By Andrea "Yunie" McFall
Joining with Cosplay Blog with a Brain, this is our next cosplayer interview, featuring Jynx! She's a talented cosplayer from the United States, who is exceptionally creative!
Andrea McFall: What's your cosplay alias and why did you choose it?
Jynx: My art alias is 'Jynx' and I use it for all things related to my designs, cosplay and illustrations. It is also the handle I use (or a close variant of it) for my online gaming and internet use. I chose this name about 10 years ago when I was still a teenager.
AM: How many years have you been cosplaying and what got you started?
J: I've been cosplaying for about 14 years off and on. My desire to build costumes was brought on by my early love of anime and comics as a kid, and my first creation was a handmade Sailor Moon costume when I was twelve years old. It wasn't until the year 2000 that I went to my first convention in cosplay, but I have loved it ever since.
AM: What has been some of your favorite things to work with when constructing costumes and why?
J: I love crafting and have found immense joy in building armor and props for mine and friend's costumes. For me, there is something very satisfying about bringing these items to life and representing them faithfully in the three dimensional world. It's an exciting challenge to translate these elaborate, large, and often impossible looking designs into existence, all the while trying to keep them lightweight and durable.
Foam and similar products have been a huge asset to my costuming over the years. It's always fun for me to make the source materials look like something entirely different with the end product. I am now starting to branch out to use more durable materials and plastics.
AM: What are you excited to be working with in the future and why?
J: Over the last year I've been experimenting more with casting and using resins in my costumes. I think the ability to mold and build original shapes and designs is essential for many accurate cosplays, and is a wonderful resource. I'm hoping to use a number of these techniques to give my costumes interesting new details and a longer life span. I will be testing out these new processes this year on a number of new costumes. I am most excited and eager to work on two Warhammer 40k cosplays that have been in the planning stages for a year now. With all the armor, weapons and details, I think it will be one of my biggest challenges yet.
AM: What are some of the traits you like to see in other costumes and who do you think does well in them?
J: With props and armor being my passion, I am always impressed by the amazing cosplayers who sew difficult patterns and designs. I've been improving on this over the years, but I feel that my overall sewing technique is still limited. I think Windofthestars and Yaya are both excellent examples of accurate and quality sewing craftsmanship.
AM: What is your view of the "cosplay scene"?
J: While in costume, I have observed many different mentalities from cosplayers and onlookers over the years. I feel that for the most part the community is very helpful and supportive. But since it is an art form loved by all types of people, age groups and fandoms, there are bound to be a range of opinions and behavior.
I'm lucky that my cosplay experience has mostly been a fun and positive over the years. I would love to see this trend continue for other cosplayers and the community as a whole. It takes a lot of guts to suit up in a costume you've made yourself, whether you're experienced or not.
AM: What are some of the things you want to see change in the scene?
J: Hopefully I'm not being too idealistic, but I think being positive and inclusionary is essential for a healthy cosplay community. I fear that too often people are judged and disrespected while in costume, from both onlookers and other cosplayers. This can often be very hurtful and demeaning to a person, which shouldn't occur. Cosplaying is an activity that many of us share and love, and it's always more fun when people are supportive and friendly.
AM: What is some advice you could give people starting to get into cosplay?
J: Don't be afraid to ask for help. The community is full of supportive groups, and there is a wealth of advice and tutorials on the internet.
Be realistic and patient. Some people struggle at first when building their first costumes because of the amount of technical skill often needed. Cosplay can be very challenging and rewarding, but you don't want to burn yourself out. Try to start out with simple, yet bold designs that you're passionate about. Once you feel comfortable, move on to more challenging and elaborate costumes.
Have fun. Whether you're very serious about cosplay or not, remember to enjoy yourself! You spent all this time making your costume, and now it's time to wear it proudly. It's easy to become nervous or stressed when preparing for a con, so use this opportunity to wind down and celebrate the character. Don't be shocked if people want to take your picture or strike up a conversation about your cosplay either.
AM: What are some of your favorite conventions you've attended and why?
J: I enjoy attending a range of different events, but my favorites are comic and game cons. I always have a great time at PAX Prime each year, and l love that I can play games, cosplay and shop at the same time. I'm also a huge fan of the League of Legend events and tournaments, and go as often as possible. I do attend my local anime conventions, though I'm more often set up in the dealer's room/artist alley selling and promoting my art.
AM: Give a random fact about one of your costumes that you're proud of!
J: For my female Predator costume years ago, I made a full body latex suit to create the illusion of alien skin. This was the first time I had tried such a thing and had no idea what I was in store for… Latex doesn't breathe, and coupled with a full mask and helmet it is one of the most uncomfortable and draining costumes to wear.
I ended up wearing the suit for 12 hours during one event, which was a poor decision in the middle of summer. Luckily I didn't get hurt, but I urge people to be careful when wearing costumes that don't allow your skin to breathe. You will end up overheating, sweating and eventually get chills from the moisture trapped against your body. Even though it's a pain to wear, I still love it and am proud of how it turned out!
Andrea "Yunie" McFall is an avid comic collector who occasionally lends her weird humor to podcasts. She also works with Anime Jam Session and Cosplay Blog with a Brain, spreading as much geekiness around as possible. You can find her on Twitter as @Koiengi and on Facebook under Yunie/Koi.