Cosplay for Beginners

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So, you've decided you want to be a cosplayer. Great! You'll have tons of fun. But where to start?

Well…

Step one: Choose a character to cosplay

How do you choose which costume you want to do? Choosing can be tricky, and you can't start until you've picked. No one else can tell you how to choose, but it might help if you start by figuring out why it is you want to cosplay.

People have lots of reasons, but in my experience, there are three main reasons why someone might decide to be a cosplayer, and knowing why you do it will help you choose. Most of us are a combination of these, but fit into one slightly better than the others.

1. The Super Fan- these cosplayers have a character or characters that they just absolutely adore. They know absolutely everything about them and the series and want to show the world. They choose their favorite characters.

CCS - approuch to heaven by Naraku-Sippschaft Airdramon Cosplay by CheiftainMaelgwyn I'm odd by Ryoko-demon

If you're a super fan, picking is easy! Just do your favorite characters from your favorite series.

:thumb145300242: Gundam Wing ::03 by Cvy FMA - We are your nightmare by kayleighloire

2. The Camera Lover- these are the people who love having people take their picture and compliment their costumes. They usually pay a lot of attention to detail.

::Target..Identified:: by AznTranquility Kuroshitsuji - Ciel Sebastian by NanjoKoji The Peacock Preening by Shikarius

If you're a camera lover, choose characters from popular series or characters with cool or flashy costumes. Large weapons are also good for attracting attention. People tend to take pictures of costumes they recognize or are impressed by.

:thumb124960452: :thumb126813953: Shiva Sisters Styria FFXIII by the-mirror-melts

3. The Good Timer- these are the people who cosplay just because it's fun. They're not trying to get their picture taken (though they might enjoy it), but they don't necessarily adore the characters they do. They tend to do a wide range of characters.

Kiki - Happy Halloween by Evil-Uke-Sora :thumb150046427: Granny Sophie Hatter by kirawinter

If you're a good timer, pick a few series you like and do characters from those, or maybe join a group cosplay. Basically, do whatever floats your boat. You might also consider doing a personal character or non-anime character.

Sun Dragon by Qarrezel Nevermore by RouletteDantes Two Hearts: Hand in Hand by Ex-Shadow

Step two: Get a costume

Now that you've decided who you want to do, you have to get the costume. There are a few ways to get one.

D.I.Y.- If you're the crafty type, you can just make it yourself! Even if you're not too crafty you can still sometimes make a costume yourself. If the costume isn't too unusual, you can buy similar clothes (goodwill stores are good for this) and modify them. You can even take them to your local tailor, who can modify them for a fee. You can find lots of great tutorials for how to make various costume pieces, too. This is usually (but not always) the cheapest way to get a costume. Also, sometimes there's something you just can't buy, but you can usually make it.

RAGUNA: Kinda Badass Today by Mephypoo Here They Come by Leadmill The Forest Spirit quadsuit by SavedChicken

Pre-made- If you're not really into D.I.Y., you can also buy pre-made costumes. Some of the more popular series (like Bleach or Naruto) have officially licensed costumes that can be purchased, and there are plenty of costume shops on the internet that specialize in cosplay costumes. This tends to be a little more expensive, because the price is not only the cost of the materials, but also a fee to the maker for their time and effort.

Loner, but not alone... by Kanasaiii :thumb151176691: KHR-rokudo mukuro by RabbitRuka

Commission- If you just can't find what you're looking for, your next option is commission. This is when you pay a costumer to make you a costume to your specifications. This tends to be the most expensive option, as the costumer is only making one (and mass production is always cheaper than one-of-a-kind).  But if you want an unusual costume or are very particular about the details and can't do it yourself, it's usually the best way to go.

Children of Evangelion by MapleBunnie :thumb168046700:

Step three: The accessories

Usually in a cosplay costume, the clothes are far from everything! You may also need all kinds of accessories such as footwear, wigs, contacts, weapons, jewelry, gloves… the list goes on! Depending on the costume and how accurate you want to be (you can still have tons of fun without a perfect costume), you may need more or less of these.

Boba Fett Helmet by Talty :thumb169319559: Abel Scythe Krusnik by alsquall

Your options for getting accessories are basically the same as for the clothes. There are some accessories, like contacts, that you won't be able to make for yourself, but you can find them easily enough.

Automail by Majin-sama Crown Clown Mask by angelicon Merc details by Fenix-414

Now you're ready to cosplay!

Now that you've got your costume all ready, it's time to go have fun! You can go to events like conventions, where there will probably be a lot of cosplayers, but there are plenty of other places you can cosplay, too. There are often cosplay meet ups or groups that go out on cosplay excursions (hanging out with friends in cosplay can be quite hilarious- watch the expressions on people's faces when they see you in costume!), and you could even arrange your own cosplay event. You might also have a photo shoot. It's a blast posing and being silly, and you'll even have some fun photos to take home.

xxxHolic - Thank you by Firiless FMA - Group by kayleighloire End of the training lesson by Evil-Uke-Sora Amatsuki: Our Reality by GianMarqu Spirited Away: Back Together by ShatteringReality :thumb170549279:

And finally, a few links to get you started:

carrotanime.com (costumes and accessories)
cosplayfu.com (costumes and accessories)
cosplaymagic.com (costumes and accessories)
cosaru.com (costumes and accessories)
cosplayhouse.com (costumes and accessories)
cosworx.com (wigs and footwear)
amphigory.com (excellent selection of wigs)
colormyeyes.com (colored contacts)
extremesfx.com (special effects and character contacts)
399animeshop.com (limited accessories)
etsy.com
ebay.com
amazon.com
zstore.com (official Funimation store, limited licensed costumes)
cosplay.com (cosplay forums)
instructables.com (tutorials)
www.roundearth.stores.yahoo.net/patterns.html (Japanese clothing patterns)
pastpatterns.com (historical patterns, organized by era)

Deviantart is also a great resource! For a list of dA tutorials, check out PaopuDestinyPro's Cosplay Yellow Pages. Also try dealer's rooms and artists alleys at conventions.

(Features are sometimes relevant to the section they're under, and sometimes not! Sometimes they're just random features.)
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Comments13
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gamera68's avatar
Great tutorial for the beginner or intermediate cosplayer :)
gamera68's avatar
Anytime. :)

I also submitted it to a few Groups, as you can see.

Including my own :D

Featured in ->:iconeverything-japan:
Animus-Panthera's avatar
I saw, thank you! I really appreciate that. =D
gamera68's avatar
No problem. Just spreading the word :)
Mephypoo's avatar
Omg I literally just died. I'm in this o__o! My friend sent me the link and I was like "why is she sending this to me? I already cosplay".. scrolled down to "DIY" and was like "OMFG"
Thank you for including me xD;; I feel so honored
Animus-Panthera's avatar
Ha ha, you're quite welcome! It's an awesome costume- very nice.
Mephypoo's avatar
thank you :3
Interesting tutorial ^^
(is it sad it took me this long to find this thing? I need to come on DA more often xD)
marizreyes's avatar
Very informative :D
Animus-Panthera's avatar
FantasyStock's avatar
:D Featured this article here: [link]
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