How to get started in Cosplay

Each Sydney Supanova leaves me ecstatic after seeing so many new cosplays, that it got me thinking about how many people enjoy seeing the crafted costumes but are unsure on how to join in on the fun. So here are some quick tips if you want to start cosplaying:

1. It doesn’t need to be perfect!

It can get overwhelming to see so many amazing costumes out there but don’t forget that everyone starts at the same point. It’s ok to make mistakes or not have every detail accurate, as long as you put your heart into it, people will be there with you to enjoy the character you choose. When attending conventions like Supanova, Comic-Con or PAX, it’s the fun in participating that will make you love cosplaying.

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Danielle as Max (left) and me as Chloe (right) from Life is Strange @ Sydney Supanova 2017

2. Set manageable goals and plan for the event

Too many times I’ve put myself in the position of leaving a costume to the last minute and spending the last few weeks before the con stressing! If you’re looking to source some pre-made items make sure to account for production and shipping times, there’s nothing worse than waiting for a key item to show up days before a con. Time management and goal setting apps are your friends if you need help managing the task.

Another important thing is comfort, like the weather and how long you can stand or walk around in costume for. Be sure to check what the weather has been like in the area in previous years and work layers into your costume if it’ll be cold, or make sure you’re staying hydrated if it’ll be hot.

3. Don’t break the bank

Every costume doesn’t need to be handcrafted, so finding pre-made items (such as clothing and armour) and pre-styled wigs is a completely acceptable way to get started. Sometimes it’s easier to look at what you own for inspiration for cosplay. I’ve made entire costumes out of items I’ve already owned or have picked up cheap from op shops. The internet is also a great resource to help you find that specific thing you need, and occasionally you’ll get lucky and be able to pick up a costume that a cosplayer is looking to part with.

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Me as Jessica Jones from the Netflix series @ Sydney Supanova 2019

4. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel

Use tutorials and how-tos when creating certain parts of a costume that you just can’t get your head around. Cosplayers have been sharing their knowledge and skills for years as they continue to find new and better ways to craft costumes. And with that information out there, you’ll always find a forum of someone asking the same question as you, or even an in-depth blog of someone creating their own version of the costume you decided on.

5. Keep yourself & your costume fresh

There’s no need to have a new costume for every con you go to, but make sure you’re taking measures to keep you and your costume fresh if you’re wearing it on a weekend or across different cons. Deodorant and wipes will keep you feeling fresh and make sure you’re airing out or washing your costume between each con.

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Me as Robin from the YouTube series Holy Musical B@man @ Sydney Supanova 2012

6. Remember to have fun!

Everyone at the con is there to celebrate their favourite shows, movies and games, so your costume should add to your excitement! Getting some friends together to have a group cosplay can help ease those nerves for your first costume as well as making it a fun weekend out.

Hero image: Me as Cortana from Halo 4 @ RTX AUS 2016. Photo courtesy of Steamkittens

Thanks for writing for us, Amber!

Amber is 23 years old, currently working as a graphic designer while making costumes for fun in her spare time. She grew up on sci-fi and fantasy pop culture which lead to her love for all things nerdy. She started creating costumes and artwork to celebrate her nerdiness. Follow Amber on Instagram to see current designs and costumes.

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