This costume was a last-minute addition to my SDCC 2013 roster, but one I wanted to tackle for a couple of years now. I’ve been a fan of Camilla d’Errico’s art for quite some time, drawn to the anime roots, surreal styling, and juxtaposition of organic and mechanical elements. Her odd amalgamations captivated me – the “Helmet Girls” series in particular.
I loved the idea of cosplaying from a piece of art, as I’d never done it before and it seemed an extra challenge. The first and perhaps most difficult task was choosing which Helmet Girl I wanted to pay tribute. I browsed the full catalogue and returned continually to “The Heart.” The intricate yet industrial helmet, delicate butterfly, and quizzical expression sealed the deal.
Construction was relatively inexpensive as I had most of the supplies at home, although I did pick up a few pieces from the plumbing department at my local hardware store.
I started her “helmet” by crafting a trio of headbands from scratch, made with craft foam sandwiched between two pieces of Worbla. Once cooled and shaped on a foam wig head, I was surprised by how much support and structure they provided. Aside from the large cylinders on the sides (the plumbing bits), everything else was built up from craft foam. I sealed the foam with gesso to ensure a smooth finish when painting.
I used a variety of brads, large screws, and cogs for accent pieces. I keep a tub of odds and ends around the house; never sure what I’ll use them for. Several parts of the final helmet came from my stockpile, such as the “monocle” lens. It’s actually half of a collectable coin preserver.
I aged the helmet, but didn’t distress it much, wishing to keep it relatively ornate looking. I started with brass paint and dry brushed bronze and copper for accents. I also broke up the color palette with some silver and gold accents.
I completed the structure of the helmet with several days left till SDCC, giving me time to do something I’d really hoped to fit in – make the outermost cogs spin. My friend Michael kindly helped me install two RC car motors. I’m so glad we found time for this final touch, even though having the motors right next to my ears made it a bit difficult to hear on the show floor. You can see it in action via the gif below, taken from a longer clip in this “Cosplay Girls of Comic-Con 2013” video.
“The Heart” couldn’t be bothered with clothing, so I had creative freedom in her attire. I wanted to contrast the industrial helmet with something a bit more whimsical and delicate. I picked up a soft yellow sundress and ordered a handful of feather butterflies to attach to the skirt with magnets. I found a really nice steampunk butterfly necklace on Etsy, and fabricated my own ring out of odds and ends from home.
Hydred – the talented makeup artist I hire every year for SDCC – was responsible for polishing off the look. We wanted my eyes to mimic butterfly wings with over-the-top lashes. I also popped in some yellow contacts from EyesBright.com, which gave the look a sort of otherworldly element.
The lovely Lisa Lou Who was able to join me at the show as a second Helmet Girl – The Egg Thief – and I was blown away by her final look. You can see more photos of her here. We were both incredibly happy to have the chance to chat with Camilla and AdaPia d’Errico on the show floor and show off our costumes!
You can find WIP and convention photos below. Enjoy!