Location: Greater Philadelphia Area, USA
What is your favourite food? Ramen and green tea tempura ice cream.
You have some beautiful and incredibly detailed work. The one piece that really stands out is the dragon on your Tao Jun dress. How long did that take to put together and how do you go about planning/making a piece of applique that wraps around the dress?
Thank you! I really try to make quality work. My Tao Jun cosplay was completely last minute after hearing that the Mangaka was going to Otakon and some of my cos-buddies were planning a Shaman King group. I had to make everything in two and a half weeks, even the wig! (I am not at all great with wigs and they usually take me a while) In order to create the appliqué I had to first make a working dress pattern. I quickly mocked up the dress and, when I thought I got it to where it needed to be, I traced the dress pattern on sheets of paper taped together (to make two very large sheets of paper). I then freehanded the dragon design onto the paper and made a pattern from that. Once I got everything lined up properly I cut the fabrics out, backed them with double sided interfacing, ironed them onto the dress, and appliquéd them on.
Of all the things you’ve had to make, which has been the most troublesome and why?
In general, wigs. I’m just terrible working with tiny, thin chaotic strands that have minds of their own. I truly truly respect wig workers and how amazingly their wigs turn out!! I know that watching others work and with practice I will improve, but as of now, I’m not where I wish I could be.
You also have some beautiful photos, where has been your favourite place to shoot a costume? Do you have any good stories from location shoots?
Wow, there have been some pretty amazing shoots with phenomenal photograhers. I don’t have any funny or cleaver anecdotes regarding shoots I’ve been on, but I am always impressed with the people I meet on location. I attend a lot of group cosplay shoots where cosplayers and photographers pool resources together to rent out some pretty great locations. Through those I’ve had some really great times.
Also, regarding the cosplay/photographer events; I run a group dedicated to renting out great locations for photography sessions. So far we have shot at the Mercer Museum (twice) and the Chinese Scholar Garden. For 2016 we are working on renting Fonthill Castle and Shofuso Japanese House and Gardens. Anyone can join, but there is a fee for each event (cause we have to pay the venues/insurance).
What advice would you give to new cosplayers?
On construction, don’t rush your cosplay, pick fabrics that help you (i.e. friendly to work with), always make mock ups (as many as you need) and don’t be afraid to fail. On meeting new people, go to convention gatherings, find your local out of con events and join/contribute to cosplay FB groups. On finding photographers, do research on cosplay.com and FB to see which photographers are available and don’t be shy about contacting them. In general, don’t forget about your love of the characters you portray and your excitement in simply wearing a costume you’ve made or bought. And, just for your own sanity, don’t get involved in cosplay drama; drama free is the way to be (there is a difference between drama and legitimate issues).
Finally, where do you store all your costumes! You have loads!
Ug….I have a basement that is more like a warehouse!!! I am constantly moving things around/rearranging to fit more stuff. I already have four wire racks, two armoires and two super sized totes that are full of costumes. I also have a cube bookshelf and hanging rack filled with shoes and two other hanging cloth holders plush two totes of wigs. After my Monster Hunter armor set is done…I’m going to be in trouble again.