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View Full Version : New To Steampunk can someone help?


iori587
09-28-2010, 06:32 PM
Hi im Iori and i have been wanting to do a steampunk cosplay for a long time now but i dont really know how to do one or where to start. Also how do i make Modern items like a cell phone Steampunk?

glitter bomb
09-28-2010, 08:42 PM
I've been trying to post a reply for the past 5 minutes and I keep getting an error, so maybe this will work.

edit: !@#@$#%^$%^*^%#$#$!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I keep getting errors every time I try to post anything longer than a single sentence. I'll try to PM you the info, or repost it here sometime later if it'll work.

Shine-Chan
09-29-2010, 03:42 PM
Look here there is all sorts of info for all things steampunk.

http://brassgoggles.co.uk/forum

What you might want to do is think about what sort of steampunk you want to be.

glitter bomb
09-29-2010, 04:17 PM
I wanted to repost what I PM'd iori587, in case I gave her any incorrect info. that way someone can correct my mistake and avoid confusion for iori587. :)

BTW, the brassgoggles forum Shine-Chan posted is a great resource. :)

------------original post-----------------------
As with any costume, doing some research will go a long way. Honestly, just enter "steampunk" into google images or wikipedia and spend some time browsing. That'll quickly reveal the visual style to you. :)

Hopefully someone really into steampunk can chime in and offer an articulate explanation. ;) In the meantime here's a clumsy explanation. Most steampunk is envisioning an alternate reality where you place modern day technology into the Victorian era. The term "steampunk" is referencing a time period when steam power was prominent. Basically saying, ok, if item X were developed during the Victorian era how would they have built it? "X item" being something real or imagined. That's classic steampunk anyway, there are several subdivisions.

I'm in the process of planning some steampunk myself, and since I tend to be more cyberpunk (future tech) it takes a bit of adjusting to get me in the right mindset. I look at it on 2 fronts: (1) understanding the context and (2) understanding the aesthetic. Maybe that'll help you as well.

For context, I'm doing a bit of reading to better understand the WHERE and the WHEN that the steampunk movement is based. The WHERE is usually Britain or the US (or most often, the US interpretation of Britain LOL). The WHEN is the Victorian era, early-to-mid 1800s up to early 1900s. So I'm doing some reading on what was happening culturally during that time and in that place. What kinds of influences were prominent, what kinds of art and literature styles, what kind of mythology and religion, what kind of clothing styles, what kind of industry and inventions. That insight helps give me ideas for the overall look and for the detail elements.

For aesthetic (visual style and details), again looking at sample images will help. To broadly summarize steampunk usually means lots of lace, lacing, corsets, top hats, suit coats, goggles, leather, brass, rivets, gears. So you take typical Victorian clothing and "steam it up" by reinterpreting within those parameters. Steampunk is kind of putting a modern spin on the past.

Once I do research on context and aesthetic I like to put my own spin on it. For example... are you a saloon girl? a mad scientist? an aviator? an adventurer? a doctor? a Sherlock Holmes type? Creating a character that reflects your personality -- or departs from it as a fantasy -- is often a good way to start. You can also take it a step further and reimagine a favorite Anime or Comic character in the steampunk style.

I'd also suggest thinking about how purist you want to be, as well as if there's a subdivision that appeals to you. Those points will help shape your costume and character.

hope that helps.
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Gypsyangelf4i
09-29-2010, 04:57 PM
Wow! Great Tips Glitter Bomb! I just recently got introduced to steampunk myself and am also invisioning a costume. I've been all over the web and actually, the hardest things to locate, are patterns for that era style clothing (the white shirts with stiff collars and fluffy arms or even the vests and jackets). Any hints?

Ironhill
09-29-2010, 07:40 PM
One of the descriptions of steampunk I heard is Yesterdays Tommorrow. It is redesigning the tech of today using the mid to late 1800s viewpoint. Think Jules Verne sci fi. This could include Old West/Civil War styles as well as Victorian.

I was at the Steampunk World's Fair in New Jersey (yes, New Jersey) last May and one of the panels was making a steampunk persona as a starting point for designing outfits. Start out with who you are and what you do. Then look at your education, social class, and income. Finially, list 5 to 15 tools of your trade and figure out how you would steam them. Having a plan will make for an easier design and hopefully less headaches.

And lastly, have fun.

glitter bomb
09-30-2010, 09:23 PM
Ironhill,
that was a great, succinct description! much better than my rambling. ;) "Yesterday's Tomorrow" is a wonderful key phrase for it. A friend and I often refer to 40s-50s based punk (like Bioshock) as "The Future that Never Was" (this might be diesel punk?) and that phrase always clicks for me. "Yesterday's Tomorrow" is like that too. :)

And I agree about a persona. I always find that the character develops in my head first, and that's what leads the visual decisions. Especially with an original concept, where you're not mimicking an existing character. Even if you're creating something based on an amalgamation of existing characters, their background will tell you how to put it together.

glitter bomb
09-30-2010, 09:34 PM
Wow! Great Tips Glitter Bomb! I just recently got introduced to steampunk myself and am also invisioning a costume. I've been all over the web and actually, the hardest things to locate, are patterns for that era style clothing (the white shirts with stiff collars and fluffy arms or even the vests and jackets). Any hints?
Thanks! I'm glad that was helpful. RE: shirts: I'd try looking at historic costuming sites, and sites for people who do historical reenactments. They'll have suggestions for modern patterns that can be adopted for a vintage design, and some will offer downloads for historic patterns.

Also, one of the nice things I've seen about steam is that because it's Victorian inspired, not a Victorian replica, people have a lot more leeway in terms of accuracy. [Or as Ironhill pointed out, Western/Civil War inspired, not replicas.] As long as you're not going purist, you're probably fine winging it. :)

A shirt that has the general feel of a Victorian/Western/Civil War era blouse usually works. And often you can modify existing garments to be closer to the vintage design -- adding some ribbon or lace, changing a neckline, adding a ruffle to sleeves. Check out thrift stores, they're great for finding clothes to modify for this.

Then there's the philosophy that any inaccuracies you have are intended, as part of your character or as part of the historic altering inherent in steampunk. Especially with things like women wearing pants.

Gypsyangelf4i
10-14-2010, 07:56 PM
Thanks for the suggestions. Never thought of historic costuming.

elvis8tweeter
11-06-2010, 10:01 PM
[I]...........
As with any costume, doing some research will go a long way. Honestly, just enter "steampunk" into google images or wikipedia and spend some time browsing. That'll quickly reveal the visual style to you. :)

......
......

I'd also suggest thinking about how purist you want to be, as well as if there's a subdivision that appeals to you. Those points will help shape your costume and character.

hope that helps.
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wow wow, great tips :D thanks!

Purified Ace
11-15-2010, 02:35 AM
I would like to add just a little bit about cogs and gears.

A couple gears and cogs thrown in is all good and fun for style purposes, but don't get too carried away. The main idea about gears and cogs in Steampunk is to make them into something that could actually work and have a function (or at elast look like it).

As an example: My steampunk flintlock in compaarison to my friend's steampunk rifle.
My flintlock was bought at a con from another con-goer. It has six cears lining one side that, even if it were real, serve absolutely no purpose. While that almost serves a purpose for looks, my friend's rifle is much more...impressive.
It was three different bb guns, a VCR, some air conditioning cables, and empty paintball C02 canisters. He took and hollowed out one stock, and put gears inside, all glued, but all connected in what looked like a workable function. Then, he cut a hole in the side, so you could see them. The only gears on the outside are connected by rods to the inside gears, giving the illusion that if on gear turned, they all turned. The hoses are attached to the barrels, and in turnto the air cannisters, which were attached to the butt of the rifle. When he was finished, added an air pressure gauge to the barrel, just for kicks.

Check it out:
http://i306.photobucket.com/albums/nn272/Ace_of_Dreams/untitled.jpg

The gears on the inside are very subtle, but once you notice it, it makes it that much more awesome. My flintlock, on the otherhand, looks like a very cheap toy...(cause it is, but that's not the point).

Anyway, my point is, don't go overboard with gears and cogs, as I've seen done. It begins to look tacky. Make your gears at least look like they do something. It'll make you use your imagination more, and you'll get to explain things to people and what they do, and look oh so smart. Plus, it will not only look awesome, but it will impress people.

Hope this helps, mates.