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Cosplay: Nahiri Forges Ahead


Nahiri by Eric Deschamps

I’ll readily admit to hating on Stoneforge Mystic. I played a lot of Magic in the Caw-Blade era, and there was nothing more annoying than seeing that snooty girl in her perfect Lotus-criss-cross-applesauce pose come down and so calmly help out with me getting my arse beat by some pigeons. And I didn’t appreciate the art at all—at least not until Lauren Lee made a comment along the lines of admiring how serene, how quietly strong the art was. Stoneforge Mystic clearly had business taken care of, right? It was a great reminder of just how subjective art is and how many different faces of strength and beauty there are in the Multiverse.

Stoneforge Mystic by Mike Bierek

When Nahiri, the Lithomancer came out, I was immediately favorably disposed toward the art, as it’s a great Planeswalker hero shot featuring a victorious, rough-edged Nahiri enjoying an amusing thought (probably at Sorin’s expense). Just my style. I wanted to cosplay her right away, and then one day, I experimented with painting myself that white. It was bad. It was going to be worse than Tamiyo Pajamiyo, and that was extremely stressful. Uh-uh, not gonna happen.

Lucky for all of us, cosplayer Erin Adams stepped up to the hedron and knocked this challenge outta the park. I think you’ll love her costume, and broodspawn; fair warning: Her sword is bigger than yours.

1. Name, cosplay handle (if applicable), location:

My name is Erin Adams, in my social media I am Erinsartstuff, and I live in the small town of Millbrook in Ontario, Canada.

2. Magic cosplays currently built:

Emmara Tandris, Narset Transcendent, Nahiri, the Lithomancer.

3. Other cosplays of note:

None so far.

4. Tell us your cosplay origins story. How'd you get into it, and specifically, how did you end up trying your hand at Magic cosplays?

I have really only been cosplaying for just over a year now. But I have always loved Halloween and dressing up, and I have been sewing and playing Magic for years, so really it was only a matter of time. Then, between my husband showing me cspranklerun's Facebook page and the art for Emmara Tandris being spoiled, I absolutely wanted to try my hand at cosplay. Since Magic is such a big part of my life, so far, I am exclusively a Magic cosplayer.

5. You play Magic—what decks and formats do you enjoy? And what other games or hobbies take up your time?

Yes, I play Magic! If I told you for how long, though, it would probably give away my age (wink). When I first started playing, I was very much a Naya player with heavy tendencies toward green, and even today, I am happiest when I can smash my opponent with very large, thumpy beasts. I showed my current Standard deck to a friend of mine, and his first comment was, "There's nothing subtle about that,” laughing. So I play Standard, and my deck is still always some combination of the Naya colors—I prefer to play something I enjoy instead of the deck of the week. My favorite format, though, is Limited, and when it comes to that, I am very much a Spike, and I will play whatever I need to give me the best chance to win. I love the competitive scene, although I don't have as much time to go to as many events as I would like to, so I guess that would make me a casual competitive player, gah—so many labels.

As for other hobbies (because working full time, two kids, cosplaying, and playing Magic just doesn't take up enough time), I also make cakes, art quilts, paint, and do pretty much anything else creative that takes my fancy. Because at my core, I have this crazy need and am happiest when I create.

6. Today, I'm featuring your Nahiri and Emmara cosplays. Why did you choose these cosplays? Was it just the cards, was it the art, or do you follow the Uncharted Realms lore, too? In other words, what drew you to these characters?

Well, with Emmara, it was definitely the art. I immediately identified myself with her and just knew I had to make her. Actually, with all three of my cosplays, when I looked at the art, I was able to see the different pieces of their clothing and knew how I would go about making them, like pieces of a puzzle just falling into place. With Nahiri, though, it was a bit of a slower relationship. Even though I really liked the art when her card was spoiled, I was upset because I didn't like the Kor from the original Zendikar because I didn't like playing with Equipment. At some point later, I started reading the Uncharted Realms and happened across her story and loved her character, and that's when I made the decision to cosplay her.

7. Give us a brief how-to on the steps and materials that went into making Nahiri's sword.

To get the size and proportions for the sword, I estimated how big it was compared to Nahiri in the picture and compared that to myself and how big it would have to be to fit my proportions. I then went into Photoshop and “cut out” the image of the sword from the art and increased its size to fit the size I had decided it should be. Then, I printed it out, taped it together, and—voila—I had a pattern for my sword.

I used an EVA foam mat and a PVC pipe that I bought from Home Depot to construct the sword. This is the first prop I have made, so I just guessed at the thickness and went with four layers, which I cut out from my pattern and then hot-glued together. I started to roughly shape the edges of the sword with a box cutter—and by “roughly shape,” I mean, “hack away at”—before moving on to sanding it with a Dremel.

Side note: To anyone who doesn't yet own a Dremel, do not go with the cordless option; you will burn through the battery so fast and then have to wait forever for it to charge again . . . just sayin'.

Again, not really knowing what I was doing, I used my pattern to cut out the shape of the sword out of Worbla, arranged it so the holes lined up, heated the Worbla and let gravity mold it around the shape of the sword. Flip and repeat. I lined the holes, trimmed the edges, and generally tried to make the seams as smooth as possible.

The next step was to draw all the details on to the sword, twice, and use strips of Worbla to cover them. I could have just painted the details on, but making it 3D is so much cooler! I also used scraps of Worbla to shape the pommel.

Okay, I know you said brief, but we are almost to the end—just hang in a little longer (deep breath).

I primed it several times, tried sanding, primed more, sanded again, painted base colors, moved on to raised details, painted hilt, and sprayed with sealer (exhale).

8. What was the most challenging part of the Nahiri build? And on the flip side, what were you most satisfied with in terms of the finished product?

I will have to go with the sword for both answers here. I have never worked with Worbla before, nor have I built any sort of props, so I had to learn some new skills. Even though it is not perfect (because I see every one of “those” details when I look at it), I am still super-happy with how it turned out.

9. What is your personal "mission" when it comes to cosplay? Tell us what it means to you and what keeps you inspired.

I just love to create. I like the challenge of bringing something that I love to life as well as all the new skills that I get to learn. It is kind of ironic, actually, because, growing up, I was always the shy, quiet girl who ran from the camera.

Through cosplay, I can also share my love of this game with everyone else. This past spring, I was cosplaying Emmara at the Grand Prix in Toronto, and I met someone who told me that Emmara Tandris was his favorite character, and he was blown away by my cosplay, and he even gave me a foreign copy of her as thanks for doing such a great job. Awesome.

One of the great things about Magic is that there is always something new; we are always going to new worlds and meeting new characters, which means there is no shortage of inspiration for new cosplays!

10. What can we look forward to as far as your upcoming MTG cosplays? Who's on the to-do list?

I have Titania, Protector of Argoth pinned to my dress form, although she has been there since before Narset—we are not currently on speaking terms. I would like to make an angel—not sure which one yet. I want to try my hand at Worbla armor, and I am also leaving things open for the next piece of art that comes out and sweeps me away.

11. If you could have dinner with any Planeswalker, who would it be, and what kind of food would you go for?

I am thinking I will go out for bacon-wrapped steak with Garruk, but before he was cursed by the Veil . . . 

13. Where can fans find you?

I am on Twitter: @erinsartstuff.

I have a Facebook page: Erin's Art Stuff. (I don't get around to updating this page as often as I should.) I will be at Grand Prix Quebec City, the 24th and 25th! Nahiri on Saturday, Emmara on Sunday.

On top of each having two kids and partially built Titanias, Erin and I share a new lust for body-paint airbrushes. I’m looking forward to her next cosplay, and I hope you are, too. Stay up to date with Magic cosplay: Join the Magic: The Gathering Cosplay group.

Till next time, may Magic be your bacon-wrapped steak.



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