July 20, 2013

Creating Your Own Lara Croft TOMB RAIDER 'Survivor' Costume

In honor of Comic Con, which is in full swing this week in San Diego, I decided to resurrect this great cosplay tutorial by guest writer Amanda McGinnis, the powerhouse behind the geek fashion blog Console To Closet. Here you'll find step-by-step instructions for creating your own Lara Croft costume for conventions, Halloween, fancy-dress parties or whenever you feel the urge to let your inner survivor shine.

Please note that Amanda put together this costume in the spring of 2012, well before the game came out and before some details of Lara's "official" outfit were revealed. I think she did an awesome job.

(For pre-Legend Lara, check out this classic Lara Croft costume tutorial by Sara from LaraCroftCosplay.com.)

The Decision

I chose to cosplay as Lara Croft from the new TOMB RAIDER game because she's the first Lara Croft I actually feel like I connect to, both on a character and design level. She retains the best qualities of the previous Lara's (strong, independent, intelligent), and adds a more realistic element to the famous lady through her more "natural" looks and vulnerability. I whole-heartedly support the movement the designers are doing with her new look and wanted to design a costume around the new Lara.

Costume inspired by Lara Croft from the new Tomb Raider game.
Click image to enlarge.

The Materials

I used quite a lot of store bought things in this costume, as most was just clothing. I bought quite a few pairs of cargo pants before deciding on the pair I did because I couldn't find a suitable color. I also had some difficulty finding pants because I'm super tall. I'm 5'10" so finding pants is extremely difficult. The pants I chose are actually way too short for me, hence I added the tall wool socks. They hold down the pants, while adding a more hiker look. After I bought the pants, I used sandpaper to rough up the knees so they looked worn. I also ran it through the washer and dryer a few times to loosen it up.

I used boots that I already owned to cut some costs. I wish they were brown, but I used sandpaper to rough them up just like the pants so that they didn't look shiny. Luckily, I wore the boots to PAX East last year, so they got tons of wear and tear walking around all day—perfect for my survival look.

I purchased the tank top in what I think is the most perfect color ever. I looked so hard for that perfect shade of blue-gray. I actually found that particular tank top at Ann Taylor Loft for the very affordable price of $10. I used a white tank top that I already owned underneath, to add a layered look.

Lara Croft 'Survivor' cosplay by LadySnip3r.
Click image to enlarge.

As much as I love the costume, I have struggled with the leather holster. I made a makeshift holster for New York Comic Con out of pleather, but I think it stands out from the costume in a bad way. I'm hoping to improve this costume over time, since leather is expensive, so I will add more information as the costume changes.

Lara Croft 'Survivor' cosplay by LadySnip3r.
Click image to enlarge.

I made the necklace out of clay and leather. It was fairly simple to do, but very fragile. I also made the bandages out of ripped linen fabric. I wanted them to look like something Lara would actually use in a tight fix for bandages.

Costume inspired by Lara Croft from the new Tomb Raider game.
Click image to enlarge.

The Tutorial
Or How To Fake A Dirty Look

My lovely fiance actually did my makeup for Lara Croft and I think he did a fantastic job. Here's a quick tutorial of how to achieve the same thing:

  • Brown hairspray dye (Available at Halloween Costume stores or on Amazon.com)
  • Brown facepaint
  • Blood capsules
  • Charcoal (ground up)

Costume inspired by Lara Croft from the new Tomb Raider game.
Click image to enlarge.

  1. Make sure your skin and outfit are clean and oil-free so that the makeup will stick better.
  2. Apply brown hairspray onto paper towel or sponge and lightly sweep on areas where you want light dirt. Focus on areas that would get dirty if you were actually the character. (And yes, I thought about actually rolling in the dirt, but didn't want to be stinky at conventions. :P)
  3. Use brown facepaint on your fingers to streak areas that you want to look like mud-like dirt. We used lots of this to accent the lighter dirt.
  4. Break a blood capsule and drip onto areas where you want realistic blood look. Let it drip to where you want, and lightly dab or use a hairdryer to dry the blood. Now, the blood had to be reapplied a few times during the day because it faded into my skin, so keep this in mind for conventions.
  5. Use ground up charcoal to smudge over blood, dirt, etc. This will darken everything up and really give it a realistic overtone.
Lara Croft 'Survivor' cosplay by LadySnip3r.
Click image to enlarge.

  • Remember to make everything pretty evenly dirty. If you dirty up your face and shirt but skip your chest or arms, it's going to stand out against the dirt.
  • Bring lots of those makeup removal wipes as the face paint and hairspray take a heavy washing to come out.

Amanda McGinnis, a.k.a. LadySnip3r, is currently a university student finishing up a degree in English and planning a career in the gaming industry. Her favorite games include Tomb Raider, Gears of War, Resident Evil 4 and Skyrim. This tutorial originally appeared on her Assassionista gaming blog, which is no more. You can contact Amanda and see what she's up to now at Console To Closet.

July 4, 2013

Join Team TR Community for the Extra Life Video Game Marathon...for the Children!

Extra Life is back! The first weekend in November I will be leading a team of intrepid raiders in an effort to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals by doing what we do best: gaming!

Last year, Team Tomb Raider Community played through an entire weekend and raised more than $1,000 to help hospitalized kids. (Details here.) This year we hope to do even more, but we can't do it without you!

If you like playing video games and want to pitch in, I encourage you to sign up for Extra Life 2013 and join our team. When you register you'll have the opportunity to choose the Children's Miracle Network Hospital you want to raise money for. If you don't live near a CMN Hospital, you can pick one of the international funds. I'll be playing in support of Children's Hospital in Boston, where kids from more than 100 countries come for life-saving treatment.

In the weeks leading up to November, players will contact friends and family to solicit donations. They can donate online through your Extra Life page or give you their cash/check donations, which you can then submit using a convenient form on the Extra Life site.

All donations are tax-deductible and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids.

Then, the first weekend in November, we play! Some gamers choose to do a 24-hour marathon. (This year it might even be 25 hours, since Daylight Saving Time ends that weekend.) Some play for a few hours a day over several days. You can play on your PC, console, portable, even your phone. Solo, with a friend or group, online or off, whatever is most fun for you. Last year, we did a Tomb Raider livestream and invited online friends to come watch and cheer us on. It was a blast! This year is going to be even better because we'll be building a bigger team with a broader network of supporters.

Extra Life 2012. Play Games. Heal Kids.

We can't do this without your help. If you can sign up to play, please do. If you've already signed up, consider joining our team. The more the merrier! If you're not a gamer or can't commit to a marathon, please consider making a donation to a Team Tomb Raider Community member.

We'll be updating the team roster and tracking our donations on the Team Tomb Raider Community Extra Life page. I will also be sharing more details here, on Facebook and on Twitter, as the event approaches.

For more information about the event itself, check out this quick FAQ, visit Extra-Life.org, and feel free to contact me with any questions.

Thank you for caring and I hope you'll come and join the party in November!