Interview with Paul (Tearatone) from Cosplay Melee

Episode 6 of Cosplay Melee was the last episode of the season, aptly titled ‘AniMelee’ and featuring some of my favorite work yet! We got a chance to speak with Paul who goes by Tearatone online about his work on the episode, as well as his impressive Dot Hack inspired “Bokkuko” Kabuto.

First of all, congrats on your episode! It was awesome to see an episode that seemed equal parts sewing as crafting, and here at the studio we felt you really nailed the Dot Hack silhouette with your character design – there was no doubt what anime you were from!

Thank you! It was an amazing experience to be able to make an original character from a series I love so much! I’m glad I could create something that everyone got right away.

Did you know you would be the last episode, or was that a secret you found out after all the recording was done?

I didn’t know in what order any of our episodes were going to air. I didn’t find that out until well after filming. Though the narcissistic part of me was kind of thrilled to hear I was in the finale!

Your headpiece was really impressive – the fact you could keep it balanced and still emote down the walkway was just great. How much did it weigh when you were done? Would you approach it differently now, with hindsight?

The headpiece was probably around ten pounds, give or take. Though after wearing it for awhile it felt like much more! It was made mainly of high density mattress foam, which is fairly sturdy but lightweight. If I were to ever remake the piece, I would have implemented a better anchor system, probably using more leather belts! Having just one chin strap seems like a bit of a shortcoming now.

Speaking of different – for your second runway walk, it looked like your beetle bracer came apart much easier in one motion. Did you edit it in some way to achieve that, or was it just the magic of editing and some fast motions to get it to fall that wall?

Ah, that was actually kinda funny! If you notice during my mid build critique with the judges, Leeanna suggested that I use more paint to cover the seam, which was part velcro, part magnet button. This slightly weakened the hold of those materials, which made it pop open much better. A happy accident! Combine that with me now spending more time with my prop and learning just how it functioned, and you get the result on the final runway presentation!

As deceptively ‘simple’ a piece as it is, I think your beetle bracer is my personal favourite prop I got to see made on Cosplay Melee. Do you have any favourite pieces others have made, now that all the episodes are aired? Just cool things that made you go oooh?

Aww, shucks! Glad you like it so much! As for my favorite… that’s a tough one to pick. Though the one that sticks out most in my mind is the gauntlet that Steven made in the War Games episode! That was pretty freakin’ awesome!

It was super interesting to see you use cardboard as a base, cover that in foam, and cover that in Worbla – is that your usual method when you work with Worbla?

It is one of my favorite methods! And come to think of it, one of my main go to’s. It is a cheap, fast, and effective trick to bulk up props or armor. Worbla is a versatile yet thin material, so all it has to do for my builds is encase a structure, then have details worked into it.

Another Worbla question – have you used it for other costumes? What projects are you the most proud of?

I have used it on past costumes, mainly for prop work. But more often than not I find I use it for commissions. My favorite piece to date using Worbla has to be a PipBoy3000 a customer wanted made. Oh! And right now I am currently working on some awesome armor a friend of mine designed… though I need to get some more Worbla before I can continue with it, haha!

Are there any cosplayers who inspire you when you’re working on a project? People who’s work you follow who teach you new things?

Oh, there are definitely inspiring people I follow! Featherweight comes to mind right away. Though the builder I take the most inspiration from has to be Volpin, of Volpin props. As far as cosplayers and prop makers go, the guy has been my hero for the last ten years. He’s so informative and talented! Not to mention he is a fellow Daft Punk fan, I think we won me over with that.

The workshop is right out of most cosplayer’s dreams. If you could have taken one tool home with you, what would it have been?

Tool?… Hmmm. I kind of have all of those tools in my shop, if not available in the shop next to mine. No, instead of any of the tools what I really wanted to take home with me was all that pink insulation foam, mattress foam, and Worbla! I could have been set up for at least the next year! UGHH! I still think back to that, and how hard it was to let it all go. We spent a hectic handful of days in that workroom, but grew accustomed to it and fell in love with it so fast, so leaving behind all of those wonderful materials was sort of painful.

Lastly: What advice would you give anyone who would like to compete in the next season of Cosplay Melee?

My advice to them would be challenge yourself. Don’t play it safe! Use what you know and play to your strengths, but take it to a level you wouldn’t normally attempt. Also, expect to have to adaptable and flexible. Something will go wrong, no matter what you have planned out, but how you make that bump in the road work for you is what will elevate what you are making into so much more than what you thought it could be. Most of all, believe in yourself. I know that sounds corny, but its what kept me so upbeat and chipper. The fact that I was selected to be on Cosplay Melee was already proof that I had something amazing to bring to the table, I just had to keep on trucking until I got there.

You can find more of Paul’s work here on Facebook!