Costume by: Holly
Photographers: Personal Family Members, Greg Chaney “Chained Images” (https://www.facebook.com/chainedimages/ )
Greetings, I am Holly of Bunny Valtir Designs, and I would love to share with you
my Iorveth cosplay featuring Aradani’s Anime Elf Ears and the Nomad Elf Ears.
Iorveth is from the Polish video game, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings by CD
Projekt Red. He has been an all time favorite of mine as a character from the
fantasy genre since roughly four years back when I was introduced to the game,
and before the third game was even rumored.
I ‘ve always been a massive Elf fan since my middle school years all the way
past college. I’ve been working on a novel which evolves around Elves as well.
But Iorveth has meant the world to me ever since I was introduced to the
Witcher game & series. There is so much background untold about him which
leaves him mysterious but still entirely fascinating. Just by observing the
character, you can tell that he has been through a lot and has a long, thorough,
story written within. He is a free, prideful soul with selfless yet truthful bitter
words when he speaks. A determination for his people and for freedom.
Someone in between the good and bad and whom is not perfect. Someone who
has been affected heavily from past events to mold him for how he is now and
what he must be. I can go on, but this is one of the main reasons out of many of
why I fell for this Elf, aside from the simple “still being handsome even with that
big ol’ scar” deal (Yes you lovely ladies, we see it.)
Figuring out how I wanted to put this cosplay together, there was a realization
of how much detail there was to take in (Props to Cd Projekt’s designers for all
the beautiful work they do).
Not many people cosplay him and being how I really wanted to try and do
something special to bring some justice to the character, I gave it a go with
minimal knowledge of \ crafting attire all from scratch with no patterns. It was a
big challenge and even a risk. But it was fun. I have done a variety of sketching
and notes. Most of all, DAYS of studying and staring at the character himself.
The key was having the references there, but not only just the reference
pictures (even though that can be sufficient enough if the quality is very good
with all the angles). I would actually go into the game files I have saved of when
Iorveth would be standing around, and just look at him from every angle (If
Iorveth wasn’t a video game character, he would seriously question all the
staring and gawking he gets.)
Ideas, tips, tricks and the knowledge gained from simple research or thinking it
through the night laying in my bed—I jot it all down on a notepad or on my
phone no matter the time. I made all sorts of sketches on how the details and
his clothing would lay on the body. The sketches and notes would help figure
out how everything was going to easily be assembled and dissembled when
getting into the armor.
Finding the materials is where places like Walmart, Home Depot, and other
hardware stores can become handy. You can usually find some very cool
‘materials’ you wouldn’t expect you can use for your cosplay and make it work
while staying at a minimal cost. I bought a floor matte for the leather chest piece
part and simple tacks for the studs. And even though it took me around four
months to make the actual chainmail, it was so worth it comparing to spending a
great deal of money on one already made by somebody else. Besides it also
makes you feel like you’ve poured some extra blood, sweat, and tears into your
cosplay– which can always just be a good thing (if you are not stressing on a
deadline that is). Considering the time I had, and limited budget, I researched
and taught myself how to make chainmail. I bought some aluminum fence wire
and manually cut, made, & weaved my own rings. I even used some upholstery
materials for his donkey jacket and bandanna to give a firm, yet textured feel &
look in which the character had. Fleece and batting was chosen from a fabric
store for his gambeson. Although I know you must be very careful with materials
that make you feel too warm, the thickness had helped give the shape I desired
(I’m pretty skinny and get easily very cold anyway so it wasn’t a problem).
Obviously though I would advise to work with a cooler layer if you’re not as
easily cold or sweat regularly. In the end all the materials I buy or find, they’re
usually all animal-product free (Since I view animals the same as people.) So
anything that looks like real leather ..well, it’s not actual leather but likely vinyl or
any kind of foam.
The makeup was where the magic seems to feel like it happens. As a lady, I
believe when you’re gender bending, it’s good to have some good tutorials on
how to make a face masculine or at least like a boy’s. There are some face
alteration tricks you can do if your natural face structure is just too “roundish”
and the basic contouring won’t cut it. I found some cool products by watching
professional makeup artists on Youtube . Wax products, latex, and adhesives
lately has helped my latest Iorveth with the face structure. For him, I’ve come to
find Ben Nye and Mehron brands to be my favorite for the foundation and nose
& scar wax. Collodion can be unsafe if used on a common basis, but since I
don’t use it daily I feel comfortable applying it for the scar to give it a deepened
look. In the end, it can feel accomplishing to be able to pull off your opposite
Even though the chainmail took the longest amount of time to do, it wasn’t the
hardest. It was the props for me. Since I don’t work with any special kind of
equipment and machinery (since I cannot afford any) I have to think of how I can
make things just with hand tools and cheap materials– in which was not easy
for the making an elegant Elven long bow. The bow was difficult enough I had
the help of my sweet and talented mother play a hand at it. She is a modelmaker
so she had some pretty cool ideas to throw as well. But we both still had
to think of a way to make it durable, safe and light for walking around at
conventions in. We decided to use some insulation foam for the shape and
weight. We used Elmer’s glue since it was the glue that would not melt the foam.
Modeling paste was brushed on for the wooden texture and base for the paint
job. Even after we worked hard on it, we’re both not happy with how it looks, but
it has at least worked well for conventions. I am currently working on remaking a
new and functional bow from different, durable materials. Likely out of mostly
PVC. So I will see what happens!
(Pictures of the previous first bow my mother and I have worked on in the past)
I learned so much from this cosplay. And I’m planning on putting the knowledge
I have gained of making the chainmail put into my next big cosplay project: The
Necromancer from Diablo 2 and 3 (mixed design).
Overall it was more than just worth it making his cosplay. It was a huge
challenge and yet it ‘s the fact that the project helped get my mind off of other
real life things was a big bonus at the time. It helped me pull through some hard
times. And for how much you love that particular character or for another
reason, you just feel good once you see the project finally done. Even though
I’ve taken photo shoots already in the past and have walked around as this
Elven rebel countless of times, I am still working on Iorveth to this day –
Improving and updating his look. The Elves in Andrzej Sapkowski’s world have
the similar physical traits to Tolkein’s Elves, so I have just recently bought
Aradani’s new Wood Elf Ears (as it was the closest to the character’s ears I
have seen) yet.
If it were not for Iorveth, I would have never been introduced to the Witcher
series so well. I would like to thank Aradani Studios immensely for helping me
bring my favorite lovely Elf to life. Thanks to you, he will eventually return to
prowl around in the woods once again.
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