Dragonlance Nexus: Tell us a bit about yourself and Artyfakes Action-Props. How did you get into cosplay?
Tabitha Lyons: I officially started cosplay in May 2012 though I have been dressing up since I was a little girl (LARPed since I was 8). I run a prop company with my dad called Artyfakes. We created a Skyrim inspired weapon range – and as soon as the photos hit the net, everyone was throwing around the word “cosplay.” I’d never heard of it before, so I had to check it out!
Dragonlance Nexus: How long have you been a fan of Dragonlance, and how did you get into the series?
Tabitha Lyons: I started playing D&D when I was about 6-8, the first being the Dragonlance campaign, but I was too young then to really fall in love with the characters, it was when I was slightly older, getting bullied at school when I turned to the novels.
Dragonlance Nexus: What is your favorite Dragonlance novel, and have you played the Dragonlance RPG?
Tabitha Lyons: I sure have! Ahhh…I love them all! So hard to choose. Maybe the very first book; I would not have read the rest if I didn’t enjoy the first book as much as I did.
Dragonlance Nexus: With a multitude of female characters in Dragonlance, what inspired you to cosplay Kitiara in particular?
Tabitha Lyons: I do love so many other characters in Dragonlance. I have a very soft spot for Mina. She was the first character I wanted to try and recreate in a LARP system. Which I did and she totally kicks ass, but any who, Kitiara was the one character I couldn’t get out of my head. She was my favorite female characters, both visually and mentally.
Dragonlance Nexus: Tell us about the design process. How did you manage to take an artist’s rendition of Kitiara and transform that into a 3D costume? What challenges did you have to overcome?
Tabitha Lyons: We wanted to stay true to Larry’s Art, and still give her a current look. We also had to keep in mind the design would have to be suitable for Kitiara to ride a “dragon,” not forgetting to put in our very own Artyfakes twist.
Dragonlance Nexus: The design of Skie had to be a challenge. What is it like to design a 16-foot dragon?
Tabitha Lyons: The dragon was only meant to be 10 ft. originally but he grew! For the people out there who have said the dragon is too small, you should have made it bigger. The size was one of the biggest challenges. Not only to transport him and to store him, but financially too.
Dragonlance Nexus: How often do you plan on using the costume, and what lifetime do you expect to get out of it?
Tabitha Lyons: We purposely chose materials that would give the costume a long life. I find it pointless spending so much time on something for it to just break after its first use. We use foam and latex, as not only does it last for years, but it can take a good beating. It’s the same material we use to make our LARP props. Quite a few cosplayers use Worbla as you can get a smother/deeper paint finish as you can use any type. However it may be harder to paint with latex but foam is lighter and much safer for conventions.
Dragonlance Nexus: What has been the reception to the Kitiara costume?
Tabitha Lyons: I really am blown away by the reception she has been receiving. I have taken her to a convention without Skie and I was really worried that no one would appreciate my favorite character without her dragon. I was wrong. I have also received a lot of kudos for not over sexualizing the character. We did think about this but I decided it would not be true to the character. One of my favourite moments of Kit was when I was at London MCM and I took of my helmet and this mum said “OH WOW you’re a girl!” I knew we did our job right.
Dragonlance Nexus: Do you have any plans in the future for other Dragonlance characters, such as Laurana, Goldmoon, or Tika?
Tabitha Lyons: I wouldn’t cross out me doing another cosplay from Dragonlance, however I feel like it would ruin what I have with Kitiara. However I have convinced my dad (the big boss man at Artyfakes) to cosplay Lord Soth. 😀
Dragonlance Nexus: With it being more acceptable to switch genders on cosplay, have you considered cosplaying Raistlin?
Tabitha Lyons: Honestly no. I do love him as a character, but he does not appeal to me as a cosplay choice. I like to stand out. I tend to pick characters who wear armour. That and I can’t wear contact lenses. 🙁
Dragonlance Nexus: Do you have any plans to go to a convention in the United States and meet Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman?
Tabitha Lyons: I am saving all my pennies this year! I am going to try my best to meet them both at Gen Con. Even if I have to ride Skie to get me there.
Dragonlance Nexus: Have you stabbed any Sturm Brightblade cosplayers yet?
Tabitha Lyons: I have not seen a Sturm cosplayer yet, but who knows what could happen?
Dragonlance Nexus: What advice do you have for new cosplayers getting into the cosplay scene?
Tabitha Lyons: Pick a character you love. Have fun; that’s what it’s all about. Not if you look like them or not. And remember make up wipes!
Dragonlance Nexus: On the show Heroes of Cosplay, one episode dealt with the theme of sexy characters vs. costume craftsmanship. What is your take on this?
Tabitha Lyons: One does not mean you can’t have the other. I have not seen the show, however it’s an issue that is floating around. As long as you are having fun, feel good about yourself and not breaking any laws, who cares? Each to their own.
Dragonlance Nexus: What are your thoughts about entertainment companies demanding that cosplayers do not use their copyrighted characters?
Tabitha Lyons: Personally I think it’s quite self-defeating. It’s all promotion in my eyes. Some companies have even used cosplayers to help promote their games, etc.. and it’s been good all- around. 🙂
Dragonlance Nexus: You have played many other roles, such as Rogue from the X-Men and more recently, the Black Cat. What is your favorite costume to date, beyond Kitiara?
Tabitha Lyons: Other than Kit? Hmm… it’s hard I love each character for different reasons. I love my LARP/cosplay character Kyra. She was my own design inspired by WOW, but she is such fun to play, both at cons and at a field.
Dragonlance Nexus: What projects are you currently working on?
Tabitha Lyons: I don’t like to give the game away but I will tell you my next cosplay is quite different. She’s not a fantasy character but a sci–fi. I’m very excited about this project! 😀 You will have to follow the progress on our Facebook pages to find out more.
On behalf of the Dragonlance Nexus, I wanted to say thank you to Tabitha Lyons for this amazing interview. The Kitiara cosplay has been nothing short of breathtaking.
Tabitha has the Best Job in the World!