About four years ago I was studying Librarianship and Record Keeping, and for our prac placement we were to create a project for display. I figured I could put my costume making skills to work here and show the students visiting the school library how foam costumes are designed and assembled. It was a big success, the kids really liked me and spent as much time helping me with this project as they were allowed. They even made a petition to bring me on as a full time staff member. I would have loved that but sadly they hired someone else for the opening they had.
Galactus ended up being the perfect choice, I was looking at all sorts of characters that young teens might like and it all seemed too complicated. Where as Kirby’s classic design consists of a lot of simple shapes. It came together easily and it attracted a lot of attention.
The library happened to have a mannequin in storage, I made the costume to fit it. I picked reference images from a variety of sources and interpretations, this helps to simplify the design and get the most recognisable silhouette. I especially like looking at sculptures, action figures and very cartoony interpretations because they have to emphasise functionality and simplicity by necessity.
Next was the pattern made out of paper, personally I find armour is less intense to pattern draft than clothing. I need only a few measurements and then I figure it out by eye. I really didn’t have to adjust much.
Finally about two days later, I was ready to make the costume. I was only given a couple of hours a day to work on it between my other librarian duties. I got lucky and the hardware store happened to have blue and pink foam, perfect, this way I wouldn’t need to paint it. I was working at the reception desk, so I couldn’t do anything messy like painting or sanding. So I had to get the right colour foam and I had to cut it very cleanly. I was armed with a box cutter, a heat gun, a wood burning tool, and a hot glue gun, all of which I had brought from home. I completed the project before my week at the library was over. I’m proud of the results, hopefully it showed the kids what you can accomplish with some very cheap and basic tools and supplies. It was also educational for me because as a cosplayer and as a professional costumer I often obsess over the details and accuracy and have a very high standard for myself. But this project reminded me that you can accomplish great things when you loosen up a bit too. It was all about making choices that worked for the costume at hand, not what made it look the most accurate or the most real.
I was very happy working at the school library, it’s a shame I didn’t get to stay on, sometimes I wonder what that alternate life would have been like. Maybe it wouldn’t have lasted long anyway because I got ME/CFS about a year after that and have been house bound ever since. I was so close to graduating. Maybe one day I can finish those last few units, just so I can say I graduated from something for once in my life. I’ve had to drop out of studies several times for health reasons.