Finding her ‘Fur-sona’


Junior Natalie Duvanenko designs costumes for fun

By Michelle Yun
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What is the process of designing and making a costume?
There is no set “process” or way to work because each person has their own style.  As for constructing a fur-suit, I thought about what would be the easiest way to produce something of that caliber – with quality materials – and dove into working on it.  It has taken me two years to get all the materials and complete it, but it was worth it. As for if someone else wanted to find an easy way to construct one, YouTube and deviantART would be the best places to start for tutorials if your own personal “process” works that way.

What types of material do you need?
For a fur-suit, there are many materials you need. Most depend on the complexity of the suit. A basic list would include, half inch foam, low heat hot glue gun and extra glue, high quality faux fur and fabric scissors.  As for anything else, that depends on the piece. As I said above, getting started varies depending on how you like to work. I like working more freely and loosely, but not everyone is like that. Planning what you would like to construct first and finding materials would be the best place to start.

Do you plan to pursue costume designing ?
It would be a huge honor for me to be able to work as a full-time costume designer, yet I do not have any contacts with professionals or even know how to start up a full-scale business thus far. As for the future, I would love to do something with this on the side but that depends on the number of commissions I receive and where I could get employment besides being self employed.

Has anyone ever commissioned you to make a full costume?
As of now, no. I have however had some small commissions for friends inside and outside of Carmel High School. Nothing too big like a costume though. Just simple sketches and digital artwork.

How do you come up with ideas?

To tell the truth (and not that I wouldn’t anyway), they just come to me. Most of my ideas come from experiences I have had or dreams. I tend to personify life’s hardships and joy through my work, artwork, music and writing alike.

Describe some of your works/projects/sketches so far.

My largest project so far, and favorite to talk about is my fur-suit. She is of one of my oldest self-defining characters to date. A ‘fur-sona ‘ is a character, normally of a furry animal, that is used to represent yourself. She is my fur-sona.  (She has a name, but I don’t like using it much because her and I are really one being.) The fur-suit took the longest amount of time to complete, but was well worth it. Many of my other ideas are sketched out, which over time I have lost interest in or literally lost within the school or at home. I don’t just work on fur-suits all the time; I enjoy creating many other non-animal-oriented costumes as well. Most I am not very proud of, therefore, I never display them in sketch form.