Inside the Workshops of Four Emerald City Comicon Cosplayers

This is what it takes to prep for the annual, highly costumed affair
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Scenes from the workshop of cosplayer Eric Jones, of Coregeek
Sometimes, when trying to replicate a villainous, power-hungry Asgardian’s wardrobe, you just have to punt. “I use a technique where I wrap the [human] subject with plastic wrap and tape—either duct or masking,” says Eric Jones, about making the form for the Loki costume (from The Avengers) for Comicon last year.

“Then I’ll draw the shape of the armor on the taped area, then cut it off the subject to use as a pattern to be transferred to the main material like Worbla or foam.” Based in Mill Creek, Jones runs Coregeek, a one-man prop- and costume-building enterprise. Over the past four years, he’s taped, wrapped, cut, glued and meticulously handcrafted around 10 costumes and countless props (both on commission and for himself).

A comics and movie fan and a woodworking hobbyist who has also dabbled in graphic design and works in law enforcement, Jones says he makes the costumes—which require upward of 200 hours spent in his workshop—for two main reasons: to enjoy cosplaying with his family and to bring smiles to the con’s attendees. “I love seeing my daughters get into the roles, and watching them interact with others at a con,” he says. “It’s truly a labor of love to make a couple hundred dollars in crafting supplies look like thousands of dollars in armor.”

For ECCC this year, he’s making a Fierce Deity Link costume (from “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask” Nintendo game) for his youngest daughter, complete with a 5-foot-long, double-helix bladed sword and body armor. His oldest daughter is going as Thranduil, King of the Elves from the Hobbit movies, adorned in an ornate robe and jewelry. And Jones and his wife will attend as gender-swapped versions of characters from Wreck-It Ralph: He will be a male version of Sgt. Calhoun, and his wife, Krista, will be Fix-It Felix (or, as they’ve dubbed her, Fix-It Felicia).

He started making the costumes in December and anticipates they will take about three months to complete. And while costs vary per costume, last year Jones spent about $700 on Loki’s attire and props alone. But for Jones, cosplaying is worth the effort. “The challenge of re-creating a costume or prop is the most exciting for me,” he says. “It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle from scratch.”


The King Loki costume, which cosplayer Eric Jones made for his oldest daughter, Katelyn, for last year’s ECCC, took more than 200 hours to construct over three months

Read our full, behind-the-scenes coverage on the 13th annual Emerald City Comicon (March 27-29), including photos galore, here.

Scenes from a Abi Selvidge's Cosplayer workshop: From spandex to hair dye to homemade chainmail, Selvidge reveals what it takes to prep for Emerald City Comicon.

NAME OF COSPLAYER: Abi Selvidge AKA Abi Sue Cosplay

DAY JOB: Graphic Designer

NUMBER OF YEARS COSPLAYING: With five years of cosplay under her Wonder Woman belt (her first convention was anime Sakura-Con 2009), Selvidge occasionally works on commissions from folks outside her family and friends.

FAVORITE SUPERHERO: “Rogue, definitely.”

INITIAL SPARK: “My brothers talked me into going to an anime convention with them, and I didn’t want to go without a costume. I ended up making Twilight Princess Zelda, and having a great time! I’ve been making and wearing costumes ever since.”

FAVORITE COSTUME YOU’VE MADE: “Definitely Rogue [from X Men], 90’s version specifically. She’s so close to my own personality, and super fun to cosplay. I even dyed my hair like hers!”

ECCC 2015 COSTUME: Sticking with her cosplay trend of dressing as powerful women, 2015 will be the year of Lady Sif from the Marvel movie Thor: Dark World. “I loved her newest armor costume [so much] I decided I wanted to make it,” says Selvidge. “I chose her because she is such a strong female character, a warrior Asgardian.”

CHOICE MATERIALS: “Normally I work a lot with spandex and other fabrics. This year I’m getting into armor construction using Worbla over craft foam. I’m also using leather and chainmail that I made by hand.”

COSTUME QUIRKS: It is easy to imagine that full-body spandex suits (and the essential undergarments that accompany them) equipped with belts and boots are not made for quick-changes. “I drink as little liquid as possible during cons,” laughs Selvidge. “Every costume I’ve worn has had its complications, but that’s all part of the con experience!” Photo by Anna Luna

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DO THIS: ​ “It’s a little bit of everything: the social aspect is a big piece, but it’s really fun getting to show off something you spent time creating.”

INSIDER INFO: At Sakura-Con 2010, Selvidge met her now-husband, Steve. He will be standing with her at the Comic Book Characters for Causes booth at ECCC 2015 as the most recent film version of Thor, to complement her Lady Sif. CBCC works with volunteer costumers (dubbed “volunt-heroes”) to raise funds for local children’s charities.) Selvidge says, “…our charity group also has an Odin and a Valkyrie so we’ll have quite the Asgardian group at the CBCC booth!” 

Read our full, behind-the-scenes coverage on the 13th annual Emerald City Comicon (March 27-29), including photos galore, here.

Scenes from a Kristen Jensen's Cosplayer workshop: With a heart for comic book charity and a workspace filled with faux fur Jensen reveals what it takes to prep for Emerald City Comicon.

NAME OF COSPLAYER: Kristen Jensen AKA Kit Cosplay

NUMBER OF YEARS COSPLAYING: 6

DAY JOB: “I'm an Internal Community Manager at Xbox,” explains Jensen. “In a nutshell, I'm responsible for making sure our group of people love coming to work every day.” 

FAVORITE SUPERHERO: “Captain Marvel. She's strong, intelligent, funny and thoughtful. And, she's just as strong as The Hulk, so she's pretty much a badass,” Jensen affirms with a wink.

INITIAL SPARK: “Since I was a kid, I've always loved dressing up,” Jensen recalls. “When I learned that people make elaborate costumes to wear at geeky events, I was in!”

CHOICE MATERIALS: “I use lycra/spandex for superhero costumes, combined with Worbla (which is a thermoplastic) and craft foam to make armor,” Jenson details. As she constructs a new Rocket Raccoon (from Guardians of the Galaxy) costume, she’s venturing into uncharted material territory. “I'm working with upholstery foam and fur, which is a lot of fun!”

CHARITY PHOTO OP: Jensen (with her merry band of super alter-ego “volunt-heroes”) heads Comic Book Characters for Causes, a charity raising funds and morale for local children in need. “For the past 4 years at ECCC, we have had a photo booth that we set up to raise funds for Seattle Children's [Hospital],” Jensen explains. “It's very rewarding…I love being photographed, especially when it's for a good cause!”

FAVORITE COSTUME YOU’VE WORN: “Definitely Captain Marvel, which was made by my friend Abi [Go here to read the Abi Sue Cosplay profile]. It's so much fun to take on a character that is strong, smart, courageous, and beautiful. Additionally, the costume is pretty colorful, so when we participate in charity events, kids seem to like it a lot!” 

COSTUME QUIRKS: “Every new costume seems to have kinks that need to be ironed out,” Jensen explains. “It's difficult to design something that looks just like the source material and is also functional! Parts fall off, seams come apart, shoes are uncomfortable and armor is ill-fitted and digs into your skin (sometimes leaving permanent scars).” Not to worry—Jensen assures us that this all part of the costume building process. 

WHO KIT LOOKS MOST FORWARD TO SEEING AT ECCC 2015:Clark Gregg [Avengers and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D] and Anthony Mackie [Captain America: The Winter Soldier], for sure!”

Read our full, behind-the-scenes coverage on the 13th annual Emerald City Comicon (March 27-29), including photos galore, here
.

Scenes from Thomas Sergneri's Cosplayer workshop: Through contacts, Hello Kitty armor and water-based makeup, Sergneri reveals what it takes to prep for Emerald City Comicon.

NAME OF COSPLAYER: Thomas Sergneri AKA Rawrbomb

DAY JOB: Video Compression Engineer at Microsoft

NUMBER OF YEARS COSPLAYING: 5

INITIAL SPARK: Sergneri broke into the world of cosplay using a helmet. Not just any helmet, the fear-inducing Willow villain General Kael’s skull-emblazoned helmet. “It evolved into me making the entire costume,” Sergneri explains. After watching a video of MythBusters’ Adam Savage discussing the construction of a replica Maltese Falcon, Sergneri was introduced to The Replica Prop Forum, a communal site for prop and costume builders. “I finished the costume and my friend made hers and we wore them to ECCC…from there I was hooked.”

FAVORITE COSTUME YOU’VE MADE: Whether via Buzz Lightyear or Hello Kitty Gears of War armor, Sergneri aims to make folks smile. “I figure if I’m going to be pointed and laughed at, I might as well give people a good reason for it,” says Sergneri. “I'm finding that I really like when little kids like my costume and [enjoy] seeing them get excited about it. Photo by Nate Zimmer

BEAUTY IS PAIN: Sometimes a new costume brings initial aches and pains. “It taught me that if you are going to wear a costume for 6-7 hours at convention, to make sure it's comfortable,” says Sergneri of his Lightyear costume debut. “The armor was a bit heavy and the weight wasn't distributed very well, so it left red bruises on my shoulders.  In addition, the right bracer was too tight and I lost feeling in part of my thumb for about a month afterward.” 

COSTUME QUIRKS: For Dragoncon 2014 in Atlanta, GA, Sergneri dressed as Ronan the Accuser from Guardians of the Galaxy, a character that required contacts and makeup – both new to the cosplayer. Putting the contacts in required over an hour of bathroom mirror time (something all contact enthusiasts can relate to).

“The makeup was entirely new as well,” explains Sergneri. “So, flash forward to Dragoncon, I put on my makeup (which took about 45 minutes)…and costume, and walked out of my hotel room into the sweltering indoor heat of a packed wall-to-wall Atlanta hotel. In less than 15 minutes my makeup was melting off my face. I continued wearing the costume, dabbing at the running makeup for about an hour before retreating back to my hotel room.”

Luckily a friend of Sergneri’s quickly introduced him to makeup sealer for long-lasting wear and baby wipes for easy removal. “It was still hot and I sweated out 2-3 pounds of water a day (I drank a lot of fluids), but my makeup didn't run anymore. I wore the costume a few more times that weekend and had a blast.”

HOLLYWOOD LOVES A GOOD BUZZ: Sergneri’s impeccable Buzz Lightyear costume was recently purchased by a Los Angeles costume company and featured on an episode of TBS’ Cougar Town that aired in January.

Read our full, behind-the-scenes coverage on the 13th annual Emerald City Comicon (March 27-29), including photos galore, here.

 

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