Heya, dear Emi-Zone. Please say hello to the readers.
Helloo~! My name is Emi [short for Emily.] =D I'm really honoured to have been picked for this as there are so many talented cosplayers within the UK. So I hope you'll find an interest or enjoyment from my waffling ;]
Before it begins, could you please introduce yourself first?
I'm a 19 year old aspiring illustrator from England and cosplay is one of my main hobbies along with photography and art. I'm a fantasy addict who can spend hours reading manga or watching anime, you'll probably also notice from my replies that I use a lot of emotions when typing XD;
Why you pick "Emi-Zone" to be your nickname?
Ahh this is a long winded answer. When I was around 11 years old I was walking home with a school friend. She said I should have a nickname and then suddenly exclaimed 'Emzone!' I ended up using that for everything XD; When I first joined deviantART, with the intentions to post my art and photos, I used that as my username. Then I got into cosplaying, but I decided I wanted a separate account, and thus Emi-zone was made.
Please introduce your family, and their opinions on your cosplay.
My parents, one elder brother and two cats. My mum is probably like every other cosplayers mother XD; Every time I get a new wig it's '--Not another oneee!' or 'Where are you going to keep all of these?!' but I think she takes pride in the finished results, she helps me out when searching for something or offers ideas and not to mention she puts up with all my mess when I come home during the weekends to dye some fabric or 'borrow' her iron XDXD.
My dad generally imitates the 'not another one!' speech but he will always help me whether it's prop making or sewing. The only reason I know how to make my costumes is because of his knowledge and teaching, if I ever have a problem I'll go to him for advice. I think my brother finds it all a bit odd; recently he seems to have accepted that occasionally his little sister will walk past his room in full male garb, though not quite enough to stop the witty remarks~ My two cats contribute by forever walking and rolling around on my fresh fabric ;]
What started you on the cosplay path?
My best friend introduced it to me at the end of high school, I'd been watching anime since I can remember, but I had no idea people would make the outfits or meet at events. I started looking into it online and was amazed at how vast the community was. She invited me to my first cosplay event in 2007 at Telford and not long after that I was hooked ;D
Please tell us your first experience of cosplay.
It was brilliant! Kairi was my first costume and at the time it was a very sorry excuse to, yet people still requested photos. I felt inspired to improve and expand my ideas, I met so many amazing people in such a short amount of time, people that to this day I'm still very close to.
What is your most favorite cosplay subject matter?
Ahh that's a hard one! I have a strong love for Pandora Hearts; I've made 5 costumes from it already. It's one of the only series I've done multiple costumes from actually. I adore the characters and outfits, they're challenging but so effective when completed.
Which character is your favorite one that you have cosplayed so far?
Again that's hard since I love all the characters I cosplay XD But if I had to choose one... it would probably be Zidane. I know his character really well so it's easier to portray him. Plus he's incredibly upbeat and a tad cheeky ;D
What are the good things of cosplay?
The people. I wouldn't be doing any of this if it weren't for all the awesome people I've met over the course of these three years. They support and inspire me to continue making costumes, to form groups and improve. To put it simply, events are only as good as the company I'm spending it with and the same goes for the hobby.
Are there any bad things?
The dramu! Some people can take it to far at times and forget it's just for fun. It's understandable that you can get rather serious about it if it's a competition piece and such. But simple things like 'You cosplayed my character!' or 'This person is much better at cosplaying XXX than me!' can really get out of hand. The only individual who can claim a costume is the creator themselves, there's going to be hundreds of variations of the same character why should it matter if it's a friend? Then the inferiority some people possess, if you have tried your hardest on a costume then there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. If it aggravates you then just keep trying that's the only way anyone can ever improve. I generally seek out amazing costumes of a character I'm making to help inspire me and aim higher each time, but ultimately it's all for the fun of wearing the finished product and feeling good about the work that was put into making it.
Do you have the experience like "The character you wanna cosplay, but give up for some reasons?
Hahaha I'm guilty of that, I was intending to make Polka from Eternal Sonata but the group dissolved and I lost the momentum to finish it. I'm also stuck in limbo progress on Mushra from Shinzo. Whereas Polka I'm not entirely sure I will ever take back up - Mushra is still a costume I aspire to finish eventually! Finally, I still have to make the jacket for my Lag costume from Tegami Bachi - but I'm sure I'll have that done before I next wear him ;D
In your standpoints, what are the difficulties when you cosplay the male character?
Lately I've found an issue with the binding. I use a crop zipper T-Kingdom binder which allows me to show my stomach for various costumes which is great. But I've found myself looking at, and attempting, a few open-chested characters such as Luffy. I just don't have the self confidence to open bind - especially not in the middle of winter! It also becomes a problem with bare shouldered characters such as Emil from Tales of Symphonia when the binder can be easily being seen. I have had to boycott using a binder for his costume. I guess it's a good thing I'm pretty small XD;;
What are your principles of cosplay?
To achieve 100% in every costume and portray each character to the best of my ability. Since I cosplay characters I adore I hope to give them the full justice when cosplaying them =]
For you, the meaning of cosplay is?
Create, Achieve and Enjoy. It has the term 'play' in it for a reason =]
"Studio" and "event", which one do you like?
I've never actually done a proper studio shoot so I can't really compare, but I have done multiple outdoor/on location shoots. I find these to be great fun and it has allowed me to travel all over the place and experience so many different things. Events are generally busy and one can be severley limited in terms of backdrop suitablity for the character.
Do you have any experience of taking a cosplay event in the foreign country?
I went to JapanExpo in Paris last year which was my first international event. I loved every second of it. It was amazing to see an entirely different cosplaying community though communication was rough since I have very poor French XD; I intend to travel over again this year and so forth =]
Can you tell us the experiences about place-choosing in cosplay?
I've sort of gained a knowledge of places over time, often when I'm out and about I see places and spots and make mental notes in my head such as 'oh such-and-such character would really suit that place'. I've also had several locations suggested to me by friends while scouting potential shoot locations. For me, shooting on location is the best thing there is so I'm really into travelling around to achieve the best background scenery.
Costumes, Make-up and Wigs
Generally we can get cosplay clothes and accessories by "purchase" and "DIY (do it yourself)." Which one is your favorite way?
I now prefer to make the costume myself; I take more pride and enjoyment from piecing ideas together and working out how the outfit sits and works on the character. While all the sewing and fitting can get tiring at times the ultimate feeling of accomplishment that is felt when you can finally wear the costume you've worked so hard on, the costume of the character you really really like, it's just so worth it for me =] I also feel like each costume is a challenge and I end up learning something new each time. That being said certain accessories are better to be bought although if possible I do attempt at making them, depending on the item XD
How could you get the materials for making clothes?
There is a large fabric shop fairly close to me. So I generally use that as my main source of fabric income. Though recently I've been shipping materials from online shops and travelling to a few other shops in surrounding towns, as some of the costumes have started requesting specific fabrics. XD
Which material is your favorite one?
I have to say one of my favourites to work with is Peach Skin. It was used to make the main coat for both my artbook Oz costumes. It has a lovely texture and a similar quality to that of satin but without the gaudy shine, and it just feels so nice.
How much money does it cost for making clothes?
Ahhh a lot XD I don't usually keep a tally on my spends but I know for a fact several costumes have cost over £200. My cheapest would be a casual costume totalling around £11, I'm generally a big spender when it comes to my costumes.
Which costume is your favorite one you’ve created so far? Any story behind it?
Every costume I make becomes my favourite! As simple as it is I really like wearing my Ash costume because it's a huge part of my childhood. The costume itself is really simple and durable to so I was able to roll down the sand dunes at our shoot location several times - a few being by accident and the rest done for amusement XD I also love my artbook Oz costumes because they're both so grand and swishy with all the frilly layers.
How do you store your costumes up?
Rather terribly I'm afraid XD I don't have much wardrobe space. Some of my lesser worn outfits are in a suitcase in my parents loft - the rest are taking up half of my wardrobe on hangers with plastic bags hanging along side them with all the accessories XD; My shoes are often thrown into the bottom of the wardrobe which really isn't very good - I've since moved some of the more fragile ones into their own spaces on top - I can at least claim the majority of my wigs are kept in better fashion XD
Some special accessories are hard to get. How do you get these accessories?
If it's a specific item like Oz's pocket watch I generally browse online websites to see if a decent model has been made, otherwise if it's something like Allen's timcampy I will attempt to make it myself using femo clay, foam or fabrics etc.
Please show your make-up kit.
Before I started cosplaying I didn't really wear makeup, since then I've slowly accumulated a small horde of techniques and appliances XD
What are your make-up principles?
This really depends on the character - I also start off with a moisturiser for the base which is then covered with powder foundation to help cover any Blemishes and make the skin look smoother and equally toned. Dependant on the character I will use some black eyeliner on the lower lid and liquid eyeliner on the top if it's female - or has a specific eye shape. I sometimes use a white pencil in the corners to help enlarge the eyes. I've recently started to use false eyelashes for female cosplays - though I've not really got any photos of this yet since Rita is my most recent female and she was to tomboyish for them XD If I'm colouring my eyebrows I either use pencils or paint them with washable PVA glue, allow it to dry then mix the ideal shade with acrylics and paint the colour on top. It comes off really easily with hot water and a cloth afterwards.
How do you get the wig for your need?
I prefer to buy my own wig unless it's a throw together thing - or I'm also borrowing a costume, though this is pretty rare XD I enjoy styling wigs and I like to be able to style the it to fit my face - I'm also very particular with my wig purchases, even though I cosplay a variety of blonde haired characters, for example, I have a different wig for each one. Really I have far too many wigs and it's still expanding but I feel the wig can be the most important part of a costume. A good wig means you can wear more than the standard clothing that character is associated with - and still be recognisable.
Tell us your experience about the wig in cosplay.
When I was first introduced to wigs I had no idea how they worked, I was completely lost XD I had previously just been spray dying my hair for my first costume [it looked terrible!] A friend helped me out and explained them to me My first wig was a red one for Kairi, the wig itself was retired long ago when I came across a much better one, though I may be using it again soon for a certain costume project involving water =D
How do you get the contacts?
Aaa I'm awful with contacts! I buy them online and they can be pretty pricey. But I'm awful at putting them in - and even worse trying to get them out! To be honest I generally wimp out before hand despite spending vast amounts of money on them. At the moment I have 3 pairs of contacts in my makeup bag that I have yet to successfully wear at an event. I'm hoping to get better at this.
Tell us your experience about the contacts in cosplay.
The first time I wore contacts was a practise run at my home. It took me a good hour to get them in and then I spent several hours in pure discomfort. It was only when I eventually rubbed my eye and the discomfort vanished that I realised I hadn't been wearing them properly the entire time. I then spent 2 hours, no joke, trying to take them out before succumbing to watching a youtube video on how to remove them. It was so simple after I saw that. It's probably a good idea to know these sort of things before hand... XD
It is important for some characters to their fingernails or toenails. Can you tell us any experiences about your nails in cosplay?
I don't paint my nails in my average day to day life because at the weekends my work doesn't permit it since we come into contact with food and during the week I'm working in an art studio getting covered in inks, graphite and much more. However if I'm doing a character with painted nails, for example Rin from Vocaloid, I will paint them for the shoot and then remove it afterwards. I think because I'm unable to do so normally, I'm all for it XD
Are there any specials cleaning or washing the costumes for cosplay?
I got a weird grassy/dirt stain on one of my costumes once - my mum suggested this really strange product my dad's company produced, which involved wetting the area, sponging it on and leaving it for a few minutes. It worked so well that it has become my answer to everything cosplay related :'D
Is it okay for you to lend your great costumes to the friends?
If fitting isn't an issue I really don't mind at all XD I'm constantly dressing my younger cousin in my costumes and photographing her! It's nice to see your work being worn by someone else occasionally. It also lets you see it from all angles I guess? XD
Experience and Wisdom
It is hard to exhibit the thoughtfulness and the spirit of a character, but you always did it. What a great job! About this, please tell us your secrets of success.
I think I generally tend to pick characters who I can relate to in some ways which of course makes the whole acting in character thing a lot easier, there are a few characters I've started taking on however who are generally a bit more extreme than myself. I tend to watch/read up as much as I can on the character before wearing the costume so I have a good idea of how to act and carry myself.
Some characters have her expression- cry, smile or cold. Any ideas how to imitate their expression for your cosplay?
I read once on another cosplayer's journal that to achieve the expression of a character, best for photoshoots, it's a good idea to practise beforehand in a mirror. It really is funny and I generally end up laughing at myself, but I feel if the character has a specific look about them it's a good idea to nail it rather than wishing you had [titled your head left or smiled less] after the photos are up. That being said I'm still one of those people who looks at photos exclaiming 'oh why did I do that!' XD
Some people have the prejudice against cosplay and cosplayer. Do you have any experience about the prejudices in cosplay?
I've had a few smaller experiences, if we're doing a photoshoot in a public place we generally have people approach us asking questions. The majority are genuinely interested and though some act like it's a bit odd - they generally accept it - I've had a fair few nice people asking about it and then requesting photos as if we were at a cosplay event XD There was one run in where a shop in one of the larger shopping centres was hosting a cosplay event. A security guard stopped one of my friends who was in costume from entering the building and was accusing him of all sorts of things simply because he was wearing a pink wig. It's very frustrating at times, but luckily it's fairly rare that we will meet such discrimination in public.
You always do well in photo. Can you tell us why you can have no "stage fright" when cameras are locked on you?
Because all the horrific ones are stored away deep within the depths of my harddrive never to see the light of day!-I used to be awful with photos, I don't consider myself to be very photogenic and in the earlier stages of my life I was hardly ever caught on camera. At my first convention it really surprised me to have photo requests and I felt so awkward and out of place. I guess over the past year I've gotten a little more used to it. If it's someone I'm not very familiar with, taking the photos, I can feel very unsure and awkward, but if it's a close friend I can relax and do some silly poses to loosen up. I think the only reason I have decent images is because the photographers were people I knew and thus they were able to bring out the best in me XD [Though we still really do get many derpy shots ;)]
It costs time and money in cosplay. Have you ever worry or get tired about it?
Money is always an issue, I work to support myself so whatever remains is usually spent on bits and pieces for costumes, I'm not a big earner in any sense but I manage to get by. I think if I was to add the max total of costs I've spent on cosplay these past years the amount would be horrific though XD; I personally don't mind using my time to make the costumes, my only issue is never having ENOUGH time! It always pays off and the 15 hours spent on sewing a costume lead to many more fun hours wearing it and enjoying myself.
If the character you wanna cosplay wears the "exposed" clothes, does it trouble you - even give up?
This is something I'm battling with currently! I'd really like to cosplay Black Rock Shooter but it's incredibly revealing and I don't feel I have anything like the perfect body she's been designed with XD So I suppose right now I'm sort of wavering between awesome costume and feeling incredibly awkward XD;
Are you interest in wearing folk costumes in your cosplay?
I've never worn a kimono before. Non of my characters have worn folk outfits as their canon costumes. I hadn't really thought about it much. Now I feel like I should :|
Your costumes are not only great in cosplay, also good for leisure wears. Have you ever wearing the cosplay costume for leisure wear?
I wear a lot of my cosplay shoes, but I can't really think of anything else I've worn from a costume other than jewellery or small accessories. I don't think my sewing is that good to be worn in general public and every day life - that and I haven't made many things that could pass off as normal clothing! XD
It is popular for a cosplayer or a photographer to "process" their photos to be more beautiful. What are your opinions about that?
I'm all for touching up photos - I don't agree to extreme photoshopping that affects the facial structure or body shape. That sort of editing - while impressive - is rather pointless as it no longer reflects the original model. Adding tones and fixing lighting is fine for me, all great photographers subject their raw imagery to some sort of refining editorial process so it's no different than that. Plus amongst a sea of cosplay photos if you want yours to stand out it's best to clean it up and make it presentable =] Some basic editing can really help a photo jump out to the viewer.
Your postures are outstanding. I think it's one of the reasons why you are a great cosplayer. Please tell us your experience of posture in your cosplay.
I definitely used to have a terrible posture and posing ability - since when I was younger I felt really unphotogenic and thus never had photos of myself. I had no idea how to pose and nor did I really care to be honest XD I look back on some of my prom photos and WISH I had known better oTL I was very self conscious and it's so obvious in my posing. My earliest cosplay photos also show this, I think as I got more and more into the hobby I gained more experience - I'd see other people and friends posing and realise what I was doing wrong. I also read up on some posture inspiring blogs and started paying more attention to how my chosen characters posed and moved. I'm still pretty bad at it to be fair but I'm getting there I think!
We like your facial expressions - not only beauty but cute. Show us more about your standpoints of facial expression please.
I'm awful with expressions in photos. A friend of mine picked up on my inability to adjust it for shoots and she started physically bashing her sword against mine to inflict genuine surprise and strain XD; It's something I'm trying to improve but I'm finding it really difficult XD; I find myself smiling naturally which was something I sort of starting doing a good 5 years back. I realised I never smiled to the point that when I started cosplaying - because I found it so enjoyable and the way everyone was - I was having cramps and pains around my mouth since it wasn't used to all the smiling! I figured this was a bad thing and started mentally smiling more often and it sort of stuck. My friends have to keep yelling at me to stop smiling now during more serious shoots XD;
You always smile in your cosplay. Will you challenge other facial expressions in the future?
Again it's something I'm trying to improve. To date I think my most expressive cosplay was Luffy, I was able to pull a few more interesting expressions during the shoot, mainly when Nami threatened us. But overall it's still pretty weak oTL
Have you ever refused taking photos? Why?
I've personally never turned down a photographer - once when I was in a large group one person requested but a group member asked them to come back later since we were eating =/ I was actually half way up - dusting myself down - upon hearing the request XD; Other than that I've never refused. It's really nice for someone to ask to photograph your work so I have no problem at all. I only find it aggravating that some people take photos without asking, I understand they can feel shy - but I'd really prefer it if they asked so I can give them a nicer shot where I'm posed - rather than one of me stuffing a sandwich into my mouth XD;
If you can not reach the requirements of yourself or cameraman, how do you do?
During shoots I'm often with a group of friends - mixed within the photographers and cosplayers. If they or I feel I'm not doing the right thing they'll always help out in terms of posing, angles or ideas.
One of the reasons you in deviantART is to herd llamas...herd llamas? What does it mean?
Hahaha, it was in the suggested drop down list for that section and it amused me. I'm honestly not all that fond of llamas XD
You're currently studying Illustration at University. It sounds cool! Could you tell us more about it?
It's a lot of work! It's a three year course which when finished will enable me to work within the illustration industry. But it's a lot of fun; our tutors are always encouraging individuality and creativity. They have us doing some bizarre things at times like photographing faces formed by inanimate objects, making animals out of random scraps and cardboard or creating mini stage sets and performing puppet shows XD I love how free and wild we can be during classes.
According to your personal description, you're interested in photography. Please share some stories about that.
When I started college I had picked three of my A level subjects and I needed one more, so I went to look at the photography class. I had always had an interest but never really pursued it. The class allowed me to fully explore and experience photography and I've never looked back since. Cosplaying has allowed me to photograph some really interesting people and costumes in wonderful environments. I think it's the concept of capturing memories and being able to look over them mostly that attracts me, other than the pretty pictures, which is the main reason I make my convention journals for my DA. I often find myself reading over them and smiling =]
One of your favorite styles of art is "Chibi." Why?
Haha I really need to update that XD To me chibified versions of characters are adorable, they're also generally pretty amusing. Realistically I'm attracted to art nouveau, Alphonse Mucha and James Jeans are two of my favourite illustrators.
Your favorite characters are Yuri Lowell and Zidane Tribal. Any reasons behind it?
Yuri Lowell was listed after my Tales of Vesperia high ;] I generally have a new favourite character every month - however Zidane is a bit special. Despite my varying tastes I've always adored FF9. It was one of my earliest games, I was about 8 years old when it was released and I recall arguing with my brother that Zidane was a girl because of his long blonde hair [Zidane then proceeded to flirt with Garnet, crushing my argument XD] I think for me final fantasy 9 is the definition of fantasy I'm not so fond of all these cyber world, technological, fantasies that seem to be so popular nowadays. Give me a chocobo drawn cart and monkey boy any day ;]
It's important for a cosplay to have a good cameraman. Could you introduce some cameramen?
I owe a lot of my awesome photos to foxseye, Akraru and Myst. They all have different styles and perceptions when it comes to photography which is why I adore their works. I can also list Blasteh, Chi, RavenBlakh, Pouncey and Dan as three other superb photographers in the UK cosplay scene.
You are an outstanding cosplayer in UK. I hope I could have a chance to know more cosplayer in your country. Could you introduce some of the good cosplayers in UK?
I'm really one of the lesser known cosplayers here in the UK! - There are so many amazing people. Off the top of my head there is Papercutperfect, Sands, SephNoir, Yuka, Tab, Street-Angel, Sephirayne - so many! XD
Hey you have cats! Could you please tell more about your cats?
Haha of course, they're both Siamese breeds. Jasper is a blue point and Theo is a seal point. I'd had Jasper since I was really young, he was a huge softy but he suffered from asthma in his later years, so he was really snivelly at times which made sleeping difficult when he wanted to cuddle up to you in bed! Unfortunately he passed away a couple of weeks ago finally due to old age, he had lived double his life expectancy and we were really devastated to see him go but I'll never forget him. Theo on the over hand is a bit crazy, he loves the attention but will at times suddenly decide he's had enough and bite you. He's very charamistic and clearly forgets he's meant to be a cat a time, I mean he even has a bed time! He's such a spoilt child XD
You have many cool photos in public. Which is your most satisfactory one?
Eek this is a hard one, they're all so different in terms of character and setting. I think more than one particular favourite there are a handful. A couple of my most recent ones for example, I adore the lighting in my 'To be a Pokemon Master' photo as well as the colours in my red coat Oz shots. There's too many! XD
It seems you have great friends to cosplay with you. Can you introduce them?
Of course! My best friend goes by Navigatorxnami - I owe her so much, she's the reason I got into the hobby and helps keep it alive for me :'D I've entered several competitions with Street-Angel who is another close and oh so talented friend when it comes to sewing/drawing and singing. She can do literally just about anything. Berserk667 who is able to take on any role and act it perfectly - papercutperfect is over all amazing at everything she does - Kerhys and CharlieDoryRose both gorgeous and incredibly derpy, Yuka-rin = fabulous ;D, Hollie and Hester, anyone I've cosplayed with! - this really could go on forever. I don't want to miss out anyone so I'll stop now - but there are so so so many people I'd love to list here XD
You said you're creative and like to express your styles. You must have a great self-confident to declare that. Tell something about this case.
Eek not in the slightest! XD; I have terrible self-confidence. When I'm cosplaying I'm able to wear the mask of someone that isn't me, in that sense I'm able to be a bit more open and relaxed I suppose. I'm really dull and quiet in my day to day activities. I consider myself creative because I'm aiming to become an illustrator, if I didn't have at least a shard of creativity inside there's no chance I'd ever achieve it! XD
It's romantic to be a traveler, traveling to the fantastic places! Share your dreams about traveling.
When my mum was younger she travelled round the world while my dad was backpacking across America. I'm really interested in different cultures and lifestyles. I love the feeling of visiting somewhere new, as photography is one of my main hobbies I also would really love the chance to get some amazing photos of the various landscapes and happenings. Travelling is an experience and the memories stay with you throughout your life. I'd really love to travel the globe one day.
One of your interests is anime "Pandora Hearts." And it is only one you've shown in your facebook. What are the reasons you like it?
I have so many favourite shows it would be impossible to list them all on facebook ;] But Pandora Hearts is one of my main favourites. I love Victorian culture, fashion and lifestyle. The series is set within a Victorian theme'd timeline with Nobles and Dukes. It's also been shaken up with Alice in Wonderland which is another of my childhood favourites. The characters are amazing and the costumes that feature through out the series and artbooks are just gorgeous.
There are many cute creatures in manga and anime. Which is your favorite one?
Aghhh this is so difficult to answer XD; There are so so so many! I would love a real life Pikachu. Pikachu is amazing. Yes. I think I'm going to decide on Pikachu.
There are some "hentai factors" in the Japanese anime or the manga. Did you have the culture shock about that?
Nah, I mean I barely noticed since I was watching anime at the age of 6. I came to realise over time that there was often a fair bit of it least hinted in the majority of things I watched or read but it never really bothered me. I just accepted the fact that it was a separate culture and they weren't so closed off about the subject as we were.
What is your aspiration.
I'm aiming to become an illustrator, I use textiles in some of my art so I've found my sewing machine really quite usefull these past couple of years ;D - Cosplay helps keep my imagination alive and gives me inspiration in terms of art most of the time :'D
It 's close to the end. Please say something to your readers.
Thank you very much for taking the time and interest to read all of this! Hopefully it wasn't to boring or a vast amount of rambling. I'm hoping to continue this hobby for much much longer and improve over the time =] Emi out! x