As cosplay has become more popular, people of all ages and backgrounds are left asking, “What is cosplay?” In short, cosplay is the act of donning clothing and accessories reminiscent of a chosen character from an anime or manga, TV show, movie, video game, comic, or other fictional work. Cosplaying can be done for conventions, costume competitions, Halloween, or simply for fun! Now that we know what cosplaying is, let’s take a look at how to do it!
Step One: Choose a Character!
With the endless amounts of new movies and games coming out and already in existence, it can be mind-boggling to try and choose just one character! First, think about what characters inspire you. Do you have a character you feel connected to? Maybe there is a character who you share physical attributes with. Maybe the idea of dressing up like a certain character makes you feel empowered. Don’t worry if your physical characteristics are not exactly like that of your desired character, no one is perfect! If dressing like that particular character is what makes you happy, then do it! Some of the most popular cosplays done are gender-bent. This means that the character was of the opposite gender, but the cosplayer did it anyway! In short, as long as the essence of the character is still there, and easily recognizable, don’t let small differences deter you!
Step Two: Do Your Homework!
Once you have decided which character you want to cosplay, look for images or clips of that character in action. Make a list of attributes that character has: What color hair does he or she have? How is it styled? What clothes and shoes does he or she wear? What condition are they in? Next, look for details that are unique to your character. Does he or she have scars, tattoos, or moles? What about facial hair? Sometimes these small details are what stand out and make the character recognizable! Occasionally, the character you choose may not have pictures available that show exactly what shoes he or she wears, or you can’t quite see the tiniest details. This is your chance to make the cosplay your own! Substitute these items with other small things you think the character would choose if the originals were unavailable.
Step Three: Gather Your Items!
Here comes the fun part! Now you get to go shopping for all of those items! Thrift store finds can be distressed or otherwise altered to fit your character’s clothing. Armor replicas can be made from foam, Worbla, leather, or other materials. Most character-specific pieces (example, Edward Elric’s pocketwatch), wigs, and prosthetics can usually be found in replicas on Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy. You can also visit costume stores like TV Store Online. Crafting tutorial videos for wings, horns, tails, hooves, and other fantasy attributes can sometimes be found on YouTube and fan sites or pages. Don’t forget to be creative! It takes imagination to make 2-Dimensional characters come to life!
Step Four: Get Ready!
Now that your costume is assembled, it’s time to get dressed! Tutorials on hair and makeup are sometimes available online for more popular characters and can also provide inspiration for your own look! Make sure to test any new makeup prior to use to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions, especially if you have a history of sensitive skin or allergies! Creating a playlist of theme music from the game or movie as well as music that makes you think of the character can help you to get in the mood while you get ready! Make sure to take lots of pictures, and be prepared to be asked for pictures with you when you go out! Lastly, have fun portraying your character and happy cosplaying!