Anyone who is into Blizzard cosplay will be familiar with the name Zach Fischer. He is an artists whose costume designs have been made into reality by the likes of Kamui Cosplay, Lightning Cosplay, Miss Sinister and many others. In the last few years his costume redesigns have been popping up all over the western cosplay scene but who is he and how did he get involved with cosplayers and costume design? We were fortunate enough to be able to ask Zach a few questions about his work and seeing it all being brought to life.
Firstly, what made you want to start drawing in the first place and what in particular attracted you to Blizzard?
I have been drawing as long as I can remember. When I was four years old, I remember doodling space mechs and robots. I remember always going to the public library and taking out the “how to draw” books. All throughout grade school and high school, I was always that kid who brought a sketch pad to parties haha! I remember playing Blizzard games all the way back to Starcraft and Warcraft 2. When World of Warcraft came out when I was in college, it set me on a warpath. I wanted to be part of a company that was creating such amazing games. I’m still working towards that aim (Hoping it wont be too much longer).
You’ve designed costumes for loads of cosplayers (Lightning Cosplay, Kamui Cosplay, Miss Sinister), how did you first get into designing costumes? Did they come to you?
While I’ve always been a huge fan and supporter of cosplay. I was always in amazement over the craftsmanship and artistry. I got into the costume design game last year. I was asked by Nikko Marie Cosplay to design an armoured Elsa for her. That caught the eye of a few other cosplayers including Kamui and Lightning. Kamui contacted me about designing a genderbent Malthael and Lightning decided to craft my version of Marvel’s Valkyrie, which has since been crafted by four or five other cosplayers. It’s becoming quite a popular one! I have a Valkyrie army and it keeps growing ha!
Anyway, after those designs were a hit, we decided to continue to collaborate and we have regularly done so ever since! I did Lightning’s Tyrande and Malfurion for her husband Ralf that places fourth and second respectively and Blizzcon last year. Kamui asked for a new Dani Moonstar design and then a new female Thor that she is currently crafting! I continue getting to work with some incredible and new cosplayers all the time now. It’s very exciting!
What is the thought process you normally go through when you get a costume design commission and how much research do you do on average?
I normally do a decent amount of research before each design. It depends of course on what the design is. Sometimes, I have a design in mind right away, but that’s usually with the more ostentatious designs. Sometimes, like with the armoured princess Jasmine design I did for Sinfone Cosplay, I try to take as much inspiration from actual historical armuor as possible. One of the biggest challenges with each design is making it detailed and impressive, but also thinking about comfort and functionality. There’s not much sense in creating a big impressive flashy design if it’s too bulky or too pointy, or too impossible to move around in. Sometimes i skirt that line, but I am getting better hahaha!
Which has been your favourite costume that you’ve been asked to redesign and why?
In terms of my favourite design, I would say it’s a toss up between the female Thor and the armoured Princess Jasmine. I don’t know why I like those two in particular. I guess it’s that I feel I struck a perfect balance of design and functionality for both.
What is it like seeing your creations coming to life and seeing them on the Blizzcon stage or other cosplay stages around the world?
I am numb with excitement every time I see one of these costumes completed. I remember seeing Kamui in the female Malthael design for the first time last summer at SDCC. It was surreal. Then when both Lightning and and her husband placed in the top four at Blizzcon wearing my designs…I was almost overcome with joy. Especially since I had the good fortune of being able to attend and see it in person. I don’t think that feeling will ever get old. For however long I end up doing this.
And finally, if you could redesign a character costume for yourself to be made for you to wear, which character would you choose?
As far as redesigning a character for myself…I really have never thought about it. The last time I cosplayed anything was about ten years ago when I was in college. I crafted a suit of armor from various materials to be Nightmare from Soul Caliber 2. It’s an awesome game and I was a master at Nightmare hahaha! I think I would love to be the Lich King, or maybe some version of Koltira Deathweaver. I have ALWAYS loved Deathknights the most. I don’t know if it’s the color palette or the design elements, but they are just the coolest looking thing around in my opinion. I would love to do something like that! I’d love to incorporate dry ice or a mini fog machine or something to add fog effects to my costume to make it look nice and frozen!
All images have been taken from Zach’s Facebook page. Please make sure you go and support Zach and his incredible work at Zach Fischer Illustration!