We recently caught up with The Artful Dodger to hear about that amazing Steampunk Ariel, her previous costumes and what cosplay means to her. Enjoy!


GS: Your Steampunk Ariel costume has been catching people’s eyes recently- it’s a great idea! Can you tell us about the path from concept to costume?

AD: Thank you so much! I’ve had a huge obsession with mermaids since I was a little girl. I think it was the most feminine thing I was into, seeing as I usually ran around climbing trees and pretending I lived in Middle-Earth. I used to watch the Little Mermaid religiously when I was younger and I also read a lot of classic authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, which is why when I saw Hungry Designs’ Ariel concept about a year ago I wanted to bring it to life so badly.

I already owned a pair of Black Milk mermaid leggings, which were absolutely perfect for the costume. I cut and styled the wig myself which took a million years, I don’t think I realised how unrealistic Disney hair is! I dyed and modified an old blouse for that Victorian feel and made Ursula’s voice charm out of polymer clay. I had been following Nerfenstein Blaster Mods & Props for some time and she does incredible guns, so I commissioned her to make my trident. It’s a beautiful piece of work, and hopefully I can design props as good as hers one day. I also made a pair of bracers, a holster and modified some goggles. I’ve only been cosplaying for a couple of years so I had minimal skills in costuming at that point, although not for lack of trying!

GS steampunk-ariel-2

The Artful Dodger’s Steampunk Ariel. Photo by Steven Yee

GS: So you’ve only been cosplaying for a couple of years? How did you get into it?

AD: I got into cosplay back in 2010 when I saw Scott Pilgrim Vs the World and loved every minute of it. It was just so awkward, that sort of humor cracks me up. Anyway, Ramona Flowers captured my attention throughout the movie with her mysterious aura, and when she brought out the giant mallet out of the subspace bag for the Roxie fight scene I just thought, “I MUST DO THIS.” I got my hands on the graphic novels and finished them in about a week. Then a friend told me there was a local convention that was coming up where cosplay was a big thing, and I’d always wanted to see what the community was like. So I cobbled together a few bits and pieces for a Ramona cosplay and I tentatively went to the Brisbane Supanova Pop Culture Exo.

It was a giant sprawl of guys who were having loud debates about Magic: The Gathering, girls freaking out because Tom Felton just signed their books and cosplay everywhere I looked.

It was incredible. I’ve never felt so at home. Everyone was friendly and shared your fandom, there was no judgement or sneering that I was a weirdo. Since then, I’ve thrown myself into the cosplaying world and I don’t intend to stop anytime soon!

GS: For you, what’s the best part of cosplay?

AD: A few people have mentioned since that goggles and the blunderbuss I used for Ariel would be pointless underwater, but when I look at the artwork, I don’t think she was underwater. It looks to me like Ariel got bored of her princess lifestyle, stole her dad’s trident and Ursula’s charm, and went to wreak havoc on land. That’s just my interpretation, and that’s what cosplay is about anyway. It’s just another form of art. For me, cosplay is actually magical. Fantasy is my first love, and when I cosplay I feel like I AM that person from another time or universe. I generally tend to pick characters with whom I have an affinity, usually women with weapons or nunchuck skills! The ‘damsel in distress’ type of female characters that can’t look after themselves irritate me.

GS: Who’s your favourite character ever?

AD: Picking my favorite character ever is, of course, like picking my favorite child, but I think I’d have to go with Jack Bauer from 24. He got betrayed and disowned by almost everyone he ever loved and cared about, his unit turned their backs on him when he needed them most, and yet he still fought for his country with literally everything he had. It’s not really a nerdy show persay, but I really admire him.

GS: Are there any other costumes in the pipeline that we can look forward to?

AD: At the moment I’m working on 4 cosplays at once! I lose interest in things quickly so I tend to flit between different projects so I don’t get bored – which is pretty cool because I generally finish them all at once. It’s very satisfying. Keep your eye out for Selene from the Underworld series, Tauriel from the Hobbit, Chloe Frazer from the Uncharted games and X-23 from X-men. I started X-23 a couple of days ago when I came across her in the comics. Her backstory is HECTIC, if you haven’t read the X-23 comics do yourself a favor and get your hands on them. She’s basically a female Wolverine with foot claws!

GS: Have you any advice for people who want to cosplay, but don’t really know where to start?

AD: If you want to get into cosplay, but you’ve been worried that it won’t be good enough, or you can’t make everything yourself, just remember that cosplay is simply personifying your love for the character, and if you can’t make a corset or armor, or whatever else is holding you back from doing it, it’s not a big deal! Anyone who tells you differently is raining on your parade. Sometimes you simply don’t possess the skills necessary, and that’s totally okay. Buy what you have to, make whatever you can, and just have fun! 🙂


We’ll definitely be keeping a look out for those new costumes! To keep up with The Artful Dodger, ‘like’ her on Facebook, where you can see all her previous costumes as well.


Reporter: Jess Hawke

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