As an aspiring cosplayer myself, I know it can be intimidating to begin. Fortunately, we live in a time where cosplay resources are many and easily obtainable. So here is a list, made by me, for you, to make your going a little easier when you’re ready to take the plunge!
There are a few things that will hold true through most costumes, and are helpful hints when preparing that awesome new outfit.
Before anything else, 2 websites you need to know: http://www.cosplay.com and http://www.cosplaysupplies.com
1. WIGS ARE YOUR FRIEND. I know. I know. Sometimes they just look not quite right. But with some practice and a little wig know-how, plus some high quality wigs, they will make your costume. There are several reasons not to use your own hair: you’d have to worry about styling it just right every time, and you just can’t count on not having a bad hair day every day lol. You don’t want to apply color and products and heat to it very often, if ever, as it is very damaging and eventually you may ruin your hair to the point that it would fall out or something. @_@ So, when using a wig, you get what you pay for. There are 2 types of wigs: real hair wigs, and synthetic hair wigs. As I understand, for costume purposes, synthetic are almost always better. A really, really good wig site is http://www.arda-wigs.com.
2. USE COMMON WEBSITES. http://www.eBay.com http://www.Amazon.com http://www.youtube.com are all great sites with hidden treasures galore!! http://www.pinterest.com and http://www.deviantart.com for inspiration! Don’t overlook the mundane just because it’s mundane. There are tutorials for entire suits of armor and detailed explanations on how to do makeup for certain characters and all kinds of things YOU haven’t even thought of yet!
3. BUY CHEAP. Honestly, you can make yarn and hot glue look AMAZING. Your materials don’t have to cost the moon. Thrift stores often have unique clothes that would be perfect pieces to modify for a costume. You might even get lucky and find props that need little to no modification to set off a great ensemble.
4. BE CREATIVE AND THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Thinking of doing a Princess Peach costume, but also wanting to make it your own? Modify it to “Princess Peach: Street Fighter Edition” or “Princess Peach getting married”! Find a piece of fan art that you absolutely love and recreate that costume or whole scene! Use unexpected materials; sometimes the best costumes use the most unexpected elements. If you can’t afford to buy a Princess Peach dress, and you can’t sew, check cosplay forums for someone maybe selling an old one of theirs. Check those thrift stores for a dress that you can modify, no sewing required.
5. LEARN LESSONS FROM THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS, otherwise, what’s the point? Chances are that a cosplay you want to do has already been, and probably written about, especially if you’re doing a canon representation of a character. Read the stories of others who have done your costume before. Chances are, they may have some sage advice on what they’d have done differently in retrospect. Veterans often know what works and what doesn’t. You don’t have to go in blind, so why would you want to?
6. KNOW POSES. If you’re going to a con, expect photos to be taken of yourself. It is of key importance that you have a few go-to poses for times like this. Get to know your character a little bit and watch some tutorials on posing. Believe it or not, there really is a subtle art to getting the poses to look in-character and believable. There are ways to lessen the appearance of double chin, specific ways to jump if you want a neat off-the-ground pose, and even ways to portray attitude through stance.
7. K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, stupid. Especially when starting out. You don’t always have to have everything perfect down to the last millimeter. If something seems way too complicated, there may actually be a much simpler solution that you’re just overlooking because it seems like it HAS to be complicated. Again, use your resources on this one; there are a billion amazing cosplay hacks that will make your life that much easier.
8. MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAVE FUN. Cosplay is a hobby. It’s a thing that we, as nerds, embrace and partake in as a cultural festivity. It should be fun to play “Extreme dress up” with your friends once in a while and show off your mad costuming and posing skillz. It’s not (always) a competition and you shouldn’t feel pressured to meet impossible expectations. Set realistic goals for yourself. Maybe you shouldn’t try to build a whole Gundam Suit for your first project. I mean….nobody’s stopping you, but just be prepared for the heavy workload and frustration that will come with a complicated outfit. I say start small. You’ll get better as you go, so you may want to save that character that you just really want to get perfect for a few costumes in when you’ve had some experience. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right! 😉
Know where to acquire supplies.
I named a couple places above that will definitely help a cosplayer in need, but if you’re planning on hand crafting some or all of your costume pieces, you’ll need a bit more to go off of. You’ll need to know places like Joann’s craft and fabric store, Michael’s craft store, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, and other places like these. https://www.tandyleather.com/en-usd/home/home.aspx is a valuable resource for all your leather needs.
Makeup: http://andsewingishalfthebattle.com/basic-makeup-for-cosplay-faq/ this is a very simple and easy to understand FAQ about cosplay makeup. There are many brands of makeup you can use in costuming. Here are a few brands that are known to be very good for cosplay purposes:
Other resources (This is part of a list given to me by a friend who received it from a popular cosplayer that he met at a con.):
So that’s my little introduction to cosplay article, made just for you.
I hope this is useful to you! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!