Anybody who has ever attended a gaming or comic convention knows that the world of cosplay is no joke. Cosplayers spend countless hours planning and building insane costumes every year, just to parade them out during convention season and show them off. Unless you’re a part of the scene, you might not realize just how much blood, sweat, and tears goes into every project. We sat down with one of our favorite cosplayers this week to chat about the work that went into her League and Legends and Diablo 3 projects.
Can you give us a quick summary of your cosplay history? How’d you get into the scene, how long have you been active?
“I think it’s something that I’ve always been interested in, but it wasn’t until I got into college and met some people doing it that I actually took the plunge. I’m not even sure if I can classify my first “outing” as a cosplay, I threw some stuff together and did a Lady Vader back in 2012. I had fun though, and got a good look at what other people were producing, asked a lot of questions, and thought ‘yeah, I really need to do this right!’.”
It looks like you’ve been doing a lot of work on your Tempest Janna project. Can you talk a bit about what made you want to tackle this project? What about the character drew you in?
“Ah yes, Tempest Janna. I had just gotten back from Supercon down in Miami… over 4th of July weekend… wearing the demon hunter cosplay. I’m pretty sure I nearly died that weekend, parts are hazy. Putting traumatic repressed memories aside momentarily, many things occurred to me that weekend. For example, as character who spent some time in the netherworld fighting fiery demons, the demon hunter had surprisingly not been a choice bit of attire to brave the Miami summer. I had decided to start a new project, with perhaps a renewed outlook on the advantages of not wearing 5 layers of leather and craft foam. Around the same time, my boyfriend and I had been getting pretty into duo queuing bot lane together in League of Legends. The skin had come on sale, I had fallen in love, and the rest is history!”
I know you’ve hit some stumbling blocks with this particular project. What challenges have you run into and how have you been trying to solve them?
“This was a project full of firsts for me. It’s been incredibly frustrating and educational trying to finally accomplish this cosplay. This was my first time making armor with Worbla, and I only have one burn scar… so far! In fact, this was my first time using automotive primer, Bondo, silicone molds, resin casts, and a whole lot of other stuff. I’m a kinetic learner, so the only way I really get a handle on stuff is by getting my hands on it and going for it. I messed up a lot, but I learned a lot. You really just have to take every little thing in stride. I had been pushing to try and get this cosplay ready for a specific convention, and nearly drove myself mad trying to do it. Instead, I’ve learned now to just sit back and enjoy the experience. It’ll be done when it’s done, and I’ll be proud of the finished product.”
How much of a financial and time investment is this Janna project? How does it compare to your other projects in terms of cost and time?
“Because of all the reasons I listed in the above question, this one has been expensive, I’m not going to lie. It’s amazing how much more efficient you are after you’ve worked with a material for a bit. I would say I’ve easily spent twice as much money on this project and maybe quadruple the amount of time as anything I’ve done before. In the end, I think it’s really taken on a life of its own, and even if no one else can appreciate it, I will have learned so much from it that it will all be worth it.”
What show do you plan to debut this cosplay at? Do you have a tour of cons lined up for the rest of the year?
“Right now, I’m gearing up for Megacon. I’ll bring my Inara cosplay and I’ll be doing a Popstar League of Legends group cosplay with several friends of mine. I’m a HUGE Firefly fan so I’m pretty pumped to get some autographs! As for the rest of the year, Janna will most likely mosey out of my labyrinth for Metrocon and Supercon. I also love Holiday Matsuri, it’s just a really fun smaller convention that just feels so warm and friendly, I’ll be going back to it for sure again this year. We have yet to get a hotel room for Dragoncon (much to my dismay), so I’m not sure of the status on that venture yet.”
One of our favorite cosplays is your take on the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter. Can you talk about the work that went into that project and your motivation for tackling it?
“The demon hunter was the project that I decided to do after I went to my first major convention and got a good look at what other people were producing. I mained a demon hunter all the way through Diablo 3, had loved the character and the artwork associated with it. It seemed a natural choice for me at the time. I just kind of sat down one day, looked at my boyfriend, and said “This. This is what I want to do next.” So I did it. Rather poorly. It was pretty much glued together and the first time I wore it to Megacon, it hadn’t even been sealed, I just slapped paint on it. It evolved quite a bit between Megacon and Supercon. It now just sits on a mannequin in my room, it’s almost too fragile to wear out anymore. There’s a nostalgic part of me that wants to remake it knowing everything I know now…”
You should go for it! What games have you been playing lately? Are they inspiring any upcoming projects once Janna is a wrap?
“So I’m still pretty much a League of Legends fiend, and if you aren’t playing URF Mode right now, you’re missing out on life. Aside from LoL, I’ve been going through Torchlight 2 again and checking out all of the mods people have released for that, it’s almost like a whole new game, it’s a ton of fun. I FINALLY finished all of the Borderlands 2 DLC, I wholeheartedly recommend the Tiny Tina Assault on Dragon Keep. I’m now starting on the Presequal, playing a Guardian, and loving it. I’ve also gotten back into a really awesome Dungeons and Dragons group, which has inspired me to dress up like a Tiefling and run around lighting things on fire. But that’s totally normal, right? All joking aside, I’m not sure what I’ll be up to after Janna. Sometimes a project just grabs you by the ankle and drags you kicking and screaming to some new depth of cosplay madness. I anxiously await the journey.”
We’d be in full support of that Tielfing project. Just don’t burn any venues down. Where can our readers see more of your projects and follow your progress?
“My Facebook page is where I like to publicly flaunt all of my weird little successes and failures at cosplay. I love talking to people about whatever they may be working on and exchanging methods and ideas. Come at me bro!”
What do you think of Azellius’ projects? Do you think you’d have the patience to master Worbla to get a realistic costume together? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Special thanks to Azellius for chatting with us and to all of the photographers who provided photos of her previous projects.