Not only does Kari’s choice of characters fill me with nostalgia – her cosplays are also always spot on and superbly crafted. I just had to ask her some questions:
Your amazing FFVI Terra Cosplay looks like straight out of an Amano painting. Can you tell us about the creative process? What materials and techniques did you use?
Thank you. I have always loved pretty and dainty-looking things, so I was very excited to tackle the details in this dress. The amazing thing about Amano’s artwork is that it leaves a lot to interpretation. He has a talent for drawing you into his world, while making it your own. Every concept sketch has a different design for the dress, hair or details – so it was refreshing to make a costume my own, like a living, evolving artwork. The process basically started by going to Michaels every time I had coupons and storing up a collection of beading and gems that I found really pretty. I also bought a variety of Indian trims online and found a beautiful satin stretch fabric. After making the base of the outfit I just went to down with the details. At the time the project was an enormous, scary undertaking to me. But after accomplishing it I feel refreshed to take on something much for challenging! (And I learned that I loooooove making swords!)
Your choice of characters is pretty unique as it seems like you stick to more older series like Record of Lodoss War, Valkyrie Profile and Nausicaä. Can you tell us about your though process when choosing a character?
Almost every character I cosplay I have some sort of connection to. Growing up, anime was a very influential part of my life, so now as an adult my cosplay choices are a sort of homage to those series and characters. Maybe it is just because of bias due to nostalga, but I feel like many of the older anime contained a sort of heart and attention to character development that some of the newer ones are lacking. Often because the characters I choose are fro older series, people do not recognize who I am cosplaying. But when they do, they often are really excited for the same reasons I am. Lately though, I have also been choosing some cosplay designs for the challenge and inspiration they bring to me as an artist.
How did you get started with Cosplay?
I have always been a creative person, but not necessarily someone with a lot of hobbies or big accomplishments. After attending my first convention, a friend of mine suggested that I plan a cosplay for the following years’ convention. I decided to give it a try and thought Lightning from Final Fantasy would be a relatively easy cosplay to tackle. (Yeah, right…). I enjoy doing research and putting my heart and effort into the things that I do, but this was quite overwhelming – at that time I didn’t know how to sew, had no clue how to make props and details, and didn’t even know how to do my own makeup haha. It was kind of a disaster (pieces of my boots were falling off on the convention floor as I walked around), but there were some things I was very proud of and I was hooked on cosplay after that! (It’s like a video game – you keep wanting to ‘level up’ 😉 )
If you can give one advice to someone totally new to Cosplay – what would it be?
DON’T FORGET – COSPLAY IS ABOUT HAVING FUN! There are some things about the cosplay community that can really get you down. It can be easy to get discouraged if you start to compare your art to all of the beautiful, incredibly talented cosplayers out there. But it’s not supposed to be a competition with other people, only with yourself, and improving your own skills and accomplishing your goals. It’s art, it’s expression, it’s achieving things that you never thought you can do, and becoming a better person for it. There can be many judgemental people out there on the internet, but do your best to ignore them and cosplay for yourself. Also on a more practical “how to” side, research is your #1 friend (usually it takes up more of your cosplay making time then making the costume itself), and try to remember that it is very rare for any cosplayer to get exactly the product they want on the first go. Usually there are many failed trials and tears behind every finish costume.
Thanks to Kari for answering my silly questions! 🙂