When we talk about the maker movement or the DIY, the first thing that comes to mind is associated with programmable plates , 3D printing and electronic hacking.
However, one of the most powerful and current expressions of this movement is in the world of cosplay , a discipline that lives a golden age thanks precisely to the designs and possibilities that everything related to the maker world provides cosplay.
A cosplayer is a maker
“In a world where the immediate consumption of prefabricated products prevails, to stop a moment to study how things work and to work with hands is very enriching” This perfect definition of a maker is not mine. The cosplayer Laura Sánchez gave it to me during the interview . In the cosplay world it is known as Nebulaluben .
I am a videogame player since I was very small and cosplay for me is a way to express my passion for them and feel artistically fulfilled
Laura, 31, is an occupational therapist and her entry into the world of cosplay took place right after finishing the race.
“Since I did not have to devote myself to studying at home and I had always had artistic concerns, I decided to spend my free time doing cosplay”
And that moment, Laura became a manual maker, including the aspect of invention and community .
Laura Sánchez (Bayonetta 2)
“I believe that cosplay is inherently part of the DIY culture and in it all kinds of crafts and technologies can be applied. Then each one chooses where to throw: if he prefers to model by hand and with clays or by computer, if a mobile armature is made mechanically or by means of electronics ”
Like other maker disciplines, the time spent on each design is not easily measurable. Laura confesses that the most complicated suits have been able to take about 300 hours . A good part of that time is spent trying to make the design as faithful as possible to the original. And you can see it.
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Among its most complete designs we find the cosplay of Shae Vizla, Tali or Bayonetta 2. In them we can find a lot of work maker, from the pattern to the sewing, molding or painting. There is of course no lack of 3D modeling or Arduino , disciplines that more than suppose a barrier to entry, they seem essential.
“I love learning and, in addition, I’m passionate about technology. Being able to apply 3D, mechanized, electronic and robotics modeling techniques to cosplays seems fascinating to me ”
That effort in detail is not only in time. There is a cost that also depends on the design. In the case of Laura, the most expensive one she has made cost her around 800 euros . But being able to honor those video games that you are passionate about deserves it. Although curiously is a hobby that steals much time just to play them.
“It’s that I fall in love with the designs. There is something inside me that drives me to do them, and when I like a character a lot, I can not help it. Either by the script, by the setting of the game (I have strong tendencies towards science fiction) or, directly, because the design comes through my eyes, my head starts to spin and I start to plan. The patterns of hexagons make me crazy! ”
Diego Fonteriz, aka Fonteart , has been in cosplay for four years now. His start when he was just 19 years old was thanks to a friend who took him to his first room. Now he is able to use between 3 and 5 months to finish a character , but always calmly and prioritizing a quality finish.
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“The suit that has taken me the longest has been my last one, that of Odogaron from Monster Hunter World, because it has a great variety of materials and a lot of painting work, although I predict that my current cosplay in Space, Warhammer 40k, It will take me much longer, because it is a very large armor ”
Diego does not doubt in the spirit maker of what he does, as much as in his case 3D printing or programmable electronics has not yet entered into his creations.
See full gallery » Spanish Cosplay (8 photos)
“For me the cosmaker culture and the cosplayer are practically the same, of course there are cosplayers who do not make their own suits, but the vast majority do do them ourselves, so of course we would not have gotten that far without all the effort that we put in the realization of the costumes. From my point of view there is no limit when it comes to the quality and spectacularity of a cosplay, there is always room for improvement in one way or another ”
A group that did let in 3D printing everywhere was the one that came together in one of the largest concentrations of cosplay about Warhammer 40k, held three years ago. Among them we find very powerful examples of cosplays with mechanized moving parts, something that impresses Diego.
The best cosplay are to inspire
Wayne Berendhuysen , German cosplayer, is responsible for one of the most acclaimed cosplay in social networks. His Iron Man is one of the most real we can find in the world of cosplay. In his Youtube channel shares a good part of the tricks that has allowed him to reach this level.
That community that shares without fear is inherent to the maker world , and social networks have facilitated that connection between cosplayers.
“I love seeing how other cosplayers shape their work and I love sharing my way of doing them. I think the best thing about the community is that we enjoy learning and that we improve together ”
This gsterley cosplay has its step-by-step manual on Instructables
One of the latest cosplay creations that has impressed Laura the most is the work of Zibartas . This is the mechanical arm of Ovewartch DoomFist and here we do not find a maker doing cosplay but practically a full-fledged engineering job and in which the care to achieve not only the appearance but the technical development in the cosplay indicates a continuous search for being as faithful as possible to the characters.
The most curious thing is that Zibartas himself admits that until he started his adventure with this design, his experience with animatronics, work with metal or programming was non-existent.
Polina Vishnevskaya , winner with her Saint Celestine (Warhammer 40000) in the Russian cosplay event StarCon, is one of the European cosplayer that uses more material and maker techniques in her designs. From metal like aluminum to bamboo and of course the queen of cosplay: foam .
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In its design, which is the third after those dedicated to Skyrim and Heroes of Might and Magic, there is also presence of Arduino boards and lights, controlled on demand or following a certain pattern to guarantee the show. This design took more than six months of hard work.
Another cosplayer that has evolved along with the advance in the materials used and work techniques is Dhareza Cosplayza . Four years separate their first #CaptainSpiderman from their latest cosplay mashup , #SamuraiWolverine.
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The cosplay also admits Guinness record. That of Leo Simon was awarded for the design with wings Kayle (League of Legends). His creation impresses by the wingspan of more than 4 meters and 20 kg of weight.
One of the funniest cosplay categories that cause a furor in Asia are those related to Transformers. If we add the “children” factor, success is guaranteed. Less spectacular than classic cosplay but equally impressive.
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“Cosplay is a very rewarding hobby: first, for the pleasure of doing something homemade, of doing it yourself, and then you see the response of people at events and on the internet and it gives you a rush. For many of us, cosplay is a very powerful source of self-esteem and self-fulfillment ”
Although as Laura says, for the vast majority of cosplayers everything revolves around a hobby, there are those who can not live without their designs to get some money to improve technically or at least offset costs .
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Here also social networks are key. Laura has been allowed something that was not within her reach: reach the big companies . He tells me with relief that without them he would surely never have gotten in touch with companies like Electronic Arts, Activision or Blizzard to work for them. For some of them he has collaborated punctually when they offer it.
“As a cosplayer I work in a timely manner when a company calls me and offers me a project that may interest me. I also do photo sessions and do commissions when I can ”
His cosplayer facet also has some compensation in the form of a book on how to make armors and replicas of weapons , as well as with the sale of signed photographs. He even has a sponsor that helps him with part of the materials he uses for his creations.
Next-level cosplay costume pic.twitter.com/Ev64eAAomg
Viral viral (@ xxlfunny1) October 16, 2018
In recent years, cyber-patronage through platforms such as Patreon supports some cosplayer, who also attend weddings or ceremonies, offer merchandising / private photo sessions or get benefits with content for YouTube.