Looking at this cosplay it is hard to imagine that inside this huge armour hides a tender girl. The costume itself is done with such accuracy and is very realistic, which makes it almost unbelievable. Our guest is a cosplayer from Veliky Novgorod, prize winner in the category Comic Con Saint-Petersburg 2016 Debut, Yulia Gruzdeva aka Artanis from the Star Craft II Universe!
– Hi, Yulia! Let’s introduce you to our readers. Please tell us about yourself.
– Hi everyone, my name is Yulia Gruzdeva, I’m keen on art and design; I like music and good company. I teach plastic arts and ceramics at the local university.
– How long have you been cosplaying? Tell us how it all began. What inspired you to start?
– I guess it all started 6 years ago, from a joke of one of my friends. She suggested me to make quite a scary and odd character. I didn’t recognize a joke and took the offer to cosplay Ryuk from Death Note seriously because I became fond of this character. Needless to say that my first application to an anime festival was turned down, but I applied tobut I applied to a festival hosted by the Japanese organizers and received a positive feedback. This event was very nice and interesting. I saw a lot of beautiful, unusual and colourful costumes.
– How many finished costumes do you already have? How much time does it take you to create a costume?
– It depends on what we are regarding as costumes. The ones that I was wearing and playing – I guess, there are 5 in total. I don’t know if I can add to this figure the ones where I’ve done 50-80% of the work. Let’s say 5, I’ll count only the costumes that I was wearing myself, so not to offend and go back on my word given to my “team” – my partner cosplayer. On the whole it takes about three months to make a costume if you have a busy schedule. However, cosplay is not my main job, so it may take half a year to finish a costume, even a quite complicated one. That is, if you are making it alone. Do quick costumes count? Then it is plus three more.
– I think all finished costumes that you were wearing count=) Artains was one of the most eye-catching cosplays. Tell us a bit about the costume-making process. How much time did it take? What difficulties you’ve faced?
– Oh, yeah, Artanis is the most unusual, uncommon and fascinating thing that has ever happened to me. The whole process altogether with finishing and readjustment took me about four months. Two and a half months I’ve been working 8-10 hours a day without rest. The rest of the time I’ve been “taking breaks” for my main work. There were some difficulties. I was working with such materials as eva, bubblestar, worbla for the first time. I’ve never used such advanced and cool materials before. As I was inexperienced, at first I was afraid to mess up and made mistakes but then I just fell in love with this material. I enjoyed the working process. The material has good properties; it is light, flexible and easily formed (when making an armour, that is). It was easy to make the costume more detailed and reach the effects that you wanted to get, and I liked that.
– Does it mean that you have new favourite materials now, which you’ll use for your future costumes?
– Yes, I think. To tell the truth, it is most likely that there are more properties of the materials that I’ll discover for myself.
– Why did you choose these fandom and character?
– My friend sent me an image just for fun, saying that all of my costumes are not good enough. When I started my research on this costume and learned about the character, I developed respect and affection. I’ve heard a lot about StarCraft, about Kerrigan… But I don’t have the looks to cosplay her or a female protoss)
– How does it feel to fit into the image of a protoss? Tell us about your experience at ComicCon with Artanis. How difficult it was to move around at the convention in such heavy costume?
– Well, it wasn’t hard to fit into the image at all! When I was trying the “boots” and shoulder parts on, and tried to move around, I was thinking: “I’m no protoss and still less a male one…” But when I put the mask on and the costume fitted as it was supposed to (and even better), the fear was gone. I saw Artanis in the mirror. His moves and behaviour came to mind from the videos that I’ve watched. The costume is quite comfortable to move in, I can even sit in it on a high chair or table; it is not too heavy – you can easily wear it for 3-5 hours and even dance or run. The only thing – I had to get to the size. I almost didn’t walk around at ComicCon because of all the attention I got. ComicCon is the first highly organized festival with attentive volunteers, equipped with walkie-talkies. A fabulous festival with a script and well-timed performance scenario. The organization is fabulous.
– What were your first thoughts when you were called a winner in the category Comic Con Debut?
– To be honest I was sure till the end that I wouldn’t win anything. There were so many stunning and complicated costumes, detailed and creative… A volunteer pulled my hand when the winners were announced, I was tired and the noise in my ears distorted my nickname, called out by the host, so I didn’t quite understand where she was taking me. And then I heard: “Artanis, StarCraft…” Even after being nominated I didn’t understand what was happening. People congratulating me, giving the award, shaking my hand… I see the audience and everybody is cheerful… I felt grateful towards people and the rest was like a dream. It took me about two weeks to fully understand the situation. I guess the weariness and stress affected me. I remember being grateful to the people, organizers, volunteers and everything that happened to me. And I still am. Awards and victories are very important but this festival and the following one gave me much more – a lot of new friends and acquaintances. In my opinion, these presents aren’t less valuable.
– What are youre future cosplay plans? Do you aim to overcome yourself? Maybe you want to make a less complicated costume in which you can enjoy the convention without being stopped by overenthusiastic people who want to take a photo of you?
– ComicCon gave me a goal to visit it next year. I want to but I don’t know how things will be in the future. Of course I’ll do my best to be there. And yes, I want to make a costume, of better quality than this one, but I’ll know whether I succeeded or not only in the end. I’m planning a less complicate costume indeed, but only in size, not the efforts.
– Do you have a motivator?
– I’m motivated by the original costumes and people, who create fascinating things. This is a great motivation. As well as the impression I get from a character.
– Do you have an idol – a cosplayer, who inspires you, on who you look up to and who you want to overcome?
– Hmm… Hard to tell. I know some great cosplayers, talented and gifted, but I can only look up to them and be happy that such people exist. To overcome… I have to overcome myself first) Besides, always will be someone better than you.
– How do you accept critics?
– I pay attention to it, especially when it is relevant. Even if the mistakes that I know about are being criticized.
– What are your hobbies apart from cosplay? How do you spend your free time?
– I work most of the time but when I have opportunity I like to spend time with my family or friends. I spend my vacation with my family and relatives, usually we travel somewhere. I like good music, films, educational books and communication.
– What does your family think about your cosplay hobby?
– They respect it. I took the whole family to ComicCon and they saw what I was doing. My daughters were very excited; my husband didn’t expect that the event would be at such a large scale. The “festival” takes a lot of time to prepare for and my family doesn’t like it but they are being understanding and respectful. Cosplay as a hobbyrequiring a lot of financial input so you have to take up two jobs in order to buy all things necessary for the costume. Family also requires a lot so I have to make a compromise.
– To make a compromise is important. So we can be sure that we will have an opportunity to enjoy your beautiful cosplays and you’re not planning to quit?
– If my family tolerates my hobby and I have time, I will of course make more costumes. And it is up to you to decide whether you enjoy them or not)
– As a conclusion of our conversation I would like to ask you to give advice to the beginners and those who want to start cosplaying. How to start and succeed?
– Oh… One thought always helps me: listen to your intuition, work hard and you’ll succeed. Something like that, I guess.
Good luck to all, be well and stay strong.