Cosplayer from Denmark/Lithuania

Please introduce yourself – what’s your cosplay name, where are you from, how long have you been cosplaying?
My name is Jonas Zibartas, also known as Zibartas Cosplay. I’m originally from Lithuania but I’ve been living in Denmark for 12 years – from which I’ve cosplayed the last 5

How did you start cosplaying? What was your first costume?

My introduction to cosplay was through my girlfriend and local events that we’ve been visiting, I’ve always loved tinkering and building things, so realizing there’s an entire community of people with similar interests and skills just drew me in! In the beginning I wore costumes made by my girlfriend, and eventually I got into making my own. my first self-made cosplay was Soldier: 76 – a character from a video game called Overwatch.

How do you choose who you are going to Cosplay?

Cosplay for me is about solving engineering challenges, so I pick projects that are hard to bring to life. Animatronic props and costumes usually are quite complicated, as the reference designs weren’t made with real-life physics in mind. The trick, and the fun is to figure out a way how to achieve same or similar looking effect with the constraints we have in the physical world. Of course, you also need to pick a character or a project based on what you love – as you will be staring for hours, days and months – and if there isn’t something that special about it, you will never finish it.

How many Cosplay competitions/conventions have you been to? What was your favorite and why?

I’ve been a contestant and a judge in so many competitions, I can’t even remember right now, haha. However, the one that stands out the most, was Gamescom 2018 Blizzard Cosplay Contest – where I managed to place in the top 10 of arguably the best cosplayers in the world that year with my Doomfist costume. It was a phenomenal feeling to be recognized after so much hard work on the project.

Do you have your favorite costume? If yes – what is it and why?

My favourite costume is my Mercy (concept art version). It feels incredible to witness all the smiles and big eyes when people see massive set of glowing metal wings to unfold – mostly because it was such an intricate and challenging costume to make. They weigh around 25kg and move really fast, so I can’t wear them for a long time at a time, so I try to show them off as much as I can!

Do you have your favorite prop? If yes – what is it and why?

My favourite prop is probably my Whipsword. It is inspired by the movie Pacific Rim, although it’s design is purely mine. I had a lot of fun making it, and it’s something no one has ever seen or done before, so I am extremely proud of that.

What part of this hobby/lifestyle do you like the most? Why?
Cosplay brings people together – people who wouldn’t meet otherwise. I’ve made friends from all across the world, and it is incredibly fulfilling to surround yourself with people who you admire, and who inspire you. The travel, the online events, the competitions and the creation of digital content – they’re all aspects of this great hobby, and each one of them is fun in their own way.

Do you have any funny stories or accidents related to cosplay?

Since I make stuff from real metal, and usually use specific, powerful batteries, I end up with a funny story every time I travel or need to go through security. F.x. airlines have quotas on how many batteries a person is allowed to take, so often I have to plan ahead. But nothing is funnier(in a not funny way) than a security guard trying to determine if your massive steel gauntlet with stainless steel spikes (that could pierce car tyres) is safe to be let through into a convention center.

What is your dream photoshoot as a cosplayer?
My dream photoshoot would involve some sort of a situation where I’d be suspended mid-air in my Mercy cosplay, hovering in front of a cool location, or even a greenscreen would do!

Why Cosplay is important for you?

Cosplay is more than a hobby, it’s a way of life. Doing something creative helps you decompress after a day’s worth of work at your job, and it also gives something to look forward to – there’s always upcoming events, or a potential photoshoot, etc. Cosplay opens up doors to new friendships, skills to learn, opportunities – there’s no one single reason why it’s important to me – but it has shaped my life dramatically, and I couldn’t imagine living any other way.

What would you consider to be the biggest achievement in you Cosplay career?

There are many notable moments, but the made it to the finalists in the Ultimate Online Cosplay Championship stands out as the ‘biggest’ achievement. Mostly because the jury panel were such a talented group of industry specialists and household names, to know that they, with all their knowledge and expertise, have selected me as their finalist was an incredible honor.

What would you advise or whish for people who want to start cosplaying, but for unknown reasons are afraid or just don’t know where to start?

There’s literally no reason not to try. One of my first costumes was Pikachu (a yellow tanktop and a cardboard tail) and it was as fun to wear as any other outfit. Small victories are better than big failures. Start small and work your way up, to build confidence. Also, it’s actually a GOOD thing if you’re not satisfied with something you’ve made – it means you’ve learned something from the process, and will not repeat mistakes next time!