Welcome to the first steps of cosplay. I find this to be one of the more difficult steps myself because I tend to want to switch halfway through creating a cosplay. Some people shoot for several cosplays. I only shoot for one because of all the effort I put into my outfits, and I’m a very slow artist.
Step 1: Pick Your Character(s)
This is where you always want to start. It could you take a day to decide or a hot minute. It all depends on you. Choosing your character is an important step (most important in my opinion). There are a few things you want to keep in mind when choosing your character.
Do you resonate with your character?
Easy, right? I actually have a harder time picking a character I wanna really shoot for. I resonate with some better than others. The main character I pick happens to be Hatsune Miku. I feel that I can and do resonate with her quite well. You have to feel this out for yourself.
How much are you willing to spend in order to achieve said character’s look?
This is really important for you to know. Some costumes can cost an overall total of thousands of dollars and numerous hours of work especially if you choose to make the costume. Even still, you can purchase a costume, and some of them can be quite pricey. Are you shooting more for high quality and longer lasting or something a bit cheaper but still with a quality look?
Does your character have props?
Something minor but pretty important. If your character has a major prop, you might want to try to find a way to incorporate it into your costume. Take into consideration that if you’re going to a con and the hours are super long, or your’re walking around the entire time, which is likely, then you’ll be carrying your prop around for that duration. I’ve seen some costumes and always wondered how some people’s props could be lugged around all day lol. I prefer to have empty hands so I can’t forget anything.
What about their personality?
This is where the resonating with your choice comes in. How much are you willing to invest into your character’s personality? Are you wanting to invest a lot or none at all? The easier you feel in tune with the character you’ve chosen to portray, the easier it is for you to incorporate their personality. This is something you have to just feel out for yourself. I personally resonate with Hatsune Miku best. You’re gonna hear me talk about that a lot. She’s my main character.
How easily can the materials for the costume and character you chose be obtained?
Ah, how my pockets have cried lately as I’ve shopped for materials. I want to make my own costumes so searching for materials is all I do. I wanted to do it all from scratch. (Note: dyeing fabric is not the easiest thing to do with zero experience.) Now, this method is going to cost a pretty penny. If that doesn’t bother you, then shoot for it.
You can also make up your costume by re-purposing things around your house. Take some old clothes or just clothes you don’t intend to wear anymore and turn them into a nice cosplay outfit. This goes for props as well. You can take numerous objects and make an outfit and props out of materials from home that you’ve re-purposing.
One other method is buying your costume. You can have it commissioned if you search around, or you can just buy a generic size from many, many online sites.
I’ll go into detail about these methods later on. Stick around on this site for a bit to find out. 😉
Step 2: Accessorizing Your Cosplay
This is pretty self explanatory. Accessorizing your costume helps provide a complete look to yourself. Some things just require certain accessories or else it just may not really click. For example, you wouldn’t want to go without the wig to your outfit. It just wouldn’t feel nearly as complete. There’s more on wigs later. One doesn’t have to go crazy expensive with accessories either. If you’re crafty and want to give it a go, you can make the accessories to your outfit and re-purpose materials. It is possible to make an outfit that’s cheap but has a nice quality to it.
Step 3: Choose Your Outfit
As someone who cosplays a Vocaloid character, this is actually really difficult for me. So many artists design modules for Hatsune Miku, and it’s hard to choose just one. Personally, I choose just one to focus on for the weekend because I, for the most part, only really dress up on the main day when everyone else is dressed.
Now, when you choose the outfit you want to cosplay, you’ll want to take in all the details of the costume. Details, details, details. They can be so important sometimes. I’m not saying you need to be 100% accurate by any means as I’m not either.
Study your costume from different angles and gather the big picture. If you’re making your outfit from scratch, this is a good priority to keep in mind. You want to work from the broad and then to the narrow as a general rule of thumb. If you focus too hard on just the details, you may not see the big picture.
You want to keep this in mind when you’re looking to buy your costumes as well. How detailed is it, and how much are you paying for your outfit? I tend to drift toward detail-oriented and pricier costumes because often times, cheaper costumes I look at don’t have everything I’m looking for in my outfit. Make sure that whatever method you choose to go with it’s in your budget though. Trust me. Cosplay can get really pricey if you don’t do some digging first.
Step 4: Character Personalities – Hello Acting
Okay, I won’t lie. I am a horrible actor. I am super shy, and with that in mind, I can have a hard time really investing into my character’s personality. Sometimes I get right down into character and don’t think about it at all. Once I get to thinking though, my whole character gets lost. That shyness creeps in.
To get into the acting portion of your character, you really want to study them. You’ll want to look at things such as their facial expressions and poses. One way to help practice and learn these poses and expressions is to use a mirror. More details to this and everything in this article will be discussed at another time for people who want to go into further depth with this information.
Acting helps round out and solidify your cosplay. Keep that in the back of your mind, and don’t be disheartened if when you first try it out, you didn’t exactly hit your mark. Practice makes perfect. This along with the other mentions above, should help you on your way to becoming a great cosplayer.
Last and Probably the Most Important Step of All
HAVE FUN!! That’s the most important thing to take away. Don’t let others shame you into not going out in cosplay. You don’t need to be the skin tone, weight or whatever to cosplay your chosen character. You need to just have fun. So get out there and continue your journey into the world of cosplay!
Don’t hesitate to contact me either if you have any further questions. I’m here to help you.