Cosplay Feature – J Caito

When I first saw J Caito’s Dr Who cosplay, I did do a double take.  His outfit is so good that for the next Dr, he should probably be a candidate!  And as for the RX-78-5 Gundam costume, I assumed it took a very long time, and I was right, read on:

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a software developer from the mid-west area. I’m generally a pretty geeky person. Comic collection, video games, sci-fi novels, etc… For fun I tend to play guitar or watch cartoons with my friends. Overall I’m a pretty laid-back person.

What or who inspired you to Cosplay?

That would be my girlfriend. She talked me into it a few years back and I’ve been hooked ever since!

Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?

Well, the first character I ever cosplayed was Wolverine. I had been collecting Wolverine comics for the better part of 20 years and relished the opportunity to be my favorite character for a day. Obviously these days I’ve been cosplaying the Tenth Doctor. A lot *laughs*. But honestly I think it’s a mix of characters that intrigue me and characters I think I look like. Zuko was a mix of both for example. Future ones I have planned are Spike Spiegel for example is a character I think I sort of look like although I don’t personally identify with him (or know that much jeet kun do *laughs*).

What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?

The most challenging was the RX-78-5 Gundam. The build process was about 3 months of constant work. (3-5 hours a day). It was my first large build and I learned a lot during that process. Unfortunately, one of the things I screwed up on it was the helmet. I was functionally blind in it. I had to have a friend (shout-out to Jason!) lead me around by the hand all day. These days I tend to go for comfort more when I’m designing cosplays. Obviously the most enjoyable for me is The Doctor! It’s a blast seeing people light up when they see me. I’ve gotten to do a number of charity events because of that cosplay and it’s awesome being able to give back and help the community. Plus, The Doctor fits in anywhere (all of time and space after-all) so I can wear it no matter what convention I go to.

Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?

Well, it’s interesting how my sewing/tailoring skills have evolved. My Tenth Doctor outfit is actually something I acquired. However, realizing _very_ quickly that if I wanted to compete, I would need to make my own, I started learning to sew about 18 months ago. In that time I’ve made quite a few outfits (including improvements to my Tenth Doctor outfit collections. i.e. my spacesuit) and am now tailoring my Kilgrave cosplay, suit jacket and all. It’s surprising how much you can learn and how quickly you can progress when you’re determined. Sometimes I start with store-bought patterns and alter them and sometimes I draft my own (also a much needed skill). The main thing as a cosplayer is trying to view things in a different light. Example: for the spacesuit, I needed valves on the front around the hip area. I ended up modifying a couple ball flappers for your toilet *laughs*. I used a toy monster truck tire to give it the look of having an inner valve on it. I even used the frame from a cross stitch for the helmet ring. Things like that. You never know what innocuous house-hold item you can transform.

Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?

Well, Anime Nebraskon has a special place in my heart for being my first convention. These days though, Britishfest in Omaha is my perennial favorite (Doctor Who fan here). I did just attend Wizard World in Madison and that was hands-down, the most fun I’ve ever had at a convention. People were really welcoming, the guests were fantastic (I got to meet David Tennant!) and the regular con-goers were really fun to interact with!

Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?

I had a girl start crying once when she saw my Tenth Doctor. Apparently I made her day *laughs*. Generally people are really awesome. I’ve made so many friends just from bumping into them from con to con and I look forward to making many more!

A question about photographers. Obviously cosplayers are a dream come true for photographers, great outfits and poses, does it ever get a bit tiring having to pose endlessly for them, and how do you prefer to be approached by a photographer?

Oh I can never get enough pictures *laughs*. Honestly the only time I get a little frustrated is when I see people trying to sneak photos from the side or of me when I’m on the phone, eating, etc… Remember folks: cosplayers put a lot of time and effort into making sure they look fantastic. It’s never rude to ask for a photograph, but if you see us resting or being normal people, let us take a break for a minute and then we’ll be happy to pose for you! Otherwise I generally approach professional photographers whenever I can. They know what they’re doing and do amazing work. But anyone, professional or otherwise, feel free to approach me! I don’t mind at all.

What impact has cosplaying had on your life?

It’s been huge. I get to travel more for sure. And I’ve made a lot of awesome friends doing this. I recommend everyone tries it at least once. Some of my favorite cosplayers do nothing but closet cosplay.

Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?

Just keep at it! Skill comes with time. Most importantly, have fun!

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