My Cosplay Life


Third and final part of a series that was first published on Facebook back in 2016. This “redux” has been updated.

Every time I talk about this I begin with the same declaration: I love making things.

That love of being creative and making something out of “nothing” has been a part of me for as long as I can remember. It’s also taken various forms, whether it be drawing, painting, sculpting, animating, or building, I’ve always had the desire to translate the ideas in my head out into reality.

I think these were from when I was 5 or 6 years old

Like it is for most kids, it began with the usual activities such as drawing and making my own toys. I’m an only child so of course I was (relatively speaking) spoilt but there was still a desire to make stuff especially if it was something we couldn’t afford, couldn’t find, or simply didn’t exist. I recall making a computer out of corrugated cardboard boxes from my parents’ restaurant when I was about 10 (oh we had so many boxes). I also remember making a couple of different communicators, one was from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the other was vaguely based on the ones from the original Star Trek.

My main go-to as a kid was drawing. Pencils, pens, textas, Poscas. For a long time I was a rather prolific little illustrator. There was a wall next to where I would sit in the bar of my parents’ restaurant just covered in my drawings.

I still have most of the drawings from the restaurant wall.

In fact, my very first serious career goal was “comic book artist”. This was inspired by my discovery at about 9-years-old that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a black & white, gritty comic book. This revelation blew my fucking mind as I had first become a fan of the cartoon series like the rest of the world did.

Very different tones indeed.

But then of course the 90’s happened. The comic book industry wasn’t in a good way during that period and almost non-existent in Australia.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
During high school I settled on graphic design as a career path, a visually creative job as well as a practical job (I am after all a pragmatist). While my studies did have a nice balance of the sciences (I genuinely enjoyed physics, chemistry was okay) a lot of my focus went to my art and design subjects. It was during this time I explored digital illustration, Photoshop, multimedia and web design, as well as 3D modelling and animation. This exploration would continue into university.

Screencap from my very first animated “trailer” I made in high school in 2000.

After high school there was a tiny speed bump. One of the few times I ever had anything resembling the stereotypical “Asian parents” was while choosing my university degree (it’s amazing how a heart attack can help bolster a parent’s abilities to guilt trip their kids). So I studied computer science for a semester before I nutted up the courage to say “fuck this” and switched to a Bachelors Degree in Visual Communication (a rather wanky way of saying “graphic design”).

After graduating I struggled to get work as I didn’t have the experience required for the multitude of graduate positions being advertised (no, that’s not a joke or a typo). So I went and volunteered at the South Australian Bureau of Meteorology and did design and multimedia work for their book project about the history of recorded floods in South Australia.

It’s a fairly hefty tome too.

It wasn’t long after that I finally landed a full-time gig at a small company trying to branch out into graphic and web design (amongst its innumerable ideas). This was around the peak of small local businesses realising they needed an online presence if they were to be noticed and survive the market. Despite it being my very first proper job my title was “Senior Graphic Designer” (I was the ONLY graphic designer there for the first two years). Amongst my early projects were portfolio websites for bikini and lingerie models. Oh man, it was such a tough gig!

But something wasn’t quite right. Less than a year into the job I didn’t feel creatively satisfied in a lot of my work. There were proud moments, for sure, but for the most part it felt more like a sausage factory just churning out stuff. At the time I wasn’t sure if that was to do with that particular workplace or the job itself.

Four of a kind
The mid-2000’s was the height of popularity for Texas Hold ’em Poker, turning gamblers into superstars and it was even featured heavily in the movie ‘Casino Royale’ (when in fact Baccarat was James Bond’s favourite card game). Like most twenty-something males I got on the bandwagon and really enjoyed almost weekly poker nights with my circle of friends. Not knowing it at the time, my desire to make things even affected this part of my interests. I was searching for poker tables for sale online and had stumbled on a website full of images of beautiful home made tables, which were much better than the mass produced stuff. I looked over the many gorgeous designs and read through a number of step-by-step guides and I thought to myself, “I reckon I can do that!”

So I did.

Late December of 2006 I built a “traditional” style poker table, with padded railing, wooden race track, trestle legs for easy storage, and a lovely red wine felt. I built it in about three days just in time for a balmy summer night of Texas Hold ‘Em in the backyard.

First table and the very first game played on it. Tradition states that the maker of a table will never win at their own table. I eventually broke that curse.

Oh, it didn’t stop there. I built a new portable storage system for my poker chips (the original case was a bit flimsy) and then I built a second table, which was not only portable but able to fit in the boot of my car so I could take it to friend’s houses when they hosted their own poker nights.

My poker night’s grew in size and I ended up building two more tables (four in total) to accommodate. That meant more chips (i.e. higher “stakes”) so I also made higher value plaques to make betting easier. Just for fun I even upgraded and installed LED rope light into the very first table I made. It was handy that woodworking was one of my favourite subjects in high school even if carpentry wasn’t a career goal for me.

If you haven’t guessed, red is my favourite colour.

So you’re wondering what the hell this has to do with cosplay? Well, I felt it important to lay out the origins of my desire to create regardless of the form and result. As I mentioned, my creative job wasn’t as fulfilling as I had hoped (a feeling that continued to subsequent places of employment), so I had to look elsewhere. And as we all know it didn’t just stop at Poker for me.

Can’t sleep. Clown will eat me.
Early 2007, a little after building my first table, I was suffering from a bad case of insomnia (my sleep patterns have always been bizarre but this was particularly bad). I don’t know what popped into my head to inspire this but around midnight on a Monday I got out my modelling clay and started sculpting a Dr Zoidberg (from Futurama) head. I think the reasoning was that if I’m going to be awake anyway I might as well keep busy. So over the next few weeks I would slowly sculpt this bust either to exhaust me to sleep or keep me occupied when I couldn’t.

I could have easily made a Homer Simpson…

Forever the pragmatist, even before I finished the sculpt, I looked at it and wondered what I would actually do with it? Somehow I quickly decided on turning it into a latex mask (in fact I think that may have been the first and only idea I considered). And so I went about researching moulding and casting techniques. I completed the mask and made the rest of the costume over the course of about a month, in time for a friend’s fancy dress birthday.

… why not Zoidberg?

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my first cosplay.

Mind you this was before I had even heard of that term but as we all know it wasn’t my last foray into the hobby.

The next step
Admittedly, I didn’t totally immerse myself into costumes at first, I was still building poker tables during that time. The following year I decided to build my own vaccuform table because I wanted to build armour. I looked at the various tutorials online and came up with a rig based on what I was able to find and afford locally.

The heater wasn’t 100% effective but it more than did the job.

With that rig I made a few costumes and parts including Shredder (from the 2003 TMNT cartoon and the reason I built the rig in the first place), Kroenen’s mask (from Hellboy) and the rigid armour components for Sub-Zero (a rift on 1995 Mortal Kombat movie).

I wore these to friends’ costumed parties. In fact, Sub-Zero was made for a 90’s theme birthday (I had a lot of help from mum in making the tabard because I don’t sew let alone sew vinyl) .

I continued to make costumes and props for themed parties. I couldn’t just wear a hat to a “Mad Hatter” themed birthday, I made a Spartan helmet (from the movie 300). I began hosting “Casino Royale” poker nights where we would dress up all nice, mix fancy cocktails, and spend a little more on the buy-in. I was fortunate to buy an affordable tuxedo that resembled what Daniel Craig wore as well as ordering online a set of replica cuff-links but I had to make something for it. So I decided to build a set of iconic Walther PPKs. Also I couldn’t pick between “pirate” or “horror” for a party that let you choose either theme so I just had to combine the two for my skeleton pirate!

Something had ignited (or even re-ignited) my creativity when I made these things. It wasn’t just the fun of wearing these costumes or the reactions I received, there was something in the process of researching, learning, and making I thoroughly enjoyed.

A turning point
In part 1 of this nostalgic series I talked about how attending my very first convention in 2009 was the turning point for me in not only this hobby and creative outlet but also my life.

Getting about at my very first AVCon (2009)

My friends and I shared many interests and there is a reason I’ve stayed friends with many of them since high school and university. But attending conventions opened me up to a new world of like-minded people, fans of the same stuff I was into, kindred spirits in some cases.

I wanted something impressive for my first con and I made that Gears of War armour in about two weeks (it took me two weeks before that to actually decide on it). This was my first attempt at Pepakura, it also involved a few vacuformed components as well as my most expensive prop purchase. Previous costumes were finished on the day they were needed too but this one was my a trial-by-fire in the “cosplay crunch” that we’re all so used to now.

This build seemed to fly by!

It was definitely uncomfortable to put on and wear but it felt so badass to get about in this armour and carrying that lancer rifle. That whole weekend was just so much fun and it was the start of something much bigger.

I’ve already touched on a few of my many costumes in part one because the event itself was very much tied into the development of the costume but I will be going over many of them again and elaborating on some of the inspiration and developments behind each project (by the way, thank you for making it this far).

Bio-Hazard suit
Along with my first convention, 2009 also saw my very first Adelaide Zombie Walk. What has been a tradition ever since that first walk started here when I made the first version of the bio-hazard suit that I’ve worn for the last 9 years. But the gag for the first three years was that the suit didn’t work and underneath the helmet you would see that I was a zombie anyway.

I kinda like it in here. It’s quiet.

I based the design on the suits seen in the movie ‘Outbreak’, which inspired subsequent Hollywood productions since then (real contamination suits don’t look like that at all apparently). This was another vacuformed piece, which I’ve had to repair, and re-enforce every single year (apart from the face-shield, it’s still the very same helmet I wear every year). It’s evolved over the time as I need to replace various parts and even upgrade with a (finally) working fan system but it’s been a favourite tradition of mine and will probably continue it at this Zombie Walk too!

Evolution of the bio-hazard suit.

I loved the ‘Watchmen‘ movie and I really wanted to make a Nite Owl II costume but it was beyond my skill level at that time (also I’m just not in the shape for such). So I went with option #2, a character I share a an unhealthy level of cynicism with, Rorschach.

This was a slow gradual build as it was the first time I had dyed anything before. The trench coat wasn’t taking to the brown dye I bought (until I finally found a polyester dye) and I took a while to find an appropriate (and cheap) grey with white pinstripe suit so I could dye it purple (the exact same method done for the film apparently). To this day people keep sending me links to a heat sensitive ink Rorshcach mask but I had already seen those when I was making this costume and determined that it wasn’t “good enough” for what I wanted so I settled on making four different masks that I would change over the course of a convention day.

The movie version was very specific in its look that needed a lot of alterations from already existing stuff

My visibility was average but it was still one of the more comfortable costumes I’ve ever worn and it was always so much fun to find other Watchmen to pissfart about with at events.

Definitely one of the more comfortable costumes.

Clockwork Gentleman
I met members of the Australian Costumers’ Guild in 2009 and through some of them I discovered “steampunk”. I was instantly drawn to the aesthetic and wanted to create something of my own. I had seen a lot of what constitutes vintage Victorian era garb with a few fantasy flourishes of gold and brass but I wanted to do something more. Inspired by the elaborate creations I’d seen in my research along with my Kroenen build and the new versions of Doctor Who’s Cybermen, I drew up this original character and went about vacuforming components as well as heat forming buckets and PVC pipe. Being an original character it’s one of the few times I’ve drawn what I would be building.

Lots of plastic and PVC being turned into brass and copper!

I first wore him to an Adelaide Fringe Festival show in 2010 called “Maiden Flight of the Olympia“, a live-action roleplay event sort of like a murder-mystery night. We were assigned characters and tasks to perform throughout the evening. I’m not much of a performer but the Clockwork Gentleman’s visage allows me to be low-key and subtle giving a mysterious air about him, which was a lot of fun.

He’s very mysterious, with a hidden blade in his gauntlet.

Master Chief
I’ve done two different versions of Master Chief but I’ve built him three times: A fibreglass version (2010) and foam version (2011) both from ‘Halo 3′, and my current foam suit from ‘Halo 4‘ (in 2013). The fibreglass version is what I entered into the cosplay competition at AVCon in 2010 and placed second for “best male cosplay”.

The pepakura files for Chiefy were obtained from the 405th’s archive.

Master Chief is my go-to costume when I want to look impressive but also move about easily. I don’t think it’s because the armour is easy or comfortable, it’s more a case that I am so used to the costume and how it works and how I need to work with it.

My two Halo 3 versions (fibreglass and foam) and the current Halo 4 version.

As I explain in my video, Chiefy (as I like to call him) has evolved from cool-looking armour to something more meaningful. This costume became a big part of my branding and identity in the local scene, I had become known for him. Also, the ‘Halo 4’ version represents the wonderful and heartbreaking story in that game, which I fell in love with as it resonated so much with me. To the chagrin of many fans, it’s a platonic love story where Chief has to fight hard, disobeying orders, to save his best friend, an AI named Cortana, the only person he was literally connected to.

Marcus Fenix (again)
I had already dressed up as Fenix once before to my very first con but with a new sequel on the way I wanted to do it again and enter the cosplay contest at AVCon. What made this particular project really special was that my best friend at the time wanted to join me and volunteered to also get armoured up.

We would both work on our armours together most nights

The game hadn’t come out yet and references were limited. There was a beta version released for fans to test and from that someone made available a 3D model to pick apart. And so that’s what we did. Lots of foam and many a late-night building session, a retro lancer rifle that I made for her, she bleached her hair to be Anya, I shaved my facial hair to be Marcus, and I even made tattoos by transferring still wet printer ink from a plastic transparency sheet. We were the makings of a bad-ass pair.

We wore this together quite a few times that year…

We placed third in the AVCon 2011 cosplay competition for “best group cosplay”, and we would wear this armour a few more times here and interstate. As I explain in part one this was a memorable project for me because it was experienced with someone I (once) considered family.

This time it was my turn to volunteer and help encourage her cosplay build. She wanted to make the comic book version of Mystique and so I thought this was a good chance to finally make an X-Men costume of my own. I didn’t have time to make Beast the way I would have wanted to make him so I thought maybe Magneto would work but then which version? I quickly settled on Sir Ian McKellan’s version from the first few movies solely because I found a near-perfect jacket in excellent condition at the Salvo’s for only 2 bucks! The helmet was made from materials I already had in my workshop and as far as the half-cape went, I once again needed assistance with sewing together the pattern I drew up (thanks Mum!).

Fairly straight-forward but perfect for the time I had to make it.

As I said it was an encouragement project because, while that version of the costume may appear to be rather simple, the reality and logistics of her outfit were much more complex especially being a state away from home. So dressing up as Magneto was meant as a supportive gesture, i.e. we’re in this together. And it was a lot of fun that afternoon in Melbourne and she looked fantastic!

That was a fun, mutant-filled afternoon in Melbourne!

Time moves on, things and people change. We may not talk any more but I still treasure those moments and those particular costumes hold value because of the memories they represent even if a little bitter sweet.

Iron Man
I went into 2012 in a rough manner. I was no longer working full-time, I fell out with someone I cared about, and I was the target of threats from a man-child (the last two are related). I needed to pour myself into something as a distraction and an outlet for everything I was feeling and this project became that focus. It became my therapy. Eight weeks may sound like plenty of time and it probably could have been for someone with better skills and in a better state of mind but as always I rushed it toward the end.

If only I had Tony Stark’s fortune…

Early on the progress with the suit looked fantastic in foam and I was pretty confident in how it was going to turn out. But I will admit that I stuffed up the paint work despite my tests. I went with a product called MetalCast, which is meant to emulate an “anodised” look (like those colourful metallic drink bottles). It’s a spray dye process that I didn’t get right. As well as a few loose parts and a helmet I needed assistance removing it was a bit of a mess… but it was my mess.

I debuted Iron Man at the inaugural Adelaide Oz Comic-Con in 2012 and this was a big deal for a variety of reasons. This convention represented the start of more pop-culture events regularly coming to Adelaide (after Armageddon Expo‘s one and only time here), the Australian Costumers’ Guild had a stall where I had some of my work on display, and it was the first time in a couple of years where I felt as though I would be doing things alone. Fortunately, I discovered I wouldn’t have to do that last part.

You see, because of the incessant bullying from a deranged individual, I developed anxiety for the first time as well as a genuine fear for my safety. That disappeared when I wore the costume. Yes it’s fake armour but it felt like a barrier or a cocoon, in fact I realised that most of my costumes felt that way. On top of that, being surrounded by friends, people who cared about me, was like a second barrier to whatever I was fearing. This is something that has always been there but it was the first time I realised it.

The evolution of my suit

Over time, the suit developed and got some much-needed updates including a new paint job using automotive paint, as well as a new helmet with motorised faceplate. Although, not perfect. it felt more comfortable to wear especially when I just pissed around channelling my best Tony Stark.

In fact, doing exactly that on stage is what won me first place for “best male cosplay” at AVCon 2012.

Optimus Prime
My largest and longest ever build has already been described in this video. Like my Gears of War 3 armour it came about because of an upcoming game (the 2012 sequel Fall of Cybertron) but its origins were from somewhere deeper.

I had three childhood heroes: the original G1 Optimus Prime from Transformers, Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Captain Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation. These were three leaders, three moral centres of their respective stories. And while it may have taken longer than I realised to learn the lessons from their adventures, they did influence aspects of my life and personality.

There was a lot to design and redesign as well as trial and error.

The build was problematic as it was bigger than anything I had made previously and there was a lot to learn and figure out as well as rebuilds when I went in the wrong direction. After about 18 months I got Optimus to a wearable state and finally debuted him at Supanova 2013. I wore him to almost every con since then. The pinnacle of this experience was meeting the voice of the original Optimus, Peter Cullen, when we did a photoshoot together for The Advertiser.

Optimus has had a decent run before his “semi-retirement”

When asked what he thought of my costume after the shoot, Peter replied by saying that he’d seen drawings and renders of Prime but that was the first time he’d seen him in real life.

I’ve spent all my life in sleepy ol’ Adelaide, born and raised, and while I was always hopeful, I never thought I would ever meet the voice of my childhood let alone receive such a mind-blowing compliment like that.

It was an amazing moment to meet the voice of one of my heroes… and there I was just a babbling mess!

In November of 2015 I allowed Optimus one “final lap” before I semi-retired him from regular rotation. I decided to document that lap with an action camera attached to his shoulder to give a “Prime’s Eye View” of it all and you can see it here…

My latest cosplay is also from my childhood and one that had been on the books ever since I began making costumes. Leonardo was also a build with a steep learning curve as it’s not only my first major creature suit but also my first foray into animatronics. I wanted a bit of life in his face so not only does his jaw movie when I talk but his eyes blink (on a continuous cycle) and I can control the eyebrows to help with minimal expression.

My first good and proper creature suit was a learning curve

I originally planned this back in 2013 when TMNT co-creator Kevin Eastman was set to attend Melbourne Armageddon Expo but then postponed to the following year (which I wasn’t able to attend). So I put it off for a little bit longer. Having learned from my continual failures on Optimus I knew not to rush this one… but eventually I did rush it. At the one year mark I just had to get this out and wearable (so no, not really learning any lessons from the past).

So far, Leo is the most difficult costume to put on and wear yet it’s one of the most fun. The head is not as easy to put on and remove as say Chiefy’s helmet so it remains on for an extended period (usually over an hour) and it can be a little claustrophobic encased in so much foam and latex. The suit doesn’t breathe but it also restricts some movement so I have to exaggerate them in order to move and get into character. He’s still a work-in-progress and I hope to get him as close as possible to 100% by the next appearance.

Leo will be out and about many more times to come once I remake the muscle suit

To see Leonardo in action check out my mate, Figa Ro’s video from AVCon 2016.

Russel from Pixar’s ‘Up’
I’ve been meaning to do an in-depth video about this cosplay for ages and I hope to get it completed very soon but this one was a somewhat secret project for the longest time and not only got the biggest reaction I’ve received in a long time but is perhaps the most fun I’ve had in costume.

There have been plenty of other costumes over the years too. I grew up on Red Dwarf so a Dave Lister costume (perhaps my cheapest ever costume yet it had it’s own challenges) came about for an 80’s theme party. I learned my lesson making one of the Samurai from SuckerPunch for the film’s premiere, not because it was a bad film (which it is yet I still enjoyed) but because I busted my arse to make the shittiest of the three Samurai featured. What did I learn? Don’t make effort for things you don’t like or know yet. I made another steampunk costume, the Clockwork Brute, but I wasn’t happy with the result as it felt more a case of trying outdoing myself for the sake of it. And I used to attend Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings at the Capri Theatre in costume as Dr Everett Scott, wheelchair and all.

Yes, those are MY high heels! 😀

Calling in a favour
I don’t do commissions but I do undertake favours for friends. I limit it to this because I have my own projects I need to work on and I know how I work so scheduling is often a factor.

Over the last few years I’ve made a number of props and accessories for people who (at the time) are close to me. And that is the key: I may not be personally invested in the item or the character it belongs to but I care about the person that I am making it for. Sometimes they can be obscure items, sometimes they come from things I already enjoy myself but I also get enjoyment from learning how to make something new or achieving something out of it. These are the things that motivate me on these sorts of projects.

To see them being used as part of a larger ensemble is always so enjoyable and fulfilling for me.

So you’ve made it this far. Now what?
If I were more prolific then this might be a much longer read. In any case, I decided to lay all this out because I wanted to illustrate the inspiration behind each project, the reasons I do what I do. There are builds based on practical motivations, some builds come from a deep influence, and some begin out of simplicity but develop into the meaningful.

There are also “lessons”, projects I threw together for misguided reasons that I’ve since learned from. If I’m to invest so much time, money, and effort into a project then it should be based on I’m interested in or from a meaningful place. A major build can be draining but if it means something on a deeper level then that can be worth the exhaustion, otherwise I feel as though I wasted that creativity that I could have channelled elsewhere.

This is perhaps what I felt with my professional design work. It’s bizarre to explain but although I still enjoyed my job overall, many of the projects didn’t fulfil me creatively. I’ve worked on stuff for Adelaide Festival, National Pharmacies, and a website overhaul for Australian wine writer Jeremy Oliver but none of that was as fulfilling as the Floods in South Australia book I volunteered on or the business cards I made for a friend and fellow maker.

That’s not to say all my paid design work was completely unfulfilling (I mean I do get paid). While I’m helping a client to communicate their message, I also want to express myself too.

Express Yourself
Each build is a part of that expression whether it begins as something meaningful or it turns into such. Leonardo represents a character from my childhood whereas Master Chief was a cool-looking character from a game I liked but is now a big part of how I’m identified in the local community. As I hinted before, I also have cosplays that now have a bitter association to them but they also represent good memories that I still treasure. In a very similar way to how my toy collection works, these costumes and other builds represent moments, the things I love, and ideas that mean something to me.

As for the favours I do for friends,  here is how I see it: I am offering my greatest abilities to help those closest to me. That is my gift to them and that is why I feel creatively satisfied by what I make for them.

Secretly (or not any more) I do sometimes wish I could do this for a living but I also sometimes fear that if I were to do so then I will lose some of that creative passion the same way I did for graphic design, that fear of losing the spark. That’s not to say I will never do commissions but I’m not in the mindset to do so at the moment. Also, I don’t want the paid stuff to ever take over my personal work because the personal stuff is what drives me.

I am proud of all my work but I also realise it’s not as great as it could be quality-wise. There are others out there producing much more beautiful work who don’t get nearly as much recognition as they should. But what keeps me going at the moment is that I am making these things for myself. It feeds my soul, if you will.

“Just for fun”
I talk about cosplay in very pretentious terms primarily because the main message out there at the moment is that it’s just a bit of a fun. Whether you realise it or not, on the surface that “fun” sounds frivolous to most people so I think that mantra undermines and trivialises all our work.

Creativity doesn’t have to be a tortuous process, it should be enjoyable but that can come from any element of the process whether it’s being in character or creating the outfit. But you further that enjoyment because what you are expressing means something to you.

And it’s not just about the end result. I enjoy wearing these costumes but I’m not a performer, I’m a maker first and foremost. While some may quibble over definitions, as I see it, for me a big part of the “play” in cosplay comes from the making.

Fun is enough of a motivator for most people. I mean look at how we consume entertainment and spend billions as a society every year on it. But also look at what that fun has done for a lot of people. For so many it has brought them into contact with like-minded folks, for some it has lead to careers. In some cases it results in people meeting their heroes, some use it as a form of therapy, and in very special situations it has even saved a life.

Cosplay has opened me up to a wider community. I’ve made a lot of friends and meaningful connections because of this hobby.

Even in my lowest moments or when I feared for my personal safety I never seriously considered quitting cosplay. Although, this may sound pedantic, I have thought about what would happen if I did… or worse?

Walking away from it would be difficult as cosplay has been such a huge influence on my life but I sometimes wonder if something were to happen what impact have I made on cosplay?

I’ve never done this for the attention nor the fame but I do occasionally feel left behind or irrelevant wondering what my place in it all is? If I were to quit then would it matter? Would it have any effect? Would I even be missed?

I’m in my thirties, I don’t fear or lament getting older, in fact I fully embraced 30 with a drink in both hands but I do wonder how much longer I can continue? There are definitely plenty of older costumers and cosplayers who are still enjoying this hobby. What I’m talking about is how much longer am I capable of doing this?

Very occasionally do I let my mind wander down this path. A part of me thinks it’s a defence mechanism to prevent me from getting lost in my ego (I’ve battled low self-esteem in the past). Cosplay has played a part in building up my confidence but I never want to lose my humility. I’ve seen plenty of others fall for their own hype and let things go to their head (hell, I’ve even succumbed to that a few times myself). It’s not pretty.

But I do wonder what difference I have made?

My art, my passions
I still have so many projects I want to do. The list has always kept getting longer and longer and so I’m never in danger of running out of ideas. Hey, I even go back to old ideas and give them another go. I’ve done that with Chiefy, I want to do that with Zoidberg and Optimus soon.

I may cosplay for my own reasons, but how others react and how others are entertained by what I do is a massive bonus. Whether it be the oldest fan to the littlest newcomer to cons, it warms my heart and feeds my creativity.

To be perfectly honest I am grateful that anyone pays attention to my work at all. I could easily have disappeared into obscurity, and there are more than a few people, promoters, and organisers that wish I would. I’m just a fat little bloke trying to fit into armour. I don’t look like anyone, I’m not particularly attractive either. But the sheer fact that people do enjoy my work means the world to me. After all, art is expression but it also needs an audience.

It is on that note that I want to thank everyone for taking such an interest in my work. Thank you for the compliments, the encouragement, the support and kind words over the years. Thank you to those who put up with me shenanigans, to the handlers, the wranglers, those who lend a helping hand.
Thank you to the people I’ve met in this community, the friends I’ve made, and the relationships I’ve formed. Thank you to those who have walked in and out of my life, and most importantly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to those who saw fit to stay.

I might be a bit slower than I once was but I still love what I do. I still love to make. I make because I enjoy the process, I enjoy learning, I enjoy creating something out of nothing and expressing my passions.

But also, I love to make because eight-year-old me would’ve loved to have a giant Ninja Turtle of his own.

Here endeth the sermon.

This was the third and final part of my trip down cosplay memory lane. I hope you enjoyed them and found them at least an interesting glimpse into my love and passion for this hobby.

If you enjoyed that as well as my other work then please consider contributing to my tip jar at

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