MAGAZINE: DECEMBER 2015
Live TIPS & TRICKS
Shared by Cosplayers & Cosplay Photographers
Harley’s Joker Joker’s Harley Variable Cosplay Yaya Han Corey Hanes I Got Superpowers + tons more!
See also EVENT CALENDAR page 162
One of the joys in my life is meeting people who have great passion for what they do. Being the editor of both Live Magazine and Cosplay Live I’ve had the chance to interview some truly amazing and passionate cosplayers and cosplay photographers. What I’ve found is they are a unique group of people. They love what they do… creating wearable art by paying homage to characters in movies, TV shows and other media that they love. They spend hours each day, sometimes for months, creating that next costume. And mostly they do this for no financial return, only the satisfaction of creating and sharing. Same with the photographers who capture them. They spend hours shooting then hours in post production editing photos in Lightroom or Photoshop etc, trying to recreate the essence of the character they’ve just photographed. And again for little or no return. That’s dedication. Add to that their generosity in helping out others with costumes. Sharing tips on armour making or sewing and doing so with no hidden motive, just the desire to share their passion with others. Cosplay Live is all about cosplay. It’s our way of connecting with community. Inside you’ll find some interviews from our monthly Live Magazine along with a lot of new content and tips from cosplayers. We hope you like this issue and if you do, please share it with other cosplayers so they can also enjoy the passion of the people in these pages.
Rob Jenkins Editor and Publisher
Brought to you by Gametraders & CosplayLive
This month Live Magazine took time out to talk to American Haryley’s Joker about his Cosplay and his partner in crime Jokers Harley Cosplay - two cosplayers who specialise in specific characters. You’re a big fan of The Joker, why is that? I grew up on Batman, it was always a part of my childhood. All the films from the ‘89 Burton feature, through to latest Nolan project were all seen in the theatre. That has quite an impact on a person. Also the animated series debuted while I was in elementary school: perfect timing. I also always greatly admired the artwork of the comics. Honestly I think I would have rather been Batman, haha, but I just don’t have the body or face for it. The Joker’s an incredible character, and I think this can be attributed in part to how long he’s been around. When you give a character that many writers and illustrators to breathe new life into him over and over again thoughout seventy-five years, you’re going to build up quite a lot of rich, layered and multifaceted baggage. He’s fun. Have you cosplayed other characters? Nope. There are a number I’ve thought of and always wanted to do, but I’ve accidentally set the bar kind of high with the Joker, I’m not 6
sure anything else I could do would top that. As a creative individual I’m always looking to challenge myself and push things a bit, and it’s hard to imagine what could ‘wow’ an audience more the next time around in some other character’s shoes. Tell us about the first ever con you visited - what was it like? I was born and raised in San Diego, California, so naturally my first convention was San Diego Comic Con. I think it may have been 1997 or ‘98. It wasn’t as gargantuan as it is now, but it was still the biggest of it’s kind. It was amazing, and because it wasn’t as crowded as today, everyone there, guests that is, were so incredibly accessible. I was like a kid in a candy store, then again, I literally *WAS* a kid in a comic convention, haha, so there you have it. Do you do any guest appearances as promotions? I’ve had the immence privilege of being invited as a guest to several conventions over the last few years, including Puerto Rico Comic Con, BigWow! Comic Fest in San Jose, California, La Mole Comic Con in Mexico City, Con Comics in Guadalajara, Mexico, and Carribean Expo in Puerto Rico. I should really learn Spanish, haha, I’m quite liked in Latin America.
What about photo shoots, you’ve done a few of those, tell us how you plan them and what a typical shoot involves. Every shoot is different, there’s nothing “typical” about any of them. I do nearly all the shoots myself, the staging, lighting, photography, editing, etcetera. It’s all about planning. Sometimes I spend months planning out and preparing for a shoot. It’s hard to explain the process however, it’s like asking one to type out how they paint. I have an image in my mind, I do as many rough drafts and test shoots as possible leading up to it. I get every element, prop, costume piece, lighting design, all figured out in advance so when it comes time to take the actual photograph of the subject (typically myself or Alyssa, my Harley) it runs smoothly. I’m a perfectionist. I’ll take dozens of photos of the exact same pose with subtle variations therein just in case I decide I need to composite elements from all of them to get the final product just right. My “Killing Joke” cover recreation is actually almost a dozen photographs, but it looks like just one simple shot. Truth be told my right hand was in a better position in one photo, my left hand in another, my smile was better in one photo and my eyebrows in another. So forth and so on. It’s all to create a final experience that will illicit a genuine response from an audience. This is why I love cinema so much
Photographs and editing by Harleyâ€™s Joker himself!
as a medium. It’s a culmination of so many artforms all working together toward one singular vision with the intention of creating an emotional reaction from an audience, leaving a lasting impression, it’s brilliant. Any advice for new cosplayers? Have fun and never stop reaching creatively. Try to impress YOURSELF, no one else. If you’re trying to impress others you will fail and never know what direction you’re heading. If you strive to impress yourself, and then actually manage to do it, you’ll be so genuinely satisfied it won’t matter what others think, and luckily you’ll probably get a better reaction from others in the process. We are our own worst critics, so if we can win ourselves over, the world is our oyster. Finally where can readers go to see your cosplay? They can find me at: www.facebook.com/HarleysJoker And they can find my partner in crime at: www.facebook.com/JokersHarleyCosplay
Featuring Brian Bolland - comic artist.
Featuring Bruce Timm - creator of Harley Quinn.
Hi Joker’s Harley, we’ve had the pleasure of talking to your other half Harley’s Joker so we are very excited to talk to you now! First tell us about your cosplay and what got you started? I cosplay Harley Quinn, classic mainly. My boyfriend Tony, Harley’s Joker, got me started about 2 years ago. How did you choose to cosplay Harley and other characters (if any)? Harley was that natural choice to accompany the Joker. As for other cosplays that I am working on and would like to do; I like to choose characters that I connect with, resemble slightly/I feel I can pull off, and the overall design. I want to make the costumes that I visually love and think are strong. What about costumes - how long does it take to create them and what’s the most difficult one you’ve worked on. It depends. The Harley suit took about 6 months while my nurse Harley costume, which sadly was ruined and is
no more, took about 3 months. Out of my two finished costumes I think that even though the nurse Harley costume had many frustrations that my classic suit was the hardest. Tony and I have never made work with spandex so had to find someone to sew it, the dying all the fabric after doing dozens of tests involving the pattern and colour, plus the cowl and mask. Shoes were extremely difficult to find. Tell us a bit about cons - what’s been your favourite and what’s something funny you’ve experienced. Honestly my favorite overall is La Mole Comic Con in Mexico City who is run by Elias Ortiz. Despite the fact that we are both constantly on our feet and have a never ending line there, our fans are amazing and the kindest, our host and his employees are completely professional and will go out of their way to make you happy and help you in any way they can. It is extremely well organised and put together. I have nothing negative to say about that convention. As far as experiences go, my favorite is meeting Bruce Timm, the cre-
ator of Harley Quinn. He told me I AM Harley Quinn. I became all a flutter and still can’t contain my giddiness. Like most cosplayers we know you’ve done some great photo shoots - what’s a typical shoot like? It’s mellow; get ready, setup lights and camera, test shots, etc. You shoot until you think you have it, until you have multiple shots and hopefully one shines above the of the rest. Many things can go wrong then things can turn ugly, lol, but in the end the final result is what matters, not whatever drama happened during. Finally where can readers go to see more of your work? They can find me on Facebook: facebook.com/JokersHarleyCosplay As well as Instagram: alyssarking And lastly in Storenvy: alyssaking.storenvy.com
Photographer: Eric Anderson | www.facebook.com/ericanderson.gallery Edit by Jokerâ€™s Harley
Photographer: Neilson Barnard | www.neilsonbarnard.com Edit by Jokerâ€™s Harley 12
Photographer: Anthony Misiano | www.facebook.com/HarleysJoker & www.facebook.com/RedShotsNYC 13
Photographer: Eric Anderson | www.facebook.com/ericanderson.gallery Edit by: Anthony Misiano | www.facebook.com/HarleysJoker
15 Photography & edit by: Anthony Misiano | www.facebook.com/HarleysJoker & www.facebook.com/RedShotsNYC
Photography & edit by: Anthony Misiano
Photographer: Neilson Barnard www.neilsonbarnard.com Edit by Jokerâ€™s Harley
Photographer: Anthony Misano Edit by Alyssa King 19
Ask staff for details.
Photographer: Lorenzo So | www.facebook.com/lorenzosophotography
Australian Cosplay Major Sam sat down with Live Magazine and talked about her experience as a cosplayer. Hi Sam, Tell us a bit about how you got into cosplay and where you’re from... I grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland and looked for a career in costume making without any knowledge of cosplay. It wasn’t until I went to my first convention in 2011 where I had a bit of an understanding that people dressed in costume but I didn’t know how many people would be in costume and how amazing their costumes were. From that, I knew that I wanted to make costumes for myself mostly for fun but also practise. I’ve been cosplaying at every Brisbane Supanova since. Do you create your own costumes? What’s been the most difficult? Absolutely! Making the costume is where I find my love and joy for the craft. I’ve been sewing for at least 18 years and has always been my favourite hobby. It has only been later in my cosplaying that I’ve found a love for wearing and modelling my costumes. My most difficult costume to date would be Moon Moxxi from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel due to the large number of highly detailed props and a very short time frame to make it in. What materials do you use? Anything and everything that will give me accuracy to the design. I do prefer and specialize in fabrics but I love learning to use a variety of prop making materials to make armour and weapons. Tell us a bit about the cons you’ve visited and what’s been a highlight so far.
I travel to most Supanovas each year. Supanova was the first convention I’ve been to and the one where I discovered cosplay. It is so hard to pick highlights as their has been so many! But I’ll never forget my first cosplay competition win where I won Best Cosplay as Jessica Rabbit and also perform my first skit. I was pretty proud!
come? Not at all. Like a lot of cosplayers, the ultimate dream would be cosplaying for a living but it takes a lot of patience, and guts to be able to do it. I hope in the future I can, but right now I’m doing the best I can with what I am given.
What about this year? Any plans to visit cons?
I have in the past but unfortunately due to lack of time as I have a full time job, I don’t have the chance to do commissions. I struggle enough finding the time to make my own costumes!
I’ll be at most Supanovas but plannning on a big international convention holiday next year to San Diego Comic Con. I also love attending the smaller conventions and festivals around South East Queensland. Have you done many photo shoots and what’s a typical shoot like? How long does it take to prepare and what happens on the day? I haven’t done as much as I would like to. It takes a lot of time from multiple people to pull of a successful photo shoot. Most of my costumes take about 2 hours to get on which includes make-up, corsets, shapewear, eye contacts and wigs and these things can’t be hurried. After speaking to the photographer before hand about location, we generally have a scout of what backgrounds we can use in the photos that suit the character and style. The quickest shoot I’ve done was 45 minutes, the longest is 5 hours. Photo shoots at a convention are much more relaxed and quicker and generally funner because you have a ton of friends around. Conventions are for fun; you can shoot seriously another time. Can cosplay become an income in your opinion? It absolutely can because people already are. But is it an easy in-
Do you make costumes for other people on commission?
With so many fans on social media, what tips do you have for new cosplayers starting out on sites like Facebook? My main pieces of advice for new cosplayers looking to find a following for their art would include: - Don’t get caught up with the number of “likes”. They have no indication of your skill, it’s just a number. - Make what YOU want. As soon as you start making costumes that you think will get you attention, cosplay will be a chore. Branch out. Get a Twitter, get an Instagram, a Deviantart. Contact people and show them what you have made. - Have fun and find your confidence. If you aren’t having fun, stop, think and remind yourself why you started cosplaying in the first place. Where can your readers go to ask about a costume or see more of your work? My Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/MajorSamCosplay My Twitter is: www.twitter.com/TheMajorSam My Instagram is: www.instagram.com/msmajorsam 23
Photographer: Lorenzo So | www.facebook.com/lorenzosophotography
Photographer: Lorenzo So | www.facebook.com/lorenzosophotography
NAOMI VON KREEPS COSPLAY
When we first interviewed Naomi Von Kreeps (in our sister publication - Live Magazine) we fell for her amazing passion for cosplay, her honesty and down to earth attitudes and her amazing connection with her many fans. Some cosplayers don’t have the same relationship Naomi does with fans and that’s understandable. Time constraints and sheer numbers of comments and requests can be overwhelming, but somehow Naomi connects with her fans and does so in a fun and humble way. We just had to have a follow up interview! Naomi, thanks for talking to Cosplay Live Magazine. Let’s start with what’s the most challenging cosplay you’ve done and why? So far it was my Crusader cosplay, mainly because of all the armor, the shield and flail. I’d never taken on such a large project before but somehow managed to pull it off!
What cosplay do you want to do but haven’t yet .. and why?
Finally do you have 5 tips for new cosplayers?
I have been wanting to do a Demon Hunter from Diablo 3 since the game came out in 2012. It took until this year for me to finally get started!! The cosplay scared the living ($^@(&$^@( out of me to be honest. I really didn’t think I would be capable of something so complex, but so far so good!!!
Stare at pictures of the cosplay you want to do for hours (seriously lol)
Research the costume. Chances are great that someone has done it prior to you and will have tips and tricks.
If it is an armor build, watch YouTube tutorials on worbla or EVA foam builds until pigs fly and you can’t see straight.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t cosplay whatever you want to do. It’s none of their business.
Just jump in feet first and build!
What do you love and hate about photo shoots? I love the end result of course, but I mostly hate shoots. I AM A HORRIBLE HORRIBLE model and have never been comfortable in front of the camera. I have no idea how to pose ad end up looking like a deer caught in the headlights most of the time. My poor photographer has to take a minimum of 500 shots a shoot and we are lucky if we get 5 good ones. I’m usually derping out in about 99% of my pictures.
Thanks Naomi and we love your new photos!
Photography: Rebel Photography
30 Photography: Rebel Photography
32 Photography: Rebel Photography
All Photographs by: Rebel Photography
Photography: Rebel Photography
Photography: Rebel Photography
NAOMI VON KREEPS Photography: Rebel Photography
Hi Sofia! Tell us abit about yourself, where you are from and how you got into cosplay?
How do you choose which characters to cosplay as?
you have an all time favourite video game?
I usually cosplay characters that I identify with or admire. I like to spend my time and money to represent them. No Elego characters for fashion or for their costumes, only if you chose to come to find that “something” be it a part of me or respect for them.
Right now we’re all anxious for the Mortal Kombat X. I personally own games from popular franchises such as Tomb Raider or Resident Evil, which are games that grew with me. Of course many more, but those are main games that I always followed and collect.
Looks like you do lots of photoshoots - tell us abit about them..
Finally where can our readers go to find out more about you? I use many networks but the main one I use is Facebook. You can Follow my page in www.facebook.com/ sophievalentinecosplay, I use other as Instagram and DeviantArt too.
Do you make your own costumes?
The photos are important for a cosplayer, since you can see the work that you invested so much time into. In my case, I usually always take pictures with friends or photographers I know well, because it is important for me to be comfortable. Luckily I have met many photographers who are friendly and we have a good relationship so we understand each other.
Yes, this is the fun part. I Study design to know what I want to make.
What is the game everyone is talking about right now in Argentina? Do
My name is Sofia and I am 23 years old Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina. I’ve been cosplaying since I was 8. At first, I did not know much about it, until I went to conventions and saw people with cosplay and I loved the idea of acting and dressing as a character.<3 What is the cosplay scene like in Argentina? Are there many cosplayers/cosplay events? It’s very good. There are several events per year and some are large and important, like Comic Con. The Cosplay community grows every day, it’s very cute! Each day more young people try cosplaying.
Photographer: PH4 Studios | www.facebook.com/ph4estudio
Photographer: Eduardo Mendez
Photographer: Angello Cueva
Photographer: Matt Redfield
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Hi Ashari - tell us abit about yourself, where you’re from and how you got into cosplay? I’m from Montreal actually, and I got into cosplay through a convention held here annually called Otakuthon. I went by chance once with a few friends and we all made simple, fun cosplays, and a few years after I started getting into making bigger and more challenging works! The details in your costumes are amazing - do you make them all yourself? What materials do you mainly use? Well thank you! Yes, I do make all my costumes that I present at conventions from scratch. I used to struggle trying to sew and design more fabric-y cosplays, but then discovered my love for worbla and other thermoplastics and never looked back! I also use a lot of pink insulation foam for my props/wings. Do you have any tips in terms of making costumes for other cosplayers out there? Plan. Everything. Out. And research materials like crazy before diving head first into costumes! Had I actually allocated budgets/ planned out what I needed for my Aether Wing Kayle cosplay, would have costed a LOT less than it did and caused me a 48
lot less stress when I was struggling with materials I wasn’t sure how to use. Also don’t be quickly discouraged. You will learn quickly from mistakes Who inspires you? Actually the cosplayer who started my whole armor cosplay love is Kamui Cosplay. I would always admire her beautiful work and aspire to one day make something like her, and then I realized she had so many available tutorials/books to help people, and it gave me the courage to make costumes I never dreamed possible. I super highly recommend her books to anyone starting out! How do you choose which characters to cosplay - any favourites? It changes from costume to costume. Sometimes it’s someone jokingly said I reminded them of a character and I make it (more simple costumes), but for my more elaborate works, I usually pick from series/ games I really enjoy. I feel I can’t put my heart into a big project when I don’t care about the character. What challenges do you face as a cosplayer? A lot of it is just simply being pressed for time. Trying to balance school / work / costume and setting money
aside for materials is always challenging. There are of course the issues a lot of cosplayers face where people feel the need to insult the costumer for either their costume quality/ the costumer’s physical appearance, but while the occasional rude comment used to get under my skin, I grew to realize that the feedback from people who matter most to me and from the con-goers who truly appreciate cosplaying for what it’s meant to be meant way more to me than internet negativity . Do you attend many cons? More so recently! My main cons have always been Anime North and Otakuthon, but I’m starting to make more compact yet detailed works to bring out to American Cons and we’ll see what happens from there. Thanks for your time - where can our readers go to find out more about you? I like to keep it simple, you guys can come see me at www.facebook. com/Ashecosplays ! Thanks for the interview, and to the cosplayers reading this; Keep it up! :)
Photographer: Something Something Photography | www.somethingsomethingphotography.com
Photographer: Novii Photography | www.facebook.com/noviiphotography
Photographer: Theorem Productions | www.facebook.com/theoremproductions
Photographer: Lexa One Photographie | www.facebook.com/pages/Lexa-One-Photographie/148984075119239
Welcome to Live Magazine! Firstly... your video “Draw My Life” is amazing tell us about making that - it really gives fans and viewers a great background of who you are and where you’re at as a person. Doing a “Draw My Life” prompt was one of my most requested videos 2014, and I put it off until the end of December, as it just felt fitting to end the year that way. It was both very physically and emotionally taxing; I wrote out the script first, then illustrated it. All in all, the drawing process took 6 solid hours without a break, and the editing took even longer. It was exhausting, but the finished product is something of which I’m very proud. I try to be a role model in everything I do, and I knew this video was a good opportunity to help others. I wanted to tell my story, yes, but I also wanted to end on an uplifting note in hopes of inspiring other people who are struggling with something personal, whether it’s bullying, isolation, their future, or cancer, all of which I’ve faced during my life. Ok you’ve done a great job as a Vlogger, tell us what got you started on Youtube? It sounds silly looking back at it, but I pretty much just sat in my college
dorm room and talked into my webcam about totally mundane things. I think I did a whole video about why I loved Harry Potter, and another one about what I ate for breakfast. I was doing it solely as something to keep me occupied while I was at school, since I didn’t really feel like making new friends other than my roommates. YouTube was just another hobby to add to the list -- but once I started doing cartoon reviews, it really kicked off, and it became a much bigger part of my life than I ever would’ve expected! What about your cosplays, what’s been your favourite so far? My favorite costume... That’s probably the most difficult question you could ask a cosplayer! In terms of construction, Chell from Portal 2 was really fun to make, especially the Long Fall Boots. I’m also really proud of how my Batgirl of Burnside costume turned out, as it was my first time constructing a leather jacket entirely from scratch, including drafting the pattern myself. But when it comes to what I’ve had most fun wearing, that would have to be Nanase Haruka, from the anime Free!. It’s a series that means the world to me, and through cosplaying Haru, I’ve met my best friends and together we’ve created some unforgettable memories.
You also visit a lot of cons, what’s been some stand outs? Katsucon and ColossalCon are two of the most fun conventions I’ve attended when it comes to photoshoot opportunities. Katsucon is located in a gorgeous resort hotel with stunning interiors and architecture, it’s a very regal, elegant setting. Whereas ColossalCon takes place at a waterpark that also has interactive animal experiences, and the park itself is surrounded by really dense woods and a beautiful field, so it provides some super unique backdrops. On the flip side, DragonCon is just absolutely wild. It’s one of the biggest comic cons here in the United States, and it’s pretty much a 4-day, 24/7 nerd party. The entire city of Atlanta basically shuts down to celebrate all things geeky; there’s even a huge costume parade! Also you’ve done quite a few photo shoots. Can you tell us how a typical shoot goes from planning to the final photos being finished? As soon as my friends and I decide on a cosplay, we spend months assembling photo references, whether
Photographer: CK December | www.facebook.com/ckdecember
Photographer: Kevin Chan Photography | www.facebook.com/solartempestphotography
“ it’s from screenshots, official promotional materials, and even fan art. We use those resources as inspiration during the photoshoot; we’ll have phones and tablets with us so we can collaborate effectively with our photographers. We’re not telling them what to do, but having a visual example of an idea makes sure that everyone is on the same page. When it comes to working with photographers, I really prefer working with those who are also close friends of mine; it’s less awkward, and there’s a level of comfort between both the cosplayer and the photographer that typically produces much better results. Not to mention, spending time with friends is one of the main reasons I cosplay, and that includes my photographer pals! As someone who’s really across social media, do you think there are career opportunities for cosplayers? What I mean is can they turn their love of cosplay into a way of generating an income? I will say this: it is possible to make a career out of cosplay, but it is the exception, not the rule. Cases like Yaya Han, Jessica Nigri, Kamui -- those are rare, and I don’t think people understand quite how hard those ladies worked to get where they are today. Making a hobby into a career (no matter what that hobby is) requires an intense amount of dedication, determination, and more than
a bit of luck -- particularly the kind of luck that’s “being in the right place at the right time.” If someone has the opportunity to monetize their hobby, whether it’s cosplay or jewelry-making or scrapbooking, there’s no reason not to take it if you think it’ll be a viable source of income. But I don’t believe it’s wise to start cosplaying with the sole intention that it’s going to become your job. I see so many people in this hobby who’ve basically thrown away their careers because they’re obsessed with the idea of becoming a “cosplay celebrity,” when the reality is that for most of them, it just isn’t going to happen. I’m very adamant that people should stay in school, get their degrees, and focus on establishing a Real Life Job -- and if, somewhere down the line, they have the chance to ditch that Real Life Job because cosplay becomes a viable source of income, then go for it! But make it your Plan B, not your Plan A. Your Facebook page has a huge following too, but what you share is quite different to some other cosplayers. It’s seems to be a mix of behind the scenes shots, photo shoots and general shots of real life as a cosplayer. Tell us a bit about your thinking there and do you have tips for new cosplayers just starting out on social media? Haha, well, here’s where being a social media coordinator pays off. The
way one approaches social media depends primarily on their “brand image,” i.e. the image one wants to present towards their audience. I approach cosplay from the mentality of, “I’m doing this to show my love of these characters, to help other cosplayers, and to be a source of positivity in the community.” I try to reflect at least one of those aspects in everything I post, if not all three. Part of those aspects involves being relatable, so I like to share the personal side of my life, too: because I’m not a celebrity, and I don’t want people thinking of me that way. I’m just a nerd who likes to make costumes and talk to her camera. As for social media advice I can offer new cosplayers: figure out your purpose for using social media. Use it to organize your work and act as a portfolio; to connect with other artists; and to share your artwork and creativity. Don’t use it just as a means to “get famous,” because your audience will see right through that in an instant. Most importantly, don’t ever base your worth as a cosplayer on things such as Facebook Likes, Instagram followers, and so on. An arbitrary number doesn’t determine your quality as an artist. Unfortunately social media also brings out the worst in some people - have you had to deal with negatives and how do you suggest people handle that? 57
Haru: Mango Sirene, Rin: Jillian Lynn, Rei: Night Eyes Cosplay, Makoto: OfBaskerville & Sousuke: Ali Mahou Photographer: TONICNebula | www.facebook.com/TONICNEBULA
Oh, goodness, yes. I’ve been bullied and harassed more times than I can count, nearly on a daily basis. When I was younger, it used to really, really get to me, enough that I wanted to quite the hobby several times because there’s so many toxic people that try to ruin this community. But when you step back, those people are the minority; the majority of cosplayers are truly amazing people and it’s a hobby that attracts so many talented artists! And there’s a lot to be said for creating a “safe space” for yourself by cutting out everything negative and focusing only on the aspects of cosplay that make you happy. That being said, not everyone is cut out to handle the negativity that social media allows to happen, and that’s okay. Some people are more sensitive than others. If you’re one 58
of those people, there’s no shame in avoiding that aspect of the hobby so you can still enjoy it! If you do decide to get involved with the social community, it’s important to remember not to connect your self-worth with what others say about you on the internet. Your self-worth should be separate from this hobby. It has to come from within, not be something that’s based on comments and photo likes. Also, realize that you can’t please everyone. Some people may just not like you -- and that’s okay. Accept it. Move along. Focus on the people who do like you, because they’re the ones who matter. Can you tell us a bit about the cosplay scene where you live. The cosplay scene in the Midwestern United States is quite relaxed, for the most part! That’s not to say
we don’t have some bad eggs, but typically everyone is very supportive and polite, as is the Midwest culture overall. (It’s a very different attitude than what you’ll find in New York or Los Angeles, that’s for sure.) I’m part of an amazing community of talented, creative cosplayers and photographers, and it’s really a privilege to be able to call them my friends! I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t met them. And finally where should readers go to see more of your cosplay? You can find me as “MangoSirene” on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram! I also co-host a weekly podcast, Anime Cafe Podcast (available for free on iTunes and Stitcher). We talk about every-thing from anime to conventions to cosplay!
Photographer: Kings Cosplay | www.facebook.com/kingscosplay
Photographer: Kevin Chan Photography | www.facebook.com/solartempestphotography
www.facebook.com/DadpoolCosplay Welcome to Live Magazine! Firstly, tell us about yourself and how you got into cosplay. I had never intended to cosplay but cosplay had other plans... Superheroes I just can’t get enough. I am the typical comic reading geek who watched the movies, read the comics even bought the toys, being some what older than the average cosplayer (I started Cosplaying in my 30’s) I loved superheroes when they weren’t as cool as they are today. I loved Comic Cons and attended each one hidden in the crowd for many years. I always admired cosplayers for their skill and talent as much as for their courage but it was something I never thought I’d do. I’ve always enjoyed crafting and tinkering and it was only a matter of time that I’d build something Superhero related. It took watching a YouTube video of a guy (The Heroes Workshop) wearing an amazing Iron Man suit that he had made in his home that it clicked in my head that you didn’t have to be an expert movie prop builder to bring your dreams to life. Iron Man was the beginning, I wanted that suit so much nothing was going to stop me, and 62
with research, trial and error and a LOT of patience from both my wife and I, Iron Man was finally completed. I guess he turned out better than I expected as I had the crazy idea to actually take him to a con! That first Con was one of the greatest experiences of my life, I never expected the overwhelming reception that I got and that people would appreciate something that I made so much... I guess now i’m like the Rick James of Cosplay “Cosplay is a hell of a drug”. What’s been your most challenging cosplay costumes? There are two types of challenging costumes for me... The first is the Technically difficult or pushing the boundaries of my ability costumes and that would be my first Iron Man, because it was all new territory for me but the most challenging parts are the times that motivation has left and is nowhere to be seen... I have a couple of cosplay’s I started and they aren’t technically harder than other cosplay’s but when the motivation isn’t there every second trying to build it hurts lol. What are your favourite types of cosplay?
For me it’s armour builds... I can look like i’ve spent 10 years in the gym and it was only 2 months in the shed with a glue gun and some foam ;) Who inspires you? I am inspired by the Characters I cosplay first, as well as their creators and writers. To me the character comes first and what I am trying to do is pay homage and to show respect to a character I love or even hate, but that has brought up enough emotion in me to want to portray it... I would like to think that the creator of the character would look at my cosplay and could feel how much I cared for their character and that my intent is respectful. Do you feel there is a career in cosplay? I definitely feel there are careers in cosplay and I am all for that. I hope anyone who works hard enough and is that good at anything could make a career from that. The fact that cosplay can be professional show’s that cosplay is legitimate. Who wouldn’t love to cosplay for a profession, sounds like heaven to me.
Photographer: Collin Kerr Photography | www.facebook.com/CollinKerrRetouching
Photographer: The Introverted Geek | www.facebook.com/introvertedgeek
What cons do you attend and what are some of the best experiences youâ€™ve had there? Here in Perth WA there are the 2 major cons of Supanova and Oz Comic Con but we also have smaller cons like Evolve and Chibi-con building momentum. I do love attending cons outside of WA and even though it feels like it would be easier to move heaven and earth to get to other cons with all the accessories an Iron Man etc might bring but its absolutely worth it. Last year I attended Sydnova as Iron Stan where I met Stan Lee, that is the single greatest Con moment for me... oh and the fact that Robert Downey Jnr Facebooked a photo of me from the con is pretty cool also. Con Goal #1: SDCC What sort of photo shoots have you been involved with? How cool are photoshoots! Itâ€™s where someone as passionate as you are about your cosplay is just as passionate about making you look great. Photographers here in WA are getting better and better and with some beautiful locations we are blessed by whats possible. I love all my shoots from sipping wine as Iron man with Pepper Potts to sword fighting as Deathstroke with the harbour behind us not to mention posing awkwardly in front of a green screen to only later see what was happening inside that crazy photographers mind. Finally where can we see more of your amazing cosplay? You can find me on: www.facebook.com/dadpoolcosplay www.twitter.com/DadpoolCosplay www.instagram.com/dadpoolcosplay
Photographer: NBV Projects | www.facebook.com/nvbprojects
Photographer: Mrs Dadpool
Photographer: Film Craft | www.facebook.com/filmCraft.13
Photographer: Jonathan Swinwood | www.facebook.com/jonsprops
Photographer: Magic Missle Studios www.facebook.com/magicmissilestudios
Photographer: Mrs Dadpool
Photographer: Jonathan Swinwood | www.facebook.com/jonsprops
www.facebook.com/VeronModel Hi & welcome to Live! Firstly can you tell our readers a bit about yourself and where you’re from...
first closet cosplay I put together was Black Canary, since her and I have similar all-black wardrobes.
My favorite part of any convention is seeing my friends, and collecting good art.
Hi! I’m a cosplayer based in South Florida. I love the batman universe, and I do a lot of comic book related cosplay. I also enjoy a little bit of modeling, for steampunk and alternative fashions. I’m a bit of a jack of all trades - I love painting and drawing, sewing and cosplay construction, as well as photography and modeling. You can often find me in my bat cave reading a book or working on one of those creative outlets.
You’re also into comics and other pop culture - tell us what your favourites are..
Your two face make up was amazing - do you do all your own make up and how did you learn to be so good at it?
How long have you been into cosplay and what got you started? I’ve been cosplaying for the past couple of years. I had always had an interest in dressing up and putting together fun, costume-like looks with my wardrobe. A few friends of mine had been involved in cosplay, and it sparked my interest. When I was invited to take part in a cosplay photoshoot with some friends, I made my first, official, from scratch cosplay (a classic Star Trek Romulan commander), utilizing my basic sewing knowledge I had picked up from a few courses in school. Before that, I would put together “closet cosplays” for events at comic book shops or nightclubs, just for fun. The 72
There are so many good things! I always have a very hard time picking favorites. I really love a lot of titles from Vertigo comics. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and the Sandman series is by far my favorite comic book. I also really enjoy Batwoman (DC) and Hellblazer (Vertigo). As for books and adaptations, I really love the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, and the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. TV wise I love Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The X Files, Hannibal, Arrow, and a few others I’m sure I’m forgetting. I also really enjoy horror, and Cabin in the Woods is one of my favorite movies. You visit many of the cons - what’s your favourite and why? Being in Florida, most of my con experience is limited to this state. However, Florida offers a ton of great cons! I think my favorites are Megacon (Orlando) and Florida Supercon (Miami). Both of them are large conventions with plenty of guests.
Thank you so much! For the Two Face photoshoot that I did, Haute Cosplay (www.facebook.com/ hautecosplay) did my makeup and the photography. She’s an incredibly talented makeup artist and she did an amazing job with the prosthetics. I have done my own Two Face makeup a couple times for events, but it is primarily facepaint rather than prosthetics. For majority of my photoshoots, unless I’ve noted otherwise, I do my own makeup. I learned a lot from trial and error, and there is still a lot of areas where I can improve. Most of what I learned from cosplay, makeup, or just about any other creative field has come from online forums and youtube tutorials. There are so many great resources out there. Tell us a bit about photo shoots who organises them and what do you do to prepare? Most of the photoshoots I have done, have been organized as a col-
Photographer: David Love Photography | www.facebook.com/davidlovephotography
Photographer: David Love Photography | www.facebook.com/davidlovephotography
laborative effort between myself, the photographer, and any other models. Typically one of us will pitch our idea, and if it seems do-able we will work out a day where we can all meet and make it happen. I have also done some photoshoots with Florida Supercon, and those are organized by the head of the cosplay department. To prepare for a photoshoot (assuming I have the costume already complete) I will put anything I will need for the shoot in a suitcase to bring with me along with a spare change of clothes. I’ll typically do my makeup before the shoot, but I always bring makeup with me in case of touch ups. The most important thing about creating a good photo is having a good time, and having energy. As long as I have my morning coffee, I am usually good to go :) Do you have any tips for new cosplayers? Perhaps on attending cons and also with regard to photo shoots. 74
Have fun with it! Cosplay is all about fun. Whether you are creating your first cosplay from scratch, borrowing a costume from a friend, or bringing out a closet cosplay, the important part is that you have fun. When attending cons in cosplay for the first time, it’s important to know that people will want to approach you a lot more than if you were dressed in your regular clothes. Be open to taking photos with people and making new friends. Also, try and wear your costume for a few hours at home before you bring it to an event just to check if there is anything that needs to be fixed or changed for a full day of wear. Always bring a spare change of clothes and if you are wearing body paint, please make sure you seal it. As for photoshoots - always bring a friend. Do your research and work with a professional photographer
that you can trust. Stay safe, and create good art. Finally where can our readers go to see more of your cosplay? I’m all over social media! A lot of my photos are at my Facebook: www.facebook.com/veronmodel I post a lot of behind-the-scenes and work in progress on instagram: www.instagram.com/veronmodel/ My YouTube has some of my advice about cosplay and photoshoots: www.youtube.com/c/veroncosplays My twitter is a good place if you want to chat: www.twitter.com/veroncosplay I also have a shop with my photo prints: www.veronscloset.storenvy.com Thanks for having me!
Photographer: David Love Photography | www.facebook.com/davidlovephotography
Photographer: David Love Photography | www.facebook.com/davidlovephotography
Photographer: David Love Photography | www.facebook.com/davidlovephotography
Photographer: Haute Cosplay | www.facebook.com/hautecosplay
Hi Koyuki Welcome to Live Magazine - where are you based? Hi! everyone, Thank you for having me I’m Koyuki from Thailand and I live in Bangkok. Tell us about the cosplay scene in Thailand. I’m not actually understand what you mean by scene in this question, but if you mean location environment scenery. Bangkok is not really suited for cosplay shoot unless renting a studio/place with decorations that’s suited for the costume. Some shopping/community mall allowed cosplayers to shoot in their location if asked for permission first too. But I like to shooting in the rental room, my friends house or studio. Are there many cons to visit? What are your favourites? Yes, there are many many here in Thailand, about 2 events per month (exclude doujinshi only event and some months have events every week). My favourite events to visit is AFA (Anime Festival Asia which held in Thailand Singapore and Indonesia) and COSCOM.
AFA only held once a year for each country, this cons is the biggest one which also bring many Japanese Artist to show here too (it’s literally the same as San Diego Comic-con in SEA side or come close to Comiket of Japan) more info: https://www. facebook.com/animefestivalasia COSCOM is the biggest event held by Thai people (personal), often bring oversea guest cosplayers to visit Thailand.
Are you doing many photo shoots? Do you have tips for those about to do their first cosplay photo shoot? Yes I’ve done many photoshoot, this year I’ve done 26 time already. The tips is to study the character, find some reference photo for the shooting and always communicate with the photographer to convey your idea Finally where can our readers go to find out more about you?
They also have stage performance in the event which perform by cosplayers in Thailand ( I’ve been performed on that stage twice) more info: https://www.facebook.com/ CoscomTH.
I’m mostly active on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ yukihimekoyuki and my worldcosplay : http://worldcosplay.net/member/-koyuki.
How often are you doing cosplay?
Thank you for following my work and click LIKE & SHARE <3
Once or twice a month both at cons or private shooting, since I don’t have much time due to my work & study lately. Do you make your own costumes and how long did it take for the most recent one you did? Yes, I sometimes makes my own costume, the difficult one take about a month to finish while the easy one only take a week.
Photography: Saotome Alto | www.facebook.com/Alto.Hime?fref=ufi
Photography: Saotome Alto | www.facebook.com/Alto.Hime?fref=ufi
Photography: Saotome Alto | www.facebook.com/Alto.Hime?fref=ufi
Photography: Saotome Alto | www.facebook.com/Alto.Hime?fref=ufi
www.facebook.com/variablecosplay This month our Cosplay Editor, Anny Simms, was fortunate enough to chat to the amazing Cosplayer Variable! Lets take a look at what they got up to... Hi there Variable, and thanks for taking the time to talk to me today. While I already know about how fantastic you are, but how about you tell our readers about yourself? I’m an Australian cosplayer who’s been in the scene for a few years now, having put together over 150 costumes so far. In “muggle life” I work as an artist and special effects make-up artist for video games, theatre, television, and films such as The Great Gatsby. In more recent years I’ve also been afforded the opportunity to travel to events around the world to represent cosplay and special effects make-up as a cosplay ambassador, special guest, panellist, and judge. Over 150 costumes! That’s amazing - are there any that really stand out to you in your memory? My first costume was Lara Croft’s jungle suit from the original Tomb Raider, which still holds a special place in my heart, but every costume has different experiences associated with it, which gives it unique value. Sometimes there’s a strong 86
sentimental attachment to the costume from nostalgia or because the character has been a tether for strength during a difficult time. There might be a new skill you learned or a piece that’s technically “good” in particular that you’re proud of. It could have special memories from a time you wore it. Earlier this year I wore Ravager from DC Comics to pay tribute to my “Cosplay Dad”, Justin Costello (aka Justin Acharacter), a fellow “causeplayer” who cosplayed Ravager’s father, Deathstroke, and tragically passed away late last year, so that costume is particularly dear to me. So I know you do charity work through your cosplay - would you mind telling us a bit about that? My introduction to cosplay was through group hospital visits with The Starlight Foundation and The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which completely defined my experience and aspirations as a “causeplayer”. I strongly follow the mantra “be the change you wish to see in the world”, and knowing that this hobby has the capacity to bring smiles, spark a little bit of fairytale magic in the real world, and help others while doing so is something truly special. We still visit incredibly brave children and their loved ones, and a few
years ago my friends and I began organising themed fund-raiser events and fan-screenings of movies, which are traditions I hope to continue. It’s heart-warming seeing people come together for a good cause, making new friends through mutual interests, and encouraging each other to take a proactive role towards a positive common goal. My cosplay prints also fund-raise for causes close to my heart, but that idea wouldn’t have gained momentum if it wasn’t for the amazing support of my friends and followers. It’s one thing to dress as a hero, but a very different thing to act like one, and I reckon the “nerd community” has more heroes than any comic franchise. How would someone wanting to join in and help out in charity work go about that? It can be a little intimidating leaping in head first, so if you’re not sure where to start or you don’t want to go it alone, it’s worth heading online to check out charity websites and see what they do, and to find groups for your area. Some already have a system in place that you can join, as well as resources for learning and for you to use towards your efforts. Depending on the laws for where you live, you may need to fill in paperwork to be an agent to fund-raise, and children’s hospitals will likely always
Photographer: Eurobeat Kasumi | www.facebook.com/Eurobeat-Kasumi-Photography-181144498573739 87
need documentation with approval. If you’re not able to contribute financially towards a cause, you might be able to donate your time, or use your social media powers for awareness drives. The sky’s the limit! I know you have cosplayed all around the world now as a guest and traveller - what were any stark differences you found versus Australian conventions and cosplayers? Australia’s convention and cosplay communities are - comparitively new and small, with fewer events on the calendar, and each one a social occasion. This makes us a tight knit family where everyone knows everyone and we all attend the same events, so we’re compelled to encourage one another not only as peers but also as friends. This closeness, coupled with our geographic isolation, promotes the exchange of ideas and skills at an extraordinary rate. Overseas convention-goers often remarked on the resourcefulness of Australian cosplayers, improvising with alternate materials, found items, and some creative engineering. They love to ask us what batty things we’ve used to make our costumes, and when they ask “do you know another Australian cosplayer called...”, the answer is always “yes”.
Our community is still growing, and malleable, and this grants us the opportunity to shape our convention environment into an idyllic one, learning from the experiences of other countries where their culture is more established and harder to resolve. We’re at the forefront of fostering a welcoming, safe space at conventions, and have a strong dialogue emerging with mainstream Australian cultures for the respect cosplay deserves as an artform, and the respect cosplayers deserve as people, from having cosplay repair stations at events to making sure cosplayers are fairly paid for their work. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to raise the bar and become a role model for other countries in this way. With all your experiences in the cosplay world, what advice would you give to cosplayers just starting out? I’ve written a couple of “beginner cosplay” guides to help out those who are fresh to the scene or still thinking about cosplaying, and let them learn from our experiences (and our mistakes)! Some of things that come up fairly often are that I recommend starting with your favourite characters. It’ll motivate you to finish your costume and do them justice, but more importantly you’ll
have a great time embodying a character you love. Don’t worry about not looking like the cosplayers you look up to, we all started somewhere and we’re all still learning every day, this is just the first step in your incredible journey. It’s a lot of fun cosplaying with friends, and you’ll inevitably meet new ones. There are many amazing groups online, full of advice and likeminds to help you breathe life into your dreams, and this community is full of people who are more than happy to talk to you about how they made things. If you’re nervous about cosplaying at conventions, maybe attend a convention out of costume first to experience it that way, or attend different costumed events to get your feet wet. And wear comfortable shoes! Where can our readers find you outside this interview? I’m @variablecosplay on most social media, which are linked on my website: www.variablecosplay.com And of course you can find me in person at conventions and other events.
Photographer: Echoing Artemis
You’re also a special effects make up artist for TV and films, how did you get involved in that and what have you worked on, anything we might know? I've had a lifelong interest in special effects make-up, animatronics, and puppetry. I took puppetry and drama classes as a kid, and started out in theatre and editorial makeup as a teen. When I was a little older I gained my qualifications as a specialist make-up artist in silicone prosthetics, and moved into television and film. Great Gatsby is probably the most well known project I've been involved with. It was an incredible experience that gave me the opportunity to meet and work alongside inspirations of mine, and it's always great to be able to support Australian industries. Ok, back to cosplay, tell us about your “causeplay” passion. “Causeplaying” is where my adventure into the world of cosplay began. When I was younger I first visited children's hospitals in costume with an amazing group of
friends, and those experiences resonated with me. Seeing smiles and a little fairytale magic sparked in the lives of those brave children is an amazing and invaluable gift. Thesedays I organise a few events myself, bringing others together to “cosplay for a cause”. This community is full of those who've been through tough times, the underdogs, victims of bullying and prejudice, those who're struggling, but above all we're united by being dreamers who want to bring heroes to life, so why not do exactly that together?
late, great Justin Costello and Paul Kerr, who did so much to help so many in the community.
You’ve also put together information on cosplay such as Stretch Sewing and sculpting. It’s great to see experienced cosplayers giving back to the community. Do you have any other projects along these lines?
I have a few secret projects and exciting trips up my sleeve, and I'll be continuing my gijinka Pokemon and Digimon cosplays, along with some more nostalgic characters from my childhood, I'll also be doing more from the cosplay-side of things with beyondblue to improve awareness and support for those affected by depression and anxiety, including a cosplay-themed card game called Cosplay Against Normality. It looks to be another busy year, but a very rewarding one and one I can't wait to share!
I have an ever-growing list of topics I'd like to write or learn more about myself, from how to pack cosplays for travel to how I pack my hair under a wig. On a larger scale, a team of us are currently working on a cosplay docuseries project called Cosplay Senpai, which will include video tutorials in memory of the
Where can readers go to see those guides you’ve put together? My tutorials and articles can be found on my Kinja at http://varia. kinja.com , and on my website. Just before we end, can you let us know what you’ve got planned over Christmas and the new year regarding cosplay?
94 Photographer: Pireze
The more cosplayers I meet, the more variety I hear of how they started out and their reasons for cosplaying. Everyone has such a unique story to tell and nobody began the same way. Some advice and hindsight that's helped me has been:
Cosplay a character you love My first cosplays were dismal, mad crafting experiments, but we all start somewhere, and every costume is a learning experience. If you cosplay something you love, even if it falls apart you'll still have a great time.
Things will go wrong, but we learn and improve from our mistakes If you're unsure how to do something, ask. I've never met a cosplayer who didn't want to tell me how they made something, and the internet is a haven for creative thinking and resourcefulness. Even on feature films immaculate gowns are frantically safety-pinned after a wardrobe malfunction.
IF YOU’RE NERVOUS ABOUT COSPLAYING ALONE, START OUT WITH A FRIEND Or join a group to meet others with similar interests. If you've never been to a convention before, it may be worth attending one out of costume to get a feel for it at your own pace.
Don’t be afraid to do it your way Cosplay is an amazing way to celebrate your personal fandoms and creativity.
If a thing’s important to you, it will be to others, too Welcome and encourage each other, even if someone knows nothing about the character they’re dressed as, being well-received may lead them to fall in love with the thing you love.
PLAN YOUR COSPLAY FOR THE CON If you're cosplaying in summer, it'll probably be hot. If the event has a 1-metre weapon rule, design your weapons accordingly. It makes life much easier.
Safety first Make sure you do your research, read MSDS sheets, and wear PPE.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY ETIQUETTE AT CONVENTIONS IS TO ASK PERMISSION Don't be afraid to say “no” if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, and ask if you can bring a helper/escort to shoots. In preparation, I like to look up reference poses for the characters, and I'm sure we've all practised in front of the mirror before.
WEAR COMFY SHOES Stay hydrated, and try get some sleep.
Most importantly, have fun! 97
www.facebook.com/yayacosplay Our sister title, Live Magazine, sent cosplayer JusZ (Justine) to interview the very popular Yaya Han at AVCon 2015! Here’s what she had to say... (This is a transcript of the live interview which you can listen to here!) J: Hi, it’s Justine from JusZ Cosplay here for Gametrader’s Live Magazine and I’m lucky enough to be sitting with the international ambassador of cosplay, Yaya Han. Welcome to Adelaide, Yaya. Y: Thanks so much for having me. I’m super super pleased to be here. J: This is your first time in Adelaide, isn’t it? Y: Yes. Yes. J: Yes. But you’ve been to Australia before? Y: Just once, three years ago for a fairly ah short and kind of, it was a little rush of a trip. So, I am very, very happy to come back and things have worked up so well this time, so. J: You’re very, well-travelled? Y: Uh hm. J: You’re a definitely a definition of an international cosplayer. You’ve got a really hectic schedule, do you ever find that it’s difficult to be creative on demand. You’ve got to get home, make a costume, get out again.
Y: Absolutely. Ah I think that is the hardest balance that I’m constantly striving for, because it used to be that I would only go to, you know, five or six conventions and I had a full time job and I would just cosplay in my free time and then it turned into quitting that job and sort of pursuing, you know like, cosplay-related activities, as my income such as doing full costume commissions or then making accessories and then it was like touring conventions. You know like being a vendor you have to go to 20-30 conventions a year and while other vendors can wear jeans and t-shirt and be comfortable all weekend, I was still dressing up in costume and then still trying to maintain my creative need of making costumes. So, yes, these days I have trained myself to, at least time management wise, to set aside certain days when I’m home and really have to schedule in the times to make the costumes. So while July is a hectic month with 4 conventions and 4 weekends, I usually try not to do more than 2 in a row, so that I have a week at home to just keep being creative because I don’t like to wear the same costumes again and again. And I’ve come from I guess the generation where we make costumes from the get-go. And so, it’s… it is the huge fulfillment for me to make them instead of to buy them. I’m kinda like “I want to make them!”, you know, but if I want to make them then I have to set the time to do so for myself.
Y: I want to do that one. J: Do you have a back log that’s…? Y: Absolutely, my costume to-do list always grows bigger. It never grows smaller. And sometimes it does takes years, to check somethings off the list but it’s about timing I think, depending on logistics of the events that I’m going to and what I’ll be doing at the events. Also even how far the event is from the hotel. How easy it is to get there. What’s the weather like. That all determines what kind of costume you can bring and what what you should make. I want to make something season appropriate, like it’s summer right now, so it makes no sense for me to work on a fur crazy winter costume even though I want to and have one on my list. Let me wait until it’s a little colder. J: Any sneak peak of something that you’re thinking about making but it’s down the track? Y: Ye. Well I have collected a lot of materials for an original costume that is based on Chinese mythology. So I’m super interested in, you know, mixing history with fantasy, and it’s sort of going to be something very opulent and inspired by the Curse of the Golden Flower. J: Oh wow.
J: Do you find inspirations some98
times as outstripping your ability to make them fast enough?
Photographer: Charlie Nicholson | www.facebook.com/gotsuperpowers
Y: And you know that type of Tang dynasty fashion that’s just incredibly luxurious - so I am waiting for winter times to make that because it’s a snow themed costume. J: Oh wow. I can’t wait to see it. Your original costumes the peacock and I think some of the other ones you’ve done have been so beautiful.
we could work together”... But with McCall’s, they were so professional and they really took it very serious. They said “Alright. Come to New York to our offices. Let’s have a meeting. And at the meeting, they’re saying “here’s a licensing contract.” “Woah!” J: Serious!
Y: Thank you. I wish I had more time to make original costumes because it’s not every convention that is the right venue for an original costume you know. So I’m constantly trying to carve out even more time for those. J: And you just had McCall’s do a pattern of the peacock dress? Y: Yes! J: and your new bodysuit which I’m very excited to get my hands on. I hope they bring it down here soon! Y: Yeah. I hope so to. J: How did it feel like getting to do that?
Y: I’m not prepared!” And so they asked me what pattern I wanted to make and I immediately said a “bodysuit”. I wish I had had a good bodysuit pattern all these years. And I knew how useful it would be to the cosplay community. I’m just so so happy and everytime someone sends a picture of a bodysuit they made and they say “I used your pattern!”, I’m just like “eeeeh!”. You know just super fan-girling. They are going to continue designing patterns with me and so we’re working on new ones and there will be a men’s body suit pattern. J: Oh. Y: Yes.
Y: Oh my god. Completely surreal. A lot of people basically believe that I reached out to McCall’s myself and I’m like: I do not dare. I’m like I’m sewing, I’m just a little girl out here making my costumes. I learned how to sew on McCall’s Patterns and Patrick and Vogue and such. And so for me to even be on their radar was a complete shock. I literally... my mouth was just a gape when I saw the e-mail which was, “Hey! We like your costumes. We’d like to meet you and see if you want to make a pattern with us”.
J: That’s going to be very popular as well. Y: Yeah. We we were kinda “okay! We did the women’s one. Now all the men are saying “hey! what about us?” So so yes! We are going to come out with one. J: Fantastic. Do you ever look back in your early cosplays? Your early stuff like way back when you first started out and look at where you are now and go “how did this happen? How did I get here?”
J: Wow. Y: I’m like “what?!” you know just absolutely baffled and for them to actually follow through because you get a lot of e-mails like “Ah! Maybe 100
Y: Absolutely. I think that is.. because I had the blessing and the curse to have gotten into cosplay 16 years ago. I think I really approached it from a very different stand point be-
cause it. I grew up as a person with cosplay so it is so much of a part of me and ah so much of what I am and my values, my personality and you know, my passions. They are all linked through cosplay. I mean its its so cheesy to say but you know, I would not have been able to do an interview like this before getting into cosplay like… or speak in front of people or go onstage and just I think the the act of putting yourself out there and putting not just you but also your craft, your passion, tells what you like. It’s a huge lesson in being a person because you get ripped to shreds for absolutely everything but once you’re through that you’re just “hey!”, you know, “now, I can take on whatever.” It gives you confidence and such. So, I’ often think back on when I started at the beginning and how the community was and where I was and the values I had, maybe some of the mistakes I made, and I try very hard to always hold on to that integrity. I don’t ever want to lose where I started from you know because it’s like, this community means a lot to me. J: Is there anything looking back now sort of at the point where you are, you wish you’d known when you started not even cosplay but started your professional journey, when you quit your job and you jumped in, is there something you could go back to that Yaya and say? Y: Yes. Yes. Yes. I would’ve said “do not go into business with friends.” J: Yeah. Y: Yeah. I believe that is a great big lesson and also to do everything you can to protect your intellectual property which I know it sounds a bit weird when it comes to cosplay because we are all dressing as licensed characters. But the translation in itself is that there is an artistic merit to it. And specifically a lot of
Photographer: Angelo Beltran | www.facebook.com/gotsuperpowers
products that I design are not based on any characters and I specifically steer away from licensed characters to create unique products; but when I first got into this business, I did not know how to protect that and so it was a long journey to get that back. So yes that would my… the thing I wish I could tell my younger self because I’m not trained in business. I did not go to school for business of anything. It’s been the most difficult part of cosplaying or having a cosplay-related job is to deal with the business side of things, because I’m a creative person, I’m an artist. I just want to sit there and make stuff. I don’t want to deal with e-mails and taxes and all of the other stuff that comes with it but it is a necessary part of it.
I’m just going to keep going and if I’m on their radar then I’m going to keep trying to find other things that will like make it easier for people to get into this and also try to cut back on travelling a little bit for next year. So that I could be home more and be more creative, and learn more ah skills and new techniques. I would definitely like to play with some more gadgets like laser cutters and 3D printers and such.
J: What’s next?
J: You’ve got to be home to do those.
Y: Hmm! Ah exciting things definitely. Some things I can’t talk about yet but I ... I really want to focus more on creating materials and sourcing materials that will be helpful to the cosplay community. I think it is at that point where now that I have the chance to work with companies like McCall,
Y: Yes. So, exactly.
J: Oh wow. Y: You need to be there to do that and beyond that, just want do what I can to create more video content and share my knowledge. I will make tutorials! It’s going to happen but I want to do it right.”
J: I think I’ve asked everything I wanted to ask, um. Y: I talk a lot. I’m sorry. J: No, it’s wonderful.
Photographer: Angelo Beltran | www.facebook.com/gotsuperpowers
www.facebook.com/raychulmoore Last month we introduced Raychul Moore in our “Tips from the Tomb” section, Raychul is a gamer, YouTuber, Cosplayer & journalist. With all that on her plate, we have no idea how she found time to talk to us, but thankfully she did.... First up Raychul, tell us a bit about your cosplay beginnings, what got you started? I think cosplaying was kind of a natural progression for me since I’ve been gaming my whole life, but it was a friend of mine who really got me started. We were going to SDCC for the first time with a group of friends and we decided to do a group cosplay together. I fell in love with cosplaying instantly. The creation phase is definitely my favorite part, I love figuring out how to create certain weapons or props and then finally seeing the finished product and being like, “Whoa, I made this!!!” You’re also a gamer, what are your favourite games and what are you playing now? Some of my favorite games are Mass Effect, Borderlands, the entire Bioshock series, Uncharted, Dishonored, God of War, Eternal Darkness, Dragon Age, Gears of War, Silent Hill 2, Halo and of course anything Mario. Right now I’m playing a lot of Elder Scrolls Online and the new Witcher 3 DLC, while waiting for Halo 5 and 104
Guild Wars 2’s expansion to come out this month!! Back to cosplay, do you feel that cosplay can be a career? Oh yes, definitely and even in the bigger picture, I think cosplay can also lead to many very successful careers in stuff like costume design, prop making and even just creative design in general. I’m always learning new ways of doing things and new materials to work with, cosplay is an ever-evolving skill and art form. You’re also a blogger and a YouTuber - tell us about those roles. I started my YouTube to help myself get over being so camera-shy. It’s definitely helped a lot, and I post mostly video game centered videos, like reviews, top 10 lists and stream live gameplays. I also post stuff of my travels to different cons and being a guest cosplayer at them and, of course, a lot of videos of my many trips to Disneyland. :D If someone wanted to make a career with their love of pop culture, where should they start? Well, I always tell people if they wanna do something, then just do it that’s the great thing about YouTube and the internet as a whole, we can now do anything we want. If you wanna be a YouTuber, well, you’ve
probably got a cell phone with a camera and the internet so there ya go! If you wanna be cosplayer, YouTube has a so many cosplay tutorials to help you get going! I think the main thing is to not get started on YouTube, or as a cosplayer or as a livestreamer with your goal being to become famous or financially successful. These things take a lot of time, work and money the most important thing, and the thing that will help you more than anything else is passion. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing, not why you’re doing it. People can see your passion for what you’re doing, even if your skills are still being perfected, it’s the passion people see that will drive them to your content. Cosplay is more mainstream now, has it changed from its roots? I definitely think cosplay has very much changed, as everything usually does the more mainstream it becomes. Like I was saying before, cosplaying is all about passion it’s about showing your love for a character or a game or a comic that you personally relate to or that you just really, really adore for whatever reason. I do feel a lot of people have lost sight of that, and for most, cosplay isn’t really about the passion anymore, unfortunately. But, at the same time, because of
Photographer: Mike Rollerson | www.facebook.comMikeRollersonPhotography
it’s popularity; crafting materials and the processes used to create things have become so common place that now people who maybe 3 years ago never would’ve even considered trying to make an Iron Man suit completely on their own actually can! And because of this, people are finding new talents and a new love for creating things that they never even knew was a possibility! Tell us about your photoshoot experiences and what tips would you like to share for those new cosplayers about to do their first shoot? Ain’t no shame in practicing in front of a mirror until you feel you have the poses or looks down. :D Usually each character has a signature pose, so that one is easy. But practicing in front of a mirror will help you find what you feel is your best expressions and angles and help you feel more confident in those poses. But remember you’re an adult in a costume that’s silly, so have fun!!!! Talking about tips, do you have any tips for cosplayers attending their first con? Eat and drink lots of water. I know it seems silly, but it’s something that is so easy to forget when there’s a lot going on around you. Also, safety pins are a lifesaver. :D Ok, fun time now, if you were going
to meet the President and he asked you to be in cosplay, what would you go as? HA! Well, if I could meet the President and be in any cosplay ever I’d probably wanna be dressed as a totally game-accurate Motorized-Patriot from Bioshock Infinite. I mean, just the picture of the President standing beside a George Washington Motorized-Patriot would be beyond badass but then have that Motorized-Patriot be you?! Yeah, that’s definitely the cosplay I’d chose. Tell us five things a cosplayer must pack in their travel bag when heading to a con. 1. Band-aids for your feet 2. Safety pins 3. Stick-on Velcro 4. Spear needle and thread 5. Gel inserts for your shoes
were horror stories. As far as my best con experience, I usually tend to enjoy the smaller cons the most. I like having time to be able to talk to people who come up to me and get to know them better. The more people I get to meet and talk to, the better the con is for me! :D But, my favorite moment from a con is when I was dressed as Kratos at SDCC one year and was asked to come on stage during a God of War panel to meet the creators of the game. I fan-girled pretty hard. Finally where can our readers go to find out more about you? Oh, I’m all over dem internets! www.Raychul.com Twitter.com/theRaychul Facebook.com/RaychulMoore YouTube.com/RaychulMoore Instagram.com/theRaychul
Best and worst con experience? I’ve been super lucky and haven’t really had a bad con experience. I mean, the worst I can think of was a con I was at in the middle of the summer which had no AC so it was almost unbearably hot in there and another con where they had a live metal band play in the same room as the guest and vendors which made talking to people who came up to your booth nearly impossible. So yeah, neither of those experiences
I also do a live chat every Tuesday at 3pm PST on my YouTube and then I do a live game stream every Thursday at 3pm on my Twitch.tv/ theRaychul where you can laugh at me getting angry at NPC’s or trying to romance all the female characters. Come by and say hi!!!
Cosplaying is all about it’s about showing your love for a character or a game or a comic that you personally relate to or that you just really, really adore for whatever reason.
Photographer: Rick Basaldua
Photographer: Seth Hendrix
Photographer: Seth Hendrix
Photographer: Mike Rollerson | www.facebook.comMikeRollersonPhotography
Photographer: Adam Patrick Murray | www.facebook.com/adampatrickmurray
110 Photographer: Seth Hendrix
Photographer: Brian Recktenwald
Photographer: Mike Rollerson | www.faceboo
Photographer: Brian Recktenwald
Suzanne from Armored Soul Cosplay is one of the best creators of costumes we’ve met. Her speciality is working with worbla to make armour. We’ve seen some of her work and it’s excellent so we thought we’d catch up and talk all things armour and cosplay Suzanne welcome to Cosplay Live Magazine.
As Gears of War was a game I loved and was totally inspired from the Marcus cosplay, I started researching GoW cosplays and noticed that most people did the COG characters and I saw so little of the Locust characters I settled on Queen Myrrah from the second/3rd game in her battle armor.
Tell us how you got into cosplay and in particular creating your armour and other costumes.
I had never made anything on that scale before and it took a year to finish. I used a lot of different house hold items to create and the base of the costume is a BMX armor jacket, lots of foam and even platform boots (Im so short!) For a first costume I wasn’t 100% happy with it but I was happy enough with it to wear it to a convention and it ended placed best costume in a costume comp which was really exciting for myself. I had already made the decision to remake the costume when I had more skill and after seeing an American cosplayer husband and wife team Cos.n.Fx progress on her own amazing Queen Myrrah project my inspiration game was lifted and set out trying to get better.
I can always remember taking part in book week costume parades during school and always enjoying going to dress up parties. I have this memory of me running around the house calling myself Mystique because I had a blue top, blue snakeskin skirt and was a natural red head when I was young, so its something that I’ve always enjoyed since a young age. How I got into it in my adult life was through a local anime convention - I’d been to a few over a year or two and on one particular occasion when walking into the convention there was a cosplayer dressed as Marcus Fenix from the Gears of War series. To put it bluntly, I totally fan girled hard. He was very patient while I asked lots of questions and asked for photos and that really got my mind working on wanting to make something too.
My 2nd attempt was much much better than the 1st and I was much happier. Awhile after I had been introduced to Worbla I decided I was crazy and wanted to update my Queen Myrrah costume yet again and spent the time trying to improve my skill to remake this costume yet again with the added material of Worbla. Just
to note that in between these remakes I had made other costumes and the rebuilds would of spanned over 2 years, each time the rebuild was quicker. The 3rd time was the most detailed of the rebuilds and I am pretty proud of the build (and it won runner up best costume in a competition). I’m not sure why exactly I have chosen to make a lot of armor, other than armor is awesome and I feel cool when I wear it. I am a super short lady and wearing armor makes me feel strong I guess! For armor, I personally love using Worbla but there are so many amazing materials to use for armor like foam and even cardboard. What has been your most challenging project? Each project will have its own challenging aspects and if a build has something I have never done before then it will usually be that part that’s most challenging. Planning out the costume in steps really helps me battle the challenging aspects of costumes and having so many amazing friends in the community to help and ask questions with. My Wikus Van De Merwe (District 9) costume was hard because its a male character, a half shirtless character and it required a lot of things I had never done before like binding, latex work, makeup and
foam carving. During the convention I wore that costume to I had many people tell me I looked “gross” or “disgusting” - which was exactly the look I was going for as Wikus’s alien transformation is meant to be gross so that was a huge compliment! My current build has a lot of foam carving involved which I have been really hesitant about because my skill at carving things is very very poor - but time and practice will hopefully change that! Something I would also like to touch on in terms of challenging aspects of cosplay (and life in general) is doing something you love while also dealing with things like physical or mental illness. I personally deal with mental health issues which can lead to motivation issues and self doubt
when trying to re-create something you love. As mentioned above, I have a lot of support within my friends group and the community so that I am super thankful for. My only advice for anyone dealing with the same issues is to just keep doing it because you want to and remember everyone thinks their own stuff is worse than it actually is so try not to beat yourself up to much about what other peoples stuff looks like compared to your own.
gotten out of that mind set. It wasn’t a mind set of “oh if you dont use this expensive product your cosplay isnt good” about others, just myself. I am not sure where that mindset came from but these days I will use what ever I can find around the house. For a prop I made recently I used a pringles can and toothpick containers for the bulk of it - where as when I first started I would of stressed myself out making sure I can very particular items.
Tell us about the materials you work with, what sort of things do you use the different materials for?
I personally like to use worbla a lot but its not the be all end all of cosplay and I recently have been using it less. Some of it is because I want to try and get better at using foam or other materials and some of its also to do with money. I had a larger disposable income when I first started but these days being an adult has to
I use a large range of materials. When I started out I some how had the internal conflict of only wanting to use newly bought / expensive types of products and I am so happy I have
come first! Which means I have had to learn to be a little more crafty than I was with the materials I use. Each build will have different requirements for different materials so its really hard to say what I would use a particular material for because most of the time, there is no right or wrong answer. You’ve done a lot of amazing cosplays with make up that is complex too - how did you learn that? I can’t and wont say my makeup skills are very good because they are really realllly average. I think the most makeup I have done is for Wikus. Painting the torso was a stop and start, fix and repeat process to try and get the skin colour right. Next time I will be learning how to use a airbrush to make life easier. Trying to thin out my face, make it more masculine and make me look sickly was a trial and error process. I’ve done a few humanoid fawn face designs for fawn cosplays and thats a I use what I have process. Try a few things till I get the look I want! Do you have any tips for cosplayers starting out wanting to create their own armour? (Maybe give us some safety tips, buying tips and using tools tips) A good starting tip is to don’t let yourself get to focused on what others are making and focus on what you are doing. If you have never
made armor before and are comparing yourself to others that have been cosplaying for years - of course there may be a difference in how it looks. You will learn more skills and get better in time! Another tip is to plan. Plan out what the parts of the costume are, plan out what materials you want to use for each part are. Start a list of things needing to be completed so you dont forget anything (that type of list is also VERY handy when preparing for a convention so you dont forget a vital piece of your costumes - which I have done in the past) Research about the materials you are using before you use them so you don’t end up with fume poisoning (like I have had from making a prop). Some materials can be toxic or shouldn’t be mixed together so please research what you are using! Finally where can our readers go to find out more about you? I have the standard social media pages like facebook ect. www.facebook.com/suzannescostumepage
@armoredsoulcosplay for instagram are the two I use the most. If you search armored soul cosplay on most social media sights, something should come up!
Corey can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from and how you got into photography. I’m not much of a writer so you’ll have to probably drag some information out of me. I’m originally from Texas. Deep South Texas about 2 hours north of Mexico, and I went to college at the University of Texas at Austin and studied Graphic Design. I got into photography after working as a designer and after art directing a few photoshoots I decided I liked the photographer’s work day more than I liked my own. Being an introvert, I enjoy having intense days of collaboration, then plenty of alone time to work on the photo’s details. What sort of photography do you do? Almost exclusively studio portraits. Even when I shoot fashion, I’m still shooting portraits which is probably why I don’t shoot much fashion. I love photographing celebrities and musicians and try to create and image that says something about the person that is in front of the camera. At it’s most basic, photography is a way for me to explore an idea or a person that interests me. Tell us about your Alter Ego project and what inspired you to do this? One of the challenges about shooting portraits is trying reveal a little bit about someone’s personality. After seeing some of the cosplayers at New York Comicon I was struck by the way that they were regarded as celebrities and it got me thinking about superheroes and their alter egos. So I set to see what I could discover in photographing cosplay-
ers in costume, and then is the street clothes they walked in with. Did you find your subjects responded differently before and after? As in posing and being relaxed in front of your lens? I personally think there is a difference, but I also prefer to leave that to he viewer. That is part of what invites people into this, or really any art work. To see what they discover for themselves. Was this your first cosplay themed shoot? (if not please tell us about some others) This was not my first cosplay shoot, but it was my first cosplay project. I had photographed 2 of the cosplayers in this project before (Ruby and his wife Jen, who I honestly cannot think enough) but I was more fascinated with the bold color and what that would look like in a portrait. The Alter-Ego Project was much more of an exploration into the personalities of the people that cosplay. Who they are in their regular lives, and do they become someone different in costume. How did you approach the project. Was there much planning involved? My approach to this project started at New York ComicCon 2014. Just being there to try to find people that would be interested in taking part a photo study was my first hurdle. Once I had 4 or 5 commitments I felt like I could move forward and I was able to network with other cosplayers once I had an idea of what the photos what look like. My photo style is very minimalist and I knew I wanted
to do the same for this. Let the subjects tell the story. I photographed everyone full length #1 so you could see the hard work that goes into making these costumes, and #2 so that each individuals body language would also be on display. The entire project lasted about 8 months and I ended up finally photographing about 16 people. It was tough as I really had to rely on finding people in and around the New York area which is where my studio space in located. Some of the media picked up on this, tell us about that. Even when I started this project I knew that there would be interest in the media. Nerd culture IS pop culture these days. And I say that fully embracing my own nerd side. I grew up as a kid wishing for a Spider-Man movie and and now it seems I can see 3 or 4 superhero films each year. So once I wrapped up the project I reached out to Buzzfeed Editor Ryan Broderick to see if they would have any interest. He had the photos up within 4 days. After that it showed up on Kotaku, Digitalrev, DesignTaxi, and a few other websites. Then Yahoo called me in for an interview and they did a piece for their Weekly Flickr site to coincide San Diego’s ComiCon. It has been flattering that there has been so much interest, but what is made this really special for me is hearing from cosplayers how my series made them feel normal and honored. Do you have any plans for a follow up shoot along theses lines? No real plans to continue this project. I’ll always shoot a few cosplay photos at a convention, but as I said,
photography is a way for me to explore an idea and I think I learned what I wanted to learn, or at the very least accomplished what I set out to do. As much as I enjoy photographing cosplayers and love seeing the costumes, Iâ€™m not sure what else I would have to say about it. But Iâ€™m always open to discussing it! Corey, what tips can you give a new photographer? Shoot what you love. Shoot often. Respect your subject. First you have to master your tools. Once you have that, If you are passionate about a subject, you will bring a perspective that will be unique to yourself. That is when an image become something special. When it is filtered thru the lens of your experiences. Finally where can our readers go to see more of your work? My website: www.coreyhayesphoto.com My Tumblr: http://coreyhayesphoto.tumblr.com/ My Instagram: @coreyhayesphotos and my Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/coreyhayesphoto/
Cosplay Photography www.facebook.com/GotSuperpowers This month Live Magazine sat down (literally) with the gang from I’ve Got Super Powers - a photography group that’s dedicated to cosplay photography. We spoke with founders, Angelo and Nathan and the newest member, Charlie Nicholson.Welcome to Live Magazine. Can you start by telling us a bit about how and why I’ve Got Superpowers (IGSP) got started.. Angelo: This goes way back in early 2010 when Nathan and I decided to start a blog so we can talk and review about our favourite comic books, video games, anime and anime pvc figures. We had no idea that cosplay was a big part of what we were about to jump into. Nathan: It was almost a natural progression for us, as we both had interest in photography. We made the jump to do cosplay photography and we haven’t looked back since. You’re big fans of cosplay, do you do any other styles of photography? Angelo: We’re quite a versatile team and each member has their own strengths and specialty that they bring value to the table. Nathan and I specialise in glamour and fashion. Charlie with her ethereal portraiture. And Alex is our studio lighting expert. Is there any other photo groups around like yours? Angelo: To our current knowledge we are the first recognised cosplay photography group in Australia. We can be compared to Super Cosplay Girls who are based in the UK and Photographes Sans Frontieres
which I believe are based in Argentina. Do you think Cosplay photography is competitive in any way? Angelo: There will always be competition. Everyone wants to be the best and there’s nothing wrong with that. We encourage and welcome it as it drives the community forward. It’s your attitude and personality that will influence or determine the outcome. Nathan: We welcome healthy competitions that would drive the communities, photographers and cosplayers, forward and be better at we do. So tell us a bit about your team. There’s four of you right? Angelo: When we first started it was just Nathan and I. And as we grew so did the demand and the need to diversify. Since then we’ve recruited a few others to join our organisation. And currently the core creative team is comprised of four highly skilled photographers. At Live we’ve interviewed dozens of cosplayers and cosplay shooters, what’s different about your approach? Angelo: We know our characters. Nathan and I are big fans. We try our best to represent the characters the way they are in the books and games. And each of us have our own favourites and we’re always on the lookout for cosplayers that are best suited for that character. Nathan: In essence we are not that
different in our approach to the photography itself. Just like different chefs bring their own specialty dish to a banquet. The only thing we have in common within IGSP is that individually we love what we do and we are driven to be better at it! Some people say cosplay photography falls into two camps - either very much dedicated to the art and by that I mean the character and the costume or it’s simply a chance to show off some slightly provocative photos of attractive costumes and people, what do you think? Angelo: Cosplay is an art form that is open to interpretation. There are no set rules. As individual photographers we each have our vision and style. It is up to us how the final product is going to look like. If the cosplayer wants an ethereal look we have Charlie that can do that. They want more of a sexy and action oriented look, we have Nathan and I that can do that. And if they want to shoot in a studio they need to go to Japan where Alex is currently residing (laugh). Ok let’s switch direction a bit, tell us how a typical shoot goes with IGSP… how do you start the process of organising a shoot? Do cosplayers approach you or is it the other way around? Angelo: We are a non-profit organisation. We use our own personal time and resources to conduct all of our projects. Having said that, we only engage in projects that interests us. Cosplayers do approach us and if they have something interesting to offer we will take on the project.
I Got Super Powers: Nathan, Angelo & Charlie
Is post processing important in cosplay photography? Angelo: You bet it is! It’s what sets you apart from the competition. What gear do you take on a typical shoot? Angelo: We are a run and gun team with the exception of Alex. He will bring his entire studio if he could! (laugh). We like to be mobile as much as possible so we only carry minimum gear that will get the job done. And it varies for each shoot. Ok what’s your favourite bit of gear? Angelo: Alex would love to answer this question. He would probably do a complete rundown of his gear list (laugh). But Nathan and I love our prime lenses. While Charlie is in love with her 70-200mm zoom. What’s coming up for the team in 2015? Angelo: That’s top secret. However we can say that we will continue to improve on our skills, innovate and set new trends keeping in line with our mission and vision. Finally where can readers go to see your work? Angelo: You can find us on igotsuperpowers.com, facebook.com/gotsuperpowers and instagram.com/ gotsuperpowers.
www.facebook.com/gotsuperpowers We’re pretty fortunate here as we get to talk to some of the best cosplayers and cosplay photographers around the planet. We always ask how they got started in cosplay and what drives them forward, and there’s a real mix of answers. Mainly people are driven by their love of the art and their passion to get better at what they do. This month we talked to a cosplay photographer that’s skyrocketed in popularity among Adelaide based cosplayers. Charlie Nicholson is a wonderful cosplay photographer who takes her craft very seriously. But on top of that she’s one of those people that loves to encourage others. We sat down with her and talked about her journey as a photographer in the cosplay genre. Over to you Charlie: People always ask me how and even why I got into cosplay photography, so I thought I would expand a little on my story and reflect on the year gone by. My cosplay story began in mid 2014, when I was invited by my dear friend and mentor Rob Jenkins to come out and photograph a lovely young lady by the name of Tiffany Dean Cosplay. I didn't know it at the time, but this spontaneous shoot would be the catalyst in my journey to a roller coaster ride of learning and creative discovery. 140
It was only two short months later that I would attended my first pop culture event; AvCon (Adelaide's own anime and gaming convention). I stood in awe at the array of talented artisans that flooded the halls of the Convention Centre. Initially, my senses went into some sort of visual overload - I couldn't even raise my camera to take a shot! And that was it, I was addicted. I became so enchanted by the wonderfully creative people which I had found myself surrounded by that when the convention was over, I started attending community photography events featuring local cosplay talent as volunteer models. It was through these events that I secured an invitation to photograph the Cosplay Live launch party and in turn meet Angelo Beltran from I Got Superpowers (IGSP). Who knew that this chance meeting was going to be such a poignant part in my cosplay story. Unbeknownst to myself, Nathan Tan and Angelo Beltran, founding photographers of IGSP, had been paying close attention to local photographers, waiting for the right person to join their team. After a meeting and some lengthy discussion I decided to take a leap of faith and accept their invitation to join the IGSP team. Now, debuting under the IGSP banner I
headed to my second convention of the year; the Supanova Pop Culture Expo. On the first day, I rocked up terrified and wondered what I had gotten myself into. My heart pounded and my hands shook with nerves. The boys launched me full pelt into the Adelaide cosplay scene and I learnt quickly that I would need to overcome my fear of approaching strangers for photos. With full gumption, I threw myself into it and so thus my learning curve soared upwards, at a pace that is hard for me to comprehend now as I look back, 12 months in. Following Supanova came my first official set for IGSP. A shoot with Allana from Black Heart Cosplay as Shredder. I spent time researching her character and found a great location that complimented the picture I had in my mind. We chatted at great length to make sure we were very much on the same page creatively and as a result we went in knowing exactly what we wanted to capture. Shoot day came and went, my first set was submitted and then published on the IGSP website... and its pretty much been a steady flow of new faces, characters and photoshoots ever since. In reflection, I attribute a great portion of my success in pho-
tographing cosplayers to my ability to connect with my subject. Building a strong rapport goes a long way in putting people at ease so you can photograph them in their most comfortable state. Portrait photography is my main love and I am blending my love of people photography with my admiration for the creative arts in my cosplay photography. Building my knowledge in most areas of pop culture has been imperative and I'm still learning about the diverse subject matter thats out there. I'm not frightened to say 'Hey, I don't know much about that so tell me about it' - speed lessons in anime are now a specialty! I've had the pleasure of meeting some pretty amazing people that have supported me in all that I have done, many of which have become friends. To be part of a team at IGSP has been a privilege. I am supported and pushed to be the best photographer that I can be, to not be frightened of new things and to keep pushing forwards while keeping my sense of self in my work and upholding the IGSP mission of doing it for the love. So what's next? 2016 is looking like it's shaping up to be pretty good. IGSP have a new member, Elle from Ellen Lily Photo, which is fantastic news and we have exciting plans for the coming new year so watch this space!
Personally, I am looking to push myself creatively in my post production. To date, I have strongly depended on my photographic skills, but I know once I open the door to digital art that I can then reach higher levels of creativity. As I look back on the whirlwind that has been cosplay photography; I've had highs, I've had lows, I've had successes and I've had failures too. All of which have been huge in my creative growth. Have I peaked yet? No way! I've got heaps yet to learn and I shall continue to do so with grace and care to those around me. Any success is due to a collaboration of skill from both the cosplayer and photographer and I applaud my subjects for their dedication and skill which continues to inspire me. Where will my story end? Who knows, all I know is for now theres no room for regrets. Peace out...
FALCON VISUALS Hi there! My name is Julio Falcon, I run Falcon Visuals. Bellow you will find the checklist I follow when photographing at a convention.
A. Choose a background. I will
usually pick an area with low foot traffic and a brightness level that can be controlled by my shutter speed.
B. Select a spot that allows me
to use my chosen background. I set camp near the main attractions (that way people comes near me), being careful as to not obstruct doors, stairs, corridors or stalls.
C. Place light(s) and stand(s).
If people can trip on something, they will trip on something. Tape cables to the ground, avoid placing tripods on high traffic areas, place your bags next to your stands, to make them even more visible.
Put a (removable) mark on the ground. That way cosplayers know where to stand and which direction to face. Moreover, this will keep the distance between subjects and light sources constant.
E. Select a Focal Length. Am
I integrating the characters to their surroundings (wide angle),
or isolating them (telephoto)? Am I rendering realistic proportions (medium tele) or distorting them (wide angle)
F. Choose an Aperture value:
How much detail am I showing? Do I work at f/5.6, so I can see every stitch on that cape even though it can also bring a busy background? or open to f/2.8 and control what is in focus even though the lens performance will be far from ideal?
G. Set the power level on your
speedlight. As I rarely chance the aperture and the distance between subject and light source remain constant, this is pretty much a “set and forget” adjustment. By the way, I expose for skin tones.
H. Put on a big smile and ask
cosplayers permission to take their portraits.
I. Have a good look at the cos-
tume and assess its strengths and weakness. Keep your poker face will doing this.
J. Ask the cosplayer for some
background information on their character and ask if there is anything in particular in their costume that they want to highlight.
K. Choose a pose and lighting
pattern that suits cosplayers ideas, reinforce the costumes strengths and hides any weaknesses or malfunctions.
L. Say thanks and goodbye. Each and every parameter in Julio’s camera is always set to manual, because he is a control freak. His 24/70mm rarely goes wider than f/5.6 (he must capture every detail) and never focus on a face unless it’s set at 70mm (he has seizures at the mere tough of a portrait with inaccurate proportions). His main speedlight is always hidden behind a 90 cm shoot trough umbrella (as he despises naked light sources).
This month we decided to look at a few of those cosplay photographers that inspire us. While there are literally thousands of great cosplay photographers we couldnâ€™t possibly fit them all into one magazine so weâ€™ll simply share four that we absolutely love.
BENNY LEE Benny is an award winning photographer from Atlanta that specialises in fashion, portraits and cosplay. For him, cosplay photography is about telling the story. Benny has a gift for creating images that are inspired by TV shows, movies and games. His post product skills are amazing and probably one of the key things that makes Benny stand out. See more of his work at: www.facebook.com/BennyLeePhotography
MICHELLE MONIQUE Michelle is gifted photographer and artist based in San Francisco. Sheâ€™s won awards for her work including Comic-con 2012 as a finalist in the Wacom contest and first place in the Pix Digital Imaging Contest. She also won Photographer of the Year in the Zemotion contest. Michelle is brilliant with lighting, colour and story telling. Looking at her work and the behind the scenes videos you see a photographer who is totally absorbed in every aspect of the shoot, from making costumes, to applying make up right through to the finished photo. Michelle also does beauty, fashion and commercial photography and has a list of clients that keep her busy. Want to get inspired? Head over to her site at: www.michellemoniquephoto.com and check her cosplay work under the Creative link.
DAVID LOVE Not many photographers who specialise in cosplay have produced their own book available on Amazon, but David Love is the exception. He’s a fashion and glamour photographer based in Oviedo, Florida in the U.S and is well known for creating unique and one off images. David is a graphic designer who has used that training to create photos that are unique and creative. Check out his brilliant work you can find on his site under “compositions”: www.truefd.com/davidlovephotography/compositions/ His work with light, image manipulation and posing shows off the cosplayers hard work on costume creation. Featured here: Kristen Lanae, Ellei Marie and Dahlia Thomas. He also works with the cosplayer to get the right pose that is the foundation of a good composite.
While these are just 5 photographers that inspire us, there really are thousands of brilliant Cosplay photographers around the world, and we’ll be taking a look at some more in upcoming editions, including a special feature of 5 Australian photographers that inspire us. If you’re a cosplay photographer - consider making up your own list of photographers that inspire you, and use it as a reference to help grow and inspire your photography.
PECK photography Peck is one of those photographers that you instantly recognise his images when you see them pop up on your social media feed. Peck is based in Valencia which is the third largest city in Spain. His ability to use light and add effects that enhance the photo are amazing. He uses tones and colours to add mystery and fantasy to photos that are already brilliantly light. Peck’s fantasy and sci-fi images all have an other worldly feel that draws you in and you get lost in the image. Also Peck, like the other photographers in this list are genuinely nice people. Helpful, friendly and approachable, they are the sort of people you could imagine having a coffee with and talking about photography, gear and what inspires them. Check out Peck here www.peckfotografia.com
www.facebook.com/MikeRollersonPhotography Horror master, Mike Rollerson shares his ideas and tips on doing horror cosplay photography. It’s that ghoulish month of months, October. And that means Halloween is coming. Kids and adults will be out there in costumes having fun and scaring the daylights out of people all in good fun. Cosplay and Halloween are a great mix with some amazing costumes such as Fredddy, Zombie Nurses, Elvira and many others. But if you’re wanting to see amazing horror cosplay look no further then the master, Mike Rollerson from San Diego. We caught up with Mike just in time for Halloween... Hey Mike we’d like to share some tips and ideas on horror photography, can we start with working on the concept. Working on a concept between a model/cosplayer and photographer is the perfect opportunity to share ideas - figuring out the theme, outfit/ makeup, poses, lighting and visualizing what the final shot will look like in advance gives both sides some creative input that can really put the shot over the top; something like color choices of an outfit, the way the shot is lit or the angle it’s taken at can make some incredible differences. Brainstorming ideas in 154
advance of shots you’re wanting to achieve will make the shooting process go much smoother, even if it doesn’t end up being the final result it will often give you some great starting points to adjust during the shoot in order to create a great finished photo. Having some input from both sides will also ensure a great shooting experience where both the model and photographer are excited for the shoot - if either side is not fully committed to the idea, it can really show in the end results. And while gear isn’t important, we’d like to know what you use and why? Camera-wise, I use a mix of Canon mirrorless and DSLR bodies. I prefer shooting with multiple bodies/lenses at the same time in order to dramatically change the look (going from a fish-eye, to an ultra-wide, a portrait and a telephoto lens) without pausing a shoot to change lenses. Using multiple camera bodies makes the change in lenses seamless and also encourages using them all during the shoot. Some of my favorite lenses for the horror-look are an 8mm Fisheye lens, an ultra-wide (10-22mm), standard & portrait (30mm/50mm/85mm) or a telephoto (70-200mm). I tend to have one lens from each group on-the-ready at all times to get the proper angle and
depth of field needed for the shot. In nearly all of my photoshoots I prefer to use speedlights - they’re extremely portable and have a large range of modifiers available. Using a gridded-softbox will help create a dark look with a strong falloff of light, perfect for a horror-themed cosplay. Ok, onto the shoot itself. Obviously make up is really important for horror, tell us about what happens. With so much variety in effects makeup and techniques available, I’m very open to finding the best fit to make the look as close to our concept as possible. In the past I would bring in a makeup artist, some models are also familiar with different application techniques, but recently I’ve become much more involved in the process in order to create the look that I feel photographs best (some makeup applications will look fantastic in person but not necessarily translate in photos under different types of lighting). Over the last few years I’ve picked up techniques for airbrushing (which types hold up best for a shoot? which will display best under flash lighting?), fake bloods (using nearly a dozen different types ranging from a very thin “Squirt Blood” to a thick paste-like “Thick Blood”, coming in colors from light to dark red,
Cosplayer: Raychul Moore | www.facebook.com/RaychulMoore
black and even green). I’m happy with where I am in applying effects makeups, but I’m always trying new techniques and new products! So we’ve got the concept, the gear, the make up, tell us about posing. Poses can really make or break a horror-shoot. For static-poses, something as simple as tilting the head downwards and looking up with their eyes, tilting their head to one side or looking off into the distance can create a much scarier look than facing straight-on at the camera. Lightly clenching a fist can give a much stronger look than a hand relaxing by the models side. Ground-level/crawling shots often work perfect as they’re something you don’t see much of in other areas of photography. Some of my favorite looks are the action poses; Having a model jump into an action pose, spin their body around or “claw” towards the camera quickly will create a moment that looks better than any posed “action” shot will - you get an intense reaction and a real sense of motion in the shot. Shooting the concept - how long does it take and what’s the process? I always try to have a shoot ready-togo at the time the model arrives. This means putting together any “sets” (if the shoot calls for one), preparing lighting (colored lighting? modifiers?) and any other effects (fog machines, blacklights, neon lights). Whenever shooting in a studio environment, I set up multiple monitors to view the photos live as they’re taken -- this is something I started doing a couple years ago and found that it makes a very big difference during shoots. A model being able to see the shot live on a bigger screen right after it’s taken helps keep the motivation up during a shoot (being covered in fake blood can be less fun than it sounds 156
:) as well as allowing the model to make any adjustments to their posing. I tend to take multiple shots of the same look -- often 4-5 shots -allowing me to pick between them in post-production, finding the shot from the set that worked best. Often times these shots will look very similar, but the slightest difference in express, focus or timing can make a very noticeable difference! And how does the shoot wrap up? Towards the end of the shoot, I always make sure to double-check with the model to see if they had any other ideas before we finish. I want to make sure that we both end up with some shots that we really enjoy, and sometimes these “Maybe we can try something like this..” poses end up being some of our favorites! It gives an extra opportunity to try out some extra looks (different lighting, posing, effects) at the end of the shoot once we’ve already gotten the look we were going for. After wrapping, I make sure to have a large supply of different makeup removers (with so many types of makeups, having a healthy and functional remover for each will make a big difference in ensuring that it all comes off easily). Tell us a bit on post production of your images. After a shoot I’ll import everything from the day into Lightroom to do a quick run-through of all the shots and rate my favorites (and allow the model to pick any favorites as well, if they’d like). I actually don’t delete photos during the shoot - sometimes a shot where one light didn’t fire will actually work out perfectly when edited properly. I tend to do some basic editing in Lightroom before moving into Photoshop. Lots of color-grading to set the mood, compositing in elements if needed and creating some effects for the final shot.
I know we’ve interviewed you before, but just to finish can you tell our readers a bit about you and where they can see more of your amazing work and of your model Raychul? I’ve been shooting cosplay photography for a number of years now, both at conventions as well as setting up private shoots to allow a bit more freedom and creativity with locations. Over the past few years
Cosplayer: Raychul Moore | www.facebook.com/RaychulMoore
Iâ€™ve started to focus more on the horror-themed looks, effects makeup applications and some costume creation. Raychul Moore is always an awesome model and cosplayer to work with -- we originally met at a convention a couple years ago and have shot multiple times since then (most recently putting together this new horror-look). She always puts together some really fun cosplays, does some fun game streaming and
puts out Youtube videos regularly. www.facebook.com/MikeRollersonPhotography www.facebook.com/RaychulMoore
- Mike Rollerson 157
Wigs can be a frustrating endeavour to understand for a first-time cosplayer. Where do you get them? How much is too much to pay? What’s the difference between that $55 wig from a wig website, and this $30 one that seems exactly the same from eBay.com? Here are 5 tips on purchasing a wig that will suit you.
1. Wigs generally look better than real hair Wigs are usually a lot better for your cosplay than your real hair. Not only do wigs look fuller, photograph better and hold style for much longer, you can severely damage your hair from constant colour and style changes to fit your character. While for some more ‘realistic’ characters this can be a benefit – think Ellie from the Last of Us or Beth Greene from The Walking Dead – it usually makes your costume look unpolished and be a weak link what would otherwise be an amazing look.
2. You will pay for quality While that $20 eBay wig looks very tempting, in cosplay you usually pay for quality. Wig stores online charge more because they guarantee their products are going to be of higher quality, which usually means less shiny, thicker, less sparse (meaning no wig caps peaking out underneath) and often a more diverse colour, with a few different coloured fibres in the wig making it look more natural. Good places I’d recommend buying from would be: Arda-Wigs.com, Wigsupplier.com, Matchwigs.com or EpicCosplay.com.
3. Do your research Before you put money towards anything, research both your character
www.facebook.com/ferretcosplay and the wigs you are interested well. Compiling a folder of shots of your character from different angles and in different lighting could really help you out when picking a wig style and colour. Places like Arda Wigs have a large range of colours and styles, and display their wig colours in various lighting to get a full range of ideas. Always remember buying online is a risk with colours and styles, but within Australia it’s usually the best way to purchase wigs.
4. Pick a colour and style that will suit you The character you’re cosplaying might be able to pull off neon yellow hair, but it might not suit you. Accuracy is fantastic, but be aware that you want to wear your costume, not have it wear you. Picking a more blue-based or red-based shade on your skin tone might suit you more. For example while wearing Yang Xiao Long from RWBY, I opted for a yellow-blonde wig from Wigsupplier. com rather than the more accurate mustard-yellow. I personally look like a tomato in mustard yellow, so I knew a more natural blonde would suit me better. Go with whatever you feel is best – it’s all up to artistic interpretation, and this is by no means a rule you have to follow.
5. Wig styles are changeable If you purchase a wig of high enough quality, it’s fairly easily to change its style. A curly wig is easily straightened, and a straight wig can be curled (only if your wig is heat resistant, so be careful!). You can cut a longer wig up shorter as well, or add wefts to add length to your wig. Wig styling is a creative element of it’s own, and the only limits are you imagination – don’t be afraid to try new things to get that exact wig you want! Free online art available by Rooster Teeth Productions
Photographer: cru Photography | www.facebook.com/cruphotography
“ The fun thing about cosplay photography is that you have a great subject to photograph. That’s a great start to any photo session. So how do we avoid simple mistakes to ensure your subject is photographed in a way that compliments their cosplay? Let’s take a look at 5 mistakes you should avoid when doing cosplay photos.
So you’ve got an awesome Harley Qunn cosplay going on. But what are you using for a background? Researching the character will give you insights as to what will work and what won’t. A poor background can spoil your photo. So do your homework, check out what backgrounds the character suits, then do some background scouting. Take a walk or drive in your area and make notes on places you think will work as a good background. Remember to be safe - don’t take risks and don’t shoot in areas that are dangerous.
One of the most common mistakes people make when taking a photo of someone is either putting them in harsh sunlight or in dappled light. Harsh sunlight means your subject will squint and have harsh shadows on their face that might not suit the style of the cosplay. Better to shoot in even shadowed area or later in the afternoon (or early morning) when the light is softer and even. Look for locations that give you lovely even light. If shooting in dark shadows, consider adding some light to your photo - but light you control like flash or continuous light such as an LED photo light. If you’re outside and can’t find an even shadowed area, simply turn your subject to face away from the sun and you’re lighting will improve - but be aware of snuffler.
It’s exciting to photograph cosplay. But sometimes we are so caught up in the moment we forget to take a deep breath and analyse the scene. Look behind your subject and make sure there is no branches or poles behind him or her resulting in the illusion that they’ve got something growing out of their head. Move either them or yourself so you eliminate that problem.
A wide angle lens can distort the body. We often see people with camera phones get up close to a face, snap a photo and distort the subject’s nose. Stand back a bit and get a more natural shot. If using a DSLR or Mirrorless camera use a longer lens at least 50mm and frame your subject. The longer the lens the better your subject will look as a long lens tends to slim down features.
Sometimes we take a photo with our iPhone or Android and find that it looks amazing on the back of the phone but put on your computer screen or larger tablet screen and it looks soft or blurred. The reason for this is either you’ve moved whilst taking the photo or you’ve taken a photo with a slow shutter speed. What your phone will try to do is compensate by raising the ISO - the amount of light it lets on to the sensor but this can result in lot’s of digital noise. On a better camera such as a DSLR etc, higher ISO isn’t always a big problem. But if using a camera phone or more basic camera you might need to either move your subject into a better light area or add flash. Want to improve your cosplay photography? Our Cosplay Live team often works with photo groups to run events and teach cosplayers and photographers how to get better photos. Why not contact us and we can let you know when our next event is on. Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ComicCon Australia Perth: April 2-3 Adelaide: April 9-10
ComicCon Australia Melbourne: June 11-12
Supernova Gold Coast: April 8-10 Melbourne: April 15-17
Supernova Sydney: June 17-19 Perth: June 24-26
AVCon Adelaide: July 15-17
2016 Events: Australia 162
ComicCon Australia Sydney: September 10-11 Brisbane: September 17-18
PAX Melbourne: November 4-6
SMASH Dates to be confirmed If youâ€™re an overseas cosplayer thereâ€™s a massive list here: http://costume.org/conventions.html 163
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