Rated R for Radical!
Join Date: Jan 2008
Welcome to the forums!
TP Link is indeed a large task, but if you go about it the right ways, it's totally doable. Here are some tips:
1. PREPARATION. Do your research. Get photo reference from every angle, as big as you can. Get front, back, side views. If there's a paper craft model you can find and build, do it so you can see the game textures from any angle. You want to have as much information as possible. Break down the costume into components: I'd say hat, wig+ears+makeup, tunic, chain maille, undershirt, gauntlets+gloves, pants, boots, belts, and props (Master Sword and Hylian Shield, I presume). Have a plan for each part.
This forum is the perfect place to look up information and ask around. However, you've gotta be willing to put in your own work. For example, you can ask for tips on sewing, but show us that you've done some homework, maybe sewn a little bit in the past. There's multiple threads on TP Links all over CosCom, so be sure to look through those first. You'd be surprised how many of your questions get answered without having to ask them. Speaking of questions, be specific. People are more inclined to answer questions rather than post "any hints, tips, tricks, material suggestions, any advice." Rather than ask for a fabric suggestion, go out and find a few specific fabrics that you like or are within your budget, and come back for suggestions on those. That way, you're still in control of what you're buying.
Also, look up tutorials on everything. Even tutorials on different genres can provide information that you can use. Once you decide the best method or material for each part of the costume (which I'll go over in more detail below), you'll want to find appropriate tutorials for each method. You'll also want to try out multiple methods, both to experiment and get better at the the method, as well as to test to see if it's the right method. Sometimes, a tutorial for one method works well for another, so that's yet another reason to experiment.
Lastly, take stock of your resources. The most important resource is usually time: How long until you need this to be done? Do you need to order special materials, and if so, how long will that take? Have you factored how long it will take to measure, cut and sew your patterns? Create your chain maille? Sculpt, seal, and paint your armor? Other resources include money (can you spend a lot on the fanciest fabric, or is this going to be a budget build?) and materials (what materials do you have at your disposal? Do you have access to a sewing machine? For props, what tools do you have to work with? Will this be fiberglass, wood, pvc, cardboard?).
2. FABRIC: This deals with the hat, tunic, shirt, and pants. Fabric is totally up to you, so go out and look at fabric! Find a fabric store and browse around. It doesn't have to be the right color; often times, you're able to order fabric online in the shade you want. However, keep in mind that online ordering means you don't actually see the fabric until it gets to you, so be sure of the color beforehand (ask for swatches of fabric before that, some fabric retailers give them out for free to potential buyers).
3. ARMOR & ACCESSORIES This includes gauntlets, gloves, boots, belts and chain maille. What will you make them out of? Paper mache? Foam? Clay? Papercraft/bondo/fiberglass? Mold/Cast in plastic? Sintra/PVC? Different materials lead to different looks. For chain maille, will you be buying it or making it? If so, how will you make it? Making your own rings? Pop tabs? For boots, will you buy boots, or use boot covers over normal shoes?
4. WIG & MAKEUP: Will you be using a wig? Where will you buy it? How long will it take to get to you? Will you style it or wear as is, and if so, will you have the time to style it? Also, will you have pointed ears? Where will you get them, and how long to order? Lastly, you'll need to buy some makeup to blend your ears into your skin, and if you want to use contacts for Link's eye color, you'll need to obtain those as well.
5. PROPS: I'm going to assume you want to use the Master Sword and Hylian Shield. Now, most conventions and gatherings ban live steel weapons and props for safety issues. If you plan on using the props only for a private photoshoot, then metal isn't an issue, but for 90% of the time, you'll want a set of props that you can carry in a con environment. Depending on the con, this can range from wood to fiberglass to plastic to cardboard and pvc. It all depends on what your con allows or doesn't allow, so do some more research on what you can bring. Once you know what materials are allowed to be carried, you can start looking up processes, but the most common methodology is that you sculpt/build your prop, seal or smooth out the surface, prime, paint, and clear coat for protection from damage.
I know it's a lot to think about, but if you ask yourself these questions, you'll help narrow your questions to what you NEED to know, versus a blanket question of "any hints, tips, tricks, material suggestions, any advice." Remember, even if everyone gives you input, this is YOUR cosplay. You have to make it and you have to wear it, so it all comes down to your preference.