Groovy-Guy’s costumes are just so good. If there is anyone who just seems to bring characters to life it’s Groovy-Guy. From worbla, fabric to sculpting work, his costumes are an inspiration to us!
What is your favourite food?
I’ve quite the sweet tooth but if I was left with only one choice for one ingredient it would probably be lemons. I love anything with lemons. Lemon meringue, lemon tart, lemon sherbets, lemon bars, lemon cake, lemon curd, lemon sorbet. Even eating straight up lemons. Is that cheating the question?
You do a lot of sculpting and prosthetic work in your costumes, how did you get started in this particular branch of cosplay?
It actually comes from a meld of different parts of my life. I’ve always been involved in art and theatre from a very young age. There’s a saying in theatre that you can’t truly become the character your portraying until you step into their clothes. I think it goes beyond that and I try to submerge myself in their world. Building props came in handy enough as I’ve always been active with my hands and experimenting with whatever materials I had at the time. Cardboard and plastic bottles, bin bags, bed linens, scrap wood, expanding foam, paper mâché and clay. After years of experimenting you find what works best for what kind of prop, large and small and what suits your methods of working.
Taking it a step further and climbing into the character’s skin with prosthetics I did all I could to learn more. When I applied to university for Theatre Design I was introduced to casting and moulding. I used my previous skills of sculpting and applied them to these new skills. More experimenting and trial and errors got me to a level where I feel comfortable with what I can produce for my own cosplay.
I’m now trying to learn more about make up to try and enhance the character more.
I love your Ice King costume, what sort of reactions do you get when you wear it? I imagine kids love it!
Oh the character of Ice King holds a very special place in my heart. it’s really something I wanted to get right. I have had some wonderful reactions while wearing it and the ones from children have normally been the best. Whilst walking round convention floors I’ve heard everything thing from mumbled whispers from children whispering ” *gasp* Mom, look, there’s the Ice King” to children nearly jumping off their parents shoulders to try and get to say hello. Children who have watched Adventure Time (and the young at heart) are always excited to get a photo and I often like to suggest if they would like to try on the crown, some people jump at the thought of being included in the play and other kids faces drop and take a step back fearing the crown might make them go a little crazy themselves. It’s an awful lot of fun.
I had the chance to meet Pen Ward (the creator of Adventure Time) at a convention in Dublin, Ireland back in 2014 and I was so flattered by what he had to say about my costume mentioning that he has seen it online before. That was a very special convention with such nice words spoken that a few times I had to sit down and take a break just because I was getting to caught up in being the character it was striking a cord with my own emotions.
When you have to cosplay something where your beard has to be covered, how easy is it to hide? Does it ever get uncomfortable?
Not easy at all but these are the struggles we have with cosplay, you’re own personal style versus accuracy to character. With Characters like Simon Petrikov or Gandalf it may seem simple enough to cover it with another false beard though it’s not the most comfortable and needing some re-adjusting from time to time but you can still get away with it. Masks like with Twisty the Clown or my Unversed Scrapper are dead handy to get away with minimal effort, the bigger the better. Prosthetics as well are a huge help without having to sacrifice the facial hair but can be troublesome when trying to attach them to your face.
Sometimes though you just can’t get away with hiding it like for my Azazel costume, I needed the beard but not the moustache and all I could do at the time was to just wax my moustache as best I could to flatten it, hide it and colour it with make up. From a distance you might not notice it but close up you can. For my Milo Thatch costume I didn’t hide it at all. With clean shaven characters like these you have to applaud the community for not getting on your case about it and just accepting that cosplay isn’t about always being 100% accurate and just being able to have fun and share in the hobby you love with like minded people.
When it comes round to doing a professional shoot however I may think twice about shaving or not, but that’s yet to come up with a clean shaven character.
What has been the most tricky technique you have had to master so far?
Oh tough call. There has been a lot of tricky things that I’ve managed to overcome with practice and patience but there’s nothing has caused me as much difficulty or frustration as wig styling. Attempted several times a creating my own wigs from scratch or just a little snip here or there. Sadly no matter how much time or money I put into it wig styling my progress always seems to be very slow. But that is all right because thank’s to the cosplay community it’s simple enough to now contact other artists regarding commissioning them. If you can’t find just what you want or if your skill set doesn’t expand all areas of every kind of cosplay then seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of.
I do one day want to be able to properly style wigs, till then I shall be happy funding my fellow artists or getting away with hiding it with hats, helmets, masks and prosthetics.
For anyone who wants to get started in doing prosthetics/casting what advice would you give them?
Do your research first. There’s plenty of information out there on the web on hundreds of different websites, it’s not terribly difficult to come across a tutorial or video to introducing what materials to look for, how to use them and what to buy (don’t spend all your money on materials that aren’t right for your project). There are plenty of short and long term courses as well if you’re looking to go more in depth with it.
And for the love of all that is good and just in the world please, PLEASE cover up. Some old clothes and a tarp will do you grand because once those substances are out of the pot and onto fibres you can say goodbye to wearing your favourite jumper out in public and panic wildly about how to get latex out of a carpet before it dries without having to shave a bald patch in it.