BlizzCon presents an opportunity for real-life tailors and engineers to take up their needle and thread, their cardboard and spray paint, to create amazingly realistic recreations of their favorite Blizzard characters and creatures. After this year’s costume contest, we invited the winners to write an article on the art of costume-craft for us to share with the community. Here’s the first of three, written by Christina, who won first place for her astonishingly accurate portrayal of the female monk from Diablo III.
Comparison to original female monk concept art
Hello to all my fellow gamers out there! My name is Christina, and I portrayed the Diablo III female monk in the BlizzCon 2010 costume contest. Creating and sharing my costuming works with the BlizzCon crowd is always a highlight of my yearly visit to Anaheim. In previous years, I have also portrayed Mother Shahraz from the Black Temple and a paladin in the tier-6.5 Sunwell Plateau set, with both costumes given the honor of being finalists in the costume contest.
The patterns Christina used to cut and craft various pieces of her female monk costume
Compared to some, I am still a newcomer to cosplay. The Sunwell paladin was my first major costuming endeavor and was mostly made with basic, easy to acquire materials: craft foam, Model Magic, insulation foam, papier-mâché, and paper clay. After doing some research online about cosplay and armor structure, I was able to put together a decent representation of that armor set. My only goal for that year was to create a replica of what my own World of Warcraft character was wearing at the time and to share my passion about Warcraft with others by displaying my creativity and hard work. Sadly, those materials were not made to last, and the costume met its glorious (read: explosive) end after a few more wears.
Leather stamping in progress
The Mother Shahraz costume took a very different route from the previous year and involved much more sewing and creative thinking when it came to the arms and helmet. The arms were carved from large blocks of foam and had articulated joints in the elbow and the fingers. This allowed me to run a fishing line between my own arms and the fake ones below so when I lifted my arms, the middle set would lift as well. The fingers had wires running inside so they could grip the swords easily and look passably real. The helmet had about three incarnations before I got it right. The balance and fit had to be pretty spot on, since there were no straps or special rigging to hold it in place. I learned to respect and fear stiff winds while I was wearing Shahraz.
Mother Shahraz, BlizzCon 2009
I took what I had learned in years past and applied it to the monk costume, and began the lengthy process of learning about leather crafting. My goals this year were simple: I wanted to be able to sit down in this costume, I wanted it to be as accurate as possible, and I didn’t want the costume to explode after multiple wears. Having only one simple piece of concept art to work off of, I wasn’t expecting it to be as well received as it was. The monk is not wide nor tall, does not glow or have any special effects, and the detailing that was done is hard to see from far away. Lack of grandiosity aside, I worked at the detailing and capturing the look and personality of a strong female warrior and hoped for the best.
Female monk belt detail
Cosplay, to me, is a wonderful hobby that allows you to express yourself and think creatively while showing others how passionate you are about what you are trying to represent. Other cosplayers constantly inspire me to try new things and think in new ways. As long as non-cosplaying people continue to enjoy our efforts and allow us to heighten their BlizzCon experience, cosplayers will continue to delight, scare, and perhaps even inspire others to join us in our creative community.
Weapon detail and shaping pre-paint
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to everyone at BlizzCon and those who watched from home for your support and kind words.