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Hot Topics Interviews

Brown Paperbag: One year and more

I first heard of Brown Paperbag when a friend asked me to check out this Facebook page. I was amazed by the simplicity and brilliance with which the comics were made. And Brown Paperbag was still rising in popularity then.

Meet Sailesh Gopalan, the man behind this successful venture and learn about what keeps him busy. Today, Brown Paperbag is a common name among young people.

Brown Paperbag. What was the thought behind the name?
Brown is a colour Indians associate themselves with. And a brown paper bag is typically used in cartoons to symbolise shame or embarrassment, an issue I often dabble with.

Brown Paperbag

Is Kabir inspired from you or someone you know? What about Devika? Ananya?
Kabir is the personification of the angsty teenage Indian stereotype. Of course, many of his adventures are inspired by events I have experienced or witnessed, but Kabir represents a stereotype and not a specific person. Same goes for Devika and Ananya.

How does it feel to have continued this web-comics for one year now?
It feels pretty great. I think I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that it’s not something I’m doing just for myself anymore. The people who read it and support me are wonderful, and their enjoyment is the incentive I need to keep going.

The Anniversary edition.

Who has been your strongest support?
My family, of course. And one of my closest friends, Akshat. I could confidently say I wouldn’t have managed to keep this up without their help and support.

The latest instalment to Brown Paperbag comics.

The comics have become a tad less frequent? Is it because you’re busy with something else?
Yes, I’m in my final year of college now and the amount of work keeps increasing. Brown Paperbag is unfortunately on a lower tier in the priorities list, considering there’s no deadlines I need to adhere to. But, I try and do a bit here and there whenever I can make some time.

The first Brown Paperbag comic.

How far do you think Brown Paperbag would go? Any plans for collaboration with other artists? How about similar collab with TVF Qtiyapa?
I have no idea. It’s going, and I plan to keep it going. As for collaborations, I don’t think there will be any in the near future, considering my other obligations and commitments.

I really enjoyed your “Celebratory animation featuring Ananya”. Why don’t you make the animations a regular thing?

Animation is my real passion, and I hope to some day incorporate animation into Brown Paperbag. Hopefully an animated series in the future. The reason I can’t make it a regular thing is because it’s a time consuming process, and time is something not so readily available in the market. But hey, glad you liked the animation!

Any words for our readers?
Hope you continue to read and enjoy my comics! Thank you all for your support!

All the images displayed belong to Brown Paperbag. We hold no copyright over it and the images have been used with the permission of the said owner.

Follow  Brown Paperbag on Facebook and Instagram.

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Hot Topics Interviews

Interview: Brice Richard of Ugly Sweater fame

Who doesn’t know about Ugly Sweater?! I’m pretty sure, that like me you guys have followed this page for quite some time now.

The man behind these hilarious comic strips, Brice Richard was kind enough to answer a few questions, when I reached out to him.

As you mentioned in your FAQ, you lived in India for quite some time, so is India really the stereotyped country most foreigners think it to be? What do you think?

Ahahah – now that’s a dangerous question. I think that all countries are stereotypical to a certain extent. Go to Paris, and you will see people smoking while drinking coffee on cute little terraces 🙂 During my stay in India, I did experience a lot of things that I expected I would, of course, from stunning sari-clad crowds of women working the field to cricket games played in the street. But beyond these stereotypes, I was mostly drawn by what I WASN’T expecting to find. And to this day, India keeps on surprising me and challenging my original impression every…single…day. Doing UglySweater made me notably realize the sheer amount of young Indian people who are doing amazing, daring, creative things, such as starting NGOs or running their own design studios. And I’m not talking about kids in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru either – kids from Nagaland, Bihar, Assam. That is really, really great to see.

 

Your comics generally revolve around you and your wife. Does she help you out with ideas?Does she share the same sense of humor?

My wife doesn’t really share my sense of humor. She is a much more reserved and serious person than I am 🙂 Actually very often she looks at what I do and she says: “That’s not funny”. Which is great to a large extent because it pushes me to improve. When I manage to make her smile, or even laugh, I know the cartoon will go viral. It’s a great barometer 🙂

How do you juggle between a corporate job, a family with two kids, maintaining this comic web series and having a social life?

Well, the short answer is: I don’t. Doing a webcomic has been incredibly challenging, and has consumed most of my time outside of work and family. As I’ve become more effective, I gained back a little bit of time for other things, but it still remain very clear that doing a webcomic on the side of family and career is a commitment. This is actually the reason why I post less often than I wish. I’ve been trying to maintain a once-a-week schedule but I may be skipping a week here or there when something unexpected happens at work or at home (and I hope my readers understand). Many people tell me I should draw more quickly and pay less attention to details, but derive a lot of pride and pleasure from delivering to my readers well designed, thought out cartoons. Quality over quantity! Hopefully some appreciate that.

You’ve a proliferating fan base. Would you like to do some tutorials online to help some of the cartoonists among them, provide tips and ideas?

By definition, I love helping whomever wants to embrace his or her own creativity, and that includes sharing thoughts with budding cartoonists. Right now, I am pressed for time as mentioned above, and I’m working mostly on pushing cartoons out as often as I can. But I think overtime I would love to share more of what I learn along the way, and provide a platform for cartoonists to seek advice and resources. It’ll happen eventually, but I’m not sure when.

 

You’ve experienced and observed French and Indian culture both, very closely. Would you elaborate on the differences and similarities, if any?

Wow – that is such an interesting and complex question. I think France and India share the same love for art and culture. Every single one of my Indian friends either loves reading, or is an expert dancer, or knows everything about Ghazals, or draws, etc…etc…Young French people are a bit like that – drawn by ideas and creativity in all their forms. Of course, France and India are very much different on matters of love and relationship. France is a country that is incredibly relaxed about love, dating and marriage, while India is more codified. I think both approaches have their pros and cons, though I culturally tend to believe that a bit of prior experience does help when it comes to choosing a partner for life.

You seem to be a huge geek at heart. I’ve seen Iron Man and Darth Vader feature in your comics. So which is your favourite sci-fi franchise? Also, DC or Marvel? Pick one.

I wouldn’t say I’m a huge geek. I barely play videogames, nor read comic books 🙂 But like everybody I really enjoy some of the good SciFi and Fantasy that is out there. My favorite fantasy franchises are Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and anything written by Terry Pratchett. I’m less of a SciFi buff but I’ve really enjoyed reading Dune, and I am a HUGE fan of dystopian future literature: Stephen King’s The Stand is one of the greatest SF books I’ve ever read, along with The Road, Children of Men and World War Z. At the risk of annoying my fans, I am not a huge fan of DC and Marvel, but if I were to pick one, I’d definitely go for Marvel, if only because their recent movies were so much better.

Since I mentioned Star Wars, are you open to have a young Padawan (apprentice) soon?

Ahahah – well I’m not quite sure I’m Yoda material yet. I barely started scratching the surface of what it means to be a comic artist, and I don’t think I would have much to teach. But as I mentioned above, I would love to build a broader community of young Indian comic Jedis willing to embrace the Silly Side of the Force. Not sure how that would look like, but there’s enough talent out there to fill 100,000 planets.

 

The images have been used with the permission of the artist and The Noob Knows holds no copyright over it.

Follow Ugly Sweater on Facebook and Instagram.

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Hot Topics Interviews

Gaurav Thakur: Cosplayer Interview

1.What is your name and age?

Gaurav Thakur / 27

2.Stage name, if any?

Indian Spidey / Iron Wolf / Sexy Ass

3.Are you professionally a cosplayer? If not, what do you do?

I am a professional Graphic Designer. I started Cosplay as an hobby but now it’s been  4 years of doing so, and my name is in the Professional Cosplayers list.

4.How long have you been cosplaying?

Since 2013

5.What was your inspiration for cosplay?

One and only Spiderman.

 

6.How do you think the cosplay scene in India has changed over the years?

It’s still growing, please still adapting the culture. But, sadly 45%-50% people understand the term Cosplay. Most people think it’s a party like a Halloween where we dress like anything.

7.How different are Indian Cosplayers from Foreign Cosplayers? Are they given the same amount of respect?

There is lots of difference in India and Foreign culture. Getting respect in India is tough, if your cosplay is awesome and they know about the character. They will come to you and appraise, if not they will laugh at you and pass stupid comments. Foreign; I feel they are open with their cultures, they will respect everybody work.

8.What are the difficulties and challenges you face as a cosplayer?

Many; pushing to groping. People will treat you like a toy, they just want to click pictures, and they don’t care about how the other person is feeling of if he/she feeling tired. No changing rooms or resting places in Cosplay events, have to take care of belonging/money/bag etc. Sometimes it’s really hard to say No to people and roam around after paying for your own ticket.

9.Being a man, have you ever been discouraged from cosplaying by family or friends?

There is no discouragement from my family, I belong to lower middle class familiarly. Understanding these kind of stuff is difficult for our parents. They just know Spiderman what i did, later on when they saw my interviews/pictures in Newspapers. Slowly and steadily they understand that what exactly I am doing.

10.What are your suggestions for budding cosplayers in India? Can cosplaying be taken as a serious career choice?

Do cosplay to make other feel happy and to make any fan to live his/her dream. When a small kid is looking to you with a hope, respect that. Don’t talk bad words or abuse anyone, respect the name of the character. It will take only a second to say the person with xyz cosplay is very bad.

Taking Cosplay as a career; still a grey area. Still very less platforms, and no one to sponsor you for all the stuff. Making and cosplay and developing needs money. Start as an hobby, when you feel you have contacts or right platforms go for it. India is still developing, but in Abroad competition is on top. So go slow!!!

 

N.B. All the images displayed are the property of the cosplayer. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over them and the images are being used with the permission of the said cosplayer.

Follow Gaurav on Facebook.

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Hot Topics Interviews

Gracy Chan: Cosplayer Interview

 

1. What is your name and age?

Shareen Gracy Toppo and age 30

2. Stage name, if any?

Stage name Gracy Chan and my sweet friends changed that to Gravy Chan hahahahaha.     

 

3. Are you professionally a cosplayer? If not, what do you do?

No, not yet a professional cosplayer but I wish to be one and I am presently a part of an NGO “ Mann Global Welfare Foundation.

4. How long have you been cosplaying?

 I have been cosplaying since 2015 and started from Bangalore Comic Con 2015.

5. What was your inspiration for cosplay?

Initially I didn’t at all know about cosplay and I was 1st introduced to the world of Anime soon to realise while I looked up for my favourite characters on Google  that there are actually people who enact their favourite characters. Soon started following few of my favourite cosplayers mainly KANA and Reika and  and they are still my idols till date. 

I have always loved all kinds of art and was pretty much good in art and craft so this helped me to build my props and do make up for any cosplays I wished to do. I even did experiment creating my own new character too which I cosplayed last year in Hyderabad Comic Con 2016 as Spider Queen.

 

6. How do you think the cosplay scene in India has changed over the years?

Me taking part itself has been just 2 and half years so I do realise there are some misconceptions that a cosplayer has to be perfect like a model. No, cosplay is way different than modelling. You have to be yourself and yet you need to play the character you want to cosplay. Embrace yourself the way you are and cosplay anything you want. There are no limits when it comes to cosplay for you are free to break rules and enjoy cosplaying. 

Luckily whenever I cosplayed people did love it and yes to mention I am not tall and slim. One has to know where does he or she excels and play it accordingly and glad to see many people come up and cosplay whatever they wish to.

Initially, people also had issues getting their props, costumes and make up done but now luckily many cosplayers have come up with commission work and pages that rents people from wigs to costumes who want to cosplay.

7. How different are Indian Cosplayers from Foreign Cosplayers? Are they given the same amount of respect?

I have many friends who cosplay from different countries and have realised they all have different mindset as per their comfort zone. Most of them love experimenting but not many Indian cosplayers are willing to experiment and create new characters. I have spoken to many Indian cosplayers and even know few are scared to cosplay for they think that a particular character does not suits them.

When there is a question of amount of respect then its just recently that cosplay is being popular through many cosplayers like us. Cross playing and genderbent cosplays are not so much encouraged. Each one of us are good at something or the other from stitching our own costumes to making props so each person differs according to their caliber. 

8. What are the difficulties and challenges you face as a cosplayer?

As a cosplayer the main difficulty I find is getting the raw materials for making props and the ones which are highly in demand are too expensive for any Indian cosplayers who are either student or working. So most of us end up making with whatever material is available to us in our respective cities. 

9. Being a woman, have you ever been discouraged from cosplaying by family or friends?

No, not at all and being woman I feel cosplay world is tough for men more as men are either looked down for doing make up or discouraged for playing gender bents. 

Infact, generally most of us are discouraged cos we do have to invest in buying raw materials and if you are still a student then it becomes a load as to how do we manage. The main question asked by our family as to what great is to happen if we cosplay and this discourages most of us which leads to losing of many upcoming awesome cosplayers and time and again I have seen people giving up or hiding from their family since India is yet to accept cosplay as a profession.  

10. What are your suggestions for budding cosplayers in India? Can cosplaying be taken as a serious career choice?

We are humans not models and we need not be perfect. Be as you are and use your skills to make your cosplays better. Experience says when you teach someone you learn too so do help others and experiment as there are no rules to cosplay.

Yes, cosplaying can be taken as serious career in few more years as many cities are coming with small cons, gaming events and other events now and then. A lot of foreign countries seek the help of cosplayers where cosplaying is popular in places like hospitals, orphanages, etc so hope this soon happens in India too.I am actually waiting for Kolkata to also be a part of Comic Con as I believe there is lot of scope and many budding cosplayers are yet to be part of this beautiful world. It will soon increase as the progress I see is rapid.

 

N.B. All the images displayed are the property of the cosplayer. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over them and the images are being used with the permission of the said cosplayer.

You can follow her on Facebook. She is also on Instagram and YouTube.

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Featured Interviews

Meet Hotaru Juno: India’s Entry to WCS’17

The World Cosplay Summit also known as WCS, is an annual international cosplay event that promotes friendly international exchange through Japanese pop culture. The WCS has grown from a weekend event in 2003 and is currently held over a one-week period where the representatives visit different parts of Japan, including Akihabara, Kyoto and Sendai, in promotion of Japanese youth culture and its ability to connect internationally. WCS 2017 is going to be held from July 29-Aug 6.

India’s entry to WCS 2017 is Hotaru Juno and Gichik chichi. Hotaru Juno, whose real name is Juno Pinggam, hails from Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh and is 17 years old. She’s a student. She and her partner have been cosplaying together for the past two years.

Hotaru Juno and Gichik chichi.

Juno was really excited when we approached her for this interview and agreed right away. Although, in her words, anxious would be the correct word. But, who wouldn’t be. It is such a challenge after all. “We are still working on some parts of our costume. But we are mostly done. We are like we are ready yet not ready.” she says with a laugh. “It was like our childhood dream come true and still our mind is trying to process if it’s real.  We are hoping we will be able to perform and live up to the expectations.” she adds.

Juno as Ririchiyo.

For the competition, Juno will be cosplaying as Kurumi and her partner as Kotori. Kurumi Tokisaki and Kotori Itsuka are characters from the anime Date A Live. Juno confesses, “I always wanted to be an anime character. I found out about cosplay in 2005 and always wanted to do it.” She continues, “I later saw Alodia cosplaying characters whom I really liked and I had a moment there. I started cosplaying in 2012“. Alodia Gosiengfiao is a Filipina cosplayer, model, TV presenter, singer, and actress.

The wonderful thing about Juno is that cosplaying isn’t all she does. She makes costumes and wigs on request to sell or rent out. She explains, “I think there are a super lot of difficulties about cosplaying here in Itanagar. Getting wigs is next to impossible here. If we want to buy online it takes months. Materials like eva foam isn’t almost unavailable. I help out however I can.”

Juno as her own Ero Gothic Lolita.

Although, this is the first time, she is going to represent India at a World Stage. This isn’t the first time she is going to be on the dais portraying her creativity. She has recently won the Miss Itanagar 2017 pageant. As a result, she is going to take part in Miss Arunachal Pradesh as well. She happily says, “It was a very fun experience. I wanted to represent the cosplay community there, so I dressed up as Kurumi and wore Yuno costume. Winning was a shock for me but I’m happy. And I was given this opportunity to be in Top 15 in coming pageant. Now I hope I will do well in Miss Arunachal and make fellow cosplayers proud.”

Juno in Miss Itanagar. Credits – Rakesh M Das.

In the end, we ask why she chose Hotaru as her onstage name. She enlightens us, “Hotaru is the Japanese name for Firefly. I chose Hotaru because they are able to bring joy to people, even in dark.”

Make sure to follow Hotaru Juno on Facebook. Also, follow her cosplays on World Cosplay.

N.B. All the images used here belong to the cosplayer and has been taken by her permission. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over it.

 

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Hot Topics Interviews

Cosplay – Birth and Evolution in India: Part 2

Often in life, we are faced with uncertainties, and doubt shrouds our analysing capabilities. We are faced with choices, with one choice looking too grim to chase after.  It is at this time that we need to pay a visit to our Fortress of Solitude to rethink our options.

“You need to be able to find time between studies & working on a cosplay. Apart from funds, resources also play a crucial role in the finished product.” agrees Charlotte Rodricks, a 24-year old student who cosplays for fun and goes by the name Purrin Cosplay. “My mom has always been supportive of me cosplaying. If I needed help with making props, my dad provided me with the required assistance. In fact my parents even gifted me a sewing machine as a birthday gift so I wouldn’t need to hand stitch everything by myself.” adds Charlotte. She was lucky to have her parents support her in her cosplays and even help actively.

Although, sometimes people face much more hurdles when they try to pursue their passion for cosplay. “I belong to lower middle class family. Understanding these kind of stuff is difficult for our parents.” says Gaurav Thakur, a 27-year old professional graphic designer who is as much of a professional cosplayer, though he started it as a hobby. Gaurav started out cosplaying in 2013 and Spiderman was his first cosplay. “My parents just knew Spiderman. And that is what they thought I did. Later on, when they saw my interviews and pictures in newspapers, slowly and steadily they understood what exactly I was doing.” says Gaurav with a smile. Seeing happiness on his parents’ faces does make him happy as well.

Gaurav as Spiderman

“One has to know where he or she excels and play it accordingly and I am glad to see many people come up and cosplay whatever they wish to.” advises Shareen Gracy Toppo, a 30-year old cosplayer who’s much popular with the name Gracy Chan. Gracy is a part of an NGO called Mann Global Welfare Foundation. She further says, “Initially I didn’t know anything about cosplay. When I was first introduced to the world of anime, I used to look up for my favourite characters on Google.  Then I found that there are actually people who enact their favourite characters. And soon I started following few of my favourite cosplayers mainly KANA and Reika and they are my idols still now. I have always loved all kinds of art and was pretty much good in art and craft so this indeed helped me to build my props and do make up for any cosplays I wanted to do. I even took a bold move when I decided to create my own new character which I cosplayed last year in Hyderabad Comic Con 2016. People adored Spider Queen.”

Gracy as Spider Queen

Ahmed, popular for his Groot cosplay, chips in, “Choosing cosplaying as a career is a hard job but definitely possible. I am not a professional cosplayer. I am a student. Although, I don’t know much about this, however from what I have heard, you can surely survive with what you earn. Also, you will have to travel a lot with all your cosplaying stuff. So, that’s pretty fun.”

Gaurav tries to give a reality check and tells, “Taking cosplaying as a career; still a grey area. Still very less platforms, and no one to sponsor you for all the stuff. Making a cosplay and developing needs money. Start as a hobby, and when you feel you have the contacts or the right platforms, go for it. India is still developing, but in abroad, competition is on top.” Charlotte tells, “Cosplay is for everyone! It doesn’t matter what is your body type, colour or anything else. Cosplay for the love of the character. As of now in India, there are quite a few professional cosplayers. However as a serious career choice it is still in its infant stages.”

Gaurav as Deadpool

“We are humans and we are not perfect. Be as you are and use your skills to make your cosplays better. Experience says when you teach someone you learn too so do help others and experiment as there are no rules to cosplay.” adds Gracy as we draw to a close.

Gracy as Valak

Cosplaying is great. It adds flavour and takes fervour to do that. For all the budding cosplayer around there, India is at a stage when it is still fumbling with this relatively new concept but we are learning fast. Cosplaying is slowly but steadily taking a strong grip and we can always hope that in the recent future we climb as high as foreign cosplayers do.

 

P.S. The cosplayers are the owners of the images displayed.

How did you like the article? Tell us in the comments!

 

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Hot Topics Interviews

Rohan Ramakrishna: Cosplayer Interview

1.       What is your name and age?

 Rohan Ramakrishina, and I’m 22 years old

2.       Stage name, if any?

 No stage name as of now, I might consider using my instagram handle (Darkxlight) in the future.

3.       Are you professionally a cosplayer? If not, what do you do?

Nope, not a professional cosplayer(yet). I’m currently snowballing my way through to a Bachelor’s Degree In Architecture.

4.       How long have you been cosplaying?

Nearly 4 and a half years now since I started. Started off with a very amateur version of a Grey Fullbuster cosplay.

5.       What was your inspiration for cosplay?

Just the immense amount of joy it gives you and everyone around who get to see their fictional game and anime characters come to life. As an aspiring game designer, the fact that some one can give life to another’s creation, is an art form that could possibly be the closest to real magic.( debatable)

6.       How do you think the cosplay scene in India has changed over the years?

Very drastically, the Indian cosplay scene has witnessed a huge change over the last say, 6 years both in terms of quantity and quality, which in turn has made raw material more easily available to everyone. Obtaining raw material was a pain when I started out. Event wise too, There have been a huge number of gaming and cartoon-anime conventions that keep coming up, some hire cosplayers to work on promoting and hyping up the event. So if you have a good rep in your town or know the right people, cosplay could help you make a buck or two.

7.       How different are Indian Cosplayers from Foreign Cosplayers? Are they given the same amount of respect?

Perhaps the major difference speaking quality wise is that due to lack of exposure to materials, or materials being too expensive, Indian cosplayers aren’t exposed to a large variety of prop materials and other prop making means (3D printing) which give the cosplayers from other countries an upper hand at times.

Money is an issue with most of us here because more than half of the cosplayers are students and we don’t have too many money making options or even the time, thanks to our education system.

that being said, Indian cosplay isn’t light years away from the other countries, I’d say we are catching up real quick and soon enough we will have the world audience witness some mind blowing pieces.

8.       What are the difficulties and challenges you face as a cosplayer?

In my opinion the only problems we seem to face are the lack of a green room at some events, security is sometimes and issue too, more for women, despite having signs like cosplay isn’t consent, there are incidents that occur all the time.

Trivial problems maybe only with transportation, more while flying, the baggage staff don’t give enough attention to delicate prop materials that are marked as fragile goods.

9.       Being a man, have you ever been discouraged from cosplaying by family or friends?

At the beginning yes all the time, but their discouragement was more on the playful lines, not too negative, after my first win that reduced and turned into support from their end.

Now there’s not a single soul in my social circle who doesn’t know about me being a cosplayer.

 

10.   What are your suggestions for budding cosplayers in India? Can cosplaying be taken as a serious career choice?

Suggestion would be to start easy and get into complex characters, because as nice as it may seem, the learning curve is pretty steep, also you might go over budget. As far as character selection goes, don’t always go for the super popular heroes, there’s a tonne of villains who are equally popular and picked less, something unexpected is always a show stealer.

Right now the cosplay scene isn’t very green, there is money involved, but not enough and not that constant that one could build a career out of, it’s hard but not impossible.

N.B. All the images displayed are the property of the cosplayer. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over them and the images are being used with the permission of the said cosplayer.

Follow Rohan on Facebook.

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Hot Topics Interviews

Sunil Choppala: Cosplayer Interview

1. What is your name and age?

My name is Sunil Choppala, I’m 27 years old.

2. Stage name if any?

I’m mostly known as Sun2. ( Story behind it: Once I kept my name in facebook as “sun Il( capital letter “I” and small letter “L”, so people thought it was sun and roman number 2 and started calling me sun2 and it became my real name lol). And also I’m often referred as Chappie and T-Rex by other city cosplay friends.

3. Are you professionally a cosplayer? If not, what you do?

Nope, I’m not a professional cosplayer. It’s my hobby and passion to cosplay and will continue to do it.
I work at Dell as a Quality Analyst. And also I do freelance photography and also I do small prank videos with T-Rex Costume.

4. How long have you been cosplaying?

I have been cosplaying since 5 years. Started from Hyderabad Comic Con to cosplaying at other city comic cons too.

5. What was your inspiration for cosplay?

Everyone’s story starts from their childhood. Mine, started when I saw Robocop movie when I was a kid. I started building something at the back of my house with a cardboard and I remember it clearly coz I went so far to get those cardboards. I was a nob and still i’m of course 😛 coz I didn’t know how to create one. And then Internet came.
When I first went to hyderabad comic con in 2013, dressed as Jason from Friday the 13th, I was like “Man! This is where I belong! So many crazy people like me!” And then itself I decided what to cosplay for next year.
And then I met Hyderabadi Cosplayers in 2014 when I cosplayed as War Machine from Iron Man. I don’t remember how many people I met but I remember meeting Anantha, Hari, Sai Prakash, Ronit Roy, Sreeman, Rafi, Harshit Madan and Mahima. I met Vijay Sinha, Tanya, Surya, Rohan Jain at other city cons. I get so inspired by these guys, the way they cosplay and the time they spend on their costumes. It was more than what  I could have asked for. This is when friends became family.

6. How do you think the cosplay scene in India has changed over the years?

Awe-inspiring. It’s awesome and inspiring at the same time man. The cosplay scene is growing pretty neat in India, People are actually earning few bucks by doing what they are into. There are pretty awesome cosplay scenes which are happening around the cities. The convention halls for comic cons are growing bigger and bigger day by day and also the number of cosplayers are rapidly increasing which is an awesome change. As a cosplayer I/we always wanted to bring awareness of the cosplay culture in Hyderabad and I/we think I/we are doing an awesome job.
Hoping for more.

7. How different are Indian Cosplayers from Foreign Cosplayers? Are they given the same amount of respect?

Personally, I don’t think we can compare our cosplay scene with foreign country scenes. Because in foreign countries most of the companies earn monies through pop culture, whereas in India it isn’t like that. But as far as I know there are pretty good cosplayers around the city and they have been living their lives as professional cosplayers. They have been hiring from gaming companies and also with other event organizers whenever there are events.
And about respect of course man, the amount of respect these cosplayers get from other individuals is just perfect. We nobs always wants to become better and better when compared these professional cosplayers. We get inspired by them and wish to cosplay like them someday. In cosplay community they treat with respect no matter what happens and everyone helps each other if anyone wants a suggestion on how to build a costume. It’s a pretty amazing scene in India.

8. What are the difficulties and challenges you face as a cosplayer?

Finding proper props, proper material for making a costume. For example if I need to buy Eva Foam for building a costume I have to go to like other galaxy to get it, the place where they sell it, is in other part of the city. And ya travelling to other cons with the heavy costumes. You definitely need to relay on your friends to carry half of your costume with them. I have seen people who leaves their entire costume to other cosplayers  to carry. In Comic Cons the cosplayers don’t have a specific room or booth to change their costumes, I have seen many people do their makeup and change their costumes in washrooms, which is kinda difficult to do it for few cosplayers.The convention halls are good but sometimes it gets too crowded and it’s so difficult for the cosplayers to go around in their costumes coz there will be breathing problems in the costume coz of too much of crowd and loads of sweat and also have to make sure that no one is breaking their costumes.
The biggest challenge is with the non-cosplayers who just show up and take the props without even asking and placing hands on the cosplayers not noticing that the costume is delicate and it may break. As a cosplayer we will be delighted to get clicked by them coz at the end of the day all we need is that little appreciation from the audience. People who are taking pictures, holding probs or placing hands on the cosplayers, they need to ask permission first.

9. Being a man have you ever been discouraged from cosplaying by family or friends?

I don’t think gender has anything to do this in here. Trust me, we men get a lot of discouraging when compared to women. We live in democratic country man, no matter what you do people will judge you. My family supports me in and out. My dad sometimes helps in painting the costume if i’m on deadline. Mom’s are angels anyways. Friends! Grrr! I would say non-cosplay friends! Few of them are like this : I mean when I meet an old friend who doesn’t know about this but he saw me doing this in social networking site and he will be like “dude! You still doing that costume thing! blah blah!” I mean we got used to it but it’s kinda annoying coz he/she got a nice job, got married and doing nothing at the age of his/her 20’s.Other people are like “dude! I’m so happy you are doing something, I’m so proud of you and I wish I could do that too!”These people are so sweet and encouraging and they can’t cosplay coz of their personal issues and we can understand too.We face many challenges at home, work and in this society too. We just need to ignore and pass on.

10. What are the suggestions for budding cosplayers in India? Can cosplaying be taken as serious career choice?

No matter what don’t and ever get discouraged  for whatever people say. We may think that we can’t find proper materials or props for making a costume, all we have to do is research and ask around the cosplay clubs which we have like Hyderabad Cosplayers Club and Indian Cosplay Community. Cosplayers are nice you know they will help us. If you are building a costume make sure that it’s not uncomfortable and if it is properly attached part by part and also may be kinda water resistant. Always ask or search for tips coz it might help you finishing to costume in time and also it will be kinda easy making too, you never know! If you are unable to make the costume there are many people who will take up for commissions  and build costumes for us. And if you are going for the convention with your cosplay always carry a cosbuddy who will help you in wearing or removing the costume and also will make sure that no one breaks our costumes. Cosbuddies are god given happy people I say hehe. And yes! We can choose cosplaying as a carrier choice. Few of my friends are earning some decent amount of bucks by cosplaying and also by making probs. We need to really work hard for this so that we won’t stay in dim light. And also there is an old saying “Where there is a Will, there is a way!”
N.B. All the images displayed are the property of the cosplayer. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over them and the images are being used with the permission of the said cosplayer.
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Romi Mondal: Cosplayer Interview

1. What is your name and age?

Romi Mondal. 22years.

2. Stage name if any?

Well, I am only using instagram now. I call myself “Romtz” now.

3. Are you professionally a cosplayer? If not, what you do?

No. I am a doctor by profession.

4. How long have you been cosplaying?

I have been cosplaying for the past one year.

5. What was your inspiration for cosplay?

Inspiration from great cosplayer Rheality Lapse and for the event Kolkata comic carnival.

 

6. How do you think the cosplay scene in India has changed over the years?

In India, cosplay has become much more popular in last 2-3 years. Now, a lot of people do understand what cosplay is and respect cosplayers as artists. Though, scenario is limited to big cities only. But, comic cons and different cosplay events are taking place in all over India.

 

7. How different are Indian Cosplayers from Foreign Cosplayers? Are they given the same amount of respect?

Basically, the difference is different countries. But as experience matters and as they started almost a decade ago, they really are good; where we have to work hard to catch up. And sometimes, the availability of some prop materials do matter as well, which are not available in India. And about social media reach,most of the Indian cosplayers have various social media accounts. Even some cosplayers are making you tube videos, streaming , making patreon accounts. So, we are growing.

8. What are the difficulties and challenges you face as a cosplayer?

The most difficult thing was money at “first”. But right now, it is “time”.As I prefer to make my own cosplay clothing and props, Time is a factor now.And the challenge is to maintain both passion and profession. People discouraged me a lot. But,some good friends did stay and helped me to overcome all the negativities. Now, I challenge myself to make me a “Cosplayer” from an “Aspiring Cosplayer”.

9. Being a woman have you ever been discouraged from cosplaying by family or friends?

Yes, I have been discouraged a lot, both as because I’m a female person and I have another profession. Family didn’t support at first. But my mom understood and accepted me and also taught me cosplay clothing pattern making.

10. What are the suggestions for budding cosplayers in India? Can cosplaying be taken as serious career choice?

My suggestions are –
a. To believe
b. To work hard
c. To exercise and maintain good health
d. To study a lot

Last, but not the least, it can be taken as a serious career choice. But, just like the other professions, you really really have to work hard with patience and have to find a good way to showcase your talent.

N.B. All the images displayed are the property of the cosplayer. The Noob Knows holds no copyright over them and the images are being used with the permission of the said cosplayer.

Follow Romi on Facebook.

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Cosplay – Birth and Evolution in India: Part 1

Comics were always an integral part of India’s youth. The young minds have always been fascinated by the all the superpowers demonstrated by their heroes. I recall my childhood when I was stoked by the on-screen bravery of the likes of Spiderman, Superman and Batman, to name a few. The comics’ scenario in this country got a major boost when the first ever comic con was hosted in Delhi way back in 2011 by Twenty Onwards Media. And we got to see live-depiction, aka cosplay of the characters we saw in the pages of our comic books or our TV screen.

Today, we have Comic cons in plenty of cities in India, with Hyderabad and Delhi being the forerunners. “The cosplay scene is growing pretty neat in India, People are actually earning few bucks by doing what they are into. There are pretty awesome cosplay scenes which are happening around the cities. “says 27-year old Sunil Choppala who works at Dell and pursues cosplay as a hobby. “As a cosplayer I have always wanted to bring awareness of the cosplay culture in Hyderabad and I think I am doing an awesome job.” adds Sunil.

Sunil as Kakashi Hatake

 

A cosplay on GoT and Breaking Bad, with Sunil as Walter White.

Cosplay has become a very necessary part of comic cons nowadays. Mirza Ahmed Ali Baig, a 22 year-old student, comments, “When Comic con came to Hyderabad for the first time in 2013, me and my friend cosplayed as the Joker and we went to the convention. When we walked in and looked around, I saw a happiness on every person who saw us. The joy of bringing a smile on others’ face was enough for me to keep on cosplaying.”

Ahmed as Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Though people have had different beginnings for cosplaying for the first time, one thing stays the same. They were getting a platform to portray their creative talents and bring happiness to a lot of people who have always wanted to experience superheroes in real life. “I took my inspiration from cosplayer Rheality Lapse. I was lucky that Kolkata Comic Carnival was right around the corner and I showcased my cosplaying skills there.” quotes Romi Mondal, a 22 year-old dynamic lady who is also a doctor by profession.

Romi as Gender-Bent Meliodas from Seven Deadly Sins
Romi as Rei Ayanami from Neon Genesis Evangelion

To be honest, there has been something that had been gnawing inside me. Whenever I see the foreign cosplayers and our own Indian cosplayers, I can’t help but find a stark difference. “In India, cosplay has become much more popular in last 2-3 years. Experience matters. They started almost a decade ago, they really are good; where we have to work hard to catch up.” agrees Romi. “Perhaps the major difference speaking quality wise is that due to lack of exposure to materials. Further, money is an issue with most of us here because more than half of the cosplayers are students and we don’t have too many money making options or even the time, thanks to our education system.” adds Rohan Ramakrishna, a 22 year-old student.

Rohan as Scorpion from Mortal Kombat X

 

L;R Nitin N as Ninjask gijinka, Rohan as Gyarados gijinka and Abhilash as Glalie Gijinka

 

Cosplay has definitely been a great addition to the Comic Cons. We can agree that we have reached a threshold, but we still have miles to go.

 

To be continued.

P.S. The cosplayers are the owners of the images displayed.

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