White man with short black hair stands on stage with a microphone speaking to a cosplayer dressed as an elven character in a red cloak

Keith Thomson: From Passion to Profession

An interview with CosXPo

An interview with Keith Thomson: From Passion to Profession

You might recognise Keith as one of our amazing cosplay mentors from CosXPo 2019 AND 2022. But if not let us have the pleasure of introducing you to this super talented human.

Keith joined us at CosXPo to impart some of his knowledge on casting and moulding, but his cosplay skill set goes far beyond that. Having started cosplaying in 2004, he quickly discovered the breadth of tools and techniques behind the craft, and now works for production company Plunge Creations.

We asked Keith all about his passion for cosplay and creativity and how it led to his profession today, here's what he had to say.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been into cosplay?

Oh god, 18 years! Started at Amecon 2004 with a humble little costume and rapidly it became three new costumes per convention.

You work for the well-known creative company Plunge Creations – can you tell us a bit about some of the things you’ve worked on?

A lot of the more nitty-gritty jobs are for conventions or advertising. They're not the glamour jobs. But we have done television now. Spitting Image, Big Heads, some awards shows, and most recently The Masked Singer has started to dominate the workshop somewhat. It's become a much bigger success than any of us imagined.

What’s been your favourite project to date?

Working at Gamescon in Germany. Doing the booths for THQ Nordic and making some really excellent staging and statues based upon their IPs. Anytime I get to do big moulds for video games is a good day for me!

Do you have any materials you love or hate to work with?

I love silicone, and unlike most people I also love fibreglass! Anyone who has worked with foam latex will tell you how unbelievably tricky it can be. I've lost a lot of sleep worrying about puppets sitting in moulds overnight.

 

A white man wears a pointed blonde wig and white feathered wings. He wears white robes and holds a book open.

How did you get into the prop-making business?

When I turned 30 I figured I had one shot at having a big career change, and I decided to turn my passion for cosplay into profession. So I went to do a Prop Making degree at Northbrook College. I was older than everyone else there, but thankfully it all worked out.

Do you have any tips for people who want to turn their passion for crafting into a career?

You have to be prepared to relearn everything. What might be good enough for cosplay won't cut it at the top level. So being humble and realising you're working with decades worth of professional experience will pay off.

You’ve held your Moulding and Casting Workshop at CosXPo twice now – what makes you come back and teach?

I have a long term ambition to transition into teaching once my creaking knees and back have decided that these 12 hour long days are a young person's game. So I love seeing people discover new processes and new materials. Some of these processes can seem daunting once you read about them, but when you get your hands on them they feel far more comfortable and familiar.

What do you think sets CosXPo apart from other events?

The emphasis on making and the playful nature of cosplay is a big plus for me. It's a passion that should unite everyone that participates in it. From those starting to those who have been doing it for years, I find that being in costume is a great leveller and a good ice breaker.

There's also a really good atmosphere in the evenings and in the communal areas. As long as I'm still welcome I'll always be happy to lend my hands to it.

 

Huge thank you to Keith for hosting his amazing workshops at our last two CosXPo events, and for taking the time to sit down and chat with us.

Keep an eye out for more interviews from our CosXPo Mentor, and in the mean time you can read some of our recent blogs here, covering cosplay news, new games, films, tv shows, and more.

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