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Tell us about your first cosplay experience: who, what, where, when, and how did it go?

I've always liked to dress up (in carnival, school plays, etc), but my first proper cosplay experience was the first time I attended a convention in costume at Salon del Manga (Barcelona) in 1999. It was my first 'serious' costume (Lina Inverse from Slayers), and cosplay was rather new in Spain (the previous year had been the first time to include a cosplay contest at a manga and anime convention). I was very excited because Lina was my favorite character at the time, and I really felt like cosplaying her, but I was also nervous... I went there with my sister and a friend, and at first, we didn't see any cosplayers so we suddenly felt shy and tried to hide (lol). But suddenly, some fanboy screamed our characters' names out from the queue, and some people came to praise our costumes and ask us to pose for photographs. Then more and more cosplayers started showing up... and we felt at home. There were hundreds of costumers at the con; it was amazing to see my favorite anime characters come to life before my eyes. And I was surprised at the amount of photos we got taken, and the people who praised our costumes or just started talking to us. I'm usually a very shy girl, but that day, I became a different person: I found it so easy to fool around, imitate my character, talk with other cosplayers and make new friends... I think I'll never forget that experience. That same day, on our way back to the hotel, I decided I would never attend a convention without a costume again. It was too addictive!

Are you surprised that you're still cosplaying after 8 years?

Yes and no. When you are younger, you tend to think your life will be different in a few years, but mine hasn't changed a lot, and far from forgetting about cosplay, it has become my favorite hobby. I have learned a lot about it and from it, and what I do is make more and more costumes - or maybe I don't make as many new ones as before, but I try to make them better. I don't think I could quit cosplaying even if I wanted to (unless I had a really compelling reason). As I said before, it's just too addictive.

You have a little bit of everything in your costume collection. Is it easy to choose what outfits to make, or is it difficult because you have so many shows/games you like?

It can be really difficult at times -- there are so many costumes I'd like to make, and so little time -- but sometimes, costumes kind of 'choose themselves.' Maybe one of my top priorities is cosplaying with my friends. I've often put my own plans aside because my friends have invited me to join their next cosplay group, and I usually agree because cosplaying together is always more fun. Sometimes I just follow my instincts: if I've recently watched a new anime and feel like cosplaying one of its characters, I just go ahead. There are many costumes I've wanted to make for a long time, but I keep leaving them for later because I prefer to join a group, or because I think it's not the right moment or the right convention. And sometimes, the day comes that I just think, 'this is the right time,' and make one of them.

When you go to convention, which types of costumes get the most exciting reaction from the audience? (anime/game or movie/classic)

Anime and game costumes are usually the most popular, especially if the series is popular at the moment, but of course, the most exciting reactions come when you surprise the audience with something original, or a not-so-popular classic character. I remember the day when we cosplayed the main characters from the Dragon Quest anime (my favorite series). It had been on Spanish TV about 7 years prior so we thought not many people would recognize us. I was surprised! Not only did they recognize us, but some people also seemed really excited about it, and it felt so good. I also like it when my sister and I make people laugh with our comical skits on stage.

When you're part of a group, which do you enjoy more: being a main character or being a supporting character?

It depends on the character, of course, but as long as the cast is good, I'll enjoy it. To be honest, supporting characters are usually my favorite ones in most anime and manga series (except for a few like Lina Inverse from Slayers or Yoh Asakura from Shaman King), but my friends often ask me to be the main character in our group, or when I join, my favorite ones are already taken (lol). And I admit, I don't mind cosplaying characters I don't like so much if they have a cool and somewhat challenging outfit.

Your sister is one of your cosplay partners so what does the rest of your family think of your hobby?

My mother loves cosplay too! She has come with us and cosplayed a couple of times at conventions, but now she can't travel very often. However, she has always been a great help, especially when cons are coming closer and we start running out of time to finish our costumes. She often complains about seeing pieces of fabric and thread everywhere around the house when we're working on a costume, but she enjoys and understands our hobby. My grandmother was a great seamstress when she was younger, she wishes she could help us (she can't sew anymore) but she's very proud of our skills and shows our pictures everywhere, although sometimes she gets angry because she says the outfits we choose are too difficult, and that we work too hard for nothing.
My brother is the only one who isn't interested in anime or costumes; he just got used to it. He likes photography, and when he was younger, he even came to conventions with us and was in charge of the photos, but now he says he doesn't want to be seen with some freaks in costume out there (lol).

What inspires you to continue cosplaying and pursuing your interests?

I'm an artist, and creativity is such an important part of my life. Cosplaying has become my favorite hobby, and I love how it's always a new challenge for my imagination and skills. I have learned many things through cosplay, a little bit of everything: not only sewing and tailoring, but also making props, hair styling, make-up tips, modeling, posing, acting, even taking photographs. I've improved through the years and continue to do so (I still have so much to learn), so every new costume, even the simplest one, is a new challenge. When I see my own photos, I notice what looks OK and what I've done wrong, but I like the results better every time, and every little improvement encourages me to keep working on my costumes. Besides, there are still so many characters I would like to cosplay!! Not just to face a new challenge but because I love them and it would be cool to become them for a day. Everytime I watch a new series, I can't help feeling the urge to make one of its costumes.

And, of course, wearing the costumes and having fun at conventions after so much work is always the best reward!

Do cosplay and your career choice go well together?

Sure! In fact, being an artist has often been a great help for cosplay. Many costumes require some drawing skills, not just to draw the patterns, but sometimes you also have to paint decorations or symbols, or design props and paint them, etc... Even when I was at the Art School, I learned about some materials and techniques I've used on my costumes later, like illustrator's cardboard, liquid latex, or PVC.

What's your favorite part of making your costumes? (sewing, props, wig, etc.)

I have to say sewing, definitely. I love sewing! When I was a kid, I never had enough patience to make dresses for my dolls, so I thought, "How am I supposed to make a complete costume for a real person?" (lol) However, with a little practice, I found it really easy. It's wonderful to see how a shapeless piece of fabric becomes a costume in my hands, and it feels so good to sew while listening to a good CD and singing along with it.

However, I'm really bad at styling wigs or making props, and I always fear the moment of doing them because I often don't like the results. It can also be fun, but I feel much more comfortable sewing and making plans for the costume.



Your uniforms and kung fu style outfits look sharp. Share some advice for applying trim and applique neatly for the best appearance.

Hmmm... I don't know if I can give any advice. I never learned to make patterns professionally so my only secret (which is no secret at all) is having a qipao-style dress pattern I stole from an old, old magazine of my grandmother's. I've used that pattern as a base for most of my kung fu style outfits --and for many other styles, actually. You would be surprised to know how many of my costumes have come from that pattern. Uniforms are much more difficult, and they require a lot of trial-and-error modifications on the fabric itself. At the beginning, I used to hand-sew all trims and appliques, and I used regular satin ribbon for most of them. Then I learned about bias tape, and it changed my life (lol). Now I use a sewing machine for trims so everything looks neat, but still sew appliques by hand, and my sister does the embroidery (she's teaching me). I've also learned that choosing the right trim or bias tape (shiny satin, cotton, metallic, etc) is almost as important as choosing the right fabric, and the use of interfacing in the right places can also be a great help in these types of costumes.

Tell us a bit about conventions in Spain. Besides cosplaying, what's your favorite thing to do when you go?

I've attended many different conventions, big and small, but what I loved the most at the beginning was that people were so nice. No matter what I said, they knew what I was talking about because we had a topic in common (anime and manga, etc), and even I, being such a shy person, found it so easy to talk with anyone. Now conventions have grown bigger, with more and more people (and more and more cosplayers, of course!), and it doesn't feel so 'at home' as before, but I've made a lot of good friends and that's enough for me! Besides cosplaying, my favorite thing is karaoke! I love singing. Though I don't have many chances of singing at conventions, I always try to enter the karaoke contests or sing with my friends. I also used to enjoy the interviews with voice actors, I admire their job so much! And of course, I always take the chance to buy some merchandise, such as posters, figures, etc... There is only a very small manga store in my hometown so I can't buy that stuff very often, and buying online is not the same.

If could make only one more costume, with no limit on resources, what would it be --your grand finale?

Oh my... I don't even want to think about it; there are so many costumes I still want to make! But... I think it would have to be a costume from Dragon Quest Dai no Daibôken because it's my favorite manga series, and if I could, I'd cosplay every single character from it! If I had the skills, and resources, and a way to carry the costume with me to the con, I would be Alvinass, the queen of the metallic chess army from Dragon Quest. It's a really obscure character but I've always thought of it as my 'near-impossible costume.' I don't know if I'll ever feel brave enough to give it a try, but it would definitely suit a 'grand finale.'

Here's your space for additional comments or dispelling rumors.

First, I'd like to thank all the people who have helped me finish my costumes on time (and still do): my sister, mother, grandmother, and the friends who occasionally help me find an elusive material or send me fabric from their hometowns because I can't find them here.
If there are rumors about me, I don't really know. Being the webmistress of a fairly popular Spanish cosplay website, some people even recognize my name at conventions or in cosplay communities, and I'm really happy when they tell me the patterns and tutorials on my site have been helpful. I didn't create the website because I thought I was a great cosplayer. In fact, I was a newbie myself when I started it, and the advice I gave on it was very basic and poor (I've learned a lot from the cosplayers who visit its forum). But I enjoyed cosplaying so much that my actual purpose was to encourage people to give it a try because those who don't cosplay don't know what they're missing, and I'm proud to say, it has served its purpose.

See more of Ayne's costumes.

 

Ayne, from reading your own remarks about the costumes in your profile, it was easy to see that you have a happy and spirited attitude about cosplay that matches the colorful costumes in your collection. It's great to watch your artistic talents manifest in 3-D as you present each new project. Thanks for sharing a part of your life from sunny Spain, and best of luck in all your creative adventures!

Mrs.Tomoe

 
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