likely be covered anyway).
I am aware that some people may not like the fact that we are changing the designs of the versions that we're cosplaying, however I did put a lot of time and effort into these, and I love and adore the designs came out. We're not changing them so that we can cut corners on construction (because we definitely won't be), and we're not changing them so that we can be original or unique or our own characters or anything. We're changing minor details so that the costume overall looks better than it would if we were to translate it directly from pixels into 3D clothing. If that's the case, why aren't we cosplaying different, more detailed versions? I can't speak for my boyfriend here (though I know he loves being generic characters), but Final Fantasy 1 was the first Final Fantasy game that I played all the way through, and the only one that I've played that had a White Mage design with white robes. I loved my White Mage in Final Fantasy 1 to death (quite literally, as she didn't survive the last battle), and I can't imaging cosplaying any other White Mage right now.