Q & A
How long have you been cosplaying?
I’ve been cosplaying since Spring of 2014. It was during MegaCon in Orlando, the biggest con we had around that time.
Where did you get the name 'MrPaulTran' come from?
I use to volunteer as a mentor at a local organization for kids and teens. They all use to call me “Mr. Paul”. I ended up using it on all me social media accounts. I thought about creating a cosplay pseudonym, but every so often people would recognize me at cons and I preferred being called “Paul” rather then a creating name. It feels more personal to me.
What was your very first cosplay?
The Riddler from DC Comics was my very first costume. I picked him because it looked simple to put together and it was dressing up without going ‘full blown’ cosplay, just a suit and a mask. This was before I knew how to craft and sew. I figured it was an easy cosplay that I can piece together. I did create the ‘question mark’ cane, though, and it was my proudest piece. Looking back now, I can see how terrible it was. I know there’s a stigma out there that “a cosplayer must create their own costumes”, but in reality piecing together a cosplay was a great way for me to get started. That goes with purchasing commissioned work too. It’s an awesome way to fund an industry and support artists who are contributing to this subculture.
What would you say to a first time cosplayer?
Just go for it! Do as much research as you can and know that your first cosplay might not be the best and you’ll make mistakes but it’ll only get better from here on.
photography: Brilan Imagery
Why did you first get into cosplay?
Back in 2013, I accidentally stumbled upon my first con while attending a print and design expo that was happening at the same time as Megacon. The next day I decided to go to Megacon as a attendee and was blown away by the atmosphere, all the events, vendors, and especially the cosplays. The year after was when a group of friends and I decided to create costumes. Honestly, it was a great way for me to bond with my sister and friends. To work on something together as a group. We were all DC characters. I grew up on comics, like many of us, and when I found out people create awesome costumes outside of Halloween, I just kept brainstorming what I wanted to do for the next year. Eventually, I started to attend more cons and needed more cosplays to create.
Have your reasons for cosplay changed since you first started?
It hasn’t changed so much as grown. I still love doing it as a common way to bond with my friends, but now I’ve met so many people doing this. I nerd out a lot seeing my friends craft and their progression. There’s also the teaching and learning aspect of it that I’ve embraced. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of crafting, it makes me feel like I’m contributing. I love to create with my hands, experiment with new materials and techniques, with every new cosplay I try to level up and learn something new. Helping others gives me a drive, whether answering comments and messages or running panels, I try to reach out to others as much as I can.
When you're not cosplaying or working on a project, what do you like to do?
I enjoy playing video games and reading comics, there are so many I need to catch up on. I enjoy visiting my local comic book store and just browsing. Any free time I get I try to spend it with family and friends. I do want to travel more, but any opportunity I get, I use it to travel to cons.
how do you define cosplay?
Cosplay is a way to express creativity and celebrate your love for a certain fandom or character.
photography: Brilan Imagery
"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake—you can’t learn anything from being perfect."
Can you tell us about some of your favorite cosplays you've made?
My last created cosplay always end up being my favorite. Damian Wayne from Super Sons would be one of them. I loved how it was a combination of armor and fabric that I crafted and handsewn. It was also my first cosplay I competed and and won a competition with. Kakashi from Naturo is also one of my favorites. I love the reactions I receive at cons with him.
Most of your cosplays seem to focus around a central character, Robin, what draws you to him?
Before cosplay, I wasn’t really a huge fan of Robin. During my first Robin build, I did some research all the different Robins and loved the development of each one and how each split off into their own entity. The thought has crossed my mind to cosplay all the counterparts of Robin but I’m not sure I can successfully pull them all off.
If you had to choose ONE of your past cosplays to keep (and the rest had to be burned in a fire), which one would you save?
There is really no answer for this. Each one of my cosplays are my children, from beginning to end. I wanted to sell my first Robin cosplay but I can’t bare to part with it, even though I know I will never wear it again. All of my past costumes are stored in my closet or bins so I’m running out of space.