Joe Heasman (Jobiwan) is a UK-based costume and prop-maker who prides himself on creating great looking props and costumes on a budget with impressive results! He has worked closely with notable companies like Nintendo, attending official events to show off his work to the public. Among Joe’s creations is an impressive Varia Suit from the Metroid franchise, which we felt was worth highlighting.
Hi, I’m Joe, and my cosplay title is Jobiwan, I’m an independent costume and prop maker at Cutting Edge Props and Cosplay.
Over the last ten years, I’ve been cosplaying at a variety of conventions and expos around the UK. I love to do uncommon cosplays, challenging myself to try things that others may not have seen or even considered. I use traditional techniques to build costumes and props from scratch, instead of using pepakura or 3D printing.
When I was a kid, I was always building, drawing or sculpting something, be it sets or vehicles for action figures, or recreating images of characters that I loved. Now in my adult life, as well as my full time job making silicone orthotics, cosplay is ever prominent. I always have at least one project in motion, whether it’s a personal project or a piece of commissioned work. I am always looking to learn new skills and hone my techniques, as ultimately I want to be able to move forwards into the Film and TV industry. I’d love to work on a Star Wars movie. That’s the dream. While I feel I am improving, I still have a lot to learn.
In 2017, I had the pleasure to have worked with Nintendo UK, helping promote the Nintendo Switch and massive titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, cosplaying as Link at numerous events from the Switch pre-launch events and Splatoon 2 by building full size props for use by the public on the show floor. This was an extremely encouraging to me professionally, as Nintendo is a company that has had a massive influence in my life, growing up with Super Mario, Zelda and Metroid. I was truly an honour to be able to represent franchises and characters that I loved. I’m looking forward to new opportunities in the future, not only with Nintendo, but also Bethesda and Ubisoft.
When it comes to my own builds, I am a firm believer that cosplay does not need to break the bank. I would only class myself as a very middle of the road cosplayer, I’ve never spent over £100 on any one costume an average budget for some of my older cosplay was no more than £50. I make everything myself so I can control exactly how much I want to spend or not spend. I guess I’m a bit of a cheapskate, but it goes to show that you can create great cosplay with a small budget and some hard work, dedication and a little ingenuity.
As a piece of parting advice that I would give to any aspiring cosplayers would be: work towards something that inspires you, if you have a passion then use that in your work. You may not be able to afford to buy expensive materials or whole costumes pre-made, you may not be super talented when it comes to crafting, but with a little effort you can make something to be proud of. Cosplay is all about expressing love of a fandom or characters, and ultimately, that’s what is important.
Cosplayers put a lot of time, effort and care into what they create, and this is clear with Joe’s work. After reaching out to him and discussing his efforts on the Varia Suit he created, he told me the total cost of the suit was just under £100 and is made from EVA foam, adhesives and spray paint. While there is a lot of energy invested into such a project, it may be reassuring to other cosplayers that a Metroid cosplay may not be too far out of reach. We wish Joe the very best of luck with his future projects and hope that we will see more Metroid love from him at events around the world!