If you’ve been to a comic convention recently you’ll have noticed the increased presence of characters from the Spiderman Universe. Through several movie franchises, comic book series and video games Spiderman has seen his fair share of unique costumes and these conventions have become home to bringing these creations to life. Brandon Gilbert is a cosplayer who has brought several of these Spiderman variations to life by cosplaying them, as well as designing suits for other Spiderman fans and Cosplayers alike. I got a chance to swing a few questions by him to ask him about his work. Here’s what your friendly neighborhood Brandon had to say…
How long have you been cosplaying and when did realize cosplay was something you enjoyed?
I’ve been cosplaying for about a year and a half now. I work in the animation/vfx industry so I’m in front of a computer for most of the day which allows me every so often to browse the net. I always found myself gravitating towards various cosplayer pages and checking out all the work in progress pics of their outfits – it fascinated me. Eventually it got to the point where I decided it was time to stop being a spectator and get in the game.
What’s your favorite cosplay you’ve done so far?
My favorite so far has to my Amazing Spider-Man 2 suit. I know a good number of people out there weren’t crazy about the film (personally I loved it) but the suit was unarguably a piece of art. The more time I spent looking at reference pictures that I had accumulated over time the more I began to appreciate everything that went into putting that official suit together. I spent a year on and off figuring out how to create my own, to be as accurate as possible. Definitely was a rewarding feeling having it finished.
Do you make all of your own cosplays?
I do! Not that I have anything against those who don’t have the time to make their own but for me that’s where I get all the satisfaction. I enjoy the creation process just as much, if not more than wearing the final product.
Do you have a favorite convention you like to attend? Which ones are you going to this year?
I never really had much of a favorite until I attended NYCC last year. It was absolutely amazing! My previous experiences with the larger cons from Toronto was they just seemed too crowded, too chaotic and not so fan friendly. NYCC was well organized, flowed better and was just overall a great time. Can’t wait to go again! As for cons I’m attending this year, it’s a little up in the air right now but safe to say most of the popular cons in Toronto (AnimeNorth, Toronto Comiccon, etc). I’d love to attend more cons in the States like DragonCon and SDCC but we’ll see how the Canadian dollar is doing before committing to those…
Do you remember the moment you got hooked on Spiderman?
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment since I grew up with the cartoon and the odd comic but if I had to pick a moment that stands out the most it was when I saw the first Raimi Spider-Man movie. It was the first superhero movie of its kind. When Toby was first discovering his new abilities after being bitten I remember being completely sucked into the movie and just imagining myself as him and what it would be like to have them. It was exciting!
What are your expectations for the next Spiderman in the Marvel films?
Don’t really have too many expectations with the new reboot but I’m anxious to see what new take they’ll have on the franchise and I have faith in Tom, seems like a cool kid.
When did you start Arachnid Studios and designing your own Spiderman suits?
Well my very first cosplay was my Symbiote suit. I spent a good month or two looking into the process of putting together a Spider-Man suit which lead me to dye-sub patterns. I found a basic layout of a bodysuit pattern and from there spent a good number of hours recreating the pattern from the first Amazing Spider-Man movie with Andrew. I decided that I didn’t want to do a straight up copy of that suit and the Symbiote suit was always the most fascinating to me so I made the pattern into my very own black version. Fast forward to later in the year and I was attending Hamilton Comic Con with my newly assembled group of spideys (all great people and friends!). We entered the group cosplay contest for the hell of it and lo and behold we won! One of the judges was the super amazingly talented Destiny Nickelsen. Through talking with her discovered that Spider-Man was among her favorites and she was really interested in putting together a Spider-Gwen suit for herself. I felt somewhat experienced with that whole process at that point so I offered to help her out. I ended up designing a dye-sub pattern for her to use to make her suit with. From there I just ended up getting so many requests for my Symbiote Spider-Man and the Spider-Gwen pattern from people that Arachnid Studios just kind of happened and evolved from there.
How does one get from your pattern to a finished suit they can wear?
Long story short you get the pattern printed onto a giant sheet of spandex, the pieces get cutout, sewed together and voila! There are a couple options with how to go about getting those steps done. Either you can just go to a website that will print the pattern onto spandex and ship it to you as one big piece or there a some companies out there (www.therpcstudio.com/arachnid for example) that will not only print the pattern but they can sew it together for you as well.
Could you talk about the artistic progress and creation of your unique patterns?
The process isn’t all that different from creating any other piece of artwork. You start off with a concept and general idea of how you want the finished piece to look and work towards that until you’re happy with what you see. A good majority of the patterns I’ve made all make use of muscle shading to get that superhero feel like in the comics. I’ve gathered more pictures of male bodybuilders in G-Strings than I’d like to admit to use as reference for painting all the muscles you see around the body. I had to pick and choose what I thought were the most aesthetically appealing muscles from various athletes to get the look I wanted. I’m still constantly making tweaks here and there when I spot something I’m not totally happy with, it’s an ongoing work in progress. I went through a similar process for the female muscle shading but it’s nowhere near as detailed as most girls I’ve heard feedback from prefer a softer, less defined look. Once that’s all taken care of I move on to laying out the general look of whichever new pattern I’m working on. Thankfully for most patterns I create there is plenty of reference and different angle for me to see the design from. The trickiest part tends to be the patterns that have a lot of webbing that needs to lineup when crossing over from separate pieces. I want each suit to look like one solid piece, that’s my goal. Once I have it all laid out then I can get into the details. I’ve always been a stickler for detail. It’s my thing. I don’t just want suits to look good from 10ft away. I need them to look great when they’re right in your face. Quite often I spend just as much time laying out a pattern and lining everything up as I do making subtle changes and details. Because of that I tend to take a little longer to finish patterns but the end result is something I can take pride in.
What projects/cosplays can we expect from you in the future?
After spending so much time on Spidey related projects I’m anxious to tryout some different material and see how that goes. I’ve experimented a little with using foam to make some props and once I get a little more experience with that I’ll try and tackle more armor based outfit. They look fun. As for right now though, my current project still involves a bodysuit. I recently finished watching One Punch Man (go watch it if you haven’t) so we have a group cosplay planned for Anime North. I’m going to be Lord Boros in his final form.
Which series or franchises have you been geeking out to lately and will they have any influence on your upcoming cosplays?
Well I guess I answered this before but, One Punch Man. Without spoiling anything it’s like watching DBZ except it’s absolutely hilarious. What would normally take seven episodes in DBZ to happen, takes half an episode in One Punch. Villains will give these long winded monologues and instead of powering up over four hours of screen time BAM, bad guy dead. It’s just great.
How many Deadpools are you expecting to see at conventions this year compared to year’s past?
They might actually outnumber Attack on Titan cosplays! *MIND BLOWN* I love Attack on Titan, don’t hate me
If you want to see more of Brandon’s Work and Cosplays make sure to check him out on his Facebook and Instagram Pages: