Supanova Brisbane 2014 - The debut
This is where it all began. After spending years writing my first three System Series novels, I was finally ready to release the first one "Jupiter - Illusions of Faith" by selling it in person at a Pop Culture convention. That convention turned out to be Brisbane Supanova, one of Australia's longest running and best known Pop Culture conventions.
This was the moment I'd finally get to see what the world outside my network of friends and family members thought of my books. It was a little daunting, to be honest, but I'd worked hard over many years and was confident in my product. I also knew that this was where I would get to have some FUN with what I'd created.
Now, in this case, my idea of fun was to Cosplay a character from my book. I'd heard and seen a lot about Cosplay before, but I'd never actually attended a Pop Culture Convention and so I was looking forward to joining in. But I didn't want to recreate a character from Pop Culture (although I admire those that do it so well). Instead, I wanted to create something new. Something from the sci-fi world I'd created in my first System Series novel. Of course, I also wanted to make something that would be cool to wear and so I eventually decided there isn't anything much cooler than a full suit of sci-fi body armour.
In my novel, Jupiter - Illusions of Faith, the colonies that surround Jupiter are controlled by a powerful group of corporations called the Coalition. But peace and order are not so easily maintained. For that, there are Coalition Security Officers. The perfect subject for my very first Cosplay. The Coalition Security Officers from my world are powerfully augmented (trust me, they need it to fight the anti-hero, Garen), heavily armoured (of course), and carry around fearsome pitguns that are capable of tearing off limbs (as they tend to do more often that not in my novel).
And so I got to work. For anyone who has attempted Cosplay in the past, you'll know what I mean when I say this was no small task. Creating a full suit of sci-fi armour from scratch took a lot longer than I expected. I used EVA foam to make it (many a Cosplayer's material of choice) and a few tonnes of hot glue to stick it all together.
Now, this was my first Cosplay, so I was literally making it up as I went. I did make use of the many useful EVA foam armour making tutorials out there and I did take some inspiration from Halo and Mass Effect (two great video game franchises that have some of the coolest sci-fi armour around), but in the end, the only way to make it work was through trial and error.
Luckily, there wasn't too much error and the final result was worth the long hours and hard work. It also turned out to be one the best marketing decisions I made. Everyone at Supanova loved my costume and they especially loved the fact that I was Cosplaying a character from my own novel. It allowed me to make a connection with the fans and, more importantly, gave me a chance to talk about my book.
As I'm sure you're aware, your attention is probably the most sought after commodity in this era of saturated entertainment and information, which makes it extremely hard for authors like myself to convince you to take a few moments to consider my work. Especially if you've never heard of me before. But that's where my costume helped the most. Once I'd grabbed someone's attention and managed to get a book in their hand, the cover art and blurb was generally good enough to seal the deal.
It is a great feeling selling something you've spent so much time and effort on, let me tell you.
How cool is that?! I was blown away with the awesomeness that was Ed's work. He'd really captured the future fantasy elements of my costume and it even looked like me. I very gladly paid Ed for his awesome work (as we should all do when dealing with artists), but little was I to know that my brush with such awesomeness was only just beginning.
It was a year later and I had a new book to sell, 'Pluto - Secrets Within', and so I decided I needed a new costume too. This one was more of an armoured spacesuit, which is worn by the team of mercenaries who are sent to investigate Pluto. It took a little longer than the last to make as I wanted to go BIG for this one, but it turned out great.
I'd also made a costume in the meantime for my beautiful wife, Cassandra. Her costume related to my first book, 'Jupiter - Illusions of Faith'. She was one of the cybernetic terrorists trying to take down the energy sumps (because they believed energy sumps were destroying indigenous alien beings called heavangels... but that's another story).
We looked great together (even if I do say so myself) and when I saw Ed again, I went up to say Gday. He loved the costumes and was once again kind enough to agree to creating one of his masterpieces with us as the subjects.
He even used texta pens to add colour this time and the results were amazing. I really love this one and you can probably see why below...
Again, I very happily paid Ed for his awesome work and was SO glad I'd met him back in 2014.
After that last commission, it was hard to imagine Ed being able to top himself. In fact, it seemed up to me to create a new costume worthy of his talents. Luckily for me, I had another book ready to sell in 2016, 'Mars - Twin Prophecies' and, of course, I just had to have a new costume to go with it.
This one (again) took a little longer to make than the last, mainly because I added a bit more detail. In this case, my costume was of a 'survival suit', which is more about adventuring on Mars' surface than it is about protecting yourself in battle. You know, shielding yourself against the cold, radiation, and general lack of air that would otherwise kill you if you decided to go hiking on Mars.
This time, Ed didn't quite have enough time to finish the pic (totally my fault, I asked him late on the 1st day and he was, not surprisingly, super busy doing other commissions), and so he VERY kindly said he would take it with him and finish it at home. I had no qualms about this, because at the very least I knew I'd see him at other conventions and I also knew that no matter how long the wait, it was definitely going to be worth it.
In fact, it actually turned out to be a huge bit of luck for me, because Ed didn't just take it home to finish, he also made the pic into a digital version and took it to another level entirely.
Don't believe me? Well check this out...
I know! Incredible, isn't it? Apart from being another GREAT caricature of me in my costume, the digital painting and colouring Ed used here was nothing short of EPIC. Even the added detail in the background is great and just makes the whole thing even more incredible.
I truly love Ed's work and can't wait to see the next caricature he does, because you can bet when I have a new book and a new costume next year, Ed's stall will be one of the first I visit.
So if you're at all interested to see what you look like as a caricature or you just want to browse Ed's other great works of art, check out his website...
...or just visit his stall at any Australian Pop Culture Convention. He is at most of them, most of the time, sharing a double-stall with his good mate Josh Spencer (another insanely talented caricature artist) so make sure you go and say hi, get your face immortalised by Ed or Josh, and tell them Kynan sent you.
You can also follow Ed on instagram @EDTMDYER to keep up to date with his latest work, or check out his other, other website...
So there you have it. Definitely worthy of the 'cool stuff' part of my website. I'll just finish with a quick reminder of what the costumes looked like.
Wishing you and your imagination all the best,
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Release date: 28th Nov 2014