We’ve all seen it before, cosplay so good it slackens your jaw and floods you with awe at the skill gap between what you’re capable of creating and what stands in front of you.
Most of us, though, don’t understand exactly what goes into creating what can arguably be called a work of art.
The Daily Walkthrough reached out to Canadian cosplayers Akishuna, Elithia and Etfy from the group Three Queens Cosplay after seeing their League of Legends cosplay to learn more about their world and some of their glamorous (and less glamorous) stories.
The interview has been edited lightly for brevity.
What are the best parts of cosplaying? Akishuna is always up for answering questions or taking pictures, Elithia said her day is made when kids appreciate her work and Etfy’s fondest memory was “when we were doing our WOW [World of Warcraft] trio. I never expected people would love our cosplays so much.”
It’s important to remember that cosplayers are people, too, and should be treated with respect. Overzealous fans and inquisitive passerby shouldn’t forget that cosplay isn’t a free pass to touch or harass someone — if it’s not yours, ask before you grab.
Three Queens Cosplay’s creations are certainly impressive, yet that doesn’t mean they’ve got a handle on everything. Akishuna and Elithia excel at armor painting but struggle with sewing, although both expressed a desire to tackle that challenge with upcoming projects. Etfy boasts a proficiency in sewing and electronics but a weakness in brush painting.
When it comes to injuries sustained in the name of cosplay, Etfy and Akishuna didn’t fair quite as well as Elithia. Etfy told TheDW not to mess with hot glue guns. “When I was crafting for one of my Costume-Con projects I burned myself pretty bad with hot glue. If you are careful, cosplay crafting is pretty safe… Most of the time! ;-).” Akishuna said the worst thing that happened to her was “minor cuts and burns while making a costume.”
Sometimes, the injuries came from wearing the costumes as opposed to making them.
“My most uncomfortable cosplay was my very first one – Alexstrasza from World of Warcraft,” Elithia said. “The shoe covers were rubbing my ankles, the thigh armor kept sliding down, the headdress was squeezing my head. By the end of the day I was limping, my head hurt and I was a mess.”
Akishuna remembered her most uncomfortable moment when she was Tyrande Whisperwind. “You know how sometimes in videogames law of physics don’t seem to be respected by armor? Well that was the case … I ended up using double-face tape to make the armor hold, which left me with two beautiful wounds on my shins that took over 6 months to heal. I couldn’t sit while wearing my costume, so forget easy bathroom breaks.”
World of Warcraft’s Sylvanas Windrunner was Etfy’s downfall. “It was my very first armor and even if I tried on the pieces before [I] even started painting, it wasn’t enough to determine the comfort of the fit.”
Cosplay isn’t without its real-world benefits. “Time management is a huge” plus, Elithia told TheDW. “You have to think of everything – budget, materials, tools, when to work on what.”
“Cosplay mostly taught me: time management, thinking out of the box and 3D visualization,” Etfy said.
Akishuna tipped her hat to makeup and math, “Before I cosplayed, I didn’t really know how to put on makeup. I’ve learned a lot about that and now I can practice my skills when I’m going out. I could add working with … math, geometry and scaling!”
The trio even has preferences when it comes to materials. Akishuna enjoys “making armor with EVA foam. I really appreciate all the shapes and angles you can create with it. Worbla is great too.”
Elithia is also team EVA foam. “It’s just fun to see this plain roll or tile of floor mat turn into this perfectly curved pauldron, intricate bracer or even Maleficent horns!” Plexiglas has given her the most challenges. “I used it to create the sword and visor for Project Fiora and it was tough,” she explained. “I had to get a Jigsaw to cut it, but it’s quite fragile, so if you’re not careful it can crack just from the vibration of cutting it with the saw. So it can get pretty frustrating.”
Etfy prefers “stretch fabric and woven fabric.” She “hate[s] working with organza fabric … I also hate working with polyester resin that we often use to create gems: I am never satisfied with the end results and it takes a lot of time to cure.”
Erasing the worries of budgeting and time, each member of Three Queens Cosplay knew exactly what project they’d tackle. For Elithia, it’s “Jupiter Jones’ wedding dress from Jupiter Ascending.” Akishuna would “start right away with the Sister of Battle character by Gurjeet Singh,” and Etfy wants to try her hand at “Yriel of World of Warcraft.”
The Q&A below was answered by the entire group:
TheDW: What cosplay have you done?
TQC: We have done a few group cosplay projects together – World of Warcraft (Sylvanas, Tyrande and Alexstrasza), Disney villains (Maleficent, Hades and Evil Queen), Diablo III (Barbarian, Wizard and Demon Hunter), and our latest project was Overwatch (Devil Mercy, White Reaper and Zarya).
TheDW: Have you participated in any competitions?
TQC: Yes, since we started cosplaying in 2014 we’ve participated in masquerades at Montreal Commiccon, Otakuthon, and Costume Con as well as in Montreal Dreamhack cosplay contests. And we are honored to have won several awards in these competitions.
TheDW: Any plans to show off the cosplay at upcoming conventions?
TQC: Our latest costumes are from Overwatch and we’ve had the chance to show them off at Costume Con 35, Montreal Comiccon, Otakuthon and Fan Expo Canada this year. We are planning on bringing them to Quebec Comiccon in October. We’re planning Game of Thrones characters for Halloween; Efty will be Daenerys, Elithia will be Cersei and Akishuna will be Melisandre. After that we’ll start planning our next big project that is yet to be determined.