Word of the Nerd is pleased to present to you one of our most popular features, Cosplayer Spotlight. We feature new and talented cosplayers from the cosplay community. Be sure to check back every Tuesday and Thursday to catch some up-and-coming new cosplay talent or get a look at some well-established and famous members of the cosplay universe.
My name is Karoinna and I love to create my favourite characters and disappear into their world through my cosplays. In the scary/boring real world I’m a professional visual artist, model, costume designer, and art director. I love playing with different techniques to get the desired outcome and bring my creative ideas to life. My work is currently fighting for my attention while I attempt to study for my Master’s degree in Visual Communication. I am always looking for opportunities to meet new people and take on new challenges, so if you like what you see / what I have to offer, feel free to get in touch. I have an awesome and supportive community and we’re always looking for new recruits in the Karo Army, I hope to see you at one of my streams where we can wait out this pandemic together!
How did you first get into cosplay?
I got into cosplay when I just turned 18. I went to a bigger city for a gaming con and I loved how cosplayers looked – I also wanted to be a real-life walking hero. And I have always loved dressing up as a child, regretting that Halloween is only once a year.
Do you cosplay just for fun or do you see it as a stepping stone to a future career?
I am a professional visual artist, model, costume designer, and art director. I attend big international events for competitions/fun/as a guest, take commissions for props, have photoshoots very often, apart from working daily on my art.
Do you prefer to make your cosplays from scratch, buy or commission them, or a hybrid?
I make my costumes from scratch, from belts, through sewing and designing patterns on fabric, to building big bulky armor or weapons. I buy wigs and style them too.
How much time do you spend making each of your cosplays?
Working 3-4 days a week, sometimes day and night (my record is 36h straight – please don’t do this to yourself. I have deadlines to meet, though.)… Around 3 months for more complicated builds. For easier slightly more than a month
What is your favorite cosplay you have done so far?
Phantom Assassin (DotA2), Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail), and Ashe (Overwatch) 🙂
What has been your most memorable experience as a cosplayer?
Getting into Top 10 in cosplay contests and getting on stage to present myself during an international e-sport event. It was broadcast to twenty-one thousand people. Amazing feeling.
How do you feel about group cosplays?
I think they are fun! You can meet great people, share tips and also… look amazing at the same time 🙂
What cosplays are you currently working on or plan to finish this year?
Spectre (DotA2), Ciri (The Witcher 3), Vereesa Windrunner (WoW)
What issues do you see as being the most divisive in the cosplay community and how do you feel about it?
I believe creating inner circles and not letting new people in is the biggest mistake cosplay communities can make. Surprisingly, for a group of people where “play” and “fun” are a huge part of their name and activities, cosplayers tend to be toxic towards each other and it is heartbreaking.
What types of characters or genres inspire your cosplay the most?
I like strong and mysterious females. They give me confidence. I also like creative designs of characters and I try to cosplay characters I resemble for better accuracy.
What is your favorite part (researching, shopping for supplies, sewing, photoshoots, attending cons, etc.) of your cosplay process?
My favourite part is… everything. I get frustrated thinking “Ok, how will I do this?” even though I do have an idea, then I observe my references and simply use my experience, materials, and skills to end up with “Oh my, did I really build this from scratch?!”. I always amaze myself. I love the whole process, but the most rewarding ones are those milestones, like finishing sewing one thing or building one prop, then the whole costume, then practicing makeup, then putting it all together, and see the happiness of people who recognize your character, and then awesome pics from photoshoots.
What are your best resources for cosplay materials?
I moved to the UK one year ago, I am still looking for my favourite supplier 🙂
What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome as a cosplayer?
My spine injury. I had an accident in a gym year and a half ago and since then I have been on rehabilitation (I am waaaay better now). My Ashe, Jasnah Kholin, and two versions of Phantom Assassin were made when I was in my biggest pain and trying to avoid two surgeries. I really don’t know how I managed to make these costumes.
Have you learned any life lessons during your time as a cosplayer and what are they?
I have learned to listen to my body better. Even if I have been recovering from my back pains it doesn’t mean that I can spend those 36 hours nonstop working on a costume. I actually had to take a break and mostly lie down for around a month, because my health has deteriorated. Please remember, your health is important! Wear masks, gloves, goggles, ventilate the area – don’t be like past me 🙂
What is your golden cosplay rule that you would share with new cosplayers?
Go with something simple enough not to feel demotivated and frustrated, but slightly complicated to also challenge yourself. Designs may look simple from the beginning, but then you will find yourself disappointed in yourself and give up an idea only because you don’t know and have any tricks (and maybe even tools) yet. Take it easy and find support in your family or friends. They can come up with ideas you won’t 🙂
How do you feel the cosplay community has changed over time?
I am in two communities – Polish (because of my nationality) and… European. Personally, I can’t speak much of the changes, but I do feel like both communities try to help out their members, which is the most important thing in my opinion.
If money and time were not a factor, what is your number one over-ambitious cosplay you want to do?
Kerrigan, Lilith (Diablo 3), The Chosen Assassin (X-COM2)
Do you set a budget for each cosplay?
More or less. I have materials from previous costumes, so I just try not to spend too much money buying new ones.
What does cosplay mean to you?
It is another way to show my artistic side to the world without being shy. People judge my work and performance rather than for me as a person. Even though you know they know your nickname, wearing a costume gives you a bit of anonymity.
How do you see the cosplay community 10 years from now?
I believe there will be more information online on how to make things and I am sure the community will grow and craft more.
What is your favorite con to attend?
I attend ESL One events (e-sports) regularly and I must say I feel the best there. I spend my time with my friends, watching the game, showing our costumes, and just having fun 😉
Is there another cosplayer who inspires you or is your role model?
I am mostly inspired by some big names like Kamui Cosplay, LydiScott, PretzlCosplay, Alyson Tabbitha, because of their skills and constant crafting. Sharing their knowledge and also uploading things all the time – very motivating. I am also inspired by my close cosplayer friends: RehabGnaked, Star Nacho, Vanthica, because I can see their improvement with each new post they upload!
Do you consider yourself an inspiration to other cosplayers?
I do receive questions and about how I made my costumes, and I try to be as helpful as I can over the Internet (sometimes it is just easier to show things yourself). I am currently recording videos for my Patreons and describing my work for them in detail.
What advice would you give someone about meeting cosplayers and taking their pictures? How do you like to be approached?
I like when people smile at me and say hello and/or wave to begin an interaction, and then approach me slowly while asking whether it is ok to take a picture. I then nod or say yes in response (sometimes I wear a mask, so it’s easier to nod). Please be polite and if you want to touch our costumes – ask – but don’t take it personally if we refuse. Our costumes may look heavy and solid, but sometimes they are easy to break and we want to protect our work.
What is one thing you wish your fans knew about you?
I am forever grateful and happy to have them in my life. I love their support and supporting them. I love discussing various topics together, and that’s why I enjoy my Discord server the most – people seem to be more chatty there than on other platforms I have.
Is there anything that would make you stop cosplaying?
I think only money and health issues, as these are the things I need to be able to work.
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