Interview with Costume Designer and Creator Krystal Messier

Steampixie in action.

Ever wanted to know what happens inside the strange mind of a costume designer? Well we got lucky enough to have our friend Krystal “Kudrel” Messier to answer a few questions. I first found her work on DeviantArt, but later found out we were connected through her company, Steampixie, which she runs with our mutual friend Lisa McGowan. After Dragoncon last year, we decided to post an interview, and are just now getting around to posting it (yes, I am always this behind on web work)!

So this is a question people ask me all the time, so I think that is the best place to start. Plus it gives us a good idea of what drives you to make a costume, what your studio practice is like, and when to stop on a costume. – How do you have time to make all of these?
It takes up a huge part of my free time…actually, it’s practically all I do when I’m not working, playing video games or going out to socialize. When I get really good ideas, I’ll block out the world and drop everything to plow those ideas into something real. I’ll even pull a ‘hermit’ in the house for days if I get really into something. I find I’m the most productive and creative at late hours of the night (or early hours of the morning) when most of the world is silent and sleeping. Most importantly, as any true costumer’s insanity proves, losing sleep is always an option when necessary!


What are your top three favorite costumes you have made?
My #1 favorite costume – My World of Warcraft troll. It’s just so different from most of my costumes and required learning some make-up skills. I couldn’t even believe it myself when I first saw how well it all turned out. I’m definitely very proud of it, plus it carries some geeky sentimental value to it, being based of my main toon in the game. It’s also surprisingly comfortable and fun to wear.

World of Warcraft Troll

#2 – Hikaru – I got to try some interesting new things, like resin casting and wig dying, as well as new building and painting methods for this costume with help from my business partner, and it turned out much to my liking. It ended up being one of those costumes that came together so well with successful experiments and it also complimented my figure and complexion. Bonus! Plus I got to carry around an epic sword.
#3 – Rocket – This costume was like the ultimate timing challenge. I threw it together in 4 days (a record for me for elaborate costumes) after being convinced I looked like the actress. People even thought I was the real actress! That’s a win in my books, since cosplay does encourage very precise accuracy and being a true resemblance to the character.
What is the most important or the most fun for you – making the costume, wearing it at shows, or photo shoots with the costume?
That’s really tough to answer! Can I say “all of the above”? The whole package is important and fun! After putting all the work into a costume, it only makes sense to wear it to show if off, and to get pictures for showing it off even more. I suppose if I had to choose, wearing it to shows would be the most fun. As thrilling as the creative process is, sometimes it can get stressful or frustrating, and photo shoots are just a bonus, but being out at shows flaunting your stuff and getting noticed, while being able to socialize with so many great people is truly fulfilling.

Final Fantasy xiii Nix

Where do you go when you need help for a costume? Do you have a group of costuming friends to bounce ideas off of? A website you frequent often?
I am grateful to have several very helpful and talented costuming friends to go to for help and brainstorm with. Many of them have a knack for certain techniques and skills so it narrows things down when I need specific advice. I’m always willing to return the favor too! I also keep an eye on the listings for panels and workshops at different conventions and make sure to attend any of the ones that might prove useful for me, pen and notepad in hand! The internet is usually a last resort, if I really need to Google a certain tutorial, but only when I can’t find the answers from my personal sources. I prefer learning about things in person, where I can actually listen in and get involved, rather than watching or reading something online.
Now the chicken and the egg question – were you interested in costumes first then found fandom for all the costuming potential, or were you a fan and slowly wanted to make costumes from the things you liked?
I definitely liked costuming first. I remember in high school, I would always go all out on “spirit” days and I was doing wardrobe for drama class. I also loved having themed parties on my birthdays and such where some sort of dress-up was always required. Then of course Halloween was always a big deal, and on several occasions I would make costumes to represent my online role-playing characters at the time, so getting introduced to my first convention and discovering cosplay was a HUGE eye-opener for me. It was like finding the meaning of the universe!

Suckerpunch - Rocket

And the final question, what would you advise to those who are just starting out down the path of a true costumer?
Remember to always do it for yourself and have fun with it. Enjoying what you do and taking pride in your costumes, regardless of what other people say (and some of it’s going to hurt) is what matters most. If you’re not happy doing it, why the hell ARE you doing it?


To see more of her work, you can visit her on several different sites: