You may recognise Shirak Cosplay from the incredible amount of SFX work she has done over the years, and you wouldn’t be alone! Having achieved finalist positions in multiple competitions (and even going on to win some of them), her work is widely renowned; it’s well deserved in my eyes.
Location: London, UK
Favourite food: curry and vegetarian avocado sushi
What’s your favourite part of the costume making process?
I’d say the research. I always try to make them as accurate as possible, and you need really good reference images and research for that.
Your costumes all seem quite complex, what has been your most complicated costume to date? How long did it take you compared to other costumes?
Dracula for sure. I made absolutely everything in that costume (apart from the slippers!). I did the hand embroidery (that alone took 2 months) on both the shroud and robe, all the patterns from scratch, the wig, the prosthetics… Dracula was my first serious attempt in doing SFX make up. The very first time I wore it I had to have help to glue all the prosthetics on my face (thank you Katie!) and also the wig (thanks Emily!), and the whole process took about 6 hours. Now I can selfapply all the prosthetics without any help, in about 4 hours.
Speaking of prosthetics, you’ve done some truly incredible transformations using them, what advice would you give to a cosplayer looking to get into prosthetics?
I would advise anyone to avoid YouTube tutorials. Most of the time people on those viral videos don’t know what they are really doing, and they take an important health and safety risk. There are plenty of online courses/tutorials from professionals, also some available on YouTube. Always check a video comes from a professional or reliable source! (Please avoid cut-in-half cans on your face!)
Do you have a dream cosplay that you’re working towards?
I’ve actually made what was my “dream cosplay”, Shiva from Final Fantasy VIII, on a model friend of mine. My other dream cosplay is Demona from Gargoyles. I’m now working on other projects, I’ve started my Yennefer von Vengerberg (The Witcher 3) already. Can’t wait to portray her! Oh! Almost forgot, Motoko Kusanagi is on my list of dream cosplays too.
If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to newbie Shirak, what would it be?
Keep on going, do what you love, regardless of people trying to bring you down. And pay attention to details!