This story is about how passion for videogames, courage and persistence can lead you to outstanding results. The winner of Starcon 2016 in nomination “The best costume” Anna Alekseeva has answered our questions.
– Anya, thank you for agreeing to give an interview. Tell readers about yourself, please.
– Well, first, I’m from Sakhalin, but I lived in Kaliningrad for 4 years and it’s the fifth year that I live in Saint Petersburg. I love drawing and crafting since I was a child. I studied in art school, graduated art college on a specialty of environment design and MSUTM on design as well. Now I’m on decree leave, but I can’t sit there without anything to do, so I craft smth, usually at night. Sometimes I can afford me playing HOTS or World of Warcraft.
– How did you learn about cosplay?
– Everything has started in 2012 when I had just moved to Saint Petersburg. One year before I found a photo competition on the Noob-Club web-site, and there was nomination “Cosplay”. Most of the costumes were quite simple so I decided to try. At that time I had no any interest or knowledge. Two times I managed to take my friends’ laptop, surfed the Net and learned how costumes were made.
Everything I learned I used in my first costume. It was 5tier of Warlock from World of Warcraft. Anyhow we “completed” the costume, rushed to take photo and sent it to the competition. I took the second place in a result.
Later I learned about festivals where cosplayers take part and I applied for participation. My first festival where I participated as cosplayer was Starcon 2013. Before I just was strolling along Ava Expo without any costume. Later I went to Ava Expo and both festivals I liked much. They were new for me. In 2014 I decided to create my next costume and chose Sister of Battle cause I was a member of stand by Warhammer 40 000 and managed to win in “Videogames” nomination. It was a pleasure surprise for me. When they proclaimed results I had changed already and was wearing house slippers when I went to scene to take my prize. In 2015 I was in decree leave and started crafting my third costume that won in the main nomination of Starcon 2016.
– How do you choose characters for cosplay?
– Till 2009 I’ve been playing World of Warcraft and my favorite class is Warlock. Thus, as many players I prefer the same armor kit as I chose for my first costume – Defiler’s Robe. I didn’t manage to finish it, but it wasenough for the first time. With reference to Sister of Battle, I chose her to diversify stand of Warhammer 40 000, and my fem-original costume of Gul’danI decided to make when I saw some arts of different artists. Why not? All female characters of World of Warcraft have plenty of nice cosplay, so I made smth less popular.
– The first step on scene – scary?
– The more you wear costume among big crowd the less fear is. Probably it’s just an adaptation. And as more you confident that your costume will not fall to pieces as less you scare.
– I think we can say for sure that fem-version of Gul’dan is your best costume for now. Please, tell me about the process of crafting the costume. Did you spend much time for it and did you have any difficulties?
– I think, currently it’s true. Most of the time I was creating it at night after putting Tyrael to sleep. (Yes, that’s our son’s name. Me and my husband are Blizzard games’ fans for many years.) Most of the time I had been sitting in the kitchen till 3 o’clock cause baby woke me up at 9-10 o’clock. But sometimes the art process prolonged till 4 or even 6 o’clock. It was the first time when I used such materials as EVA and BubbleStar. I liked them much. I experimented by all means and was highly pleased. First sculls of the costume I made of papier-mâché but later remaining part I completed with BubbleStar. Totally I got 15 sculls , for each of them I sculpted teeth, then made holes in scull and put there each tooth. Also I used expanded polystyrene for the first time. All horns of my costume were made of it. Mostly I had complications with time and it wasn’t easy to go for materials with a baby carriage, so sometimes my husband and friends helped me with transportation. I don’t even know how many hours I spent for crafting the costume. Sometimes I was dead on my feet. In addition we made stand that needed to be worked on so much. For the last days before Starcon I forgot about sleeping at all, left my costume and painted decorations in a porch. So my stick didn’t turn out as I imagined and a part of it flew away to the crowd during final show. But fortunately, they gave me back everything.
– What do you like in cosplay mostly?
– I like the process of crafting itself and how the others do it and demonstrate. I like detailed parts very much.
– Is there any cosplayer that you concern as ideal? Someone who you’d like to resemble?
– Commonly I like some separate parts of different cosplayers. Somebody sew wonderfully, somebody make awesome sculls, crystals, and somebody paints armors perfectly. There is a huge amount of cosplayers that I admire. There is such a wonderful girl Kamui, many people must know her, I suppose. Periodically I watch her videos. I crafted my first costume accordingly to her guide and it was made of polyurethane foam.
– Do you remember any special moment from your cosplay experience?
– Don’t know, which of them were the best. I enjoyed the art process, the others’ opinion and the result. Sometimes I was happy that I managed smth new, even better than I expected. I was excited when people congratulated me, told me that they liked my costume. I was touched to the heart when a girl named Mia came to me on Starcon and asked if she could hug me. I was really touched. She burst to tears, thanked me for the costume and drew my portrait. Thank her so much. Also I was impressed when a guy gave me the scull with a beautiful bead inside. And it was awesome to meet so many nice cosplayers.
– Tell me about your plans for future.
– I’m still choosing a character. I want smth pleasant for my heart but beautiful and moredetailed as well. Every costume develops my crafting skill and I’ll do my best to make my costumes better and better. I want to make a bulky costume but I can’t afford it because there is not enough space where I live. May be I’ll have possibility to do it. Moreover I’m planning to create highly-detailed 3D model-original and realize it.
– How do you reach your goals?
– I just establish purpose and I’m steady in it. Usually it’s a purpose to craft a costume for a special festival. Sometimes my cosplay friends inspire me when they demonstrate their working process and it helps me to continue crafting when I’m relaxed, for example.
– How do you spend time free of cosplay?
– Depends on my mood. I can draw or play computer games. Mostly I spend time with my family and I don’t forget about my friends.
– How does your family consider your hobby?
– My family likes it. Mum is interested in the process; my husband has started doing cosplay. So everybody is satisfied.
– Are you planning to do family cosplay when your child grow up?
– Yeap. If he’s interested in. For Ava Expo 2016 I’m planning to finish the costume that I wanted to create for Starcon, but put away , cause my child wouldn’t feel comfortable in heat.
– What is necessary for making up one’s mind to create the first cosplay?
– The most important is being unafraid of trying. I had been thinking about crafting my costume for half a year and thought if to try or not. I did it. So if you want – do it. There is plenty of guides on the Internet in different formats, and there are many cosplayers who can advise you how to start and how to do better. And I’m not the exception.