What is Cosplay?
Cosplay is short for costume play. It has been a long standing hobby in Japan, really the expression of love for a fandom by dressing like the character. It could be as simple as wearing a store purchased costume or as involved as making your own costumes and competing in craftsmanship competitions. It’s where the art of costuming and the love of a character come together.
How did you get into the cosplay industry?
I was always a geek, I went to comic conventions for years but never had any idea how to make anything so I never cosplayed. My son wanted to cosplay when we started going to conventions together. Learning how to craft became a necessity to make some of his crazy costumes that you couldn’t just buy. Then I started to make my own, compete and the rest is history!
What kind of pieces do you typically build and why?
Designing my own version of a character allows me full control the overall look and details. All my builds incorporate armour components with very little sewing, which are key elements to my designs. I look for things that will highlight my strengths in foam work, details, textures and painting. I also push myself to learn a few new tricks and I often amplify a character for maximum difficulty.
Where does your inspiration for a build come from usually?
I operate in two modes, fun builds and competition builds. Fun builds are anything I am currently into, including my favourite shows or characters that resonate with me. I love to make people laugh, so I often pick silly, cursed, or nostalgic things to bring out maximum fun. For competition builds, I usually look to create original designs of existing characters.
What do you find is your biggest challenge is running your own Cosplay business? Or what are your favourite things about building these creations?
I started with hundreds of cosplay commissions, but over time it became unfulfilling and I realised it wasn't for me. Now, I focus on what I love: guesting at cosplay events and educating people about this hobby. However, these shifts are a refinement, not a failure and I feel it's about finding joy and fulfilment in my craft.
Can you tell us more about this build you’ve featured - (i.e.why was it created, is it a commission, talk about the process/what was involved in building it, how long did it take to finish, how many different materials used, etc)
It’s a design by Zach Fischer, called Demonic Brigitte, a mashup from Overwatch and Diablo for the BlizzCon competition at Anaheim, California. I love the organic textures, and this build is 99% Eva foam and foam clay. Sculpting, foam work, textures, LEDs, and smoke machines are all part of it. Eva foam, similar to yoga mats, forms the base. While sewing is minimal, patterning is crucial to create a full suit of armour. Fit and movement are priorities, as it's a costume, not a statue. The process involves cutting, glueing, adding details, lights, sealing, and my intricate painting style, which is very tedious, involves a lot of cel shading which is heavy, hand-drawn black outlines so it looks very cartoonish. The whole process has taken a significant amount of time; as I write this, I've invested about 859 hours and I’m still fine-tuning it before heading to BlizzCon.
Tell us a bit about the Guild Lane colour(s) you’ve chosen here and why?
The GILD Gold is my go-to gold, it’s thick, it has great coverage and it interacts well with the inks I use to distress and shade the armour. I don’t use any other gold, ever! While I often use the GILD Chrome and GILD Silver, this time, I opted for a non-metallic treatment on the silver, for a Warhammer-inspired look. The two base colours are Jubilee Murrey Red and Pillar Box Red. The colours were a perfect match and allowed for an overall consistency with the design. The Murrey Red had just enough red in it, and once highlights and lowlights were added, it worked for a multiple amount of textures such as the horns, wood, and leather. The paint is so thick, minimal coats are required which is a crucial time-saver. The other benefit is that even unsealed, the Eva foam doesn’t absorb this paint. Even sealed, Eva foam has pours and most paints require many coats to be vibrant. Jubilee’s coverage is so good that I also painted fake leather in just one coat. It’s pretty remarkable and a little goes a long way.
Why do you like working with Guild Lane products?
Quality is unmatched. You can’t find paint like this in craft stores. The upfront investment and time to have it shipped saves you time and money in the long run.
Can others buy your creations? Do you just work on commission or just for yourself for competitions, etc.?
Currently I am not taking commissions anymore but I do sell my retired costumes and props, which are also available for guest bookings!
Do you have any tips for budding Cosplayers or costume designers?
We're all learners so embrace the process. Give it a go, dive in, explore what you like and commit to it. No one is a master and no one has reached their destination; it’s a journey and constantly evolving. And above all, be kind, I can’t stress that enough you get back the vibe you put out!
Do you have any exciting plans for the future?
My goal is to win a world championship. I may be 80 by the time I get that good, but that's the future I'm aiming for - haha!