Cosplay in Focus: Supanova Sydney 2016

00 - Preview

Well, it’s a tad late, but that’s what happens when your TARDIS falls through a wormhole into a reality where the universe is one enormous Faraday cage: The beds were nice but the wifi was garbage. After returning to Earth, I was able to get in touch with the ultra-cool cosplayers I got to hang out with at Sydney Supanova this year and ask them a bit about themselves, their interests and their, uh… “builds.”

01 - Assassina

Maria from Assassin’s Creed 2016, built by Lucid in Rapture Cosplay

How long have you been cosplaying for?

I first went to Smash con in 2011 to kinda just check it out and I instantly wanted to know all about cosplay and how I could do it too. I started to cosplay in 2014, at Melbourne Supanova, then 3 more cons that year, each one with 1-3 new cosplays. I guess I knew I would always find my way into cosplay; I grew up with Spyro and Crash Bandicoot and I still remember my mum getting angry cause I would play Tomb Raider on the PC when I was supposed to be doing my homework. I’ve always been so fascinated by costumes in games and movies, especially Padme from Star Wars with all the crazy headpieces and detailed gowns. I’ve always loved dressing up and anything artsy where I can design and create things, especially sewing and textiles, so cosplay was this amazing chance to combine the two hobbies and create a reality where I can be the character from my favourite fantasy worlds. Now it’s more than just a hobby. I have met so many amazing people – Cosplayers and photographers alike – and there’s even the opportunity to work for charities or even with gaming companies which would be beyond incredible; the ultimate dream to so many Cosplayers.

What inspires you to cosplay?

IMG_3789There are so many video games, movies and even books with such diverse characters and even cooler costumes. The fact that there is an entire community that is about cosplaying (costume playing) some of my beloved characters was ground breaking to me. Having the chance to create a costume for a favourite character and then wear it is like I am bringing them to life, in my own way. Most of the time I do aim for accuracy, but I do love slightly altering designs to work how I think it would look best and what would work for my body shape and height as well. It’s important to feel comfortable with the cosplay your wearing, confidence definitely makes a difference.

How did this build go for you?

When the first photos were released from the upcoming Assassins Creed movie, of course I was excited, but for more than one reason. There was a female assassin, strange and fascinating and revealing only her face and small details of the hood and shoulders. It wasn’t much to get excited about but I did anyways, and I waited for the trailer to see her full costume before putting her on the ever growing cosplay list. Alas as soon as the trailer went global I was in love with her and her costume, screenshotting every frame I could with her in it to get a different angle and as much detail as I could gather, which unfortunately wasn’t much. I started the base hood and shoulders hoping the full reference pictures would be released quickly after the trailer. They weren’t, so I lost hope that I would have Maria finished for Supanova and then 9 days before Supa they were finally released and I thought it was a good idea to take it on in a mad 9 day rush of hand beading and embroidery. IMG_3788Making a whole costume from scratch with as much detail as Maria would take far too much time for 9 days, so I focused on the quality, spending time on beading and adding shoulder pads for definition and making sure the hood fell in the right way like the notorious assassins we all know so well. I didn’t think the costume would be anywhere close to finished with the amount of beading I was doing, but I was happy with what I’d managed, so instead of wearing a old costume, I thought I’d wear Maria as a test run to see how it felt and what people noticed and liked about it. Thankfully makeup is another passion of mine so I could work with her strange facial markings and heavy eyeliner to emphasise the mysterious assassin vibe. It’s a work in progress still, but I might wait till the actual movie is out to cosplay her properly. As much as I love the adrenaline rush the night before a con to get as much done as possible, I think I might actually take my time on this assassin, hopefully it will pay off.

Got any plans for your next build?

There’s always something I’m working on, or 10 different things, but right now I’ve nearly finished my Enchantress from the upcoming Suicide Squad as well as fixing up my Harley Quinn. I love the fun cartoonish punk look of the movie and the diversity of the characters, plus the fact they’re the bad guys gives it a fun dynamic to work with. I loved cosplaying Ciri so much that I’m also planning more Witcher cosplays, firstly Yennefer then hopefully a female Geralt, who I’ve had designs for for quite a while now.

02 - Geralt

Ursine Superior Geralt, from The Witcher series, built by That Guy From That Game

How long have you been cosplaying for?

I’ve been cosplaying for about 4 years – it kind of just consumed me, haha. I was always fascinated by both halves of the hobby; The acting and personification came from D&D and the costuming side from watching my mother sew. I didn’t realise they sort of existed as one until I saw an interveiw with a cosplayer on the show, Good Game. Funny thing is I ended up meeting the person from that interview a year later and we had a lot of good times together. I mainly cosplay to cons because I find it the biggest challenge. I have to spend a day in something I’ve made, portraying a character that a lot of people may have a connection with; it’s an exciting amount of pressure. It also pushes my skills as you can’t photoshop out mistakes when you’re there in person. I guess it’s all kind of leading to the entertainment industry, as I’ve done a few jobs here and there on and behind the scenes, and it helped me realise I just want to bring fantasy to life.

What inspires you to cosplay?

IMG_4175Oh it’s always the challenge, hahaha. I mean, costumes in movies and games don’t always follow the laws of physics or traditional designs, so just the technical skill required excites me. Often I’ll see an image from a show or game and think “Yeah…. I need that to wear this winter,” and that’s enough for me to throw all my time and money at learning just how to go about it. I do really enjoy portraying a character as well, believe me; I spend enough time in front of a mirror pulling faces. I don’t always feel like I am in character though; I know the imperfections of my work and it can really ruin my own immersion. I guess it’s another reason to keep getting better.

How did this build go for you?

Wow ok, this was a fight. I have wanted to make Geralt since the release; the designs just resonate with my thoughts of fantasy worlds and who wouldn’t want to be such a badass warrior? I did make this into a challenge for myself though as I chose to do this costume in a week. I often see speed builds done with foam and simple fabrics but I really wanted to see what level of product I could produce in this short time span. The gambeson is hand quilted linen, the armour is all leather and handstitched together, while all buckles and fittings are functional. I did give a new method to swords a go. Normally I just use wood, but these were aluminium core resin blades and I think with a bit of practice I can really make them something special with this method. I wouldn’t have been able to do it at this speed without the amount of time I have spent working with leather – it’s just my number one material. Paper patterns from the measurements that I take of myself get translated and formed and with a bit of luck, it all fits together. Shoulders where handshaped into that curve and actually a lot of people thought they look like butt cheeks when I posted a picture haha. IMG_4171Everything then gets dyed and weathered and finished to make it stand up to the weather. I have always loved that my costumes stand the test of the elements and have rarely ever fallen apart – I take a lot of pride in that and it makes it all feel more real for me. I do have one major issue with this costume (you can probably see it). That’s an awful wig…. hahaha, I’ve never been good at wigs or makeup and I think that’s where I’ll put all of my focus next (I look like a troll doll hahahaha).

Got any plans for your next build?

Uuuuuuum…. I think I’ll probably do more Middle Earth stuff. I’d love to do a Lurtz and work on making prosthetics and that makeup stuff which is more foreign than what I usually do. I think I’ll probably work on some Rohan armour because the designs are beautifully intricate and it’s leather. Oh wait, Jon! I need to do another Jon Snow costume, I’m doing a trip to the snow for a photoshoot and I think I need some new armour hahaha.

03 - Vega

Lt. James Vega, from Mass Effect, played by Reaper Cosplay

How long have you been cosplaying for?

I’ve been cosplaying for several years now; I debuted as Classic School Outfit Rukia from Bleach (safe to say it was rushed and not the best). For several years after I cosplayed Kiba Inuzuka from Naruto which started my growing infamy. I slowly but surely improved him over the years, even once doing a twist and appearing as K-Pop Kiba (was more popular than first anticipated and boosted my morale to continue my efforts to improve not only Kiba but future cosplays). But now, my primary character of choice is Lt. Commander James Vega of Mass Effect 3.

2B2A6901What inspires you to cosplay?

I’ve always enjoyed and admired other cosplayers’ efforts and always thought they were some of the coolest people – bringing our cherished characters to life and giving them their own touch and souls – like having your favourite character fall out of your screen for you to actually latch onto and never let go (I may or may not be guilty of this myself). Following more world renowned cosplayers like Living Ichigo, Michael Hamm, Kamui Cosplay, JoJo Panda Face and even being lucky enough to meet Nathan Deluca at Sydney Supanova 2014 when he cosplayed Major Kaiden Alenko drove me to improve not only myself physically but my depiction of such a potentially influential character.

How did this build go for you?

James was an effort that has been two years in the making. My initial debut of Lt. Vega in 2014 was impressive to most, sure, but to myself I knew I wasn’t doing him justice. Since 2014, I have moved to Sydney and become a student to a professional BodyBuilder, Jonathon Dixon (Fondly associated to Shepard in both name, physical resemblance/build and personality traits).  There has been a lot of dieting, training and both physical and mental discipline to achieve the results I have which are only continuing to develop for an upcoming serious competition.

Got any plans for your next build?

I’ve been asked by many people to consider and attempt a forever growing list of characters: She-Hulk, Krem, Zarya, Hei, Tracer and Commander Jane Shepard just to mention a few. Personally, I don’t know who I’ll attempt next. Krem or She-Hulk seem like a more likely option, whereas my mighty need to do a Cross-Play on Vegeta is forever growing stronger as my ‘Resting Gym Face’ perfects and my shoulders widen. I’ll definitely continue to attempt and do my own twist on many characters – Male and Female alike – and I try not to limit myself purely on social assumptions or stereotypes; Vega being a Six foot Latin-American being cosplayed by a Five foot Caucasian girl evident of that. Based on that idea my options are limitless, so I suppose my new build is still a surprise, even to me.

04 - Eevee Group

Valkeevee Flareon, Eevee and Sylveon based on designs by Gladzy Kei, Becka Noel and Zach Fischer, inspired by Pokemon, built by Caerulean’s Abyss, BabyAlice and Middle Earth Barbie

How long have you been cosplaying for?

Caerulean’s Abyss

I started sewing when I finished high school to keep my creative energy flowing. It wasn’t until I met Middle Earth Barbie during a programming course at University that I considered doing my first cosplay. I attended my first convention at Brisbane Supanova in 2012 and have been hooked ever since.

BabyAlice

I have been attending conventions for about 5 years now and have been a closet nerd for much longer. My first costume was Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. I annoyed my mum for weeks to help take my measurements and help me place the order and it was aaalll down the rabbit hole with cosplay from there.

Middle Earth Barbie

I have been cosplaying since my second Supanova in 2008. I’ve probably been a nerd since I was 2 when my dad taught me how to launch DOS games. I normally just cosplay for myself as a challenge to recreate my favourite characters/artworks and forget to do shoots (whoops). Sometimes I’ll do charity events when they pop up and I know I’m available. I’m not a model, or costume designer; I’ve been told I’m technically a professional cosplayer but I still don’t see it. I’m happy just being a huge dork in costume and hanging out with my friends or finding new friends thanks to the characters I cosplay.

IMG_3754b

What inspires you to cosplay?

Caerulean’s Abyss

I’m always inspired to make cosplays when I see other people do it. I really like to push myself by trying to learn new techniques each time I tackle a new cosplay project. Group cosplays always make it fun for me as well and push me to be the best I can be.

BabyAlice

My friends inspire me! Cheesy I know but it’s true! My friends are the main reason I go to conventions and cosplay. We will have sewing parties or bounce ideas around of who would be a good character. With every costume I try, I learn something new! If it’s sewing, pleating, paining, or worbla, I try and improve every time. Even if it is only something small.

Middle Earth Barbie

I love the idea of bringing my favourite characters to life, and socialising with others who know the character/franchise. I’m also a massive theatre fan so having that idea of making something fictional completely real and becoming them for a day is incredibly motivating and exciting.

How did this build go for you?

IMG_3775Caerulean’s Abyss

When I first saw the concept art released by Gladzy Kei, Becka Noel and Zach Fischer, I fell in love with them all. I decided to pick Flareon out of the Eevees as I like the colours of fire type Pokemon. I decided to stray from the concept art a little and made some leg armour instead of having decorated boots. I made the costume out of renoflex, black worbla and craft foam. The bow was made out of PVC pipe, worbla, torn fabric and craft foam. I really enjoyed making the bow as I haven’t made something like it before – I also made sure it came apart so I could pack it into my suitcase. Painting is probably my favourite part of making armour based cosplays, I chose a red for the main sections and gold for the details – I focused on keeping a nice gradient by using 3 different reds and some yellows to brighten it up.

IMG_3755BabyAlice

THIS WAS MY FIRST EVER BUILD AND NOTHING BURNT DOWN! I was a lucky student and had Middle Earth Barbie with me every step of the way. (Providing the important things like wisdom and wine). She showed me how to cut everything, the best ways to shape something, and how to stick it all together to get a final product. Eevee had minimal armor compared to the others but the challenge was still there. It took approximately 2 months to make, way too much foam, the usual blood, sweat, tears and cat fur and about 20 bottles of wine, but in the end it was all worth it. I am already looking at ways to improve things like her props!

Middle Earth Barbie

IMG_3737This build was a lot more difficult than what I have done previously since it was based off an artwork, so I only had one reference photo of one angle. The planning phase took about 2 weeks, the actual building phase took a month then the painting phase took another 2 weeks. I’m quite proficient in the materials I used, however my biggest challenge was the amount of details i.e the bevelled edges and filigree design. Chest pieces, leg guards, and gauntlets were quite easy for me as I’ve had 2 years practice in thermoplastics, however, the Pauldron was something I had never made before and the shape was quite difficult to achieve. Thankfully, after lots of paper templates I was able to figure out how to make the base shape.

Got any plans for your next build?

Caerulean’s Abyss

I’m looking at making Arcade Riven sometime soon. It’s bright and fun and I think I’ll enjoy creating it.

BabyAlice

I really don’t know… The temptation is definitely there now to build something again but the question is what?! What to make next?!

Middle Earth Barbie

Since this was a massive armour build I’d like to test myself with a highly detailed sewn costume next that would also include elements of crafting and prop making. I always found sewn costumes so intricate and interesting since there is more than one way to make them whereas Thermoplastic armour can get very very repetitive.

IMG_3783a

Again, sincere apologies to everyone for the delay.  Unfortunately I picked up a bad case of ataxia during my trip through Cyrodiil and wasn’t up to taking many photos at SMASH. Happily I’m on a strict regimen of mudcrabs chitin, felsaad tern feathers and vampire dust so I should be okay before OZCC, just as long as I don’t look at how much this remedy is costing me.

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