Continuing our coverage of different cosplayers and their creations, we bring you William Selby. A UK based cosplayer that has been building both his ability as a costume builder and his reputation over the past couple of years. Known for his Specialisation in armoured suits including Iron Man and Doctor Who’s Cyber Men, you can clearly see his ability and creativity improving. JoypadAndMe got some time with William to chat about his love of creating new cosplay suits as well as his love of the cosplaying scene in the UK.
Q) What was your first experience of seeing cosplay in the gaming community?
It was back in Belfast a long time ago A good friend of mine named Chris showed up at my door unexpected and told me I was going with him to a con. I was reluctant at first but I gave in and went. That was my first time seeing cosplayers outside of the odd pic showing up o the internet. It was good fun I never thought then that Id go on to enjoy it my self so much. But then if youd have told me Id be making iron man suits to do it I never would have believed you either. I wasn’t very creative back then.
I actually did my first one to piss of the same guy who I mentioned above lol. We went to see the first iron man movie together and I jokingly said one day ill make one of those. He laughed and told me I couldn’t do it. So I made it to annoy him. Never tell me I cant do something ha ha
Q) What made you decide that it was something that you wanted to get involved in and did you intend for it to go as far as it has for you?
When I wore out the first suit (which was by no means great) I loved the smiles I got from people as they saw something they loved from the big screen come to life. Making people smile is something I love to do and cosplaying goes hand in hand with that. I never thought it would take me to where it has today.
Q) What was your first cosplay outfit and why did you choose that particular character?
The first one I made was war machine because his paint job was cheapest. The first one I wore out was the iron man mk 7 because it was the first one I wanted to take outside.
Q) How do you pick out which characters you want to create?
Im a little bit obsessed with armoured suits. If its some on in a big armoured suit im likely to want to do it. Iv always been an iron man fan so I naturally gravitate towards them
Q) Does outfit, body style, overall perception of the character and attitude affect your decisions when deciding which character to take on?
nah I just do whats fun and I enjoy making.
Q) What have been the reactions you have had from some of your creations?
I remember once back home in Belfast I had just finished my mk42 and taken it to its first con. My buddy and I suited up and we walked out front. To my surprise the crowed standing and sitting out front waiting to get in all rose and gave me a round of applause. I couldn’t believe it I had to look around and make sure it was for me. Ill always remember that moment because it was the first time I felt my suits where good enough.
Q) What’s been the hardest cosplay character and costume to produce?
I just finished the mk17 Heartbreaker Iron man suit that thing was a nightmare but absolutly worth it.
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?
when I first started it took me about 6 months to get the first one done. My family thought I was crazy the whole time. Now though I can finish an Iron man suit in under a month.
Q) There must be a financial investment when it comes to some of these outfits, have any been fairly extravagant?
Im really good at finding ways of doing things cheaply. Most of the suits are made from kids play mats that where on sale in Argos. Iv not yet had anything go over budget.
Q) Have you ever had any extreme reactions from onlookers and fans for you creations both good and bad?
Oh yeah there was one I remember was a big mix of the two. I was out front of a con in front of a busy road and this little kid saw me from the other side. He shouted “iron man” really loud and took of into the road to get over to us. Followed closely by screams from his parents and my self. He was fine nothing hit him although one came close. It was amazing to me that this kid was so excited but terrifying that he could have gotten hurt. I also got told once in my cyber man suit that I looked like I could be straight from the tv show and that’s pretty much the best compliment you can get.
Q) When it comes to photoshoots, how much input do you have in the composition of the shot? How important do you feel location and ‘realism’ is to the overall image?
I tend to just trust the photographer. Ill put in some input if I think something way to of. I mean it wouldn’t make much sense to shoot iron man in an aquarium.
Q) Whats been your favourite experience during your cosplaying time?
When I took the cyberman suit to MCM in London that was the best reaction iv ever had to a suit made so many people smile that day.
Q) How much interaction do you have with your fans and followers of your cosplaying creations?
up until very recently I didn’t think I had many fans. Iv done 3 interviews now in as many months and I’m getting more requests. People are starting to recognise me online as well. I wouldn’t say I have fans so much as I have people who know me and go “oh its that guy” I’m more than happy to interact and have a chat with people though if they like my stuff. If some one asks me a question ill do all I can to answer.
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?
Ive found them all to be very supportive. you’ll be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of people. We all love this crazy thing that is dressing up as the characters you love it only makes sense that we would all be friends.
Q) Cosplay seems to have taken off more in the past few years, do you have any thoughts as to why this might be?
Its like all things the more people do it the more other people will want to do it. Gaming was seen as the “geek” thing years ago but now everyone and his grandad plays some video game or another weather it be Diablo or Fifa. Cosplaying is going the same way and I think (and hope) its only going to get more popular so we can see more amazing creations.
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 characters to be explored?
I think we are going to see more general tv characters appear as things get more popular characters start showing up more. tv shows are getting bigger budgets and people are watching more. Cosplaying used to be mostly anime but its quickly growing and I think it will keep doing so.
Q) What have you got planned for the future in regards to new creations and appearances?
ive got a few little ideas bouncing around from the arkham knight up to the Deadric armour from skyrim. Ill be keeping an eye out for cons to attend in future. Im new to london so im still learning them.
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?
There will come a point in every build where you will want to stop and just leave it. What ever you do don’t stop. Push past that point and bring your imagination to life. If I can make an Iron man suit you can make what ever you want. its always worth it and if it doesn’t work youv learned something for next time. Above all though have fun doing it that’s what its all about after all.