We’ve been lucky enough to be able to talk to lots of awesome cosplayers in our time, and after meeting Sootydragon Cosplay at DragonCon one year, I became a huge fan. Not only is she talented at making costumes but also has a great attitude towards cosplaying. She makes it seem like a fun and welcoming experience for fans of all skill levels. Find out more by checking out my chat with her below.
Geek & Sundry: How did you get into cosplay and what was your first costume?
Sootydragon Cosplay: I started out working at MCM London Comic Con in the autograph section. It was actually the voice artists of Futurama who convinced me to try cosplaying. My first costume was Poison Ivy from Batman and luckily I don’t think any pictures of this costume exist anymore!
G&S: What’s your favorite thing about cosplaying?
SC: I love the creative side. I have learned so many new skills since I have started making my own costumes. I have my friends to thank who continually advise me and push me to challenge myself. It doesn’t pay off every time and some things are still out of my skill-set, but I have improved so much since I started.
Photo Credit: Lucas Ambrosio Photography
G&S: What is your favorite cosplay you’ve done and why?
SC: Merlin from Sword in the Stone. I have never done a costume like it. It completely transformed my look so that most people didn’t even know it was me. It was a big challenge too. I made all the costume myself including the beard and eyebrows! I also got to make a prop that I was really proud of too: Archimedes—Merlin’s Owl. Merlin was always my favorite Disney character. My friend Rossecobb Cosplay convinced me to try and make the costume. It was so much fun.
Photo Credit: Will Satchwell Photo & Design
G&S: What tips do you have for people who are interested in getting into cosplaying?
SC: Try and join some online communities and groups to find out more about the events, meet friends, and pick up tips. Oh, and always wear the appropriate underwear under spandex or Lycra costumes!
G&S: What do you think is the benefit of cosplaying?
SC: People cosplay for many different reasons, so I can only speak from personal experience. Cosplay helped me improve my confidence, improve my costume making skills, and meet loads of awesome people. Not everyone who goes to Comic-Con wears a costume. I think people should just be comfortable and have fun regardless of whether they are in a costume or not!
G&S: You’ve done cosplay in the UK and the US. Do you notice anything different between the two cosplay communities?
SC: For me I find US conventions awesome because no one knows me, so there are no expectations. Everyone is really positive and friendly. I quite often get told I sound like Mary Poppins—or get asked If I know Will and Kate, which I find hilarious. Generally I find US conventions a lot more relaxing. I really love the UK conventions, though. I have so many friends and supportive people here. I think there is a big difference in what is available in each country. America has access to some amazing materials which are rare in the UK, we have to import quite a lot of stuff which means it’s much more expensive.
Photo Credit: Sonesh Joshi Photography
G&S: How do you put together the perfect costume?
SC: I make most of my costumes, but I am really lucky that my friends also make me costumes and I do occasionally still commission pieces if I feel they are too far out of my skillset. The first thing I do is lots of research—try and find lots of reference pictures. Then I hit fabric shops to try and find the right fabric. Then it’s all about patterning and making! I have yet to make a “perfect” costume. Sometimes I will try and make something just to see if I can. I made a Princess Fiona dress to see if I could create the bodice pattern and it came out really well even though I have never actually worn the costume. Practice makes perfect!
G&S: What’s been your favorite cosplay experience?
SC: One of my favorite experiences of the past year was when Ross (Rossecobb Cosplay) won the LSCC championship. He worked so hard and put in so much effort to his performance. To see him win just made my year. It also showed how awesome the community was. So many people came out to support him and the atmosphere was electric. I also met Carrie Fisher’s dog once too… Gary, he was cool.
Photo Credit: DemoraFairy Photography
G&S: What is your dream cosplay?
SC: Actually I think my dream cosplay would be Gandalf. I’ve already done one old man so maybe I could get away with it! Currently, my plans are Moaning Myrtle, (I am commissioning the amazing Laura Sindell to make my cloak), one of the ‘Bad Idea Bears’ from Avenue Q and Tinker bell.
Featured Image Credit: Paul Beard Photography