It’s that time of year once more, where the horrifying, the dead and the damned become a part of our every day. Here at GeekOut Bristol, we like to celebrate Halloween a little bit early, so come and join us for our Spectre-Waltz!
Let me take you to a future filled with authoritarian governments and damaged lands. Consider this, you’ve always thought you were the last rebel of your kind, but it turns out you weren’t. A bunch of you have donned your most practical gear and set out to meet up as the last remaining bunch of Cyberpunks… Of Bristol!
FOODIE PRE-MEET TBC (Poll Pending):
As ever, we love a good nomming session before GeekOut Bristol Meet – We’ll be setting up our Pre-Meetup food poll on Facebook today (Sunday 24th), so watch this space.
Our votes will be between:
- Coal Bar & Grill
- Frankie & Benny’s
- Wagamama’s Cabot Circus
MAIN EVENT: 14:00-Midnight (Old Market Tavern)
Hey, turn that stun gun off, we’re here for a civilised meetup with the best of you surviving Cyberpunks! Don’t forget we’ve still got an agenda to keep up with, so come and check us out! There’ll even be prizes later in the night.
Food & drink can NOT be brought in with you to the Old Market Tavern. If you are caught with food and drink on the premises, you will be asked to leave until you’ve disposed of your food or drink.
There will be a food menu at Old Market Tavern in the evening! The food is very cheap and it’s absolutely delicious! Food is usually available from 6pm.
Final note: If you are asked for ID by the bar staff, we will not vouch for your age – You must provide ID.
BOARD GAMES (& a dash of video games)
As always, we’ll have a large selection of board games available, so please do check out what we have:
– Bears vs Babies
– Bucket of Doom
– Cards Against Humanity (UK Edition + Expansions 1, 2 and 3)
– Cash n Guns
– Exploding Kittens
– Hack Trick
– Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit
– Jungle Speed
– Love Letter
– Pokemon Monopoly
– Rogues to Riches
– Star Trek Settlers of Catan
– Three Wishes
– Unusual Suspects
– Zombie Munchkin
AND MANY MORE!
We won’t be bringing every game listed above with us: If there’s a specific game you want to see, please let me know in the comments below.
We will bring a new game for this meetup as well, so watch this space, we’ll announce what it is on Monday 9th by 10pm!
COSPLAYERS (Group Cosplay Picture: 9pm)
Cyberpunks! Get your costumes ready as we’re about to celebrate your amazing costumes with our cosplay competition. Don your best costume and read on for the competition!
*CHANGING FACILITIES* If you want to change into a costume when here, please note there are no changing facilities. There are just standard toilet cubicles – Which are fine to change in, but you might want to consider this first.
COMPETITION: Cyberpunk Cosplay (8pm-9pm judging, 9pm results)
Donning your favourite cyberpunk costume, come join us for this month’s competition. We’ll announce prizes later down the line, however here are the rules for this months competition:
1) If your costume cannot be in some-way cyberpunk, or explained to be as such, then you will be disqualified.
2) You will stand before three judges and we’ll decide who has the best cyberpunk outfit.
3) You will be judged on three criteria:
b) DIY Element
c) How well does it fit the theme?
The three judges will decide based on these three criteria who to give the prizes to.
1st Place: Cyberpunk Goggles & Mask, £25 Cash, 3 Steam Games, a GeekOut Poster
2nd Place: TBC, £15 Cash, 2 Steam Games, a GeekOut Poster
3rd Place: TBC, £10 Cash, 1 Steam Game, a GeekOut Poster
EXCLUSIVE: Pride Gordon Poster
To commemorate Pride month and the fact July 14th is Pride Day in Bristol, we’ll be giving Pride posters for a small donation. The donation will go towards proceedings for Bristol Pride, to help support campaigns of equality. We’ll reveal the design by Monday 2nd!
As part of our commitment to being a great night out, we do not discriminate based upon age, disability, gender, race, religion or sexuality. If at any point you feel you need to speak to someone about another’s actions, please grab the host (Timlah) and we’ll sort it out!
Trick or treat! Don your outfits and go a-gathering, alongside some of the finest of theatrical traditions and human habits, the desire to adorn ourselves in the appearance of another for the fun of it. Geeks are perhaps the most enthusiastic when it comes to taking to the sewing machine and the welding torch in pursuit of a new outfit.
Join us fare and geeky folk, as we celebrate those times when our favourite characters have donned new duds, assumed new guises and costumed themselves from boot to scalp. Welcome to the Top 10 characters in costumes.
10) Faust – Guilty Gear
Ah Faust, we’ve mentioned this guy in a much older Top 10, where we spoke about his rather large scalpel. No innuendos, he really does have a large scalpel, which is bigger than an anchor. Faust was an incredible doctor, if a little unhinged, but an incident saw him go from an insane doctor to basically a shell of his former self. At least, that was the case until he realised the world needed his medical genius and thus, he stepped back into the world.
The weirdest part, is after he was sane again, he decided that he didn’t want the world to see his face. So, he donned his paper bag – which is all he’s seen out in public in. Now, Faust only gets the tenth place, but that’s simply because all of his costume is just his doctor’s attire and then a paper bag on his head. But, without that iconic paper bag, he just wouldn’t be Faust now would he?
9) Every MOBA
A MOBA is usually free, which means that to monetise their games, they need to add something the fans will like. So, they often add in skins. A skin doesn’t affect the way the game is played, but is just a nice little visual change for the gamers. People who genuinely love the game they’re playing are more than willing to part with some cash to put their favourite characters in a bizarre outfit, because who doesn’t love seeing the Hindu Giant of Sleep in pyjamas as pictured above?
This is a very vague entry, hence the low placing on our list, however MOBAs are filled to the brim with costumes. Whether you play League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Awesomenauts, Smite or any other MOBA, you’ll no doubt understand where we’re coming from on this front.
8) Jinnosuke – Afro Samurai
Straight away, I bet you’re thinking “What on earth is this guys deal”? And in all truthfulness, there’s a very simple explanation for the odd teddy bear head he wears. Jinnosuke, or Jinno for short, is an android who wears a teddy’s head as a way to disguise the fact he looks so similar to the Afro Samurai himself. Oh that and the fact that this guy is a freaking android.
The best part about this bear costume is the complete transformation Jinna goes through. When wearing the bear costume, he’s known as Kuma, which of course is basically Japanese for bear. Antagonistic, but sympathetic, this is an incredibly well fleshed out character who deserves to be mentioned. Plus, the style of this show is through the roof. Well worth checking it out if you haven’t, but be warned: It’s graphic.
7) Knights of Badassdom
Peter Dinklage is a massive nerd, and it’s awesome. If it’s not enough to know him as the crowd favourite from Game of Thrones then you can get a slice of the Half-Man as a berserker in LARP comedy Knights of Badassdom, alongside Summer Glau, Danny Puddi and Brian Posehn (and a handful of lesser-known names). Our heroes don their costumes, take to the forests, and get ready to beat the living hell out of one another with foam and latex weapons.
Ahh, but all goes terribly wrong when somebody reads from a “prop” book they brought from home for some convincing looking rituals for the XP and accidentally summon an actual demon. Either way, this is not your normal costume drama, not by a longshot, it’s a heavily armoured and fully armed costume comedy that’s about the pros and cons of taking things too far.
6) South Park Heroes
This series addresses the very worst aspects of humanity and shines a big light upon them, all against the backdrop of a child’s ability to see things in the most direct fashion, and also through the lens of make-believe. We have seen the team play as ninjas, (twice) fantasy archetypes, and superheroes. We could have gone with the fantasy characters as they’re the basis for The Stick of Truth, but between the legend of Mysterion, his tireless war with The Coon (and The Fractured, but Whole coming soon) we decided to go with the super-heroes.
The band of foul-mouthed nine and ten year olds have fashioned their identities from what they know and what they have to hand, that’s why we have heroes such as Tupperware, Toolshed, the Human Kite, and Mintberry Crunch. In the middle of all of this is Mysterion, the undying hero born of occult practices, and The Coon, who is Cartman.
This one depends on exactly which version of the minions you follow. If you’ve watched the prequel to the Despicable Me series then the Minions have lived forever, adapting thematically to whatever dark overlord they attach themselves to, high collared capes for a vampire, linen kilts and gold for pharaohs, and for pirates whatever looks cool. Gru’s demands being mostly for hardware means they’ve switched to dungarees, but no doubt the future holds something new.
But the original film clearly shows designs for the minions on Gru’s wall, meaning that he designed them for a purpose, and every costume change is done for a reason. They adapt to changing situations, like cleaning, fires, and the dark with a quick change of costume (or luminosity), and it’s a habit that’s getting worse now there’s adorable kids in the house.
4) Scooby Doo Villains
Hah, this is great. Somehow we’ve gotten a staple childrens show into a Top 10, but when you think about it, the Scooby Doo villains are the ultimate cosplayers (Unless we count the next one on this list, but bare with us here). These are characters who are often depicted in their normal human forms at an earlier point in the episode, before being chased around by Scoob and the gang and then revealed.
The most iconic part about Scooby Doo is how all of these villains run around, often sporting the most ridiculous of costumes. From zombies and ghosts, to full on swamp monsters, these guys and girls are the ultimate cosplaying baddies. Put a costume on these evil men and women who just want Scoob and gang to go away, turn into fully enraged devils in their own rights.
3) Costume Quest
Did you ever cosplay as someone and fantasize about possessing the powers that they wield? Well fantasize no more… well, less, this is a videogame not an upgrade. Your characters scoot around the neighbourhood, gathering sweets and treats from the neighbours, making new friends, uncovering strange mysteries and saving your sibling with the powers granted to you by whatever you’re wearing.
Tim Schafer’s knack for simple yet brilliant ideas transformed into games shines through in this cross between an RPG and an arena-fighter. Your cardboard box robot suddenly becomes a Gundam-scale killing machine fully capable of toppling the monsters that stand in your way. Or adopt the guise of a noble knight and become a champion against the darkness. Or french fries, a unicorn, or the entire solar system. Hallowe’en was never this good.
The truly valorous seek to become symbols of what they stand for, to become something memorable, something immediately recognisable that inspires others to become something better than they are. Some people just really want to be superheroes, people like Dave Lizewski, who has taken it upon himself to beat up the villainous sort while wearing a distinctive costume he made out of a cheap wetsuit.
It does at least serve as an inspiration to others, and after a tragic death makes him the city’s premier hero, suddenly dozens of costumed vigilantes come wriggling out of the woodwork. The extra armour isn’t much of an upgrade, especially as he can barely feel pain as it is, and he still looks kinda dumb, but that look becomes something of a flagship that the others can rally too. It’s not about hiding who he is, or becoming who he was always meant to be, it’s about doing what’s right, and making a point about it.
1) Tanooki Mario
Hardly surprising that the number one pick for us had to be Tanooki Mario; an iconic costume for Mario. Much like the aforementioned cosplay qualities of the Scooby Doo villains, once Mario gets inside of this very warm and snuggly looking Tanooki costume, he’s on his way to gliding all around the place like a madman. Plumbers don’t always fly, but when they do, they do so in a Tanooki outfit.
Now, this gets our number one slot because of just how popular this outfit is. From people cosplaying Tanooki Mario, to people who build whole Mario Maker levels around the Racoon Mario costume (Which granted isn’t Tanooki, but shares many similar properties), this is a well known and well loved outfit.
Not all of our costumed crusaders are good, not all are bad. Not all of our costumed characters do it for a reason, some do it as it’s confidence building. These are parallels to real life costumery which is why we love the Halloween spirit of Trick or Treating. These next two deserve a nod, for they’ve taken costuming to a different level.
James – Pokemon (Anime)
James beat out Mimikyu for the Pokemon slot, but of course James often doesn’t wear a costume because he wants to be loved. Instead, he wears a costume as a form of disguise. However, it’s sometimes he wears an outfit that’s just so over the top that the party instantly say “But this is Team Rocket again!” Honestly, why won’t Officer Jenny listen to Ash and his friends from time to time?
Regardless, James appears alongside Jessie and Meowth, as well as their rather amusing companion Wobbuffet. James isn’t afraid to cosplay and crossplay, making him a braver man than most. Besides, when you have legs like those, who wouldn’t want a chance to show them off?
Rick Castle (as Space Cowboy) – Castle
Nathan Fillion has made no small point of how much he loved Firefly, how much he misses it and resents its’ cancellation. In his biggest role following he took as many opportunities as he could to drive that point home, most memorably during a brief moment in one Hallowe’en episode, that makes it to the honourables section purely because it is just that brief.
As Richard Castle emerges from his costume change, you’d swear he was the spitting image of Captain Malcolm Reynolds of the Serenity, the resemblance is uncanny. Not the first time he’s worn the outfit too, as his daughter comments on his having worn it about five years ago (harr harr, because of when the episode aired, how deliciously nerdy). It’s one of many such references throughout Castle, but it’s easily the least subtle.
That is all for our sartorial selection, now get back into your day to day threads – be they clothing or forum – and get back to work. Before you wander back into normality, take the time to help us pick out a list for next week.
Ok, don’t dress it up, how did we do? What do you make of our little ensemble? Did we miss any of your favourite characters playing dress-up, or alternative outfits? Let us know on our Twitter, Facebook and Reddit pages. And join us next week for another fantastic Top 10.
Ah yes, it was last year that I was introduced to the hilarious antics of Kitacon. This year however, Joel and I will be attending the convention as members of press. We’ve checked out our hotels, we’ve seen the schedule of activities and we’ve been following the Facebook and Twitter feeds closely. Today, I’m going to look through the events that excite me the most and perhaps you’ll join in with my excitement!
This marks my tenth convention since I started attending conventions in 2013. Those who don’t know the history of this site may be surprised that the very first convention I went to was the motivation for making GeekOut South-West. The community was such a diverse, embracing spirit that I knew I needed future fixes of convention goodness, as well as an escape from the monotony of life when I’m back in Bristol, through the working weeks. Basically, without attending conventions, I’d probably still be working towards a career. Umm…
This’ll seem like a really bizarre thing to actually look forward to, but I’m really excited about travelling to the convention. There’s something so pleasing about leaving your home, with your bags and your costumes in hand, then making that long journey to wherever your convention is. I’m driving to this convention, as I drive to many of them, with my friend and fellow Kitacon goer Dave who has helped us write on our Top 10’s in the past.
I’ll be leaving my house at around 7am so we can get there nice and early. Dave is looking to play a few games of Magic: the Gathering with me whilst we wait, so it’ll be a good way to refine our decks and how we play as we wait for the event to start. This time, we’re not going to be about 2 hours later than expected. We’re going to be at the event way before it starts so we can get our passes and get the event off to a great start (including Joel and I having to sign the waiver to explain we’re acting as press).
Make, Code, Glow: Microcontrollers 101
Something about making things glow is just damn fascinating to me. Whether it’s rather simple programming that does it, such as the little LED USB connected microcontroller we backed on Kickstarter, mBuino, or it’s a full scale Arduino board – Whatever it is, it’s fun and it’s exciting. It’s time to light ’em up!
Yes, the opening ceremony of a convention is really a rite of passage. If you don’t sit through one of these, you lose a fair bit of context for what’s going down at the convention. From Charity Auctions, to Cosplay Competitions and even the Video Game Competitions, the opening ceremony covers them all. It also introduces you to the guests for the convention and allows you to just have a bit of a laugh from the very start of the event.
I’m taking part in Quantum [BLEEP] so I’m excited to see what this is all about. It’s going to be an improvised RPG session – But that’s about as much as I know about it. I’m excited to play the game and find out what mysteries are in store! Hosted by the brilliant Mr Purple who attends many of the UK’s conventions, Joel and I are looking forward to this introduction to Kitacon 2015.
Prop Making For Beginners
Okay, so I’ve made a scythe. It’s not great, but it’s a scythe. I’ve also made a large mask. It’s not great, but it’s a large mask. I’m hoping that by attending this panel, there’s going to be a few tips and tricks I can pick up to make prop making easier and all around better.
Who doesn’t love to watch all of the wonderful costumes come to the stage and show their stuff? It’s part of what makes these conventions so damn fun to go to. The effort a lot of people put into their costumes is simply staggering. More than I can ever say for my costumes! Still, I’m hoping to check this out!
Another great element of conventions are the awesome selection of dealers you get access to. It usually works out cheaper to buy things at conventions than it does in the shops, as it’s a chance for the dealers to showcase themselves. Perhaps one day, we’ll be able to set up in a Dealers Hall for ourselves? Hey, take note Joel!
Build a cosplay costume in a short amount of time, using limited resources? Sounds like my idea of heaven! I’m all about making cheap and easy costumes and on Sunday, I’ll be running around as Oskar! Muwahaha, let’s see if I can make something great in a short amount of time!
These Boots Were Made For Walking OR Intro To Mold Making
Both of these panels are taking place at the same time, so I’d ideally like to go to one of them… I’m just uncertain as to which one I should attend! Both would be incredibly useful for me, but we’ll see when I get there, I guess..!
Kita’s Got Talent?!/Closing Ceremony
Who doesn’t love a good talent competition? These are usually great fun events and I remember some of the skits fondly from last year. I wonder if there’ll be anyone who can truly take everyone’s breaths away like last year?
This then leads into the very sad closing ceremony, when it’s all over and it’s time to wind down the activities. Having seen what goes on behind the scenes after a closing ceremony, I can tell you now that the staff will be working their behinds off during and after this to make sure everything gets packed away properly. Not all events close after this mind, as we’ll then be led into…
Professor Elemental and Mr. B live set
I think enough said here, Professor Elemental makes his return and Mr. B makes his debut at Kitacon. I’m hoping for a jolly good rap off between these two gents of ‘chap hop’! Bitter rivals, yet also great friends, these two will put on one hell of a show!
And of course the most important things to Kitacon – The parties and the people! Also, this year, Karaoke! Hopefully Joel and I will be hitting up the Karaoke and embarrassing ourselves. If it happens, expect a bonus video to be recorded of my ‘particularly drunk antics‘ here on GeekOut… or Joel’s so say masterful singing. I think I can see the glass shattering now.
That’s it. That’s what I’m looking forward to most at this years’ Kitacon. I’m really looking forward to it and it’s only 3 working days left as of the time of writing this. Hopefully you’ll not mind seeing all of the posts we do during the event, as we’re all eager for it. My body is ready, my wallet is not… and my cosplays… Well, there’s still time! Buckle up everyone, it’s time to go Back to the Kitacon!
Welcome back once more ladies and gents to another week of Cosplayer Highlight.
We’re slowly coming towards an end of this series *Audible groan of sadness from everyone*. Yes, it’s sad I know. But don’t worry – We’ve got another 5 great interviews including todays one which is with the awesome Andy Valentine. We’ll then be wrapping up the series at Alcon where we’ll grab a bunch of cosplayers and do a podcast. Oh yes, we will! If you’re coming to Alcon, drop me an e-mail at GeekOutSW@gmail.com and we’ll get you involved! Otherwise, I might just randomly run up to people and get them involved in some way!
Andy has been taking commissions for a while now and has been gaining more and more popularity, even being asked to be a guest for some conventions. He sells props and costumes via his store which is powered by Etsy. Genuinely an interested and interesting individual who I noticed is attending Alcon, Andy took the time to sit down and have an interview with us. Let’s see what he has to offer!
Interview with the Cosplayer – Andy Valentine
Q: Welcome to GeekOut South-West! In case our readers are unaware who you are, could you give us an introduction of yourself?
A: Hey. I’m Andy Valentine of Valentine Cosplay. I’m obviously a cosplayer, but also a prop and costume maker based out of Bristol.
Q: I’d first like to thank you – I’ve known about your cosplays since I started cosplaying (last year) and I find them incredible. When did it all start for you? What were the driving factors behind your first costume?
A: Actually not all that long ago in the scheme of things. I went to my first con mid 2013 so have only really been on the circuit for a little over a year. My first cosplay was a version of Ezio from Assassin’s Creed 2 which I’d just replayed in the weeks leading up to it and re-discovered a love for the character. At the time, I’d never used a sewing machine, never hammered, cut, or finished leather, never made foam armour; none of the things I needed to do in order to construct the outfit, so it was a major learning curve and threw me right in at the deep end.
Q: How proud were you of your Ezio costume, have you modified it since and would you do anything more on it?
A: Initially, not proud at all. When I finished the build, I stood back and looked at it, then looked at the skills I’d picked up along the way, and decided that I could definitely make it better, so I started the whole thing again. By the time I got to the end of version two, I was proud with what I’d done. The first time I put it all on and looked in a mirror I thought “Damn, I can’t believe this was a pile of fabric a few weeks ago”. I still love that feeling.
Since the con, I’ve sold that outfit, so there won’t be anything more done to it. Not by me anyway. Version one I still wear out sometimes though. I installed EL wire around the trim of the outer tunic so that it glows at night and wore it to BrisFest last year. That thing got a lot of love amongst the drunks.
Q: Your Facebook page shows just how professionally and seriously you take cosplaying and it’s a real delight to read through. We recently did an article on the upcoming calendar: Men vs Cosplay. When did you decide you wanted to take that next step in your costume work? Was the step from hobbyist to a more professional level tricky?
A: To be honest, I still entirely consider myself a hobbyist, albeit a hobbyist that is getting some amazing opportunities. Being ‘successful’ within the community isn’t all that difficult I find. Obviously, being able to construct quality cosplays is a must, but also it’s an attitude thing. If you’re a decent human being and other people like you, they’ll share your stuff and you’ll get more exposure. If the professional photographers like you, they’ll want to photograph you in your outfits, meaning the quality of the photos taken of you increases, and thus the cycle of increased sharing begins again. This wheel keeps turning and eventually the right person will see your stuff and want to work with you. This is how I got asked to be in the Men vs Cosplay calendar. The organiser saw a photo of mine taken by the very reputable photographer Lucas from Super Cosplay Guys / Girls and invited me to be a part of it, so obviously I jumped at the chance. That’s the other tip: make yourself available.
Q: We ask this question of all of the cosplayers who do interviews with us here on GeekOut South-West: What costumes have you done; which were your proudest and least favourites?
A: Ok… so, in chronological order:
Ezio – Assassin’s Creed 2
Commander Shepard – Mass Effect 2
NCR Veteran – Fallout New Vegas
Vaas – Far Cry 3
Prince of Persia – Warrior Within
The Lone Wanderer – Fallout 3
Kurt Cobain – Nirvana
Tom Raider (Rule 63 Lara Croft) – Tomb Raider
“Dick in a Box” – Lonely Island Music Video
Fortunately I can still remember them all considering it’s only been a year. What a fun year it’s been though!
My favourite one to date was the Fallout Lone Wanderer. I tried to take that outfit to as “other level” as I could and had tonnes of little details in it, including a glowing Nuka Cola Quantum, my business cards were in a Mentats tin, full leather armour, screen accurate 10mm Pistol, and a massive AER-9 Laser Rifle. I had a bunch of photoshoots with some amazing photographers in that attire and was so overwhelmed by the results. The attention it got on convention floors was unbelievable too. Definitely a franchise I intend to revisit, costume wise.
Worst moment was probably Prince of Persia. The armour and whatnot was fine, but I made some bad fabric choices for the trousers and wrap, as well as using a poor quality wig, and now looking back at it I can’t help but see the issues. We all learn from out mistakes though, so onwards and upwards from there.
Q: I’ve noticed you are extremely engaged with all of your fans, how often do you get approached by newer cosplayers who are looking for advice and inspiration to move to that next level?
A: Roughly three or four times a day. I get a lot of messages on my page from people wanting advice or tips, or just wanting me to plug their new page (not something I do, but that’s a side point). I think engagement with your followers is key. Heck, I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for the love and support I get from those guys, so I owe them everything. That’s why I like to give back whenever I can, and I’m always happy to help someone out if I can.
Q: In this interview so far, we’ve discussed your costumes and your geekdoms. We know about the costumes you’ve made but the next question we have revolves around the convention scene. Which have you attended? Do you think the convention scene is important for cosplayers and why?
A: As far as conventions go, I go to pretty much as many as I can afford, though that’s getting easier now that I’m being approached to go as a guest more often. I’ve been to loads all up and down the UK: too many to list really. I’ve haven’t really got any preference of the kind of event, so like to try and explore as many different ones as I can.
Not only is it important for a cosplayer to get “out there” and have your work seen, but they’re a hell of a lot of fun. I get to spend a weekend surrounded by awesome people who like the same stuff that I do, chilling out, having a few drinks and laughs, meeting my followers, and admiring everyone else’s cosplays. If nothing else, you can pick up loads of inspiration from what other people have made too.
Q: When the costume is off, what are you like as a person? Do you feel any different when you are wearing a costume?
A: I’m wouldn’t say I’m a different person really. Maybe a tad milder when I’m at home, but not a lot. If I’m not strutting around in cosplay, I’m typically making it, or planning it, or exploring one of the geekdoms that lead me to it. Also, I flutter between feelings of finding it weird how often I get recognised as a con with strangers coming up to me who know me, through to finding it odd that people don’t recognise me in my regular life (and why would they, really?). It’s like I’m living two lives sometimes, but I quite like that.
Q: We love to celebrate Geekdoms of all kinds and we like to get together and discuss. Stepping away from cosplay for a moment then: What other geeky hobbies do you have? Would you say it’s fairly common amongst fellow cosplayers?
A: 100%. At the end of the day, something lead us all down this path, and I don’t think it matters what it was, just that we all got here. Personally, outside of cosplay, I also LARP, although I’m super new to that and still finding my place in the world there, but it’s super fun and certainly something I’m looking forward to exploring more. I’m a big gaming fan too – hence so many of my cosplays being based on computer game characters. I play a lot of PlayStation and Xbox online with my friends and love collaborative gameplay. Other than that, I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd. I’m actually working on a full sleeve tattoo of all the Star Wars bounty hunters at the moment. That tells you quite a lot about me really. If it’s got Boba Fett on it, I want it.
Q: Thank you for your time with us so far. This is the last question but please: Humour us here. This week, you are our “Super Sensei Guru” and a cosplayer wants to take the next step in making costumes and props, they also want to start working with more complex materials. They’re unsure how to get started and they don’t have much space. How important is it to have your own space and tools to work with more complex materials?
A: Unfortunately, it can often be pretty vital. Wood especially. Take it from someone who set up his first workshop in his spare room: sawdust gets everywhere. If you have a small amount of outdoor space it’s ideal. I tend to do my woodwork in the garden now that the weather is better, and it means the house stays in a much better shape. As for tools, you can get off the ground with pretty inexpensive equipment. I always recommend starting with any old jigsaw and mouse hand sander (about £20 a time) but then the best dremel (official Dremel tools) that you can afford, as that is the most used item in my toolbox by a mile. I use a Dremel 3000 (which are still only about £45) with an extension shaft and it’s amazing for creating smooth curves in wood, finishing foam, trimming clay, cutting metal; just everything that any budding cosplayer and prop maker might need. The good ones come with long warrantees too, which trust me, you’ll be thankful for.
Once you have your tools, get on YouTube. There is such a wealth of information on that site that it’s really easy to find out how to do things. That’s pretty much how I learnt most of what I know now. That plus trial and error. Don’t be afraid to mess something up nine times, as the tenth time you may well nail it. Practice, practice, practice and you’ll get there eventually.
I’d like to extend my thanks to Andy Valentine for taking his time to have this interview with us today.
Getting to that “next stage” is something that not every cosplayer would want to do. For me, I’d like to get to the point where all of my costumes look relatively professional – But not necessarily to the stage where I’d be taken from place to place. I love the interaction between fans – Even the interaction between the people and the costumes. Ultimately, it’s down to what you want to get out of cosplay; be it a chance to mingle or a chance to be seen. It’s always amazing to think that with a costume on, you’re not just a face in the crowd, but instead a distinguishable character.
An interesting point Andy raised in the above interview was the power of YouTube for information. Everything I’ve done has been from watching YouTube, including knowing what kind of materials to get. Then there’s the case of using the correct tools for the job. Thanks to this interview I went out and got myself a “wannabe Dremel” after having looked it all up. Money gets tight, so you never know – Perhaps having a wannabe Dremel (which cost me a mere £20) will then lead to me getting an actual Dremel. I also finally got myself something a bit more than a single surgical knife because it got quite tiresome cutting foam and fabrics with that tiny little thing!