BlizzCon is coming, and it's already sounding like it's going to be a good one. Last year was my first BlizzCon experience, and besides being dazzled by the lights, panels, and sheer number of people wandering the convention hall, one of the things that caught my eye were the costumes. They were everywhere. I'd seen photos of years past, but nothing really compares to seeing these costumes live and in person. Every little detail that goes into creating an authentic-looking piece of armor is astounding.
That said, I put a call out on Twitter last week asking for cosplayers who'd like to be interviewed, and goodness, did I get a reply. Svetlana Quindt may be a familiar name to some people and a familiar face for others. European fans of the WoW TCG may recognize her as none other than the Dragonqueen Alexstrasza from Darkmoon Faire: Köln earlier this year.
Mind-bogglingly intricate and exquisitely constructed, Svetlana's costumes include both armor and weapons, running the gamut from Warcraft to Diablo and even Aion. And if that's not enough, she blogs about the process and even has tutorials on her site! Check out the gallery for just a few of Svetlana's gorgeous works of art, and follow after the break for more from Svetlana.
Svetlana: My name is Svetlana, but I'm more common for my nickname Kamui. I live in Germany, study technical journalism in Nuremberg and have a great passion: cosplay. Better: Creating costumes from the Blizzard universe and other roleplaying games and bringing the characters to life. I discovered the cosplay scene in 2003, but only in 2006, I found a real desire in it.
So my druid tier 1 from World of Warcraft costume was the first challenge. I learned a lot from this project and started with further World of Warcraft tier sets. Druid tier 3, 6, 8 and 9 followed. So I'm very excited for weapon- and prop-making. I'm always searching for new techniques and new materials and try to improve my skills with every new project.
On my blog, I show you my progress, explain my techniques and show you some tutorials I made. It's important for me to help other people with their own projects or inspire some of you guys a bit. So I really try my best so tell you everything as good as I can, despite of it's very hard for me to write everything in English. I hope you always understand what I'm talking about. If you have questions or problems with your work, feel free to ask me and I hope I will be able to help you!
How did you get started with World of Warcraft?
Some years ago, in autumn 2005, some of my colleagues showed me the game, and it was the beginning of a long, long story. That time, I had a huge amount of awesome moments, found many new friends and had a lot of fun. I also made many breaks to have the time for my costumes, but I always reactivated my account again. And after so many years, I'm proud to be able to say that I still play the first character I've created, my female Night Elf druid who is called Kamui. World of Warcraft and she are the reason for many, many months in front of my sewing machine, thousands of Euros which were spent for fabric, craft foam and other materials, and especially for the best time of my life!
Cosplay is the short form of "costume play" and is type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character. It's a hobby and even a lifestyle for many young people all over the world and is pretty common at comic, fantasy, anime/manga and other conventions. For me it's even a kind of art, a passion and a big part of my life. And I'm even able to earn money with it!
How did you get started with it?
I created my very first costume 2003, and it was pretty terrible and was made of wrong and cheap fabric. In this summer, I wanted to visit my very first convention and decided to create a costume because ... well, because everybody did it, too. I noticed very fast that I have no sewing skills, lost my last motivation after some further crappy costumes and wanted to stop with cosplay.
And then I started to play WoW; also my best friend and cosplay partner Selina. We both played Night Elf druids and were just stunned by WoW, and so we made the decision to bring our very first tier set, druid tier 1, to life and it was just awesome. It was so much fun, that we kept on working and druid T3, T6, T8 and now T9 followed. I guess, this was the real start of my cosplay story and so I'm sure that start playing World of Warcraft really changed my life.
All the detail you put into your costumes is absolutely amazing. How long do they take, usually?
My first WoW costumes took a really long time to get finished, and I worked many, many months on them. But over the years I learned a lot of new materials and techniques, got a lot of practice in doing what I do and improved my skills. Now I don't need to experiment so much and mostly know what I have to do to gain a special result, which is the reason why I need just a few weeks to create a new costume now. However, I still need a long time to research and experiment if I try new techniques.
Alexstrazsa, for example, took two months until she was done because I had to rebuild half of the armor, had problems with her gems and the size of her horns. So every one of my costumes has its own story, and if you are interested, just follow my blog.
I always use the WoW Modelviewer as my reference. The 3-D view helps me a lot to create it as close at possible to the in-game model, and materials like expanding foam are a great solution base form. All I need is just to draw the basic shape at thick cardboard, cut it out, glue it at a wooden staff and cover it with expanding foam. Then I just need to carve the right form out, cover it with paper mache and paint it with acrylic paint. It sounds pretty easy and it really is; however, you still need some practice in carving and have to able to imagine the final form before you create it.
So what's your favorite costume and weapon?
Well, my favorite costume to make was my Asmodian Gladiator from Aion, because I really learned a lot from it and had half a year full of fun. Despite of this, my most favorite costume is still my old druid tier 6 with Journey's End, which is also my favorite weapon. I still love both designs really a lot (despite of the stats don't really fits together in game, he he!), and I guess both fits perfect together. And it's one of my less sexy costumes, so ... I need to love it!
Start with small projects and start early enough. Sewing the night before a convention is really frustrating, even if it can be really funny. Know how much time, money and effort you are able to spend, and plan your projects well. And the most important point is to search for help, tutorials and progress blogs. There is always someone who worked on a similar project or costume part and even shared his work. If not, ask them! It can be very expensive and frustrating to fail and a project does makes much more fun if you're successful.
And the last point: Be brave and never give up! If you really want to finish a well-made costume, then you'll do it!
Good to know! Anything else you'd like to add?
I hope I was able to show that cosplay is a wonderful hobby and a great chance to express yourself (well ... or your in-game character!). Don't be afraid and try to create your own costume by yourself! BlizzCon still needs more people in costume, and the Costume Contest is a great chance to get rewarded for it. So, pick up a nice pattern in the Modelviewer, start your sewing machine and visit me at BlizzCon! I would love to meet you there, guys!
Thank you so much for chatting with us Svetlana, we hope to see you at BlizzCon as well!
For more of Svetlana's work highlighting the process of costume creation, as well as crafting tutorials, check out her blog, Kamui Cosplay, her Facebook, and her Flickr page.
World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players, including arts and crafts, fan art, WoW-themed recipes, comics, cosplay, music and fan fiction. Show us how you express yourself by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your not-for-profit, WoW-inspired creations.