In my last article, I told you about some of my storage tips, to make my life easier in my busy workshop.
Here, we're going to talk more about planning. I'll give you my tips and tricks. How do I deal with everything. And don't get lost.
Do you like it?
Dissect your project
Your next cosplay project is probably not just one piece. There are surely several pieces of clothing. Or armor. Or both. And in addition, chances are, you have props. And shoes, a wig, make-up…
A beautiful cosplay is a whole. And if you want everything to happen at the same time at your next convention, you have to plan the whole thing.
Make a list of each element of your cosplay.
Dissect each element
Now that you have a nice (and probably long) list of items you will need to create (or find, or transform), break them down into steps.
Let's say the gloves: you have to buy your fabric (list everything you need to buy), make a pattern, test it, sew them, add the decorations...
Making an exaustive list of the step for each part of the cosplay will make a really long to-do list. But it's also going to be so gratifying when you're gonna cross out steps when they're over. Trust me. It'll make you happy. Literally (for real, you will secrete endorphins, and all).
Think of the number of days it takes
The most important thing, in my opinion, is to plan your time. Especially if you have a deadline.
I know… Predicting how long a costume will take to make is not always easy. But with your to-do list, you'll have a better idea.
You don't have to calculate down to the minute how long your project will take. But if you can estimate in advance how many days you plan to spend on it, it'll help a lot.
Oh yes. And also think about a few days of buffers.
Since shit always happens at the last minute, you'll be really less stressed out if you have a few more days than expected at the end of the project.
Make a schedule (and stick to it)
Make sure you see your schedule somewhere in your workplace…because if you don't, you won't stick to it.
Personnally, I have a planning corner: with a calendar, a cork board and an erasable board. This is my spot where I see at a glance where I'm at.
I put my schedule on my calendar. I pin my inspirations, fabric samples and other important stuff to my cork board. And I write down my questions, my blockages and my shopping list on my whiteboard.
Everything is in the same place and that allows me not to forget anything (or, at least, to forget as little as possible... 😅 )
It's okay to work on more than one project at a time. But you have to plan for it.
If you're like me, you don't always feel like doing the same thing 6 days in a row. And that's fine. I often wander from project to project.
That’s why my project baskets are SUPER important. Sometimes I get stuck on something, I need to think about a finishing. And the best way to think about a solution is to stop thinking about it (as counterintuitive as that may sound). This is the same principle as for genius ideas. You know, those that happen when you fall asleep. Or when you're in the shower.
So when I'm blocked, I put everything to the basket. And I put out something. It takes my mind off things. And it gives me a new perspective.
But if you wander from one project to another, just remember to prepare your schedule accordingly. A costume that would take 8 days non-stop to make, at 1 day a week, it takes 2 months. So, if you want 2 costumes for your next convention, you have 2 choices: Either you find a way to double your time per week (and that's not always easy). Either you start twice as early.
Do a quick cleaning every week
I usually start my week with a little cleaning. Because, on Friday, when I stop for the weekend, I stop there. Not after cleaning. Now. I love what I do for a living. But when it's Friday, it's Friday for me too. And I can't wait to take a break.
If you make costumes recreationally, we'll assume you work more on the weekends. In this case, choose whether you prefer to start or end your weekend with a little clean up. But do it.
If you have a good storage system, it will be done like a charm.
But why am I still talking to you about storage when I told you we would talk about planning? Because tidying up your stock helps you be more focused. I am the first to say that I always find stuff in my mess… But the truth is, even if I find stuff, I looked for it before I found it...
By doing a little clean up, you make sure you have everything in hand to do what you want to do. And you waste less time.
Do a big cleaning once in a while
A little bit like for the small weekly cleaning, a good big cleaning will allow you see better where you are and where you're going. With costumes that you had put aside. With materials that you had kept just in case. That sort of thing.
Make sure, at least once a year, do a big clean up. You know, a BIG clean up. Not just arranging everything properly. Take an inventory of what you have. Take the time to ask yourself if these things will be useful to you. Check if they bring you happiness. Marie-Kondo the hell out of your workshop. And if you don't want to throw them away, that's fine. Simply give them to friends on a cosplay group. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
You may find that you have duplicate tools. That you still have a product that you thought you had finished….
Knowing your stuff will save you a lot of time. And the more space you have, the more stuff you keep (Trust me. I know!). So if you don't want to waste too much time, you have to take some time to rediscover your stock once in a while.
Test some stuff
It’s like storage… each person has his own technic. We have to test them to find out what suits us.
For example: I am a “pencil and paper” type. So I make lists by hand, which I put on my board cork. But if you're more "techno", you may prefer an application on your phone to take note of everything. The important thing is that you refer to your notes. Your check list wont help you if you don't check them out to see where you're at.
You can subscribe to my Storage and Organization Board on Pinterest. I collect lots of ideas for my planning. Maybe it will inspire you.
Talk again soon.
in the meantime… Keep on crafting!