Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Witch (Left4Dead) - Costume Breakdown and Troubleshooting

At Animazement 2011 I went as the Witch with a group of Left 4 Dead cosplayers. We were looking for something that would be easy and inexpensive to put together, and Left 4 Dead was a good choice in that regard.

It's easy to cosplay when you have so little clothing.

Cosplaying in a group is much more fun than cosplaying alone, so pick a game or anime that matches everyone's ability level. We managed to pull this together almost the night before the con (not advisable), but it worked out in the end.

Parking garages make sweet photo spots for Left 4 Dead. I'm pretty sure there was a cop staring at us off-camera.
The Claws:
First I considered using aluminum foil and just wrapping them around my fingers and painting them black, which a lot of people do, but I worried that it would fall off too easily. Instead I made some origami claws and lengthened them with sections of cut cereal boxes rolled into points and then taped down and painted black and red. This is a good tutorial for the claws themselves.

Yes, I'm afraid the best picture of my claws involves me attacking Hetalia characters.

I feel like the result turned out pretty well. The claws were easy to take off, but they stayed on very well when I needed them to and were very sturdy. Sadly I don't have a good close-up of the claws.

Pretty self explanatory, I just got a shoulder length silver wig and dipped the ends in grey paint to make it look kind of nasty and get that gradient that you see in screenshots.

Makeup/Body Paint:
Most of the costuming involved doing full body paint the morning of the con. I used a great makeup tutorial by Audfaced as a template and worked with that I had. Sadly, I don't have any good closeups of my face either (I hadn't anticipated making a tutorial at that point).


Here are some things I learned to do/not to do from this experience.

1-Unless you are very secure about your body, make sure you get a second opinion about how you look before you leave the house. Because I was covered in body paint and it kept me rather warm, I didn't realize that I actually looked very very naked until I saw the pictures afterward.

2-Bring body paint with you to the con if your costume requires it. I didn't take into consideration that I would wash the paint off of my hands every time I used the bathroom.

3-Be prepared to clean up a huge mess afterwards. Body paint is messy on a good day, and when you're rushing to get to the con paint will fly.

Hunting Survivors is hungry work.

- Kathryn


  1. You look amazing as the witch! do you mind if I use you as a reference when preparing my cosplay? I like the fact that you used a silver wig rather than an platinum blonde. with my dark skin, I think that would look better on me as well. Question, how long did it take you to paint your entire body and what did you use?

    1. Thank you, and I don't mind at all! (I would be flattered, actually.) I painted myself the morning of the convention, and I would estimate that it took me an hour or so to do the body paint. The white base paint was just several tubes of the cheapest body paint I could find from party city (I think it's called white cream makeup), and I just sort of smeared it unevenly all over myself. The details are mostly picked out one of the makeup stacks you can find in costume shops - It was called "vampire stack" at the time, but I bought it years ago for a halloween costume so I'm not sure if it is called the same thing anymore. Basically looks like this though:

      Good luck on your cosplay, and I would love to see pics when you are done!


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