We caught up with Artist and Cosplayer Tom Sidoti to get some insight into the creation of his latest cosplay, Negan from The Walking Dead. Read on to see what Tom had to say about why he chose to cosplay Negan, how the cosplay came to be, and what went into making some of the props that would bring Negan to life.
What was it about the character Negan that made you want to cosplay him?
I wanted to cosplay Negan because I first fell in love with him in the comics and I felt that he was the best villain that the comics ever had. When they announced he was coming to the TV show I was very scared that they would not be able to portray him the way he needed to be because it was on regular TV, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan was able to make the character into someone the viewers both loved and hated at the same time, which was very unique from my perspective.
I love everything there is about the character Negan and I can see his point of view in the way he is surviving the apocalyptic world, but I also see his enemy, Rick Grimes’ point of view and I do often find myself siding with both at the same time and that’s mostly because of how well both of those actors portray their characters.
Though I can relate to and side with both Negan and Rick, when it comes down to it I don’t think my look can pull off a Rick Grimes cosplay. However I did feel that I could pull off a Negan cosplay properly and even though it’s well known in the cosplay community that you don’t have to look a certain way or have a certain body type to pull off any character, I do think my natural look helps this character come out even more and that’s definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to do it.
What went into the creation of this cosplay?
When it came to creating the costume I already had a leather jacket, a white shirt, grey pants, and black combat boots. I do have more accurate boots to use for this cosplay I just couldn’t find them right now so the black combat boots will do this time.
I got a hold of a brown leather belt and put bullet holsters on it and since you definitely cannot take a Bowie knife into a convention I made one out of foam. As for the most important piece of this cosplay, Lucille “The Vampire Bat” as Negan calls her, I purchased a replica Lucille off of Amazon. So realistically not too much went into making this character as a lot of it is made up of stuff I already owned or could easily purchase.
Can you tell us about the creation of the parts you made?
The things I did have to make were pretty simple for this character. When I added the bullet holsters to the belt I used craft foam and a battery. I rolled the craft foam around the battery to measure out the size of a bullet and I used a finger drill to drill holes into the leather belt and the foam and then I stitched it on the belt. Negan has about 10 bullet holsters on his belt so I made 10 bullet holsters by repeating the above process 10 times.
Now, I watch a lot of prop making tutorials and tv shows so when it came to the Bowie knife I knew it was going to be a pretty simple prop to make. I started with a sketch on paper then moved the sketch to cardboard and cut it out. Then I used craft foam to cut out the center of the blade. I strengthened the handle of the blade with more craft foam and then strengthened the center of the blade with another small piece of craft foam which is the Orange piece in the pictures. From there I used a dremmel to give the blade some shape and let it all dry and harden. Once it was dry I covered it in primer and painted it black and silver.
It was also fairly simple when it came to the sheath for the blade. Same beginning process went into it as once again I started with paper sketch and transferred the paper sketch to foam. After that was cut out I stitched it together and painted it black so that it had more of the authentic look of an actual leather sheath. While making the bullet holsters, Bowie knife, and sheath, I was able to look back and think of things I’ve seen people do in the past to get the ideas of how to do them easily and effectively.
When it comes to prop making in general I’ve been perfecting my number one go to cosplay. which is my tactical Captain America. I wore that cosplay for the first time at New York City Comic-Con in 2011 and I’ve been working on perfecting the props for that one since then and it wasn’t until last year, 2017, that I was completely happy with the way it looks. I’ve done everything from making chest armor, helmets, over the head ear pieces and weapons. Even with that amount of prop making experience I’m still not as extensive with my prop making as other people are but I do enjoy making props very much.
What are you looking forward to the most about debuting this cosplay?
I’m looking forward to going to wonder con this year and seeing more people cosplaying as characters from The Walking Dead and taking pictures with them. I also like to find other people wearing that same character as me and taking pictures with them so I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more Negan’s and getting some great pictures throughout the convention.
Thank you so much to Tom Sidoti for sharing this cosplay sneak peek with us. Make sure to keep an eye out for him as Negan during WonderCon 2018 at the Anaheim Convention Center March 23rd-25th!