Hello! My name is Richard Ash and I am 27. im a postman from Watford. I have been cosplaying for about 6 years. I primarily cosplay from games as gaming is my of my biggest past times. you can find more of my cosplay at http://squallwolfheart.deviantart.com/
Q) What was your first experience of seeing cosplay in the gaming community?
In 2011 at Eurogamer Expo. There weren’t many cosplayers there, though Uncharted 3 was on show and there were loads of Nathan Drake cosplays.
Q) What was it about cosplay that got you interested in it?
Purely because it looked fun. Everyone has fun at costume parties; seeing who’s come as what and how they made or acquired their costumes. I assumed the convention scene would be the same, and it is.
Q) What was your first cosplay outfit and why did you choose that particular character?
The first cosplay event I went to was an anime convention called Amecon in 2008. I went with my friend Joe and we didn’t know quite what to expect but we knew a lot of cosplay took place there and so decided to just jump in. We chose 2 characters from the anime Naruto, as it was big at the time. I went as Kakashi and Joe went as Gai because we were fans of the characters and they matched our personalities.
Q) How do you go about picking a character to cosplay as? What are your thought processes in the decision making?
Firstly I have to be a fan of what I’m cosplaying from and if there is a character I like. There’s no point spending time and money on something you don’t care about. I then think about what’s involved in making the costume, for example I still have very little skill with sewing so most of my cosplays will be assembled from real equipment and clothing. The last thing I think about is whether I suit a character. Yes, it’s better if you have a similar personality or body composition but I feel this should never get in the way of what you want to do, because at the end of the day its a hobby that you are doing for fun.
Q) What’s been the hardest cosplay character and costume to produce?
Easily, Connor Kenway from Assassins Creed 3. As I said before, I assemble a lot of my cosplays from existing stuff and things so Connor was a big step up for me. To add pressure, it was the first cosplay I had done which was made before the game was released. To be honest I couldn’t have done it without Victoria Feakes (http://gaming-goddess.tumblr.com/). She made the beautiful coat and shirt. She deserves all the credit for that cosplay. Even so, I had a hard time creating the leather parts and weapons.
Q) Have you had a personal favourite character that you have cosplayed as and if so, what made it so?
My favourite is Naked Snake from Metal Gear Solid 3. Metal Gear is my favourite game series and I love the character. It’s fun to wear because you can do all the serious combat stuff but also have a lot of fun with the silly aspects. The costume is always well received and I have worn it many times.
Q) How long does it take you to design and create the majority of your character pieces on average? Has there been any exceedingly long creations?
On average, if you consolidate all the time spent researching, finding existing parts and making the new, I’d say about a month. The hardest was Connor. It was beyond my skill level for a start and then to top it off, the outfit physically doesn’t work. They had his gun belt hanging off the buttons of his open jacket, which in real life, gravity takes a hold of and pulls the jacket open whilst pulling the belts to the floor. So finding ways to solve problems like that can be quite interesting.
Q) There must be a financial investment when it comes to some of these outfits, have any been fairly extravagant?
Yeah, I think my Johnny cosplay from Metal Gear Solid 4 has slowly racked up in price. A lot of his kit is very specific and a little hard to come by. His boots were over £100 alone.
Q) When it comes to photoshoots, how much imput do you have in the composition of the shot? How important do you feel location and ‘realism’ is to the overall image?
I’ve had shoots with a fair few photographers now. Normally I let them do what they want, but if I have anything specific I would like I will always ask, (although it also depends on the photographer.) So Say We All Photography (https://www.facebook.com/sosayweallfaramon) is a close friend so I’m happy to suggest ideas to him. There are other photographers like Darren Rowley (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Darren-Rowley-Photography/289955224349130) and Kurnikoff (https://www.facebook.com/kurnikoff), who know exactly what they want to suit their style, so they compose the shot and always do a beautiful job. Locations are hard to come by but when possible it’s always nice to be in a fitting location because at the end of the day, you have spent time trying to make your costume accurate so why should it stop there if you have the opportunity….that and the fact that photo shoots on location are just good fun.
Q) What have been the reactions to you and cosplayers in general that you have seen from public both at conventions and elsewhere in public?
I have always had nice and intrigued reactions from the public. Most people just want to know what you are doing or who you are dressed as. The funny part is when they take a wild guess. When dressed in Connor someone thought I was an old-fashioned Power Ranger. But it’s always nice when a fan of the character finds you because quite often you make their day.
Q) What’s the cosplaying community like as a whole? Are they all generally supportive of each other or are there different sub groups inside the community?
As a whole, yes we all support each other and its an amazing community to be part of. You always get bad apples but that’s just life. There are vague sub-sections, the biggest being western and anime, but even then it’s not a big divide any more.
Q) Cosplay seems to have taken off more in the past few years, do you have any thoughts as to why this might be?
I think all nerdy hobbies are becoming more accepted now. But why cosplay in particular, I don’t know. Only guess is that it’s getting more exposure by the media and there are many more events and opportunities to cosplay.
Q) What’s been the stand out moment for you during your cosplaying? positive or negative.
At the last MCM Expo, myself and 14 of my friends cosplayed together as Assassins throughout history from Assassin’s Creed. We are a group known as ‘The Birds of Truth’ (https://www.facebook.com/BirdsOfTruth) and I was really proud to be part it. you can see us in Sneaky zebras (https://www.facebook.com/TheSneakyZebra) cosplay music video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNNHOj7jsek
Q) There seems to be far more female cosplayers around compared to males. Are there any reasons for this do you think considering in recent months there has been a lot of talk about the majority of games having male character leads and a supposed lack of strong female lead characters? Surely with more male characters you would expect to see more male cosplayers?
I wouldn’t say the divide between male and female is that big but female cosplayers do tend to get much more exposure. For what divide there is, I believe it’s because cosplay is still a crafting hobby and in my opinion girls are more likely to enjoy cosplay for that reason.
Q) How have you found the cosplay community as a male? Has there been any advantages or disadvantages for you to deal with in particular?
It makes no difference to me. I make my cosplay. I wear it. I have fun. Goal achieved.
Q) How do you see cosplay in general evolving in the future? are there areas that it can expand into and are there more lavish character to be explored?
Already I have seen everything from giant armour and robots, to the simplistic cartoon characters, and all look amazing. The cosplays themselves I don’t think can evolve much past the materials used, but the community will grow and that can only be a good thing.
Q) Do you have any words of advice for anyone wanting to get into cosplay or wanting to step up a gear in regards to their outfits and the characters they want to portray?
Just go for it. Do the best you can and then push yourself that little bit further. You will be rewarded the first time someone of the same fandom is excited to see you dressed up. But remember do it for yourself and have fun.