Termina Cosplay, a.k.a. Shayna Polomchak, first caught my eye with her unique design of the Pokémon Scyther. She created a humanized spin on the creature with beautifully made wings and armor. After spotting that costume, I flipped through her photos on Facebook and saw several more impressive projects. Polomchak is especially talented at using Worbla to make detailed armor. I asked her about her cosplay history, her favorite materials, and about designing that Scyther costume.
Adafruit: How long have you been cosplaying and what inspired you to dive into this hobby?
Shayna Polomchak: I have been cosplaying since the summer of 2013, so it’s only been a year and a half at this point. My love of video games and other “nerd culture” things is what really inspired me to dive into it. Honestly, I had wanted to cosplay since I was a kid and I learned that it was a thing. I have always had such a love for the characters I played as in video games, watched in animes, etc. and cosplaying looked like the most fun in the world. Once I actually got to go to a convention and try cosplaying for the first time, I realized exactly how much fun the entire process was and I knew I wasn’t going to stop after that.
Adafruit: How many costumes have you created so far, and do you have a favorite?
Polomchak: I have created four costumes for myself and two for other cosplayers. I’m also in the process of creating three more for myself and another on commission. Its so hard to pick a favorite, and I don’t always pick the same one, but right now, I think my favorite is my Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. It was the first cosplay I ever made so it really means a lot to me. There are a lot of things about it I wish I had done differently, so hopefully I’ll find the time to redo it someday.
Adafruit: I adore your Scyther costume. The design is so creative! What inspired you to put together this take on the character?
Polomchak: Well, somewhere along the line, I learned that humanizing Pokémon was a thing that artists and cosplayers did. Pokémon is quite possibly my favorite thing in the world, and I loved the idea of taking my favorite Pokémon and putting my own artistic spin on it. It can be a challenge to take a Pokémon, turn it into a humanoid version of itself, and still keep it recognizable as that Pokémon, but it is a challenge that I love and its very rewarding to create something from the ground up like that. I personally feel that it is more rewarding than just copying a character 100%. By being able to not only create the cosplay but to also create the design you use just puts that much more of yourself into the cosplay. I chose to do Scyther simply because Scyther has always been one of my favorite Pokémon.
Adafruit: What material is your favorite to use when making new costumes, and what have you used that material for?
Polomchak: My favorite materials to use are thermoplastics. Specifically, Worbla, Wonderflex, and Friendly Plastic are the three that I use. I love the versatility. You can use them to make armor, all kinds of props, costume accessories, basically anything that needs to be solid, you can build with these! I mostly just use it for armor and props, but the possibilities are endless.
Adafruit: What advice would you give to those who want to cosplay?
Polomchak: First, and most importantly, pick a character you really love and connect with. It will be a lot more fun that way. Secondly, If you’re going to go all out and make your cosplay, don’t be afraid, but be prepared for things to not go right. Costume making isn’t easy. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve screwed something up and had to start over. I know it can be very intimidating to start a cosplay, especially if you’ve never done it before, but if you really want to do it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. There are tons of tutorials out there to teach you how to make things, so if you don’t know how to do something, chances are, someone has made a tutorial for it. Just search a little bit and you’ll probably find what you are looking for. And remember, you are the only person who has to like your cosplay. A lot of people like to criticize others for their cosplay choices, but never let their negativity get you down. If it makes you happy, you’re doing it right.
Photos by Ardent Papers Photography and Reid Brazel