Cosplay Artist Spotlight: Fred and Elle Designs Pt 2
Today we travel through space and time, to the Biel-Tan Craftworld and beyond with a pair of artists who expertly craft the Cosplay world to their whims. Creating projects from multiple fandoms, these two Cosplayers set an incredibly high bar, and have fantastic words of wisdom for the community.
“They shall come, expecting the obvious, the simple, the artless. They shall stab at the shadows with confused minds and troubled hearts. Meanwhile, we shall appear unseen from ten directions, and from every one strike a fatal blow.” -Farseer Caerys
Over a year and a half ago when I first started writing for BoLS, I came across a fellow on the cosplay forums who was talking about an upcoming Eldar cosplay he and his wife were about to undertake. Intrigued, I messaged him for details, and have watched avidly they created one of the most beautiful Farseers I have ever seen. This couple’s dynamic and delicately detailed Eldar cosplays were the first to draw my eye to their work, and I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to feature them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
What conventions do you attend? Have you guested/spoken on panels/competed in contests?
We like being part of local conventions and helping small events grow to great events. We have attended InfinityCon, WasabiCon, Mandarin MiniCon, Jekyll Island Con, CollectiveCon, PensaCon, Ancient City Con, Fan Lexicon, ConjureCon, AmeliaCon, Retrorama, HurricaneWho, Timelord Fest, Jacksonville Public Library Comic Con, and others. Our big cons are DragonCon and MegaCon.
We also love supporting children’s organizations and are a part of Costumers With a Cause. Through that, we have visited schools and participated in the annual Jacksonville Children’s Christmas Celebration. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the face of a child light up when you walk in the room as Batman. Makes all the burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises, strains, dehydration, poisonings, and long-term injuries worthwhile.
Competing in costume contests is always a blast! We have been honored to receive awards at numerous conventions and the process of competing has helped us when we have been invited to sit on panels or judge contests. Fred also competed in this neat little show called Cosplay Melee on SyFy. Though it was incredibly hard work, and the hours were agonizing, it was pretty fun! For those who watched the episode, you may have noticed he defaulted to his Warhammer 40k past and accidentally built an Ultramarine.
Speaking on panels together is one of our favorite things to do because we fancy ourselves to be quite hilarious. The only proof we have of this is that we haven’t had tomatoes thrown at us and we have occasionally been invited back to participate the following year. Elle’s favorite panel to present is “A Sewing Manifesto” where she argues that seamstresses are underappreciated and much more talented than foamsmiths. In Fred’s preferred panel discussion, he shares tips with cosplayers new to the craft in a very “Listen to your dad because I know what I’m talking about” kind of way. In Elle’s opinion, his panel should be called, “Yes, that’s good, but no, that’s wrong. I know this because I’m old”.
What projects are you working on in the future?
Since we don’t attend many conventions during the hot summer months, we instead go into full-on fabrication mode and take on commissions. With that, we recently completed several commissions including an Ulthwe Farseer from Warhammer 40K, Cyborg from Teen Titans, several Dora Milaje spears from Black Panther, and a Muckman from SKS Props Wasteland Alice series. In between all of that, Elle is working on a Rose Quartz cosplay and Fred is starting a Hiccup commission. As if that weren’t enough on its own, we have a super-secret crazy-huge build in the works, which will be our biggest and most elaborate to date (we gunna need a bigger ‘ammer anna bagga nailz, derz gubbinz ta make!!)!
What conventions are you attending this next season?
We tend to stick close to home when it comes to conventions so we typically stay in the Southeastern US. Unfortunately, because we typically stay in the Southeastern US where the temperatures hit 4000 degrees in the summer we shy away from many during this season. With that, we are attending Wasabicon and Mandarin Minicon in October, JekyllCon in December, and hope to attend Florida Supercon and possibly a few conventions in Costa Rica next year!
Who are your cosplay inspirations? Whose work do you admire or aspire to?
Elle: Though there are a lot of great cosplay crafters out there, Kamui Cosplay is my major cosplay crush. Not only is she funny and entertaining, she is also crazy-talented. Add to that, she is a solid teacher – her books and videos are excellent tutorials that should be Cosplay 101 for anyone entering the craft. Heck, those of us who have been doing this for a while can benefit from her tips and tricks. Also, in a world where good cosplayers can get a bit of a big head about their accomplishments, Kamui still seems to be keeping it real.
Fred: Yaya Han is an inspiration because she has the three pinnacles of cosplay covered – she is a true cosplayer, a cosplay model, and a successful businesswoman who is making a good living off of her cosplay. Good for her! My senpai, of course, is Steve Smith from SKS Props. He is a master propmaker with a varied and stellar skillset that allows him to create absolutely anything he wants.
What are your favorite movies/shows to watch or music to listen to while you craft?
Our go-to background noise is stand-up comedians or binge-listening to a comedy series on Netflix. Since we work in separate but adjacent rooms in the house, it’s difficult for either of us to watch anything, so instead we’ll put on something like Parks and Recreation or Community and work our way through the entire series. The comedy keeps our spirits up and it’s great to hear laughter from the other room, especially when a project is going to hell.
What message do you have for people wanting to break into cosplay? What have you learned in your time working in Cosplay?
You want to break into cosplay? Then cosplay. Simple as that. Don’t go into it thinking you’re going to become a star. Go into it because you love it.Advertisement
Make something. Make anything. Know that the first thing you make is going to suck – and that’s ok. Once you finish it, make it again. Yes, make the exact same thing again. Revel in the improvement.
Ask for advice from someone you admire. Be willing to accept constructive criticism and change your process.
Learn from your mistakes. Even the best and brightest screw up. That’s how we get better. Fail forward.
Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you’re good with foam, try sewing. If you’re good with leatherwork, try casting. The best cosplays tend to be multimedia, so try new things.
Don’t forget you’re going to have to eat, go to the restroom, sit down, move through hallways. Plan accordingly.
Cosplay from head to toe – don’t forget makeup, hair, shoes, accessories.
Ladies – NO HEELS! If you must, go with wedges. You can’t cosplay if you’re miserable.
On that note, stay hydrated.
Always bring an Oh-Sh!t Kit with you – include super glue, duct tape, safety pins, needle and thread, and extras of everything.
Be nice to people. We’re all in this nerdom together.Advertisement
Cosplay what you love, not what’s popular. If you like a random character from a 1960s B-movie horror film, do it.
If someone gets close enough to criticize something (unsolicited) on your cosplay, it’s perfectly legal to punch them. (Note: do not take legal advice from this article.)
Don’t be afraid to ask for help at a con. People like to help and it builds comradery. The inverse of that rule is to help when asked – someday you’ll be the one in need and you don’t want to be that jerk that never helps.
What are your social media/website links? Where can we find you?