8 Cosplay Tips for beginners

If you have never made a cosplay, but you are thinking about it, these eight cosplay tips will help you a lot during the process!

8 Cosplay Tips for Beginners

Cosplaying is an awesome hobby which involves a whole lot of creativity, imagination, and passion. It’s about becoming your favorite character for a day, and letting your inner child show. The process behind it can be very demanding or difficult, but also extremely fun!

I admit, I’m no expert in cosplay, not even close. I have already made a few of cosplays, and I feel that I have learned a lot.

Cosplay Tips - Paper and Landscapes
(2014) San from Princess Mononoke Cosplay

Of course, I still have so much to learn, and so many skills to develop to become an expert level cosplayer. But I think it’s important that we help each other and share what we’ve learned.

So here are my Cosplay Tips:

#1 – Do it for the right reasons.

Although this opinion may vary for others, to me it’s very important the reason behind my decision to make a cosplay. Doing it just so other people will like it, or just because you might win a contest, is not a good enough reason for me. Do it because it is something that will make you grow as an artist, and will develop many of your skills. Do it because it’s fun, and because you love it. Otherwise, the hard work behind making a cosplay will probably just discourage you to do it.

#2 – When choosing the character…

Don’t just rely on which character looks like you physically. I mean, if it does, that’s great. But you don’t necessarily NEED to look like the character for your cosplay to be good. You don’t need to have the same body type, race, or even gender. The work you do on your cosplay, the clothing, the hair, the props… those things matter a lot more. Therefore, when you are thinking about which one is right for you, just try to focus on choosing a character that you feel identified with on some level. Maybe you can look for similarities in your personalities, or you could choose a character that you look up to and would like to be like them. This will help motivate you to do a good job on it and to play the role even better. In addition to feeling a special connection with the character, be aware of the level of difficulty. There is nothing you can’t do if you have enough determination, but think realistically about your budget for materials or props, how much time you have until the next convention, and how much free time you have to dedicate to your cosplay. If your character requires too much, you might want to save it for another convention.

Cosplay Tips - Paper and Landscapes
(2015) – Hope Summers [Male Version] from X-men

#3 – Be willing to learn.

Maybe you’ve never even gotten close to a sewing machine before! Well, cosplaying is a skill developing art. There are things about the cosplay that you choose that you simply cannot buy anywhere. You have to make it. However, thankfully, there are tons of videos and tutorials on YouTube about how to make just about anything a cosplayer needs. Also, be willing to learn a little bit more about your character. I always try to choose a character that I already know well enough, but even so, I like to look up more from their background and history so I can represent it better.

Cosplay Tips - Paper and Landscapes
(2015) Kunimitsu from Tekken Cosplay [in process]

#4 – Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

There are TONS of cosplayers around the world. Some call them a Community. The cosplay community is all about helping each other, whether it involves simple advice, or even collaborating with the creation of a cosplay. So don’t be afraid to reach out if you need some help. If you don’t know any cosplayers personally, you could ask youtubers or bloggers that make cosplays, through comments or emails. A lot of them are more than willing to answer questions about their tutorials or share some cosplay tips. If you are too shy for that, just ask a friend or family members! Even though no one else in my family has made a cosplay (yet), they are all very helpful, specially when I need ideas, opinions, or just a pick-me-up to keep going. Also, my sister and my mom know how to sew, so I always depend on them to sew difficult patterns.

#5 – Be careful with your expectations.

There’s nothing wrong with expecting to make an amazing cosplay. But it is dangerous to be an obsessive perfectionist (like I sometimes am), because your expectations become too high. It happens to me when I focus on other cosplayer’s work. It is absolute nonsense to compare my level of cosplaying skills with an expert cosplayer who was been doing this for years. If you are cosplaying a popular character, chances are that there are lots of other amazing and experienced cosplayers that have already done it. And it is great to use their cosplays for ideas or inspirations. However, don’t expect yours to look as perfect as theirs. If it does end up looking perfect, then awesome! But if it doesn’t, please don’t let the disappointment crush your spirits and keep you from trying again next time. Don’t worry about it. You WILL get better and better each time.

Cosplay Tips - Paper and Landscapes
(2015)  Mandalorian from Star Wars

#6 – Hope for the best; be prepared for the worst.

There are so many things that can happen in a comic convention. Moving around so much could make some parts of your cosplay tear, break, or get loose. If you are going to eat something, you could drop something on yourself and stain fabric or damage your props. That’s why I always try to make a tough cosplay. In other words, I do my best to use materials that won’t break or damage easily. I also carry some emergency items with me like safety pins, bobby pins, tape, glue, staples, etc. Accidents happen, and some are easier to fix than others, so be as prepared as possible just in case.

#7 – Stay humble.

One of the major problems with the cosplay community is that some people, and I’m not talking about the majority, but just some people are definitely not nice. They will criticize your cosplay, make fun of you for not doing something right, they will try to make you feel inferior, and they will make you feel left out.  Some of them shame others for buying instead of making their cosplays, or not having the smae body type as their character, or not being hardcore fans of the game, movie, anime, or series that their character belongs to. It is sad that a lot of cosplayers feel victimized and discouraged because of that kind of bullies. Stop any act of bullying you see on other fellow cosplayers, and don’t become like them. We are all sharing this hobby because it’s something that makes us happy, and there’s no room for unkindness. Even if you become an amazing cosplayer with high quality cosplays, stay humble, help others grow as cosplayers, and encourage them to become good members of the community.

#8 – Enjoy it.

Last but not least, enjoy what you doBe proud of what you’ve created, no matter what. Don’t let the indecision to choose a character, the hard work of creating a cosplay from scratch, the negativity of others that don’t understand what you do, or even your own perfectionism, become an obstacle for your happiness. The satisfaction of doing a good work and seeing the final results, that moment when you become that character that you love, makes it all worthwhile. Also, take lots of pictures! From the beginning of the whole process to the finished cosplay, take pictures, not only to remember your work, but also to use them as motivation to make progress and be a better cosplayer.

Cosplay Tips - Paper and Landscapes
(2015) Kunimitsu from Tekken [Finished Cosplay]
Even though you are just starting out, remembering these cosplay tips will help you even when you become an experienced cosplayer. I hope you do!

If you have pictures of your cosplays, post them below 🙂


 

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Thanks to FreePsdFiles for the supergirl graphic! 😉

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