by Thea Nikolic aka Critical Miss
COSPLAY CONFIDENTIAL: TIPS FOR COSPLAY
|Thea, aka 'Critical Miss', as Rockabilly Harley
So Cosplay season is upon us, and that means getting your costumes ready for the masses. Are you going just to Cosplay or are you entering the Masquerade? Are you going straight from a source or is your costume a concept that you have come up with? Whatever the costume and whatever the reason, there are so many tips and tricks one can give to bring your costume to life, however I am going to concentrate on 5.
1. Drafting and sewing your costume - If you are talented enough to be able to draft your own patterns or adjust already existing patterns, you are well ahead of the game. If you are not one of those people, you need to find a seamstress or a costumer who takes commissions. But before you jump ahead and hire the first person you see who makes beautiful costumes, DO YOUR RESEARCH. Make sure you get recommendations from multiple people you trust. Make sure the person you hire can make the deadlines you set, take correct measurements and give you proper fittings to make sure things are going well with your costume. And please, get a receipt or a contract stating how much money you've given as a deposit, what the deadlines are and when the rest of the money is to be paid out. You will be better off for it.
2. Finding the perfect wig - This step can be time consuming, but a good wig can make all the difference for your costume. Through the multiple sites you can find a wig that is not expensive and still looks good. And the other point that you need to consider is whether you can use this wig for another character, and if that is the case, then your 60$ wig then becomes a 30$. Also if you invest in a heat resistant one, that gives you even more versatility to a wig that might have just served for a single character but because you can curl it or straighten it, the possibilities are endless. Here are a few links, but there are tons of cosplay wig websites out there.
3. The 5 foot Rule - Of course the details are important. Especially the exact replica buttons you ordered from England for your spot on Andromeda uniform. However, sometimes it is just impossible to get the exact item to complete your costume. You also may not have the funds to order a screen replica. So you may want to consider the "5 foot Rule". What this rule means is that when you step away from the costume from 5 feet, and it looks great, then you are good to go. Most of the time, people in conventions see you for a split second, take a picture and they are gone. Most people will not spend half an hour looking at the screen used sword you ordered for a pretty penny. If you can afford it, that is amazing. And if you plan on always entering the Masquerade where they do look at the fine details up close, then go for what you can afford (please don't ever break the bank for a hobby that for but a few exceptions, does not pay you back what you spent), but for the rest, the 5 foot Rule is a good way to judge what your costume looks like.
4. The Great Fabric Hunt - This can sometimes be the most frustrating part of building a new costume. First off, give yourself enough time to search for the right material. Deciding the weekend before a convention to build a new costume might not be the best way to finding the right fabric. Second, shop the sales. Fabricland is one of our local companies that has sales on a regular basis. Another avenue to think about is that it is only a short drive to the fabric district in Montreal. However, online fabric stores are worth checking out as well. Many of them will send you swatches of the fabric so you know exactly what you are ordering. Or, if you are fortunate to live close to the border, take a drive down to the states and shop around there. You are sure to find some deals.
5. Background Check - Here is a way to make your costume shine without spending a dime. Whatever medium your character is from, you have material to source from. Do some research by watching episodes or movies and read the comics. These will help you immensely by giving you dynamic poses that you can use for photos, catch phrases that will make convention goers love you even more and if you have the ability to do it, impersonating your character will seal the deal.
It is my hope that these 5 tips have given you some guidance in how to start, and upgrade and just have fun with your cosplay. Because that is the most important thing, to have fun. Sure, winning the ribbons can be amazing, to get the recognition for all your hard work, but nothing compares to the young child whose favourite character is you, the fan who flips out because of your cosplay, the mother who asks you to pose with her and her baby. These are the moments that make it worth it.
Thea Nikolic aka Critical Miss has been cosplaying for several years and has just recently started hosting panels at various conventions about cosplay. She is also an actor, so she loves to play and act like her various characters that she loves. You can follow her cosplay shenanigans with her costuming husband at their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/criticalmissandretrojoad. You can also follow her on Twitter @HarleyQuinnBabe as well as on Instagram harleyquinnbabe.
Photographer: Dana Harper http://www.geekxgirls.com/showgeek.php?ID=2