One of the features we do here at Comic Impact is the monthly Cosplay Spotlight. The idea is to showcase people from every facet of this wonderful world of fandom we call, “Cosplay.” We believe in the fun of dressing up and want everyone who plays a part to be recognized.
Who are you and how many people are a part of your team?
I am an Artist/Product designer from New York, now residing in Shanghai. There are about 2-3 members of my team.
How many years of experience do you have and what got you into the cosplay world?
My experience is varied in different fields of 3 years Toy Product design, 5 in Advertising, 2 in Pepsico marketing and also being an Artist for 38 years!
What character/design are you most well known for?
Predator. I took that in reinvented it.
Which is your favorite character/design?
I’m not into one specific character but more the type of costume which is Battle Armor. So anything that falls into that category I’m into it be it machine like or organic.
Did you know how to sew/fabricate before you started professionally?
I know nothing about sewing nor fabricating, but I did play a lot of Legos when I was small which trained my Tony Stark like mind and once I took ASWAB test they classified me as a Visual Mathemetician. But there’s a saying “we learn by doing.”
How have your techniques improved over the years?
By Leaps and bounds, mostly by seeing what can be done by hands and what can’t be done. Then I’m like “What year is this?” I decide to
upgrade to CAD, 3D Modeling and Printing. But whats most important is my understanding on design and how I can utilize each technology to serve my evil Genius Mind. Bruhahahhahhaha.
How long does it usually take and what’s your typical process to complete a costume?
OMG takes friggin forever with only me working in the studio. I do about 8 steps from Concept design, 3D printing, Sanding, Molding, casting, trimming, painting, sweeping the floor, marketing, packaging, and posting pics on social media. That’s more than 8 steps but you get my point by the time its done could be months.
Is there a particular fabric/pattern/accessory that you consider your Achilles’ heel?
Nothing is impossible, but getting the good materials that Smooth-on has into China is worse than having to sell your kidneys for an iPhone. After the VAT and profit margin that these distributors charge on getting materials I am left with a profit margin of negative 20% which means I didn’t make buckets on it like most people think.
Have you met any of the industry professionals that any of your work is based on?
I’ve met Jason Lopes at a Stratasys 3D printing conference and it changed my life. It was a huge upgrade of my brain and its going to change the way I think about 3 Dimensional Design and how we can make things I dreamt of and thought was impossible. But now I think technology is ready for my craziest of ideas.
Are you involved in the convention scene in any way because of your work or personal interest?
To date I haven’t been to one single Comic con simply because of lack of time and money because living in Shanghai is super expensive and I’ve spent all my life savings on my Prop biz. I’ve also been non stop making props for these cosplayers worldwide and hardly have time for my family let alone travel half way around the world. Maybe my fans can support me through a kickstarter campaign to kick me out my studio and into a convention? LOL
What is one of your best memories involving your work?
Pulling the first casting from a mold. That’s when you know all your sculpting and molding skills can produce something.
Do you read comics and if so, what are your favorite titles?
I was into comicbook Artists more than characters for the way they drew the characters. I loved Ghost Rider when Mark Texeira took over. Jim Lee, Bill Sienkiewicz, Joe Quesada, Alex Ross, Mike Mignola, Dave Mckean, and Simon Bisley to name a few. There are more on my list.
Who is your favorite comic book character?
Ghost Rider, Batman and Iron Man. they are all my favorites.
Who are your inspirations?
Oh man that is a huge list. Check out my influence Map : http://uratz-studios.deviantart.com/art/Mike-loh-s-Influence-Map-200303928
Have you ever participated in any cosplay events or fund raisers because of your work?
I have dressed up in my own Predator costume at ChinaJoy in 2010 and given my props away to a few individuals for some pay it forward thing but thats about it. Just lack of time and resources to do anything else but fill orders.
What do you like to do when you’re not creating, such as other hobbies?
I watch all the superhero Movies and TV Shows. Its my biggest inspiration. I still love collecting toys like Hot Toys figures which is why I got into making Big Toys for Big boys. LOL I used to played drums back in New York in a Christian Rock Band for like 5 years. But now due to lack of time I just go back to my childhood favorite which is LEGO, but Technic editions which is more complicated.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to learn how to make their own costumes?
Hard Work. Dedication, and Passion. I don’t care if you can’t draw a damn line. You will learn anything when you don’t give up.
Plus the hard work part is important for filling orders. People pay you, make sure you work your ass off to deliver within a year or less.
For me I’ve lost money rather than orders because I’ve spent it all on materials, tools and hiring help to get the job done. You can’t have a million dollar job with a minimum wage work ethic.
Every 10th of every month, we will be feature a new Cosplay Spotlight. If you’re interested in having your hard work featured, contact me.