What got you into cosplay?
I've always liked dressing up as characters I enjoy, but I didn't come across the cosplay hobby until after high school. Until that, the only outlets for my costume creativity were school plays and Halloween. In recent years, my good friend Saxy / HentaiNoTenshi turned me on to the fun of parading a well-made costume around in front of like minded geeks at anime conventions. Now I have a close group of friends who adore costuming and we have a lot of fun talking shop together.
What was your first costume and why?
My first really elaborate costume was a velociraptor I wore for Halloween in ninth grade. I ran around hunched over so that my tail would be horizontal, and my head-mask was crafted so that the raptor's head would be level from this posture. Unfortunately I couldn't do much about my legs except wear matching leggings, so they looked silly, but the overall anatomy was pretty good for cardboard and paper mache. The eyes were realistic enough that they startled a couple people at the school Halloween dance I wore it to.
What is your favorite costume and why?
That's hard to say. I choose costumes out of love for the characters and the designs (when I feel like I can do them justice with my skill set). I put immense amounts of work into all of them so that's like having to choose a favorite among my children! Princess Ruto is way up there, though. People always seem so delighted by her!
Do you have a dream costume you'd like to make?
Now that Princess Ruto is mostly finished, I have several other Zora and Legend of Zelda costumes in mind. I'd also like to do a realistic Nausicaa, improve my Princess Mononoke, and work on some more original Victorian fantasy costumes.
What has been your most memorable cosplay experience?
Probably Sakura-Con 2009. I wore Princess Mononoke, a formal full-length dress version, for the first time in public and was blown away by the excitement it generated. Now I'm completely hooked on the praise of other cosplayers and fans. XD Wearing Princess Ruto to Penny Arcade Expo was pretty exhilarating though!
Do you participate in masquerades?
Not yet, but I'd like to! I tend to judge my work a little too harshly and am afraid of others doing the same.
Have you won any awards for your costumes?
I won my high school's Halloween costume contest three years in a row, with my Star Wars Ewok in 10th grade, my Scooby Doo in 11th, and my Griffin costume in 12th. I'm told my Velociraptor probably would have won in 9th grade if I'd known the contest was at lunch during school rather than at the dance that night. However, showing my costume work in my application did help me to win a small scholarship award that I put toward art schooling! Now to get brave enough to enter some convention contests!
Tell us a little about yourself
I'm happily married, living in beautiful Washington state, and I love crafting, jewelrymaking, and digital art.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I hope you enjoy my work! If you'd like to see any of my other art I keep a gallery at hylianjean.deviantart.com
My favorite anime
All the major Studio Ghibli films, Kodomo no Omocha, Cowboy Bebop, Origin: Spirits of the Past, Story of Saiunkoku.. I'm kind of initially skeptical about anime and only tend to watch a new series on the recommendation of friends. ...though Sailor Moon is a guilty pleasure.
My favorite game(s)
Myst, Riven, Uru, The Legend of Zelda 3 and onward, Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, Earthbound / Mother, Katamari Damacy, Okami, Endless Ocean, various Mario games, Secret of Evermore, many others
My favorite book(s)
Too hard to choose a favorite, and I know I'm forgetting many. Dune, the Dragonriders of Pern series, the Negotiator series by C.E. Murphy, Snow Crash, The Ship Who Sang, The Last Unicorn, Ender's Game, Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit, Memoirs of a Geisha, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Harry Potter.. on and on