How do I Cosplay?? First installation: Research

How do I Cosplay?? First installation: Research

So you love a character in a TV show, movie, or Comic, and want to be that character? What do you do to accomplish this task? Where do you find information to make the awesome armor, amazing wig, or complicated looking costume?

I will tell how I approach this task, and hopefully it will help you.

1) First, Which character are you going to do?

Gather all the photos of your character that you can. If your character is in a movie, you may have to buy the film and watch a certain scene OVER AND OVER AND OVER and over… you get the idea. There are glorious costumes that will literally last seconds on a screen. If you can’t find still shots of those scenes online, you may have to do what I do, and that is put the movie/show on your comp and play screen capture. Sometimes you can find behind the scenes footage of a movie or show that will give you angles you never see in the film. Search out those shots! The little details will set a good cosplay apart. Sometimes the costume designers and makeup/hair artists will even post tips and pictures on their websites. Have you seen the incredible embroidery of the Game of Thrones show? This is what I mean. Search sites like this out:

2) What is the end goal of the costume?

I know this sounds like an odd step after “GATHER ALL THE PHOTOS,” but hear me out. What do you want from this costume? Are you making it for a competition? Are you just wanting to wow people while walking around a convention? Do you want to attend a film premiere, like the next Star Wars Film?

Some costumes have insane design elements that need careful consideration. Will you be able to enlist friends to dress you? Can you go to the bathroom after wearing this costume for 2+ hours walking about a con? (Can you fit in a stall???) Planning these things before hand will help in many ways. If the con has small doors, you may have to be able to dismantle and then put your costume back together once you are inside. Some places have strict rules on weapons, even fake ones. You should plan ahead, to save a lot of headaches later. What time of year is it? If you are at a con in a mascot suit in the middle of summer, did you pack water? Can you carry your I.D., your cash for souvenirs, or your car keys while in costume? Is it Michigan in January? (Maybe forget Slave Leia’s costume for that last one…)

If its for a competition, are there guidelines you need to follow to be able to enter? How much of the costume must be hand-made, vs. bought? Is there a theme that you must pay attention to? Research is critical to a successful competition entry.

Careful planning on paper will save hours of work in the future. Make sure these two steps are completed and you are well on your way to a successful costume!

Next installment tomorrow! (I realized this was getting lengthy… so needed skillz and materials section later!!)

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