I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Hawkman cosplay, not least a Hawkman cosplay with a 6ft wingspan! That takes some doing. Meet Tim, who has the patience of a saint, because if you see that Aquaman cosplay of his, and then find out how those sequins were attached, it’s going to blow your mind (there were 2000 of them).
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hi. I’m Tim. (I’m waving). These days I’m just an average family guy with two kids named after Ninja Turtles who works all week. On the weekends I can be found at con’s, school events, charity functions, helping out at scouts, or visiting parks and zoos with my family. I also like reading, video games and walking when I get the chance.
What or who inspired you to cosplay?
I had no idea what cosplay was when I started doing it. I was at one of the first MCM events in Birmingham, just after it had changed from Memorabilia. I was stood in line gawping at all of the amazing costumes on display! I was too shy to talk to anyone back then so I stumbled around all day seeing all these characters brought to life. I immediately came away thinking ‘I want to do that’. So I threw together a basic outfit for the next convention and then got the bug from there.
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
I am definitely drawn more towards characters which aren’t so commonly seen, but I also like giving them my own spin. I toy with a few before really getting excited for someone. I really like being a Superhero – it’s a bit empowering when donning the costume and getting recognised as that character, it’s hard not to grin all the time!
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which has been the most enjoyable?
Hawkman! The wings took forever to craft, and the harness really hurts my shoulders after a prolonged wear. It was worth it though but I’ll probably never attempt something quite that big again! I can barely walk around in it with a 6ft wingspan!
The most fun is Spider-Man, kids go nuts for him and I can just mess around all day behind that mask.
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
90% patience and 10% luck!
I just get the ideas forming and start sketching, making changes and researching google images until I’ve put something rough together that I think I can build. Then I start searching for base materials I can use to build on or modify. Aquaman took over 2000 sequins that I sat there and hand-stitched on every night for a month.
Which conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
Edgbaston is always good. The organiser really knows his audience so we get guests, traders, props, artists, photographers, cosplayers, panels, stage events, a very emotional pub quiz and an afterparty that’s just awesome. Plus it’s only a taxi ride away from my house! I love MCM Birmingham too as that’s just like a 6-monthly mass-gathering of cosplayers. Everywhere I turn I seem to know someone now!
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so what were they?
I made three kids cry as Spiderman cause they were meeting their hero! Oops.
Aquaman always gets the biggest reactions, I got on stage last year in a masquerade and the crowd just gasped then roared. That was just the best feeling ever.
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 no not at all! I think that photographers do us a world of justice and really capture our hard work and our costumes beautifully! I don’t think it’s appropriate to infringe on another photographers shoot but if anyone wants some images just wait and ask! We work on the costumes and poses and most of us are happy to oblige, there’s nothing worse than seeing a crappy photo taken from 30ft away, mouth wide open in mid-conversation with someone else – that’s just not flattering at all!
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
Cosplaying has obliterated my social anxieties and boosted my confidence massively. I’ve frequently posted about this online to encourage others. When I started doing this I could barely talk to people and was so scared to leave the house in costume, but I persevered and people I meet now can’t believe I was ever like that!
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
YES – GO DO IT! If you’re toying with the idea or have admired cosplayers from afar then do it. It is such a good way to break the ice and meet people, but it will also boost your confidence and help bring out some of those creative juices!