Strike Commander Morrison – Overwatch, photo by Photosnxs
Seraph Cosplay caught my eye with her incredible work on a replica of Tyr’s sword from Smite. I asked about her incorporating electronics into the costumes she makes, her costume history, and what skills she still wants to learn.
Adafruit: How long have you been crafting costumes, and what inspired you to start?
Seraph Cosplay: I have been creating costumes since 2009, and with each costume have added more and more pieces that I create from scratch. I have reached a point where I make everything except the wig (which I style) the underwear and the base shoes. I discovered cosplay through my interest in J-Rock music. I come from a traditional art background of painting and drawing and when looking for references of these musicians to draw I would run across kids cosplaying the musicians’ recognizable outfits from PV’s. From there I discovered more and more about the world of cosplay and just how involved it could be. My first convention experience was Dragon*con 2007 and ever since then I’ve held a fascination with trying to recreate these characters in real life.
Malthael and Crusader – Diablo III – photo by Photosnxs
Adafruit: I see several of your costumes feature armor. Which material have you found is the best for armor and how do you finish/paint it?
Seraph Cosplay: For the armor that I make, I have learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t, haha! For my very first set of armor, I made a Diablo III Demon Hunter and it was mostly 2mm craft foam with some pieces made from thicker EVA. The pieces broke almost immediately after getting out of the car to go to a con, I was heartbroken and frustrated. But choosing to learn from my mistakes, I researched more successful materials and methods and began working more with the EVA floor mats. I had greater success with each new costume. A few years later Worbla was introduced into the cosplay community. I used that for a few pieces and eventually made the entire set of Malthael armor from Worbla and craft foam. Partly due to the expense and weight of Worbla I have continued to use more foam in my creation of armor; I try to use Worbla sparingly at this time, but love how it can be the perfect, simple solution to some challenging problems!
Tyr – Smite – photo by Leo Photography
Adafruit: The lighting on your Tyr sword is awesome. What inspired you to incorporate electronics into it and did the experience make you want to do more work with electronics in future costumes?
Seraph Cosplay: Thank you so much! Tyr’s sword was one of my largest props and definitely my most involved prop to date. In the game and artwork it seemed to me like the pieces on his armor and his sword were glowing, and lights often add that pop of interest to a costume that really makes it come to life. Whenever I can use pre-wired battery pack LEDs, I do! They’re very affordable and so easy to put into a costume. I use these battery pack kits and LED tea lights mostly, they have come in handy so many times. A few things have been hard-wired from scratch with the help of my dad, but I have a lot to learn in that arena and look forward to becoming more comfortable with the wiring and electronics process.
Tiny Tina – Borderlands – photo by Photosnxs
Adafruit: On average, how much time do you spend planning and making your costumes? Have you learned anything along the way to make certain processes go faster?
Seraph Cosplay: Typically I spend a minimum of 150 hours on a costume over the course of a month or two, some costumes in the past have taken upwards of 600 hours to complete over months. I spend A LOT of time researching, gathering reference photos and planning out a costume before starting, I find that drawing out armor pieces in Photoshop or Illustrator helps me to understand the costume in a more three-dimensional way. I recently adopted the technique of making a 1:1 size line-art outline of the character to help me with sizing issues that I’ve had in the past. I noticed that my proportions would be off and I would have to spend extra time correcting it. By printing out a life-size outline I can tape it on my wall and hold pieces up to it as I work to be sure that it will look proportional to the model (either my husband or myself).
Blade Master – Blade & Soul – photo by Photosnxs
Adafruit: What’s one skill you long to learn in order to use for building costumes?
Seraph Cosplay: I would really love to spend time focusing on the process of mold-making and casting. I really enjoy sculpting but am so intimidated by the idea and expense of molding and casting right now, I have so many pieces where this would have come in handy in the past! I have only worked on a small scale and my dad helped me with my first larger pieces (Tracer’s pistols) but our materials were wanting and time was not in our favor. I see so many people making clean props using this method and am very interested in learning, I’ll just have to give it a shot!
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