Let Your Artistic Flag Fly: The Art of Cosplaying Explained
Cosplay is an art form, unique self-expression, a creative hobby, a way to connect with other like-minded people, and, most importantly, a learning experience unlike anything else!
Some people refer to it as simply an adult version of dress-up, but it is really so much more than the costumes. This article will serve as your guide to the world of cosplay and the meaning behind the craft:
What is Cosplay?
Cosplay is, by definition, a form of costume play. Participants dress up in costumes that are usually based around Japanese cartoons and comics called anime and manga, American comic books, video games, and movies. It is a way to step into the world of your favorite fictional character and represent your favorite “fandom”.
Cosplayers often congregate at events called cosplay conventions where they band with friends and other fans. They go to conventions and other events to make new friends, to partake in competitions, to meet their idols or famous voice actors and artists, and to buy merchandise from sellers and booths. For a more in depth explanation, view our guide: how did cosplay start?
Characteristics of a Cosplayer
Cosplayers usually learn skills like sewing, crafting, painting, and other motor skills that will enable them to make their costume and props. What people don’t know is they first need to become more patient and self-disciplined.
Cosplay is a visual art form so enthusiasts will also do some modeling, photography, and photo editing skills to preserve their costumes in the form of pictures.
Common Misconceptions about Cosplayers
- They must be as screen-accurate as possible.
Although this is not a problem and should not be seen as taboo, judging the cosplay as something that is “not good enough” only based on the accuracy of the ethnicity, body shape, and detailing of the character’s costume is wrong.
- They are just doing something “risque”.
Cosplay is usually seen as dress up for people who have a great body to show them off. This is not the main reason why cosplayers do their thing. It is mainly for their love of the craft and the character.
- They are doing it for fame and popularity.
Some might get some fans because of their good work but it is not entirely the reason why they make their costumes by the sweat of their brow. While it’s nice to receive validation, it’s impossible to press on without a passion for the art.
- They are doing it to get paid.
Some cosplayers actually do get paid, especially those who were invited as special guests in events. However, most of the time, people take part just for fun and for coming together as a fandom.
- They are about performing in front of people.
Sometimes, the fact that creating the costume takes up a lot of time and resources is often overlooked. Many do perform but that is often out of respect for the maker or their love for the character. If you think cosplay might be for you, take a look at our guide: how to cosplay.
Reasons Why People Cosplay
#1 Finding Friends
It is not always easy to make friends. This is true for people who have niche interests like anime and comics. Looking for people with the same passion and love for your favorite cartoon characters or anime series is hard even to this day.
With the help of cosplay conventions, you can easily find people who you can become friends in the long run for sharing the same interest and love for the art of cosplay.
#2 Boosting Confidence
Aside from making friends, some people find it hard to boost their confidence on their own. Most cosplayers tend to be shy in the beginning, but they find that their confidence improves with each convention and photoshoot they have.
While taking part, you also learn how to be more comfortable in your own skin because of the love you have for the character you’re representing.
#3 Overcoming Challenges
The crafting part of cosplay is a challenge for each and every cosplayer. Everybody started as a beginner, of course!
With this difficulty comes a lot of learning experiences that will help you grow not only as a cosplayer but also as a person in general.
#4 Becoming More Goal-oriented
Getting into cosplay means you need to allot time and resources to complete your costume. With this comes a lot of self-control and discipline.
It totally depends on you, but you might need to save money for crafting materials, work out to keep yourself in shape, and wake up early to allow time for crafting. This might seem like a lot of work but in the long run, you can develop better lifestyle habits because of cosplay.
#5 Discovering New Opportunities
These can range from meeting new people, learning new skills, earning achievements and prizes from competitions, traveling the world, or even getting your dream job–all because of cosplay.
Some famous cosplayers were even scouted for their dream jobs all through their active participation in the art.
Alternative Cosplay Activities
Cosplaying is not just about attending conventions and taking photos of yourself in your costumes. Some also utilize their talents for the art of crafting for their own business.
Many artists are commissioned to create costumes, weapons, and other props for fellow cosplayers for a price. Others are also scouted by companies like those for video games, toys, or fashion as a model for their products. Several are now also social media influencers like YouTubers and vloggers who give tutorials for makeup and crafting. These really help the community prosper and become more renowned in the world. As with any new hobby, cosplaying can be scary when starting out, especially at cons. But don’t worry, we’ve scored the web for the top 10 beginner cosplay tips 🙂
Cool Cosplayers of Today
Anyone and everyone can cosplay, but here are some individuals who have taken it to the next level and who have been inspiring others all over the world to pursue their dream.
The most popular cosplayer to date. She started her craft in 2009 and has been in the industry since then. She is now a spokesperson for Kadokawa Games, Ubisoft and Tecmo Koei. She even became a voice actress for an English dubbed anime.
One of the household names in the world of cosplay, she was one of the judges for the Heroes of Cosplay reality television show and other big cosplay competitions. She is best known for her versions of Psylocke, Wonder Woman, and Chun-Li.
He is considered one of the greatest male cosplayers in the industry. He was known for his exquisite Medieval Batman suit. Currently, he is the owner of a cosplay commissions company Rage Custom Creations.
She is one of cosplay’s most notable figures globally. She is a regular judge at cosplay competitions all over the world and is now working with Facebook Philippines as a social media influencer and a vlogger on YouTube.
With that said, you can see that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to cosplay. It’s a cultural phenomenon that continues to gain more fans and participants all over the world. For more famous cosplayers, head over to the best famous cosplayers of 2021