The incredible Winter from Canada blew our minds with some of her twists on well known characters and some brilliant EVA and craft foam pieces. A big thank you to Winter, and some great advice for those thinking of starting cosplaying for themselves.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Winter, I am 25 years old, I live in Alberta, Canada! My interests include cosplay, dance, singing, writing, videogames, anime, and plenty more haha! ;D
What or who inspired you to Cosplay?
I was inspired to start cosplaying after going to my first convention! Seeing everyone dressed up was very cool, like being in a fantasy, and I decided I wanted to be part of it! I made my first cosplay (Princess Mononoke) in 2011 but didn’t really get deep into the cosplay culture until 2014. I have since won 2 awards in cosplay contests for Journeyman category, and am now completely hooked on this crafting art form! I am continually inspired by so many people every day that I can’t possibly attribute it to just one person! ♡
Are there specific types of character that you particularly gravitate towards and why?
I tend to cosplay genderbends (taking a character and switching the gender from Male to Female and vice versa) as well as alot of Final Fantasy characters and Anime! The reason being simply because those are my favorite genres and I adore Japanese culture! I also really connect with stronger characters, I like independence and self confidence (probably because I want to be more like that myself) so I tend to stay away from timid characters but I do try them on occasion!
What for you have been the most challenging characters that you’ve cosplayed as, and which have been the most enjoyable?
The most challenging character I have cosplayed is Zack Fair from Final Fantasy. I have legit remade that damn costume 3 times and am working on a fourth haha! The Bustersword in particular is very difficult to perfect! But I adore the character and want to do the cosplay justice so I continue to work on it! The most enjoyable cosplay I have worn is actually also Zack! I love how strong and badass I feel and I really connect with the character and the game!
Could you take us through a little on how you made your outfits?
There are many different ways to make a costume. Everyone is under the impression you have to make cosplays a certain way but that’s not true. In a contest they will look at things like are your sewing seams straight, are there glue marks etc, but material wise you can literally use anything you can imagine. I personally prefer EVA and craft foam for my armor because it is cheap but durable. I usually start with a template, (I make my own but you can buy them from other cosplayers or online stores) trace that template onto the foam, cut the form out, using a heat gun to shape it, the go through the process of painting and sealing. It’s a long process but the result is amazing and lasts for quite some time!
Which Conventions have been the most enjoyable for you to attend and why?
My favorite convention to attend (so far) is Calgary Expo! They always have amazing guests, there is soooo much to see and do they have a ton of events, and pretty much every one of my cosplay fam goes to that one so it just ends up being a great time! I have also been to Edmonton Expo, Animethon, and Otafest and I seriously recommend every single one!
Have there been any memorable reactions to your costumes, and if so, what were they?
Oh yes a few haha! My recent one (Zapdos from Pokemon) was in an armored Pokemon group, we were stopped constantly at the expo and everyone loved the idea! I had a little girl all me an angel and then kiss me on the cheek, literally the cutest thing I’ve ever seen! Kids have the best reactions when it comes to cosplay! I have also had the rare occasion where a fan would actually cry over a costume and I just kind of stand there awkwardly thanking them because I don’t know what else to do =,D
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?
This is a great question. It can get exhausting walking all day at a con and although we really love and appreciate the enthusiasm there are certain times when it isn’t acceptable to ask for a photo. When you’ve barely moved 5 feet in 3 hours for example and you FINALLY get and chance to sit down or go the bathroom or eat, and someone interrupts you asking for a photo. If you see a cosplayer sitting eating or walking very quickly they likely don’t have time and it’s best to ask again later. I’ve had to reject people asking for photos when I was making a mad dash to a cosplay contest because I was running late. It’s frustrating for the cosplayer and can cause misunderstandings, so it’s best to wait for a better time. Also always ASK to take a photo, not only is it courteous but it gives the cosplayer time to adjust their costume and do a nice pose!
What impact has cosplaying had on your life?
Cosplay is my life now. I literally don’t have a day where I’m not either talking about it, building something, or thinking about it. I have even recently started up a Patreon and it is slowly turning into a second job. But more than just allowing me to express myself and my creativity, it helps me stay connected to things I value, people I admire, and makes me more confident. I was a very shy person before cosplay, I had a hard time connecting with others and zero self confidence. Cosplay allows me to express myself in the ways that I never imagined, and having the support of other artists who are so kind and talented is so humbling and liberating! I have never had such wonderful friends who all share the same passion and just have fun together! I can’t imagine myself being who I am now, without cosplay.
Do you have any advice for anybody thinking of cosplaying?
My advice to people wanting to try cosplay or just starting out is this:
Start small. Be brave. Never give up.
No one is popular at first and popularity does not define whether you are a “good” cosplayer. People are popular for all different reasons, I have seen some absolutely mindblowing artists with phenomenal work who have barely any followers, but they don’t mind because that isn’t their focus. Popularity should never be the point of cosplay or you will NOT have a fun experience. Start with small projects, do research, look up tutorials, always cosplay what YOU want to, not to please others. If you take your time and work at it, it will become easier and more enjoyable! Be brave to try new things, meet new people and never give up. There WILL be trolls and haters no matter who you are, even the most famous cosplayers get hate. Just remember that those haters don’t understand you or cosplay as an art form, therefore their opinion does not matter. Focus on being happy, having fun, and connecting with others, that is the best way to cosplay!
Zapdos – Photo by: Lindsey Sullivan (@sullivanphotos)
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