Tag Archives: cosplayer
Let’s just call them the power couple of the Dallas Cosplay scene! Everyone that attends Dallas area cons knows them…..Scotty and Courtney. Knows them so well that their last names are not even needed. But if you are one of the few that don’t know Courtney Varnado and Scotty Bleck, by name, you certainly are familiar with their work. They recently sat with Comic Book Divas Publishing to discuss their recent builds and cosplay.
They met in November of 2010 and started dating in January of 2011 but they have always collaborated and consider themselves a team. Helping and motivating each other.
So what is The Team? Comic readers? Gamers? Cosplayer only?
Scotty does not really “consider myself just one thing. I love Comics. I really love videos games and I can’t live without movies. Cosplaying is new to me compared to most but I’m learning really fast. I’m also a car guy. I enjoy being under the hood turning wrenches.”
Courtney was “none of the above” when she first met Scotty! Adding, “Now I consider myself a Gamer for sure. I read some comics but sometimes it’s just so hard to get out to the comic book store and keep up with the series that interest me. Out of everything I would categorize myself as a SERIOUS MOVIE BUFF! We go to the theater at least once every other week. If we are at home and not working on our suits, even during, there is always a movie popped into the XBOX.”
Scotty’s first build was a Lich King from World of Warcraft for a Halloween party followed by General Grievous costume built for Comic Con. Courtney adds,” After Scotty had built his General Grievous for Comic Con. I wanted to cosplay/dress up as something that would coincide with the General. So my first cosplays were Asajj Ventress and Janga Fett. But, my first build was actually Ironmaiden. It was very tough considering its head to toe armor and I’ve never built anything before.”
Scotty’s past creations have also included, an Ironman MK6 and MK42, a Jurassic Park Raptor, the “self-aware” robot Johnny 5, and an Alien Queen. Courtney has either created or been seen as Asajj Ventress, Thor, JangA Fett, Ironmaiden, Sexy Robert Muldoon, Magnaguard, Ironmaiden 2.0, Medusa and a Wolf Predator.
Does The Team break into The Creative One and The Tech One? Or do your skills overlap? Scotty says, “I’ve taken a couple art classes in high school but never really built any costumes. Building my first was an inspiration to me to continue building and to learn new techniques. After each build I look back on what could have been better or improved. Things such as material weights and durability, ventilation and vision. I don’t really consider myself the Tech or the Creative one but more of the student.”
Courtney admits, “I had little to no background with anything involving Cosplay. I was just good at coloring! Seeing Scotty make his General Grievous really got me interested in seeing what talents I could discover and improve upon. I still consider myself the apprentice and Scotty the master. I am still learning.”
Scotty talks about favorite builds from a vast selection. “As for a favorite that’s a tough one. I love and hate them all!” He confesses with a laugh. “All of them have their own story…. but my most popular is my General Grievous. My Johnny 5 was my favorite to cosplay. So many people recognized the character and were very infatuated with it.” Not only did he look like Johnny 5….He sounded like the robot. Imitating the robot by altering his voice and not with electronic assistance.
Courtney absolutely loved her Medusa. “She’s my most unique Character and I fell in love with her because of it. The only tough thing about her was being half naked. But other than Medusa I absolutely loved rocking my Wolf Predator. He’s kind of my Pride and Joy right now.”
So where does this skill, idea and completion blend come from? How do you go from idea to walking around in a unique suit? Scotty tells us that “a lot of my inspiration comes from my family, friends and fans. I watch all the Sci-Fi movies and am a big fan of building unique characters. I like to build big to challenge myself. With all my projects I encounter bugs….some easier to work out than others. My suit that had the most was my Alien Queen. I almost threw in the towel a few times! Sometimes I would watch the movie again or simply take a break and hit the issue on another day. Courtney gets frustrated very easily so to help and motivate her, I tell her to take a break and that if I can do it she can to. She has never given up and has always made things work. For this I’m proud.”
From Courtney, “My ideas usually coincide with Scotty’s. If we pick a theme I pick something that would go good with that. But mostly we try to think outside of the box and be unique. Movies play a big role in what we want to be! The Technical difficulties are where Scotty prevails. Whenever I’m having trouble with a build I always go to him for a second approach.”
This Team can easily be considered Con Fan Favorites. Fans look forward to your builds and are excited to see what you come up with next. Considering their fans and supporters Scotty adds, “To me the fans are everything! I couldn’t have made it this far without their input and support. After each build I make many new friends and fans. I know I can always count on them to help motivate me through each build. Words really can’t express my gratitude towards them.”
“The fans are amazing and are always there to motivate us when we can’t motivate ourselves. We are still fairly new to Cosplaying and Cons and the fact they are so open and welcoming makes us feel at home whenever we go to cons” says Courtney.
Logistical issues….how do you drive in the car on the way to a con? For Scotty, “ The ride to each event is always nerve-wracking. I’ve done it many times and I still get butterflies in my stomach that makes me sick. I believe all cosplayers can relate. You question yourself, if you have everything, what you can do in case of a costume malfunction, what if you fall or trip, what if you have to use the restroom!” But for Courtney “That is pretty much always the exciting part…. to see if the suits will fit in the car. With most of our suits my SUV does the trick. With the Alien Queen, we had to rent a Trailer from Uhaul. Scotty’s suit was too big. The most insane ride to a con was AllCon 2013. We brought General Grievous and I had made a Magnaguard (Grievous’ Bodyguard) to go along with him. Well the morning of the con we tried to start the SUV and it wouldn’t start…. so we did what we had to….broke them down and put them in the hatch of my Integra. It was definitely not a comfortable ride to Dallas!”
Scotty has “always been very open with my next build. Cosplaying is about having fun but it can get very competitive. At each Con you make friends but also rivals! We are always creeping online to see what the others are building and how we can improve our own. Some photographers are the same. I have built a reputation for building big and insane projects. Yes it will be big! Courtney warns,”If you know our reputation then we always go BIGGER!”
Article and Photos by Comic Book Divas Publisher Bob Sanders
Comic Book Divas may not have had a table at the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo 2013 but we had a great time meeting not only some of the great artists and guests but also many of the great and talented cosplayers that were walking around the convention and taking photos with fans from around Texas. One of the cosplayer we met was Lizzie Leigh, Lizzie may be new to cosplay but we are sure you will see a lot more of her!
We sat down with Lizzie and talked to her about cosplay, costume design and her career as a make-up artist.
Q: Just so our readers can get to know you a little bit; tell us something about yourself; who is this woman Lizzie Lynch?
LL: I am a local Houston Cosplayer and a Special Effects Makeup Artist. I actually grew up in a small town outside of Boston, MA which is why I lack the typical Bostonian accent. I have also been moving around a bit since 2010 from Boston to Toronto to Houston. i am a huge Stargate fan, I have the “home” symbol tattooed on my wrist. Tv/Movies are a passion for me, my list of favorites is endless, It’s a bit of a problem. I love painting, drawing, DIY craft projects and reading.
Q: You are pretty new to the comic book and cosplay community; what made you want to get involved with all us geeks?
LL: I have always been drawn to the more nerdy side of life and watched tons of sci-fi and fantasy. My first con was Anime Boston, I went twice, and then the first Comic Con was fan expo in Toronto. I didn’t dress up since I had only been living there for two weeks and went on a whim. I loved every second of it!
Q: How long have you been cosplaying; and do you create your own costumes?
LL: I have only been cosplaying “for real” almost year now, I did one Harley Quinn cosplay for Anime Boston in 2008. It was store-bought, the black fabric dyed my skin black but I still had an absolute blast acting like her! I create what I can, sewing them was all thanks to my friend who taught me a lot along the way. I now have my own sewing machine I hope to be creating tons more! I also make the props, casting prosthetics has very similar techniques that can carry over to multiple mediums. I made a black widow belt and Dani Moonstars belt this past year, as well as an arrow which I still need to perfect.
Q: We saw you cosplaying “Dark Supergirl” did you create that costume and how long did it take for you to design it?
LL: Actually not all of it. I commissioned that piece from Heroes and Tights two years ago for Dragon*Con 2011 right when I moved to Houston from Toronto. Long before I ever even considered making my own. It came out beautifully, the cape was so perfect! The only thing I did to it was modify the cape and top for a more stable attachment to each other and for Expo I created a new skirt.
That character is a personal favorite of mine.
Q: What is the most difficult costume you have designed to date and what makes designing a costume the most challenging for you?
LL: The X suits for my Dani Moonstar New Mutant cosplay, my friend and I were going out of our minds on how to attach the yellow parts to the suit while making it functional.
Q: Looking at some of your photos on Facebook; you have attended some anime conventions; have you cosplayed any anime characters yet?
LL: Not yet, I don’t watch much anime anymore mostly due to lack of time. My favorite animes are Wolf’s Rain and Yu Yu Hakusho, so I would love to do a character from them.
Q: When you are looking to cosplay a character do you select the character because of the costume or because you are following that character?
LL: Both. I like variants from the classic designs but sometimes I will see a gorgeous drawing which attracts my eye and makes me want to bring the character to life. Wether I know who they are or not. I do my best though to either research the crap out of the character, which usually ends with my loving them anyway or I choose one I know and am already a fan of.
Q: You said you haven’t yet gotten into deep with comics; but are you reading any comics right now since we spoke if so what are you reading, w hat are you enjoying about the series?
LL: The only one I have followed closey is the New 52 Supergirl storyline and I am really liking it. I loved the issue 0 release they did for some of them as well. I thought it was a very cool concept.
Q: You are a make-up artist. How did you get started into that field?
LL: Drama Club in Highschool actually, I became the head of the crew when I was a sophomore and really became passionate about it. I was lucky that the Drama Teachers, the both that I had, were extremely supportive of it all which allowed me to really know this was what I wanted. I then took a year off after Highschool and got to work on an Independent horror film, I loved it. The next year I went to college in Toronto to Complections International Academy of Makeup Artistry and graduated in the top three of my class.
Q: What projects do you primarily work on, do you work on photo shoots or movies?
LL: Whatever I can get. I would love to work on set consistently but L.A. is certainly not my scene. As long as the creative outlet is there and I have some hand in the final production I am happy. I try to avoid heavy photoshop or CGI that changes what I created. There is a difference between adding to the scene around the model to totally changing how she looks therefore changing my work.
Q: How do you incorporate your make-up skills into cosplay or how would you like to mix both skills?
LL: I try to apply it every look. How can I make my face close to the character? Would she wear this color blush or a bronzer? Should the lip shape be fuller or lessened?
I want to try to bring it up to a higher level than just wearing the outfit. I want to do that with prosthetics too but it’s very hard to apply those to myself on a large scale. My goal is to have a site that is a center-point for cosplay makeup tips and tutorials.
Q: Who would you like to cosplay as where you could use both your make-up and cosplay design skills and why?
LL: Oh man so many! My number one choice is Princess Nuala from Hellboy: The Golden Army. I absolutely love her look but to the costume extremely accurately is hard which is why it hasn’t happened yet. The next one is Jack from Brom’s book “The Plucker” he is a toy from a jack in the box but his look is rugged and handmade. He has ginger hair and freckles with a much sharper Jaw. I haven’t cosplayed as a male yet but he is a goal of mine. So those are my top two :)
Q: What gives you the most joy in cosplaying?
LL: The excitement I recieve from other people who share in the genre and the creative outlet it gives me. Everything I do can be applied into my portfolio for makeup as well. But in all seriousness every time I go to a con, in costume or not, I feel so happy and always walk out the door on Sunday with a new stash of friends and memories.
Q: You were at the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo 2013 where we saw you dressed as Dark Supergirl”; was this your first time attending the convention?
LL: Yes it was and I enjoyed it quite a bit!!! I had been at the Irving Center for Fan Days last year though.
Q: What did you enjoy about the convention as a cosplayer and a fan, did you get to meet other cosplayers and hangout with them?
LL: I hadn’t been to such a small sci-i con before it was refreshing to actually be able to have conversations with people. I met some other super sweet cosplayers and got to see some again too that I didn’t expect.
Q: From your POV; what were your thoughts about the convention and what you enjoyed about it?
LL: I liked the intimate atmosphere it had and that it was easy to navigate. I found a few action figures from my favorite book, The Plucker by Brom, and that was so aweosme!
Q: You are doing All-Con in March, what cosplay can fans expect to see you in?
LL: I’ll be doing two makeup panels that weekend so a lot of my time went into that. So on Friday I will be wearing my Muscle and Bone Catsuit from Black Milk with some FX makeup to go along. Saturday will be a Star Trek Uniform and Sunday is Dark Supergirl hopefully with new boots if I can find them :).
Q: Where can fans follow you and see what is coming up for you?
Special thanks to Samaze for the use of the photos.