Nightingale Armour Remake 2017 Part 1

And so my hobby of cosplaying from Skyrim comes in a full circle.

I think it was mid way though 2015 where I played with the idea of re-making my Nightingale armour set from Skyrim. The armour is by far my favourite set from the game. I am very pleased with my first make of the set, it was my first self made cosplay and was very ambitious considering I hated textiles at school at the time.
Bodysuit arrived mased made
That selfie remains to be the best photo of me ever taken. I was 15 then, now 18…
I think whats so appealing about the Nightingale Armour is just how badass it looks. You’re a medieval ninja, whats not to love!!
I wanted to do it better, more details, see how I’ve improved as a costume maker and get some more in character photos.


I’m so happy with the accuracy of the remake so far, it’s already taking a better shape and is more form fitting.

I think something that’s really important to note about the Nightingale armour is that’s you’re far better off referencing source material rather than other cosplayers. There are many details that go into the main pieces and everyone interprets them differently. There’s nothing wrong with using other cosplayers material to guid you however! I referenced Dewbunch a lot when it came to patterning my set.

The main two reference images I used were,

This image from the official Skyrim art book. (Also available in the Man, Mer, Beasts Book)
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And this amazing picture which shows the set front and back without the cape!
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Worklog!

I started by wrapping myself in plastic wrap and painters tape covering the areas I wanted to pattern. I then cut myself out, put it on my dressform and taped it back up again and began drawing my patterns.
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I focused on just patterning the ‘breastplate’ portion this time round. Earlier in the year I had attempted to pattern both the breastplate and the belt portion of the armour in one go, this didn’t work as they layered to closely together making for a very tight fit. I also patterned everything far too small on that attempt!

I then cut these pattern out and numbered them all making a note of what number corresponds with which patterns.
I was happy with the shape and moved onto making a mockup. I just used regular old printing paper in an A3 size.
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It was still sitting the way I wanted it to do I tapped it all together for a try on!
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It fit perfectly!!
I only made one alteration and that was lowering the neckline by about 1.5cm, it was cutting into my neck a little bit and there needed to be at least 0.5cm for the standing collar.

Next was time to transfer everything to foam!

I used Cosplay Shop EVA Foam in the 0.5cm size.
THIS FOAM IS AMAZING
This is the foam Kamui Cosplay is currently using (endorsing) for all of her cosplays. It’s not expensive, I bought three 0.5cm sheets and a 0.2cm sheet all for £35 including shipping.
When I’ve completed this cosplay I’ll make a full review!
Because I will be covering this in stretch faux leather I wasn’t too worried about damaging the foam so I pinned my patterns to the foam before tracing and then cutting out.

It’s cuts so well too!!! None of that raw edge fraying foam you get with yoga mats. It’s so dense and doesn’t rip unless you put a lot of force on it.
This foam is actually the love of my life
Next I tapped all of my pieces together and tried it on again, happy to find it still worked perfectly!!!
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I then patterned the belt and skirting which I don’t have patterning photos of but here’s the finished belt with paper patterns for the skirting

I did another fit test using tape to connect the belt pieces and was once again really happy with the fit and how everything sat.
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At this stage I had gone through the two rolls of foam I first ordered and had to wait for my next order to arrive. this time ordering three 5mm rolls and one 2mm roll. When they arrived I transferred the patterns to foam and did a mock fit test.

These picture make me so happy!!! The accuracy is great and I’m so happy to see how I’ve improved as a costume maker in three years!
I’m currently cutting out raised details from the 2mm foam which will boarder some of the edges of the armour pieces to give it some extra texture and more depth making it look layered in areas.

My stretch faux leather sample should be arriving in the post over the next few days and if I’m happy with it I’ll order enough to cover the whole set. This will be glued down with contact cement, I haven’t used it yet but I hope it lives up to its ‘I’ll stick anything together’ reputation!

I’ve also drawn up a blueprint for the Nightingale Bow, you can see how I did that in My previous post.
Nightingale done

I’m yet to scale and print it but I’m very happy with how it looks!

I’ll be reusing my cape, bodysuit and boots from my original Nightingale Armour set which means I won’t have to do any sewing for this cosplay, save it all for my ball gown.


Next month I’ll be attending MCM Comic Con in London where I will be wearing my Ana Amari Cosplay, so I’m busy working on that now to get it all finished in time. Jamilla will be Widow Maker and I’m so excited to get a shoot together and meet each other finally!

Ana updates coming but my next post will be about the fabrics I have got for my 1860’s ball gown which I’m so happy with!

 

Thank you for reading
-Nivera

Tutorial: Drawing Blueprints MacBook (free)

I got halfway through writing this tutorial using Auriel’s Bow as an example but gave up due to it being too complicated/detailed and just couldn’t be bothered finishing it. But a week later I decided to try again this time using the Nightingale Bow as an example. This was perfect as I’m planing a particular remake that will benefit from this blueprint, hint hint!

This tutorial will go though step by step showing how to use a MacBooks built in function and a free app to make blueprints for props. I’m not that great when it comes to using photoshop programs and I didn’t really want to spend money on buying one to then learn how to use. So when I stumbled upon these functions through some online forums I was more than excited to test their worthiness for making blueprints.

Tutorial Time

 

The first thing you want to do is download a free app called “Paint X Lite” from the App Store. You won’t need the full version for this.

Then you want to find a reference photo that show what you want to make at a flat angle. Its better your reference photo is flat as this makes drawing it out easier because you have a full view the prop.

Below I have included what is a good reference image looks like vs a bad one.

Notice how the second picture isn’t quite flat which obscures the outside lines, while the first picture is completely flat showing the overall shape as well as the fine details. I think its also important to note that if you can its best to get a reference image that has a transparent or white background. This will mean you use less ink when printing and don’t have to spend time whiting the background out yourself.

I got my reference image from the Skyrim Wiki which I linked earlier. The background is transparent which is a great bonus.
step 1

Then you want to save that image, I saved mine to a folder containing all of my reference images and progress pictures keeping things together.
step 2
You then want to open your image up and it will look like this.
step 3
Next you want to click on the little briefcase icon at the top of the page. This is called the “Markup Toolbar” and its what you’ll be using to draw the blueprint.
step 4
Now because the Nightingale bow is mostly black using a black outline is going to be difficult. So for this I decided to use red as a base outline colour but any contrasting colour will work.  You can change the colour of the pen by selecting the two boxes (circled) at the top of the page and changing them to a contrasting colour.
step 5
To begin drawing your outline you have two options. You can use ‘shapes’ which is similar to Vector drawing. Or you can select ‘sketch’ which is just as it sounds but cleaning up lines is easier. Sketch is highlighted in blue which shapes is highlighted in red. For the first part of this tutorial I’ll be showing how to use the shapes option but I’ll switch to sketch later on. Use which ever suits you!
step 6
When using shapes once you click the diagonal line in the drop down box a line will appear with three dots on it, one on either end and in the centre. I’m going to refer to these as ‘side nodes’ and ‘centre node’, because I actually remember information from Year 12 maths!
step 7
Mastering how these lines work takes a little bit of time but here are a few basic rules to get you going.
You can make the line smaller by clicking and dragging a side node closer to the centre node. This also works in reverse by dragging a side node away from a centre node making the line larger.
You can pick up and move the lines anywhere by moving your cursor over the line until it becomes a hand indicating that you can pick it up, you can then move the whole line anywhere. Alternatively you can just drag one side node to the spot you want it and then move the other side node into the position you want it as well.
The centre node it key for making curves. By clicking and dragging the centre node in any direction to create a curve. You can create tight curves by moving the centre node closer to one of the side nodes or gradual curves by keeping an Evan distance between the centre node and the side nodes.
Its all about experimenting! The lines are movable (within the same session) once you’ve placed them if you make any mistakes.
step 9
For example above I have stretched the two side nodes to the outside of the bow over a curve. By clicking and dragging the centre node to the curve and moving it around until it lines up with the outline of the bow it forms a curve exactly like that on the prop.
step 10
By continuing to do this all the way around your prop it’ll be outlined in no time.

TIP, sometimes using smaller consecutive lines will make going around tight corners or sharp angels that much easier.

Here I have finished outlining the outside of one half of the bow and can start on the details inside the bow.
step 11
Before I start that though I’m going to change the line thickness to something smaller which will make the details that little bit more accurate. It also means that there won’t be any thick lines to overlap or get too close to one another.
step 12
You can change the line thickness by clicking on the icon that is just three lines in different sizes on top of each other. Self explanatory really!
step 13
Once you’ve finished with the inside details take a step back and appreciate your hard work. Or in my case prepare yourself to start on the OTHER half of the bow.
step 14
All done! It looks almost done but theres still one major thing to do. And thats get rid of the original colour on the interior of the blueprint. In order for this to print well it really needs to be white but if your happy with it at this stage then thats okay too!

Close out of the image, it will save on it own don’t worry! Then right click on it and click on ‘Open with Paint X Lite’
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Paint X Lite (I’m just going to refer to it as PXL from now on) will open up you image like it has done below.step 15
PXL is essentially Microsoft Paint for MacBooks. You’ll find most of MSPaints tools available on this version. By the way if you want to zoom you can’t manually zoom by using the touch pad but instead got to ‘View’ next to ‘Home’ and then click on zoom or unzoom. It took me far too long to work that out on my own…
step 16
Unfortunately as there isn’t a layering system (at leat with the free version I’m unsure about the full one), the next task is to use the eraser tool and start erasing all of the original image but being carful not to erase the lines you have drawn. These lines can be touched up later so you don’t have to be overly carful, just as long as you know the general shape.
As I had to use a contrasting colour for the first outline I wanted to change the red lines to black as I find it reads better on a blue print. I also didn’t want to unnecessarily use up coloured ink. You can try and use the paint bucket tool to select sections of the outline to colour black but the method is time consuming and you’re better off using the next technique.
step 17
Here I opened up the image in mark up again and this time started using the sketch tool to draw over the red lines (I ended up drawing over all of the lines again).
The great thing about the sketch function is that you can draw the lines in any length and when you finish a line the side and centre nodes will appear meaning you can change the shapes it if you didn’t do something they way you wanted the first time.step 18
Another awesome thing is being able to draw curves more easily. Like when a drew the spiral pattern above it didn’t flex into a straight line instead maintaining the spiral design. Its also important to not the top left corner, sometimes if the line you draw is similar to a straight line it will flex into a straight line to undo this from happening just click on top box (the blue one) which will be the shape you originally drew and it will flex back into that shape. This also happens with drawing curvy designs and they may flex into circles, again just select the box that has a picture of your draw design and it will change back.

Then just keep drawing over the lines until your finished!
Nightingale done
Take a step back and marvel at your awesome new blueprint!
Making this blueprint took me around 3 hours, remember the level of detail and the size of the prop you’re working on will impact on how long it takes to draw it up. Once I had some music playing the process was kind of relaxing and not as bad as you might think. Its fun to do once you get the hang of using all the different tools.

But now you have your blueprint, how should you print it?

Well I have a tutorial for that too! Scaling/Printing Blueprints (Posterazor). It really easy and simple to use and doesn’t require any fancy maths or photoshop. Which is perfect for people like me who are terrible at that stuff.

And thats how I draw all of my blueprints up! I hope this tutorial helps with your own projects and if you use this tutorial I’d love to see the outcome!
If theres anything you think I can add or explain better please tell me, I’m always looking to improve my work and make documenting my work beneficial for others.


Thank you for reading
-Nivera