Cosplaying is a lot of work, whether you choose to make, commission, or buy your cosplay. You need to spend a lot of time researching and putting together your cosplay. Once you have it finished, you still need to add the details, such as hair and makeup. Having a few poses in mind and knowing how to get into character would also be a good idea. Despite all of this work, cosplaying is fun, and the effort is worth it. Before you become a cosplay part-timer, you should know the thing as following.
Planning Your Cosplay
Decide who you want to cosplay. Choose a character you can relate to or that you are similar to. Keep in mind that you don’t have to cosplay as your race, body type, or gender; anyone can cosplay. On a similar note, your cosplay does not have to be from anime or anything of Japanese origin. You can cosplay a character from a movie, television show, or even a western animation (ie: Dota2 hero).
Get reference pictures. Don’t just get any reference pictures, however; get the ones of the specific version of the character you are dressing up as. Many characters have multiple outfits. Some characters’ costumes change slightly from film to film. For example, Iron Man’s body suit changes a little in each Iron Man and Avengers film. Batman spots a different design with each film as well.
Determine how much money and effort you are willing to put into your cosplay.You don’t need to spend a lot of money in order to have a great-looking cosplay. If you want your cosplay to look great for cheap, however, be prepared to spend lots of time on it. Some cosplays will also require more than just sewing, such as casting parts in resin or making foam armor.
Design your own cosplay if you want to be more original. You can always go with a screen-accurate version of the character you are cosplaying. Alternatively, you can put a unique spin on it, such as a historically-accurate version of a Disney princess, or a steampunk version of a character. You can even do a crossover between two costumes, such as a Sailor Scout version of a Pokemon.
Plan ahead and give yourself time to finish your cosplay. Even if you are buying your cosplay, you still need to account the time it takes to create it (if you are commissioning someone to make it) and the time it takes to ship it out. If you are making the cosplay, you might want to give yourself extra time to fix any mistakes.
Making or Buying Your Cosplay
Make a list of everything you need. This includes every piece of the entire outfit, down to the belt, gloves, and shoes. It should also include things like wigs (if you are using one), makeup, and any necessary undergarments. If you are going to make the cosplay, write down the materials you’ll need for each piece.
Use patterns when sewing your cosplay. You can buy pattern from the fabric store or draft your on. If you decide to use store-bought patterns, be prepared to modify them to suit the character and your figure. Many patterns also include a list of recommended fabric types. Take these into consideration!
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to buy pieces for your cosplay. You don’t have to make everything from scratch. If your cosplay requires an everyday item, it would be easier to just make it.For example if you are cosplaying Kagome from Inuyasha, it would be much cheaper, easier, and faster to buy a pair of knee socks rather than make them yourself.
Consider buying and modifying piece to suit your cosplay. Sometimes, you may come across an item that is the right shape, but the wrong color. Other times, you may come across something that is the right color but a little too long. Instead of making a whole new piece, get the almost-right piece, then modify it.
Do your research when buying or commissioning a cosplay. There is no guarantee that the cosplay will fit you perfectly, especially if you buy it from a cosplay shop. The quality may be top-notch, or it may be sub-par. Most importantly, research the company or the person you are buying or commissioning the cosplay from. Make sure that they are reliable!
Don’t forget the props and accessories. While not absolutely necessary, they can really take your cosplay to the next level. A prop can help you come up with more creative poses, while accessories can make your cosplay more realistic. As with the rest of your cosplay, you can make, buy, or commission your props and accessories.
Doing Your Hair and Makeup
Plan out your look. As with the costume, think about how the character’s hair and makeup would translate into real life. Can you get away with using your real hair, or will you need to get a wig? Makeup will help you look better in photos, but do you want an anime look or a realistic look? Take a moment to think about what sort of look you are going for.
Use your own hair if you are willing to cut it or dye it. If your hair is almost right for the character, but not quite, don’t be afraid to straighten it, curl it, or add extensions. If you are more daring, you can even dye your hair or cut it to better suit the character. Only do this if you actually like the style, however; you’ll be stuck with it for a few months.
Use a high-quality wig if you don’t want to mess with your real hair. For the best look, purchase a high-quality wig from a reputably wig or costume shop; avoid using the cheap wigs from the party or Halloween store. If you want your cosplay to look even more realistic, you can get a lace-front wig instead.
Style your hair or the wig. Whether you are using your own hair or a wig, you’ll need to style it. Most wigs rarely look like the intended character’s hair, so you’ll likely need to trim it; in some cases, you’ll need to straighten it or curl it. You will also need to comb your hair or the wig into the right style, then set it with hairspray.
Wear makeup, even if you are a guy or crossplaying a male character. Makeup is important for cosplay. It makes your skin appear smoother and more photogenic. For most characters, you will need a natural look: basic foundation, neutral eyeshadow, and eyeliner. If you are cosplaying a girl, you can add mascara or false lashes. From there, you can bring more life to your character with lipstick and contouring or blush.
Putting the Cosplay into Play
Practice getting into cosplay before the big event. This includes applying the makeup, putting the wig on, putting in and taking out the lenses, etc. If something doesn’t fit or feel comfortable, take a moment to fix it. Make sure that your cosplay is comfortable and durable.
Get into character. You don’t necessarily have to act like your character, although you can if you want to. It would be a good idea to have some poses in mind, however. People love to take pictures of other people’s cosplays at conventions, so there is a high chance that someone might want to take a picture of yours!
Be respectful of other people’s boundaries. There is nothing wrong with getting into character if you see someone from the same anime or series. Be aware that not everyone will want to play along with you. If they don’t play along, apologize and leave them alone; don’t harass them or force them to play with you.
Try not to take things too seriously. Cosplay is supposed to be fun. Instead of comparing yourself to everyone else, feel proud of the work you did. Meet up with friends or make new ones. If you are shy, consider going to some panels, gathering, or other events. There is lots to do at conventions while in cosplay!
Remember that cosplay is not consent. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up. Report them to security or con-ops. If someone is harassing you, and con-ops or security are not around, call for help. While these instances are not common at conventions, they still happen. Your safety is very important.
Sample of cosplay video: