DIABLO & TYRAEL
I like to cosplay video game characters the most, that's generally where my inspiration comes from. I tend towards liking armor, big characters/costumes, and elaborate props. One of the first games I really seriously played back in the day was Diablo II. I played it a lot when I was in high school, even was on battle.net a lot back in the dark ages of battle.net (although Blizzard has recently gotten rid of the Battle.net name). Thus my love affair with all things Blizzard and blizzard based costumes. I have made 3 Blizzard based costumes just this year and my next big build is also going to be Blizzard based. I also really liked Diablo III, so the first costume I decided to do from that game was Tyrael. I like to pick characters and costumes that will challenge myself, and also costumes that are not done that often. Although that can make construction hard if there aren't a lot of reference photos or builds to base the build off of.
I built Tyrael back in 2014 and I've improved a lot since then, and will be revisiting that particular cosplay in the near future; he needs repairs before he's wearable again. After doing Tyrael, the idea to do the bad guy from Diablo, Diablo himself, lodged itself in my brain. It wasn't until over a year after I built Tyrael that I felt confident enough to tackle Diablo. Even then I started the project last August, got discouraged, and didn't start it back up again until December. Diablo was a huge undertaking. He is mostly made from foam with a few worbla pieces and apoxie sculpt in the face. Diablo and Tyrael both took me about 2 months to build, and probably have well over 200-300 hours into each of them.
I build costumes first by making pattern pieces and then figuring out how things will fit and strap together. I make the base armor pieces then add detail. Everything gets primed, and then I paint everything at once. A lot of the time when I'm building I just put things together, decide if it looks good or not and go with it. I do plan things, but sometimes design elements are decided on a whim or in the moment. Not everyone builds that way, but that's the way that I end up doing a lot of things. These big armor builds take a very long time and result in costumes that are basically wearable art that I can't move well in or sit down, but look great. I don't mind be uncomfortable in costume because I know it's not a huge length of time, but they are taxing to wear.
I love to wear huge, elaborate, difficult to manage costumes, but when I want to socialize or hang out with friends, I don't have that many casual or comfortable costumes. Over the last year I've been expanding the number of those costumes more, ones that I can move around in more easily. I've had the idea to do Zapp Brannigan for about 6 months and originally wanted to get him done over the summer, but I ran out of time because I was working on a huge armor, Tyrande, for two months straight. I had 3 weeks in-between Otakon and DragonCon, and managed to pull off 3 new costumes (including Zapp) in that time frame. Zapp only took me 2 days to make. I'm not the best seamstress, but I've been getting better and faster in the last year. Even with a lot of errors due to velour being a very slippery fabric, I still managed to make the costume in about 10 hours. Compared to a 300 hour armor build, the work for Zapp was quite light. However Zapp is really fun to wear because I can definitely get into character more with a costume that I'm comfortable in. It's a departure from the characters I normally prefer, but it is definitely a fun character to wear.
I have definitely learned over the 2 years I've been going to conventions that getting better at cosplay takes time and a lot of effort and work. If I could go back in time, I would just tell myself to be patient, and you will get to a place where you are happier with your skills. I've also made some really great friends over the last year and a half, people who are often very far away physically but who I talk with on a daily basis. It's something really awesome to bond over and complain about and I've gotten to work and costume with some incredibly talented people.
- SAYAKAT COSPLAY (Baltimore, MD)