The armored, sword wielding, Kamui (Svetlana Quindt) continues to amaze the cosplay scene with her stunning outfits, portraying popular characters from franchises such as the World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Skyrim in her own unique style.
Kamui, who hails from Germany, has been cosplaying for more than a decade. She specializes in creating armor and weapons and has written books on the various techniques that she’s refined over the years. Kamui took the time to speak to us and share a little about herself and her thoughts on cosplay.
Why Cosplay? How did you get into it and when did you begin?
I started Cosplay in 2003 after I attended my very first convention in Germany. I read much about such events in Anime and Manga magazines but it was quite an experience to see that 80% of the attendes were in costume. I decided at the next time I attended a con, I’d go in costume.
It did not hook me right from the beginning however, so I did a few cosplays here and there. It was when I started playing World of Warcraft two years later that I finally got addicted. I dressed as a (my own) Night Elf-Druid. Since then I can imagine nothing better and just love this awesome and creative way to express myself.
What do you do when you’re not Cosplaying?
Haha. That’s a good one! When I am not working on a Cosplay I write books about Cosplay – or make a video about Cosplay. You see, Cosplay became my day-job and I can actually make a living off of it, which is one of the best feelings ever. I am really thankful for that. I do like to spend my cosplay-free time playing video-games, going to the movies or traveling. My husband actually quit his day job to help me in my endeavor and we could not be happier!
What was your first costume?
My first costume was actually the Great Saiyaman from Dragonball Z. I made it using my dad’s old sewing machine and the cheapest fabric I could find–the costume was a complete disaster.
I still had a lot of fun wearing it at the convention and actually loved the character so much, that I redid the costume a few years later. Gohan is the best!
What’s your favourite costume?
My favorite costume is the Protoss Wizard, based on Blizzard’s Battle.net. I designed it myself down from the chin and it took me two years of planning, research and construction to finally bring it to life. The Protoss Wizard has 200 fully animated LEDs, elaborate armor and a crazy wig. A great project to learn a lot from and I’m still very proud that I won the Grand Prize at Blizzcon 2014 with it.
What the hardest part about making a costume?
Even with 11 years of experience, every costume has new challenges and problems I need to find a solution for first. I struggle a lot with sewing, since I’m very focused on armor and prop making. Time is often a huge challenge, especially since I just create far too many costumes in far too little time. I just enjoy experimenting with new materials and techniques–especially under pressure.
That way every costume becomes an adventure and months later you like to look back, proud you’ve managed everything in time.
What’s the most critical skill/ability you need when you’re making your own gear?
Planning is the most important part when it comes to bringing a character to life. I travel a lot and so I have to build costumes limited to the size of my suitcase. I need to separate huge pieces and plan them properly before I even start buying materials.
Since I mostly just don’t have time to experiment, everything needs to work on the first try and that often is a huge challenge for me. If a huge staff doesn’t fit into a suitcase after all, then the whole costume stays at home and all the work was worthless.
You’ve been to several many comic conventions–which has been your favourite?
I’ve attended many huge comic conventions: San Diego Comic Con, New York Comic Con, Dragon*Con, Wondercon, Blizzcon, Montreal Comic Con and many more. However, I actually like the smaller conventions more. At smaller conventions attendees are much more like your family and friends, while bigger conventions can be pretty overwhelming.
On the other hand, I’ve been playing World of Warcraft from the beginning… and I am a huge fan of Diablo, Starcraft and Hearthstone. So my favorite convention is clearly Blizzcon, which is not a comic, but a gaming convention run by Blizzard Entertainment instead.
Aside from exploring new content from all the games I love, it’s also a great event to see a ton of friends, meet talented and creative artists and just have a great time. I attend around 20 conventions every year, but Blizzcon is always my personal highlight.
Who’s your favorite cosplayer?
I didn’t understand any English when I discovered this hobby and so for several years was pretty “separated” from the international scene. I just knew my friends, who helped me with different projects and inspired me to create new costumes.
Years later, I found the amazing work of artists like Volpin Props, Yaya Han, Angela Clayton and others. Now I have hundreds of people I follow daily, but I don’t really have any favorites. I enjoy the scene overall and it’s exciting to find somebody new every day.
Just keep your eyes open and follow everybody who’s work you like. You can learn a lot from them–even those who just started can surprise you with their amazing skills.
What advice would you have for budding cosplayers?
Follow your dream! Cosplay is a wonderful hobby for everybody and no matter what you want to do, you can achieve everything you want! Enjoy your art, share it with your friends and have fun. Everything else will come automatically!
You’ve judged quite a few cosplay competitions now, what do you look out for?
Cosplay means bringing a character to life and it’s amazing when someone manages to do that perfectly. However I also enjoy pure creativity and passion. New ways to solve old problems, experimentation with different materials and a mix of various techniques gives you not only new skills, but also impresses me easily as a judge.
It’s not necessary to build the biggest and craziest costume, but often it’s already enough to surprise judges with an unique idea or a character they would never expect to see.
What’s next on your project list? What should we look out for from you?
Right now I’m working on a Cleric from Aion and will start pretty soon with Agnes, a Red Mage from Bravely Default. I also have the new female Thor on my list, so stay tuned!
Who’s your favourite hero or villain?
I grew up with several super heroes in comics and TV shows, but Spider Man was somebody I fell in love with immediately. His character, his humor, his story, everything of him was just amazing and even during some of his bad times I never stopped following his adventures.
Who would you love to cosplay but haven’t gotten down to yet?
Bayonetta is clearly a dream cosplay of mine, but I would never dare to bring her to life. Sometimes I love a character so much, that I’m too scared cosplay. I want to portray her perfectly and sadly my head is just too huge and my legs to short for her. Does that sound weird?
*We certainly don’t think so*
If you could have one superpower what would it be?
Since I often feel the day has just far too few hours, it would be awesome to be super fast. Would be nice to write a full book, create a costume and to do all the cleaning in just one day! …or maybe teleportation, since this would make traveling with costumes much easier!
Marvel vs DC?
Oh, clearly Marvel!
What the best way for fans to get in touch with you or purchase your prints and guide books?