This issue of WAYW introduces us to Tabitha, a UK-based cosplayer and her wonderfully original take on a fan-favourite hero from Blizzard’s Overwatch game franchise.
Who are you wearing?
Steampunk Mercy from Overwatch; this is a fan-made skin. I love Mercy and I love steampunk so when someone suggested I cosplay Steampunk Mercy, I had to do it! I’m a Mercy main and I love her design and have wanted to cosplay her for a while, but couldn’t decide which skin to do until someone suggested this.
How long did it take you to complete the costume for this character?
This took about 5 months to make. When designing it, I wanted to include a few aspects of Mercy’s character and original design into it, so I used gold patterned fabric for the corset to include some yellow, I put her symbol on the centre of the chest harness, and there’s a syringe with little vials of yellow and blue liquid on the belt. Some aspects were inspired by the Witch Mercy skin, such as the skirt where she’s got a lot of her leg out and the shape of the neckline. The chest harness was inspired by Lady Mechanika. I learnt to work with leather for this and did a bit of basic tooling for the symbol on the shoulder harness. I’ve made two sets of wings for it – one with the yellow lights parts, and one without. The wings without these parts open and close with a pulley system that attaches to the arm guard.
What does this game’s fandom mean to you?
Literally everything, it’s my obsession. Whilst I love playing the game, I’m more into the characters and the story, and I love discussing theories with people. My favourite characters are Mercy, Hanzo and Genji, and it’s got to the point where I’ve accidentally called my boyfriend Hanzo several times now…
What is special about this character and why did you choose them?
I’m a Mercy main, and she’s one of my favourites. Design-wise, I think she’s got the most interesting outfits. I love intricate, fantasy-inspired designs, and she’s got plenty of them. I also think the design with the wings and the staff is powerful and iconic. In terms of character, I like her for being generally such a nice person. And among other things, I like that she’s the only character that stops to ask if violence must always be the answer. She’ll still go and fight anyway, but it’s the thought that counts.
What advice would you give to anyone who is new to cosplay or anybody that wants to start but doesn’t know how?
If you want to make a cosplay but are worried about making something, try to find a character that wears clothes you can buy and modify. It’s a lot easier to change something than it is to make something from scratch! Pokemon trainers are a really good choice if you’re into Pokemon – they have mostly normal clothes that you can buy and modify, they wear comfy shoes, they have pockets and bags, they tend to have vaguely normal hairstyles and they’re really popular and recognisable so people will know who you are (especially if you take a Pokemon plushie along!). Or you could go for a casual version of a character (it’s really common to do casual Overwatch characters) so you can find an outfit you think would suit the character and modify it to make it more personal to them or make little bits of their normal outfit to add to it.
When I started, I asked my mum to help me with my first few cosplays. She knew much more about sewing and crafting than me, so she showed me how to make things that I wouldn’t have a clue to get started with. Back then we used things like paper maché and card, though these days there’s all sorts of materials out there like Worbla and Thibra (though paper maché does still make its way into my cosplays sometimes!). If you want to make something but you’re not sure how, there’s loads and loads of resources online. If you Google it you’ll usually find a tutorial or someone else asking the same thing. Kamui Cosplay has a lot of amazing tutorials, particularly for armour and weapons. If there’s something specific you’re not sure about, look at how other people have cosplayed that character and see how they did it. And there’s loads of cosplay groups on Facebook you can join that have loads of people that would be happy to help. There are both generic cosplay groups as well as groups dedicated to specific fandoms, so there’s lots to choose from.
Do you cosplay and have a story to tell? If so, get in touch via or social channels or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.