The term “cosplay” is a mix of the words “costume play”. It is a performance art in which participants don costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea, usually derived from popular culture. Participants often interact to create a subculture centered on role play. Cosplayers often interact online using social media and live streaming video services, such as Twitch.
Cosplaying has been seen at comic book conventions, LARPing events, anime conventions, science fiction conventions (SF/F), fantasy conventions (conventions that celebrate fantasy genre literature), and video gaming competitions. In recent years it’s become more common for people to cosplay at festivals and fairs in order to promote their work or show off their skills.
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What is Cosplay?
Cosplay, a word made from “costume” and “play,” is the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, TV show, anime, manga, video game, or even from a popular music band. And the real fun of cosplay? It isn’t just about wearing costumes—it’s about becoming the character. This means studying their behavior, their speech, the way they move, everything!
Now, you may be wondering, “Why do people cosplay?” Good question! For some, it’s a way to show their love for a particular character or story. For others, it’s a creative outlet, a way to escape from everyday life, or even a chance to make new friends. In other words, it’s all about fun, creativity, and community.
Get Started with Cosplaying
Choosing Your First Cosplay Character
Ready to dive into the world of cosplay? Alright! The first step is to choose who you want to cosplay as. This might seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry—it’s actually part of the fun!
You can choose pretty much any character you love or find interesting. The character can be from your favorite movie, TV show, anime, manga, video game, or even a real person from a popular music band or a historical figure. It’s totally up to you!
When you’re choosing your first cosplay, remember, it doesn’t have to be complex or extravagant. Start simple. Choose a character with a costume that isn’t too difficult to make or find. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed and you can focus more on the fun part!
Making Your Costume and Accessories
Once you’ve chosen your character, it’s time to start creating your costume and accessories. This can be done in two ways: you can make it yourself (DIY), or you can buy it.
If you’re crafty and enjoy making things, creating your own costume can be a rewarding experience. You’ll need materials like fabric, craft foam, paint, and a whole lot of patience. There are loads of tutorials online that can help you with this. YouTube and Pinterest are gold mines of DIY cosplay guides.
However, if you’re not into DIY, or if you’re short on time, buying your costume is a perfectly fine option. There are many online shops that sell pre-made costumes for all sorts of characters. Websites like Amazon, eBay, and specialized cosplay shops like CosplaySky or EZCosplay are good places to start.
Bringing Your Character to Life
Alright, now you’ve got your costume ready. It’s time to bring your character to life! This is where acting comes in. As I mentioned earlier, cosplay isn’t just about wearing costumes—it’s about becoming the character.
Take some time to study your character. Watch the movie, read the manga, or play the game they’re from. Pay attention to their behavior, their speech, and the way they move. It can help to practice in front of a mirror or record yourself to see what you look like.
Also, don’t forget about makeup! Even if your character doesn’t wear any, makeup can help you alter your features to look more like your character. Again, YouTube is full of makeup tutorials specifically for cosplay.
Benefits of Cosplaying
Cosplaying allows you to show your creativity by creating your own costumes. It’s also fun to see what other people will dress up as, and who can best replicate the characters that they are trying to portray.
Cosplaying makes you more social and boosts self-confidence
The act of cosplaying is very social since it happens in groups or at conventions with many people dressed up in various costumes. It’s a great way to meet new friends outside of school or work, which can boost self-confidence when meeting strangers.
Meet New People
Cosplay can be a bonding experience with friends as well, especially if they have similar interests. You never know whom you might meet while waiting in line for an event, which is a great way to broaden your social circle.
Cosplay is a low-cost hobby
Many cosplayers have a budget that they need to work within, if not they will often trade items or skills with other cosplayers in order to complete their costume. It can be very rewarding for those who don’t have much money as well because it motivates them even more…
Cosplaying also allows you the freedom of wearing whatever you want instead of what’s in fashion or the latest trends. You can dress up as your favorite characters from stories and become someone completely new. There are no limits!.
What Should I Wear?
If you want to start cosplaying but have no idea what character from which movie/game/comic book should you start with, here are some great places where you can look for inspiration:
- Pinterest – this is my favorite place because of the number of different genres you can choose from! It has a big variety of characters that range from Disney princesses, Marvel comics to small indie games that only a few people know about. Also, it lets users upload their own pictures of cosplay outfits, so you can get some great ideas!
- DeviantArt – is a community for artists who post fan art including cosplay pictures. If you’re looking for anime or comics to start with, this is the best place to look! I found my first two costumes here (videos at the end).
- Tumblr – it’s like Pinterest but more simple and easy to use; there are fewer categories but it has the most popular characters on it. Just type your character’s name in the search box and enjoy finding new characters/styles.