Cosplayers tend to pretty passionate about their craft. It makes sense. They’re big enough fans of a character to want to bring it to life through what they’re wearing. So it also makes sense that when I asked a few* Phoenix Comicon cosplayers for a costuming tip to share, they shared a lot more than that – tips for wearing costumes, meeting people, photo etiquette, and good advice that applies whether or not you do cosplay!
1. Think practically.
“Safety pins are very important! You never know when you’ll need them for your costume.” –Ryan DeFusco (The Indie Imaginarium)
“Break in your shoes ahead of time.” –Genevieve Eldred
“Drink lots of water! It’s easy to get dehydrated.” –Ryan D.
When designing your costume, don’t just think about the look. Think about how you will move around in it – especially in a crowd.
“I try not to take up space outside my immediate area. Wings and other things that stick out from your costume make it hard to get around at conferences.” –Genevieve
Also, think about how you’ll feel late in the day. Ryan D. recommends bringing a change of clothes in case your costume gets uncomfortable or some part of it isn’t working.
2. Talk to people
Justice League Arizona member Ryan Holmes recommends joining a group, if you find one that interests you.
When you’re at a con…
“Talk to people! If someone has taken the trouble to dress up as a character you like, say hi.” –Ryan H.
“If you like someone’s cosplay, tell them! If you want to know how they made something, ask them! The community is in large part very friendly and more than happy to share their tips and techniques.” –Genevieve
“If you’re shy, wearing a costume that covers the face can be really liberating.” –Ryan H. (DIY masks, anyone?)
3. Keep learning
The cosplay community is another example of how the current wealth of online and offline resources for learning has helped makers flourish.
“Learning new skills keeps the brain active, and the worst thing you could do is remain stagnant.” –Genevieve
“The web is full of costume resources. Probably at least half the people into making things are also into talking about how they made them.” –Ryan H.
“Research, research, research. There are plenty of skills like sewing, jewelry making, and armor making that can be learned from cosplay blogs and tutorials. If you ever get lost on something, there’s probably a cosplayer who has done it and can help you through.” –Genevieve
“There are lots of panels on costuming from cheap and starting out to advanced prop building.” –Ryan H.
4. Have fun
“If it’s not fun, there’s no point.” –Genevieve
Bonus tip: Photos of cosplayers
(a.k.a. Don’t be creepy.)
“Be respectful and ask before taking someone’s picture.” –Jill
Cosplay is not consent for photos (or harassment). If you want to take a photo of a child, also ask the adult they’re with for permission.
“Don’t sneak up behind a cosplayer and try to get a photo without them noticing. People like to be able to put their best pose on, hide their con badge, look good.” –Ryan H.
They may want to cover up a small flaw in their costume or give you their best side.
“It’s also okay to ask people to pose or pose with you. Once, when I was in a Batman costume, one guy wanted a picture where it looked like I was scolding him. Much more memorable than ‘I’m standing next to Batman.'” –Ryan H.
More to check out
Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest – Phoenix Comicon is introducing a second, smaller event! Fan Fest is focused on creators, artists, actors, costumers and exhibitors. It will be held December 12-14, 2014 (during cooler weather!) at the University of Phoenix Glendale Stadium.
- Justice League Arizona – Costuming for a cause. “We do charity appearances and don’t take money.” –Ryan H.
- “A few professional cosplayers write their own books with tutorials. Kamui Cosplay and Bill Doran from Punished Props have awesome ones.” –Genevieve
- The RFP – Prop and costume information and community. “A good spot for those with lots of time and energy for their stuff.” –Ryan H.
*Yes, two of the cosplayers were named Ryan. While there are no official statistics on this, it is my belief that the majority of cosplayers are actually not named Ryan. If Ryans are overrepresented here, it is coincidental and not an attempt to exclude the non-Ryan community or promote some hidden pro-Ryan agenda.
Photos of Genevieve taken by Eileen Kane.