By Ashe Youngs – Today I had a chat with Kenny Cosplay about his experiences in the cosplaying world. Kenny has a strong presence within the cosplaying community and is best known for his League of Legends cosplays and signature comedy skits.
Ashe: When did you start cosplaying?
Kenny: May 2013 was my first ever con. I thought everyone had to dress up at comic con (idea implanted from Big Bang Theory) so I bought a cheap hoodie on Amazon to dress up as Desmond Miles from Assassin’s Creed although that didn’t really count. The first one I made was for October 2013 (Iron Man). I just did a whole load of research because I had no artistic talent or any sort of skills whatsoever, I just cobbled it together. Afterwards, I saw some pictures back from the con and they looked pretty naff because all I did was follow the templates which didn’t fit me. I then refined it and s*** by throwing more money at it (paint and plastidip) and went to another convention. Then I refined it even more after talking to other cosplayers about weathering etc. I got a bit too addicted and it just went on to more and more costumes from there. Each costume I’ve done so far I’ve tried to experiment with different areas/techniques that I’ve never tried before to see how it turns out. I guess cosplay isn’t about how good you are, it’s about how good you are at recovering from your f***ups ha-ha. #deep
Ashe: I had the opposite experience at cons, I was surprised at how many people actually cosplayed! What made you choose Iron Man?
Kenny: Basically I chose Iron Man because he is f****** awesome. I saw it and I really liked it. It would have cost £3k to buy so I decided to make my own and it all started there. Since I didn’t know what I was doing, I only expanded to the next thing that was available in Pepakura (War Machine). After that, I relied less and less on pre-made templates and just did my own thing and winged it.
Ashe: Yeah he is a bad ass. Did you always want to pursue cosplay to a high level or was it just for yourself?
Kenny: Absolutely not; there is absolutely no aim in my cosplay making – I just attempt whatever I like at the time.
Ashe: What do you like the most about making cosplays?
Kenny: The thing I like most about making cosplays is the satisfaction when it’s complete; you know that feeling when you go “holy s***, I just made that and it’s f****** awesome”
Ashe: Yeah it’s a good feeling, especially after making stuff you have never tried before. Do you think you’ve gotten just as much fun out of making costumes back then as you do now even with more experience?
Kenny: In short, nope, just the same. That’s because every build I do I always stress out because I have no idea what I’m doing. Literally, every build is as difficult as the last and it’s sometimes frustrating. There are always better ways of doing the same thing so I’m always learning ha-ha, it just feels never ending.
Ashe: That’s relatable! You went on the Arty Fakes course; how do you think it affected the way you build cosplays?
Kenny: Holy s***, you have no idea! That course taught me how to make props… like in a generic sense. There are techniques that may seem obvious but for someone who’s a total noob, it’s 100% worth it. Without that course, I would not have: Got a belt sander, used contact glue, made my seams seamless, sanded down corners, used anything else other than PVA to coat foam, known the importance of sharp blades, the list goes on. These things seem very obvious now but without someone telling you, it’s not obvious at all. I have some tutorials/blogs on my website where I just ramble, it’s good toilet material; read it while you s***.
Kenny’s Garren from League of Legends cosplay
Photography by MattEleven Photography
Ashe: When you pick a character to cosplay what’s your main reason?
Kenny: Do I like it? There’s no point in me making something and spending loads of money on it if I hate it, that would be stupid. I could go on an entire f****** rant about people who ask “who should I cosplay as?” Also to people who moan that love something so much but “can’t because I don’t have the skill”. They can go eat some s*** too. I mean if other people can do it, why can’t you?
Ashe: I agree, giving up before trying and all that. Everyone starts somewhere.
Kenny: People expect to make perfect props/cosplays first attempt. That’s unrealistic…why does anyone like anything? I play Overwatch; I’m making an Overwatch character (soldier 76). Iron Man was badass too so cool I made that. I keep getting stupid questions from people on my page where they ask “I want to start [insert your most recent costume here] but I have never made a cosplay before, please show me how” and they expect you to spend 3 weeks telling them how each piece goes together!
Ashe: Personally it’s the art style and something I love about the character or universe they’re from.
Kenny: Same reason as people write books really…. but I lack the imagination to design something cool so I copy other people’s work instead.
Ashe: People love to see their favourite characters re-created, have you ever had a designer of a character you’ve cosplayed see your work?
Kenny: …Funny you should ask, I recently attended the League of Legends world finals in LA. The producer for the championship Zedd Skin actually saw me there and was like “holy s*** it’s awesome”, and then I was like “holy s*** it’s awesome that you find it awesome”.
Ashe: That’s epic!
Kenny: It got even better. When Zedd was performing in the opening ceremony, he had the “official” helmet on his DJ desk and I think my design was pretty close to that too. I was over the moon.
Ashe: What about the best reaction to your cosplay?
Kenny: No idea actually…I guess when I went on stage to perform one of the skits and when I started dancing, I distinctly heard people go “what the f***” in the audience, that was pretty funny. I guess once you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve, then it just feels great. Like I was aiming to shock people and it worked and it was hilarious.
Ashe: Yeah you’re pretty well known for your skits, it seems to have started a whole load of other people doing the same style thing! I went to LSCC (London Super Comic-Con) last year and almost all of the cosplay entries for the main Saturday comp had the same comical format as you.
Kenny: Yeahhhhhh about that…apologies. I’ve started working on lots of different formats recently. Unfortunately, my two most recent skits I was not able to perform them. I’ve been trying to tell a story and see if that would work.
Kenny showed me a recording of the music and dialogue he’s made for upcoming skits; it’s a completely different tone, well-paced, dramatic and creative. I was half expecting there to be a silly twist at the end.
I’m definitely looking forward to seeing his work this year, and his new direction for performance. The thing that sets Kenny apart is his refreshing honesty, he’s not afraid to speak his mind about the community or sugar coat exactly what goes into making cosplays. It is difficult, he’s an example that learning from your mistakes gets you far. To find out what he has lined up this year please follow and check out the links below. He does prop building Twitch streams so keep an eye out for them too.