Another nominee for Cosplayer of the week who blew us away is Seamripper Cosplay. Her cell shading methods are just stunning and probably one of the best I’ve seen in a while. Her Borderlands cosplay got her noticed by us but it was the work and the details she puts into each and every costume that made us really really like her. Go and follow her page and take a look for yourself!!
Location: South England/Scotland while I’m at uni
What is your favourite food? Anything that has potato in it.
When you put your costumes together which is you favourite part of the process?
When I finish it, honestly.
All those weeks/months of effort suddenly seem worth it! Getting to put the costume on for the first time and having that moment of ‘oh, wow, I really look like this character!’ is awesome. Also, let’s be real, it’s probably 1am the night before the con, and I’m exhausted. Being finished means I get to sleep. I do also really love anything that involves painting, it’s very peaceful and relaxing because it comes pretty naturally to me (which definitely can’t be said for all aspects of cosplay!), so I can just zone out a bit and listen to a podcast or something while I work.
I love the way that you cell shaded your borderlands costume, how did you go about translating the video game cell shading to real life without it looking too obvious or fake?
Funnily enough I think that the hard part is making it look obvious enough – especially with the makeup, as Athena doesn’t actually have all too many lines on her face, so it’s a question of trying to stay accurate to the character while making sure there are enough lines to really frame the face. In terms of shading on armour and fabric, I think the key is to go bold but keep a really close eye on your reference, and don’t just use black and white to shade – the highlights on my trousers, for example, are actually a really really pale blue if you look closely, because the idea is that it’s denim fabric that’s catching the light. Putting pure white on there is gonna look a little odd! Also, watering down fabric paint for mid-shades is often more effective than mixing up a straight grey, I’ve found. But basically it’s just a case of working really closely to a ref – but also using your judgement in places where following a ref directly might not translate well into real life. I actually did one less white stripe down the side of my trousers to compensate for the fact that my legs are a lot thinner than Athena’s, for example.
You seem to do a lot of weathering and distressing on your costumes, what are your favourite methods for weathering your costumes?
Well, when it comes to fabrics honestly a little fabric paint is always good shout for dirt/stains etc. – just make sure to start light, water it down if needed, and use a mix of brushes and foam/tissue and you should be good! As for armour, I’ve been working on some ideas for a while and I think with Athena I hit on a really solid method. Basically, the way I paint my armour is as follows: mod podge to seal the foam, then one coat of black spray paint, two coats of silver spray paint, and then two coats of red spray paint. What’s really awesome about this is that if you’re planning to beat your costume about a bit (for example for combat-based skits, which is something I did do with Athena, but really even just general con wear-and-tear), and some of the top layer of paint chips, it’ll chip through to silver – which totally looks like ‘battle-damage’ where the paint has chipped back to metal and adds to the authenticity of the weathering. Another great method is to sponge some black/grey/brown acrylic onto your armour and then scrub it away with a dry piece of kitchen towel – the places it gets left emulate the spots that real dirt would be left in. But I’m not gonna lie, the funnest weathering I got to do for this cosplay was cutting the big ‘claw marks’ and ‘bullet holes’ into the armour… it’s not that hard, it’s not that complex, but it looks SO COOL and it’s super satisfying to do!!
What advice would you give to new cosplayers?
YouTube is your best friend for sewing tutorials, and tutorials in general will save your life – but also don’t be afraid to try something out your own way if you have a neat idea. Have fun with it, and don’t sweat the small stuff – you’re not going to have fun wearing a costume if you hated every step of making it. Pick characters you love and don’t be afraid to try something a little outside your comfort zone – but also accept that it probably won’t turn out exactly how you wanted. And that’s ok! That’s how you learn! Basically, don’t try to hard to compare yourself to others, remember that mistakes are all part of the learning process, and above all as cliché as it sounds, HAVE FUN! That applies whether you bought your cosplay, made your cosplay, bit of both, whatever, just go with whatever feels most comfortable and fun and don’t stress too much about it.