We use our clothing and accessories as a way to express our inner selves. While this is an ideal day-to-day statements, on occasion, we need something more. Cosplay is an art form capable of amplifying – or even awakening – of a side of us that we didn’t quite know we had. It becomes an outward expression of the emotion, the strength, the turmoil, and the ferocity that drives us. Such was the case for Medha Srivastava as she entered the world of cosplay for the first time as Kier: Death’s Warbringer, and showed the world her mighty spirit within.
We were fortunate to correspond with Medha recently and get the inside scoop about her Kier: Death’s Warbringer cosplay.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! Where are you based?
My name is Medha Srivastava, and I am a professional concept / visual artist born and based in Mumbai, India. I picked up my first paintbrush when I was three years and haven’t put it down since then. As the years went by, my passion for art kept growing and I decided to formally learn various styles by joining an art school. I started posting my work on social media, and soon my work went viral in India because I used art to voice my opinions on various social issues in India. My art focuses on social issues, game & character designs, conceptualization and visual art and caricatures. Art is my love and profession, dance is my parallel passion, and I feel that I express myself more sharply through both of them.
What about the Court of the Dead and the character Kier appeals to you most?
I have always been a fan of the supernatural, the horror and the world of sci-fi. The war between hell and heaven whether it’s books, movies or games has always fascinated me. So, it is no surprise that as an artist, I am mesmerized by the characters from The Court Of the Dead. The backstories of every character and the reflection of their personality visible through the depth of design and detail are absolutely out of this world. Every character has an aesthetic feel and representation. Right from the armors to headgears and masks, everything is a treat to the eyes. I really admire Mark Newman as an artist, and I think he and others have done a remarkable job in sculpting and creating the characters.
When I looked at Kier and read about her, I knew I had to cosplay her. I immediately felt a connection with Kier. I have been blessed that I was raised by a loving family who gave me every privilege and opportunity to excel in life. Sadly a lot of girls are still struggling in certain parts of India, to get the equal rights and freedom. My family is full of very strong women who have challenged patriarchy in our Indian society. Right from my grandmothers to my mother and sisters. That’s why as a child I have always been inclined towards female warriors. I am surrounded by strong, fierce and brave women in my personal life so, therefore, I was able to relate to Kier on a personal level. Kier is the unwanted child who rises to become a deadly warrior with a purpose. Kier’s perfect balance of beauty and femininity with extremely deadly and strong skill set to fight for redemption didn’t seem like an unreal fantasy to me. I feel very close to her, and it seems that I understand her strengths and weaknesses as a woman.
How long have you been cosplaying and making art?
My mother and my sister are artists too. So art has been part of my life as a child. I always knew that I would become an artist because it really defines me as a person. I started with traditional art and soon moved into digital art. However, cosplaying is new to me. I used to work for a gaming company called Dhruva Interactive, and they encouraged all their employees to participate in cosplay. So I attended and participated in Cosplay for the first time last year. But after attending it, I realized the potential, opportunity, and passion behind the whole cosplay community and it was very inspiring. So this year, I decided to use my skill set as I think being an artist is always an added advantage while cosplaying.
Since Kier meant a lot as a character, I worked hard to recreate her and didn’t cut any corners while creating her. My costume was a massive hit, and everyone really loved it. It was attention-grabbing, and the detailing of my work won the Category award twice in Bangalore and Delhi’s Comic Con this year. Cosplaying is new to me but it was a wonderful experience to learn a new form of art. I am definitely cosplaying in future.
The Kier: Death’s Warbginer design is incredibly complicated and intricate. What compelled you to take on such a big project? Did you collaborate with anyone?
Court Of The Dead was introduced to me by a friend and a fellow cosplayer Sameer Bundela. Being the winner of India Cosplay Championship, Sameer is very talented and pays attention to detail. His costumes are mind-boggling, and he encouraged me to participate because he had seen my work.
We decided to cosplay the characters from the Court of the Dead. Sameer cosplayed Malavestros, and I chose Kier because I just fell in love with her character and costume. It seemed like a challenge to me on a personal and professional level to bring her alive. Sameer and I collaborated on our respective strengths and skills to build up the characters, i.e., prop making mixed with traditional art. We had seen a lot of mainstream gaming and fantasy characters in comic con India, and we wanted to try something bolder and more challenging. I knew that if we don’t do it right, the costumes would be a massive fail. But, my art training has taught me patience and an eye for detail. So we gave it our best shot.
How long did it take you to complete this costume? What’s the process like for making a cosplay as extravagant as Kier?
It took me about a month and a half to finish both our characters, and it was a roller coaster ride for me. Considering the amount of detailing the characters imbibed, we didn’t have enough time to explore and innovate with the costumes. We didn’t have the right resources either. I had no access to a high-resolution image of the characters. The new Kier – Death’s Warbringer wasn’t yet released, so it was a bit of a challenge. I used my imagination and had to sketch out the details of the sword and the shin guards and then use that design on the foam. The most complicated yet interesting part was making the mask. It was my first time sculpting, and there was much detailing required. The mask was sculpted with clay and molded with silicon. It was later cast with fiberglass. It was quite a task to paint the mask to achieve the bone like feel. The base of the sword was aluminum, and the detailing was completed with foam. The hilt of the sword was created with clay and M-seal clay. In fact, even the smaller things like getting the contact lens or getting the right body paint was a big challenge, and I had to innovate and use various little tricks to get the right shade that I wanted. India has yet to realize the potential of platforms like Cosplay, and once we have more resources and infrastructure to build such costumes, then we will really make a mark internationally. There is plenty of talent and passion in the country to undertake such extravagant projects even on a larger scale.
How did it feel embodying Kier at shows?
I am a shy and reserved person. For the first time, I felt like a complete badass. I think creating and playing Kier made me discover a stronger side of me that embodied strength, courage, perseverance & tenacity. Being the first Indian to cosplay this character, it came as a pleasant yet monumental surprise to all of my friends to see me embody a powerful and sexy character such as Kier, as they have always known me to be a very shy person. It was also such an amazing and rewarding experience talking to all con-goers / visitors who were genuinely inquisitive about my cosplay, Kier & Court of the Dead. So many people clicked selfies with me that I actually felt like a celebrity and a brand ambassador. I felt like Kier’s doppelgänger, and I wish I could play her more often because she brought alive a side of me that has been hidden all this while. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to the creators of Kier and The Court of the Dead. Kier means much much more to some of us than just a fantasy character.
Where can people go to find you on the web?
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