Cosplay is a lot of work, whether you choose to do it yourself, have it custom made, or buy it. You're going to have to spend a lot of time researching and putting on your costume. Once you are done, you still need to add details to it, for example your hairstyle or makeup. You should also have an idea of the postures to take and how to immerse yourself in your character. Despite all of this hard work, cosplay is still a fun activity worth giving yourself.
Part 1 of 4: Thinking About Cosplay
Step 1. Decide which character interests you
Pick one that you can identify with or that looks like you. Remember, you don't have to cosplay a character of the same ethnicity, physique, or gender as you, anyone can be any character they want. Likewise, your character doesn't have to come from an anime or media of Japanese origin. You can become a character in a movie, a TV series, or even a Disney character.
If this is your first time trying your hand at cosplaying, you should choose a character with a simple costume
Step 2. Find reference photos
However, you don't have to limit yourself to it. Find some of the specific version of the character you want to be. Many characters have different outfits. Some costumes might change slightly from movie to movie. For example, the Iron Man costume changes a bit between the movie "Iron Man" and the movie "Avengers". Batman also has different costumes between each of his films.
This might not be possible with fan art. In this case, try to get the best quality image possible to base your cosplay on
Step 3. Determine the money and effort required
You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a fantastic cosplay. However, if you want to get there without spending too much money, you're going to have to be prepared to spend a lot of time there. Some cosplays will also ask you for more than sewing, for example you will have to pour resin parts or make foam armor.
The earlier you do this before the event, the more elaborate cosplay you can put together. If the event takes place over the coming weekend, consider a simpler solution
Step 4. Design your own to be more original
You can always choose a version that is faithful to the on-screen representation of the character you want to impersonate. Alternatively, you can add a little personal touch to it, for example by modifying a Disney character to make it more historically accurate or by creating a steampunk version of your favorite character. You can even mix two costumes, for example a Sailor Scout version of a Pokémon.
- Find images from other cosplays or fan art to inspire you.
- If you decide to base your cosplay on someone else's work, ask the artist for permission. It's still more polite than stealing his ideas.
Step 5. Give yourself plenty of time to complete it
Even if you buy the costume ready, you are going to have to take time to create it (if you are having it custom made) and to take into account the delivery time. If you make it, you need to give yourself enough time to fix some errors.
The more difficult and detailed the costume, the longer it will take you to make it
Part 2 of 4: Make or buy the costume
Step 1. Make a list of what you need
This includes every piece of the costume, right down to the belt, gloves and shoes. It should also include the wings (if there are any), makeup and all necessary accessories. If you want to make the costume, you need to write down the material you need for each piece. Here are some examples.
- A white blouse: white cotton, white thread, white buttons.
- A green skirt: green twill or wool fabric, thread of the appropriate color, a zipper, a hook for closing.
- Other accessories: brown moccasins, a flesh-colored bra.
Step 2. Use patterns to sew
You can buy models in a store or make them yourself. If you decide to buy some in the store, be prepared to modify them to suit your character and body. Many of them also include a list of recommended fabrics. Take them into account!
- You may need to change the shape of the hem or sleeves on the model.
- If it's the right shape, but the wrong length, you'll need to add or cut fabric.
- Don't be afraid to change the shape of the collar to suit cosplay.
Step 3. Buy what you need without hesitation
You don't have to make everything yourself. If your costume calls for an everyday object, it might be easier to make it yourself. For example, if you want to impersonate Kagome as "Inuyasha", it might be cheaper, easier, and faster to buy a pair of socks than to make them yourself.
Step 4. Consider modifying purchased parts
Sometimes you might stumble upon an object that has the shape you are looking for, but the wrong color. Other times, you might find one of the right color, but too long. Instead of creating a new coin from scratch, buy the coin that is nearly perfect and modify it. Here are some examples.
- If you find something of the right shape, but not the right color, dye it.
- If an accessory is too long or has sleeves, cut it. Don't forget to hem it afterwards (if necessary).
- Paint boots for your costume or make some protective clothing to wear over them.
Step 5. Educate yourself by purchasing the costume
There is no guarantee that the costume you order will fit perfectly on you, especially if you buy it from a cosplay store. It could be of excellent quality or of very poor design. On top of that, you need to do some research about the company or person you are ordering or purchasing the costume from. Make sure you can trust them!
Step 6. Don't forget the accessories
While not absolutely necessary, they can help you take cosplay to a whole new level. They can help you take more creative postures and make your costume look more realistic. As with the rest of your cosplay, you can make them, buy them, or order them.
- Many animated films use simple designs. If you are making a Disney princess costume, consider adding jewelry and extensions to it.
- Check the convention rules for accessories to see which ones you are not allowed to bring.
Part 3 of 4: combing your hair and makeup
Step 1. Plan your look
As with the costume, you need to think about how the hairstyle and makeup will look in real life. Can you get away with using your real hair or do you have to wear a wig? Makeup will help you take better photos, but are you looking for an anime look or a realistic look? Take a moment to think about what type of look you are going for.
Step 2. Modify your hairstyle
Choose this route if you are ready to cut or dye your hair. If your hairstyle is almost what you need for the character, don't be afraid to straighten it up, make yourself curls, and add extensions to it. If you are feeling more daring, you can even dye your hair or cut it to have a cut that better suits your character. However, you should only do this if you like the style it gives you, as you might have to put up with it for several months.
Step 3. Use a good quality wig
To get the best looks, you can buy a good quality wig from a reputable store. Avoid using inexpensive wigs purchased from prank shops. If you want a more realistic look, you can also get one with a lace cap.
- Wear a cap under the wig. Make sure it is flesh colored and fits your wig.
- Use pins to hold it in place. Remember to choose the same color as the beanie.
- Tie your hair under the wig. You don't want them to go overboard.
Step 4. Style your hair or wig
Whether you use your own hair or a wig, you are going to have to style it. Most wigs are not styled the way you want them to be, and you will also have to cut some of them. In other cases, you will also need to straighten or curl them. You are also going to need to comb your hair or wig to give it the right style before you hold it in with hairspray.
- Use hairspray and styling wax to shape your hairstyle.
- If you want to style a wig, invest in a styrofoam head.
- Do not use curling or straightening irons on wigs. Use hot water to straighten or curl synthetic hair.
Step 5. Put on makeup, even if you are a boy
Makeup is an important part of cosplaying. It makes your skin appear smoother and it makes you more photogenic. For most characters, you will only need a natural look: a base foundation, neutral eyeshadow, and eyeliner. If you play a female character, you can add mascara or false eyelashes to it. From there, you can bring your character to life by putting on lipstick, contour makeup, or blush.
- You can also use contour makeup to look more feminine or masculine.
- Even boys can benefit from lipstick. Use a neutral color.
- You can use a different color of eyeshadow, but only if it matches the character and the costume.
Part 4 of 4: playing the role of the character
Step 1. Practice preparing before the event
This includes makeup, wig, and contact lenses if you have them. If there is something that you feel is wrong or uncomfortable, take the time to fix it. Make sure the cosplay is comfortable and sturdy.
If you have trouble with contact lenses, don't put them on. Don't let lenses that hurt you for the duration of the convention, you run right to infection
Step 2. Put yourself in the shoes of the character
You don't have to behave like him, but you can if you want to. However, it might be more interesting to think about postures. People love to take photos with other cosplayers at conventions, which is why it's likely that someone will ask you to take a photo of yourself at some point.
Step 3. Respect the boundaries of others
There is nothing wrong with playing the character game if you see someone dressed as another character from the same series. However, be aware that not everyone is going to be ready to play with you. If the other does not play the game, apologize and leave him alone. Don't harass him or force him to play with you.
Step 4. Try not to take things too seriously
Cosplay is a fun activity. Instead of comparing yourself to everyone else, be proud of the work you have done. Meet your friends or make new ones. If you are shy, consider going to gatherings or other events. There is a lot to do during conventions!
If you like competition, you could sign up for a contest or a masked ball, most conventions do
Step 5. Don't be bullied
Remember, if someone makes you uncomfortable, you need to tell them. Report it to security. If someone comes to harass you and there is no security representative, call for help. Even if it is still quite rare, it is still possible. Your safety is the most important thing.
- Be smart. Don't go to remote or deserted places with people you don't know.
- Stick with your friends or with someone you trust, especially if it's already dark.
- Stay clean. Put on deodorant. If you are attending a long convention, remember to take a shower or a bath at least once a day.
- Don't exhaust yourself to make the costume, you need to rest. You might be done setting it up, but you'll be too tired to enjoy the event.
- Remember to eat, drink water and sleep during the convention.
- Don't overdo it with the accessories. Even the lightest of accessories will seem like a ton to you after a while of wearing it.
- If you can't find the fabric you want, consider finding another garment.
- Consider making a costume inspired by a character. True fans will recognize the character you want to play.
- You don't have to be a character of your gender. You can dress like a character of the opposite sex. This is called "crossplay".
- If you are spending several days at the convention, bring a sewing kit to fix your costume. Keep some accessories for touch-ups.
- If your costume breaks during the convention, try to find a station or booth that does repairs.
- Cosplay is not an invitation to harassment. Respect others and don't be afraid to report harassment.
- Don't hesitate to say no to someone who wants to take a photo. However, try to be polite.
- Don't procrastinate and wait until the last minute.