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Behind the Costumes at New York Comic-Con: Sherlock and Smaug

Tatiana Craine
Smaug the dragon and Sherlock Holmes at New York Comic-Con.
Editor's note: Tatiana Craine, web editor at our sister paper City Pages, got a behind-the-scenes look at the cosplayers at New York Comic-Con over the weekend.

It's said that you're never more than three feet away from a spider. At Comic-Con, you're never more than three feet away from Spider-Man... or the Doctor, or Beetlejuice.

From coast to coast, conventions are the perfect excuse to dress up in disguises on an occasion that's not Halloween. This year at New York Comic-Con, thousands of people have dressed up as characters from their favorite movies, television shows, comics, manga, and more.

See also: Slideshow - New York Comic-Con Kicks Off In Style

Some folks throw on a few things they had around the house to become their alter-egos for the day, and even more invest countless hours on their transformations for the celebration of all things geek-chic.

Comic-Con goers Tiffany Knight and Andrea Duffy gave Village Voice the lowdown on exactly what goes into making Comic-Con one of the ultimate places to see and be seen -- in costume, that is.

Can you tell us about your costumes today? Tiffany Knight: I am Sherlock Holmes, canonical, but as a female.

Andrea Duffy: I did Smaug from The Hobbit, just a humanized version.

Tatiana Craine
Trinkets and tools galore for this canon-based Sherlock.
How long have you been planning these outfits for Comic-Con? AD: Mine was actually supposed to be ready for New York Comic-Con last year, but things came up and it wasn't... for a while.

TK: The Sherlock Holmes one, we'd been planning as a set for a while, probably a little over a year. I'd just come to the realization that no one ever did a canon, female Sherlock, and that was something really thought would be enjoyable to get all the elements together.

Did you both make your costumes by hand? AD, TK: Yes.

Tatiana Craine
Hand-made, armor-like scale plates and silver-woven fabric were key to reimagining Smaug.
How much time does it take to find the fabric and patterns and everything for your costumes for each event? AD: Quite a while. It just kind of depends on what you're doing. The fabric for my outfit, for example... I could have just gone with a simple, basic colored fabric, but I was really determined on having something with a bit of a dragon-ish appearance to it. And this one I ended up getting, it's got a little bit of silver in the weave, and it took me forever to actually find something I was happy with.

TK: Mine was the same way. I did costuming for a while, so for me it was like one of those things where you have fabrics in your head, but you just can't bring yourself to not find the fabric that's in your head. Honestly, that probably takes the longest. You probably spend anywhere from two to six months, off and on for months, but then really looking for about a month to find it.

Tatiana Craine
A feminine take on Sherlock, with the iconic deerstalker and a bustle.
Since you put these together yourselves, you've got some expertise with a needle. How long have you been sewing and working with costuming like this? AD: Quite a while. We did anime conventions back in high school. Well, Tiffany probably started with the Ren Fair, but I started doing outfits for anime conventions, and it just sort of spread into all the other stuff that I go to.

TK: And I did outfits for Ren Fairs for a while back in high school, and so I was into that. I always thought costuming was really cool, so when I went to college, I studied a little bit of it.

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Have you had a good time showing off your handiwork at the Con this year? AD: Yes! Fun.

TK: Very fun.

Tatiana Craine
Smaug and Sherlock in all their glory.

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