1. Do you take commissions?
Not just yet. I’m still relatively new and build for my own enjoyment. I also help out my friends and family, but beyond that it’s still more of a hobby. I’m not independently wealthy and have work and other commitments, so I have to fit my building in where I can. I’m disappointed enough if I don’t finish my own project for a particular con; would never want to do that to someone else. For every true scam artist out there, there are probably three other people who just go overwhelmed.
2. I want to start build armor, but I’ve never built anything before and don’t know where to start. Can you suggest an easy project?
YMMV, but I looked around on sites like the Replica Prop Forum (RPF) and the Halo fandom’s 405th Infantry site. Both have a ton of pepakura files for both paper and foam. Start with something small and not too complex like a handplate or basic gauntlet. If you want to jump right into something fun and are interested in foam builds, try one of the Ironman helmets in this thread.
3. Did you go to school for this?
No, not exactly. I majored in Film and was a technical theatre minor for a while, which gave me a fair amount of experience with designing and building basic props and costuming. Along the way, I took some art courses and became a graphic designer. That training has probably been the most useful as I am better able to look at a costume/project and “see” it as a series of basic, interrelated shapes.
4. What software do you use? Do you use Pepakura Designer, Blender, etc.?
I started out building helmets via pep. This was more of a “can I even do this?” experiment, than an actual means to an end. While I feel that Pepakura turns out some beautifully detailed work, at the end of the day, I’m impatient and not that interested in the extended finishing required for paper builds. Once I had a handle on working pep files into foam, I’ve rarely done anything else with paper. I use anything and everything to get to point B. I experiment, ask other cosplayers and search the ‘net just like everyone else.
Currently, I make most of my patterns in Illustrator. Sometimes, I create a tape pattern, which I then scan and cleanup in Illustrator. You can use that technique on anything from breastplates to boot covers. It’s inexpensive and fast. I’m taking a Blender course with the intentions of buying an entry-level 3D printer in the near future.
5. I heard that <insert technique> is the best way to build. What do you think?
I think some techniques are more suited to certain projects than others. However, every cosplayer has their favorites and methods that work well for them. Do your own thing. Whatever you need or can do (including buying mass produced things online) to get the look that is acceptable to you/the look you want IS the right way. Try out anything and everything your interest, abilities, and budget. You’ll find processes and techniques that work better for you, your materials, locale, budget, etc.
6. Do you have a booth at cons?
No, but I am sometimes invited to be a guest panelist. Check out the calendar to see my con schedule. You can also read about my adventures through the lands of fandom, cosplay and nerdom.
7. I’m too <insert physical aspect> to cosplay <insert character>, but I want to and …?
Then do it! Haters gonna hate. You can let them hate on you in a cosplay that you love or some outfit that keeps you from being naked, but doesn’t inspire you or make you happy. Your choice. I say, suit up and keep it moving.