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cos culture magazine

Zach Zach Fischer Fischer Illustration Illustration



TUTORIALS: Learn Lean the tricks the cosplayers used to detail their armor!

VOL 03


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Kamui Cosplay as Dani Moonstar, Marvel Comics Photography by Benni Schwarz

back cover image:

Lightning Cosplay as a Bosmer, Elder Scrolls Online Photography by Martin Hola



NH Creative Inc. Ottawa, ON Canada October, 2015


Copyrights of all included text, photos and other material used in this edition of Cos Culture Magazine are the property of their respective owners, and have been graciously provided to us for use in this magazine by the producer of each derivitive work. Original character source and inspiration have been credited.



Cos Culture Magazine - THIRD EDITION ART 6


A look into Zach’s growing cosplay character design portfolio and an interview with the artist himself.




Including an interview with Benni!



Using fabric to add detail on Worbla.




Lightning Cosplay

Including an interview with Ralf!

Using Apoxie Sculpt to create raised detailing on Worbla.

Kamui Cosplay as Wonder Woman, DC Comics Photo by Jay Tamblante Photography FIRST EDITION


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR I had a lot trouble putting into words how excited I am for this issue of the magazine. We’ll be featuring Zach Fischer and his original art and character designs, as well as a number of incredibly talented cosplayers who have brought his designs to life - many of which have been so influential to me with my own work. I’m so flattered they took the time out of their busy schedules to do interviews with us, and I’m beyond thrilled to be able to share their work with you in this issue. I’ve been eager to put together this issue for over a year now, since first commissioning an art piece from Zach late last summer. At the time, he was offering quick sketch commissions to his Facebook followers, and I was fortunate enough to get my request accepted! I asked for a battlearmored Elsa inspired by Disney’s Frozen, with the intention of cosplaying his design. Zach ended up taking the design far beyond his standard sketches, and created a beautiful work of art that has drawn attention from cosplayers around the world. Since posting my commissioned piece online, Zach has continued to grow his commission base and has created a business in creating custom character designs for cosplayers. We’re excited to be featuring a number of notable cosplayers who have built one or more of Zach’s custom designs. We will be sharing with you some of Zach’s amazing art, and have included interviews both with the artist and the cosplayers who have collaborated with him.

Firstly, we’re featuring one of the world’s premier cosplayers, Kamui Cosplay. Her work has influenced the cosplay community in so many ways, and she travels internationally sharing her work and expertise through panels and workshops in countries around the world. She has also released a number of cosplay tutorial books that can be purchased through her website. We’re also featuring the incredible Miss Sinister, who blasts through most people’s comfort zones in her beautifully dramatic and transformative cosplays. I’m also excited to show the work of new cosplayer Jet City Cosplay, who is quickly breaking onto the scene with his detailed armor builds. We’re excited to see more of his work as he continues to build more complex cosplays in the future, many of which have also been designed by Zach Fischer. Our final cosplay feature is the amazing Lightning Cosplay, another extremely talented and influential cosplayer from Germany whose work is recognized around the world. She is one of the first cosplayers I followed online, and her body of work is so inspiringly diverse. I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I enjoyed putting it together. As always, if you have any feedback or would like to request who we feature in an upcoming issue, don’t hesitate to send me a message. I love connecting with all of you, and I look forward to what the future has in store for us! With love, Nikko Marie



Miss Sinister as Female Kratos, God of War速 Photo by SGH Photoart THIRD EDITION









CC Mag: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? ZF: Well I grew up in Cleveland, OH. I was a nerd from the very beginning. My childhood was filled with Saturday cartoons, comic books, video games, roleplaying games, GI Joes, Transformers, and Dinosaurs. I had a lot of different interests as a kid, and whenever I got interested in something, I studied it intensely for months. As a result, I have a lot of knowledge about a bunch of odd topics. Ultimately, I settled on art as the thing I wanted to do most. I graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a degree in game design. My final thesis project was about how games were becoming one of our generations strongest vehicles for narrative by immersing the players in the story, giving them agency, and allowing them to help forge part of the narrative. I centered the project around World of Warcraft. It was quite controversial in a school that took pride in their emphasis in traditional fine arts. In 2010, I took an internship with Periscope Studio in Portland and learned how to work as a comics artist and illustrator. I moved from Cleveland to Portland in early 2011 and shortly thereafter refocused on game design. Currently, I work as an illustrator-for-hire specializing in cosplay design, concept art, and character illustration.

CC Mag: How has your style evolved since you first started? ZF: I feel like my style is always evolving. It never really stops, haha! I learn new techniques, gain a better understanding of things like lighting, color, form, design, and it informs the next pieces I do. I am always studying. I study the work of other artists. I study art throughout history. Painters, sculptors, architects, pretty much anyone I feel like I can learn something from. As a concept artist and designer it is of HUGE importance to develop what many artists refer to as a “visual vocabulary”. In other words, a collection of images burned into your memory of what the world looks like. It consists of different textures, lighting

CC Mag: When did you first know you wanted to be an artist? ZF: I think this question can be divided into two parts. I first realized I wanted to be an artist as a kid (maybe 5) when I used to go to the library and take out those “How to Draw” books to practice. I decided that art would be my career when I was a sophomore in high school, when I realized that I was happiest when creating things and drawing.

examples, anatomy, animals, buildings, effects, random commonly found items, vehicles, landscapes, facial expressions... Anything an artist might need to recall and draw on the fly. The more you carefully observe about the world around you on a day to day basis, the more extensive and well-informed your visual vocabulary becomes, and the easier the job of creating things from your mind becomes. Creativity is simply the product of one’s comprehension of the observations they make


“... I realized that I was happiest when creating things and drawing.”

over time. If you continue to observe the world and incorporate new information, your style will always be changing and you’ll never truly be done learning. My style is simply the result of studying the styles of artists I admire as well as my observations of my surroundings. CC Mag: When did you first discover the link between your art and cosplay? ZF: Cosplay has always been something that I have admired, ever since I first discovered it years ago. I have done two cosplays in my life. When I had long hair (used to be stick straight, soft, and down to the middle of my back, haha) I cosplayed as Orochimaru from Naruto. In college, I cosplayed as Nightmare from Soul Caliber 2. I spent 200+ hours over the course of a month crafting the armor, simply because someone else in the dorms told me I could never craft it in time. I have a weakness when it comes to people telling me what I can’t accomplish. I hand-linked chain mail, soft sculpted an articulating monster hand onto a shirt sleeve, crafted each piece of armor using some advanced paper mache techniques involving packaging paper, chip board, wire framing, and contact cement. Worbla wasn’t really a thing back then hahaha. I would have had a much easier time if it had been. Anyway, I became aware of the cosplay scene and began creating fan art of my favorite cosplayers back in college. It created a lot of friendships and connections that later became very important in legitimizing my work with the community. I didn’t start

Inspired by Krasus, World of Warcraft® for Jet City Cosplay

actually designing custom cosplays until very early in 2014. I had been doing a weekly sketch raffle essentially on my Facebook page as a way of supplementing my meager income, when one of the requests was to design an armored Elsa from Frozen. This appealed to the concept artist and designer in me and afforded me an opportunity to design something that was both fantasy and practical. So I began work for what was to be the first cosplay design I ever created and it was for Nikko Marie Cosplay. I posted in-progress photos of the design as I worked, and somehow through the connections I had on Facebook, it reached Kamui Cosplay who contacted me personally. I had been a fan of her work for a couple of years and so I was extremely stoked! She complimented me on the design and then discussed the possibility of creating a genderbent Malthael design for her to craft. THIRD EDITION


I was absolutely floored, and jumped at the chance. That same exact week, Lightning Cosplay had separately decided that she wanted to craft my redesigned version of Marvel’s Valkyrie. That particular design has since become my most popular and most cosplayed creation. Things just snowballed from that point on and has included some incredible collaborations ever since! CC Mag: You’re well known for your collaborations between different cosplayers. Can you tell us a bit about some of your recent collaborations? ZF: Recent collaborations include the “Angel of Undeath” Sylvanas design I created for Cyehra cosplay which was recently debuted at Gamescom in Cologne. Kamui is working on our third collaboration, a redesigned version of Marvel’s female Thor. Jet City Cosplay is currently crafting his Blizzcon costume, my first design of 2015, a redesigned version of the Warden, Maiev Shadowsong from World of Warcraft. That one is going to be extremely exciting as it fits so well with the lore of the upcoming WoW expansion. Pipa Wolf Cosplay is working on a Protoss-inspired Kerrigan design I created for her recently, and there are so many more coming up that I am extremely excited about, but can’t really say anything about just yet. CC Mag: How many original cosplay designs have you created thus far? ZF: I think I’m approaching 40. Not all of those are available for viewing by the general public just yet as many of them have yet to be crafted and are being kept under wraps for now. I know I did a total of about a dozen in 2014, and have done at minimum twice that already this year. CC Mag: Do you have any favorite characters out of the ones you’ve designed? ZF: Wow that is a difficult question. Mainly because I put so much of myself into every design that it’s hard to choose. I would say that I have different favorites for different reasons. For one, my Valkyrie design is near the top of the list because its such a fan favorite and has become such an icon for my work. I also feel



like it’s one of my more visually appealing designs. The armored Princess Jasmine design I did earlier this year for Sinfonie Cosplay is probably my favorite in terms of the incorporation of the research I did and I did a lot of studying of ancient Persian armor to come up with it. The Angel of Undeath Sylvanas for Cyehra is perhaps the most ambitious design I’ve every created for anyone and it is extremely exciting to see it come to life. I also really enjoyed the elegance in the Tyrande design I created for Lightning Cosplay last year for Blizzcon. That one has also garnered a lot of subsequent attention as others have cosplayed it as well. My favorite part about the Tyrande costume in particular is that for all the times it was posted on forums and Blizzard sites, I did not see one single comment about the fact that it was not cannon. It exists nowhere in the Warcraft universe, officially, so the fact that no one (especially WoW fans) mentioned that makes me feel really good. It means the design flows seamlessly with the character and the general design of Warcraft. That is really satisfying as a designer. CC Mag: Can you tell us about your process in creating one of your digital costume illustrations, from the beginning of the character creation to the final image? ZF: Well every design starts the same. It starts in the mind and in research. I study every image of the character or the concept I can find. I think of how I would do things differently. I “mentally sketch” a lot of different possibilities, settling on the one I think will look best. So when I begin the base sketch, I generally already have the shapes in mind. I start off with a rough sketch. The rough sketch consists of the pose and general shapes of the armor/costume. That then gets further refined with a tighter sketch, focusing on honing specific shapes and design elements. Once the design is fairly well laid out, the next phase depends on what degree of finish the final piece is meant to receive. If it is one of my more premium design packages (designated “Legendary” or “Epic”) I will be using a full digital painting technique, so line work will be sparse in the final image, so I just start

Male Maiev Shadowsong, Inspired by World of Warcraft速 for Jet City Cosplay THIRD EDITION


Demon Hunter, Inspired by World of Warcraft速 12


with the next step at this point. If it is one of my more standard design packages (designated “Uncommon” or “Rare”) I will further refine the line work to a nice clean line drawing. After this, I lay in a layer of color beneath the line to lay out the general color scheme. From that point on, the amount of work that is done to the piece is entirely dependent on what package the client has selected. It will either end with just the flat color if it is an “Uncommon” package. A “Rare” package gets cell shading like you would see in anime, although I do add a little flair here and there to emphasize lighting and texture. An “Epic” package involves fully painting the costume alone. A “Legendary” package includes more dynamic lighting, and a background environment. “Legendary” designs come off looking more like polished splash art of a character and are a lot of work, but are also the most fun! CC Mag: What does a day in the life of a full-time artist look like? How do you spend your time? ZF: The life of a full-time artist is funny. In many senses, it is nowhere near as cool as everyone thinks it is, and in some other senses, it is WAY cooler than everyone thinks it is. I still have a lot of responsibilities, and a lot to get done. In this way, it may be even more intense than a “typical” job. I work on average, between nine to sixteen hours a day, sometimes more. There are many times when I go without sleep in order to meet a deadline. My diet can be a bit atrocious as well when I am busy, but I have been taking active steps to alter that trend. While I don’t have a “boss” in a traditional sense, I have a responsibility to my clients, and a responsibility to pay my bills which keeps me on task. So in that sense, it is a lot harder than what most people imagine. It can be more physically and mentally exhausting than many jobs out there. However, there is supreme satisfaction in being able to master your time and set your own schedule. Once you get good at time management, it becomes easier to make time for yourself and to do other things with friends. Your schedule can be extremely flexible. If necessary, you can shift a large amount of work onto one half of the week, and free up time to relax during the other half. Time management is essential. I try to take regular breaks when working long days. During these breaks, I will eat something, shower, clean, play a round of Hearthstone or Heroes of the Storm, go for a quick walk around the block... Whatever I feel like THIRD EDITION


doing. Coffee is a VITAL part of my day. Luckily, I live in Portland, where the coffee is both high quality and found in abundance. I always have fresh coffee brewed. I generally spend a good portion of my day listening to music, listening to documentaries, or having a favorite show playing on my tablet next to my desk as I work. The greatest part about working as an artist is seeing the enjoyment people get from the work I create. Being a cosplay designer, this feeling is amped up even more by seeing talented craftsmen bringing to life creations that previously only existed in my head. It’s a surreal feeling that I don’t think I’ll ever quite get tired of. CC Mag: Apart from the cosplay character designs, what other art do you do? ZF: Currently, I have been creating several series of officially licensed World of Warcraft legging designs for a UK company called Wild Bangarang. It is utterly mind-blowing to have an opportunity to work on an officially licensed product based on the very IP that got me interested in game design. I get to work directly with Blizzard licensing and the WoW development team to make sure that the legging designs I create are up to par with Blizzards high design standards. It’s not quite my dream job... But it’s very close ;) CC Mag: What is your dream job? ZF: You caught me hahahahaha! My dream job is to work for Blizzard Entertainment. I would specifically love to work in what they call “The Anvil” which is where a lot of the design and illustrations that you end up seeing everywhere are created, but I would love to generally be on the World of Warcraft team as a concept artist getting to design weapons and armor for the game. Honestly though, being on any team, working on any of their properties would be an absolute dream. I have been a Blizzard fan for most of my life. INCOMING NERD MOMENT: The very thing that set me on a path to become a game design artist is the opening cinematic for the original World of Warcraft. It was my second year in college and I was vacillating on which major to pursue. A housemate of mine called me into her room to check out this “new awesome game that Blizzard just put out”. I had played the Warcraft series, but actually hadn’t heard about WoW at that point. She popped open a window and the opening cinematic began to play. The music, the art, the instantly gave me



'Angel of Undeath' Sylvanas Windrunner, Inspired by World of Warcraft速 for Cyehra Cosplay THIRD EDITION 15

goosebumps. By the time those short couple of minutes were finished playing, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I even said out loud. “This is it. This is what I want to do with my life. I want to be a part of giving this feeling to other people with my art.” And I have been on a warpath to making that happen ever since. It is a long uphill battle. There are insanely talented people out there competing for the same positions that I want, but I know it’s what I need to do, so I am not giving up. Blizzard games continue to be the single greatest source of inspiration to my work, and I still get goosebumps every time I watch that opening cinematic. No, really. Every time. The feeling never goes away.



CC Mag: When not working on your art, what other things do you like to do? ZF: Well as I said earlier, I don’t have a TON of time in between projects, but I do try to make free time. I live in Portland, so there’s no shortage of incredible sights and things to do! I spend time with my beautiful and supportive girlfriend London and her family. I like to cook. A LOT. It appeals to the creative in me. I have had a number of jobs working in the food industry in the past, and the things I learned just kind of stuck with me. I enjoy keeping up on current events and debating. I love getting out of my apartment to check out antique shops, take trips to the Oregon coast, visit local coffee

Reaper, Inspired by Overwatch

shops, catch some live music, or visit one of the many amazingly beautiful parks and gardens Portland has to offer. The culture and appreciation for the arts in this city is astonishing. There’s always some new impromptu street fair or festival happening during the summer months. I also mentioned before that I love playing Blizzard games. I have been hooked on Heroes of the Storm and Hearthstone recently, but I am also a veteran Diablo player and try to keep up with current content in World of Warcraft as well. I play a Deathknight and a Paladin in WoW. I like the dichotomy.

CC Mag: Where can someone go to find more of your work? You can find my work on a variety of social media platforms! Facebook: Twitter: @ZachFischer Instagram: zachfischerart Etsy: Deviantart:





KAMUI COSPLAY Inspired by Wonder Woman, DC Comics Photo by Darshelle Stevens THIRD EDITION


Kamui Cosplay N ure m bur g , Ger m an y

CC Mag: How long have you been cosplaying? Kamui: I’ve been cosplaying since 2003, so for 12 years already. All of those years were full of awesome adventures and amazing conventions. It’s also the same period of time I have my lovely husband Benni on my side. He was with me from the start! CC Mag: Where did the name ‘Kamui’ come from? Kamui: At the time I first discovered World of Warcraft, I was also a huge fan of the manga series X/1999 from Clamp. I really liked the name “Kamui” of one of the main characters, so I used it to create my very first ingame character, a Night Elf Druid. I started the game just as a fun experiment, but quickly fell in love with the lore and the game so I then began cosplaying her – and actually got known for my Night Elf Druid costumes later. So when I thought about an artist name later it was just logical for me to pick Kamui.

I really like to show the costume to remind me and also my followers that we all start somewhere and there is nothing bad about making mistakes. We all get better with every single project and learn new skills, materials and techniques. That’s what I love about cosplay! CC Mag: When did you first decide to work ‘professionally’ as a cosplayer? Kamui: I actually never decided to work “professionally” as a cosplayer. I was just really terrified of starting “real life” - like getting a job, starting a family and probably even giving up cosplay in the process. I had my dreams of course, but I never imagined they could become reality. So I finished university, got a job in an office and hoped to still find enough time for my costumes. After just a few days at work however I got an amazing opportunity for a commission from Intel and NewEgg for two full costumes for Blizzcon. Since I wouldn’t have been able to keep my job and finish these projects at the same time I had to decide if I wanted to take the risk and maybe be unemployed after the commissions were done or be safe and keep my new job. In the end I canceled my job after only 8 days and just hoped for the best. I owe it all to having the amazing support of my husband Benni and the surprising success of my first cosplay crafting book that I released after I finished the job for Intel. Making cosplay my job was never really a decision, much more just luck and having somebody who believes in you.

“Making cosplay my job was never really a decision, much more just luck and having somebody who believes in you.”

CC Mag: What was your very first cosplay? Kamui: The Great Saiyaman from Dragonball Z was my very first costume. I made it in countless sleepless nights that I spent in front of my grandpa’s old sewing machine. The costume looked totally awful, but in the end I still had a lot of fun at my very first convention back in 2003.



Dark Valkyrie Diana, League of Legends Photo by Benni Schwarz THIRD EDITION


Barbarian, Diablo速 III Photo by Darshelle Stevens 22


CC Mag: Why did you first get into cosplay? Kamui: Back in 2003 I often read articles about conventions like the San Diego Comic Con or the Comiket or Japan Expo and I discovered that we also have those kind of events in Germany. After ordering my badge I also found out that around 80% of all attendees come in costume, so it was just natural for me to create a costume as well. This was just a first taste. My real passion for cosplay however was awakened by playing World of Warcraft a few years later.

“There is something magical about creating something unique over days, weeks and even months, seeing it grow and develop.”

CC Mag: Have your reasons for cosplaying changed since you first started? Kamui: When I first started with cosplay I did it mainly because everybody else did it. I didn’t really dress up because I wanted to. This changed a lot. Now I absolutely love to create things with my own hands, experiment with new materials and techniques and support the community by sharing my knowledge. I love helping other cosplayers and to run crafting panels all over the world to teach them. There is something magical about creating something unique over days, weeks and even months, seeing it grow and develop. I love to work with tight schedules, having sleepless nights and never

knowing if you’re going to finish in time or not. It’s a crazy adrenaline rush every time, but a beautiful piece of art awaits you after the scary roller coaster ride. And so many of your friends are feeling it with you, joining you during this ride and supporting you to the end. It’s crazy and I absolutely love it from the bottom of my heart. CC Mag: If you could go back in time and give advice to yourself when you first started cosplaying, what would you say? Kamui: I don’t think I would say anything. I would just smile and nod. I had awful nights full of desperation and tears - I had projects where I just wanted to give up and throw it all into the trash and I had so many moments when I asked myself why I am doing this to myself. But all of this was just a part of so many wonderful adventures I shared with my friends and my husband. They all guided me to this day, to where I’m able to make a living from supporting other cosplayers, inspiring people and make them happy. So I wouldn’t change a single thing. CC Mag: When you’re not cosplaying or working on a project, what do you like to do? Kamui: Lately and especially during the summer, it became really rare that I actually have free time. But I still enjoy playing World of Warcraft like I used to 10 years ago. I love visiting our gigantic cinema in Nuremberg and sometimes miss the quiet, boring moments when I would just sit around and read a book. Summertime is always very busy and full of different projects, but winter is usually when we go on vacation, play video games or just make cool unrelated stuff that I always wanted to build. CC Mag: Do you ever play online games with your fans? Kamui: I would really love to play online games with my followers, but since they are so many of them I probably won’t be able to finish one single quest since everybody would want to chat with me. So I prefer to hang out with them at cons instead.



CC Mag: Can you tell us about some of your favorite cosplays you’ve made? Kamui: One of my favorite costumes is my Barbarian from Diablo III. It was one of my very first big armor projects and I learned a lot from it. In addition the costume is really comfortable and I just love to be a badass warrior! The purple Wizard, a costume from Diablo III as well, is one of my newest projects and also one of my most colorful. As soon as I saw the design a couple of years ago I instantly fell in love with it. It’s also really comfortable and doesn’t take hours to get into. My followers seem to love it as well, so I really enjoy bringing it to different conventions all over the world.

video games the whole day. I also really love to travel around, discover new places and meet new and old friends during each of my trips. CC Mag: What does a regular day in the life of Kamui look like? Kamui: I honestly don’t have any regular days. Sometimes I spent all my time on the plane, sometimes I’m working on a costume from 7am to 3am and sometimes I go shopping and enjoy a movie in our local cinema. Every day is different and brings new adventures and surprises. So it never gets boring, but it also never stays steady in my workshop. There is always something to do, be it working on a new book, a costume or sitting in front of my camera for a new video tutorial. Work is never ending, but so is my love for cosplay.

“Work is never ending, but so is my love for cosplay. ”

CC Mag: If you had to choose ONE of your past cosplays to keep (and the rest had to be destroyed), which one would you save? Kamui: There is really no answer for this. You could also ask me which of my limbs I would like keep. I love all of my costumes, no matter how old, bad or painful they were. I keep every single of them and store them like little treasures deep in my closets. There is no way I would part from even a single one and would surely cry for days if this were to happen. I always pray that I will never lose a suitcase during one my trips. CC Mag: What’s the best part about working as a cosplayer? Kamui: It’s really not about working as a cosplayer, it’s about being self-employed. As a cosplayer I still do the same that everybody else does. I create costumes, dress up and have fun with my friends at cons. As somebody who works for herself however I enjoy to have flexible working hours. I can decide by myself what and when I want to do something and I maybe just want to play



CC Mag: What role does Benni play in your career as a cosplayer? Kamui: Benni does pretty much everything I don’t want to do, can’t do or simply do not have the time for. So after writing a new book he is in charge of editing, layout, print and shipping. He packs and ships all our books, answers customer e-mails and takes care of the inventory. In addition, he mostly does the paint job of all my props and costumes while I’m already working on the next piece. He also always travels with me, so at cons he helps me to get in and out of costume, takes photos of me and is just always there when I need a helping hand. His most important job however is his support in general. He keeps me happy, always takes care of me and does everything to keep me smiling no matter how exhausting the day was. I surely wouldn’t do this without him, and it’s absolutely amazing to have him on my side every day. And he’s doing this for 12 years now, all the way since I created my very first costume!

Paladin, World of Warcraft速 Photo by Hemlep Photography THIRD EDITION


Malthael, Diablo速 III Photo by Darshelle Stevens 26




CC Mag: When did you first discover Zach Fischer and his work? Kamui: I noticed Zach’s work when he first designed a costume for my friend Laura from Lighting Cosplay. I’m not sure anymore, but I think it was the Valkyrie. Instantly falling in love with his style and designs I just had to ask him if he would also be interested to collaborate with me. Surprisingly he finished a piece of gender-bent Malthael, the Angle of Death from Diablo III, in just a few days. His work was absolutely amazing and I already knew this wasn’t the last time I would ask him for support. CC Mag: Tell us a bit about your collaborations with Zach. Kamui: While many character artists seem not to care about the simple rules of physics (like gravity) Zack already has a working costume in mind while he works on the concept. He thinks about armor attachments, mobility and how to keep a costume comfortable. He doesn’t just draw cool looking shapes, gigantic helmets or details that would never work in reality, but he really cares about the believability of the final costume. In addition he loves to discuss his creations with cosplayers, is open for feedback and always has great solutions if something needs to be changed. It’s a pleasure to work with such a creative and inspiring artist and I wish Zack all the best to fulfill all his dreams. He is unbelievably passionate and is a great enrichment to the cosplay community. CC Mag: Out of the two characters you’ve built so far, which was the most challenging? Kamui: The most challenging character was clearly Malthael for me. Zach’s design consisted of countless delicate details and especially both of the blades were a lot of work to create. Sadly however I only had one week for one of my biggest projects this past year and so it cost me several sleepless nights to finish the costume in time for SDCC. The reward however was that after talking so much with Zack online we finally met him at the convention and I was able to show him the costume I created based on this design. I guess this day was something special for both of us!

Malthael, Inspired by Diablo® III Original Artwork by Zach Fischer 28




Dani Moonstar, Marvel Comics Photo by Benni Schwarz 30


Dani Moonstar, Inspired by Marvel Comics Original Artwork by Zach Fischer THIRD EDITION




Wizard, Diablo速 III Photo by Benni Schwarz THIRD EDITION


Barbarian, Diablo 速 III Photo by Benni Schwarz 34


Benni Schwarz Painter, Partner and Support System behind Kamui Cosplay.

CC Mag: You two make such a great team! How long have you been working with Kamui on her cosplays? Benni: I’ve been together with Svetlana ever since she started going to conventions in 2003. We actually first met when I wrote her a message for a small local convention I was helping organizing back in the day. She wrote me back because she liked my profile picture (I had super long wavy hair back then) and she has not left my side ever since. At the beginning I only helped her paint her armor and carried her stuff at conventions, but later it went to spending every evening after work

“I want Svetlana to be able to just do what she loves doing. She is so amazingly talented and helpful to others in the community, it astounds me every day.”

helping her to finish her costumes on time… and the costumes kept getting more complicated! So I kind of worked two full time jobs by spending my whole day at work and then coming home to a million finished costume pieces that were waiting to be painted. It was super stressful for a couple of years, until she began writing her books and we realized it made more sense for me to quit my job and help her out full time. CC Mag: Professionally, what is your role in your cosplay business? Benni: I want Svetlana to be able to just do what she loves doing. She is so amazingly talented and helpful to others in the community, it astounds me every day. Being self-employed comes with a lot of organizing work, especially in Germany, so I try to keep all the boring work off her back so she can concentrate on the fun stuff. I do taxes, take care of the website, answer e-mails and Facebook messages, write bills, edit, layout, print, translate and ship her books, take progress and cosplay photos, record, cut and edit YouTube tutorials, handle her Instagram account and the list goes on and on. And then, when there is still time, I help out with her costumes and do other fun things.



Benni's painting stages on Kamui's Diablo Barbarian cosplay.

CC Mag: I’m sure many people would like to know, how did you become such a great painter? Benni: Haha, I don’t consider myself a great painter. When it comes to drawing something on a blank canvas I get frustrated really quickly, because I haven’t had any real practice in a long time. I haven’t drawn something original for years but painting a finished piece of armor is really straightforward, since you basically just have to fill out empty shapes. You can follow the lines and add shadow and highlights. Once you know the process I think everybody can do a good job painting cosplay armor or weapons. I went to art school, to university for design and later worked in an advertising agency pumping out layouts, screen-designs and Photoshop manipulations. Luckily, most of the knowledge I gained there is also super useful for what we do now!



CC Mag: What is the best part about working with your partner professionally? Benni: I’d say the best part about working with your partner is also the best part about being self-employed. It’s being able to plan your time however you want. When you work in an office you always tend to look at the time and wait for the day to be over. I’m not a morning person so to start working at 8 or 9 is really hard. Luckily Svetlana is the same way. We are usually much more efficient waking up at 10 and then working until we drop dead at 4am. It also means we can go to the cinema at 10am in the morning or spend an entire day just playing video games. We have a lot of the same interests so that makes spending our time together super fun. We don’t have a fixed work schedule and the days tend to blur together. It can also get super stressed at times, but everything is a lot more fun when you do it together.

Barbarian, Diablo速 III Photo by Darshelle Stevens THIRD EDITION


Tier 5 Warrior, World of Warcraft速 Photo by Ramona Stanek 38


CC Mag: Have you ever cosplayed? Any big cosplay plans for the future? Benni: The answer is “kind of ”. Svetlana and I did a Night-Elf druid couple from World of Warcraft for BlizzCon a few years ago. It was my first experience being in a Cosplay myself. Maybe it was not the best costume to choose for seeing what “all the fun” was about. I had a super long wig, blue body paint and make-up on my face and arms, a corset, glued on silicone ears, a long robe and heavy shoulders. It was also really hot outside in California. I lasted three whole hours before I had to get out of the costume again. It was unbelievably hot, sweaty, uncomfortable and painful to wear. It probably also did not help that I was not really into World of Warcraft and apparently looked quite feminine as I was being greeted as “hello lady“ a lot on the convention floor. So that was that. Then last year I bought a suit for a quick Doctor Who costume which was also very hot (at least at DragonCon) but a lot more fun. I think I like the aspect of making things a lot more than actually wearing them, plus I really don’t like the feeling of being the center of attention. So don’t expect too much, but I’m sure there is more to come.

around everywhere, carrying her stuff while doing stupid things. So it would not be much of a cosplay at all since I would just continue to play myself, haha. CC Mag: What has been the most challenging cosplay project or piece of armor that you have worked on? Why? Benni: That would probably be Svetlana’s Malthael (Diablo III) and Diana (League of Legends) costumes. Not because of the pieces themselves, but because we had to finish each of them in only one week. We had no time to experiment and I was forced to try out airbrushing for the first time because it made painting a lot faster. We only worked in a tiny apartment so the dust went basically everywhere. Painting usually takes a lot of patience and the right mindset to sit there and draw fine clean lines with a steady hand so it really was a challenge. At least we learned where our limits are and what we can achieve in only a week, so it wasn’t all that bad, haha.

“I surely wouldn’t do this without him and it’s absolutely amazing to have him on my side every day.” - Kamui, about Benni.

CC Mag: Do you and Kamui have any more future plans to cosplay together as a couple? If so, what characters would you like to be? Benni: Svetlana always wanted to do “Xena - The Warrior Princess” since she was one of her heroes while growing up. She was one of the few strong female leads on TV back in the day and showed her that a woman does not need saving, and can be strong and independent on her own. She plans to realize that dream for a German convention in late September. Depending on the time I might try myself at doing a “Joxer“ costume from the same show. He was basically the dork following Xena

CC Mag: What are some of your favorite places you’ve visited when travelling around the world alongside Kamui? Benni: We’ve been to a lot of cool places already. Some of my favorites would be New Zealand, Barbados and Singapore. Places you would usually never go to. It’s so interesting to see other cultures and talk to different people all around the world. It also teaches you how similar we all are. We might have different skin color, different traditions, and different ways to greet another and say different things before we eat but who doesn’t like Pokémon? Even though we live on the other side of the planet we all like the same things. It’s unbelievable that we can travel to the other side of the planet, only to immediately find a person to talk about the latest episode of Game of Thrones. And it’s all the better if you can do it with your partner at you side.



You can find more of Kamui Cosplay’s work here: Photography by: Benni Schwarz Ramona Stanek Photography

Daedric Armor, Skyrim Photo by Benni Schwarz 40


Hemlep Photography Jay Tamblante Photography IG: therealjaytablante Twitter: jaytablante Darshelle Stevens

Norn Warrior, Guild Wars 2 Photo by Darshelle Stevens THIRD EDITION




Sagat, Street Fighter Photo by LAPhotoNET THIRD EDITION




MISS SINISTER duluth , g eor g ia

CC Mag: Tell us a bit about yourself! Miss Sinister: Besides Cosplay, my interests include art, video games, volleyball, weight lifting, building props, disc golf, and makeup design. CC Mag: When and why did you first get into cosplay? Miss Sinister: I got into Cosplay because of a few friends I worked with. This was back in 2010, and my first convention was Sakuracon. They showed interest, but didn’t want to go alone. I Googled the convention, saw everyone dressed up, and needed to be a part of the fun! CC Mag: What are some of your favorite cosplays that you’ve done? Miss Sinister: Orochimaru, Motoko Kusanagi, Jack, Commander Vaako, and Kratos. CC Mag: Where to you get inspiration from when working on cosplay? Miss Sinister: Mostly from the music I listen to. I like OceanLab, Loscil, AFI, Foreigner, Garbage, Lacuna Coil, Metallica, and much more. I find that zoning out to music is more productive than having something on a screen in the background. CC Mag: Are there certain types of characters that you’re drawn towards when you cosplay? Miss Sinister: I’m drawn towards the most badass looking characters - which are typically villains.

CC Mag: Why did you choose to cosplay Kratos? Miss Sinister: Besides really enjoying the series, a friend and I decided to do a duo of a male and female Kratos for Dragoncon. Acting in-character is really fun as the God of War :) CC Mag: How did you first hear about Zach’s work? Miss Sinister: Zach actually approached me, offering to draw one of my cosplays (Taki, from Soul Calibur). I went to the convention we would both be at and stopped by his booth to pick it up. We ended up having a lot of mutual friends, and kept in touch. So when the idea of a female Kratos came up, he was the first person I thought of to design her. CC Mag: How long did it take you to make your Kratos cosplay? Can you tell us about your process? Miss Sinister: The blades and ram were made by an amazing company called Hex Mortis (www.facebook. com/hexmortis). The leather parts were by Vykan Leather, the contacts were by SamhainContactLenses. com, and the body paint was by Kurt Allen and Sean McCarthy. I merely did some face makeup and shaved my head. I wasn’t at a point where I’d be comfortable working with leather or foam yet, so a lot of the items were commissioned. CC Mag: If you had to choose to stay forever as one of the characters you’ve cosplayed, who would you choose and why? Miss Sinister: Probably Jack from Mass Effect. Then I’d have some badass full-body tattoos! Angela, Spawn/Marvel Comics Photo by LAphotoNET THIRD EDITION


Original Artwork by Zach Fischer Inspired by God of War速 46


CC Mag: What are your future cosplay plans? Miss Sinister: We will see. I’m speaking with Hex Mortis on a few costumes I’d like to do, but they are big builds and will take time. You can find more of Miss Sinister’s work here: Facebook: Instagram/Twitter : @miss_sinister / @MISS_SlNlSTER DeviantArt : Print store :

Blades and ram by Hex Mortis Outfit by Leather Bound

Photography by: LAphotoNET SGH PhotoArt Instagram: sghphotoart

Contacts by Samhain Contact Lenses Body paint by Kurt Allen and Sean McCarthy

Female Kratos, God of War® Photo by SGH PhotoArt THIRD EDITION


JET CITY COSPLAY Night Elf, World of Warcraft速 Photo by CosPortraits 48




CC Mag: Tell us a bit about yourself? Jet City Cosplay: My name is Andrew, I’m a sophomore in college, and I’m from Seattle, Washington. I started playing video games when I was about 7 and started with things like Super Mario Bros. and Sonic the Hedgehog. My first MMORPG experience was with World of Warcraft in 8th grade. I had just gotten a new computer and I was up late playing around with it when I saw the Mr. T commercial with the Night Elf Mohawk and the mohawk grenade. I decided to give the 10 day free trial a try and I never really stopped playing. From there I branched out into other games such as League of Legends, Guild Wars 2, the Diablo series, The Elder Scrolls, Neverwinter, and Rift. I started cosplaying in August of 2013, a few months before my first convention (BlizzCon). I decided to make the tier 8.5 Mage set from the Ulduar raid in WoW. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, as I had never touched Worbla or a heat gun before that. Needless to say I barely finished in time, and even though I’m proud of it as a first costume, there are about a million things I would do differently now. Although those few months leading up to the convention in November were filled with tears, excessive swearing, and heat gun burns, I absolutely fell in love with cosplay. I can’t imagine my life without it! CC Mag: When not cosplaying, what are you interests and hobbies? What do you do apart from cosplay? Jet City Cosplay: Right now, with school and everything, my life is pretty much work, school, and cosplay. I try to squeeze in games whenever I can, but every time I sit down to log on I get this guilty feeling that there’s some sanding or priming to do in the workshop, and usually end up checking my auctions

in WoW or maybe playing a quick ARAM match in League and then logging off to keep working. It definitely makes it hard to have a social life, and as much crap I get from my friends for saying “Sorry I have to work on some patterns I can’t come over”, they are 100% supportive of everything. CC Mag: When did you first get into cosplay? Jet City Cosplay: I first got into cosplay the summer of 2013. I was looking at pictures of previous BlizzCons, to see what I was getting myself into, and I saw people walking around in these amazing costumes. After doing some research, I came across some well-known cosplayers’ Facebook pages and said to myself “Okay I HAVE to learn how to do this…” I ordered some Worbla and made a plan, but I didn’t end up starting until the end of August because I had no idea what I was doing. I barely ended up finishing in time, but the months of toil and tears paid off that first night when I walked across the BlizzCon stage. I’ll never forget what one of the stagehands told me about 5 seconds before I walked on. “Don’t trip. The thousands of people watching here are nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands streaming it live from home.” Because I wasn’t nervous enough already. CC Mag: What are your favorite type of characters to cosplay? Jet City Cosplay: I think my favorite kinds of characters to cosplay are elves, or elven-like characters. Mages/ magic users in particular, because I tend to be closer in stature to them versus a big, brutish Orc warrior. Plus the prosthetic ears you get to wear for elves are loads of fun! And while I’m a firm believer in “cosplay who/what you want”, I tend to gravitate towards the characters I look a bit more like. I’m the same way with making characters in game. I would prefer to play a Night Elf over a Tauren any day. THIRD EDITION


Night Elf, World of Warcraft 速 Original Art by Zach Fischer 50


CC Mag: How did you first hear about Zach Fischer? Jet City Cosplay: I first heard about Zach when he started working with some of the high profile cosplayers I followed. I eventually made my way to his page just in time to secure a spot in that round of commissions he was doing. I was so thrilled I would check my e-mail multiple times every day to see if I got an update from him. And I was so glad I did, the 3 designs he’s done for me are beyond incredible. CC Mag: Tell us about your first collaboration with him. Jet City Cosplay: My first character design he did was a little over a year ago, and it was a Night Elf Hunter based on the classic Night Elf armor you see in the cinematics. Night Elves are my favorite race in WoW and I’ve been wanting to do one for a while, but I couldn’t find any male references that fit what I wanted to do. That’s where Zach came in. I was able to explain to him what I was looking for and sent him some references. Within a few weeks I was sent a sketch which looked absolutely perfect. I gave him a big thumbs up and he then started rendering the sketch. It came out beautifully, and even though I had barely started building, I already couldn’t wait to work with him again.

the base, with a half inch of room along the edges. Then I glued it down using fabric safe super glue. After that was dry, I proceeded to add the edge details like normal. Even though the fabric was glued down, that half inch of room between the fabric and the edge held in place with the border details as well. The rest of the details stayed in place because they were attached to the border in one place or another. After that, for priming and painting, I just taped up the fabric as to not get glue and paint all over it, and went about business as normal! The big swirly pieces on the shins were the only other challenging part. For those I layered to pieces of EVA foam together, and used a dremel to shape them. It took about 2 and a half hours for each, and I was COVERED in black dust afterwards. After that I invested in a respirator (best choice I’ve made in a long time). Everything else was pretty straightforward, using the worbla-sandwich method

CC Mag: Can you walk us through your process of building your night elf cosplay? Jet City Cosplay: One of the first things I like to do when starting a new costume, is go through each piece and make of list of every single material I’ll need. It’s inevitable that I’ll miss a thing or two but for the most part, it helps me gather everything together so I can just go for it. One of the most challenging, but most rewarding things I did with that costume, was the sewn pleather over Worbla for the shoulders and hips. After lots of experimenting, I finally found a technique that worked. I would make a pattern for the base, and build the base like normal. However before I put the details on, I took that pattern that I had for the base, and transferred it to the fabric piece that I had made. In this case, it was two pieces of pleather, with batting in the middle, and then cross-stitched so it had a sort of raised puffiness to it. Once the pattern was transferred, I cut it out and made sure it fit on Costume detail by Zach Fischer THIRD EDITION


CC Mag: Tell us a bit about your second project with Zach! How is that one going? Jet City Cosplay: My second project with Zach is a redesign of Maiev Shadowsong! She is one of my all-time favorite Warcraft characters, and I’ve wanted to cosplay her for a long time. When I was able to secure another commission slot I decided then and there that I was going to attempt my first ever crossplay. Zach did such an amazing job with the design I had some trouble getting going on it because I was constantly so worried about doing it justice. I’m still in the pattern stage with most of it, with only the gauntlets completely built. I am vigorously working to get those patterns done so I can start with the actual fabrication. Also, one of the biggest challenges with this costume will be learning to walk in heels. Seeing as night elves are so tall, I figured it would be no problem that with the heels and the helmet, I’ll be over 7 feet tall!



CC Mag: What other projects are you working on right now? Jet City Cosplay: No other projects are really happening at the moment, since BlizzCon inches closer and closer every day, it’s all hands on deck for Maiev. I do, however, have a few projects planned for right after BlizzCon, one of them being another design I received from Zach! The third collaboration between Zach and I was a redesign of Krasus, Consort to the Dragonqueen. His in game model was quite bland, especially standing next to the newer models of the Dragon Aspects, and being such a prominent fixture in the lore of Azeroth, I decided to talk to Zach about making his armor a bit more Draconian, and on par with Alexstrasza. As always, he delivered a stunning rendition of the Dragonqueen’s consort, complete with horns! I have another project in the works (and by works I mean scribbles and sketches and random ideas) but no spoilers on that one just yet! (Hint: it’s Blizzard related).

CC Mag: Do you have any cosplay idols or major sources of inspiration? Jet City Cosplay: While I look up to many cosplayers such as Kamui Cosplay, Lyz Brickley, and Enayla Cosplay, I think my biggest source of inspiration would have to be Lightning Cosplay. I first found her page when I was looking for more information on how to work with Worbla, and I watched in awe as she built Ralf his barbarian costume. Her skills not only with Worbla, but leather, casting, and sculpting are just beyond my wildest imagination, and seeing her progress on my Facebook never fails to motivate me to get better. CC Mag: Any advice for people who want to get started with armor making? Jet City Cosplay: I think the best advice I have is just go for it. Do some research, gather some reference photos, and just go for it. You only get better with practice. Nowadays many of the bigger names in cosplay have made books of some sort, and they’re definitely worth investing in! It’s all the information you could possibly need compiled (with photos) in one place. Also, networking is a great tool! Get to know fellow cosplayers and you’ll be able to share info and tips with each other. All that said though, practice is definitely key. Practice, practice, practice! CC Mag: If time/budget constraints didn’t exist, what would be your dream cosplay? Jet City Cosplay: I think if I had to choose one cosplay to have no budget/time restraints on, it would be Diablo, from Diablo 3. I would get a hold of a pair of those WETA digitigrade legs, and just go all out with casting and prosthetics. With my height, plus the legs, and head, I think that would be one of the best costumes to see both in person, and do photo shoots with. Not to mention one of the most fun to wear around the convention! It would have illuminated sections, Diablo’s voice programmed into a speaker somewhere in the head, and a giant tail that I could whip around as I walked towards the High Heavens, ready to kick some ass. While I still have a long way to go before I get there, I do see that as one of my ultimate goals with costuming. Hopefully I’ll get there!

CC Mag: What do you have planned for the future? Jet City Cosplay: In the future, I really want to get more into sewing to supplement the armor portions of my costumes. I’m terrible at sewing and seeing as I love mages/mage armor, I probably need to at least learn the basics! That’s probably why the mage set from Ulduar is one of my favorites…No dress! Speaking of Mage sets, lately I’ve been wanting to revisit my first costume, and try again. It’s one of my favorites and I feel like I didn’t do it justice the first time around. With all of the new techniques I’ve learned since then I feel like it could be much better. Plus to see the comparison of when I first started to where I am now would be so much fun! Also, ever since seeing the article on the cosplay team that went to Iceland, I can’t get the idea of a destination photoshoot out of my mind. A couple of the places I’ve been looking at are Iceland (of course), Northern Scotland/ Isle of Skye, and some of the Northern Scandinavian countries such as Norway! Even though it’ll be a while before I’m able to do such extravagant things, it’s definitely on my cosplay bucket list! You can find more of Jet City Cosplay’s work here:

Photography by: CosPortraits Isaac and Leah Hsieh



t u t o r i a l 54


FABRIC DETAILING ON Armor As an alternative to paint, Jet City Cosplay shares his method of using fabric as the base finish of his armor. This is a great option when the armor requires a complicated pattern or finish that would prove too diffucult using standard painting techniques. Simply find a fabric with the desired finish, and follow his step-by-step instructions on how to use the fabric to detail your armor pieces.

1. Draw and cut out pattern in desired shape (I just did a basic square for simplicity’s sake). After you’re done don’t throw it away! You’ll need it later.

2. Transfer the pattern from paper to Worbla.

3. Use the paper pattern to cut out the shape of the fabric. It’s much more accurate than using the Worbla sandwich.

4. Trim the edges of the fabric so there’s about 1/4 inch of space between the edge of the fabric and the edge of the Worbla. Do this carefully! You can always cut more off, but you can’t add more on.



5. Glue the fabric to the Worbla sandwich. For this step I just use the same wood glue I use for priming. It dries quickly, and stays on, even when I’m messing around with the details later on.

6. Clamp the edges and clean off any extra glue.

7. Create your edge details and attach like you would normally. Make sure that you secure the edges of the fabric underneath the Worbla details! Also be careful when heating the Worbla, you don’t want to burn the fabric!

8. This is what the other side looks like with the edge details. Notice that there is no fabric sticking out of this side! This is where all of that measuring and tedious trimming you did before pays off!



9. Add the rest of the edge details like before, until the edges are completely secured.

11. Once it’s detailed, go ahead and prime/paint your piece! I would heavily recommend taping or covering the fabric somehow to prevent mistakes. Paint and glue are near impossible to get out of fabric and you wouldn’t want to start over this far into crafting!

10. Now it’s detail time! The one thing that is a bit tricky about this is all the details have to somehow connect to the edges, which are secured to the base with that little strip of Worbla left by the gap between the Worbla and the fabric. (Alternatively, you could cut a hole through the fabric, so that the Worbla can form a bond to the backing piece.) You can see that even the tiny details and the gem are connected to the big swirl, which is connected to the edge.

Any questions? Visit Jet City Cosplay's Facebook page for more information and photos of his Night Elf Hunter cosplay build.





Tyrande and Malfurion, World of Warcraft速 Photo by Martin Hola THIRD EDITION





CC Mag: When did you first start cosplaying? Lightning: I first discovered cosplay in 2011 when I attended Japan Day in Dusseldorf. I was so fascinated by all the amazing costumes that I decided to return the following year with my own cosplay. CC Mag: What was your first cosplay? Lightning: My first cosplay was a character called Lightning from one of my favorite RPG series, Final Fantasy XIII-2. The difficult thing about the costume was that it consisted of a lot of armor pieces, and back then there weren’t as many great materials available as there are today, so I used foam rubber to build the armor. At the time, the cosplay was absolutely outrageous. CC Mag: Do you have any favorite materials? Lightning: Over the past few years I’ve worked a lot with thermoplastic, such as Worbla’s Finest Art. The material is perfect for creating armor. However, as with any material at some point you reach its limit and want to move on to something more professional. Therefore, over the past 1.5 years I’ve worked a lot with molding and casting. CC Mag: What do you do when you’re not working on cosplays? What are you studying? Lightning: In addition to all my cosplay work I’m studying communication design at university. This winter I’m finally writing my bachelor thesis, and my studies will finally be finished in February. I can then concentrate fully on my cosplays.

CC Mag: What is the cosplay community like in Germany? Lightning: I’ve been to many foreign conventions and can honestly say I can’t see any difference between cosplayers there and cosplayers in Germany. We all have the same hobby and the same passion. I think the biggest difference between the cosplay scene in Germany and the US is age. In Germany, the average age of cosplayers seems to be 16-25, and in the US you are more likely to see older cosplayers like me. I’m 27, and by German standards I’m quite old for cosplay. CC Mag: Tell us about your tattoos! Do you ever cover them up when cosplaying, or do you try and incorporate them into the costume? Lightning: My tattoos belong to me, just like my piercings. They are a part of my personality and I just love them. Of course, they do not always fit my cosplays, and there are always people who dislike my tattoos and piercings. But I wear them with pride, and want to show them off as well. Therefore, I don’t really ever cover my tattoos, except when I’m wearing a costume with full body paint. CC Mag: What has been your most challenging cosplay? Lightning: The most challenging so far would have to be my latest cosplay, Widowmaker from Overwatch. She has this incredibly complicated bodysuit, and I’m just not very good at sewing. Tyrande was also quite a lot of work. Zach’s style was so rich in detail, and each piece of armor was a challenge.

Tyrande and Malfurion, World of Warcraft® Photo by Martin Hola THIRD EDITION


Tyrande Whisperwind, World of Warcraft速 Original Art by Zach Fischer 62


Tyrande Whisperwind, World of Warcraft® Photo by Vincent Bär THIRD EDITION 63

Valkyrie, Marvel Comics Photo by Martin Hola 64


CC Mag: When did you first hear about Zach Fischer’s work?/ When did you start working with him? Lightning: At the beginning of 2014 I ended up by chance on Zach’s Facebook page, and saw his illustrations. I fell instantly in love with his art style. When I saw his design of Valkyrie, I knew immediately that I had to cosplay her! CC Mag: Tell us about the process in making your Tyrande and Valkyrie cosplays. Lightning: I contacted Zach to let him know I would love to cosplay his Valkyrie, and he was excited by the idea and immediately started to work with me. He went through a lot of trouble to create drawings of each piece of armor and weapons, where you could see every detail. This meant I was able to implement the cosplay perfectly. I’ve always wanted to cosplay Tyrande, as she is one of my favorite characters from World of Warcraft. I thought immediately of Zach, and asked him if he would be willing to make me a new design for Tyrande. He also created a Malfurion design for Ralf to cosplay. The costumes were both created in only 2 weeks before BlizzCon. That was the most stressful and at the same time the most memorable time for us in the last year. Some of our friends helped us in the completion of the costumes, and without them we would not have made it in time.

CC Mag: Congratulations on your winning positions at the BlizzCon contest! Can you tell us a bit about your experience there? Lightning: BlizzCon is my absolute favorite Convention. Firstly, just to be allowed entry into the costume contest was a huge honour for us, and then to be judged among the best is almost beyond belief. Now that BlizzCon is over it really does feel like a dream. The community there is really incredibly nice, and many people recognized me and wanted to take pictures. It makes me very proud that people appreciate my work like that. This year we will not be at BlizzCon, as I write my undergraduate thesis during that time. But next year we will be doing and will have two new amazing costumes! CC Mag: What are your future cosplay plans? Lightning: I just finished working on my Maleficent cosplay, which I wore to a convention for the first time in the middle of September. Now I will start with a cosplay from a whole new game, Aloy from Horizon. However, I do have a cosplay wish-list, but it has gotten so long that I don’t know when I will have time to make all the costumes.

Valkyrie design details by Zach Fischer THIRD EDITION


Valkyrie, Marvel Comics Original Art by Zach FIscher 66


Valkyrie, Marvel Comics Photo by Martin Hola THIRD EDITION




CC Mag: If money and time weren’t an issue, what would your DREAM cosplay be? Lightning: There are so many cosplays that I would really like to make, but due to time restrictions I simply can’t do them. The bad thing is that every year my cosplay wish list gets longer. My absolute dream cosplay is a Female Diablo from Diablo III. The complexity of the costume is that the entire body would need to be modeled with latex or silicone. It would definitely be a project that would take me a year’s time to build, since it has to be perfect. Perhaps in the next few years, when I have finished my studies and my workshop is big enough so that I could have room for such a project. CC Mag: Any more couple cosplays planned with Ralf? Lightning: I would really like to make a Draenei pair with him. Maybe next year for BlizzCon! CC Mag: Tell us a bit about your new book! Lightning: I have been working on this book for more than six months now, and it consists of 160 pages and more than 300 new images. I demonstrate four different crafting techniques and explain how to model horns. A few times a year, I also offer some horns in my online shop. The demand is very high and it seems I’m always having to produce new horns. With my new book you can now learn how to model your own horns, by creating a silicone mold and casting with resin.

CC Mag: Do you have any advice for people wanting to get started in Cosplay? Lightning: Many people are nervous to start a cosplay because they are afraid of doing something wrong, or because they feel they may not be a good match for the character. It can be very overwhelming at first, because there is so much to learn right from the beginning. But the internet offers so many tutorials and there are now many great books you can buy. Just start small and you will grow and get better with every cosplay. And very important: Google is your friend! You can find more of Lightning Cosplay’s work here: Photography by: Martin Hola Vincent Bär Midgard Photography

Ygritte, Game of Thrones Photo by Midgard Photography THIRD EDITION


t u t o r i a l Photo by Martin Hola 70


Armor DETAILING WITH APOXIE SCULPT Lightning Cosplay uses Apoxie Sculpt to create the raised detailing on her Tyrande cosplay. Apoxie Sculpt is a 2-part clay-like product that adheres well to worbla, and dries hard enough to sand smooth. (Note: most types of 2-part epoxy clay will work for this technique) Step 1: Create base armor with Worbla, ensuring all pieces are shaped and finished before applying the detailing. Be sure worbla surfaces are free of dust and debris by wiping with a damp cloth and allowing to dry. Step 2: Draw pattern directly onto armor piece for easier placement of sculpting product. Armor will likely be painted, so pattern markings will not be visible in final product. Step 3: Mix 2-part Apoxie Sculpt together according to manufacturers directions. (This process may differ slightly depending on which brand you choose, so follow the directions carefully). Depending on drying time, you may want to only mix a small batch at a time so that the clay won’t dry before you apply it to the armor. Give yourself lots of time. Step 4: With your hands, roll long ribbons of clay approximately the diameter of your desired detailing. Lay the clay along your pattern lines, gently pressing the clay against your armor to ensure adhesion of both materials. In this step you are essentially filling in the pattern lines with clay.

Step 5: Using your fingers, pinch the clay into the rough shape of your desired detailing. You can then use sculpting tools to fine tune the profile of the clay into the final detailed look. Step 6: Dip your fingers in water, and smooth out the surfaces of the clay. This step will remove any course lines created by the sculpting tools, and will allow for easier sanding once dried. Step 7: Once the desired shapes are created, allow to dry according to manufacturers directions. Do not proceed until clay is completely cured. Step 8: When the clay is fully dry, it can be sanded to remove imperfections and to reshape any areas that aren’t to your liking. Use fine grid sandpaper to achieve a perfectly smooth finish. Step 9: Once finished, the armor pieces can be primed and painted according to your preference.



Malfurion, World of Warcraft速 Photo by Martin Hola 72


Ralf Zimmerman Cosplayer, Photographer and Fiance to Lightning Cosplay

CC Mag: What is it like cosplaying with your fiancé? Ralf: It is so great! We spend a lot of time together and the fact that we are regularly invited to conventions means we get to travel together around the world, too! CC Mag: Tell us about how you proposed to Laura! Ralf: Laura had wanted to go to BlizzCon in Anaheim for years. In 2013, we finally got to go for the first time and we took part in the costume contest. A few weeks earlier I had already thought that this was the perfect time. It was our first time in the US and our first time at BlizzCon, and it also happened to be Laura’s birthday on the same day as the costume contest. When we were in our barbarian costumes and it was our turn to go on stage for the contest, we both began to pose in our costumes, and I pulled the ring out of my pocket. Laura said yes! Shortly before, I had met Michael back stage and filled him in on my plan, and gave him some boards with words printed on them to hold up for the public to see, as we unfortunately didn’t have any microphones on stage. The first board said “Will You Marry Me?” and the second said “Yes, I Will!” So, strictly speaking, she had no choice. ;)

CC Mag: What characters have you cosplayed? Ralf: My first cosplay was a barbarian from Diablo III, which is what I wore on stage at BlizzCon when I proposed to Laura. The cosplay even won first place in the competition! A few weeks earlier I had won first place in the Blizzard costume contest at GamesCom in Cologne, which is where we won the trip to BlizzCon in the US. A year later, in 2014, we flew at our own expense to BlizzCon. That’s when I wore my second cosplay, Malfurion Stormrage from World of Warcraft, and I got second place. This year I also cosplayed as a Nord character from the The Elder Scrolls Online, which was used in their cinematic trailer. It was a commissioned work for Zenimax. CC Mag: Do you work on your cosplays yourself? Ralf: Laura was the one who made most of the Barbarian costumes. At that time I helped only with the weapons and the priming of the costume pieces. We worked together on Malfurion, and also had the help of a few good friends since we had to be ready in time for the BlizzCon deadline. We both also worked together on the Nord cosplay. As time goes on, I have been getting more and more involved in working with Laura on her cosplays, but my work is usually limited to the weapons and shields.



CC Mag: You’ve taken some great photos of Laura’s cosplays. Do you have any photography training? Ralf: No, Laura has taught me most of what I know of photography. The extensive control settings of the camera, for example, and many other things one must pay attention to when taking photos. Photography has really impressed me from the beginning. We usually look for a suitable location together, and spend a lot of time talking about the shoots we want to do and whether a site would work well with the cosplay. Laura always works with all the photos I take, and once we finish a shoot she gives the pictures the finishing touches by editing them with Photoshop. CC Mag: If you could cosplay any character, who would it be? Ralf: I always wanted to cosplay Archon from Starcraft, however this cosplay would be very difficult and would take a lot of time and money to complete. CC Mag: What has been your favorite part about cosplaying? Ralf: First and foremost I enjoy the creative process itself, when Laura and I are sitting together in the workshop every day creating something new. Secondly, there is the moment when the pictures of the finished costume are revealed in the perfect setting after a photoshoot. In addition to making the costumes, I find that you get to know new people every time you travel to conventions, and you get to see old friends again. We mostly only get to see our friends that we have met through cosplay in recent years while at conventions. CC Mag: What do you do outside of cosplay/ photography? Ralf: Currently I’m studying Civil Engineering and will be writing my Bachelor thesis soon. I also work at an engineering firm a few days a week. Since we can now make a living, I spend most of the time with Laura in our workshop, where we continually create new costumes, costume accessories or tutorial books. Photography by: Martin Hola Darshelle Stevens 74


Barbarians, Diablo速 III Photo by Darshelle Stevens THIRD EDITION





"How do you stay positive and overcome bullying/negativity in the cosplay community?"


the small stuff, cosplay should always be fun. Some good ways to overcome cosplay bullying is to surround yourself with genuine friends who can provide support. Be proud of who you are and don’t let someone else’s opinion get to you. Don’t give someone trying to tear you down more power than someone trying to build you up.” - Tina Spirals



“It’s unfortunate, but you have to a thick skin to cosplay. You’re putting yourself out there on social media. You can’t expect everyone to love you and that’s normal. The best you can do is ignore the comments and stay positive about yourself. Anyone who puts on a costume, loves the character they’re portraying and posts a pic of themselves online has my respect. I work with a group of cosplayers called The Cosplay Alliance. We will stand up to any kind of bullying and harassment over social media and conventions. Just know that you are never alone!” - Kristen Lanae Photo by

tina spirals


“I have a lot of love for the cosplay community, and from that love, I strive to keep it a positive place. I stay positive by keeping my heart open and never forgetting to smile. Also, try not to sweat

A: A:


“Unfortunately, there are always times people judge you, but I have fortunately never had big problems with it. I have often noticed it with other cosplayers, especially on the internet where cyber hate and bullying can often be a big problem. Through the anonymity and the distance one has on the internet, many people let their frustrations out easily. Although no one would admit it, in the cosplay scene it often has to do with envy or jealousy. I would simply ignore such negative reactions. It is important that you remain true to yourself, even if other people might not like it.” Lightning Cosplay Photo by Martin Hola

"It is important that you remain true to yourself, even if other people might not like it." - Lightning Cosplay THIRD EDITION




kamui cosplay

“I guess I sort of try and tune it out the best I can. I’ve been fortunate to not come across a lot of negativity but it’s amazing how damaging even a little bit can be. I just keep it in the back of my mind that they’re missing out on one of the big points of cosplay, to get better and be supportive of others doing the same, and I sort of feel sorry for them, because that’s one of the best parts about being part of such a large (and getting larger) community.” - Jet City Cosplay Photo by


“Being active in public means basically having the attention of a lot of people. These people can like or dislike what you do and there will be always be some of both parties - you can’t do anything about it. No matter if you create a fanpage, post a photo of you somewhere or just dress up at a convention - you need to be aware of it. Since I’ve been cosplaying now for over a decade, I got a pretty thick skin, but I also learned to be careful about what I do, say and write in public. Since I always try to be helpful and support the community for so many years already, I luckily don’t have that many issues with negativity or bullying. In general however I guess it’s very important to keep the good things in mind. Having a great time with friends, crafting nights or just getting compliments for your work. I admit sometimes it’s hard since bad stuff seems to be so much more memorable, but never forget all those people who love you and your work and try to ignore this one single person who said something stupid. Maybe he or she just had a bad day.” - Kamui Cosplay Photo by 78




“My number one piece of advice for staying positive in the cosplay community... Surround yourself with excellent humans! Life is far too short to suffer fools and drama instigators, and cosplay is far too much fun to tolerate people trying to bring

you down. I despise drama. There’s no room for it in my life so I simply refuse to acknowledge it or give it power. As such I have surrounded myself with amazing people, who are supportive and kind and give just as much, if not more, positivity back into the community. Treat everyone with kindness, but try not to take others’ negativity to heart, because chances are their toxicity towards you has more to do with their own pain than anything you’ve done to them. However, if you’re hurting, reach out. Talk to friends you can count on. Find yourself in a group of “friends” short on reliability? Time to make some new pals. Go to a con, meet someone in line, go on some friend dates. I am blissfully untouched by drama because I’ve cultivated a group of great friends, I go to cons and have the best time ever, I collaborate with incredible artists who allow me to experience all kinds of new things, and spend my time giving back to the cosplay karma bubble. We are all nerds in capes, not a single one of us is better than anyone else.” - Atlas Cosplay Photo by

accurately represented the character and they would like nothing more than to point out all of their flaws. Cosplay negativity and bullying is among the #1 causes of why people quit cosplaying! At one point or another, we all feel that razor sting of judgement which forces us to step back and reevaluate what we love to do. We reach that fork in the road where we must choose between our passion and “what others think”. It’s too easy to run away and never look back. But this is when I put my foot down and realize how ridiculous if would be to please everyone. You can’t! Because we all have different tastes. It’s true when they say that beauty is in the eye of beholder. Art is very subjective. What one thinks looks like a bear, someone else sees a dog, then they argue about it. Cosplay is no different. The only way to keep your sanity (and self-esteem) is to realize that you are cosplaying for you, not them. We shouldn’t have to fight over who loves the character more. And you shouldn’t have to justify your art it’s yours. Once cosplay becomes something you do to please others, it makes you more self-aware when someone points out your flaws. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t do it to please others, especially those who dress up for sick children. But you should always do it for yourself first and foremost. Besides, is it realistic that we could ever make ourselves look exactly like that severely disproportionate cartoon or game character of our dreams? Not likely! So don’t accept criticism from others. Instead, embrace the positive vibes you receive from those who really appreciate your art. Those are your true fans. Who else matters?

ff cosplayer - julie


“Cosplay should be a fun expression of art where one can honor a character they admire by dressing up to look like them. The problem is when other fans don’t believe the cosplayer has

One of my favorite sayings: During the course of your life, 33% of all people will love you no matter what you do. 33% of all people will hate you no matter what you do. And 33% of all people won’t care what you do either way. The last 1% is you! So do what you love and only embrace those who lift you. Those are the only ones who matter.” - Julie






Cos Culture Magazine - Third Edition  

Art. Culture. Cosplay. Featuring: Zach Fischer Illustration / Kamui Cosplay / Lightning Cosplay / Miss Sinister / Jet City Cosplay

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