First name and last initial: Daniel F.
Where are you from originally or reside currently: Austria
How long you have been cosplaying: since 2008
Characters cosplayed: Deathstroke, Iron Man, Darius (League of Legends), Captain America, Black Mask, White and Green Power Ranger, Green Arrow, Gaston (Beauty and the Beast)…
Website or facebook fan page: EyeofSauron Designs
1. Who or what inspired you to cosplay?
When I first saw the first Iron Man movie, I thought: wouldn’t it be cool to have suit like this? I did not even know cosplay existed back then. So I went on a wild google search (cosplay wasn’t as big back then), and after a while I found pictures of someone in a (allbeit) mediocre Iron Man suit. So I researched and found out that he made it himself with a method called “pepakura.” Then I thought to myself: Well if someone else can make it, so can you. So I started with my first build in pepakura and after finishing the whole thing and resining and fiberglassing it, I figured out that using body filler on a whole suit would break my bank. So I researched some more and found different techniques and also found out that lots of people use foam for costumes. So I tried that out and voilá – after researching and building for almost 2 years, I finally had an Iron Man suit. I still did not know about conventions for another 2 years, until a friend told me that we have a convention around here, and I’ve been going to every convention possible ever since.
2. What do you do when you aren’t cosplaying? (hobbies, community service, or work)
I’m a law student at the University of Graz and most of my spare time goes into crafting stuff and going to conventions, but my second big love (which goes very well with cosplay) is any movie and tv show you can think of. Even while crafting, I usually have either a show or a movie running, because who likes to craft in silence anyway?
3. What costumes have provided the biggest challenge and rewards so far and why?
I constantly strive to improve my crafting skills. My first Costume was a full set of Iron Man armor, and I had no idea what I was doing. I gave up on the resin/fiberglass method early because of costs and switched to foam, but back then I had no idea how to work with it perfectly. I learned tons during the project, but it was still very rough when finished, which was ok for my first costume, but I felt I could do better.
I learned how to shape the foam with different methods, learned to use different materials and in my second year at the biggest con in Austria, I won first place in the heavy armor category with my deathstroke. This suit was probably one of my biggest challenges to date. I also made a hard shell helmet, which I wanted to make to perfection. The helmet alone took me over 200 hours, but seeing the finished product made me ecstatic
With my Captain America, I have already had the helmet for a couple of years, but never felt comfortable with sewing, so I never made the rest of the costume. Until this year, when I decided it’s time to learn how to make clothing patterns and how to use a sewing machine. Surprisingly, it was a lot like foam patterning, and I actually liked sewing a lot because it goes way faster than foam crafting.
With my latest costume, Darius from League of Legends, I tackled additional skillsets: leatherworking and wigs/makeup. While I have done a wig for Gaston before, I had it done by a hairstylist, and it also wasn’t a complicated wig. For Darius, it had to have the perfect hairline, and also have a white strand of hair in it. Granted, my girlfriend did most of the work on the wig, but I now know how to knot hair, and also found a workaround for it (because knotting hair is a terrible thing to do, especially with big fingers like mine). I also had to wrap the handle of the huge ax with leather, and I had to make shoes that fit the costume. And wearing “beauty” makeup for the first time ever (it was actually more like the opposite: making bags under the eyes, scar across the eye and toning the face) was also a new experience.
I cant wait what I will learn from my next project, but it will definitely also be fun!
4. What is the best advice you would give someone new to cosplaying?
Dont overthink it. Choose something you like, and try to get as close as you wish. If you want to make a closet cosplay (just stuff you have at home) that’s just as cool as making armor or prosthetics, that take months to finish. Cosplay is for fun!
If you want to make something, research a lot. Especially how other people made it. The internet is an awesome place with tons and tons of tutorials, references and people willing to help. I wouldn’t have started if I hadn’t found awesome people who were trying to help me get started.
Also heres a tip I wish someone would have given me when I started making armor:
Don’t start with the helmet!
Start with the foot and leg armor and work your way up. This way you will aquire some skills and knowledge before you get to the part that people will focus on the most. My first Iron Man helmet was way too big, because I made it first, and didn’t have the armor to compare it to. It could’ve also been way prettier, if I hadn’t started with it.
5. What is one thing the cosplaying community can do better when it comes to dealing with each other?
People need to chill! While most members of the cosplay community are nice people, there’s always bad eggs. From “slut shaming”/”fat shaming” to the whole “black face” debate, none of that has a place in this community.
If people want to make sexy costumes, let them! It doesn’t affect anyone, unless these people try to force their style of costuming on other people.
If someone doesn’t cosplay according to their body type, let them! This also doesn’t affect anyone in the slightest! They don’t have to change their body to accomodate peoples image of what it’s supposed to look like.
If someone uses makeup to change their skincolor to get closer to portraying a character that they love, LET THEM! If anyone think it’s racist to get as close to a character as possible by using makeup, they shouldn’t be in a community that tries to replicate character looks in the first place. Obviously there’s a difference if someone clearly makes a racist character, but in most cases, people just try to get as close to one of their favorite characters as possible, and it’s a terrible thing to discourage someone because of that.
People need to learn that cosplayers do not cater to others personal likes or dislikes, they do it because they like the character and want to portray it as good as they can.
If you think you have the right to speak badly about any cosplayer because of their looks, you haven’t.
This is a hobby for 99% of the people participating in it. Let them have their hobby, and keep negativity to yourselves.