Kamui is a German cosplayer who has had an interest in cosplay for close to a decade now. She is one of the best armored cosplayers we have come across and since on her blog she shows you her progress, explains her techniques and tutorials, we knew she was a helpful and talented person we wanted to feature. Read below for the full interview…
So you recently started working on a armored boots! How are you able to achieve a good balance between making it look fashionable but also be comfortable to allow for proper mobility?
Kamui: That’s a pretty good question. Understanding how a foot and a leg works is pretty important, since I need to create solid and flexible parts. I experimented a bit with more and less of these parts, tried different fixing methods and adjusted the whole armor many times. To get a good base I’ve created the pattern by copying the surface of my shoes and legs and just cut it into the right shape. To help others I’ve also created a video tutorial on Youtube. Mainly it’s just necessary to have enough patience to be satisfied with a costume part just when it perfectly fits to your body.
Some of your creations take months to complete. Are you the type of person that finds it easy to become distracted, or you have no problem seeing a project through no matter what?
Kamui: In autumn and winter I mostly become lazy and work very slowly because of the lack of conventions I visit in this time. On the other hand in summer I become amazingly busy and am able to work for weeks without any break on my costumes. Then I’m very concentrated and even not able to think about anything else then my projects. When I’m looking back it’s just crazy how much I’m able to finish in just a few weeks and I wish I would be able to work always like this. But sometimes I just enjoy to play a bit World of Warcraft, be lazy and read some comics and don’t need to worry about any deadlines.
Which do you prefer: Worbla or Wonderflex? What are some of the pros and cons of each?
Kamui: Well, at the moment I’m working a lot with Worbla, but I don’t really prefer it over Wonderflex. Both materials are pretty awesome and together they are an even better team. While Worbla is very flexible and can be used even for sculpts, but by stretching it breaks very easily apart. Wonderflex can become very solid and stable, but its inner fabric grit gives it limitations that Worbla doesn’t have. So they both have advantages and disadvantages, but if you work with both materials you are able to use the best properties of Worbla and Wonderflex.
You have a big entrepreneurial spirit! You have a place where people can buy prints! How did this idea come about and do you see it as a business plan to expand your accessibility and exposure as a cosplayer?
Kamui: Many of my followers asked for prints and at the moment I’m selling small ones as an experiment. However I have pretty cool photos, which I surely will also sell in poster size someday. There is not really a business plan, but much more the opportunity for my followers to support my work. In addition I also send them some samples of Wonderflex and Worbla to motivate them for their own armor and so far it works very well.
Cosplay tutorials are a dime a dozen online and I know you have lots of progress shots on your social network. However, could you share with us a little known tip or advice for cosplayers?
Kamui: Tutorials and progress photos are already a good point and always the first I suggest to somebody who wants to start with cosplay. It’s easier to realize a project if you already have an idea where to start, what materials you use and what you need to take care of. The documented work of others gives you a great opportunity to learn just by following the steps of somebody else before you waste any money, time and nerves by yourself. So, do your homework and research. There are a ton of videos, progress photos, tutorials and people who a willing to answer your questions. Just take the time to plan your projects well and it will be much easier to finish your very own costume.
How is Germany in terms of cosplay community? Is it a healthy environment or do you find yourself having to travel to other cons to find a good community?
Kamui: The cosplay community is still pretty young and much more orientated to the Japanese anime and manga culture. So here you’ll find fewer costumes from comics or movies than maybe in the US. In addition the scene is also much younger and so people have less experience in creating costumes than other countries have. Complicated costumes like those with a lot of armor or electronics are still pretty rare, but the Germans are just awesome seamstresses. After so much traveling, it’s just awesome to see the specialty of every country at conventions abroad. It’s pretty interesting to see all these different conventions all over the world and every time I leave Germany I just cannot wait for the next surprise I’ll find somewhere on the planet.
I am going to say a bold statement right now. You are probably the most talented cosplayer we have featured when it comes to armor. Could you tell us a bit behind the creative process crafting it, from conceptualization to completion?
Kamui: Often I don’t really have any plan of what I’m doing. Sometimes it’s just like I’m walking through a dream. I see myself doing something, but I never know what will happen next. It’s pretty rare that I have a plan from the point of planning to the final brush stroke of an armor part. I just sometimes close my eyes relax over a night and wake up with my head full of crazy ideas. I often don’t know what I will do next or how I solve this or that, but everything seems to happen almost automatically. So I work very spontaneously, full of experimentation, failures and sometimes also frustration. Despite that, after years of experience I mostly have an idea about the right way and the points I need to take care of. All in all it’s a pretty flexible, creative progress, which requires not just a lot of concentration but also some relaxing breaks.
What are some of your favorite anime or Asian films?
Kamui: I really love all movies of studio Ghibli, Neon Genesis Evangelion and also enjoy movie adaptations like Gantz. But because of my projects I sadly don’t have a lot of time to watch them.
It took you three years from really recognizing cosplay, to actively taking an interest in it. Why such a huge gap in getting started?
Kamui: Well, in 2003 I started with cosplay just because everyone else appeared in costume at German conventions. After reading some magazines I finally wanted to visit one of them and so I decided also to create a costume. Sadly my sewing machine was pretty old and it was just a pain to sew something with it. My parents haven’t really understood me and thought I’m just crazy, which hasn’t changed for many years. In addition it was not really anything special, because anybody else did it and so I almost stopped with cosplay. However in 2005 I discovered World of Warcraft with my friend and cosplay partner Selina and we were just hyped by the idea to create a costume from this video game. After one year of hard teamwork and a great time we just had an amazing convention and many shared projects followed. I’m pretty sure that without World of Warcraft we never would be able to find the passion we have for this awesome hobby today.
Lastly, what can fans expect from you at the IberAnime or future cons throughout 2012?
Kamui: Event though I’m just working on a new project, I won’t wear it this year. All I did in 2012 is planned for the next year and now my winter break started. However, 2013 will be a pretty exciting year for me. With the Protoss Wizard, a combination of the Protoss from Starcraft II and the Wizard from Diablo III, I have something really awesome for Blizzcon 2013 in the pipeline. I will also finish my Bloodelf Paladin Tier 2 soon and will also realize one or two further projects next year. So in total, 2013 will be a pretty nice year for me and I already cannot wait to see how everything will turn out by myself.
Want to keep tabs on Kamui? Follow her cookie crumb trail below: