Effing Creations interview

Who are you?
My name is Farrah, I’m a 23 year old cosplayer from the central Alabama region, though I frequent several Atlanta and other large East Coast conventions.

Photo of Effing Creations as Nott from Critical Role.  Photo taken by Tradanui
Effing Creations as Nott from Critical Role.  Photo taken by Tradanui

How did you choose your cosplay name, Effing Creations?
In college `I majored in painting and was trying to find a decent way to sign my paintings and I came up with Eff, the letter F being my first initial, as an artist pseudonym. I had a separate cosplay handle for a while but created my instagram name with the intent of also including works of art as well as my cosplay. Effing Creations was just so much catchier and a fun play on words I really enjoy.

What was your first cosplay?
It’s hard for me to remember who came first because I was just getting started and purchasing a lot of things at the time, but my first cosplay would’ve either been Fem!France from Hetalia or Sasha Braus from Attack on Titan. The first cosplay I ever handmade by myself, including a custom wig that I wefted and styled, was Beatrice from Over the Garden Wall who I hope to remake soon with more historical accuracy. 

How did you get into cosplay, and how long have you been doing it?
I can remember growing up, I always wanted to be specific characters for Halloween rather then cute ideas. In the first or second grade I was Jessie from Toy Story and the next year was Kim Possible, and I remember being heartbroken in high school when I wanted to be the classic depiction of Sherlock Holmes and couldn’t find a costume for it. I was very fortunate to have several women in my family who were familiar enough with sewing to teach me the basics of how to use a machine but that was about it, they got me started but I had to journey forth and learn techniques on my own. Having frequented the nerdier sides of the internet growing up, I had been introduced to cosplay early on and was in love with the blend of making costumes and getting to be my favorite characters. I had attempted to get into in high school but didn’t really have the courage to ask my parents to let me go to a convention and then have to explain what that was, so I didn’t get started cosplaying officially until my freshman year of college which was in 2013. It been five crazy years but I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Favourite cosplay you’ve done so far?
That’s a really hard pick, almost like asking a mother who her favorite child is. Each one is special to me in different ways. I’m super proud of my N7 armor, which for the longest time was my dream project. It took three straight years of trying to get started, giving up, trying new materials, giving up again, seeking out advice from other Shepard cosplayers I really admired and then finally just committing. It’s by no means perfect, and isn’t even in wearable condition any more, but I learned so much and gained so much confidence in my abilities as a maker. I’m also super proud of my most recent major project, Aloy. I put hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars into that costume and all the details really come together, not to mention I love how I feel as her. I guess it’s pretty obvious that I really like cosplaying redheads now!

Which cosplayer would you love to work with?
I’m so thankful to have an amazing group of talented friends that I get to frequently work with. They keep me inspired and motivated and any opportunity I get to work with them is going to be amazing, I just know. I have a lot of cosplay idols that would be amazing to work with or shoot with I’m sure, but really I’d love the chance to get to see and work with my long distance friends. All the ones on other coasts I’ve never met, the ones in different countries, that would be a dream.

Any group cosplays you’d want to do (eg Mystery Inc, Sailor Scouts, Avengers, X-Men, etc)?
Cosplaying in a group is always more fun then cosplaying alone, so I tend to go through group ideas as fast as I do regular Cosplans. My current dream costume is Red from Transistor, and I’ve been trying to bribe some of my friends to play it so that they’d cosplay with me, and seeing as it’s a really small cast, that would be a super fun group to do. I have a few groups currently in the process that I’m looking forward to: a custom designed Vox Machina group from Critical Role and a Hazbin Hotel group are both currently on the horizon for the upcoming year.

Any advice for beginner cosplayers, or people wanting to get into cosplaying?
As always, the biggest advice is to just have fun. Find a group of friends you love to be with and have a good time; it doesn’t matter if you buy your costume or you threw it together the night before the con, if you’re having fun that’s all that matters. But I guess if I could offer some advice to beginner costumers I would just say do your research and preparation? Sometimes that can be as much fun as making the costume, it’s so incredibly helpful to gather a bunch of references of different angles and details, even sketch and thumbnail out troubling areas or really detailed parts or even the whole costume and make notes on how you’d think you’d construct it as you go along. Check youtube for construction tutorials, reach out to a maker or cosplayer who’s made the thing before and ask them about their construction process! You’d be surprised at the number of people who are more then happy to tell you about their own trial and errors so that you can learn from their mistakes.

How do you go about choosing which cosplays to make and wear?
I honestly really struggle with deciding what days to wear certain things, which is usually why I almost never post lineups. Usually I try to coordinate with friends or groups first and then just fill in the spaces according to what I have the energy for. In terms of committing to a cosplay, I of course have to like the design and be interested in spending time and materials to make it, but I almost always try to be confident in how I can portray the character as well. I used to do a lot of in-character panels when first starting out and I love the performance aspect of cosplay as well. Now it mostly translates into photoshoots but it’s still super important to me that I’m able to embody the character.

Several of your cosplays are characters from Critical Role. How did you come across the show?
So I’ve been into D&D since late high school and played a little bit in college. I kind of knew what Critical Role was for a while but was just absolutely overwhelmed by the amount of content that was out and the length of the episodes, so I mostly just stuck to the Adventure Zone until the new year and Campaign 2 of Critical Role started and I, like many other people, thought well now’s the perfect time to jump in! I can’t possibly imagine my life without D&D or D&D content now.

What drew you to the Critical Role characters you chose to cosplay?
As of right now I’ve only cosplayed Nott, though Percy is currently in the works. I love Sam and his characters so much, I can really relate to being the comic relief of the squad and using my humor to try and bring people together and cheer people up. While we still don’t know too much about her, I relate to some of her inner struggles as well and her desire to press on through the struggles. I also really love and relate to Percy’s anxiousness and constant pursuit of knowledge, not to mention gunslingers as a class have a really special place in my heart.

Several cosplays you’ve done involve extensive make-up work. Can you tell us about the work that goes into creating the makeup?
Like I mentioned earlier, I majored in painting in college and have a long history with painting. So the idea of using myself as a canvas and transforming myself in a way that every day makeup can’t really do was just super exciting to me. I use mostly Mehron water based paints which I layer according to what kind of colors I need to mix or how full I need my coverage to be, always making sure to set between each layer, and then I do additional contouring and effects with eyeshadows and powders. I’ve started to dabble a little bit in alcohol based paints too, which produce beautiful and translucent results that are great for adding additional realism. I have hyperhydrosis so no matter what lengths I go to in painting and sealing my hands, I will most definitely sweat it off, so I try to have armsocks prepared if I know I’m going to be taking photos. I wish I had more experience with prosthetics, both applying and casting, but it’s just super expensive, especially if you’re buying the basic necessities just for practicing. Maybe one of these days I’ll bite the financial bullet.

You’ve also cosplayed as Commander Shepard from the Mass Effect franchise. How did you go about making the N7 armour?
Making the N7 armor was a huge journey for me and also kind of represents a huge transitional period in my life where I started moving away from what I thought I wanted to do and started making things for myself again. I experimented with several different materials, mostly cheap EVA foam floor mats that I could get away with using the carbon fiber texture with, and then Worbla which was in it’s heyday at the time. I have to give a huge shoutout to MalinkaCosplay who was another Shepard I greatly admired and whose process I followed. What I couldn’t make out from her progress photos, I decided to reach out and inquire about and she was super nice and helpful in the process; you should definitely check her out if you’re not familiar with her. But I went through the traditional method of patterning by wrapping myself in plastic wrap and masking tape and drawing the pattern directly onto my body. I then transferred those patterns to foam / worbla / whatever I was using and then heatformed it into shape or on my body. Trying to get attachments to work was probably the hardest part, it was mostly a lot of elastic, velcro, hot glue and praying. I battle scarred it by carving details into the foam and worbla and heating them up and then further weathered the armor with silver rub n buff to give the appearance of paint scratched off of metal. A good paint job and weathering can go a long way in turning a piece or armor (or any costume piece) from something plain and simple to something that look likes it stepped right out of the world.

If you could have a single superpower, what would it be and why?
Time travel maybe, does that count as a super power? I have always loved history (art history having been my second major) and I’m very into historical fashion as well, so I would love to go back to my favorite artistic periods in time and experience some of the culture first hand. Maybe not necessarily live there, I’m definitely not one of those people who are like “oh I was born in the wrong century!” but I’m saying if I could go back in time and get my hands on some authentic Edwardian shirtwaists or experience a Parisian salon, seeing some of my favorite artists in the flesh, I certainly wouldn’t argue! It would be cool to be able to see the future as well but there’s plenty of fiction out there to tell us why that’s a bad idea.

If you could live in one franchise, what would it be and why?
That’s really hard to say! There are so many franchises that I love and would love to step into. Mass Effect has been such a huge part of my life, I’d love to live on the Citadel and get to experience the diversity of alien races and see all the technology… until the Reapers attack and I’d probably die that is. I’d love to live in any of the worlds that Matt Mercer has established in Critical Role, honestly. They’re so naturally diverse and inclusive which is so refreshing to see in fantasy material. 

Are there any cosplayers you think deserve more attention/coverage?
I’m gonna take this opportunity to give a shoutout to my best friends, my found family, AKA my Mighty Nein (all of which can be found on instagram): @kadearang (one of my best friends who I simply couldn’t live without), @vadaweep, @parkerbliss, @spookymoonchild, @mellophonedown, and @lyric_rowan. They keep me young, they keep me inspired and they’re all such talented individuals who deserve to have their work shown to the world.

Where can we find you online (social media etc)?
You can find me on Instagram and on Twitter at @effingcreations!