Last year I came across the wonderful eBooks known as the Foamsmith series. I used these books to help create my cosplay last year. These books helped me make cleaner foam cuts, learn clever painting techniques and even how to add LEDs. Recently I got to interview the author of these books and a creator of many props are cosplays that really bring characters to life. Here’s a little bit about the wonderful Bill Doran at Punished Props.
Punished Props as Lord Shaxx from Destiny
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Bill Doran and I’m a prop maker from Seattle, WA. My wife and I run a small prop making company out of our basement, building high end props and costumes as well as producing instructional books and videos.
How long have you been cosplaying?
I started cosplaying with my friends back in 2009, so let’s go with about seven years.
What made you start cosplaying?
I have very persuasive friends who twisted my arm into doing a group of Team Fortress 2 costumes.
How did you make room for your workshop and all the cosplay tools you’ve accumulated over the years?
I have a 1,000 sq/ft basement that does a pretty good job of containing my insanity. I also don’t keep most of what I make. Once a piece is finished it goes out the door to the intended client. Even so, it’s getting pretty cramped in our basement and we’ll be looking for a more spacious shop soon.
Punished Props and a friend as Draugrs from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Cosplay. The armour is made of EVA Foam.
Did you have a background using most of these tools before you cosplayed or is it something you learned as you had a new idea for a prop?
I do have a strong background with most common tools; both hand tools and power tools. My dad is very handy and we did a lot of home improvement and hobby crafts as kids. There are plenty of other skills that I picked up along the way, like mold making.
Assault Rifle from the movie District 9. Made of EVA Foam.
Why did you decide to write books on your craft and can we expect any new ones soon?
When I decided to write books, I had been producing lots of content on my blog for years. I wanted to consolidate a lot of that material in one place, hence the first book. It was a process that I enjoyed very much and my fans were chomping at the bit for more, so I kept writing! I’m just finishing a foam weapon book, due out later this month.
On top of the books, your website and Youtube page are filled with helpful links and videos on all sorts of topics. Do you have a favorite crafting method to teach and make videos on?
Lately the topic of EVA foam props and costumes has really dominated my tutorial output. It’s a great medium for entering this hobby, for sure. I have a series on mold making that’s been really fun to produce.
Punished Props Youtube Channel
When you see other people’s cosplay’s is there anything that really catches your eye and makes you geek out?
The thing that really impresses me about other peoples’ work is the attention to texture and advanced finishing techniques. Most people can do a pretty good job of nailing the form of a prop or costume, but recognizing the surface finish and then replicating it accurately can be extremely challenging. Those who do it well are always catch my eye.
Do you have a favorite convention?
Hands down it has to be Dragon Con. There are so many great shows to pick from, but I get to see scores of my wonderful friends there. Plus the cosplay game there is a completely different beast than anywhere else in the world. I love it and I never miss it.
How many Deadpools are you expecting to see at conventions this year compared to year’s past?
I’m actually just going to see the Deadpool movie tonight! I’m super excited, I’ve heard it’s really good. I expect at least double the Deadpool cosplayers this year.
If you knew what you knew now about making cosplay’s and took a time machine back to the 90’s. What would you cosplay that would have been epic for the time?
A full Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles outfit, from the first movie. Of course. =)
My name is Jordan Wilhelm, i'm a casual gamer, tv watcher, con-goer and hopefully a half decent writer. I'm from the GTA where I've been raised basically all my life. I'm a founder and cosplayer of Pentakill cosplay, so some of you may recognize my costumes rather than my face. I'm hoping to bring some more engaging content to the GCE website that hopefully peaks geeks interests and fits in with the rest of the great team at the GCE.
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