Interview with Annax Cosplay

It’s time for another interview, this time with Annax Cosplay! She’s a long-time cosplayer from Colorado, who loves seeing, and doing, awesome wigs and make-up!

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Annax Cosplay as Satsuki Kiryuin from Kill La Kill, photo by Chocozumo

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
Hey there! So, my cosplay alias is Annax Cosplay! I went with this name because it’s pretty similar to my actual name and it sounds powerful to me! I also wanted something that would be memorable and unique!

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been cosplaying officially for about ten years now, but I actually started doing closet cosplays around 14 years ago. I only did a few things back then without realizing that it was cosplay up until 2010! What got me started with cosplay was honestly just seeing characters that I wanted to be for Halloween and using items around my house to recreate those characters’ outfits!

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Some of my favorite things to work on with cosplay are wigs and makeup. It’s always a challenge working with wigs, especially ones that seem to defy gravity! I still have a bit more practice to go with them, but I’ve noticed that each time I style a wig, I get better and better! Makeup, on the other hand, is super fun for me. I love seeing my face change through makeup to look like the character that I am portraying. Each character is different, too, so it’s always fun to experiment with makeup!

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Annax Cosplay as Kim Possible from Kim Possible, photo by Inoli Images

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m actually excited to start working more on props, especially this year. That and sewing, which are two of my weak points when it comes to cosplay. I really want to grow my strengths in both aspects of cosplay, so I’m excited to work on more simpler cosplays to practice both sewing and prop making!

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
I honestly love seeing others’ wig work and makeup. It astounds me when someone can style a wig to the point where it looks like it was pulled straight from the anime or video game. I feel that anyone can do anything well as long as they put the practice and passion into it!

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
My current view on the cosplay scene is that it has definitely grown and has become more socially acceptable. I enjoy seeing different communities around the U.S. and seeing how each one is growing every single year.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
I would love to see more acceptance within the community itself. The cosplay community still deals with people of color, size, and accuracy discrimination, both from within the community and outside of it. As being a plus-size cosplayer myself, it can be a little difficult to cosplay what I actually want to cosplay without getting told that I shouldn’t because of my size. I know many people who have dealt with all sorts of discrimination within the cosplay community and seeing that thin out more would be amazing. Everyone can cosplay whoever they want to cosplay, regardless of anything.

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Annax Cosplay as Tiki from Fire Emblem, photo by Chocozumo

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
The best advice I can give to someone starting out in cosplay is to not give up. Keep practicing everything that you want to learn and remind yourself that it’s okay to buy pre-made cosplays and to commission other’s for wigs! Just remember, too, that accuracy is not important as long as you’re having fun!

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Some of my favorite conventions that I’ve attended were Saboten Con in Phoenix, Arizona and Anime Banzai in Layton, Utah! Saboten Con is super fun, being a 4-day convention in the middle of downtown Phoenix. You’re able to spend a lot more time with friends and enjoying the convention, rather than only having 3 days at a typical convention. Anime Banzai has an amazing community and a wonderful layout. A smaller con than Saboten, I honestly can’t wait to go back to Anime Banzai later this year!

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
So, my Sailor Hanzo from Overwatch that I made for Saboten Con 2018 was mostly made from free-handing patterns from my phone and it was made in 18 hours total! I definitely don’t recommend con crunching right before the con, which is making a cosplay usually a week or a few days before a convention, but I managed to make him in record time! It was also nice because the tattoo, the wig, and the boots were already finished, but everything else was a first for me!

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Annax Cosplay as Sailor Hanzo from Overwatch

Thanks for the interview, Annax Cosplay! You can check out her Facebook page here!

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End of 2019 and the Start of 2020!

I started off the year by beginning to do cosplay streaming and focusing on enjoying that while working on more photoshoots to sell off older costumes! I need to still complete quite a bit of shoots, but I already have one planned in the warmer months of 2020 and then I plan to also sell the costume!

I ended up completing seven costumes for 2019, which is insane! I altered a Shindig Inara from Firefly and made my husband the matching Shindig Mal. I also altered a Kasumi from Dead or Alive 5 costume. Friends made me a Maki costume from Love Live to join in their shenanigans, and I made a Marishka from Van Helsing to continue said shenanigans, lol! I made Princess Saturn from Sailor Moon and a renaissance wench costume to use some fabric up for my cosplay streams! 😀

I managed to attend 2 conventions this year. We went to Denver Pop Culture Con and Colorado Springs Comic Con, both of which we’ll probably be skipping in 2020. My husband and I both want to travel, so we’re looking at TwitchCon with friends and doing a “mini-con” with a photoshoot with friends again as well.

I had a hard time remaining active on my blog work after starting streaming, although I did attempt to find time. However, a lot of things got messed up this year when we learned my mother has Stage 4 Glioblastoma, a very rare form of brain cancer, and it is terminal. My focus has been surrounding her and helping her enjoy the time she has before the end comes.

I’m looking forward to 2020, even if just to spend it with my mom. I do have more costumes somewhat planned, but it’s all dictated by how things play out with my mom’s health. ❤ I hope everyone enjoyed their 2019 and are ready for the “Roaring 20s” again!

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Quick and Easy Tinted Glasses Cosplay Tutorial

This tutorial was created by CaptainCrunchCosplay and is easy to follow for adding glasses to your costumes!

Hope this helps! 😀

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Interview with Vorian Cosplay

It’s time for another interview, this time with Vorian Cosplay! He’s a well-known charitable cosplayer from California, who enjoys detailed prop work and helping others!

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Vorian Cosplay out of costume

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
Vorian Cosplay is my alias and I’m afraid it’s not terribly creative. Vorian is my middle name. Back in 2013 when I started down this path, it seemed like the right name and it stuck.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I officially started in 2014 with my first convention appearance at Denver Comic Con. I had no idea what I was doing. I was terrified and excited at the same time.

What got me started… Early in 2013 I started following the scene on Twitter and became friends with a few notable cosplayers who encouraged me to cosplay. They told me I’d make a great Captain America and while this was intriguing (I always loved Cap. He was one of my all-time favorite superheroes), I didn’t think I’d ever devote time and money into actually doing cosplay. Then, sometime late in 2013, I ran across this story of Lenny Robinson, the Route 21 Batman. I learned how he would dress up as Batman and visit sick children in hospitals. His story touched me so much. I thought, if Batman can do this, why couldn’t Captain America do it too? And it began. I had to learn how to sew parts of my first costume together, do metal work to make my shield and much more. Years later, I have a growing charity and I’m having more fun in cosplay than ever.

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
Ooh, that’s a tough one. I like working with so many mediums. I do enjoy foam work. Especially since my buddy Steven started up his own cosplay foam company, HD Foam  – since his stuff is so much easier to work with than floor mats, but I also enjoy 3D printing. I like taking something from a mere idea (such as my class-mod for my Borderlands Axton cosplay), drawing it and printing it and bringing something to life from nothing. That’s pretty fun. Metal work is also fun. I’ve made something several Captain America shields now and that work is always rewarding. But I think in terms of materials, I LOVE leather work. It’s SO easy to work with. It’s strong, doesn’t fray and there are a ton of ways to fasten or sew it.

In terms of the overall construction of a cosplay, it’s so neat to see a cosplay come together. Especially when you started with nothing but an idea and weeks later, you’re standing in your creation.

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Vorian Cosplay as Captain America from Marvel Comics, photo by Leo Photography

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I’m just excited to keep growing my charity, Cap for Kids. Sponsoring more pediatric cancer-fighting families, doing more character visits as Cap or Batman or a few new characters as well. Just, generally making people’s lives a little bit better.

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
There’s so much to unpack here. First, I like originality and creativity. This is one of the main reasons I love Dragon Con every year. You see such creative cosplays – things you would have never thought to be a cosplay, yet is so awesome. Original designs, unlikely mashups, play-on-words characters, etc. It’s so much fun. I also get excited (like anyone else) when I see a character that I love done well. For example, there was an amazing Morpheus (Matrix) cosplay at Dragon Con this year and I kinda squealed because I LOVE that character and the guy looked straight-up like Laurence Fishburne. But my most favorite thing in a cosplay is when the cosplayer is just having so much fun. When you see that they let go of their inhibitions and embrace cosplaying and generally have fun. I love that. Doesn’t matter if the cosplay is duct tape and sticky notes or some $3000 monstrosity, if they’re having the time of their life, it makes me happy. In terms of who does it well, that’s tough to say. I know SO MANY killer cosplayers; some with a gagillion followers and some who fly under the radar but have equally amazing cosplays and some who pop out a new closet cosplay every few days. These guys are all amazing.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
Overall, my view is that it is what you make of it. I personally love it. It’s my global family. I have dear friends all over the world now because of cosplay. Also, compared to other communities out there, I’ve found the cosplay community to be the most accepting, friendly and kind community. I think this is because most of us are nerds who were picked on and made fun of a children and this allows us to see that commonality in other nerds like us. Additionally, being treated poorly by others growing up, I believe has created stronger empathy to be able to relate to other people who struggle. That said, I’ve seen people who surround themselves with negative people (every community has them) in our community and thus have a negative perspective on the cosplay scene.

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
Increased empathy and a move towards more positivity. I’d like to see more cosplayers building each other up, encouraging them and cheering on their successes.

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Vorian Cosplay as Strike Commander Morrison from Overwatch, costume by Seraph Cosplay, photo by Modified PhotoGraphics

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
First, please, I know it’s super hard and it’s a big ask, but DO NOT compare yourself to other cosplayers or use others as a judge for how good (or bad) of a cosplayer you are. First, cosplay in itself is not a contest or competition. There are, of course contests and competitions that you can get into but competing is a topic for another blog post. Overall, cosplay is about having fun, showing your love for characters and showing your artistic side. Whether that be through your craftmanship or by becoming a character through a cosplay made by someone else.

Also, give yourself time to learn and grow. I say this because I’ve met too many cosplayers who just give up on a cosplay because they aren’t an expert. Think about anything in your life that you’ve gotten really good at. Whether that’s something at your job or playing a musical instrument or expertly sniping elite gamers in Overwatch (as some examples), you didn’t wake up one day and having never done the thing before and were suddenly an expert. You learned over time. You made mistakes. You failed. But you kept at it and months or years later, you’re a pro. The same goes for cosplay. Be willing to forgive your mistakes and learn from them and most importantly, keep at it. Look at every cosplayer that you admire. They all started where you are.

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
Dragon Con is my fav. It’s the world’s largest cosplay family reunion. Most of my friends (from East coast, West coast and everything in between) go. So getting to see all of them in person is a treat. Plus, I enjoy marching in the parade, plus as I mentioned, the cosplays are freaking amazing. Lastly, it’s not in a convention center and thus doesn’t have opening and closing hours. People start coming in on the Wednesday (some even on Tuesday now) before Labor Day and the party keeps going until Monday. It’s a bit insane but also wonderful.

Katsucon is probably my second favorite. It’s a lot like Dragon Con but a smaller scale. Also, as a cosplayer and a cosplay photographer, the natural lighting is fantastic for photos.

Blizzcon has been one of my favs because I’m a total Blizzard freak. I play Starcraft, Diablo and Hearthstone as often as I can so getting to be in that world is wonderful. That said, Blizzard has been doing some questionable things under the heavy hand of Activision lately and I don’t know. I hope it’s good this year but we’ll see. I remain skeptically optimistic.

One of my new favs is Wondercon. Like Blizzcon, it’s held in the Anaheim convention center, which I love (so much nicer than LA) and the con itself is actually really nice. Good people, fun cosplays. I went for my first time this year and now I plan to go every year.

Of course, the biggest convention for the charity is Denver Pop Culture Con as we have a booth and are the official charity for a few of the afterhours events there. And being my old hometown, it’s got a special place in my heart.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
Hmm. Random. Perhaps I’ll answer with some answers I give at most conventions.
“Is your shield metal?” – “Yes. It’s metal.”
“Where did you get it?” – “From my garage.”
“How long did it take you to make?” – “Each one takes roughly 12 hours.”
“How many have you made?” – “I’m up to 12 now with more on the way.”

Another one might be that my Captain Lantern cosplay is an original design that myself and Or Hadar from GunHead Designs collaborated on and now that lycra suit can be purchased by anyone on Zentai-Zentai.com. Kinda fun. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Vorian Cosplay as Captain Lantern from an original concept, photo by Affliction Photos

Thanks for the interview, Vorian Cosplay! You can check out his charity’s website here and his Facebook page here!

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Cosplay Streaming: Learning as You Go…

So I’ve started streaming cosplay as of January this year and I’ve figured out enough to feel comfortable doing an article about everything I’ve learned along the way! 😀 I know I’ll be learning more as I continue to stream my work, but we can always do another article later on discussing that!

To start it off right, set a schedule for yourself, even if it’s only once a week. I honestly was doing that and once I chased being paid to stream, I stepped it up to twice or more a week. Try to keep at least somewhat of a schedule so people can try to be on when you are.

The major thing I can safely say is to honestly have two webcams ready to go for your stream. I was shocked at how much people wanted to see my face as I’m working on things (admittedly, I make some awesomely dumb ones), but it’s better to have one focused on your work as much as possible. The camera that showcases your work should also be the biggest camera view on screen, just so it’s easier to see what’s exactly being done.

On your screen, it’s also nice to see the project you’re working on and a little slideshow of your previous work. Even if the slideshow can’t be visible while you’re working, your break screens or beginning screens are good spots for them as well! Try to make everything honestly not too overly busy as it can be super distracting even if you’re not intending it to be.

The hardest thing to be is constantly engaging with your audience, even if you’re the only one there. It can be hard to basically talk to yourself, but if people see you’re engaging, they’re more likely to stay, follow, and potentially subscribe later on. Ask questions of the chat group, answer theirs, discuss your project and what all you’ll be doing or even how you’re doing it… Just stay interactive!

Social media is also a big key to building your stream if you’re looking to get a decent sized audience. I’m pretty slack on it, as I’m more just having fun with the notion, but I’ve noticed when I do post more about when I’m going live and the like, I get a bigger audience coming in. It does work, you just have to be pretty committed to the idea of posting things.

Have things planned out; keep a list of projects you have in mind. Streaming surprisingly keeps you on more deadlines than you’d believe. Once a project ends, you basically have to have another one lined up and ready to go. People are coming to see you work on cosplay, so if there isn’t anything to be worked on, it can get boring pretty quick!

Those are all the major things that I’ve learned thus far. It’s a continuing process as I go… I’d love if there’s other cosplay streamers out there reading right now to comment with their suggestions as well! 😀

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Worbla Hoof Shoes Tutorial

This tutorial was created by Fat-Unicorn Cosplay and is all about creating hooved shoes using Worbla! It’s a relatively easy to follow tutorial too! 😀

Hope it helps! 😀

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Interview with AtomBombBody

It’s time for another interview, this time with AtomBombBody! She’s a newer cosplayer from California, who enjoys creating original costumes and armor builds!

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AtomBombBody as Vault Girl Raider from Fallout, photo by Blankshot Photography

What’s your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
My cosplay alias is AtomBombBody. I’ve always been a fan of the Fallout games/post apocalyptic themes in general so I took the name “Atom Bomb” from the song ‘Atom Bomb Baby’ but instead swapped it with ‘Body’ because I had competed in bodybuilding competitions as well.

How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
I’ve been only cosplaying for about 3 years; I always loved the idea of getting to dress up as the kick butt characters I’ve gotten to play as in video games.

What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
I mostly work with EVA foam and absolutely love it. It’s affordable and newbie friendly. I love making cosplays with armor pieces so this worked out best for me. My favorite process though is painting, that’s where the pieces really come to life. I specialize in post apocalyptic armors so I love using iron filings to get a real rust look/texture.

God is in the details

AtomBombBody as Slave Leia Mercy from Overwatch, photo by 4n6design

What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
I would love to try 3D printing, just for all the amazing amount of templates already available out there. I also need to work on my sewing skills, because it’s very important! You can’t be naked under armor! (Well, maybe sometimes you can).

What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
Like I’ve mentioned earlier, I absolutely love armor pieces and glorious paint jobs. I’ve gotten all my inspiration and have learned a lot from “the big 3″… Kamui Cosplay, Punished Props Academy, and Evil Ted Smith.

What is your view of the “cosplay scene”?
I think cosplay has definitely taken off over the last few years, but it’s still something that is still kind of “closeted” that some people (including myself) sometimes hesitate to admit they are into. When people first ask me about my hobbies, I usually say, “Making costumes” because some people still have no idea what cosplay is. Or if I want to sound super fancy, I’ll say I’m a “Costume Fabrication Engineer”. 😛

What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
While I love prints and the fact that cosplayers are proud of their work, I would like to see more cosplayers have an educational aspect to their branding. There is nothing wrong with being a “cosplay model” of course, but if you have props and costumes on display at your booth I’m going to be much more impressed!

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AtomBombBody’s pupper, Zulu, as Dogmeat from Fallout, photo by AtomBombBody

What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
Just start! I waited so long to get into it because I wanted to know as much as possible but you don’t start to learn until you get your hands dirty and fail a lot! Failing is learning!

What are some of your favorite conventions you’ve attended and why?
I love smaller conventions such as the Colossus Girl conventions. I actually get to speak to other vendors, guests and cosplayers without having to worry about a sea of people pushing me around! That and I love that I’ve gotten to go to other states/cities that I otherwise would never have visited.

Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you’re proud of!
The Atomic Wonder Woman cosplay that I did was technically my first ever cosplay, I loved the idea of the character and tried to make it back in 2012ish using only thrift store items. I revisited the cosplay this year to make some much needed improvements to it and I think that younger me would be proud!

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AtomBombBody as Atomic Wonder Woman from DC Comics, photo by Paul Keet

Thanks for the interview, AtomBombBody! You can check out her website here, her Twitter page here, her Twitch channel here, her Youtube channel here, and her Instagram here!

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