Cosplay Family Spotlight: Thorne Family Costuming

‘Mass Effect’ Family. Photo by Soulfire Studios.

Cosplay is becoming more and more popular around the world and at conventions. I’ve personally found a lot of joy and personal confidence doing cosplay at conventions, and the number one reason I started was as an activity with my son. After seeing a great panel about Cosplay Families at Rose City Comic Con, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk to parents and families who cosplay and spotlight them here on GeekDad!

Cosplay Family Spotlight is a new recurring segment where I interview and spotlight a cosplay family. This week, I interview Thorne Family Costuming (whom I met last year at a maker meetup here in Seattle at SoDo Makerspace).

Interested in participating? Leave a comment here or reach out to me on twitter @billythebrick.

GeekDad:
How many members of your family are involved in cosplay?
Thorne Family:
Dad Thorne’s Cosplay. Plain clothes photo by SoulFire Photos, Marcus Fenix photo by Eurobeat Kasumi Photography, Dr. Fenix photo by Dim Horizon Studio, Remainder by Thorne Family.

Our whole family of seven is involved in our cosplay adventures. Everyone participates in varying degrees depending on their age and how busy they are at the moment. You can find us all at Thorne Family Costuming.

GeekDad:
How did you and your family get into cosplay and prop/armor making? Did one particular member start it or did you all jump in together? What was your first cosplay?
Thorne Family:
Mom and Dad started and quickly included all of our kids. We have three kids from Dad’s previous marriage and two of our own. Dad’s first cosplay was Marcus from Gears of War and our first full family cosplay was our Mass Effect family (with Normandy SR 0.5 stroller).
GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite cosplay of yours? A favorite group cosplay you’ve done as a family?
Thorne Family:
Women of ‘Mass Effect.’ Photo by Thorne Family.

Our favorite family cosplay was probably our Mass Effect family. The nicknames that each of our kids has gives away their own favorites: Teen Chief (Halo), Lil’ Palmer (Halo), Commander Shepard (Mass Effect), Teensy Jackal (Halo), and Stroller Ryder (Mass Effect: Andromeda). Dad’s favorite is Spartan Gabriel Thorne (Halo) and Mom’s is Cortana (Halo).

GeekDad:
Speaking of group cosplay, do you always try to cosplay together? Or do you all do your own thing?
Thorne Family:
Pokemon Family. Photo by Thorne Family.

We try to cosplay all together whenever we can, though finding something that everyone in the family is interested in doing, along with making all of the costumes fast enough that they still fit everyone, can be a challenge. So far we’ve managed to have everyone in Mass Effect and Pokémon cosplay and most of the family in Halo cosplay. We also make sure to let each of the kids pick other fun things to make and wear that they are interested in themselves, and Mom and Dad do some things ourselves. We have made other Mass Effect characters, Gears of War, comic book characters, and quite a few Disney princesses. Our “dress up” closet for the little girls is quite large.

GeekDad:
Do you have a favorite piece that challenged you?
Thorne Family:
Spartan Palmer’s chest piece was quite difficult, with many small details and complex curves. And getting the cape and mask to look just right on Batwoman was also a hard challenge.
GeekDad:
What’s your favorite “medium” to work in (sewing, EVA foam, resin casting, etc.)?
Thorne Family:
Mom Thorne’s Cosplay. Photo by Thorne Family.

Everyone in the family has found their niche as we’ve built many different costumes. Dad does most of the foam work, Mom does the sewing, our oldest son is our weathering and damage specialist, and all of the girls love to help with painting and sewing. Dad recently purchased a 3D printer, and our son is learning the 3D modeling programs needed to help out with more small details in the future.

GeekDad:
It’s been awhile, but I used to do quite a bit of scale model building and I see a lot of similarities in techniques between small-scale building and prop and armor building. Have you ever done any scale modeling or smaller scale builds?
Thorne Family:
Dad did a lot of scale modeling growing up. It has been helpful in knowing how to work well with superglue, some painting techniques, and if we’re putting together a model that someone else has already created in a 3D program like pepakura, or something we’ve 3D printed in multiple parts. However, with scale model building you’re usually just putting pre-defined parts together. When you’re making costumes, and especially costumes for kids, even when working from a model, everything has to be custom-sized or built on the fly.
GeekDad:
Most of our readers are parents and, like me, want to share their geeky interests with their kids. I’ve been doing father and son cosplay with my son since he was born. Do you have any suggestions on how parents can get their kids interested and involved with cosplay and fabrication?
Thorne Family:
‘Halo 5’ Release Party. Photo by Thorne Family.

Make sure to include them in as many of the decisions and building processes as possible. You’ll end up with pink sparkle pistols and dinosaur armor (Jackal from Halo), and kids that are really excited to wear them. The best part of costuming for our family is the time we spend together: time spent planning and building the costumes, time spent at conventions, photo shoots, or game launches, and time looking through all our fun pictures together. The fact that we can get our teenagers and our five-year-old to sit with us for hours and hours talking or watching something together while we make things together is incredible. And the memories we make and the feeling of pride I can see in their eyes when we’re getting stopped for pictures constantly at a convention is wonderful.

GeekDad:
Something along the lines of “Being a geek isn’t about what you love but how you love it,” is sort of the new geek mantra. Do you have anything, besides cosplay, that you consider yourself a geek about?
Thorne Family:
We are a very geeky family. Mom was a middle school science teacher for 14 years and shares her love of Harry Potter with all the girls in the family. Dad makes video games for a living. Our oldest son is already in college at 16 working on a digital art degree, and our oldest daughter reads any fantasy or futuristic novels at speeds that we can barely keep up with. Our house is full of geeky props, posters, and signs, and we love it.
GeekDad:
What upcoming conventions do you have on your schedule that people could see you at?
Thorne Family:
We’re usually at Emerald City Comicon all together as a family and sometimes PAX West as well. Mom and Dad try to make it out east to DragonCon whenever we can. And any other small, family friendly conventions here in the Seattle area that we can find.

Get the Official GeekDad Books!