5 Essential Cosplay Tips for Beginners
Shannon Cottrell Kit Quinn as Superma'am and Tallest Silver at Batma'am at San Diego Comic-Con 2011
*"Kit Quinn and Tallest Silver: The Great Pretenders"
*"14 Essential Items to Bring to Every Fan Convention"
Every once in a while, I think I might try my hand at cosplay. I'll read a comic book or watch an old TV show and get an idea for a great costume. Sometimes, I'll message one of my friends that we really need to get together a group to re-create Bewitched or Wacky Races or whatever other retro show I'm obsessing over at the moment. For a few days, I'm ready to face the challenge of making a costume so ridiculous that it can't be bought.
But then I start to think about how much time this project will take and how much of a pain it will be to have to transform myself into someone else before hitting the convention floor. And, let's face it, there's a certain level of awkwardness that comes from interviewing people while dressed as Cousin Serena or Penelope Pitstop.
Regardless, there's always a thought that, maybe someday, I'll show up somewhere in costume. With that in mind, I turned to some cosplayers I know for advice. Here's what they told me.
Liz Ohanesian Adventure Time cosplayers at WonderCon.
5. Don't be intimidated.
When you look through photos of cosplayers posted on sites like Deviant Art and Cosplay.com, it's easy to get intimidated. There are people who have turned cosplay into a serious art form, complete with detailed costumes, elaborate hair and makeup and gorgeous, posed photos. But not everyone has pursued the hobby with this level of intensity.
If you go to a convention, you'll see a lot of different types of costumes, from store-bought to homemade, from simple to complex. Some people aim to look as much like the character they're portraying as possible. Others don't. It's all a matter of personal choice.
"The key to not being intimidated by cosplay is to remember, it's just for fun," says Kit Quinn, who was featured in this year's L.A. Weekly People Issue along with pal Tallest Silver. "This is a hobby by geeks, for geeks, and enjoyed with geeks. We're not doing this for anyone else."
4. Use lightweight material for your props.
There are times when a costume isn't complete without props. Conventions typically have guidelines for any kind of prop that could be perceived as a weapon (always check the convention website before you attend) and real weapons aren't allowed on-site. But, what I've often wondered is how people get around all weekend hauling massive pieces of equipment.
"When traveling with props, the biggest help you can give yourself, is making the material light," says Ashphord "Ashi-Chan" Jacoway of the group Chocolate Covered Cosplay. Jacoway says materials such as foam and lightweight plastics and woods are a lot easier to transport. "Plus foam is great for not hurting the people who are walking in the crowd," she adds.