Conversations In Cosplay Halloween Special: Katie Sheddock on Becoming the Face of Walker Stalker Con 2017
For many cosplayers, creating costumes is about paying tribute to as many of your favourite characters as you can. For others, it’s about finding something you’re really good at, something you love, and honing your ability to create it until you could be mistaken for the real thing. Katie Sheddock is one such artist. She started consplaying in her teens and soon found it to be a great outlet for her love of zombies. Over the past few years, she has experimented with materials and styles to join the ranks of the walking undead. At the first ever Walker Stalker Con UK, she was spotted and her face is now emblazoned across the promos for next year’s event.
We spoke to Katie to find out more about what inspired her gory creations and how she goes about making them.
What got you into cosplaying?
When I was in high school I went to my first London convention just wearing normal everyday clothing. I saw some amazing costumes that weekend and the whole atmosphere around it seemed like a lot of fun. I really wanted to be a part of it!
What kind of thing did you like to cosplay before you specialized in zombies?
There was never anything specific. If I really love the way a character is portrayed or I’m a huge fan of a show or film or comic I’m excited to try and do that character justice.
What was the first character you ever cosplayed?
I don’t know if it counts as a character, but the first thing I made for a convention was a giant Rubik’s cube. The first real human character would be Roxie Richter from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
How do you feel about your first cosplay now?
I’m still proud of Roxie, a lot of hours went into making her look how I wanted her to look and I got some serious ‘what not to do’ experience from making her accessories.
Are there any non-zombie characters you still like to cosplay? Anyone you would like to cosplay?
I’d like to have a go at a ‘Crow Fisher’ (also called ‘Bog Walkers’ or ‘Stilt Walkers’) from Mad Max: Fury Road, but that may have to wait until I have a bit more money and time to play around with.
What drew you specifically to zombies?
Greg Nicotero! He along with George A. Romero and the incredible Tom Savini made the film Day of the Dead truly iconic and I adore it! Greg has also been the man behind the gore on The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead. His work is absolutely mind blowing and a lot of the time you can’t really work out how it’s done. I wanted to be able to do that. I wanted to be able to confuse people while also grossing them out a little!
What materials do you use to make your zombie effects? Is there anything in particular you particularly love to use?
Liquid latex is probably my most used material. It’s so versatile even though somewhat temperamental at times. I pretty much use it in everything because it’s reasonably inexpensive and you can get quite creative with it.
How do you make your zombie effects unique?
I try to use items that aren’t necessarily something that springs to mind of when thinking of special effects makeup and are more household items. For example my most recent jaw prosthetic is made from liquid latex, plain flour and fake nails from the £1 shop! There’s even a bit of tin foil in there padding out the chin!
What’s your favourite body part to zombify?
I usually stick with my face because it has such an impact, people wince at the sight of a ripped off face. I do also quite enjoy wounds around the neck and collar bone, the natural movement in that area makes for some lovely stretching of the fake skin and gives a really creepy feel!
Do you have any interesting plans for future zombies? Are you working on anything right now?
I definitely have a lot of things I want to have a go at. I’ve wanted to do a reanimated Cheshire Cat for a while now. I have a few general gore related plans including Regan from The Exorcist!
What did you make of the UK’s first ever Walker Stalker Con this year?
It was fantastic! The people that put it together are so dedicated to this convention. As it’s an event made by fans for fans they definitely go a long way in making sure people have a good experience. Considering it’s the first time they’ve brought this over to the UK it was well organised and a very enjoyable day.
You ended up the face of the next UK Walker Stalker Con on the social media promo. How did that make you feel?
Very excited! I was keeping an eye on social media anyway to get any updates about the 2017 convention, so seeing my gruesome face pop up felt incredible. I have very kindly been invited to attend as a cosplayer for 2017 and I can’t wait!
What’s your favourite horror film?
If we’re talking modern, definitely Martyrs (if you can call 2008 modern anymore). It’s a French-Canadian film based around two girls and it’s one of those films where I just couldn’t take my eyes away from the screen, which to me is quite impressive for modern day horror.
Out of all the different ways that zombies have been portrayed in movies, comics, movies and TV, what’s your favourite incarnation?
I’m a firm lover of Nicotero’s Walking Dead zombies purely because throughout the show the portrayal of the zombies moves along with the amount time they’ve been shambling about. In season one they were fresh faced, red blooded, newly converted humans. Fast forward to where we are at the moment and they are malnourished and decayed with old dry blood. There’s still love for the 28 Days Later zombie that has the added fear factor of speed.
What are you doing for Halloween this year?
Zombie suiting up and heading out for a bit of local Halloween nightlife. People get much more scared bumping into me in the dark!
Outside of cosplaying, what do you like to do with your time?
Mostly catch up with friends, and of course the dreaded office day job.
Do you think you’ll still be cosplaying or working with special effects in ten years’ time? Do you have any goals, in cosplaying terms or otherwise?
If I have it my way I’ll be doing this until my hands stop working. There isn’t really an aim, I just want to spend time doing something I love for as long as my life allows me to.
Are there are any cosplayers or special effects artists whose work you really like right now?
Too many to mention! I am absolutely in love with the work of Marc Clancy, who runs various social media profiles under the name Powdah FX. I managed to speak to him and his passion is unbelievable and is reflected in everything he does. I always have to double take at his work because I just can’t get my head around it. Another favourite is a Woman named Kiana Jones who goes by Freakmofx. She is another artist who creates amazing pieces of work with stunning detail!
Do you have any advice for aspiring cosplayers or special effects artists?
Be nice to people, generally. People in this community are some of the kindest people I’ve met and it’s pretty easy to be respectful to each other. Other than that just have fun and don’t ever let anyone tell you your passion is stupid or a waste of time, because it’s not.
Special thanks to Katie for taking the time to talk to us. To keep up with her work, you can follow her on Instagram at HorrorBella.