The cosplayer I'm sharing with you today, Mana Temple, is so unbelievably talented. She can pull off both an adorable ball gown and a terrifying nurse believably. I'm incredibly impressed by her attention to detail and her knowledge of sewing techniques. Pattern drafting is no easy task!
How did you get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay 10 years ago when a friend brought me to my first ever anime convention and there I discovered that cosplay was a thing and I fell completely in love with the idea and that same year I started making cosplay.
Who was the first character you wanted to cosplay?
The first character I ever wanted to cosplay was Anna Kyoyama from Shaman King, an anime that I was really obsessed with at the time. She was simple and easy to make.
If you could cosplay any character from anything, who/what would you choose?
If I could chose to cosplay as any character I would choose Yygdra from Yygdra Union or Meru's Dragoon form from Legend of Dragoon! Both have amazing costumes and props that I would love to make, in fact they are both on my to do list.
Do you ever put your own spin on a cosplay, or do you like to make sure it's as close to the original as possible?
Something I pride myself in is making costumes that closely reflect what is shown in the series. I sometimes take my own spin on things if it is a pokemon or if the reference materials are inconsistent.
What is your process for putting together an outfit?
My process includes a lot of research (for materials and references) and pattern drafting. The pattern drafting will also include notes on which fabric weight and flow would give the costume the best look. As soon as my pattern has been drafted I will know exactly how much fabric to get so there won't be any waste. The wig also falls under the same process, since I will spend hours finding the right color or texture and judge just how many I will need for the desired outcome.
What's your go to place for supplies/components?
I'll be honest here. Ebay and the dollar store are my go to for never fail materials. You can be surprised at how many wonderful little things you can find at these places. Another place that's great is Michael's craft store, especially if you have coupons for big discounts!
Do you use any materials that you think would surprise people? What's the weirdest thing you've ever used on an outfit?
Sometimes the most unconventional of methods can give the best outcome for a costume. When I cosplayed the Silent Hill Nurse I used jello crystals and tea, coffee grounds and dirt to give the costume an authentic decay look. Plus I smelled pretty great too!
How do you choose a character to cosplay? Do you go by looks alone or do you have a deeper connection with the character?
Choosing a character is something that falls a bit weird for me. It has to fall under 4 things: pink, shoes, personality and challenge. Most of my costumes have pink in them, which is hilarious since I don't even like the colour but it's something that I've accepted in my costumes through sometimes I break the pattern. Shoes are the make or break it deal for me. If I see something that I can potentially hurt myself in, I won't do it. I like enjoying my conventions and photo shoots and I can't do that while in pain. Personality wise I definitely try to choose someone who is close enough to me. I like knowing that there are characters who are enough like me or have gone through similar things as me and in a way it feels like the character and I are one and the same and people can really feel that from you, they can really see you enjoying yourself. As for challenges, if I see something that looks impossible you bet I am going to try it, especially if it's a dress or a wig!
Your wig for Rose Quartz is what originally drew me to your cosplay. How long did it take to style so many layers? Do you have any tips?
I am humbled that you enjoyed the wig for Rose Quartz. Making it was a lot of trial and error, but once I knew what I wanted and how to curl it it took no time at all for me. The total construction took approximately 6 months to make, but knowing what I know now I could make it in less time. The only advice I can give is be patient and do a little at a time because working with that much wefts can be overwhelming.
What do you think is that one thing that takes a cosplay from good to great? Are things like makeup and wigs an important part of the overall look?
There are plenty of things that make a costume and many people think it comes down to looking like a carbon copy of the character them self (down to skin tone or weight or height or whatever) but I think that's wrong. I think what makes a good costume great is all in how you present yourself. Good posture and a positive attitude and good manners come first! I would say second would be your wig and make up because they can definitely step up your cosplay game. Third would be being comfortable in the costume you are in. If you aren't comfortable people will notice it and you also won't be able to enjoy yourself as much!
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