IT'S ALL ABOUT THE COSPLAY! KATYUSKA MOONFOX www.facebook.com/KATYUSKAMOONFOX
Katyusha shares her love of cosplay. Katyuska tell us what you’ve been up to since we last spoke to you in 2013. Hey there, It’s been that long already? Wow, Ive hardly noticed, time goes by so fast, I’m still working a lot, have a new sewing battle station and have been powering through costumes lately, really feeling motivated it’s great. You’ve been doing some amazing new cosplay recently, tell us what inspired you with those. I’ve been kicking myself into gear with getting all the costumes I’ve wanted to do and finally getting them done. As well as watching a lot of anime on my time off ( and while I sew), It’s so easy to stay motivated to do costumes when you’ve got a little background noise, especially if it’s from the source you’re making your cosplay from. There are a lot of things that inspire me to make the characters I choose as they’re all so different but it’s staying motivated to finish them which is the difficult thing. We hear you’re also a passionate gamer, what’s playing at your place? At the moment I’m up to the last chapter of ‘The Evil Within’ It’s been great so far, Mikami has done a fan-
tastic job of handling survival horror again, It’s very Silent hill meets Resident Evil ( 4 especially, some of the chapters felt ridiculously similar ). I love horror games and it’s been a fun time. When I finish this I’ve got Bayonetta 2 waiting for me, reviews have me pumped for it! Many of the cosplayers we talk to love movies and TV series - anything you’re hooked on at the moment? I’ve been pretty terrible with being up to date on TV shows. The only one I’ve been current with is the new American Horror Story. I feel lost now that Dexter and True blood have finished and the waiting period between Game of Thrones is crazy long! There’s so many more I need to watch but I just end up watching anime instead. Akame ga Kill is one I’m currently watching, it’s really great. I’m getting so into it. There’s a few cons coming up, which ones are you attending and can we know what you’ll be cosplaying or is that hush hush? Next convention I’m going to is Brisbane Supanova late November, I’m cosplaying Tharja from Fire Emblem for that on Saturday, still uncertain on what to wear on Sunday. I have made and am working on about 10 costumes at the moment so it’s more
or less what’s practical that day. Some of the plans are, Leone and Esdeath from Akame ga Kill, Kanako from Star Driver, Jibril from No Game No life. Other then Supanova, I think my next con with be CosCon event, being hosted by Cosplay Live, and the afterparty in Adelaide in March, haven’t planned a costume yet but it’ll be a good one, I’m sooo excited for it! You’re one of the most popular Australian cosplayers on social media, do you have some tips for cosplayers starting out on building their fan bases? Just cosplay because you want to, share the photos on your page when you get some, share some progress pictures, use other sites such as DeviantART, When your friends work on something cool, share their page, vice vers. Cosplay is more or less about the love of characters for me, about the craft and the being able to share that with like minded people. I definitely didn’t intend on being so highly followed or think that I would deserve it as much, there’s so much talent around! Anything they should avoid? Only thing I would avoid is taking it too seriously, Cosplay is always about fun and not about popularity or numbers on a page. Avoid mak-
Photographer: Carlos Mayenco | www.facebook.com/TheSolarGlare
KATYUSKA MOONFOX ing cosplay a contest about numbers, respect one another, be open to making friends and learning things from them and you’ll succeed!
What about photo shoots, you’ve done quite a few. Any tips for new cosplayers to help them get the most out of a shoot? Practice posing in front of a mirror! Know your angles, your good ones, your unflattering ones. Neck is always important to have in a photo, oh and confidence! Confidence really shines through, really try to channel your character. Look at some reference art if you need a little assistance. When your photographer directs you, they’re only trying to help make you look your best, don’t take it the wrong way! Well thanks for talking to us again and we look forward to seeing you at CosCon brought to cosplayers by Cosplay Live - where can readers go to find out more about you.
Thank you for having me back! I’m looking forward to Coscon, so I hope you all come along and have a great time, I’m looking forward to learning so many things there and just being in such an awesome environment! You can find me on Facebook (I update regularly): www.facebook.com/KatyuskaMoonFox And DeviantART: http://moonfoxultima.deviantart.com/
Photographer: Kris Ezergailis | www.facebook.com/WhatABigCamera
Photographer: John Pryke | www.facebook.com/JohnPrykePhoto
Photographer: John Pryke | www.facebook.com/JohnPrykePhoto
Photographer: Kris Ezergailis | www.facebook.com/WhatABigCamera
Photographer: Carlos Mayenco | www.facebook.com/TheSolarGlare
Photographer: Kris Ezergailis | www.facebook.com/WhatABigCamera
FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE.. VERS1A COSPLAY
www.facebook.com/VerisaWindrunnerCosplay In our earlier edition we spoke to Russian based cosplayer, Ver1sa who comes from St Petersburg. We spoke to this amazing Russian cosplayer about what it’s like to cosplay in Russia and what the cosplay scene is like... Firstly tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from and how long have you been a cosplayer? Hello everyone! My name is Vera and nickname is Verisa (Ver1sa). I`am 20 years old and I live in Russia, St. Petersburg. My main activities is study, cosplay and video games. I started cosplay in 2008, it turns out that I have been doing cosplay for five years, so I`am really into it! How did you get into cosplay? What started your interest? My best friend and I like to watch anime and periodically we found on the Internet a variety of photographs of the people were dressed in costumes of the characters. We didn’t even know what it was called, but decided that it is really cool and fun, so we tried it too. We went to the usual clothing store and bought some clothes that looked like characters` costumes and went to a Christmas anime party where I met people who told me about cosplay.
What is the cosplay scene in Russia like? Are there many events or as we call them “Cons” you can go to? In Australia we have Comic Con and PAX, what do you have there? The level of cosplay in Russia has grown over time, we can say that our cosplayers went out on the world stage. Oh, and in general much more people get involved in cosplay. Most of our festivals are not like the foreign ones, they are held in a slightly different format. A lot of attention is paid to the stage program: performances, karaoke and K-POP dancing. But recently festivals appeared in a more cammon format like Comic Con, BlizzCon and etc, and this is awesome. What are your favourite characters to dress as? At the moment, I prefer to cosplay character from video games, but also I love the costumes from movies, they are very detailed, stylish and beautiful. But the main point for me is the love for the character. Do you make your own costumes? About 70% of costumes I do by myself, but sometimes this is hard work I have to get the help of a seamstress and my boyfriend.
Do you play video games and if so what are your favourites? I spend a lot of time playing video games and I have a lot of platforms - Wii, Xbox, PC and Nintendo 3DS. My favorite games are: Pokemons, The legend of Zelda, Fallout 1-2, Heroes of Might and Magic III, The Elder Scrolls Oblivion and Bioshock. Of the games 2012-2013 years I really like Bioshock Infinite, Dishonored and Metro: Last Light. I also spend a lot of time in DotA 2. Where can our readers go to see more of your cosplay? To see more of my cosplay you can visit my deviantart page: http://ver1sa.deviantart.com/ Read my blog on the tumblr: http://ver1sa.tumblr.com/ I can also give you my facebook cosplay page: www.facebook.com/ VerisaWindrunnerCosplay, but it`s not popular in Russia because we have our own social net: http://vk.com/ver1sa Thanks for your attention. From Russia with love :) P.S. Sorry for my English. Photographer: Envy the One | www.envytheone.devianart.com
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES.. SOMETHING WICKED COSPLAY
www.facebook.com/WICKEDM6 Sydney based cosplayer, Something Wicked was a stand out interview in Live Magazine, he’s based in Sydney and we’re excited to have one of Australia’s best male cosplayers talk to us. Hi Dan tell us a bit about yourself, what you do and where abouts you’re from. Hi my name is Dan, I cosplay under the name of Something Wicked Cosplay and I have been involved in the cosplay scene for just over a year now. My interests include video games, comics, horror movies, prop building and collecting, cosplay, volleyball and other fitness related activities such as going to the gym and training at home. I’m from Western Sydney and currently reside in the Hills District. This year I will be taking my first steps into a casual teaching role (PDHPE) in high schools in and around my area.
it came to cosplay. As the poster boy of the Marvel universe, Spider-Man is instantly recognisable, and for this reason, Cosplaying as the character has been a pretty cool experience. Spider-Man is ultra flexible, hangs upside down and sits on ledges high above the city, I’d be lying if I said that Cosplaying as the character didn’t introduce me to some unbelievable (and sometimes scary) experiences. Besides Spider-Man, I’ve cosplayed as characters such as Deadpool, Robin, Nick Ramos (dead rising 3 - xbox), Delsin Rowe (infamous: second son - playstation), Ash Williams (Evil Dead), Nathan Drake (uncharted - playstation) and Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead). At this point, 2014 is looking busy as I’ve got an array of costumes planned - Aquaman, The Flash, Cyclops and Gambit (X-Men), A new Spidey suit, a male version of Harley Quinn and Legolas (the hobbit) just to name a few.
What are your favourite characters to cosplay?
Do you make your own costumes? Tell us a bit about how you go about that process
The first 6 months of my cosplay life saw me Cosplaying mainly as Spider-Man, he’s definitely my favourite character of all time and naturally, was my first choice when
My Spider-Man suit is a commissioned costume, it was initially going to just be a display piece in my collection, but after collaborating on a custom build with the designer, I
decided it would be my entry into the cosplay scene. The costumes that followed were, in most cases, made by me. In the cosplay scene, it’s common to work with other cosplayers when it comes to designing costumes, making props and building wearable pieces. Easy steps to making a costume: • • • •
Find a character you can connect with RESEARCH - find lots of reference pics Put together pieces that you need, this includes props, clothing items and makeup Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Yes, there’s no shame in asking your mum/grandmother to sew for you Be creative!! Above all things, make sure it’s something YOU can have fun in.
Do you attend many of the “cons” … what is your favourite and tell us how you go about preparing for an event. I try to attend as many cons as possible ranging from Pop Culture cons such as Supanova, Anime cons like SMASH and video game cons such as PAX. My favourite con would probably be Supanova, as it’s cur-
Photographer: Ecky Reyes | www.facebook.com/ecks.photography
something wickeD cosplay rently the biggest convention held in Sydney. The best thing about cons is that they are held in locations, in our case, all around Australia. At this point, I’ve attended conventions in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, but I’d really love to attend more and possibly even branch out into the United States of America. Photographer: Kris Ezergailis | www.WhatABigCamera.com
Photographer: Andy Wana | www.facebook.com/AndyWanaPhotography
Going to conventions is awesome, particularly when you attend them with friends. I’ve had the most fun at conventions, when I’ve taken part in group cosplays and spent the day running around with my friends. Preparing for an event like Supanova usually occurs months ahead of time, making the costume, building the props and perfecting/detailing the overall look of your chosen character. In saying this, it’s not uncommon for a cosplayer to make a costume at the last minute, most of the time, the night before a con. Any funny moments from an event you’ve been at? One moment that stands out in my mind, wasn’t actually funny, but something that I will never forget. It was during one of my first photoshoots in the city as Spider-Man. Naturally, as Spider-Man, wall crawling and being up high are part of the
job, and are pre requisites in getting that one awesome picture. Before I started Cosplaying, I wasn’t the best with heights, if anything, you could say I had a slight phobia/fear of heights. All this changed however when I found myself on the edge of a building, 11 storeys high, looking down at the tiny people in the street and feeling the wind pushing me around ever so slightly. It was something I never pictured myself doing within the entirety of my existence, and now, it just feels like another day on the job. Do you have any advice for new cosplayers? Cosplaying is a great way to express yourself through your fandom and can be an awesome experience if you allow it to be.
My favourite game of all time, is easily the Streets of Rage series on the Sega Megadrive. I grew up playing my Megadrive and the nostalgia of conquering games as a kid with my mum on a daily basis, still lives with me today. I was also a playstation kid, crash bandicoot ruled my life and Abe’s Odyssey followed close behind. These days, I own consoles from both Microsoft and Sony, and I enjoy games such as Battlefield, Uncharted, NBA and WWE 2K14, Halo, and anything with zombies. I love my Nintendo DS XL and PS Vita as well, just finished Pokemon and it was brilliant. I really can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Vita as well, it’s a powerful little device and will hopefully have a bunch of cool games this year.
Be confident and don’t be afraid
You can find me on Facebook under the name Something Wicked Cosplay: www.facebook.com/wickedm6
Have more fun!
I’m on Instagram and Twitter as well Username: @wickedm6.
Accept that everybody is different, therefore, there is no “right” way to cosplay Connect with other cosplayers, the fun increases in numbers
What about games, what’s your favourite?
Finally, where can readers find out more about you?
Photographer: Arujei Abad - LMKusanagi | www.lmkusanagi.deviantart.com
something wicked cosplay
AUTHENTICITY IN A WORLD OF CREATION callie COSPLAY
www.facebook.com/LEAHCALLIECOSPLAY Callie Cosplay is one of the most amazing cosplayers we’ve talked to. Her dedication to being authentic sees her work at a whole different level and is one to watch and follow. A musician, writer, model and artist, Callie is one of the special breed of what we call super cosplayers. Callie - tell us abit about yourself. Where do you live and what do you do with yourself when you’re not cosplaying? I live in Kissimmee, Florida and I’m currently a music management major in college. Besides Cosplay and being completely obsessed with super heroes, I am a classical musician, a writer, an artist, and a true geek! Where and when was your first cosplay? Tell us about that. My first Cosplay was Black Widow for the Avengers Premiere. There was an event called the “Marvel Movie Marathon,” and my husband had gathered a group of friends and family, designing our own costumes so that we were our very own Avengers group. For some reason, he put the most time and effort into my Black Widow costume. I remember the very first time I put on the costume and looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize my-
self. It was in that moment that I fell in love with Cosplay, and all of the possibilities raced through my mind altogether. It was the greatest feeling I’d ever had. I FELT like a superhero pulled straight from the pages of a comicbook. How was the experience? Did you find it overwhelming? The amount of picture taking and difficulty being able to walk from one place to the next without being stopped was very overwhelming at first. I remember coming back from a bathroom break and not being able to get back into the theatre because a mob of people with cell phones had cornered me, Nick Fury, and Black Panther. When that crowd passed, a new one was on the way, and Director Fury whispered into my hear in haste, “You better get out of here now. You have three seconds to spare. Go!” Do you have a favourite costume? My favorite costume changes with the more I make. Currently, I would have to pick my 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy Gamora costume. The costume design is so unique and designing something in real life that looked so cool in 2D was quite the challenge. How long does it take for you to make your own costumes?
They take weeks! The devil’s in the detail, and I start off making all of my costumes by taking care of all accessories first. I give myself about a week on all the accessories, and then I spend anywhere from 3-12 hours sewing the actual fabric of the costume. Tell us about the cons you visit - what’s been your favourite event? I’ve actually only been to one con, which was Supercon in Miami. It was so awesome, and getting into the con world is a whole new thing from other smaller events and picture taking. When do you start planning your costumes for a con? As soon as possible. Costume planning is the most vital part of actually making a costume. It’s always good to decide what to do in advance, and then know what I need to do and give myself plenty of time. What’s the best part about being a well known cosplayer? The best part about being a well known cosplayer is inspiring and encouraging others. People will share with me what they do, what they get excited about, and really welcome me into this great community. It’s all a learning process, and the more we give to others, the
Photographys by: David Love Photography
CALLIE COSPLAY more joy there is to be spread and shared. Do you feel there is potential for being a cosplayer to be a career or at least provide an income? I Cosplay because it’s my passion...I love it. I’m blessed to have such an amazing family and fanbase, all of whom I consider friends, who are willing to invest time and money into my art. Right now, Cosplay pays for Cosplay. If in the future it grows to be a source of income to support myself and my family, then that’s fantastic. What advice do you have for people starting out in Cosplay? Perhaps tell us about some of the things to avoid and the things they should do when they are starting out. Avoid cell phone pictures! Also, manage your time when making the costume. Don’t wait untitled the last minute to do something. Finally, what’s coming up next for you... do you have some events in the future you are planning to attend? Oh, yes. I’m going to be a special guest at AniCon in Guatemala. I’m also looking at scheduling other cons for the 2014 year. Note: All photographs taken by David Love Photography.
THE ACCIDENTAL PHOTOGRAPHER JAY TABLANTE PHOTOGRAPHY www.facebook.com/jaytablantephotography Jay is a very well-known photographer from the Phillippines. Photography was an accidental career for him, but with his outstanding images you would think he’s been taking photos all his life! With a cross between reality and illustration, find out how he creates these magical pieces.. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into cosplay photography? Photography was an accidental career in the making for most my school years. I actually studied to become a software developer, but the allure of holding a camera got stronger as I went through college. This started out as shooting school mates / aspiring models for free to build each other’s folios. I then took an internship with a professional photographer for two years, and the rest is history. The love of shooting cosplay actually came out of two fronts. One is from my love for comics and anime, and the other, my frustration is an illustrator. I wanted to draw, but I can’t get past glorified stick figures. I frustratingly knew in my heart that I can be creative -- if I just practice hard enough. So the merge between my love for pop-culture and photography came to be. I didn’t realize it was called “cosplay photography” until
later down the line when people labeled out work as such. For me, it was just an expression of the fanboy in all of us. Photography is changing and gaining an income is changing, tell us is cosplay photography a big part of your photography or is it done out of love for the art? I’m a commercial photographer by trade. Most of my clientele revolves around ad agencies, companies and such. So on a regular day, you could see me shoot myriad of stuff from credit cards, soda bottles, cans, diapers, etc... Shooting cosplay is a creative outlet. All the print proceeds we eventually get out of this is donated to local charities. With the money issue out of the question, it becomes easier to collaborate with other industry professionals since they all know it’s just for the love of it. Who are some of your favourite cosplayers you’ve photographed? A quick run of the list would be (and in no particular ranking order): Alodia (given that we’re also neighbors in Manila), Yaya Han, Riddle, Marie Claude and Vampy. Tell us a bit about a typical cosplay photoshoot - how do you prepare and how does it go?
The typical time table is about a month if you just consider one shoot. This starts off with several late night meetings with art directors / creatives to talk about the concept of the shoot. We then cast the cosplayer / model for the shot, and rope them into the production process. The shoot proper is about 1/2 a day for the talent, but could also stretch out depending on other asset materials (e.g. special effects images, backgrounds, items, etc...) necessary to complete the image. Then post-production would take about 1-2 weeks as the revisions are passed back and forth. Applying some industry practices, we get to come up with a gant chart of sorts with shoots happening in various stages. This is important since we need to schedule things in between actual work shoots too. Some images would take months, because some elements still need to be shot. The timing and opportunity would come down the line to complete them. Do you visit any of the many “cons” that are on and do you shoot there? I mainly shoot in a studio or a setdesign environment. I attend the cons to scope out the current trends of the community so to speak and
just to mingle about. I’m there as a fan more often than not. While photography is all about the art, people often like to know what gear you take on a typical shoot to create your images. Tell us about that. I switch between a Canon 5D Mark 3 or a 1D-X depending on the situation. But over and above the camera gear, I always carry my initial set of eight strobes to most shoots. It could add up if the concept for the shoot calls for it.
How do you get your style of photography, is it a natural evolution that comes over time or is it something you’ve set out to create? I would consider it to be both. As much as you’d want it to happen naturally, you also have to set a direction to where you want to take you craft. I wanted to make our images come into full circle with the original medium where all these characters originated. With that in mind, it was to blur the lines between photography and illustration. I want people to have a double take whether or not
it’s a real person or a drawing. That objective enabled me to learn lighting techniques in conjunction with collaboration from other industry professionals to make it happen. Finally where can people go to find out more about your work?? I’m quite the active type in social media, so here are my links: www.facebook.com/jaytablantephotography jaytablante.deviantart.com www.jaytablante.com Twitter: jaytablante
AN OVERFLOW OF TALENT MICHELLE MONIQUE PHOTO www.MICHELLEMONIQUEPHOTO.COM How can you introduce Michelle? She’s seriously one of the most talented and award winning cosplay photographers on the planet. With awards and an impressive list of clients, she’s one to watch out for! Michelle, tell us a bit about you, where you are based and how you got into cosplay photography? I’m based in San Francisco, California and I do book covers and editorial work on commission as well as cosplay and fantasy photography for fun. Cosplay photography was a natural path for me, as I’ve always had an affinity for particular characters. Growing up, certain character archetypes, narratives, and video games helped me understand myself and the world in a creative and visually vibrant way. I’ve always been most drawn to heroines, women warriors, femme fatales, and queens, because they possess strength that I wish I had. Photography is the medium that has allowed me to bring my favorite characters to life. You do a lot of the background work for your shoots including preparing props, make up, and even making the costumes. Tell us a bit about the process from coming up with an idea to the day of the shoot.
My concepts are usually derived from my favorite movies, books, video games, and mythology. Having initial inspiration or an idea is the easy part – I have enough ideas to last me the rest of my life! Unfortunately I can’t do everything I want, so I have to narrow down my plans for the next few years to just 5 or 6 top picks. Next comes my favorite part which is dreaming up the exact compositions that I will be doing for each series. I first do a sketch of the character in costume to familiarize myself with all aspects of the outfit including a list of materials that will be needed, styling, makeup, weapons, etc. Once that’s done, I create a mood board for each of the planned final images. This is something that gets shown to everyone on my team that way we’re all on the same page. It shows compositions from other artists’ images, my own sketches, colors, and lighting to show what direction I’d like the shoot to go in. For me it is pivotal to know exactly what the final images will look like before I do anything else, that way the series will look coherent and the lighting of all elements match. After the initial planning is done, I move into pre-production – the longest and most arduous stage. I create a budget of everything I will need to buy to create the costume,
props, and sets. I get a lot of help on the costuming side from my mom, since I am cursed with the inability of using a sewing machine. I don’t think there’s been a single time I was able to use it without breaking something! So mad props to her. For things that require molding like armor, weapons, and certain sets I use expanding foam and paper mache. I also get help from my boyfriend or dad with the logistics and creation of elements that need to hold like faux rocks, buildings, etc. Most of the stuff I build on my own falls apart pretty fast! I usually do the background work after the shoot, which includes photographing stock and creating miniatures to be blown up in the final picture. It is different for each image so I’ll just go into detail for a couple of examples from my work. For the Babydoll train scene picture, the body of the train was made out of foam board, the vents were just heating vents in my house, the robots were wooden anatomy dolls painted chrome, and the bits of metal flying around were pieces of eggshell painted silver. They had the right curvature to mimic parts of the robot’s body, and the right thickness to still look like metal. For “Rose Mermaid” the rock was made out of chicken wire and paper mache, and it was actually placed in a giant sandbox in my studio. The tail Cosplayer: Hazel Rhea | www.facebook.com/hazelrheapage
Cosplayer: Jen | www.modelmayhem.com/2332884
and fins were miniatures made out of model magic and fake rose petals and were photographed separately from the model. And on the day of the shoot what’s the process there and how long does a shoot take on average? In the beginning, my shoots were only 1 – 2 hours and then later evolved to 4 hours, then 8, and now my latest shoot took two days. I can only wonder how long they’ll take in a couple years from now as my shoots keep getting more and more complex. Everything that has been planned for months will depend on this day. I usually start the shoot in the late morning and the makeup artist works his/ her magic for about two hours and in the mean time I set up the studio and just make sure everything is ready to go. Then we move into the actual shoot and go through all the looks based on the mood boards. After the shoot is over we usually go out to eat or eat some food prepared by my mom. Now it’s time to move into post production! It seems there are two camps when it comes to cosplay photography. Those that shoot at a location and those that insert the cosplayer into a location. Your processing work is amazing, how did you get started on creating such complex pieces? I never really did a gradual transition from location shooting to composites – rather, I actually started in photoshop by editing other people’s photos and then later started using my own photographs. This way, I had control over the lighting, props, and models, and it became much easier
to make the images look blended and avoid mismatching shadows, lighting, colors, etc. I’ve been playing games all my life and I never thought finding fantasy locations in the real world was possible. Bits and pieces of our world can make up an imaginary world but in order to achieve that the images need to be taken separately and combined later. I try to stay as true as I can to the lore, characters, and environments and to do that requires extensive compositing. How long does one image take? It varies so much from image to image. For a beauty headshot, it takes around 12 hours since all I have to do is retouch skin, hair, etc. For an elaborate composite containing handmade props, miniature sets, and hundreds of layers, it can take up to 150 hours. While gear isn’t as important as the creative process, often readers like to know a bit about the tech side of photography. What gear and software do you use to create your work? I use a Canon EOS 40D body and the following lenses: 28-135mm, 1855mm, and 50mm F/1.8. For lighting, I have 3 Aikiphoto N300 flash heads, a Photek SL6000 60” Softlighter, a 22” Kaycee beauty dish, two softboxes and an umbrella. For editing, I use a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet and Adobe Photoshop CS3.
meet people with similar interests and appreciate characters, but my interest leans more towards creating stories through photographs rather than engaging in any fandom related to the games and movies I watch. I am considering going to one in the future to network with potential cosplayers that I could work with. What’s next for you? Any new projects you can share? I recently photographed a cosplay of a shaman troll from World of Warcraft and am currently working on putting the backplates together. I’m quite excited to share this project because it will push my limits farther than I have ever gone before. I’m going to attempt to create a riding raptor mount, as well as bring Stranglethorn Vale and the Barrens to life. In the far future I would love to be able to do shoots of some other WoW races like blood elves and draenei. Some other potential future cosplays could be Daenerys Targaryen, Princess Peach, and Aela the Huntress. Finally where can readers go to find out more about you and your work?
Cons are popular with cosplayers and photographers, do you go to any?
Deviantart: For blogs and images www.michellemonique.deviantart. com Facebook: For behind the scenes images and random thoughts www.facebook.com/michellemoniquephoto Youtube: For behind the scenes videos and short films www.youtube.com/user/michellemoniquephoto
Surprisingly, no, I’ve never been to one. I think they’re a great way to
And lastly, my website: www.michellemoniquephoto.com
Cosplayer: Laura Bee |
Cosplayer: Laura Bee |
....California Dreaming MARTIN WONG PHOTO www.facebook.com/MARTINWONGPHOTO Martin Wong is a Northern California based cosplay photographer that is a true professional. His style is unique, identifiable and stands out for its’ clean communication and use of tones to bring characters to life.
running around the convention with very colorful pants. If you are talking about my work, then it has to do a lot a lot of practice and experimenting. You’ve photographed some of the most well known cosplayers around, how did that come about?
Martin, tell us a bit about yourself, where you are based and how you got into cosplay photography.
I didn’t know if people were well known when I first started, I just went around convention and asked any cosplayers that I like to shoot.
I am currently based in Northern California, and I got into shooting cosplay because an old friend of mine wanted me to share a room few years ago at a local convention and introduced me to cosplay because she knows that I shoot photography. She said it would be something interesting to me and IT DEFINITELY WAS. And I’ve been shooting cosplay ever since! You have an interesting and unique style, how would you describe it for our readers? I really like my subjects to stand out from the pictures and I try to accomplish that by using vibrant colors and contrast. I also like to use creative lighting to separate my subjects from the background. And how did your “look” develop? Are we talking about me or my works? If you are talking about me, I am known as that photographer
You’ve got an amazing cosplay book, what made you decide to create a book and how did you get all those amazing cosplayers involved? I always love traditional media like canvas, prints, and books. So of course I decided to make a book so that people can share the same appreciation that I have. A lot of the cosplayers that I shot with became great friends with me and they are definitely amazing for helping me out. With your particular look, do you do much post processing and how long do you spend on an image? I spend a lot of time in post processing because I wanted to create art the way that I envisioned in my head. On average, I spend about 6 hours on each photoshoot picture that I process.
We’d love to know more about your process of creating an image, tell us how it starts and what is the time line of creating a particular image or working with a particular cosplayer. Have an idea of what you want is very important, and that can be difficult when you are limited by time, environment, and tools, so you definitely need to be very creative on the spot. As soon as I spot out a cosplayer that I would like to shoot, I would ask them to do a photoshoot with me. If they agree, then I will instantly brainstorm how to shoot the cosplayer and where I need to shoot them. I usually start creating images in my head on our way to the shooting location and have a general idea of how I want my final shot to look like. There are different interactions with different cosplayers, some love to create poses as I shoot, and some love to have me pose them. Shooting at convention usually takes about 10-15 minutes from the first shot to the last shot. Once I go home, I will look at all the photos from the photoshoot and slowly narrow down to the one shot that I like the most. Then I will jump right into it and start process it the way I want the final product to look like (while it is still fresh in my head). Many things are involved in editing
MARTIN WONG the pictures, I might want to change the color to set the tone, or bring out the texture to show the material, or even add new environment to the pictures to change a new world. After I am satisfied with the final product, I would ask a few close friends to check out the shot for me to see if I missed anything or if there is something I can add to improve the image.
What advice do you have for new photographers getting into cosplay? Do not afraid to try and do not afraid to copy. There is no shame in learning how other operate and discover if you like it or not. Photographers develop their style over time regardless if they know it or not. Finally, where can our readers go to see more of your work and the book? They can always follow me on Facebook (FB.com/MartinWongPhoto) and Twitter(@MartinWongPhoto)
....KING OF HORROR COSPLAY MIKE ROLLERSON PHOTOGRAPHY
www.facebook.com/MIKEROLLERSONPHOTOGRAPHY Browsing Mike Rollerson’s portfolio is an experience you probably don’t want to do at midnight alone in your home. While Mike has a brilliant mix of cosplay photos, he’s the king of creepy when it comes to horror themed cosplay photography. We sat down with Mike to chat, during the day... Hi Mike - you’re one of the most prolific cosplay photographers we’ve interviewed, tell us how you got started in photographing cosplayers? I had my first experience with cosplay many years ago at E3 (an annual videogame industry trade show) and was blown away by some of the work I saw brought out by different companies; full-scale set recreations pulled straight from a video game and incredibly detailed costumes to match. The experience was really unlike anything I’ve seen before and instantly had me inspired. Prior to E3, I really had no interest in photography - the whole thought of wedding photography, portraits and landscapes just really didn’t interest me but something about seeing these over-the-top set designs and costumes had me hooked. I went through what must have been half a dozen disposable cameras during the event and purchased my first real camera immediately following
it. Cosplay is what really got me into photography and I’ve been enjoying it ever since!
completely different from creating a theme, putting a team together and creating everything from scratch.
Tell us a bit about the process, how do you plan a shoot?
Your work has a strong stylish look, I know photographers can sometimes be a bit secretive on their process but tell us how much is make up and how much is done in post processing?
I’ll typically start out with just a basic theme to work off of (a recent cosplay example would be Silent Hill), brainstorm a few different ideas based around that theme and run those by a model or cosplayer that I think would also be interested in the theme and work with them on finalizing a plan for the shoot. One of my goals with every shoot is to create something that everyone envolved can enjoy as well as have a fun and memorable experience putting the shoot together; working with a team just as excited about the shoot as you are will lead to much greater results. Once we have a look for what we’re trying to create, we’ll pull together any materials needed for the shoot (creating a costume, props or set pieces as needed) and in some cases bring a few more people onto the project (makeup artists, effect/ prosthetics designers, stylists and prop builders). The complexity involved in any shoot really varies based on the theme, location and timing of it - planning a photoshoot with a cosplayer who already has a finished costume is
I’ve always been a big fan of traditional makeups and effects - while I do use a lot of post-processing to set the mood of a photo or apply effects that might not always be possible possible in our shooting location (such as adding fire or blending multiple exposures togehter), I try to limit post-processing on makeup to the very minimum. Makeup and prosthetics on recent shoots have typically been designed or created by myself, the model/cosplayer or a makeup/prosthetics artist brought in based on the theme and complexity required; some shoots have involved 8 or 9 hours of makeup time to have prosthetics pieces fitted, attached and painted to create a specific look we were going for. Do you attend a lot of the “cons” that are on and what ones? I try to attend most of the California anime and comic conventions - Anime Expo, Comic Con and Fanime
being the 3 main ones each year. I really enjoy these cons as they’re a great way to meet and work with new cosplayers as well as shoot a large variety of costumes over the course of a few days. We’re seeing a strong showing of zombie style photos - is this a particular interest for you - horror? My first experience with the horror theme was a few years back when I ended up at a Zombie Walk during the San Diego Comic Con. For me, the big appeal was that (like cosplay) it was so different from the traditional types of photography I’ve seen before (weddings, portraits and landscapes) - the effects that some people created for their looks were just incredibly detailed, imaginative and sort of an expansion on cosplay
(focusing on effects, makeup and creating a unique character opposed to re-creating an existing one). After the zombie walk I became friends with some of the “zombies,” started doing photoshoots with them and eventually blended the horror theme, makeup and effects a bit more it into my cosplay photography.
I know gear isn’t the most important thing, but you’re getting great image quality in low light, tell us what’s in your bag.
What about horror movies and games - any favourites?
I’ve always been a Canon shooter starting out with the Rebel XTi and picking up a 40D and 7D to go along with it. Despite the Rebel XTi being my first camera and a very basic one by todays standards, I still bring it out with me to most events and find the results from it still hold up to the newer bodies.
I’ve always been a big fan of the horror genre - I grew up back in the PSone days playing the Resident Evil and Silent Hill series and still consider those to be some of my favorites to this day. Fatal Frame on the PS2 was another favorite of mine!
My most common lenses on shoots would have to be an 8mm fisheye, a 30mm and a 70-200mm. The 8mm, despite being a specialty lens (and one you’d normally not want to shoot people with, due to the distortions) tends to give some really interesting possibilities and angles that enhance
Cosplayer: ????????? | www.facebook.com/AsMahioCosplay
the Cosplay and Horror themes rather than limit them. A lot of my look comes from the lighting though - I shoot mostly with speedlights, using anywhere from 2 or 3 up to 7 or 8 per shoot (modifying the light with snoots, grids, ring-flash, beauty dish, softboxes or gels) What’s coming up for you in 2014? Any plans to visit events or do more cosplay themed shoots? Lots to come in 2014! I have a few shoots in the planning process right now that I’m really looking forward to, a handful of conventions coming up throughout the year and a few other events I always enjoy covering. Cosplayer: Monika Lee | www.facebook.com/London2191Cosplay
Finally, where can people go to see more of your work? I recently set up a Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/MikeRollersonPhotography I’ve been uploading my most recent shoots to this page along with news and behind the scenes photos. I also have a portfolio up at: www.MikeRollerson.com Updates since we interviewed Mike Rollerson back in Feb 2014: In a way to get a bit more involved in these photoshoots, I’ve gotten more involved the makeup process -- do-
ing many of the special effects and creating looks for a number of my recent horror-themed shoots. Coming from the photography side already, it definitely gives an insight into what type of effects work well on-camera -- whether it be a certain color shade, texture or type of effect. This has been a nice expansion onto the photography side, keeping me involved from the makeup/effects through the shooting and into the final editing of photos. It’s also made me respect all the makeup artists out there that much more for some of the incredible looks they’re able to create! It’s definitely not easy :)
MIKE ROLLERSON Cosplayer: Miyuki Hara Cosplay | www.facebook.com/MiyukiHaraCosplay
Cosplayer: Hectec Design | www.facebook.com/hectecdesign
top 5 tips for armoured cosplay BY HAYLEY ELISE
WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/HayleyEliseCosplay Armour is something that has always been a little intimidating to many cosplayers, although with the recent availability of thermoplastics like worbla and a plethora of foam armour tutorials all over the internet, there has never been a better time to try! This year I ventured out of my comfort zone and made my first armoured costume, and now I’m here to share what I learned whilst making it!
1. make it suitable Armour is an investment in time, effort and money, so make sure you put the time into your research first so you don’t regret it later! Finding the most suitable material for your armour is your first and most important concern, so think about the design and style of what you’re trying to make. Lots of flat surfaces and hard edges? Try a cardboard and fibreglass build. Flowing lines and curves? How about heat formed EVA foam. Need a shiny, hard surface on your foam, or more complicated shapes? Why not cover it with Worbla! Never think you have to stick to one method for the whole costume, however – maybe each different piece of your armour would benefit from a different technique!
2. make it wearable
4. make it sturdy
To the despair of cosplayers everywhere, fantasy armour is not always as easy to translate into real life as it could be. Armour pieces often float on the character with no real way of being connected, or bend in ways that real armour can’t. With this in mind, take the time to plan how every piece of your armour is going to stay on your body, connect to other pieces, and actually let you move whilst wearing it. Don’t leave this to the last minute, as you might be tempted to do! Velcro, D-rings, elastic, buckles and belts and even magnets are all worth looking into, but make sure you choose the ones that are most appropriate for your particular project!
Just like with any other costume piece, you don’t want your armour to fall apart on you while you’re wearing it! Worbla and fibreglass are two of the best materials for armour simply because they are both lightweight and sturdy. Be careful putting your worbla together if you’re likely to be standing in the sun for a long time for a photoshoot though, as the heat might weaken key joints in your armour. Also be wary of points where your armour might rub against another piece – consider backing your armour pieces in felt or soft fabric to avoid damage to your paint job!
3. make it light
Speaking of paint, this is the most important part of making your armour look amazing! No matter what you’re building it out of, a fantastic paint job is what will bring all your tiny details out, minimise your mistakes and make it look like you really forged it out of steel! Next time, try ditching the spray paint cans once you’ve got a base coat down, and put in some depth and details with drybrushed acrylic paint!
How long are you planning on wearing that costume for? Make it too heavy and it might begin to hurt after barely an hour in the convention! Make sure you reduce weight on your armour in any way that you can, so that you don’t regret it on convention day! Try to hollow out solid pieces and use the lightest materials possible, such as carved expanding foam for overly bulky pieces. Even a small piece of worbla can add to a costume’s weight, so if the back of your armour piece isn’t going to be visible, consider skipping adding worbla to that side!
4. make it shine
Photographer: Magic Missile Studios | www.facebook.com/magicmissilestudios
WHAT MAKES A GOOD COSPLAY PHOTO? They say all art is subjective. If you look at what was the world’s most valuable photograph, you’d probably agree that what some people consider amazing others would be wondering… what the…? So what makes a good cosplay photo? That too is subjective. What you may like may not be what your friends like. Is it the cosplayer, the outfit, the photographer’s eye? The lighting, make up or the post processing? Some people may like a fairly simply cosplay photo without complex compositing or fancy effects in Photoshop and I’m thinking that Black Widow in an urban environment would work well. So too with Batman, perhaps perched high on a building overlooking the city. But consider the work of someone like David Love or Michelle Monique, they put tremendous amounts of post processing into their images to build the story. They create art that is in context with the character. Baby Doll from Sucker Punch might look completely out of place standing on a beach or in front of a tree in a park. But put her in an environment that fits the character and you have the beginnings of a good cosplay photo. Browse the web and you’ll see lists like “10 incredible cosplay photos” and while the images are technically good and the cosplayer looks amazing, is it really a good cosplay photo or is it a portrait of a cosplayer?
That, to me at least, is the question a photographer needs to ask themselves when they set about creating a cosplay photo. Batman on the beach, no matter how great the cosplayer and how well the photographer does in creating the image from a technical perspective, might not work as well as Batman in a gritty city environment. Context is a good foundation to creating a great cosplay photo as against taking a great portrait of a cosplayer. With that foundation you do need a great cosplayer with a great costume. You do need a photographer with talent to create a great image. Great make up, hair, and post processing and lighting all work hand in hand to creating an image that wows the viewer. So if you’re planning a shoot, consider the context. Who is the character? Where would they be in their movie/ game or TV show etc? Then build from that foundation. Context is almost as important as the costume and effects the cosplayer adds. Have a look at some of the photos from Michelle Monique who has told a story in each photo by working closely with the cosplayer to build the entire image so that when we look at it, we believe it.
Photographer: Michelle Monique | www.facebook.com/michellemoniquephoto
TIPS FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS! BY MIKE ROLLERSON WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/MIKEROLLERSONPHOTOGRAPHY
Location, lighting and angles can make all the difference. Everyone wants to shoot in some incredible location that fits the theme of the cosplay, but it’s not always possible (photoshoots at conventions are a great example of this). Some slight changes in angle, location around the convention center or lighting can change the look of areas and provide a much more interesting end result. Using architecture of convention centers, interacting with walls and windows, staircases, parking garages or changing the angle from straight-forward photo to a higher or lower angle (or switch to a telephoto, wide angle or fisheye), and adjusting lighting to create a much more dramatic look can make incredible differences to the end result of a photo taken in the same location. Don’t be afraid to try something new -it won’t always work, but when it does you end up with a great shot you otherwise might have missed and a good learning experience to incorporate into future shoots!
COSCON brought to you by:
COSPLAYLIVE special guest:
katyuska moonfox! 7 March 2015 CosCon & Afterparty Adelaide Convention Centre www.cosplaylive.com.au
Australiaâ€™s first dedicated cosplay convention & afterparty!
workshops . tutorials . demonstrations . activities . and more!
Our twice yearly magazine now on Issuu.