Whenever I'm deciding on a cosplay, I consider three factors, really: 1. Is the character beloved? 2. Is the character rarely cosplayed? and 3. Is the character an artistic challenge? Fauno (Pan) checked all of my boxes in spades. And who doesn't adore this haunting film? I admire things that toe the line between beauty and terror. That's Del Toro's genius.
I've always cosplayed on a budget. While the bulk of this was made from sculpted EVA foam, I incorporated oddball items like recycled cardboard, chopsticks, and old leggings. Because I work from my bedroom in a small apartment, I can't use power tools or paint outdoors, so the entire costume was meticulously hand-painted with acrylics. There is a price to being thrifty, however: while materials for Fauno cost less than $150, the time it took to give him life exceeded 120 hours.
People immediately ask about the digitigrade legs. Despite nearing the seven-foot mark in this, I'm not wearing stilts. Inspiration struck when I stumbled across zebra-striped, heel-less boots at a local thrift store. I'm already tall, so drag boots did the trick nicely and allowed for eerie, smooth movement. Fun Fact: beneath those mossy, wooden exteriors, my feet are black and glittery and ready to hit the club.
The response to Pan was beyond rewarding. I performed in my first masquerade and won Best Re-creation, which was only slightly more mind-boggling than being complimented by Doug Jones and Del Toro online (I may in fact have died and gone to the underworld after that). But as always, cons are best when you meet kindred spirits and geek out with them, no explanations needed. I got to do that all weekend!
Oh, gosh. Tell you what -- I have never made this many children cry before. Having said that, I also posed with a lot of badass little princesses who were not daunted by the creepy goat-person. They were just vaguely disappointed that I was not, in fact, Groot. Bahaha.
I'm from the midwest. Like many geeks, I spent so long thinking people would demean my interests that I basically holed up in my dorm and curdled for the first few years of college. In 2010, I attended a writing workshop in San Diego that included tickets to SDCC. Being thrown into that as a first con experience was overwhelming and glorious, and I could not get over this single, beautiful fact: everybody there got it. Interests didn't have to be justified. You could declare them, and become them, and this was art and play and passion all melded into one. It woke me all the way up.
My favorite aspect of cosplay is the way it connects people. In cosplay, we are first identified by what we love rather than by any external factors. We get this small opportunity to define ourselves, no questions asked. That is a powerful thing indeed!