Cosplay interviews! A weekly feature on Animetion where we talk to UK cosplayers on what motivates them, plus a cool gallery showcasing their cosplays.  Here we talk to cosplayer:

Name: sjbonnar

Q: When did you start cosplaying and how long for?

I started cosplaying May 2005 at the London MCM Expo when I cosplayed Zaraki Kenpachi from Bleach.  The costume was commissioned and I must admit, I felt like I had missed out due to not being able to enter the competitions etc. so, for the next London Expo, I made a new costume and also remade my Kenpachi costume!  I absolutely loved it!  From then onwards I was hooked and have now been cosplaying for over three years!  I can hardly believe it has been so long!

Q: What attracts you cosplay?

To be honest, I think for all of us it begins with escapism and I think that is what it is in part for me as well.  It began with wanting to BE someone else for the day, to act in character and to portray someone who is unusual.  I have always been reading, playing video games, role-playing, writing novels etc. and looking back, it all seems to be some kind of escapism LOL. 

It also has to be the mix of talents.  To be successful in cosplay you need to have so many different talents, whether it be sewing, woodwork, metalwork, acting, dancing, singing, etc.  Any and all of these can play a part and it is fantastic to see so many people from such a wide variety of backgrounds pulled together by a common interest!

Q:  What has been your favourite cosplay?

That depends on the definition of cosplay.  At this point in time, I think my original Steampunk character, Count Louis de Theudubert from my novel Flight of the Valkyrie is my favourite.  But as this is an original character, my backup would be Alucard from Hellsing.  Partly because his costume is so interesting, partly because I love vampires anyway and partly because...he's insane! 

Q: Most memorable moment whilst cosplaying?

That is very difficult to say!  I think it has to be taking part in the Manga Entertainment/Virgin Megastore Naruto Launch cosplay competition.  During that contest, when I was cosplaying as Jiraiya, I got to meet Kakashi's voice actor who told me my costume was amazing.  Not only that, but after messing around on stage, I won best male and took home some pretty decent prizes! It was amazing!

Q:  Have you had any cosplays go wrong/encountered problems whilst making cosplays?

Loads!  There is always something that goes wrong/needs redone on every cosplay I've done.  Whether it's things breaking last minute or ideas not working...for instance, my newest cosplay, Angeal Hewley from Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, I used promotional pictures as references and made the belt...the wrong colour to how it actually ended up being!  Which is a shame as I now have to redo it all LOL. 

Q:  Have you ever regretted cosplaying?

Once or twice.  It's usually because some drama comes from it or the pressure has gotten a little too much.  But, the people I have met through it have always brought me back in ^_^

Q:  Have you ever done group cosplay? If so how did you find that experience?

Hellsing and Steampunk were both group efforts and both came off really well.  I usually dislike working in a group as it means that you are relying on others rather than yourself.  But, luckily for me, I have worked with some fantastic cosplayers and have not had this problem!

Q:  What cosplays are you planning?

Quite a few!  I am booked until next October in fact!  Amongst them are Angeal from Crisis Core as mentioned, Fu Xi from Warriors Orochi 2 (biggest project I think), Hellboy from Hellboy 2, Piccolo from Dragonball Z, along with the ones that I am unsure of, like Totoro from My Neighbour Totoro, the Blue Eyes Ultimate Dragon from Yu-Gi-Oh and Captain Bucky O'Hare (from Bucky O'Hare - ed.)!

Q:  Do you have a dream cosplay?

It will always be Totoro until he has been finished, but I THINK I have got him figured out! LOL

Q:  Do you have one piece of advice that you would give to cosplay virgins?

Take it slow, start basic and keep trying to learn new things.  Two years ago I was unable to sew (still have issues with it really LOL) but now I am experimenting with resin casting, wonderflex, craft foam, fosshape...and most of those words were foreign to me last year!

Q:  Do you have an account with the website Cosplay island/other social networking sites?

I am on several cosplaying and social networking sites. You can almost always find me under "sjbonnar" ^_^

(click any picture for a larger image)

Sean getting up to mischief as Jiraya from NarutoSean as original creation Count Louis de Theudubert from his novel Flight of the Valkyrie, Sean as Zaraki Kenpachi from BleachSean (far right) as original creation Count Louis de Theudubert from his novel Flight of the Valkyrie, along with other original Steampunk creations

Sean as Kankuro from NarutoSean (far left) as original creation Count Louis de Theudubert from his novel Flight of the Valkyrie, along with other original Steampunk creationsSean (right) as Jiraya from Naruto, with Tsunade (centre) and Efia (left) as Orochimaru

Sean (left) as Uriel from Angel Sancutary - picture by cosplaysnap.co.ukSean (left) as The Phantom/Erik from The Phantom Of The OperaSean as Mask de Smith from Killer 7 - photo by NekoFlameAlchemistSean as Kankuro from as Naruto, in an original variant cosplay

Sean (2nd from left) as Alucard from Hellsing, picture also featuring Efia (left) as Sir Integra Fairbrook WingatesSean (centre) as original creation Count Louis de Theudubert from his novel Flight of the Valkyrie, with his winning Steampunk group at the MCM London Expo October 2008 - photo by Simon Piong of simonpiong.com