For those of you who have the patience to read for some extra info!
When I started cosplaying, I didn't think makeup was such a major part of it. I was so hesitant to even put eyeliner because I'd think, "This character is a guy, I shouldn't look like I'm wearing makeup!" And I guess I was silly enough to think I looked enough like the characters I chose without doing anything to my face?
I can't find more pictures of my really old cosplays (which is just as well, hahah) from the time I didn't want to use makeup apart from these:
It depends on the character too, I think. I generally use more eyeliner and try to go for a really even complexion for anime characters to emulate the look of the 2D art without taking it too literally. But for movie/book cosplay, I take a different approach.
So that's probably a long enough intro for this post! Hahah! Bottom line: Makeup is cool because it helps you change the way you look. And that's part of what's fun about cosplay — Being able to transform yourself from the way you usually look.
One day I thought it'd be a fun exercise on flexibility to cosplay different characters from the same series, all by myself. It would be an amusing way to illustrate how angles, expressions and makeup can help one person depict different characters. Using only the wigs and clothes I have at home, I decided to try cosplaying the main characters of the anime, Free!
I also chose a vibrant blue lens because Haruka has bright blue eyes that contrast with his dark hair. The lenses I used are the Ocean Blue Cosplay Lenses from Alice and Rabbit's Shop, where I get most of my lenses.
The eyebrows were kind of an extra challenge for me since Makoto has really kind-looking eyebrows that curve upwards towards the center, while mine naturally angle downwards (which usually lead people to think I look mean). I kind of imagined Mako to have thick eyebrows so I rolled with that. I draw them extra thick on the top part near the center to fight against the downward curve of my real eyebrows. Then for the photos, I raised them up (like the way you would when you're surprised, hahah) to give a kinder facial expression. This also helped make my eye crease more visible.
The pattern of this also looks like it would be better suited for a more intense and aggressive character. I don't know if most people would think I'm crazy for taking that into account, but I do like to consider the pattern when choosing contact lenses for a character.
I made my cheeks look rounder with the way I smiled. I describe it as pushing my face meats up by giving a tight smile. This also made my upper lip look thinner, which I guess kind of works for Nagisa. I don't know if this will work for everyone, but the point is to observe how certain facial expressions affect the shape of your face, and use them to your advantage when you can.
The coloring on the Crystal Max Red is semi-transparent, so it lets the white part show through a bit at the bottom. This is also why the lens diameter is important. I think the average diameter for irises are about 14mm. The lenses I used for Haruka and Makoto are 14.2mm, so they're only slightly enlarging. These ones are 14.8mm in diameter.
If you're wondering about the teeth: Those are my natural teeth. They're pretty strangely shaped (but I like them) and I'm just not used to smiling with them, but I decided to show them off this time because it's character-appropriate!
See? They are pointier along the sides so I angled my face so they'd be more visible.
Half my eyebrows here are drawn on, because I wanted them to angle upwards to look extra mean. I used Kryolan eyebrow wax to flatten half my eyebrows then piled concealer on top to hide them. Then I drew on the other half with a cream pigment from my Ben Nye wheel, using an angular eyebrow brush.
The lenses I used for Rin were the limited edition red prescription lenses from A&R. I chose these instead of the red ones I used for Nagisa because it's a brighter red, which is like Rin's eye color. The diameter is also smaller, so it gives my eyes more of a mean look compared to Nagisa's big sparkly eyes.
Now, I've never been properly trained in makeup or anything like that, so this is all just coming from someone who learned to use makeup by thinking of them as drawing materials. (Eyeliners are like ink brushes or colored pencils, eyeshadow is like chalk pastel, lip pigments are paints, etc.) It is questionable if my methods are correct, but I just wanted to share how I go about things and I thought it could serve as a guideline for you guys to think of how to manage it for yourselves.
These techniques will also work differently for people with different eye or face shapes so it's best for you to experiment on your own face or with your friends. It's fun!
The amount of makeup you use, and how you want to interpret features on anime characters is entirely up to you. Everyone's got different preferences. Like some people find drawing the eye crease weird, but it works for some people. But it's all really up to you! You just have to try things and find a look that you feel comfortable with. And don't judge yourself until you've got your wig and everything on and have finished the entire look, because I certainly felt like a fool in the middle of doing some of these.
By that I mean Rin
It was a fun challenge to take on, and I hope to try it with other series!
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