Feb 22, 2011

♥ Kamui

I'm totally blew away by Kamui, her craftsmanship. Seriously, just take a look at her AION Asmodian or her even Druid Tier 6 and others. These are the costumes that I would not have much patient on with the details. But the strong love and passion for the characters and costume is one of the main reason that motivates her to spend thousand of hours and efforts to complete these wonderful detailed costumes.
By interviewing her, I realized good cosplays is not about making a quantity but the quality of cosplay. And a word from her, 'PASSION'. Yes, cosplay for passion and it's the only thing that make us continue on this cosplay journey.
By the way, you guys should really check out Kamui's cosplay website for these awesome tutorials she made, really appreciate that she made a walk-through shares her experience about her costumes with everyone *thumbsup!

Ryea: What is COSPLAY to you?

Cosplay for me is a wonderful chance to live my dreams, work creatively and share my passion with others. And it's a way to prove myself.
Every costume consist of parts, first I need to find the right way to produce it. It's the result of a lot of research and development but it also goes hand in hand with failures and desperation. I have to fight with myself and to force myself never to give up or be desperate. And especially never to stop at one point in my evolution.
It's also very important to share my knowledge and experiences with others. I'm writing tutorials, holding workshops and trying to help everyone with their own projects. I guess, cosplay is not only a hobby, but a whole commnuity of people who love to work creatively.
For me it became something of a lifestyle and even changed my life. I'm not able to imagine a life without it anymore.

Ryea: When do you first started to cosplay?

It was in 2003 and I was just 17 years old.
My costume was the Great Saiyaman from Dragonball Z. The costume itself though was just awful! I used wrong and cheap fabric and everybody saw that I couldn't sew.
However it was a great idea to cosplay, especially because this made the convention even greater than it already was.
I still love the character so much that I've redone my costume last year!

Ryea: How many characters have you cosplayed so far?

They are not so many because most of my latest costumes took a lot of time and money. All in all there were:
-Great Saiyaman from Dragonball Z
-Moogle from Final Fantasy
-Nightelf Druid Tier 1 from World of Warcraft
-Nightelf Druid Tier 3 from World of Warcraft
-Priestess Rao from Okami
-Asmodian Gladiator from Aion (Tower of Eternity)
-Nightelf Druid Tier 8 from World of Warcraft
-Elyos Mage from Aion (Tower of Eterniy)

You see, for 8 years of cosplay it's really nothing spectacular, but I don't care about the amount of costumes. I've picked up very complicated costumes last time and spent several months to finish them, so it's just not possible to create more than 3 or 4 costumes every year.

Ryea: Which is your favorite character that you've cosplayed?

I'm really proud on my Asmodian Gladiator, but I love my Druid Tier sets much more.
It's just because I really love the character, it's story and and it's design. I myself play a Nightelf Druid almost since the release of World of Warcraft and loved them for all this time. So the Druid will be always my favourite one and I'll keep on cosplaying them.

Ryea:Which is your first character?

Like I said it was the Great Saiyaman, but I made this costume and even started with cosplay just because everyone else did it.
There was no passion and no love in this costume and I almost gave up cosplaying.
But when World of Warcraft was released I really started to find enjoyment in sewing, building and painting and the way I see it, my Druid Tier 1 was my first real character.

Ryea: Which characters is in your future cosplay list?

At the moment I'm working on Alexstrazsa and the Druid Tier 9 for me and my boyfriend from World of Warcraft.
I also wanted to finish a Demon Hunter from Diablo III and maybe I will even be able to create something further, but I won't start with it until I'm done with my actual projects.

Ryea: Do you make your own costume & props?

Yup, I create everything myself.
My boyfriend helps me sometimes by painting and I get help from many tutorials and progress blogs, but everything is done by myself.

Ryea: Which is your most satisfied prop/costume so far?

Journey's End is my big love.
I learned a lot of techniques by building it and there is something special about it. Probably it's because of the story behind the staff in World of Warcraft ,maybe all the work I spent making it or maybe it's the design. I don't know, but I really love this staff a lot.

Ryea: What is your favorite part when cosplay?

It's the constrution. It's awesome to create something by your own hand and just follow your creativity.
I love to work with new materials, develop new techniques and solve problems after many tries. And it's just great to see that I'm not alone with my questions, find nice tutorials or share my experience with others and help them with their stuff.
And at the end, when I see all my progress photos, it's just amazing to see how something starts so tiny, grows, becomes larger and gets a shape and color. When the last layer of vanish dried and everything works like it should, yeah, then I'm really proud of the work I've done and cannot wait to show it to the world. It's just an amazing feeling!

Ryea: Any good/funny/memorable experience when you cosplay?

Yeah, I guess it was on the stage at Blizzcon 2009 at the dance contest.
It was very late and I was unbelivably exhausted, because I already had to wear my heavy leather armor and my staff for 12 hours straight and I just wanted to go on stage as fast as possible, to do my perfomance and go directly to the hotel afterwards.
In the last hours I had to stand in line and to wait for 2 hours; my feet burned like hell in my high heels and my body was just a huge chunk of pain. It was very, very hard trying not to collapse or even fall asleep right there on the ground.
Today I can't remember much of what happened when I entered the stage, danced and left the convention. I guess, it was just too much for my body, despite of it being just amazing to stand in front of 20000 people and a lot of other guys who watched the show on the internet. Ehm... I guess...

Ryea: How and what have you think you've improved from since you started cosplay?

I don't think that I improved my sewing skills so much, because they are still pretty bad. But I learned a lot: I know how to work with many materials, how to solve problems that cannot be solved, how to bring a character to live and especially how to share my knowledge with others.
I know a lot more about armor and prop making and found many friends and sources who can help me if I fail. I guess my biggest improved is knowing, what cosplay means to me: Never giving up, helping others and dream my dream. And everything I need will come by itself.

Ryea: Do you salute/idolize any cosplayer?

Hmm... there are many cosplayers and prop makes who do a really awesome work and I always follow their work.
My favourite one is Volpin, who is just dedicated prop maker and shows that he puts all his love into his project.
I learned a lot from his wonderful blog and always cannot wait to read the next entry. I'm very thankful for him sharing his progress and so I do the same and hope to help others with my work, too.

Ryea: Any tips to share?

Start with small projects and start early enough. Sewing the night before a convention is really frustrating, even if it can be really funny. Know how much time, money and effort you are able to spent and plan your projects well.
And the most important point is to search for help, tutorials and progress blogs. There is always someone, who worked on a similar project or costume part and even shared his work. If not, asked him! It can be very expensive and frustrating to fail and a project does makes much more fun, if you're sucessful.
And the last point: Be brave and never give up! If you really want to finish a well made costume, then you'll do it!

Ryea: Do you think great craftmanship is a person's talent or it's a result of long term practice ?

I don't believe in talent. But I believe in passion. If someone loves his project, he will try everything to finish it well made and if he doesn't have the skills, he will research, exercise and try until he manages it. I'm also very bad in sewing and painting, but I found ways to hide this fact or to get help and I will keep on working on my skills.

and 3 random questions :

1) What makes you interested in cosplaying armoured characters?

By chosing my costumes it's very important for me to find new challenges and to improve my skills every year.
I don't want to remain at the same level and so I try to experiment a lot and try new materials and techniques. That's also the reason why I look for hard, detailed or complicated costumes and for me armor and prop building is just perfect for this job.
However wearing them is -after some hours- mostly connected to a lot of pain and it's very exhausting and painful, but the construction process is amazing and just full of fun. So last year I really learned a lot. I even learned to ignore the pain of wearing an armor for hours till end.

2) How or where do you learn the skills of making those props and amour?

I love to experiment and research. I spent a lot of time in planning before I start with a project and I'm always motivated to create a costume as similar as possible to the reference material.
After years of practise I've learned a lot with the help from the internet and just by testing different materials and methods. Things often don't work as planned and sometimes I failed many times till I get right.
It's really not easy, but I start with my projects early enough to have a lot of time for my experiments. And that's all I did.

3) What kind of challenge do you see when you start making Aion?

The whole costume was a challenge. I never worked with Wonderflex before and had no idea if this material would work, but the tutorials said "yes". So I ordered some sheets and prayed that they were right.
After some tests I found the right way to work with it, but at the end I stood in front of a 20 pound heavy armor and had no idea how to fixate it onto my body. Many experiments later only I found a conclusion for it and it was the last night before the convention! and almost died because of the pain I got in this costume. Moving was almost impossible and so I had to redo the fixing, because I planned to fight in the armor for a cosplay performance.
I also never styled a wig before, but the hair style I had to create was very complicated. Ah, and I never worked with the kind of fabric I used before. I guess, I never worked with anything I used before for this costume!
Yeah, every part of the Aion armor was a huge challenge and so I'm really proud that I was able to finish it.

And lastly, what do you think about Let's Cosplay~?

I really love the idea behind Let's Cosplay and enjoy to read something about about other cosplayers a lot.
It's really interesting and I love the personal, non-standard questions you ask. I will keep on following this wonderful blog and hope to read something about more cosplayers and maybe even something about my friends.

Thanks so much Kamui for the wonderful answers, I bet you've helped to motivate others in making amour and props.. and that includes me !! Thanks!

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