Our interview with League of Legends Cosplayer Mowky
In the world of cosplay, few are as accomplished as Mowky. Whether it’s creating your own costumes, participating in competitions, or traveling around the world, she has done it all. To a bystander, her trade might seem like nothing more than putting on flashy attire and striking a few poses at a nearby convention.
However, there’s a lot of work that goes into making a quality cosplay. Esports.net approached Mowky to take a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a League of Legends cosplayer.
When did you start doing cosplay and what sparked your passion?
I started cosplaying in 2012. Back then, I made a small costume for the world’s biggest gaming convention Gamescom, and it was just for fun. I didn’t even know anything about costume making or the concept of cosplay. But when I went to the event and everyone was recognizing my character and asking for pics, I knew I had to make more costumes! It was so much fun!
Where did you learn how to create your costumes? How long did it take you to master all the techniques?
Most of these things I had to teach myself or learn through online tutorials (Youtube is amazing for this!). I also learned a bit of basic sewing from my mom. I wouldn’t say that I mastered any of the required techniques, because there’s always something new to learn!
Nearly all your characters come from League of Legends, are you a gamer yourself?
Yes, I’ve been a gamer for nearly my whole life! Back in the days, I was more of a console (SNES, N64) gamer, but I quickly moved on to DOS and after that never stuck to one genre, finally getting massively addicted to WoW and LoL.
Do you think that esports, especially LoL, has contributed a lot to cosplay? If so, in which ways?
Esports definitely gives cosplayers great opportunities to present their art, visit gaming events with like-minded gamers, and cheer for their favorite team while being dressed as a champion from the game, which is an amazing feeling! Esports also brings a lot of people from different backgrounds together, so it has motivated many people to try cosplay themselves after meeting a cosplayer at one of these events.
How do you choose your characters? Why LoL? Would you consider characters from other games or anime?
I’ve played League of Legends for three years, and I absolutely love the character designs, so it was just natural for me to pick all of my costume ideas from there. My first cosplay was also Woad Ashe from LoL. I guess I made it a tradition to cosplay from LoL after that.
I’m currently planning to craft a dragon aspect from World of Warcraft because I would love to honor all the time I’ve put into the game back in the days. All of the characters that appeal to me are mostly badass fighters (no matter if male or female). I especially choose characters with animal features like tails and ears.
Following some of your video tutorials on your Youtube channel, it’s evident it takes a lot of time and patience to prepare these masterpieces. For example, how long did it take you to prepare Aurelion Sol and what did the process involve? Also, did you practice any moves and poses beforehand?
Aurelion Sol was a huge challenge for me as a costume builder. Riot Games had teased a dragon champion called Ao Shin for an eternity, but then they scrapped the design completely and created Aurelion instead. I was hooked and started preparing instantly, which basically means I stared at his splash art and in-game model for like 3 days straight to figure out which materials I will need to buy and craft.
Afterward, I got to work ASAP, and it took me like two and a half months to learn all the required techniques and finally get everything ready. Things like the mask and armor pieces were just a lot of taxing detail work, but learning how to work with Latex took some time, and I made many mistakes that I definitely will never repeat again! Luckily figuring out what makeup I wanted to put on under the mask took only one try.
I feel like the moves and poses come naturally to the cosplayer. As soon as the costume has been put on, it automatically transforms you into the character, and you just feel what you have to do!
For an important event such as DreamHack, how early on do you start preparing?
At the moment, I don’t really prepare for events since I’m visiting most of them as a judge or a guest, so I feel like the focus and attention should be on all the other cosplayers who prepare their costumes for the cosplay competitions. I have a ton of finished costumes in my closet and just pick one. Back when I was still participating in competitions I started preparations roughly 1-2 months prior to an event, though!
How many shows do you attend per year, and which are your favorite shows to go to and why?
I only go to 5-10 shows per year, but my favorite ones will always be DreamHack and Gamescom. I just feel like the mix of like-minded gamers and cosplayers is great to experience!
Did cosplay open up any opportunities for travel? If so, which countries have you visited because of cosplay?
Cosplay has definitely opened up so many opportunities for this! Also, before I started with cosplay I hated traveling. But now that I have to travel more and more I started loving it, so cosplay really helped me overcome a lot of fears! I’ve been to countries like England, the Czech Republic, Austria and I’ve even visited the USA!
Do you usually attend these shows alone or do you take along friends/relatives to help you with necessary preparations?
It is always good to have someone on your side who knows what you need and can help you with difficult situations or costumes, so I always try to take someone with me.
When you’re at the show, for how long do you keep your costume on? Is this physically challenging, considering costumes can be heavy or too hot/cold to wear?
Pretty much every costume I have is either difficult to wear or feels uncomfortable after 1-2 hours. But I always try to wear the cosplay and makeup for the complete events, which means about 6-10 hours depending on the show.
Then, do you also follow a training program or perform physical activities to stay in shape? If so, can you walk me through your regime?
I don’t practice at all, because I mostly don’t have the time between commission work, cosplay activities, and university work. So, the only physical training I have are the events themselves!
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Are there certain moments you enjoy the most during cosplay shows?
For me, it is definitely meeting people who love the character you’re cosplaying, and interacting with other cosplayers. I also think the best thing ever at events is seeing how children react to your cosplay. It’s the sweetest thing ever!
Is the cosplay community a tight-knit community or do tensions run high during prize competitions? Basically, are there strong rivalries between cosplayers?
There are definitely rivalries and tensions between cosplayers, but I think that’s just natural when a lot of people come together! Also, I think that’s just a small part of cosplay because if you ignore the “drama”, you’ll find nothing but pure love and appreciation for art in this scene.
Which social platforms do you like using? Where can your fans find you?
I mostly use Instagram, Patreon, Facebook, and Youtube! Currently, I’m trying to get back to Twitter and get into Twitch, but these things always take some time for me.
You started posting on Instagram in 2016, and your first posts hit around 80 likes. Now, your posts frequently get over a 1,000 likes. How active are you on social media? Is this something you enjoy doing, or does it feel like a chore?
In the beginning, it felt like a chore because nobody was really interested in my art. But with time more people stopped by and left very sweet comments about my work, so I started enjoying sharing my cosplay on social media more and more! I try to not let social media get to me, though. Sometimes I don’t even post for a week and still feel like I haven’t missed out much. I think that not feeling obligated to post or to go online is something you have to learn with time.
I also saw that you recently started your own Patreon. Can you tell us more about this, and what you aim to achieve?
My Patreon site is extremely fresh (started in April), and I launched it without a real aim. It was more of a challenge to myself. Can I bring my amazing supporters something new every month or will people lose interest in my work very quickly? I also wanted to do more PetPlay work (means dressing up as cute cats and foxes), which I don’t feel is suited for my normal social feeds.
I wasn’t even sure if people would be interested in supporting my art, but they really surprised me, and I’m so thankful for that! So, I try to bring them detailed cosplay tutorials, cutesy pet photos and more interaction with what I do every month.
Now you are a renowned cosplayer, but were there any sacrifices you had to make to reach this level of success?
I wouldn’t call myself renowned, I was just lucky to have a passion that many others share, meaning my love for tail creations. However, I’d say that the biggest sacrifices someone who wants to get big in cosplay has to make are incredible lack of sleep, waning social interactions, and a constant shortage of funds on your bank account!
What advice would you give to anyone who would like to become a cosplayer?
I always try to tell newcomers the following three golden rules:
- Don’t get discouraged if you make mistakes or other people are mean to you. You will figure it out and make your way!
- Try to evolve your skills constantly. You will always find help on the internet (Youtube is your heaven) or in workshops!
- Don’t rush your costumes and don’t spend the night before every event trying to finish your cosplay. You will start to dislike your own craft, and it’s way better to enjoy your hobby than to treat it like a job with deadlines!
Mowky describes herself as a League of Legends cosplayer, creative mind, and foxgirl. All images used were taken from her social media accounts, and you can find more of her work on Facebook, YouTube, and Patreon.