Here's another cosplayer who made a splash when her photos surfaced in the gaming press. Laura, a.k.a. Nebulaluben, was so stunning as Eliza Cassan that we just had to give her a shout out in a Community Round-up. She kindly agreed to tell us more about her costuming experience.
Hey Laura, tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm 25 years old and I'm from Madrid, Spain. I'm an occupational therapist currently working in a geriatric centre. My job has very little to do with cosplaying or art, I think I've discovered my passion a little late. I love being creative and, apart from cosplaying, I also love playing the piano.
How long have you been creating costumes? Where did the interest come from?
I've been making costumes for about four years. Before 2008, I barely knew what cosplay was about.
Since I was very young, I had a box full of different fabrics at home and I liked to put them on and pretend I was a character I liked. Sometimes my mother sewed costumes for me, and I liked to see her working on them. Then, when I was 15, my granny gave me a sewing machine and I started trying to make my own clothes. I actually made horrible designs. Years after, when I was about to forget about it, my boyfriend told me about cosplaying. At that time, I finished my studies and I didn't know what to do with all my free time. Cosplaying is a perfect activity for me because the designs are already made. It's a hobby that lets me mix my passions, playing video games, crafting and being creative.
Do you go to a lot of cons?
Yes I do! Cons are a fantastic place to meet my cosplay friends, as we usually spend most of our time shut away at home preparing our costumes or playing video games. I try to attend the most important cons in Madrid (Expomanga, Expocomic and Japan Weekend). Last year we started attending Salón del Manga in Barcelona, the biggest one in Spain. Also this year we traveled to Paris to attend Japan Expo. It was an amazing and inspiring convention. I must say that my dream convention is Dragon Con. Every time I watch videos from that event I get very excited. It's so wonderful, full of incredible costumes and cosplayers! Here in Spain, sadly, it feels like cosplaying is secondary even at the biggest cons.
I've won a few prizes. The first time I won first prize was at Expomanga 2010 wearing my Shanoa costume from Castlevania Judgment. I think the most exciting prize we've won was this year at Expomanga 2012 with our Soulcalibur V group. If I had to say which costumes I am personally most proud of because of the level of difficulty, I must say Tali'Zorah (Mass Effect) and Hilde (Soulcalibur V). If I had to choose the character I nailed, I would say my Femme Fatale costume from Lost Planet 2. But looking at the number of visits on my pictures online, my most successful costume is Bayonetta.
My favourite one despite the difficulty is Eliza Cassan. For real! I'm not buttering you up! I really love her design and how the costume came out.
What attracted you to Eliza in particular?
It was love at first sight. I knew DXHR was about to be released, I watched the publicity and I really liked what the game was about. I like sci-fi and transhumanism. I was also attracted by the gameplay. Then I saw a trailer where Eliza appears reporting the news on a big screen in the city and I automatically thought "I must do this!" Loved her collar, and I thought she looked a little like me. It's funny because in that trailer, I could only see the upper part of her body, so I googled "Eliza Cassan" every single day from that moment until I found her concept art.
What I like from DXHR is that most of the clothes the characters wear look like actual fashion pieces. In fact, I've already bought the fabrics to make Megan's jacket in black to wear it in my everyday life because it's just wonderful. I wanted to wait until I played the game to see what kind of character Eliza was, but the store was only going to deliver it 15 days late. So, in the meantime, I took the chance to make the costume. Then I played DXHR and I absolutely loved her. She became one of my favourite female characters of all times.
How long did it take to make the whole costume from start to finish?
It took me about two weeks to make the costume. I worked on it every single day for about 8 - 12 hours. It was crazy, but I was so motivated I didn't mind working hard on it. Here are some pictures of the work in progress.
The dress pattern
The finished dress
The finished jacket
What was the hardest part of the build? Did you have to face any unexpected challenge?
Eliza's costume was such a challenge for me because I had never made a pleated collar like that before. It was also my first time lining a jacket. The patterns are complicated, because they're full of triangular pieces to sew together, so I had to focus a lot and make very accurate patterns to get everything together properly. Despite that, the costume was easier to do than I initially thought. It's amazing how things come out when you're motivated!
Jacket pattern on fabric
Your interpretation of Eliza is dead on. What are your favorite details?
I like the little black gems on the wig. I had a hard time looking for them, eventually I found them in a little shop away from where I live. They're Swarovski crystals! I think it's the most expensive part of the costume, but that kind of details gives a beautiful touch to the general look.
The wig and crystals
I also like the lace stocking I wear under the dress. It happens to be the cheapest part of the costume, because I made it using a pair of tights I already had at home that had a similar pattern to the original model.
What makes you most proud about this project?
I'm proud that I could get a good portrayal of the character, as her facial features are similar to mine. That makes the costume look even more real. I'm proud I could make it in so little time and I'm glad with the overall result. Eliza Cassan has an elegant but sexy style that I think I achieved. I'm happy I could learn a lot while making this costume.
Comparison with Eliza concept art
You got a good amount of press coverage online for your pictures. What kind of reactions did you get from the public?
Being featured in video game and cosplay related media is always a wonderful surprise. When I began cosplaying I couldn't imagine this was going to happen.
I began making costumes because I wanted to unleash my creativity. I love doing photo shoots to immortalize them at their best, because they're clothes I don't usually wear. When I started being featured in sites like Kotaku and Game Informer, I felt so flattered! I didn't expect people would like and share my pictures that much and I'm very grateful for that.
The reactions from the public are mainly good. At the cons, people usually come to say hello and tell me they like what I'm wearing. Recently, people have started to recognize me even without wearing a costume and ask me for pictures or even autographs (that's pretty strange for me). On the internet, I've seen a little of everything, from people that idolize me to people that say I look like a man, hahaha. I try to filter the internet comments and listen to the constructive critics, although sometimes it's difficult.
Another thing that really surprised me is that some game developers have contacted me to tell me they like what I do. When I made my Laura (Castlevania Lords of Shadows) costume and photo shoot, they invited me to the Mercury Steam headquarters to visit them. When I made the Eliza Cassan costume, I had feedback from your company from day one. Even JJB sent me the PICUS TV logos to include in my pictures. This was a great surprise, since I thought cosplaying maybe could upset the video game creatives. On the contrary, I've found that you guys encourage us to do this, which is in fact a tribute to the games and characters we love.
What tips or advice would you give aspiring Deus Ex cosplayers?
First of all: Have fun!! And, well, make it look real. With DXHR costumes, cosplayers have the chance to make clothes that look like actual fashion pieces. So try to give it that real look, fitting your clothes the best you can, and try not to use shiny or cheap materials and ornaments.
What's your next big cosplay project?
Right now, I'm remaking some parts of my Tali'Zorah costume to wear it to Salón del Manga de Barcelona next month. I'm very excited about it because my boyfriend, Erikku-kun, made a vacuum forming table and now I'm able to make better props and improve my costuming.
Then we have a lot of cool projects (Erikku-kun and I usually cosplay together) such as Maya and Zer0 from Borderlands 2, Cis and Duo from Animatrix, Commander Shepard and Kai Leng from Mass Effect 3 and Mathilda and Zero from Anarchy Reigns. We have tons of projects in mind, but right now those are the most tangible.
All pictures of the finished costume by Jose Manchado.