Is it just me, or am I seeing more and more young children at conventions these days? Whether they are with their otaku parents, or if they were just dropped off with a group of friends for the day — children and young adults ranging in age from 10-15 seem to be the newest con demographic.
There are lots of questions these young people, or even people my age might have about cosplay. We all know by now what cosplay IS, rather than copy and paste some wikipedia nonsense, I am going to personally answer some of the most common questions I find beginners ask. And I’m going to be painfully honest.
So here we go!
How do I become a cosplayer ?
To become a cosplayer, there is only one step…Cosplay! Once this is done, you are now what we call a “cosplayer.” Most people have this weird misconception that you aren’t a “cosplayer” - by title until you are “well-known,” or “famous,” but that’s not the case. “Cosplayer” isn’t a profession, it’s a hobby, and even though a very small amount of people have been able to turn their love of cosplay into something profitable, they usually are still working at regular jobs like everyone else.
I’m not pretty enough to cosplay.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this. I believe this is another part of the giant web of misconception that cosplay has become entangled in. To me, cosplay isn’t about being pretty. It’s about someone’s love. It’s about loving a character or a series so much, that you pay tribute to it. Cosplay to me, is not much different from fan art. It’s a creative process that produces a piece of art -the costume- for other fans to enjoy…only you’re wearing it. So, it doesn’t matter whether or not you are “pretty” — at least, not to me. What I see is the love and devotion that went into a costume, and that beams brighter than any amount of make-up could ever hope to.
I’m not thin enough to cosplay.
That’s okay, neither am I. The fact is, these characters are idolized versions of humans. 1 % of the human population actually has Nana Osaki’s body type. And only 1 % actually has Yoko Littner’s proportions, it’s OKAY. Rather than think of your body as a weakness, turn it into a strength!
Are you “too thin”? AWESOME! You have the advantage when it comes to wearing elaborate costumes. These are going to look better on a smaller frame. Also, you can probably cross-play if you’re a girl, meaning you can cosplay as male characters! You’re going to pull it off better than more curvy females. Also, you can probably pull of any moe character perfectly.
Are you “curvy”? PERFECT! You can embody the more over-sexualized characters you commonly see in nearly EVERYTHING, without the added help. (i.e. stuffing, etc.)
Are you “too dark” or “too pale”? — If it really bothers you to the point where you have to ask this question, then make it a part of your cosplay ! I have a friend who paints her entire body 3-4 shades lighter when cosplaying Sailor Mars, who is usually shown with pale alabaster skin. And on the other side of the spectrum, she darkens her skin 3-4 shades with foundation when cosplaying Sailor Pluto - who is usually shown with dark brown skin. Usually, the fact that your skin isn’t the same color as the PIGMENT used to PAINT THE CELL of an animation isn’t a big deal. No one’s skin is the color you see on the screen. It doesn’t make you any “less” of a “perfect” character!
None of my friends cosplay.
That’s the beauty of the convention scene! IT’S FULL OF COSPLAYERS. Go to one con, and rest assured you will go home with new friends that DO COSPLAY. It’s always fun to have friends you can see on a regular basis that share your love of cosplay. Try using facebook to find cosplayers in your area. Cosplay is a special bond that ties people together from the instant they meet and realize they share the same hobby. Cosplayers today even coordinate cosplay “picnics” in their areas when there isn’t a con in sight for a month or two — any excuse to cosplay!
I don’t have the money to cosplay.
Once again, neither do I! The pictures posted here are proof of that! When I don’t have the money to make an entire costume, I buy the wig only and take “portrait” shots of the character. Sometimes I don’t even have the correct color wig — that’s when Photoshop becomes one’s best friend. You can get creative with backgrounds and lighting this way to satisfy your need to tribute a character or series.
Also, most of my complete costumes cost 100 dollars or less. I buy ONLY fabric that is on sale, I hunt around at the Salvation Army store for things you can modify/cut up and use — and I work at a craft store! So that helps when it comes to buying supplies.
Also, be realistic - if you can’t cosplay Kaworu Nagisa in his plug suit — you can always cosplay him in his school uniform! Or get creative and create an alternate universe Kaworu — fans DROOL over AU stuff. Like, “Christmas time at NERV Kaworu.” There is no limit to the love you can pour into your cosplay!
I don’t know how to sew.
Neither do I! In fact, I’ve never even learned! My first 3 costumes were all hand sewn, without a pattern. I simply sketched out the costume, and figured out how to cut and sew the fabric together, then PAINSTAKINGLY hand stitched everything together, totaling hundreds of hours. When I did get a sewing machine, it sped up the process - but I still do not use patterns or even know how to. I think it’s fun and interesting to try and figure it out on your own. I do not even use a bodice, I try on the garment after every stitch!
Some people find being in character as an escape from their “real lives.” At a convention in cosplay, you are no longer (insert your name) but you are (insert character’s name). It’s fun to act in character, and this can help empower you to break out from your shell, so to speak. LET LOOSE!
I’ve begun to think cosplay is just another excuse for girls to wear skimpy outfits in public.
The reality of the situation is, to some girls, it is… To other’s it isn’t, and to yet other women, it’s a combination of their love for a character/series and a bid for attention. Ultimately, cosplay is for the eyes of the beholder, so whether or not you’re half naked, or wearing full-body armor, your hard work is bound to be well appreciated.
Although, it is a little infuriating when you meet someone who tells you they made the entire costume because they saw a figure and thought it looked “really sexy” and never actually watched the anime or played the game.
Yeah, that sucked.