Vincent Valentine (Final fantasy Advent Children) // Photo by Vaxzone
Years of Cosplay: 3
Australian cosplayer Darcy is always taking seriously the challenge of making a new costume and he’s always eager to learn new skills and achieve the best results, even if that means a lot of trial and error, sweat and sleepless nights. To him, acting as his chosen character, be it Vincent Valentine, or Loki Laufeyson, is a fun reward after all the work to prepare the outfit, and he’s always ready to show the best performance. Cosplay also brought him a lot of friends and rewarding experiences, and all these are enough to keep him going and trying to do his best in this hobby.
“The challenge of making the costume really drives me to do my best, try my hardest and learn new skills; of course, there will be blood, sweat and tears, lack of sleep and anger!”
What is the hardest part for you when cosplaying – making the costume, or acting like the character? What determines you to decide upon a character?
All aspects of cosplay can have their hard and easy parts, but I find both of them enjoyable! Nevertheless, I consider that making the costume is more challenging, while acting in character is a fun reward when you have finished your project!
The challenge of making the costume really drives me to do my best, try my hardest and learn new skills; of course, there will be blood, sweat and tears, lack of sleep and anger! Though nothing brings a nicer feeling than looking back and feeling accomplished because of your own patience and dedicated work! Acting like the character for a photo-shoot or event is always fun, even though it can be difficult if it’s a new look you want to achieve! A little practice always goes a long way; more often than not I have been caught and embarrassed over trying to give myself a smoldering look in the mirror!
I have a bit of attraction towards characters with odder expressions or features! I love doing something that I know I can have fun with! I feel I did sway to cosplay more villainous characters in the past since that is something I find myself comfortable doing and I do enjoy it! I usually choose a character based on a few things; I keep a bit of a mental checklist and tick off aspects of characteristics and attitudes that I find appealing. Certain designs definitely do attract me too, I really love the challenge of looking at an image or reference photo without having a clue what is what! Projects like that keep me up all night thinking! And lastly, I always have had an attraction towards long haired characters, so bonus points if they have it!
Memphis (Ouke no Monshou) // Photo by Pireze
Can you recount what was your most wonderful experience related to cosplay?
I had many wonderful experiences that I will always cherish, be it small joyful ones or overwhelming ones! I was lucky enough to attend the World Cosplay Festival in Korea last October with two lovely friends from Australia, some from Singapore and of course all the new friends and faces I met whilst I was there! It was my first overseas trip, so not only was it incredible to experience a new culture and see the sights, but also to see how cosplayers from other countries treat the hobby, see how they have done certain things, how they bring their own style to a new costume! The attitude and atmosphere there were very nice to experience; it really gave me a spark of delight and increased my enthusiasm! It was amazing and I really learnt so much; it was inspiring to meet such incredible and amazing people!
Do you ever find yourself working under pressure to finish a costume or do you usually prepare with time to spare in advance for them?
Definitely more often than not I do find myself working under pressure due to lack of time, unfortunate events or simply my own laziness! Like in the case of many cosplayers, nothing beats procrastination!
Of course, in earlier cosplay projects there were many times when I decided on new plans last minute or bit off more than I could chew; a few sleepless nights and a newly emptied space in my wallet slowly taught me to better prepare and evaluate my projects, though I still find myself falling back into old habits far too easily!
Kuma (Persona 4) // Photo by Rayfy
Alto Saotome (Macross Frontier) // Photo by Shawn Chen
“Nonetheless, learning through mistakes is the best way to progress.”
I could list endless stories of friends and I slaving away late nights in hotels, beginning with nothing and appearing at the events with sets or armor, or travelling a few hours back to a certain store just to buy that last 20cm of fabric that I underestimated and be sewing again before midday! For example, whilst I was working on my Vincent Valentine costume, I was approaching my deadline before I flew out on my trip. I had planned to have a certain amount of belt buckles made each day; however, after calculating the time for the resin to set and the amount left, I knew I couldn’t finish. So I had to restart and approach with a new method whilst on my vacation! Resulting in a friend and I spray painting in the hotel and weathering the foam with my Masquara! My most recent rush job resulted in a sewing machine travelling with me as my carry on luggage all the way to Singapore!
Nonetheless, learning through mistakes is the best way to progress. Now I find myself deciding on costumes weeks in advance and collecting all my resources; I keep checklists and deadlines in order to finish on time, it took some time but eventually you find yourself being about to match your own skill range with a time allowance! But I have always said: no great costume goes without stress!
Vincent Valentine (Final fantasy Advent Children) // Photo by Brian Lim
What was the most challenging costume for you until now?
All costumes have a challenging aspect, though I would say one of the hardest things I have approached was either Loki Laufeyson (Avengers) or Ryoko (Alichino); both were well fitted coats with high amounts of peculiar paneling, with lots of shapes going in all different directions. It was a challenging task to keep it well fitted and still have the panels accurately proportioned! With trial and error, I eventually finished drafting my pattern, a few more adjustments after making a mock, and I was ready to work with my chosen fabrics!
Some other challenging things are projects that I am completely new to. Resin casting and mould making was fun and interesting to try with a friend; we made a few mistakes, but after several goes and some permanent stains on my carpet we overcame it! Nothing works better than just jumping in and having a go! The costume I am currently working on has been my most challenging and time consuming project and I am excited to be approaching a finish!
So far, what do you believe to be the most positive and negative aspect in cosplay? What keeps you going?
I have grown and learnt so much from this hobby and I can really see that in my life, not just in cosplay; the skills I have learnt have improved other aspects of my life, from time management, organization, working under pressure and people skills! I have learnt to have more confidence in myself and now I can look back and have some self-satisfaction.
“…I think the most positive aspect is definitely the people you meet! This hobby has brought me close to so many new friends who I do love and will cherish for a life time!”
Though I think the most positive aspect is definitely the people you meet! This hobby has brought me close to so many new friends who I do love and will cherish for a life time! No matter if the project is a solo one or a team, you can always rely on your friends for help and support and then can rely themselves on me also! Attending an event or photo-shoot is always something I look forward to, so I can enjoy the time with these friends! Even if you get stressed and can argue sometimes, it’s always worth it! Yes, you meet some unpleasant faces sometimes too, but the good always outweighs the bad!
The only negative aspect I can think of is the stress, lack of money and sleep from dedicating perhaps a little too much time into the next costume! Though I would give those up any day to keep enjoying this amazing hobby!