Tips to learn when starting your cosplay journey

3 mins read

Cosplaying, the act of dressing up and roleplaying as a character from a fandom, has been a popular endeavor worldwide. 

I entertained the idea of becoming a cosplayer a few years ago. At the beginning of last year, I decided to cosplay and it has become a fun experience. 

During the start of my  cosplaying journey, I have learned how time, energy, and money it takes to commit to cosplaying. I also learned that as a cosplayer, you will receive many comments, praiseworthy or critical. Furthermore, you learn to build community with your peers. 

I am going to share a few nuggets of wisdom that I learned from my cosplay journey that you can use if you decide to partake in this fun and creative endeavor. 

If you cosplay is not ‘perfect,’ don’t worry about it

When I created my “Mr. Knight” mask based on  “Moon Knight,” I was amazed at how a little bit of eva foam, spandex, and LED lights placed on a white mask brought it to life. To me, the mask closely resembled the one donned by Oscar Isaac’s Steven Grant with the light up eyes and the crescent on the forehead.

However, after posting the video of the mask on TikTok, I received praises but also some harsh criticism on how the mask looked nothing like Mr. Knight. One commenter called the mask “Mr. Day.” But there were some commenters who defended my creations against the harsh criticism. 

First off, I welcome criticism only if it is constructive (offer suggestions on what can be used in the cosplay). However, harsh criticism is negative and should never be tolerated. .

Second, the point of this tip is that your cosplay is not going to look exactly like your character’s to a T. 

A cosplayer who was running a panel at Phoenix Fan Fusion once said that when it comes to cosplaying, “we are nerds, we get it.” This means that most people are going to recognize your cosplay. This also teaches cosplayers that there is no shame in purchasing your costume. At the beginning of my journey, I purchased several of my costumes. 

The way I see it, your cosplay is a variant of the character you are role-playing. I derived the term “variant” from the Disney + series Marvel’s Loki. A variant is basically an individual who is another version of the character with a few or some differences. Your cosplay is not going to look like your character 100% but people will recognize it once they see you.

Connect with cosplayers in your local area or on social media

Connecting with cosplayers can help you become acclimated in the cosplay community. You can connect with cosplayers at comic or fandom conventions, photoshoots, social media sites, or other events. 

Fellow cosplayers can share advice or tips on how to make costumes, where to purchase a costume,  the best conventions to attend, or which photographers they use or are familiar with. 

Use a vision board to plan your cosplays in advance

Using a vision board can help cosplayers: come up with a budget. Cosplaying can be an expensive endeavor when it comes to purchasing materials, tools, and other costumes. A vision board is a perfect way to pinpoint expenses as they relate to cosplaying. 

A vision board can also map out your cosplans (cosplay plans) and when you are going to make them. In addition, it can also help you determine when and where your cosplays will debut (ie a convention or a photoshoot) . 

Overall, a vision board is an excellent way for a cosplayer to be more organized. 

Cosplay Photoshoot Credit: The Book of Cosplay by Svetlana Quindt

Lookout for cosplay photoshoot events

Some cosplay photoshoot events may cost money but there are also some that aRE free. A good way to find out about these events is on social media site like Instagram or Twitter. 

Usually, holidays like Halloween or Christmas are always a great time for photoshoot events. 

Cosplay Is Not Consent sign at New York City Comic Con. Credit: Comics Beat

It is okay to say ‘no’ when someone wants to take a photo but be kind and professional while doing so

Whenever someone comes up to you and asks if they could take your picture, you have the absolute right to refuse. And you have your reasons:you’re busy, you’re hungry/”hangry,” eating, tired, or whatever. 

Here’s the very thing I stress (especially as someone who struggles with mental health): Do not feel bad for saying no. While doing so, just be polite and professional. 

However, if the person asking for your photo is insistent, state your reasoning and if that doesn’t work, have a friend back you up or pretend to  be with a group of friends that that they can help you out. 

And for cosplay photographers, please be respectful of a cosplayer’s boundaries that they establish and practice being professional because at the end of the day, cosplay is not consent. 

Photo of me as Mr.. Knight with Comicare Credit: Brian of Earth-16

Have fun

This last tip is self-explanatory. Just go out there and have fun cosplaying as your favorite character. 

Thank you so much for tuning into Geek Talk with Brian of Earth-16 on the Daily Planet. If you enjoyed this podcast episode, please subscribe to Geek Talk with Brian of Earth-16 on Youtube or whatever podcast platform you are listening on. Also, like the episode and hit the bell icon for any updates. 

For more episodes of Geek Talk with Brian of Earth-16 and other podcasts, check out the Daily Planet website for updates. 

Brian Adigwu

Brian of Earth-16 is a podcaster for the Geek Talk with Brian of Earth-16 and a contributing writer/journalist for the Daily Planet. You can also hear Brian on the DC Comics Geeks Nation podcast. When not writing, Brian enjoys going to the world of comic books, TV shows, video games, and pro-wrestling. He also loves listening to other podcasts and having a philosophical conversation.

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