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Given what has happened this year with the pandemic, so much artistic work has gone unnoticed or shelved. One expression we have always admired and now decided to celebrate is the art form of Cosplay. You see them at all of the Comic-Cons and Wizard Worlds and even Times Square and Hollyweird Boulevard. From Supergirl to Optimus Prime. Artists who embody the characters we have come to love. And the really good Cosplayers rival studio system costume designers.
Today, we have the pleasure of introducing the cosplay talents of Ødfel. From the Avengers‘ Scarlet Witch to Teen Titans’ Starfire, Ødfel’s costumes are as amazing as her creative personality.
She is a cosplayer and content creator, as well as a published editorial and fashion model. She has been featured in retail publication Cosplay Culture Magazine, as well as Thread & Unplugged Magazines.
Ødfel has also been featured on websites such as Comicbook.com, Kotaku & Screen Rant as well as commercial work with companies such as DC Comics/ Warner Bros.
How did you discover cosplaying?
The first time I saw cosplay was in the early 2000s, and I think I was looking at art/pose references for World of Warcraft characters. I didn’t know about conventions or what this level of costuming was even called, I think I just thought some people went all out for Halloween!
It wasn’t until a few years later that my Aunt- who worked at the Artist Alleys for a couple of conventions- mentioned cosplay and that was when I really learned about it. I didn’t get a chance to dive in until after high school, so it was a slow journey into this whole magical subculture, but it’s been such a fun discovery.
What was your first cosplay?
I started out doing a lot of closet costumes before I even really went to cons, I just wanted to dress up and take cute pictures as characters that I enjoyed. The first costume I really made was probably Harley Quinn or Rosalind Lutece.
I made them for the same convention and those were really the first costumes that I really consider a proper cosplay and put my all into.
What are your next three cosplay plans?
This is so tricky. I usually have a good handle on pre-planning my cosplays for the year, but 2020 has definitely made that harder, since all my usual conventions and events were canceled I don’t really have a set ‘to-do list’ anymore.
That hasn’t stopped me though, and my current plans include She-Ra, Mystique, and Aerith (from the Remake).
Have you ever entered a cosplay contest?
I have never competed in a cosplay contest for Masquerade or Craftsmanship. However, I have been a judge for both categories and I always love seeing the passion and hard work that cosplayers put into the details of their costumes and the power in their performances.
Do you prefer sewing, armor making, or wig working?
I would have to say armor/prop making. If not so much for the whole process, then for the embellishments. I really enjoy sculpting and painting, so I usually get to employ those skills on more armor type costumes as opposed to fabric-based ones.
How stoked are you for the new Disney+ series WandaVision?
I am super excited to see WandaVision unfold. I am a big fan of the Wanda/Vision coupling in comics. Their 90s mini-series gave them an interesting and fun dynamic but later runs of Vision make it have depth I don’t often see from comic book couples.
I hope that the series pays homage to (pre) House of M story beats, I think it is really one of Scarlet Witch’s defining moments in comics, and to see it played out would be great. Especially since it’s linking into Madness of the Multiverse. I also really hope we get to see Monica Rambeau’s superhero origin.
How do you like the Scarlet Witch costumes Elizabeth Olsen has worn in the Marvel Movies?
I love recreating campy, colorful, retro comic book looks. There is just something extra satisfying bringing such iconic, and sometimes impractical looks to life. I do really like what the costuming department has done in the MCU.
I actually have cosplayed Elizabeth Olsen’s look from Civil War/Infinity War before I decided to tackle the iconic classic Scarlet Witch look. Though I would have to say that my favourite one is probably her costume we get to see briefly at the end of Age of Ultron.
Do you prefer to do photoshoots at cons or at specific locations?
A little of column A, a little of column B. I often work with photographers that are out of state from me, sometimes across the country. Oftentimes conventions are good places for me to have a chance to work with them. I usually plan what cosplays I bring to a convention for a few factors, but a big one for me is what costumes will look good with the available locations around the convention or inside of the convention.
I feel like the right location can really make a cosplay shot feel immersive, and I much prefer that to static backgrounds. I love doing location shoots specifically for a character when I get the chance to, it just isn’t as common for me.
Is there a type of character you cosplay frequently?
I have really been on a kick of cosplaying Marvel women as of late, more specifically the mutant side of Marvel. I really like to cosplay powerful female characters more often than not. If I’m ever asked what superpowers I wished I had, the answer is telepathy or telekinesis, so I absolutely gravitate towards characters with those abilities.
Do you have any favourite cosplayers?
My favourite cosplayers are ones who are passionate about their craft. Regardless of if they make their own costumes, I feel like you can just tell when someone is doing what they love and I love to see that. Some people I look up to for their sheer craftsmanship, others because we share a love for the same characters, it all just depends.
I’m grateful that many of my favourites I can now confidently call my friends. It’s amazing to have such a loving support network of people building you up and vice versa.
What’s the most detailed cosplay you’ve ever done?
Probably Kyogre. It was one of my early armor builds, and someday I would love to revisit making armor like that. I sketched out and designed the armor myself, I spent so much time on the trident alone, carving it out of insulation foam let alone actually assembling the costume parts. Between scales, shells, and patterned fabrics, I think the details really bring the cosplay to life.
What are your top three craftsmanship tips?
I’d say before all else, especially if you’re a perfectionist like me, the five-foot rule. For non-cosplayers or new cosplayers who may be unfamiliar with the term, it essentially refers to the fact that most people won’t be that up and close to your costume at a con. So let go of the minor imperfections that are maddening to you because others probably won’t even see them. This has helped me power through and debut cosplays that otherwise I would fuss and fuss with and never finish.
Because you can always go back and work, and fix those things later as you get better at crafting. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you are entering a craftsmanship contest or something, but it really has helped me take deep breaths and see the big picture. Especially during con-crunches.
Secondly, I would say research cosplayers. One of the most helpful things to me when recreating looks is seeing how other cosplayers have done it, whether if fabric choice or how they circumvented a gravity-defying design to bring it into the real world, it’s often really helpful during the brainstorming stages to do your research and see what you like and don’t like when it comes to in real life interpretations.
If you’re the first to cosplay something, or it’s an original design I do encourage you to still try and find a similar real-life reference to help you visualize your project.
Lastly the old-but-gold rule; measure twice, cut once. Sometimes, sure you can get your hands on a material easily but other times you cannot, or the material is simply costly.
I think this applies to more than just measurements, I heavily encourage making mockups before doing the real deal if you have made any alterations to the pattern in any way. Whether it’s a paper armor mockup, or a muslin fabric mockup, they can be extremely helpful and life-saving when it comes to potentially messing up rare or pricy materials.
What is your favourite cosplay you’ve done?
I feel like my favourite is always changing and as a creator, I think that’s a good thing. As cheesy as it sounds, whenever I make a new cosplay it usually has its moment of being my favourite. When you pour your heart into something it’s hard not to be really proud of seeing it all put together and it’s honestly a really magical feeling to see a cosplay completely assembled for the first time.
Currently, I would have to say that Starfire is my favourite. I really like how the body paint and contacts photograph, and I am really proud of how I managed to style the weird little alien bangs that she has.
What is your worst cosplay “horror” story?
No specific incident really comes to mind, but I will say this: Cosplay is not Consent. I think that generally at events like conventions it’s really important and should be taken seriously. It’s good to see more conventions rallying behind this and taking steps to make conventions safe and fun for everyone.
What’s your funniest cosplay story?
At a convention last year I was introduced to the “Cult of Imhotep”, named after the character from The Mummy movie from 2000. They carried a giant poster board picture of the actor and chanted his name in a group of about 40 people who wandered the con floor.
Using one of those retractable costume store knives, they would “sacrifice” willing cosplayers and then “resurrect” them again by chanting. It was just such a funny, surrealistic event to see but such a “convention” thing to happen. Where else could something as absurd as this occur?
When they got to my friend, who was cosplaying Obi-Wan Kenobi, he jumped back up from the “sacrifice” and gave his best Ewan McGregor “Hello there!” Everyone laughed and it just reminded me of how fun these communities are and how creative they can be.
You can follow Ødfel and her fab designs on Instagram by clicking here.